clean, compact macbook air rig makes most of tiny desk [setups]

It's a cozy little space, alright. Perfect for MacBook Air, a 24-inch display and no external keyboard. Photo: giusemineo@Reddit.com

If you’ve got a tiny desk for a workspace, you’ve got to make the most of it. Today’s featured computer setup centers on an M1 MacBook Air driving a small 4K external display, clearly going away from the trend toward big-screen-TV-sized displays for a reason — namely, vanishingly small desk space.

A small external display is one way to save room. But the user has some other tricks up his sleeve, as well. Let’s take a look.

M1 MacBook Air and 24-inch display dominated tiny desk in clean setup

Redditor giusemineo (“Neo”) showcased the tidy little setup in a post entitled, “My cozy YouTube/Work/Study Setup.”

“Recently switched to a more compact desk,” Neo said. “Don’t regret it at all. Makes me feel more focused.” Some people might say it makes them feel claustrophobic, but not Neo.

He runs an M1 MacBook Air with a 24-inch LG UltraFine 4K IPS monitor. Apple’s lightest laptop is obviously compact, and so is a 24-inch external display.

With so many setups these days going 27-inch monitors and up, with 32-inchers becoming typical, we don’t see all that many 24-inch screens. And some people even go much bigger, with 38-inch-to-49-inch ultra-wide  screens cropping up more and more.

But small does not equal lame. Neo’s 24-inch screen is a bonafide 4K, so it’s brilliant despite its small size. It features 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution with more than 8 million pixels. It displays 500 nits of brightness. It offers three Thunderbolt 3 ports so you can daisy-chain other 4K displays. And it offers 85 watts of power for a MacBook.

Other space-saving tactics

Besides using a compact laptop and small external display, Neo relies on a couple of other tricks to save space. For one, he sticks with the MacBook’s built-in keyboard rather than using an external one. And to that he adds a coveted space-gray Magic Mouse.

In another practical trick, he uses a stand for the display that serves other purposes. Neo rests his monitor on a Bontec Monitor Stand Riser. Standing 5.6-inches tall with two tiers, it offers shelf space for other items. You can put small devices and such in it or on top next to the monitor.

It also features cable-management slots for help manage cords. And a cell phone holder gives your handset a place to rest for hands-free use.

And, as you can see in the photograph, Neo has a microphone behind a pop filter, neatly standing off to the side (again, saving space).

It’s an Audio-Technica AT2020 cardioid condenser mic, suitable for lots of uses, but especially for recording vocals and instruments. Its cardioid polar pattern is designed to pick up sound from the sides and back rather than focusing only forward to isolate one voice.

Shop these items now:

Computer:

M1 MacBook Air

Display and stand:

24-inch LG UltraFine 4K display Bontec Monitor Stand Riser

Input device:

Space Gray Magic Mouse

Audio:

Audio Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone Focusrite Scarlett Solo Audio Interface

If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.

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