I recently bought a MacBook Air 11 inch for an upgrade from my old Dell laptop. There are several great PC candidates, however I decided to give Mac a try this time. Given that we have purchased several iPhone and iPad, it would give me a better user experience for living in Apple eco-system. What the 11 inch MacBook Air (MBA) attracted me was that it is ultra portable so it could be a good travel companion for me to work on my stuff pretty much everywhere.

The experience so far has been great for me. And the kids like to play with the PhotoBooth come with the MBA.

However, for me to work comfortably at home, I feel that I would need several accessories to make the most out of it.

1. A Good External Display

Given that it is 11 inch, I would prefer to use a bigger display when sitting on my desk. Something like the Dell U2713HM-IPS-LED CVN85 27-Inch Screen LED-lit Monitor will do the work.

Notice that the MBA only has a build in mini DisplayPort output, you would need a mini DisplayPort to VGA ($19) or DVI ($29) converter to connect to it. They are sold in Apple store. Or you can find some generic ones such as this for much cheaper price.

 2. External Wireless Mouse (or Keyboard Mouse Combo)

One advantage of using external mouse/keyboard is that I am more familiar with the PC keyboard. As a keyboard shortcut key guy, it is much more efficient for me this way. It may take me sometime to get used to the Mac keyboard layout and the elegant TrackPad operations. I am using this Logitech Mk520 combo when I work from the desk and it works great for the MBA.

If you are mostly working without external display, the Logitech M510 Wireless Mouse will also be a good choice.

3. External CD or DVD Solution

Even though pretty much everything can be transferred from network, there are some occasion that we need fall back to the old day techniques (CD or DVD). To do this Apple sells an External USB SuperDrive for $79 or something like this for much cheaper price.

If you don’t want to purchase additional drive, you can also use the “DVD or CD Sharing” to access the CD/DVD drives from the computers (Mac or Windows) in the same network. Please read this link for more information.

4.  Other Devices with FamilyShare

One of the reason that I hesitated to enter the Mac world is that the sharing was too cumbersome. Be it the apps, software or music, they are tied to a specific user.

However, with the recent release of the Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10, available for free upgrade), they included a new feature FamilyShare that allow family members to share the apps, software or music without the need to purchase separately. All you need to do is have a family organizer to add the Apple IDs of family members. When the kids need to make a purchase, they only need to send a request to you and you can make the purchase.

The feature do requires Mac Yosemite or iOS 8. So get the devices upgraded, NOW.

What Accessories You Need For Your MacBook Air
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