MacBook Pro M1: The Short and Definitive Review

Anytime a new Apple device launches, there is obviously a lot of hype around it, and existing users are often left wondering if it makes sense for them to upgrade. In contrast, those new to the Apple ecosystem want to know if they should finally take the plunge.

This short but definitive review will help you decide if it is worth upgrading or buying a new MacBook altogether.

Difference between MacBook Pro and MacBook Air

The main difference between these two versions – both of which have the M1 chip – is that the Pro has a fan, whereas the Air does not. Having a fan means it is suited for rugged use.

Other points of contention are the better speakers and microphone on Pro. Given that it has a larger battery, it obviously runs for longer.

But if you’re pressed to find a difference, the fan is the only noticeable difference and possibly a reason for you to avoid the Pro and just choose the Air instead if the price point is an issue.

If you were to dive deeper into this issue, you would find MacBook Pro handles tasks much better and has a better ‘thermal design’ compared to the Air.

What’s up with the M1 chip?

You’re probably wondering what is the deal with the M1 chip, and does one chip really make all that difference?

To answer the question, we’d have to dive deep into the chip and how it works.

Without a doubt, the M1 chip is far better than the Arm processors on Windows. Also, while Apple’s apps work fast already, several of these apps have been redesigned to work with the M1 processor, and the results are good.

Reviewers have run different kinds of benchmarking tests, and there is a general consensus about the M1 beating all other processors.

MacBook Pro M1: Pros & Cons

Now let’s move on to some pros and cons.

Pros –

  1. The performance is better than all other MacBooks
  2. Battery life is fantastic because of the larger battery
  3. The display is good

Cons –

  1. You only get 2 USB ports, so you can’t plug in many external devices at the same time
  2. The webcam is surprisingly bad
  3. RAM is limited to 16GB
  4. Touch Bar is glitchy

Performance and battery life balanced

Apple has gone all out to offer great performance with the M1 chip, but it doesn’t come at the cost of the battery. Often with most laptops that boast of great performance, battery life often takes a backseat.

That isn’t the case here at all. The processor offers a good balance of good performance and battery life.

Limited memory and display

16GB of RAM is the limit, and there is no way to increase this. Low RAM can slow down the computer, so you might need to look at the list of best cleaning software to make sure you don’t accumulate a ton of unnecessary files. Cleaning software automatically gets rid of duplicate, cache, temporary files and optimizes your storage.

You also have a limitation when it comes to adding an external display – you can only add one.

Better display but bad webcam

The display is brighter than that on the Air. So that is a small win. But, the webcam is oddly off-putting. The 720p webcam does not do much considering how much time we spend in meetings. The webcam is the same on the Air and Pro.

Touch Bar is a miss

Most people that type a lot do not look at their hands when typing but rather focus on the screen. If you’re one of these people, the MacBook Pro is not for you. The Touch Bar will slow you down since you have to look down to adjust settings.

Final Verdict

You can buy the MacBook Pro M1 if you’ve never used a MacBook before. The sheer performance will make it worth the investment. But it will definitely be an adjustment at first. On the flip side, you could also buy into the Air if you’re new to the Apple ecosystem since the buy-in is less and the Pro and Air are pretty much the same.

For seasoned users that don’t like the Touch Bar, the Air is a much better choice. The slightly better performance on the Pro does not seem like a worthy upgrade. Plus, the limitations on the RAM and external monitors do not help the Pro’s case. You also only get two Thunderbolt ports on the Pro, which does not feel like an upgrade.

So, who should buy the MacBook Pro M1?

1. Gamers who want to play games for sustained periods of time since the graphics and performance are streamlined for sturdy use.

2. Serial binge-watchers and cinephiles that want to replicate a good screening experience given how good the display is on the MacBook Pro.

3. The battery life, display, and better speakers also make it a perfect fit for Audiophiles and music producers that use the MacBook Pro to listen to music and use software to produce music.

But for the average user, the MacBook Air with an M1 chip is a good upgrade given its features and price point.

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