In November, Apple launched the 2021 MacBook Pro. Available in two sizes (14- and 16-inch), the company also introduced two new chips, the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. While I thought this new Mac would be overkill to me – I didn’t need the ports, ProMotion, miniLED, or the processor – I recently broke my 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro and needed a replacement.
Between buying the entry-level 2020 M1 MacBook Air and the new 14-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro, I decided to go with the latter. Here’s my review of this computer from a heavy but non-pro user perspective.
First impressions on the design of the 2021 MacBook Pro
At first glance, I wasn’t a big fan of the notch on the MacBook Pro. I also found the entire black keyboard weird when I saw it at the store. In addition, I really used to love the Touch Bar (for the wrong reasons – it’s so convenient to send emoji with that). But as the days go by, I’m just super into this new design.
Coming from a 16-inch to a 14-inch is not that big of a deal. The screen is big enough for me to open two Safari windows side by side and work. Not only that, but the weight was super important in my decision, and the 14-inch is way lighter than my previous Intel Mac.
I find the keyboard and trackpad very reliable, Touch ID always works fine, and I’m really into this miniLED display with ProMotion. It’s just really smooth to switch between my iPhone 13 Pro and this Mac.
Last but not least, the reason why I’m not typing from the Intel Mac anymore is that I stumbled over the charger and completely destroyed the computer. With the new MacBook Pro, it adds back 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 wild: MacBook Air comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD, while the M1 Pro Mac comes with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD.
If Apple had already introduced the rumored new MacBook Air, I would have probably gone with that instead, but between these two existing models, I decided it was worth spending an extra $1,000 to have the latest and greatest tech with the new MacBook Pro.
I’m not a pro user, but I’m a heavy user. This is why I recommend Jeff Benjamin’s review on the 2021 MacBook Pro (if you want to talk specs). Here, I want to give you a perspective of someone who types the whole day, occasionally edits images with Pixelmator Pro, and also needs to have iMessage, Mail, Slack, and WhatsApp opened 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 silent, doesn’t get hot (at least with these tasks), and opens everything in a blink of an eye.
It’s important to say that I’m pretty sure that I would be able to do the same with the M1 MacBook Air, but I would probably upgrade it with double the RAM and storage to feel more secure with it throughout the years. That said, these were the reasons I didn’t end up with the Air version:
- Lack of MagSafe connector;
- Terrible webcam;
- The display looked a bit too small.
Last question: does this MacBook Pro have an all-day battery?
While the first batch of M1 MacBooks was praised for the everlasting battery life, I was worried that a Pro chip would consume way more energy and I would need to keep charging the Mac more than once during the day.
To my relief, the entry-level 2021 MacBook Pro holds up very well when I’m using it for the tasks I mentioned above. That said, it can last easily handle 10 hours of nonstop usage, but I do think it’s possible to stretch it a bit more than 12 hours.
Again, having both MagSafe and USB-C options to charge this machine is also a convenient experience.
Wrap up and final considerations
There’s a lot I don’t mention in this mini-review of the entry-level 2021 MacBook Pro. The reason is simple: we already reviewed this machine. If you want an in-depth look, you can find it here.
For this piece, what I’m trying to answer is whether this MacBook Pro is a good deal for a heavy (but not a pro) user. To which I say, yes, absolutely. The miniLED display with ProMotion is gorgeous. You honestly don’t even pay attention to the notch – just like when Apple introduced the iPhone X. Having more ports is great, although having a MagSafe connector is the big deal. Keyboard, trackpad, and Touch ID are reliable as ever. Last, but not least battery life is great, which works out well for me since this was another feature I really needed.
Will I change my mind when Apple releases a new MacBook Air? Maybe. But as 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 to come, the entry-level M1 Pro MacBook is more than enough.
Tweak it if you need a bit more power or storage, but heavily relying on iCloud and using only essential apps, I don’t see why I would need more RAM or storage at the moment – or in the years to come.
You can find the 2021 M1 Pro MacBook Pro here at Apple’s Amazon store.
Do you have this computer or are planning to get one? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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