lifestyle / 20/05/2016

How I work with one USB-C port

It’s been over a year now that I switched to the 12″ Macbook. You know, the one with a single USB-C port. Due to an unfortunate incident, I’ve had to replace my original one. So I’m on the 2nd-gen one, and it’s PINK (rose gold? lol, who are we kidding). Yes, the person who hated pink gadgets is now using a PINK laptop. When I’m used to the idea, I will stop typing it as PINK. Anyway, the model I wanted was only available in this, or silver. When I bought my original Macbook, I decided I didn’t want another silver laptop again, cos boring. The grey is still the best though.

I obviously didn’t hesitate to buy another one as a replacement. Many still think they cannot manage with one USB port – and yes I agree, it’s not for everyone. If you’re a video editor for example, then definitely not (although power is another issue for work of that intensity). However, I knew for sure I won’t be buying another Macbook Air because it’s a downgrade going back to a low-res screen. And honestly don’t know why they haven’t been updated yet. I based my decision on switching to a Macbook last year on the retina screen. I wasn’t gonna buy a laptop in 2015 with a low-res display. Also, as light as possible for travel.

pink-macbook

Back to the Macbook, and how I’m managing with a single USB-C port, 13 months down the line. Apple came out with some accessories for it upon launch. I bought the USB-A to USB-C adaptor because it was the most obvious one that was needed. There are another two variants, a 3-in-1 with either VGA/HDMI with a standard USB (A) and USB-C. I find that these accessories are still very limited and, it’s not easy to find third party ones either. On the up side, most Android devices are coming out with USB-C chargers, so availability should improve.

I use the adaptor every now and then; on average several times a month. My consumption patterns have changed over the years. I stream content, use cloud services, and move content between my devices with either Airdrop (when it actually works) or mail stuff to myself. It should give you an idea how ‘frequently’ I need to use the adaptor. Most times I don’t read press releases loaded on a stick. So it’s mainly putting content on a flash drive for my TV.

Despite this, I bought a USB-C hub with 3x USB 3.0 ports and a card reader. How many times have I used it? ONCE. It’s still lying in the box I bought it too. I edit the occasional video when I need to, and use Photoshop often. That’s as “heavy”as my usage is. Then there’s having many tabs open, using two different browsers at once (dislike Chrome for the resource hog that it is on OS X), and running multiple apps at once, which is fine. My browser always ends up using the most power.

So this is how I’m “managing” with 1x USB-C port. I have a great wireless mouse (those Logitech ergonomic ones) but I’ve never had to use it once on the Macbook. (Force) trackpad is sufficient, even with Photoshop! That was initially a worry for me, how will I use Photoshop with a trackpad. You can tweak the trackpad with your own shortcuts too, which I’ve done, so definitely not missing a mouse. Also, did you know you can add the equivalent of a “right click” as a trackpad shortcut? I’ve put mine on the bottom right corner.

If you’re considering buying one, and have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Nafisa Akabor
Always online... except when I'm offline.




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  • Andrew Fraser

    I’ve also got a Macbook 12″ (First gen), but mine isn’t PINK. I have the Apple USB-C to USB-A/HDMI adaptor. And I’ve used it exactly three times in five months. Once to do a presentation, twice to copy stuff to USB drives.

    I mostly use cloud storage to sync info (I have a windows machine on my desk at home). I switch between Windows and OSX daily with no issues.

    The only real issue I do have with the Macbook is the misnaming of the “Delete” key. It’s not a “Delete” key, it’s a “backspace” Apple!

    • Yeah, it’s only nice to have the adaptors lying around cos you may need it someday lol.

      I prefer Dropbox to iCloud for cloud stuff. I have 3GB free on iCloud!

      That hasn’t bothered me as much. I prefer the US versions of the laptop because of the large shift key on the left! I make so many mistakes if I use a laptop with SA keyboard, cos it’s much smaller.

      • Andrew Fraser

        Mine is a US version. Bought via ebay. Saved about R7000 vs buying from iStore. I use MSOffice, so I sync a lot of docs etc. via Onedrive. The integration of Onedrive into Office on Mac and Windows is pretty seamless.

        • Wow, massive saving. Yep, Office for Mac (and Photoshop) are most important, and first things I setup initially. I haven’t explored using OneDrive, I should take a look at it again. I manually save my work on Word, then on Dropbox.

  • Mikha’il Hathey

    I’m considering the MacBook Pro 13″ MD101 or this 12″ … Deciding whether to new go for old gen higher power or new gen mid power

    • tough choice. It all depends what you’re going to use it for I guess; and price. Have you decided?

      • Mikha’il Hathey

        Tough choice indeed, but I need it for usability more than lightweight portability so I’m going to go for the Pro. iStore has it on special at the moment so I’m on my way to buy it now lol ?