Just One Cable
When I bought the 12" MacBook, I waited for Apple to release its own monitor that had a single USB-C connector that would feed power, display, and act as USB hub for my MacBook. This is, by far, my ideal situation.
Alas, such a monitor doesn’t exist—neither Apple nor, by my research, has anybody released such a thing.
So, I bought a new widescreen monitor for home. The 34” LG 21:9 curved ultrawide. On my desk, it looks lovely. The biggest selling feature for me was that it lets you plug in two monitors at the same time. The idea of plugging in my home and work laptop into the same monitor and easily switch between the two sounded like a decent enough tradeoff.
The whole experience, however, has just been aggravating.
First, I discovered that to do the half-screen resolution (1720x1440 instead of 3440x1440), I’d need to get a custom monitor profile. El Capitan restricts the ability to do this and I had to restart the OS into Restore to run a terminal command to disable protections to install the new monitor profile. I have to do this on both laptops.
Next, the monitor only has two USB ports. That takes care of my USB mic and my external keyboard. But what if I want to plug in an external hard drive? my iPhone or iPad? Or anything else? Enter USB hub.
So now I have cables plugged into the monitor, plugged into a USB hub, plugged into an adapter, plugged into my MacBook, and power from my laptop to the power bar, and power from the USB hub to the power bar.
And because it’s not an Apple display, neither the volume controls nor the brightness controls on the keyboard work.
Lastly, the monitor doesn’t have a built-in camera. Skype, Hangouts, or FaceTime will require me to open up my laptop (I like clamshell!) or do it on another device. Or plug in a web cam into another USB port. Sigh.
Suffice it to say, I’m feeling kinda meh about this whole thing. Maybe this wasn’t the monitor I wanted. (Although I do love having all of this screen real estate!)