No two people work alike — our vocation and habits make sure of that. What most of us can relate to, though, is the need to curate our home or office workstations the way we want. And we’re all dipping our hands into the same pool of devices — computer, mouse, keyboard and speakers — and hoping the right mix will allow us to become our most productive, efficient and creative self. So what to choose?

At Gear Patrol, we gravitate towards an Apple workstation. Its Mac line is secure and dependable — and damn pretty as well — plus all Apple computers seamlessly integrate with the iPhone most of us already own. Still, walk around our offices and you’ll notice that no two setups are identical. Some have desktops. Others have laptops, with no — or multiple — external monitors. There are standing desks, too, along with every kind of over-ear cans you can imagine.

Since everybody works differently, there really isn’t a perfect desktop setup — so we’ve created four for four different people. There are the minimalist and high-end setups, depending on how much you want to spend or how clutter-free you want your workspace. And there are desk-tied setups and ones that have no problem being packed up and going mobile. All are rooted in a Mac. And all have a little flair. A good desktop setup can be used for work and play, remember.

The Apple Laptop Basic Setup


Despite proclamations to the contrary, the smartphone hasn’t antiquated the computer. Not even close. A laptop still provides more processing power, memory and versatility than any smartphone could ever hope to. Don’t underestimate the bigger screen and an actual keyboard, either. This basic setup is for the person who can’t always be confined to a desk. Even if there aren’t too many frills, everything works seamlessly with each other. Plus, this specific power bank can juice the MacBook Pro for a few extra hours.

The Details
MacBook Pro 13-inch (2019), $1,299+
Apple AirPods, $159+
Alvin Cutting Mats, $12+
iPhone 11, $699+
AmazonBasics Surge Protector, $13
Omni 20 USB-C, $199

The Apple Laptop Power User


This setup combines the best of both worlds. It’s rooted around a 16-inch MacBook Pro, so it can be taken mobile if need be, but it’s really optimized to run like a high-end desktop. There’s a separate wireless mouse and keyboard, so you don’t have to be right up near the screen. Speaking of which, the huge curved display is an Excel user’s dream. (It’s also pretty awesome for gaming.) The finishing touches — superb desktop speakers, external hard drive Leica CL and elegant desk mat — will make this desktop difficult to leave, and be refreshing to return to.

The Details
16-inch MacBook Pro, $2,399+
Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (Space Gray), $149
Bose Headphones 700, $399 $349
iPhone 11 Pro, $999+
Nomad Wireless Charging Base Station, $90+
LaCie Rugged 2TB External Hard Drive, $150
AmazonBasics Surge Protector, $11
Satechi Universal Vertical Aluminum Laptop Stand, $45
LG 34WK95U Curved Monitor, $1,500
Audioengine A2+ Powered Speakers, $249
Killspencer Desk Mat, $195
Leica CL, $2,795+

The Apple Desktop Basic Setup


Even in this age of portability, there’s still a place for a traditional desktop. It’s more upgradable than a laptop and you generally get more for less, in terms of better processor, better graphics chipset, bigger screen and more storage. And, of course, its fixed location naturally helps you separate work from everything else. This setup is designed to gel effortlessly together, while still maintaining a clean, clutter-free desk.

The Details
Apple iMac 21.5-inch with Retina 4K Display, $1,099+
Magic Trackpad 2, $149
Magic Keyboard, $99
Apple AirPods Pro, $249
Satechi Desk Mat, $35
Bose Companion 2 Series III, $99
iPhone 11, $699+
Apple Watch Series 3, $199+
Mophie 3-in-1 Charging Pad, $140

The Apple Desktop Power User


The ultimate desktop setup doesn’t include a desktop — let that sink in. Instead, we’ve combined the top-of-the-line MacBook Pro with two 4K monitors (connected via Elgato’s powerful dock, which can also connect one 5K display), powerful desktop speakers and several other accessories that’ll maximize productivity. Just step back and revel in its glory. No desk mat needed.

The Details
16-inch MacBook Pro, $2,399+
LG 4K Displays (2x), $700/ea
Logitech Craft Keyboard, $200
Logitech MX Master 2S, $100
Meridian Explorer2 Digital to Analog Converter, $199
Bowers & Wilkins PX7, $350
Audioengine A5+ Powered Speakers, $499+
Master & Dynamic Headphone Stand, $59
Apple Watch Series 5, $399+
Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Dock, $277+
Yeti Rambler Lowball, $20
iPhone 11 Pro Max, $1,099+
Nikon D850, $2,999+
Mophie Wireless Charging Base, $60
The Essential Gear You Need to Stay Productive While Working From Home

A home office tailored to working from home consistently varies drastically from one that’s for the occasional Sunday night catch-up. Read the Story

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Tucker Bowe

Tucker Bowe has been on Gear Patrol's editorial team since 2014. As a Tech Staff Writer, he tracks everything in the consumer tech space, from headphones to smartphones, wearables to home theater systems. If it lights up or makes noise, he probably covers it.

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