In November, Apple launched the 2021 MacBook Pro. Available in two sizes (14-inch and 16-inch), the company also introduced two new chips, the M1 Pro and M1 Max. While I thought this new Mac would be overkill for me – I didn’t need the ports, ProMotion, miniLEDs, or processor – I recently broke my 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro and needed a replacement.
Between buying the entry-level 2020 MacBook Air M1 and the new 14-inch MacBook Pro M1 Pro, I decided to go with the latter. Here is my review of this computer from the perspective of a heavy but non-professional user.
First impressions of the 2021 MacBook Pro design
At first glance, I wasn’t a big fan of the MacBook Pro’s notch. I also found the whole black keyboard weird when I saw it at the store. Plus, I really liked the Touch Bar (for the wrong reasons – it’s so handy to send emoji with it). But as the days pass, I’m just super into this new design.
Going from a 16 inch to a 14 inch is not so bad. The screen is big enough for me to open two Safari windows side by side and work. Not only that, but the weight was very important in my decision, and the 14-inch is much lighter than my previous Intel Mac.
I find the keyboard and trackpad to be very reliable, Touch ID still works well, and I’m really into this miniLED display with ProMotion. It’s really easy to switch between my iPhone 13 Pro and this Mac.
Last but not least, the reason why I no longer type from the Mac Intel is that I fell on the charger and completely destroyed the computer. With the new MacBook Pro, it adds the MagSafe connector, and wow, I didn’t realize how much I missed this feature that was once available on my 2010 MacBook Pro.
Is the entry-level M1 Pro enough for me?
As I told you at the beginning of the article, I was between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. The difference is huge: the MacBook Air comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD, while the Mac M1 Pro comes with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD.
If Apple had already introduced the new MacBook Air, I probably would have opted for this, but between these two existing models, I decided it was worth spending the extra $1,000 to have the latest technology. and the most powerful with the new MacBook Pro.
I’m not a pro user, but I’m a heavy user. That’s why I recommend Jeff Benjamin’s review of the 2021 MacBook Pro (if you want to talk specs). Here I want to give you a perspective from someone who types all day, occasionally edits images with Pixelmator Pro, and also needs to have iMessage, Mail, Slack, and WhatsApp open all the time.
For these tasks, I don’t have to say that everything works like a breeze for this powerful computer. Not only that, but it’s also very quiet, doesn’t get hot (at least with those tasks) and opens everything in a snap.
It’s worth saying that I’m pretty sure I’d be able to do the same with the MacBook Air M1, but I’d probably upgrade it to double the RAM and storage to feel more secure with it over the years. That said, here are the reasons I didn’t go with the Air version:
- Ancient design;
- Lack of MagSafe connector;
- Horrible webcam;
- The screen seemed a bit too small.
Last question: does this MacBook Pro have an all-day battery?
While the first batch of MacBook M1s were lauded for battery life, I was concerned that a Pro chip would consume a lot more power and that I would have to keep charging the Mac more than once in the daytime.
To my relief, the entry-level 2021 MacBook Pro holds up very well when I use it for the tasks I mentioned above. That said, it can easily sustain 10 hours of uninterrupted use, but I think it’s possible to stretch it a bit further to 12 hours.
Again, having both MagSafe and USB-C options to charge this machine is also a hands-on experience.
Conclusion and final considerations
There’s a lot I’m not mentioning in this mini review of the entry-level 2021 MacBook Pro. The reason is simple: we have already tested this machine. If you want an in-depth look, you can find it here.
For this piece, what I’m trying to answer is if this MacBook Pro is a good deal for a heavy user (but not a pro). To which I reply, yes, absolutely. The miniLED display with ProMotion is magnificent. You honestly don’t even pay attention to the notch, just like when Apple introduced the iPhone X. Having more ports is good, although having a MagSafe connector is the big deal. The keyboard, trackpad and Touch ID are more reliable than ever. Lastly, the battery life is excellent, which works well for me as it was another feature I really needed.
Will I change my mind when Apple releases a new MacBook Air? Perhaps. But since we can’t predict when or exactly what this MacBook Air will feature, I can say that right now if you need a machine and want it to last for years, the MacBook M1 Pro entry level is more than enough.
Adjust it if you need a little more power or storage, but relying heavily on iCloud and only using essential apps, I don’t see why I would need more RAM or storage for now – or for years to come.
You can find the 2021 MacBook Pro M1 Pro here on Apple’s Amazon store.
Do you have this computer or are you planning to buy one? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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