There’s nothing Pro about the MacBook Pro 13 inch I’ve been using for the last year. At least that’s the way it feels having used the new 2021 MacBook Pro 16 inch with M1 Pro – it’s what Pro users have wanted, argued for, and needed for years.
The Touchbar was a nice idea, but who’s really using it?
Getting rid of the HDMI port, and SD card reader – dumb. I want to quickly transfer my photos and videos to my computer without having to find the bloody dongle – if I brought it with me.
MagSafe charger, I could give or take, Yep, it’s super easy and convenient, but it’s hardly a deal breaker.
Well, they’re back. Real top row keys, a HDMI port, SD Card reader and MagSafe charger. Boom, it’s like 2016 all over again.
Available this week in 14 inch and 16 inch sizes, I’ve been testing the 16 inch MacBook Pro with the new M1 Pro Apple Silicon powering the compute and graphic needs. I can’t imagine what the M1 Mac does, but given I don’t do Hollywood Colour Grading or develop the best Apps coming to iPhone, I’d struggle to tickle the cores and capabilities the M1 Mac has over the M1 Pro.
I honestly can’t comment on just how powerful this is. Apple’s own benchmarks make it clear it’s powerful, and efficient. What I noticed when editing videos was the timeline was fluid and the render and export times seemed faster than normal.
I’ll trust that you’ll read a whole lot more technical reviews for more details on the CPU and GPU performance.
So let’s look at some of the details, some of the questions you might have.
Firstly, hells yeah to the return of the ports. HDMI, 4K at 60fps means an editor can have a great TV setup for previews or reference. In video production, this is a cracker.
The SD card slot made my life easier in just the first day – oh man I’ve missed that.
Power is a fascinating one. I estimate 12-13 hours life each day when doing just browsing and videos. Pushing it a bit with video editing took an hour or so off the total time. Apple say with the MagSafe cable on the 140W charger you’ll get 50% charge in 30 minutes. I was getting 85% in about an hour and a half.
Using the larger charger from the previous year’s MacBook Pro and USB-C connection, I got the same charging time. I’d say the 140W charger and MagSafe come into their own for that fast charge to 50%.
The presence of Function Keys makes my shortcuts and action macros in Photoshop a breeze – while I loved the concept of the TouchBar, I never used it. Like, Ever.
Now, this whole thing is big, it’s thick, it’s the opposite of the usual “thinner”, “lighter” new Apple product mantra. But here’s the fascinating thing – that’s A.OK. It’s a pro laptop, and I want it to feel like that – this, while “heavy” at 2.2kg doesn’t feel that way in a laptop bag or backpack.
Open it up, and you’ve got a stunning and I mean stunning Liquid Retina XDR display. Great resolution, but just a brightness that pops.
The elephant in the room is the notch. This blacked out area of the screen contains a 1080p webcam is the perfect upgrade for 2021 – it really captures the colour of a room, offers a bright and clear picture with a higher frame rate too from what I could tell.
I can imagine people thinking the notch is going to change the way the screen works, the view you get of your software, or how movies appear. No such thing.
The “notch” appears in the menu bar of MacOS for all your applications. It’s literally the most dead space on your screen. If you had more menu options that would normally cover that space, and if they do – MacOS will seperate the menu either side of the notch.
In almost a week of use, I’ve not noticed it even was there.
When you go full-screen on a movie or photo, the menu area goes dark – there’s more to the screen in terms of ratio than 16:9 or 16:10, allowing for the narrow black bar along the top.
Seriously, It’s not an issue.
The real issue is that it doesn’t contain Apple’s famous FaceID technology. Give me Face Unlock Apple. Sure I can use Apple Watch, and fingerprint, but why not offer Face unlock!
All in all, this is a beast. It’s got everything I’d want, and way more than 99% of people need. But that won’t stop us buying them. I want the 14 inch model, with the Pro chip, and 32GB of Memory. Why? I want to know it is capable of whatever I might want to do.
For the true Pros out there, this is the laptop you’ve been looking for.
For the rest of us, if you’ve got the pockets for it (prices start at $2,999) then you’re going to struggle to slow down on your new laptop specifications. I got mine up to $6,500+. Keep on dreaming huh:)