One Month Review of the Apple 14″ MacBook Pro M1 Pro

We all make mistakes… and I’m prepared to own up to mine.

In the summer of 2019, I purchased the 2019 16″ MacBook Pro and I was certain it was going to be my dream laptop. I was upgrading from the 2016 Touch Bar MacBook Pro which was plagued with countless keyboard issues. It seemed like a worthwhile upgrade.

The 16″ MacBook with the Intel i9 chip was a wonderful device for the relatively short timespan that I used it. Its Magic keyboard was lightyears ahead of the original 2016 butterfly keyboard.

Perhaps more than any other feature set, I was most thrilled to have the largest screen size available in an Apple laptop.

Sadly, the 16″ Apple laptop didn’t live up to be everything I thought it would be.

That’s why I have ultimately decided to sell that laptop and upgrade to the latest version:

Technical Specifications:

The MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021) Silver
Apple 8-Core M1 Pro Chip
16 GB RAM, 2 TB SSD
+ 96W USB-C Power Adapter Upgrade

This year, Apple gave consumers SO MANY choices when customizing orders.

The newest generation of laptops from Apple is a game-changer. Coming from a top-tier Apple device that isn’t all that old, you may be wondering what might warrant upgrading so soon.

Ultimately, it boiled down a few key issues that I found with my previous laptop.

10 Reasons I Upgraded to the New 2021 M1 Pro MacBook Pro

1. The Intel 16″ MacBook Gets HOT

I kid you not, something as simple as opening Google Chrome would sometimes make my old 16″ laptop’s fans rev up on high.

In the summertime, I could never use my MacBook laptop on “top of my lap” because I’d literally get burned.

The intense heat dissipation was such a huge issue that I would sometimes avoid using the computer in certain environments because I knew it would struggle, overheat, or scorch my legs.

For reference, you can see the heat via this thermal imaging gun of the Intel laptops vs the new laptops using Apple’s own silicon chips: the M1 series.

Over the past month that I’ve owned this laptop, the fans have only kicked on ONCE and even when that happened, the fans were barely audible.

That brings me to my second point…

2. The M1 Pro Chip Runs Silently

Since the Intel MacBook Pro would get very hot very quickly, naturally the fans would need to spin faster to try to cool down the device.

This would result in my 16″ laptop becoming SUPER loud.

I used to kind of laugh to myself when it’d happen because the laptop sounded just like an airplane preparing to take off whenever I’d try to open an application or export a file.

Keeping those Intel laptops cool appears to have been a difficult challenge.

The fact that Apple’s new M1 laptops all run cool and quietly is honestly one of their best improvements. For some, those improvements alone may warrant an upgrade.

My M1 Pro laptop flies through anything I throw at it. It doesn’t skip a beat, just processes smoothly straight through anything I try to create, render, or export.

Apple silicon IS the future.

3. The Magic Keyboard Is Noticeably Improved

Some people claim the magic keyboard on the 2021 laptops is the same as the previous generations.

Even though there are no definitive answers on the internet about this, I am convinced there is a difference in the mechanism. I can feel a difference!

My previous laptop had giant speaker grills and a humongous trackpad. It also had that infamous Touch Bar that I disliked seeing so much that I actually paid money for a third-party application to disable it.

The 14 MacBook keyboard replaces this Touch Bar with physical function keys that also are assigned much more useful secondary features such as Do Not Disturb, Siri, Search, and Emojis.

More than anything, I am overjoyed to have physical brightness and volume buttons again!

Another reason I am convinced this keyboard is different is that my typing speed has noticeably improved. I used to average 90-96 words per minute on my 2019 Magic Keyboard. With the 2021 Magic Keyboard, I’ve routinely retested around 100-106 words per minute as my new typing speed on this laptop.

You can take this test at 10fastfingers.com.

4. The 14″ Screen Size Is Perfect

When I purchased the 16″ laptop, I thought I was making a great decision. Prior to that upgrade, my older 2010 & 2016 MacBooks were both 13″ models.

After a few months with the 16″ laptop, I began to realize what an unfortunate trade-off I had made for screen size. The laptop was much more cumbersome and heavy to carry and move around with. It was so large, in fact, that I found myself making excuses not to take it places with me.

That is the exact OPPOSITE EFFECT of what I’d want from my main device.

Apple’s new 14″ design is the perfect compromise. I now have the original form factor that I’ve grown to love over the years with a slightly larger screen. The screen size is very comfortable to use and the laptop’s body is compact enough that I don’t mind moving around with it.

5. External Monitors Provide Additional Space

On Black Friday, I went out shopping for an external monitor.

I’ve come to realize that instead of owning a laptop with a larger screen size, it’s actually more functional to have a more portable laptop paired with a large external monitor.

You can order this external monitor on Amazon.

6. I Required Additional SSD Storage Space

The 2019 MacBook I owned had 1 TB of storage space and my SSD was 99% full. The general rule of thumb is to never fill your SSD over 75% of the total space available so I was clearly skating on thin ice.

If I didn’t do a major cleaning spree or upgrade soon, I risked running out of space any day now.

The system migration to my new MacBook took a VERY long time. It said 16 hours… and it really did take that long.

I couldn’t use the laptop the same day I got it which was really frustrating, but it forced me to exercise my patience.

I’m not sure if I did this migration in the most time efficient manner possible, but everything transferred successfully and now that I have 2 TB of super-fast SSD space to work with, my disk is only 50% full.

7. Battery Life Is Significantly Improved

The Intel MacBooks used to run out of battery life very quickly.

One of my favorite improvements is how much longer in day-to-day usage this laptop lasts over my previous one. I can move around, surf the web, and listen to music without watching my battery drop 1% per minute. I don’t even have to charge the laptop every single night anymore.

The reason I selected the 8-core version over the 10-core version is that reviews on YouTube seemed to indicate a negligible improvement with the 10-core performing single-core processing tasks which is what you typically use for day-to-day tasks.

Battery life tests indicate that battery life is better on the 8 core version!

The M1 Pro chip also showed significantly better battery life than the M1 Max chip.

8. The Return of MagSafe Charging

When Apple made the decision to remove MagSafe, I couldn’t understand why they were willing to sacrifice such a useful feature they’d developed. I was never wow’ed by USB-C even though I know most people vastly prefer it.

After Apple announced they’d be bringing back to the 2021 MacBook Pros along with maintaining the OPTION to charge via USB-C, I realized they’d finally put together the perfect charging solution.

I’ve been using MagSafe charging once again and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

9. The Speaker Sound Quality Is Awesome

Side by side, the 2019 16″ speakers still sound better than the 2021 14″ speakers.

In that sense, the speakers are not exactly an upgrade if you’re coming from the larger laptop size. So in reality, this is maybe the ONE “downgrade” if you’re downsizing from a 16″ MacBook.

However, the speakers on here are VASTLY improved over the previous 13″ generation. So much so that to the untuned ear, a person might not be able to differentiate which laptop they’re listening to. That’s to say that these 14″ devices have excellent speakers.

The 2021 14″ speakers sound excellent and the difference is so minimal that I almost don’t notice it.

10. The XDR Display Quality Is Insane

Words cannot explain how nice the Liquid Retina XDR display is. Quite frankly, it almost detracts from my external monitor’s OLED display because when I use the laptop in front of it, the difference in the quality stares me right in the face.

The picture quality on this screen is just out of this world.

It’s by far the nicest display I have ever seen on a laptop. Paired with its ProMotion refresh rate up to 120 Hz, everything looks buttery smooth and all-around amazing on it.

Also, the notch is not a problem for me, but you can download this to hide the notch if it bothers you.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re a blogger or a creative professional, I would highly recommend this laptop. I’ve yet to find anything with this particular model that I dislike… other than the price tag.

Paired with an external desktop arrangement, you can combine the laptop’s pure processing power with the flexibility to make a comfortable work station for yourself.

For most people, even just 1 TB of space is probably enough. You can order it on Amazon. If you use iCloud or another cloud storage solution, even the base 512 GB model may be enough.

Apple finally got it right this year and I’m extremely excited to see the direction they move forward in over the years to come.

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