Third Party Accessories
Apple’s MacBook line of laptops are truly some of the most advanced laptops on the market, offering some of the top of line specs wrapped in a sleek package that will make you the envy of any laptop owner. Of course, you always need more than just the laptop if you are really going to get any work done. That is why there are many accessories both made by Apple and other third party manufacturers that are designed specifically to be used with your new MacBook or MacBook Pro.
Whether you choose a thin and light MacBook Air or opt instead for one of the top of the line MacBook Pro laptops with the ever impressive Retina Display, you are still going to need a few accessories if you truly want to get the most out of your new laptop. Last week, we started the first of our two-part series featuring accessories made and sold by Apple. But the accessory hunt doesn’t end there. There are many more accessories you can find designed by third party companies that can offer you an even better laptop experience compared to what Apple sells.
This week, we take a few minutes to highlight some of our favorite MacBook accessories designed by third parties that will truly enhance your laptop experience taking your work and play to a whole new level.
Beats by Dr. Dre Studio Wireless Over-Ear Headphones
One of my personal complaints about the MacBooks, and almost any laptop for that matter, is the quality of the speakers that are included. They just don’t provide the level of richness in sound that you need especially if you have a love for music. While you can invest in a good set of speakers, you can’t take them with you and Apple’s Ear Buds just don’t always cut it. However, with these studio over the ear headphones, you can take back any sound complaints while using your laptop. These speakers provide full, rich sound that includes both highest treble and the lowest bass. These headphones are wireless, too, meaning that you won’t be tethered to the laptop while you listen to your favorite tune, watch a movie or play the latest video game.
Sharp 32″ PN-K321 – 4K Ultra HD LED Monitor
Instead of going with Apple’s display, why not go full 4K with your new Mac. The Sharp 32” PN-K321 monitor provides a stunning resolution of 3840 x 2160, meaning you will have more screen real estate than you will know what to do with. These monitors are perfect for graphic artists or video editors that need as much screen space as possible and some of the best colors that are available. However, you don’t need to be a professional to enjoy this monitor, your movies and video games will look better than they ever have before on a monitor like this one and you will find, in many cases, you will still have screen space to spare so you can multitask while you sit down to view your favorite movie or play a game.
Bretford MobilePro Desk Mount Combo
One of biggest problems people run into when using a laptop exclusively is exactly how to setup their workstation. Often, the laptop just gets in the way. However, with the right tools, you can make use of your laptop’s built in screen while freeing up space on your desk at the same time. The Bretford MobilePro Desk Mount Combo will allow you to mount both a monitor and your laptop to it or even two monitors to create the perfect workspace. It will free up space on your desk and keep things neat and organized so you can spend more time working or playing and less time shuffling around the tools you are using to work.
Belkin YourType Bluetooth Wireless Keypad
If you have chosen to go with Apple’s Wireless Keyboard, one of the first things you will notice is there is no numeric keypad. Now for many people this isn’t really a big deal. However, some need numeric keypad in order to perform their work. While you could just go with Apple’s regular keyboard that includes the numeric keypad, it is not wireless. If you are committed to going wireless so you don’t have a bunch of cables cluttering your desk, the YourType Bluetooth Wireless Keypad from Belkin is your best option. Designed to match Apple’s Wireless Keyboard, the Belkin connects to your computer via Bluetooth and will sit comfortable next to your keyboard. With a design to match Apple’s, most people won’t even realize this device came from a third party manufacturer. Hands down this is your best option if you must go wireless and absolutely need a numeric keypad.
Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750
Logitech has built its reputation on designing great computer mice and keyboards, and the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 is no different. With a look that goes well with Apple’s design, this keyboard will give you wireless capability with the numeric keypad built right in so you don’t have to buy a separate device just have a full sized keyboard. However, one of the most unique parts about his keyboard, is how it is charged. Unlike other wireless keyboard that eat batteries for breakfast, this little gem actually recharges itself with light. Logitech boasts that any light source will do and all you have to do to start the charging process is flip the switch on your wall to on.
Logitech Wireless Mouse M510
Apple’s Magic Mouse is great, but not everyone prefers the new way of navigating, and sometimes you just need a classic mouse for things like video games. Of course, you don’t want to just go buy any old mouse, this is your new favorite Mac, after all. The Logitech Wireless Mouse M510 sports a nice design, although it doesn’t really match the look of Apple’s products. It feels good in your hand and comes with all the controls that you have come to expect from a mouse made by Logitech. It features a very tiny receiver that fits in your Mac’s USB ports easily so you never have to unplug it or worry about breaking it. With a two year battery life, you will find that you won’t have to change the batteries too often, although your experiences will vary.
Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 Speakers
We have already talked about good headphones to use with your MacBook, but what about when you are sitting at your workstation? You want to be able to provide the best sound on your MacBook while you are sitting working on playing at your actually desk, and the Bowers & Wilkins speakers provide just that. These speakers are compact but still provide some of the best quality sound you will find anywhere featuring cool and clear treble and thumping bass. You can even use as an external soundcard, streaming your audio directly to them with USB or you can connect them through the headphone jack on your computer.
HP ENVY 7640 e-All-in-One Printer
Now that you have a nice new MacBook that will allow you to create some of the best looking documents at record speeds while simultaneously editing your pictures and creating spectacular images, you are going to need a way to print them to share with the world. The HP ENVY 7640 e is the best printer for the job. However, it is much more than just a printer, its an all in one that will allow you to print, copy, scan and fax so you won’t need to keep a bunch of bulky accessories connected to your computer. With just this one printer, you can do everything you need to do to output and share your work in a more physical format.
AmazonBasics 7 Port USB 3.0 Hub with 12V/3A power adapter
If there is one thing that all MacBooks lack its an abundance of USB ports. Most Macs only come with just a few ports which is often nowhere near enough especially if you want to connect your iPhone, iPad, printer, camera and external hard drive. In order to get around that, you will need a powered USB hub. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a perfect USB hub. The AmazonBasics 7 Port USB 3.0 Hub provides a power adapter to help power your devices while providing fast USB 3.0 speeds for even your fastest devices.
ZhiZhu® 3 in 1 Thunderbolt Port Mini Displayport To HDMI DVI VGA Display Port Adapter
The latest MacBooks don’t feature the as many display connectors as other types of PC based laptops on the market. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a monitor that only connects via HDMI or even DVI. That is where this adapter from ZhiZhi comes in. This will allow you to connect to your Mac almost any type of monitor you can think of so you don’t have to worry about your existing monitor working with a new Mac after you bring it home.
Aluminum External USB DVD+RW,-RW Super Drive
Not all Mac laptops today come with a DVD drive, otherwise known in Apple terminology as a Super Drive. Apple has done this to shrink the size of the laptops to make them smaller and lighter than ever before. But what are you supposed to do when you have a DVD with software on it that you need to install? You could purchase the expensive external super drive from Apple, but all it really is, is a DVD drive inside a case. So why spend more? Instead, pick up this third party Super Drive that connects to your computer via USB so you can once again gain access to all of your files stored on old CD’s and DVD’s as well as install important software that you have on traditional media.
IRISCan Anywhere 3 WiFi Portable Scanner
While we hightlighted an all in one printer, scanner, copier and fax above, if you travel a lot you may still need access to a scanner but you won’t be able to take just anything on the road. Most scanners are bulky and just not practical to carry with you. However, the IRISCan portable scanner is small and easy to use and fits nicely into almost any laptop case so you can take scanning capabilities with you where you may go.
Apple’s MacBook Pro is one of the best designed laptops on the market, and any laptop user will find it to be the perfect computer for both work and play. However, you will need a few accessories if you hope to get the most out of your new laptop purchase. Browse through this list and find the best third party accessories you need for your new Macbook, but if you prefer to buy Apple made products, remember you can check out Part 1 of this series to find the very best Apple created accessories that are designed specifically to work with your new laptop or any Apple computer for that matter.
Remember, now that you have brought home that shiny new Apple laptop, you want to be sure you get everything you need to treat it right while also getting the most out of it whether you are playing a few games, surfing the net, or getting some serious work done. The accessories above will help you do just that and will help you create the perfect setup for both the home or the office whether you want to listen to music, watch movies, play games, write a novel, or create your own music, videos and graphics.
About the author
Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.