Last year, I shared a roundup of my favorite accessories for my 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro. Times have since changed, and I was recently convinced to pick up a new 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro.
In this piece, I’ll pick up where I left off in my previous post by going over additional accessories that I consider essentials for my 2017 MacBook Pro. Worthy of note, these should all work with the 2016 MacBook Pro too.
My favorite accessories for the 2017 MacBook Pro
CalDigit TS3 Thunderbolt 3 Dock
When I’m home in my office, I use a bevy of peripherals with my computer. Among those are a mechanical keyboard, a laser gaming mouse, and a 2.1 speaker system. I covered a few of these in my previous roundup, which I continue to use today.
Because the new MacBook Pro comes standard with four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports and a lone 3.5mm headphone jack, I needed a way to connect all my legacy accessories in the office, and that’s where CalDigit’s Thunderbolt 3 dock actually came in clutch. To get you started, it even includes a 0.5m Thunderbolt 3 cable in the box.
This dock supports all the following I/O:
- Thunderbolt 3 (x2)
- eSATA (x2)
- USB Type-A 3.1 (x3)
- 3.5mm speaker out
- 3.5mm microphone in
- Gigabit Ethernet
As a bonus, CalDigit’s TS3 dock supplies a constant 85W of power to my MacBook Pro with the same cable that connects my peripherals. This means I don’t even have to use my Apple AC adapter when I’m at home anymore. Instead, I resort to keeping said AC adapter in my travel bag for when I’m mobile.
The TS3 is compact, while many other Thunderbolt 3 docks on the market are too long for everything I own to fit beside them on my desk. With its all-in-one design, the TS3 is the perfect desk companion for my MacBook Pro, and Andrew agrees in his YouTube video below:
If you’re interested in one for your MacBook Pro, they can be had from Amazon for $299.99.
Satechi USB-C Pro Hub
While the dock above is ideal for the in-office environment, there’s no way I could carry a dock and its bulky AC adapter everywhere I go with me; that’s why my colleagues Sebastien and Andrew both rely on the Satechi USB-C Pro Hub just like I do while out and about. You can watch Andrew’s review video below:
This hub utilizes two of the USB-C ports on either side, which keeps a firm connection to the side of the computer. More importantly, it includes all the I/O I ever need, which is a big advantage point for me.
It supports all the following I/O:
- HDMI (1080p @60hz/4K @30hz) out
- USB-C PD/Thunderbolt 3 port with support for up to 87W charging and 40Gbps
- USB-C port with support for 5Gbps
- USB Type-A 3.0 port (x2)
- Micro-SD card slot
- SD card slot
Although it only operates at USB 3.0 speeds, which is a pain point for me, it still works fine for what it does. It’s also great that it harbors SD card slots, which are unfortunately absent on my CalDigit TS3 Thunderbolt 3 dock.
The slim form-factor and color-matched anodized aluminum finish make this hub an everyday carry accessory for my MacBook Pro. With it, I can use any accessory I might have to chain up to my MacBook Pro when out of the office, including flash drives, external disk drives, and other peripherals.
Satechi’s USB-C Pro Hub is available on Amazon for $99.99.
SanDisk Ultra USB-C 128GB Dual Drive
SanDisk’s ultra-versatile Dual Drive also makes it to my list of must-haves for the new MacBook Pro because it features connectivity for both USB-C and USB-A computers in a sleek and small package. I transfer files from one machine to another frequently, and not all of them support USB-C, so this seemed like a no-brainer for me.
Thanks to the selection switch at the top, you can expose either the USB-C end or the USB-A end depending on the machine you’re connecting to. It also includes a handy lanyard loop, which prevents me from losing it.
While its transfer speeds aren’t the best, I’ve had no trouble with using it since getting the new MacBook Pro, and the convenience of a universal flash drive versus having to use a dongle is worth every penny to me.
The SanDisk Ultra USB-C Dual Drive is available on Amazon with prices ranging from $16-44, based on the size capacity you want (16-128GB).
Glyph 1TB ATOM RAID SSD
Glyph’s 1TB ATOM RAID SSD turned out to be an incredible expansion of my MacBook Pro’s internal storage. Not only does it quadruple my MacBook Pro’s storage, but it uses a RAID 0 configuration to support transfer speeds of up to 800MB/s over a USB-C (3.1 Gen 2) connection.
I like both the form and function of this drive; the speeds are insane, and it looks great next to my MacBook Pro because of the matching Space Gray aluminum finish. A black rubber bumper comes with the drive to protect the finish from your travels, but it can be removed.
The ATOM RAID SSD is a useful tool for storing and transferring large files between USB-C machines in the blink of an eye, and sometimes I find it more convenient to use than hard disk drives because it’s so zippy.
LaCie 2TB Rugged Drive
LaCie’s Rugged drives are built to last, featuring that iconic rubber bumper that protects it from minor drops and a special insert that covers the USB-C port to keep dust out.
This drive has a Thunderbolt 2 cable wrapped around the exterior for use with compatible machines, but it also includes a USB-C port and a standalone USB-C cable, which works great in tandem with the new MacBook Pro. Non-Thunderbolt 2 models are also available.
With support for 130MB/s transfer speeds, the Rugged drive will be handy for providing additional storage for larger media files, including movies, music, and photos. It works great as a Time Machine backup drive too.
LaCie offers a variety of different storage capacities, but I find 2TB to be perfect for carrying a music library or some movies over to a friend’s house for entertainment. 4TB and 5TB options are also available if you have higher demands, but smaller capacities are available too if you’re on a budget.
Anker PowerCore+ 26,800 mAh PD Power Bank
Keeping a power-hungry MacBook Pro charged throughout the day can be a difficult task. I usually bring my AC adapter with me, but I don’t always have access to a power socket, so I needed to look for other solutions.
There are tons of USB-C power banks on the market, but very few of them support power delivery (PD), a standard that helps devices with larger energy demands charge up more quickly. Anker’s 26,800 mAh USB-C PD Power Bank is just one of the few examples that support this standard.
While 30W isn’t as robust as the 87W put out by the stock AC adapter, the enormous battery capacity is still enough to help limp you through a day. It doesn’t charge as quickly as the AC adapter would, but it still provides enough power for my everyday tasks, which involve emailing, web browsing, and word processing among other things.
A USB-C PD power adapter and USB-C cable are included in the box for charging the battery, but you could even use your Apple AC adapter if you didn’t want to carry two around.
Anker’s 26,800 mAh USB-C PD power bank is available on Amazon for $109.99.
Vinpok Bolt Magnetic USB-C Cable
Admittedly, I’ve always had a soft spot for MagSafe connectors and loved how they just snapped into place. With USB-C, it’s not that easy. Sometimes finding the USB-C port in the low light against my dark space gray finish can a bit of a challenge and it makes me think back to the times when life was easier with MagSafe.
Vinpok solves that problem with their Bolt cable, which offers MagSafe-like functionality in an unbelievably-small package. The USB-C end of this magnetic cable is so small that you can leave it plugged into your computer all the time, even if you put your computer inside sleeves and travel around with it.
The rest of the cable detaches with a simple tug, but the strong neodymium magnet in the connector keeps a strong grip reminiscent of the MagSafe connector I used with my 2015 MacBook Pro.
Despite how unbelievably thin this USB-C cable really is in person, it’s rated to deliver up to 100W of power, which is perfect for supplying the 2017 MacBook Pro with its desired 87W. I can’t put it down, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same if you miss the MagSafe experience.
I can’t put it down, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same if you miss the MagSafe experience.
Vinpok’s Bolt cable is still in its pre-production stages, but you can reserve yours on Indiegogo for just $24.00.
BlockHead is a convenient accessory for Apple AC adapters that turns them 90º against the wall when plugged in. This solves the age-long problem of the AC adapter sticking too far out of the wall.
This makes plugging your AC adapter behind furniture much more convenient, and it also puts less stress on the electrical prongs and the cables that dangle from the adapter. What’s more is this orientation is more kid, pet, and accident-friendly.
BlockHead is an older Mac accessory, but it’s fully-compatible with the USB-C AC adapter that comes with Apple’s latest MacBook Pros, hence why I include it in this list.
BlockHead is available on Amazon for just $19.99.
Booq Slimcase Pro
By now you’re probably wondering, “Hey Anthony, how do you carry all of this stuff along with you when you’re traveling?” And I have an answer: the Booq Slimcase Pro.
This deceivably-small bag has so many storage compartments it’s not even funny. With specially-sized pockets inside of each compartment, it’s easy for me to store my cables, batteries, adapters, and drives all in one place.
Booq’s Slimcase Pro is made from a water-resistant ballistic nylon and features internal padding, which makes it perfect for the commute to work; even on rainy days. It also features high-quality leather-wrapped handles and an optional shoulder strap.
Hopefully, you never have the misfortune of losing your valuables, but if you do, Booq’s Slimcase Pro includes a built-in Terralinq tag that can help you find it when misplaced.
Booq’s accessories can be pricey, but given the quality you get, I jumped on this one without much hesitation because the MacBook Pro I just bought is a hefty investment in and of itself.
Booq’s Slimcase Pro is available on Amazon for $194.95.
Whether you own one of the new USB-C equipped MacBook Pros already or are planning to purchase one in the future, I would certainly recommend giving some of these accessories some consideration.
Obviously, everyone uses his or her computer differently so not everyone will have the same tastes as me. I invite everyone to drop a comment below about any accessories you use with your USB-C MacBook or MacBook Pro to stir up some conversation.