I’ve been planning to do a “what’s on my desk” post for a long time. I thought it’d do well in the video format, but I never got around to doing it since I’m not comfortable on video. But now that the thing is done, here’s the text version, for those who like reading. (And here’s how the video was made.)
The Motorized Desk
This is a motorized desk from a local shop here in Dhaka called 99Grid. If you’ve watched enough videos on YouTube, chances are, you know how motorized desks work.
Sitting down in front of a computer all day isn’t good for your body. So I opted for this motorized desk so I can stand up and work when I don’t feel like sitting down anymore.
Motorized desks aren’t plentiful in Dhaka so it was ridiculously expensive. But I still went with it because I think any expense is worth it if it’s going to help your health. (Disclaimer: Automattic, my workplace, paid for the desk as part of the home office allowance.)
MacBook Pro w/ M1 Pro
On top of the desk is a 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro. This is one step above the base model with 1 TB of storage. The base model has 512 gigs.
I got it as a work machine recently and I’ve been in love with it. As anyone in the Mac world will tell you, Apple changed the game with its M1 processors. And the M1 Pro takes that game even further.
I have used this MacBook Pro to batch-edit huge RAW photos on Lightroom. I’ve also edited 4K videos on Final Cut Pro and DaVinci Resolve (Not just the one you see above). It just powers through those tasks as if the CPU/GPU are idling!
I have a high-end Windows gaming laptop, the Asus Zephyrus G15, with Ryzen 9 processor and RTX 3070 Laptop GPU. I captured gameplay videos on the laptop and edited them using DaVinci Resolve on both the Windows laptop and the MacBook Pro.
During export, the Windows laptop ran dangerously hot and loud while the MacBook Pro didn’t even make a sound. Not to mention the Mac exported the file early. Even scrubbing the timeline was smoother on the Mac than on the Windows laptop with a dedicated graphics card.
I don’t want to turn this into a Windows vs Mac debate. They both have their places, that’s why I have them both; but the point is, these M1 and M1 Pro chips are ridiculously good. And if you’re on the fence about buying one of these, don’t think, just go for it.
LG Ultrafine Ergo 32″ 4K HDR Display
I’m using a 32” 4K LG display as my main monitor. This one’s called the LG Ergo because it comes with a table mount instead of a stand. The benefit of that mount is that you can adjust the monitor around with ease. It also takes up significantly less desk space since the actual contact point at the table is all the way to the back.
I have a second 27” 4K HDR monitor, also from LG, but it’s not an ergo model. I bought that first and then upgraded to the 32”. I still use the 27” monitor from time to time. It sits on the previous, traditional desk where I sometimes work (and these days, shoot video).
If you want to upgrade one thing on your desk, let it be a 4K display.
The cool thing about these monitors is that they support USB-C upstream. This means I don’t have to connect my peripherals to the Mac. I have the dongle for the mouse and the keyboard connected to the USB ports in the back of the monitor. Then, a single USB-C cable goes into the MacBook Pro.
This charges the MacBook Pro and connects those peripherals so I don’t have to connect anything else. I have a Logitech webcam that I sometimes connect to the back of the monitor. It also gets connected to the computer via the USB-C connection.
This is especially useful when I’m swapping out the MacBook Pro with the Zephyrus G15. When I want to play some PC games, I just swap the MacBook Pro with the Asus laptop, I connect the USB-C and I’m good to go.
I do need to connect the power adapter to the Windows laptop since Windows laptops need to be plugged in to run at full power.
As you can see, being able to connect a single cable means I can switch between Windows and Mac fairly effortlessly.
The Keychron Mechanical Keyboard
You might have noticed this custom mechanical keyboard that I’m rocking on my desk. I got into mechanical keyboards during the pandemic in 2020. I’ve experimented with quite a few different switches and keyboards.
At one point, I had seven different keyboards, all with different switches and keycaps.
But I pretty much lost all interest in experimenting any further after I stumbled upon the Gateron Milky Yellows.
They are extremely smooth linear switches that make beautiful sounds when typing.
It’s funny because when I was researching mechanical keyboards, I was pretty damn sure that I would forever need clicky, Blue switches that make beautiful, typewriter-esque, clicky sounds over something like linear Reds or Yellows. It’s surprising how much your preference can change once you’ve had the chance to try different switches.
So if you’re planning to get into mechanical keyboards, don’t drop big bucks on your first one. Chances are, your taste will change.
Logitech G304 Mouse
I use the Logitech G304 mouse. I used to like the MX Master 2S, but the weight of that mouse is often too much for me.
This one doesn’t have Bluetooth and it takes a battery. But I still like it because it’s very, very lightweight, and the 2.4 GHz dongle means I don’t have to switch BT between different devices. As mentioned earlier, the dongle is on the back of the monitor. So whichever laptop I connect the USB-C cable to, the mouse is connected to that as well.
Lights behind the desk – Philips Hue Play
If you noticed the warm glowing light on the wall, they are Philips Hue Play light bars. I love the Hue ecosystem of lights from Philips. In fact, my room lights are also from Hue. Because Hue lights work with Apple HomeKit, I can control the lights from any of my phones, Android or iPhone, and any of my Macs or iPads.
The great thing about accessories that work with Apple HomeKit is that you add them to your iPhone, and they are controllable from all of your Apple devices.
So if I’m in my living room with the Mac, and my mom wants to enter the room when the lights are off (she can’t turn them on since the physical switch is always on), I don’t have to reach for my phone. I can open the Home app on my Mac and simply turn on the lights.
Similarly, if I’ve left the home and remembered that the TV is on, I can use any of my Apple devices to turn it off. This works because my LG TV also supports Apple HomeKit.
The main reason I got the Hue Play is to have some sort of background light happening. When I’m working on my desk, I feel that it sometimes helps to keep a warm light going in the background. So they are always facing the wall and lighting it up to give me a backdrop.
And when I’m watching a video on the monitor, I can sync them with the sync app on the Mac and the lights will change color depending on what is being shown on the monitor.
So here’s what it looks like:
Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Besides these two Hue Play lights, you’ll see a pair of HomePod Minis. I bought them because I was lazy.
I have the JBL Charge 4 which I think is the best portable speaker money can money. But I didn’t like that I had to turn it on every time I wanted to play some music. Also, because it only supports two connected devices at a time, I found myself needing to pair and unpair new devices all the time.
Now that the HomePod Minis are here, I can play music on my iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and AirPlay the sound to HomePod Minis. They are paired together so they both output audio in stereo. They sound great, but not better than the JBL Charge 4. But I’m willing to make that compromise for convenience.
My biggest complaint with the HomePod mini is that they don’t work as well with the Mac. I mean, it’s ironic that they don’t, given that they’re both from Apple, but I found that it’s a known thing.
I can watch movies on the Mac and use the HomePods to output the sound, but there’s often a significant delay. I have to play/pause a few times to get that delay sorted out. But it’s still a thing that bothers me.
But you know what doesn’t have this problem? The AirPods Max.
I love this thing. It’s overpriced, sure, but you can’t beat its convenience.
See, that’s the thing about Apple, and the so-called ecosystem, right? Things just work so much better together.
I had the Bose QC 35 II. I loved it. It was comfortable and the sound quality was great. It was always connected to my iPhone. But if I was working on Mac and wanted to listen to something via the Bose, I would have to pair it with the Mac again or go through the Bose app on the iPhone to connect it to the Mac.
With the AirPods Max, or any AirPods for that matter, things just work. As long as you’re logged in to the same Apple ID, they will be connected, almost always automatically, when you move them near a device you’re working on.
And even if it’s not connected automatically, you’ll see a prompt that lets you connect to the AirPods on the top right corner of your Mac.
Sound quality and noise cancellation are both great with this AirPods Max. I bought it mainly because it was more comfortable for long-term use over something like the AirPods Pro (in-ear). I found that using AirPods Pro for too long could often cause pain in the ear.
With the AirPods Max, no discomfort so far.
A microphone that goes unused
The last thing on the desk, if you don’t count that fake plant that came with the expensive motorized desk, is this microphone. It’s a fairly cheap Chinese microphone that I bought because I wanted a microphone for recording tutorials.
But the new Macs have studio-quality microphones so I don’t even use that anymore. It’s mostly just sitting – or I should say, standing there.
This entire video I made is recorded with the built-in microphones on the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Do they sound professional? Maybe not. But could it work for someone just starting out? Absolutely!
There’s an Epson L3158 printer. It’s an ink tank color printer that I use for printing documents and photos.
Yes, I print photos from time to time.
If you’re a photographer, even a hobbyist one, you should try printing your best photos. There’s something very satisfying about seeing your pictures in glossy print that just can’t be matched by anything on the computer, no matter the size of the monitor.
There’s an iPad Pro with M1 and an iPad mini 6 that I often end up using on the desk.
I have dedicated reviews coming up with these two iPads. So please subscribe if you’re interested in those. They both have their own use cases, though I find myself reaching for the iPad mini 6 more than the iPad Pro just because of how lightweight and comfortable the mini 6 is.
So, that’s it! For the year 2022, that’s how my desk is set up. I don’t know how long things will remain as is. There’s a Mac Studio that I’ve been thinking about integrating into my setup so that I don’t have to connect-disconnect a laptop all the time. But I’m not sure about that yet.
I have a Windows laptop so if I route the cable for the Mac Studio, I will still have to have the laptop stand in there for the Windows laptop, which defeats the purpose of getting the Mac Studio.
But if things change significantly, I’ll share an update with y’all about the updated desk setup sometime later in the year.
I’m also working on creating a room tour video showing my entertainment setup — because there’s a lot going on in terms of entertainment and gaming in my room. If you’re interested in that, don’t forget to subscribe either to YouTube or to my newsletter.
Hope you enjoyed reading about (or watching the video of) my desk setup! If you have any questions about any of this, feel free to comment below. I’m always up for discussing tech and gadgets!