Loadout your MacBook Pro 16"

You’ve finally done it. You’ve taken the plunge and picked up Apple’s new flagship laptop, the MacBook Pro 16". What’s next?

I’m going to take a term from video game systems, the “loadout”. Here’s where you can equip your character’s additional items to customize your gameplay experience. I’ve split it into two categories: On-The-Go and Office.

On-The-Go

External Hard Drive

WD 5Tb My Passport Ultra Blue Portable External Hard Drive, USB-C

While the new MBP16 is configurable for up to 8TB of storage, that single upgrade will set you back $2,200 (at time of writing). Additionally, it doesn’t solve the issue of handling TimeMachine backups.

I personally chose the WD 5Tb My Passport Ultra Blue Portable External Hard Drive, USB-C (affiliate link) because I’m tired of carrying around extra cables. With 5TB of storage, I can back up my built-in 1TB SSD many times over with room to spare. And, as mentioned, its setup with USB-C, so I can use my charging cable when I’m on the go, rather than carrying around a specific USB cable with an adapter just for my HDD.

Backup Power Source

The new MBP16 has the most amazing battery life of any laptop I can remember. Its automatic performance throttling means that even though I have 8 cores available, it will recognize when the device is on battery power, and draw back accordingly to ensure battery life. I’ve never had it die on me.

That being said, it’s an important safety net to know that you can charge your computer anytime, anywhere, regardless of whether or not you can access an electrical outlet. That’s where a battery bank comes in handy. And there is none better than Anker.

Anker PowerCore 26800 Portable Charger

I personally bought the Anker PowerCore 26800 Portable Charger (affiliate link). With dual charging ports, I can charge it twice as fast (incredibly important for when you do find an outlet) and with three out ports, I can charge not only my laptop, but my phone and iPad simultaneously.

Portable Power Strip

Airports have gotten a lot better about providing outlets and charging stations to travelers. But I still carry the Belkin 3-Outlet USB Surge Protector (affiliate link).

Belkin 3-Outlet USB Surge Protector

It’s perfect in the event that you find a power outlet that’s full up. You can politely ask someone if they wouldn’t mind sharing your surge protector. And voila, you both can share at the same time.

Additionally, it’s two USB ports allow me to recharge my Anker battery pack while I’m waiting.

Apple AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro

You’ve bought a MacBook Pro, why not embrace the ecosystem? I’ve tried numerous other wired and wireless earbuds and the Apple AirPods Pro (affiliate link) are by far the best that I have ever owned. I open the case and they immediately sync with my MBP16.

The noise cancelling is great for coffee shops or noisy terminals, while the microphone quality remains fantastic. I’m currently working from home and still use these for my daily Zoom meetings.

The only downside is that they still use a lightning connection. So you’ll need to keep a USB-C to Lightning cable in your bag to charge them. But since I already have one for my iPhone, it’s not too much of a hassle.

HDMI Dongle

Part of being on-the-go is being ready to present. Or watch a movie on your parents’ TV. To accomplish this, I carry the Anker USB C Hub [Upgraded], 5-in-1 USB C Adapter with 4K USB C to HDMI, Ethernet Port, 3 USB 3.0 Ports (affiliate link).

Anker USB C Hub [Upgraded], 5-in-1 USB C Adapter with 4K USB C to HDMI, Ethernet Port, 3 USB 3.0 Ports

Not only does the Anker hub serve as my HDMI dongle, but it is a fantastic hub that provides USB 3.0 and Ethernet compatibility in the event that such things are needed.

It’s slim and compact, and made with the long-lasting quality that I’ve come to expect from Anker products.

Recap

Office/Desk

Right now things are a bit weird. My home is now my office. But assuming that you’ve found a quiet corner where you can (at minimum) setup a desk to work on, or if you expect to be back in the office soon, here are some accessories to help your MacBook Pro flow.

Second Anker Hub

My home office setup includes dual monitors. To accomplish this, I purchased a second Anker Hub that allows me to drive two external displays.

According to 9–to-5 Mac, the new 16" can actually drive two 6k displays, or four 4k displays, though I’ve never tried it personally.

Magic Keyboard

Magic Keyboard: Space Gray with Numeric Keypad

It’s no shock that when you buy an Apple product, you’re buying more than a device. You’re buying into the ecosystem. And part of that ecosystem is the ease with which devices seamlessly connect. That’s why the Apple Magic Keyboard with numeric keypad (affiliate link) is my go-to external.

And yes, I could probably do without the number pad. But when you need it, you need it.

Magic Mouse

Another essential in the Apple environment is the Magic Mouse 2 in Space Gray (affiliate link).

Magic Mouse 2 (Space Gray)

And before I get all of the comments, yes, the UX is terrible in that you have to turn the thing on its side to recharge. But given the gestures available, I still recommend it.

Wireless Charging Pad

When I’m working at my desk, I find it incredibly helpful to be able to charge something at the same time. And whether I want to charge my iPhone or my AirPods Pro, the Anker Wireless Charger, PowerWave Pad (affiliate link) is my preferred option.

Anker Wireless Charger, PowerWave Pad

It’s insanely convenient to be able to drop your AirPods case on the circle and come back to find them fully charged. Now, if only they could pull the same functionality off with their magic mouse . . . .

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Jonathan Watson

Jonathan Watson

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Jonathan is a Senior Software Engineer in the Atlanta area. When not cranking out React, he enjoys teaching and traveling.