Apple has made the 2021 MacBook Pro a proper PRO device. For many years, professionals have had lots of complaints about Apple’s quirky design decisions. Finally, Apple had listened to the PRO users and made this device.
Before getting into the review, the M1Pro and M1 Max are insanely costly laptops. The M1 Max is available only in the 16-inch model, and it costs $3500. On the other hand, the 14-inch entry-level M1 Pro laptop starts at $2000.
If you are a content creator, designer, architect, or any other user who periodically uses graphic/Power-hungry software and want a portable laptop with a beasty performance, you can opt for this one. If you are a normal user who uses laptops to write, surf the internet, do small editing works, emails, etc., 13-inch MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air is more than enough. You can even opt for a 24-inch iMac. Saying that, let’s get into the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro review.
Display And Design
The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros have a more rounded aluminum design compared to the old rectangular design. Since it has more ports and a bigger battery now, it is a little thick.
Because of the thick design, the thermal issues are less. Plus, the big cooling fans make sure the MacBook Pro stays cool even under heavy load. We will talk about it in detail in the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro internal post. (stay tuned)
The display will simply stun you. 120HZ and HDR display isn’t new on laptops. But, the way Apple has configured the display makes it special. The adaptive display automatically switches to 120HZ whenever it needs and simultaneously maintains a low refresh rate whenever not needed to conserve the battery. The adaptive display works really fine so that you can get more display-on-time with 2021 MacBook pros.
The XDR mini-LED display on MacBook Pro works a little better than the iPad Pro. If you watch closely, the blooming problem is less evident on the MacBook Pro display.
Up top, you have a notch to house the new 1080p HD camera. For most of us on a video call in this pandemic time, old cameras on the MacBook pro will make you look silly on the call. This 1080P HD cam is definitely a welcome addition.
M1 Pro and M1 Max Performance
Apple’s M1 chip is already an impressive chipset. As I said in my previous M1 Mac Mini and M1 iMac review, the chipset is very power-efficient, and computing performance is good.
In the M1 Pro and M1 Max, Apple engineers beefed up the internal memory and number of CPU & GPU cores in the M1 chipset. On the M1 Pro, you get a 10-core CPU, 16-Core GPU, and 32GB unified memory. While on the M1 Max, you get the same 10-core CPU but insane 32-core GPU and 64GB of unified memory.
The unified memory not only makes the data transfer and processing faster but also keeps the system temperature down.
How do all these numbers translate in real-world applications? If you are someone who uses lots of Apple software like Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, you will see a remarkable increase in performance. Especially, those who are using Intel’s built-in Iris Plus GPU will see a 13.4% increase in graphic performance.
Though the Adobe creative suite apps are optimized for the M1 Max and M1 Pro, the difference you will notice in the workflow will be very minimal.
Gaming & Battery Life
Apple laptops are not really good at gaming, and it applies to the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro laptops. Even though the 120HZ screen is tempting to play games, the graphic performance is not equal to AMD and Nvidia-powered gaming PCs. As a cliche, 2021 MacBook Pros are also not for gaming.
One area where Apple dominates all other PCs is the battery department. This time also they knocked the ball out of the park. The prores display and the intelligent unified memory keep the weight on the processor low, and as a result, the power drawn for processing is also less.
Because of the M1 Pro and M1 Max chipset, Apple engineers now have plenty of space inside the chase, which they generously used for extra batter and bigger fans.
The 16-inch model with an M1 Pro chipset can outlast the 14-inch and even the 16-inch with M1 Max. Depending upon the app you use, and where you use your laptop, the battery life will vary. On a typical day with fewer editing, video calls, emails, and surfing, the 16-inch model can easily last a day, and the 14-inch might need a quick charge before you leave the office.
Speaking about charging, the return of Magsafe is great, and now it has a fast-charging option. Remember, the fast charging works only with the Magsafe; you can still use a USB-C to charge your laptops, but it charges at a normal phase.
Who Can Buy M1 Max & M1 Pro MacBook Pro
As I said at the beginning of the post, both 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are not cheap devices. The M1 Max and M1 Pro definitely have an improved CPU and GPU performance, but if you are someone who uses apps other than Apple’s own software, the changes you will see will be very minimal at this stage.
Adobe has already released an update for its range of Apps to utilize the full potential of the M1 Max and M1 Pro chips. Slowly main apps are getting optimized for this chipset. I am planning to make a separate post for MacBook pro internals since it has many changes on the inside. Make sure you subscribe if you haven’t yet. See you all in the next post.