Best accessories for the touchbar MacBook Pro with USB-C / Thunderbolt 3

The MacBook Pro 2016 has finally arrived! Although it has received it's fair share of criticism there is no denying that Apple's new machine is still the best laptop you can buy. Since using the new MacBook Pro with TouchBar I have to say I personally love it and find it very useful yet it certainly is not an essential feature. The move to USB-C is also a welcomed move as only Apple are willing to take the risk of dropping legacy ports for the adopting the new standard. Here I have compiled a top five accessories list to complement the new MacBook Pro 2016.

1. USB-C mini adapter - nonda
The buzzword at the moment is "dongle" because the 2016 MacBook Pro no longer has the conventional USB 3.0 port. This means that you will need an adapter to be able to plug in your existing peripherals into the Mac. From USB memory drives to mice there is now no way of connecting USB3.0 devices to your Mac. It is true that we are going towards wireless and Bluetooth everything but there is still a needs for USB 3.0 for the present.

At this point you will notice that Apple kindly offer a USB-C to USB 3.0 (female) cable (which should have been included), but I advise against buying it, plugging a long cable in to convert when on the move is silly. Luckily nonda have come up with a very quaint solution for USB connectivity with old peripherals called the USB-C to USB-A Mini Adapter. This adapter is simply the smallest that you can buy, it's size is defined by the USB 3.0 shape and not much more! Being so small makes it convenient to keep on you and without doubling the size of every device cable.

The nonda Mini-adapter can either be attached to the peripheral USB port first and then inserted into the MacBook USB-c port, or into the MacBook first. The adapter securely slots into the MacBook USB-C slot with a soft click and a small white LED is shown indicating it is connected. I would have expected this premium metal converter to have been at a premium cost but in fact it is very fairly priced at just £10! If there is one accessory you had to but for the 2016 MacBook Pro it would be the nonda Mini-adapter.
Nonda USB C mini adapterNonda USBC mini adapter Macbook pro 2016



2. USB-C to USB 3.0 Travellers Cable - KADi CREATIVE
More dongles! If a tiny USB-C adapter sounds too easy to misplace then the alternative is a standard cable adapter. Equally when at home or in the office a cable may be more useful for connecting peripherals across the desk.

Here we present the USB-C to USB 3.0 Travellers Cable by KADi CREATIVE. There are adapters that you can buy directly from Apple themselves but there are better and cheaper alternatives online. There are many reasons why the KADi Travellers cable is better than the Apple cable… for starters the Apple cable is a damn ugly white cable. Since the MacBook Pro 2016 is the most beautiful Mac ever made it would be a disaster to plug a cheap looking plastic cable into it. The Travellers cable however is constructed using anodised aluminium in three different colours to perfectly match the MacBook colour you own. Here I have the Storm Grey cable which is the perfect dongle for the Space Grey MacBook Pro.

Quality is another reason why you should consider a third party cable maker such as KADi over the official Apple cable. The Travellers cable has a premium braided cable which makes it durable and ideal for.. travellers! It has a leather button strap as well for neat packing and keeping control of excess cable when not needed.

Being a USB-C to USB 3.0 female port makes it a bit less useful than a USB-C to USB 3.0 male port. Personally I use it for connecting my existing external hard drive to my MacBook Pro. There are few situations where you need the female port rather than the male port. If only KADi made both cables then I would snag them both!
USB-C to USB 3.0 Travellers Cable KADi CREATIVEUSB-C to USB 3.0 Travellers Cable - KADi CREATIVE MacBook Pro 2016


3. mStand 360 - Rain Design
The original idea for the laptop was to make computing potable. Nowadays laptops often equal the performance of standard computers and people use them as primary work machines at the desk. The trouble with laptops however are that they are not office ergonomic by themselves. The browsing & typing posture whilst a laptop can cause short-term pains and aches that can turn into long-term injuries. This is why you should consider a proper workstation if you use your MacBook Pro regularly at the desk.

There is no denying that the 2016 MacBook Pro is an impressive machine for build quality. It would be a real shame to ruin form factor of the MacBook with a cheap stand that would pose a risk of scratching or toppling over. Here I recommend the beautifully designed mStand or mStand360 by Rain Design for MacBook Pro. First of all mStand is constructed from anodised aluminium which perfectly matches the Space grey metal design. Second, the mStand is made of a single solid piece which makes it very sturdy along with the rubber pads the MacBook rests on and the rubber feet. Particularly useful to me is that the stand feet are not fixed which means you can lift the stand and reposition when needed. Small details such as a notch at the front for being able to open the MacBook shell from closed is particularly useful. There is also small shelf beneath the MacBook slot for storing your keyboard & mouse when not in use and a large hole at the back for passing cables through for tidy cable management.

The 360 version of the mStand is certainly worth checking out. The stand has a swivel base that is both smooth yet heavy so it does not feel loose with minor taps such as typing. The 360 part if very useful and natural at the desk as you may want to angle the screen and show work to someone else. Watch the video at the bottom of the page for a demonstration.
Rain Design m360 stand macbook pro 2016 space greyRain Design m360 stand macbook pro 2016 space grey closed



5. Desk Tile - KADi CREATIVE
The new MacBook Pro presents an additional problem for having to use lots of dongles… cable management! With more and more cables to keep track of at the desk you should buy a cable management tool to keep it under control.

Here I have been testing Desk Tile by KADi CREATIVE which is a sleek aluminium magnetic block that fixes to your desk or nightstand. Desk Tile is a quaint cable management solution as it keeps your desk tidy yet holds the cables in place for ease of plugging in. The most annoying and commonly used cable for me is the wall charger, being able to have a plug and play setup means all the difference. No more rummaging beneath the desk to find the right end of the cable!

There are many cable management devices on the market for Desk Tile is a premium aluminium block that looks professional as part of a desk setup. The base and lid fit together magnetically which means that you can switch cables whenever you want. Once Desk Tile has been fixed to a surface using the sticky pad base cable length can slide through the holes with up to the thicker base. There are two exit holes to pass through two cables, having one Desk Tile on each side of your Mac is all you need to hold the 4 USB-C ports! The magnetic strength of Desk Tile should not be underestimated the seal is remarkably strong and is easiest to detect by twisting the top & bottom opposite ways. I have kept Desk TIie at 5cm away from my new MacBook Pro just out of caution in respect to the magnetic.
Desk Tile KADi CREATIVE Cable managementDesk Tile KADi CREATIVE Cable management Macbook Pro

4. MacBook Pro shoulder bag - Plemo
A case for the MacBook Pro is an essential purchase even if you rarely take your Mac outside of the home. Quite frankly the MacBook Pro is the most unrepairable laptop you can buy and one of the most expensive at that. I recommend that you purchase your case before your MacBook even arrives.

All you need to know is the screen size and any case should be fine. Since the MacBook Pro is thinner than most laptops it is worth searching for a case that is specifically for MacBook. Here I have the Plemo case that has an arm strap and front pouch for storage. The front pouch is particularly useful as the charger and dongles can be kept with the MacBook at all times. There is sufficient padding as well from the case that will protect it from small knocks and drops. A case certainly does not mean you can be careless but at least it is some reassurance in protection.
Plemo-MacBook-case



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