Systems of the Stars is Laptop Mag’s new monthly series that pries into the laptop lifestyles of high-profile individuals. Whether they’re popular YouTubers, celebrity podcasters or well-known music producers, we dive into how their laptops help boost and benefit their careers, hobbies and everyday lives.
“Huge congrats!” tech superstar Marques Brownlee tweeted to MrMobile after he surpassed one million subscribers on YouTube. Twitter erupted in digital applause for MrMobile, also known as Michael Fisher. Fans gushed over Fisher’s talent for creating visually seductive comparative analysis videos of glitzy phones, high-end laptops, smartwatches — and my personal favorite — retro devices.
The blood, sweat and tears that Fisher puts into his content is evident with his painstaking, meticulous reviews that seem to follow a I-can-show-you-better-than-I-can-tell-you philosophy. With Fisher’s sharp eye for good tech, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What laptop does MrMobile use?”
Taking a break from his super busy schedule, Fisher allowed me to pry into his lifestyle and find out which device helped catapult MrMobile into tech stardom.
What is MrMobile’s main driver laptop?
Fisher’s laptop companion is a 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro that’s packed to the max with a 2.4-GHz Core i9 processor, 64GB of RAM and an 8TB SSD. To put it into perspective, Fisher’s MacBook Pro configuration costs more than $6,000!
“Overkill?” he asked rhetorically. “For anyone other than a video producer who’s constantly on the road, probably. But for my workflow? It’s almost perfect.”
Fisher's laptop helps to run every aspect of MrMobile's operations, including writing, editing and publishing. Video editing is one of the most system-intensive tasks one can demand from a laptop, and as a professional YouTuber, Fisher’s going to need an ample amount of memory to run RAM-hungry software and innumerable bytes of storage to save all of his precious recordings.
Now does one really need 64GB of RAM for optimal video editing? Probably not. Configurations with 32GB of RAM should be more than enough. But I understand MrMobile’s train of thought. Although the specs might seem exorbitant, there’s something soothing about owning a fully loaded laptop in the same way that having a year’s supply of toilet paper is comforting — you’ll never have to fret about not having enough.
“I've always edited my videos in Final Cut Pro X, so I've always used MacBook Pros as daily drivers. This means I bore the full brunt of Apple's repeated keyboard and quality-control failures from 2016 to 2019,” Fisher said.
Many of Apple’s MacBook Pro “upgrades” over the years were disappointing for Fisher. Who can forget the Cupertino-based tech giant’s faulty butterfly-keyboard era that spurred a barrage of disgruntled customers? But Fisher was begrudgingly loyal to Apple because Final Cut Pro X is too spectacular to pass up.
“I work alongside plenty of friends who use Adobe Premiere,” Fisher said. “While it's probably more capable and certainly a better tool for collaborative editing, not a week goes by where Premiere doesn't crash on one of those poor guys. Final Cut Pro X is rock-solid by comparison.”
When Apple finally trashed the butterfly keyboard in favor of the Magic keyboard in 2019, Fisher was relieved that the company finally took proactive steps to redeem itself. The YouTube tech star splurged on a maxed-out 16-inch MacBook Pro, and he’s been satisfied with his investment ever since.
How does MrMobile’s laptop help facilitate his everyday tasks, hobbies and lifestyle?
Global pandemic aside, from trade shows in Berlin to product briefings in San Francisco, Fisher is a frequent traveler. “Some people ask me why I don't use a more powerful desktop PC, and the answer is right in the channel's name. ‘MrMobile’ is always on the go,” he said.
On top of the 16-inch MacBook Pro being a performance beast packed into a slim form factor, MrMobile benefits from its top-notch specs as a popular tech YouTuber and podcaster.
With an 8TB SSD, MrMobile has a plethora of storage to stash his massive collection of media assets. In a video titled “MacBook Pro: Apple’s Worst Product that I Just Can’t Quit,” viewers can feast their eyes on hypnotizing B-roll that features some throwback videos of devices Fisher once owned. Fisher’s maxed-out MacBook Pro is perfect for his incredible accumulation of media content, which he can easily access and infuse into his videos to provide better context for viewers.
As a podcaster, MrMobile takes advantage of the MacBook Pro’s powerful six-speaker audio system and three-mic array. “I love that the speakers are unmatched for volume and depth of sound,” Fisher said. “Whether I'm cutting videos in Final Cut Pro X or playing throwback Star Wars games on Steam, my MacBook Pro takes care of me.”
What does MrMobile dislike the most about his laptop?
MrMobile is still angrily shaking his fists at Apple for ditching the SD card slot — a feature many content creators depend on. In 2016, Apple defended its decision to eliminate the SD card slot because it wholeheartedly believed that the future of data transfer is wireless. But four years later, the Cupertino-based tech giant still has Apple consumers fuming over its SD card slot abandonment.
“And the Touch Bar is as useless as it's been since 2016. I mean, I get it, Apple. You have a weird thing about not wanting to put touch screens on your Macs. Get over it,” Fisher said in jest.
Lastly, Fisher echoed what Laptop Mag has been saying for years about Apple's unexciting laptop designs: “I'd love it if the company would take more risks in its industrial design. As much as I love the MacBook Pro, it sure is a boring machine to look at.”
What does MrMobile love the most about his laptop?
We know that Final Cut Pro X is the most alluring MacBook Pro feature for the YouTube tech enthusiast, but what other aspects about the $6,000 Apple system gets Fisher going?
“From rifling through umpteen Chrome tabs to managing my social feeds and Slack messages, everything happens at the same speed — nearly instantly,” Fisher said, praising the lightning-like speed of the MacBook Pro’s user experience.
The YouTube star also raved about the productivity-boosting combination of using both the MacBook Pro and the iPad Pro via Sidecar, which transforms one’s iPadOS device into a secondary display. “It’s just as fluid as the primary display,” Fisher told me. “It's insane.”
Screen brightness is another stand-out MacBook Pro feature Fisher extols. “I love that the display gets bright enough for me to work at the outdoor coffee shops so many of us are now working from,” he said.
When I asked Fisher if he’d recommend the high-priced 16-inch MacBook Pro, he told me that it depends. “I don't think most people have the lifestyle or workflow that a tech YouTuber has,” he told me. “Writers would be better served by a smaller and lighter machine. Editors making more elaborate videos than mine will need true desktop workstations.” But if you have a workflow that mimics Fisher’s on-the-go vlogging, podcasting and editing lifestyle, then, by all means, get yourself a $6,000 16-inch MacBook Pro.
If Apple could build MrMobile the ultimate laptop, what would it look like?
Presenting Fisher with a fun scenario, I asked, “What if Apple approached you and said ‘Hey, we want to build you a laptop that fits every facet of your lifestyle. Tell us exactly how you want us to configure it!’”?
“Oh man,” Fisher said. “I'm sure I'd end up designing the worst laptop!” Despite my outlandish question, the tech YouTube star humored me and told me the following:
- Two SD card slots — Fisher demanded an extra SD card slot from Apple just to make up for the past five years of going without one
- A touchscreen display
- Replace the Touch Bar with an Apple Pencil silo
- Update the Apple Pencil so that it works on both the display and trackpad
- A Qi coil underneath the trackpad for charging devices and a pop-out Microsoft Arc Mouse so Fisher can still use the laptop while it's juicing up his phone
- An RGB-backlit keyboard
- A custom OLED panel that replaces the Apple logo so Fisher can put whatever he wants back there
“Apple would sooner go out of business, I'm sure, than build this monstrosity of a machine,” Fisher told me. “But if it did, I'd pay like $10,000 for it.”
Fisher is the first to star in our System of the Stars series where we dig into tech used by popular content creators. Subscribe to MrMobile’s YouTube channel here and follow his tech insights on Twitter here.