Do you use an iMac, personal PC, or a MacBook with an external monitor to get work done?

Not too long ago, I asked how your desk has changed since the start of all this work-from-home fervor started. With so many day-to-day routines changing, it only made sense that some folks’ workstations –whether temporary or permanent– had changed over the last year or so.

But of course it goes beyond just moving things around. Or even adding a random accessory or two. Some desks needed to go through a complete overhaul to really adapt to the needs of some individuals and families.

My situation hasn’t really needed to change, at least not directly due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, that hasn’t stopped me from deciding it’s time to change things up recently. Seemingly out of the blue I decided I had to change my desk around, add some accessories I had been wanting for quite some time, and even change how I get things done. That led me down a very different path than what I was expecting.

In that aforementioned write-up, I wrote briefly about my own desk. How there’s an M1 MacBook Air to get the job done every day. An iPad Pro that get tagged in for some random tasks every once in a while. But, now almost a month later, things look pretty different. I decided to pick up a couple HomePod minis to give the speakers in the MacBook Air a break. That’s been a great purchase, honestly. The stereo sound is great, and everything works just as seamlessly as I’d hope (and what we’ve come to expect from within Apple’s ecosystem).

I also decided that if I was going to have this dedicated workstation, I might as well take full advantage of it. It’s been so many years since I’ve used a desktop in any meaningful capacity, even the thought of doing something close to that is strange. But I thought, “Why not?” and fell down the rabbit hole. My first step was to see if I could even find a new 24-inch iMac, because finding things in today’s market can prove pretty difficult. Unsurprisingly that didn’t really go the way I’d hoped, so I turned to the alternative: external displays.

There are so many options out there, obviously, and I thought I found a few that would do the trick. But, ultimately, I kept coming back to the 23.7-inch LG UltraFine 4K display. The fact it has so many USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports on the back was one reason. But it got a lot of praise after its initial launch, especially for its macOS-friendly nature. This felt like the right way to go about things: just get the external display, a stand for the MacBook Air, and boom I’ve got my own iMac of sorts.

And I know there are a lot of people out there who rave about this setup. Especially the folks who picked up an M1 MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. They go all day with the laptop plugged into the display, with Clamshell mode so the computer’s lid is closed, and they get their work done like this on a regular basis. Which is great, and I feel like this is the way I’m going to go, too.

The trouble is, I still want to try out the new iMac. I’d prefer to get a purple one, but I really don’t want to wait on shipping. The other thing is the overall price, of course. The new 24-inch iMac and the MacBook Air are basically the same machines, with the exception of the most obvious. But the specs are close enough that picking one or the other really just comes down to your typical work day/need for portability. That last bit is part of the reason I think keeping the MacBook Air and going with the display makes the most sense for me, personally. I’m on the go a lot and being able to just detach my laptop and do that is really tempting.

I’m curious to see what you all think, though. How your own setup looks. Do you prefer to use a laptop attached to an external display? And if so, why? Or do you choose to use a full desktop PC while you’re working from the home office? And if you went down that route, what made you lean in that direction? Let me know in the comments.