MagSafe 3, Magnetic Micro USB and MacBook Pro 2021 Accessories
Now that Apple has brought back the MagSafe 3 connector for the MacBook Pro 2021, it made me realize how much I miss this connector for two important reasons so off to look for magnetic connectors that fit USB C or Micro USB physical connectors. These connectors can be two pin so charging only, five pin for charging or 20 pin for USB 3.1 10 Gbps or 24 pin for Thunderbolt 3/4 at 20-40 Gbps:
- I’ve actually lost a Thunderbolt 3 on the motherboard of my MacBook Pro 2016 (a great machine by the way). What happened was that a cheap USB C dongle actually blew out the connector, so I’m pretty wary about putting anything that is an el cheapo USB C connector. The nice thing about MagSafe 3 is that even if you have a lousy charger, at least the MagSafe 3 cable is an Apple product. As an example, one of my USB C chargers works OK charging the MacBook if plugged in directly, but it won’t power the Apple MagSafe 3 to USB C cable, which probably means it doesn’t have a USB C IF certification or chip. Personally, I wouldn’t use anything that doesn’t work throug the MagSafe 3.
- The USB C and especially the micro-USB connectors can get worn out. I have quite a few devices, an Eve Room (2018) and a baby monitor which are both fine, but the micro-USB connector for power has gotten to the point where the thing won’t connect. If I had a magentic connection to devices like this for power, I wouldn’t ever have to insert, so getting a magnetic connector is pretty important for down rev devices like this.
- For our existing USB C MacBooks, I’m kind of tempted to try one of these magnetic charges, but you are putting 100W through them, so I’m not sure what happens if they are not good or the connection is intermittent, I could definitley see blowing out the motherboard with transient voltages, so with these devices, I think you just have to be super careful with your USB C cables and chargers, USB C seems way more resilent than micro USB, so at least for now after five years, we’ve not had a USB C port fail on our MacBooks (except because of the cheap dongle above).
Net, net, I would recommend:
- Yes they are expensive, but if you have a fancy new MacBook Pro, you do want to on the road buy enough of these MagSafe 3 cables so you don’t have to worry about a USB C port dying.
- Sisphy 24-pin magnetic USB C Thunderbolt 3, these will pass 100W and also Thunderbolt 3/4 connections but note that you are taking a change here blowing the motherboard out.
- iSkey Magnetic 20 pin USB C PD USB 3.1. The other variants are 20-pin connection which gets you to USB 3.1 at 10 Gbps. You can also get them with five pins which gets you to USB 2 480 Mbps.
- When you are at home, these all-in-one docking ports made by CalDigit or Razor are nice because you aren’t stressing many of the ports and if you have a stand you will be very unlikely to pull them.
Micro USB Magnetic
Net, net, I would recommend trying these magnetic connectors for devices where you are worried about how many insertions you are making or where the micro USB port is delicate. I think of three devices where even out of the box, you could see that the micro USB input is not sturdy. So instead of bricking your device, you might try these:
- Terasako 2-pin 2A Magnetic. These are just two pins so the max charge is 10W (2 amps by 5V), so get this if you are never going to use the connector for anything else. The confusing part is they come with USB C, Micro USB and Lightening connectors but because it only connects the two power pins without the low speed data channel, you just get 5V. But they are really cheap at $17 for four cables. And they are USB A on the other side, so you will need a USB A charger as well.
- Digital Ant Gen-X USB 2 3A Charging. These support five pins, so you get 480 Mbps and y ou can get up to 3A charging, but these are not USB Power Delivery so that’s going to be the max. You get three cables for $19 and three tips.
If you want to get more out of Micro USB, well that’s pretty much impossible, so these are good choice, the next step up would be those 20-pin and 24-pins
MacBook Pro 2021 accessories
I keep typing 2012 which obviously means I’m not in this current decade well enough, but here are the accessories I’d recommend:
- Keyboard cover. While less susceptible to junk under the keys, a high quality cover will ensure that you don’t coffee or soda damage. I’ve had both happen and this is cheap insurance. The main issue is that the keyboard feel isn’t quite as good with a keyboard protector, but most of the time if I’m doing alot of typing, I’m using a mechanical keyboard. The Eco cover is pretty good. I find the really cheap covers to be terrible, you want one that is not too sticky.
- Mosiso Clear Plastic Case. Yes it does add 8 ounces to the weight, but the aluminum is so beautiful on MacBooks, it’s ashame to ruin them particularly for the 2021. The one from Mosiso works well and it includes a keyboard cover and a plastic protectived screen cover too if you don’t want to spend the dollars on a nice keyboard cover.
- Anne Pro 2 Mechanical Keyboard. Ok, this is completely tiny, it’s 11 inches wide, has PBT keys and for $119 it has real Cherry MX Blue switched and you can get Cherry MX Brown as well if you don’t want to make too much noise and that one comes in white to match the White mouse (see below). I have the $89 version that have Gateron Brown and Gateron Blue and they are OK, but I really do like the Cherry MX keys. The big drawback is the way these 60% keyboard map the arrow keys, you have to set the Magic FN and then remember that the SHIFT, FN, FN2 and Ctrl keys on the right are arrows and that you can only get a Tilde with SHIFT-FN-ESC and a backtick with FN-ESC, but they are great and small.
- Apple Magic Mouse. OK, I’ve tried lots of different mice and trackpads, but for me, the best one is still the simplest, the Apple Magic Mouse 2 works of course very well with a MacBook and most important is very small and lightweight. Most important it has a touch panel on top, so you can do swiping with the Mac.
- Grifiti Chiton Fat 12 Keyboard Bag. This is a 12″ wide keyboard case that can also carry your Magic Mouse. It’s nice to have it in a separate pouch so that if you don’t need the keyboard (say on a plane trip), you can just drop it from your kit bag.
- Nedrelow Sleeve, Nedrelow Sleeve Duo or Nedrelow Sleeve+, Nedrelow Sleeve System. I listed all of these because I’m not quite sure which one I really love the most. The Sleeve is the simplest, it magnetically opens and your MacBook Pro now has a desk pad which is great for typing and having a space for your mouse as a great mouse pad. But, you can’t really carry your charger with it. The Magic Sleeve is something you put your MacBook into, so it doesn’t just open, but it does have magnets, so you can attach a pouch for your charger and other accessories. The Sleeve+ is non detachable, but it has a pocket attached to it. Right now, I really like the Duo because it opens up, but it doesn’t have any included pouches but works well with an iPad. So I’m torn between the Sleeve with a separate set for chargers because with the MacBook, you don’t really need to carry much and the Sleeve System because you get something to carry the chargers. Make sure to get magnetic cable keepers for your Sleeveas an aside because it is a nice way to keep cables for long use away from home easy.
Then for your at home workcenter I would recommend something that is worthy of such a fast machine:
- LG C1 48″ or 55″. This is a huge 48″ or 55″ monitor so if you really want something that works for a developer, you can’t get much better than this assuming you have the space for you. This is an OLED display so there are some concerns about burn in, but at least the way I use it I haven’t seen it in the last two years. The main thing is that the picture is phenomenal in HDR.
- VIVO STAND-V155c 55″ Desk Mount. If you use then this you can mount big TVs at the edge your desk. The only real issue is that the desk needs to be less than 3.25″ thick (which my current desk is just a bit thicker), but this means you can tilt the whole thing so you can use it for both television viewing and as your desktop.
- Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock. If you are using this, you might as well get a really high quality if expensive dock which let’s you connect to 100W power, Thunderbolt 3/USB C and USB A from a single connection
- Nulaxy Height Adjustable Stand. This thing is great. Looks good and you can even change the height. It’s the perfect height so that you can use your MacBook Pro as a separate dispaly when you have it connected. You can get two if you want to use your iPad Pro as a third display (handy to have one screen just for playing music and seeing your action item and another just for mail, slack and so forth