Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Pro chip: gets the job done without slowing down

Moving away from the sleek, chic design, the Pro machine reminded me of my first encounter with a MacBook over a decade ago – the heavy, chunky machine. MacBook Pro with M1 Pro chip features a premium chassis made from 100% recycled aluminum in a linear design, and some of the must-have ports have returned. Kudos to Apple because going back to what it nearly eliminated from its machines is a bold move.

Returning ports include full-size HDMI, card slot reader, and Mag Safe 3 charging port with magnetic connector, other than Thunderbolt ports and audio port. Although the return ports are not the most advanced, they still support high-speed data transfer. I love the MagSafe connector because it prevents the laptop from falling off if it accidentally steps on the cord.

With a slight push of the cable from an angle, the magnetic connector disconnects from the machine. Additionally, there’s a small indicator light on top of the connector displaying the laptop’s charging status – orange means charging and green means full juice.

The new MacBook Pro feels large and heavy compared to last year’s 13.3-inch model – after all, its 14.2-inch screen does make it a bit wide. The screen is bright and beautiful. It has a resolution of 3024 x 1964p, with a peak brightness of 1600 nits and supports a fast display refresh rate of 120Hz. The latter is noticeable while gaming and scrolling a long page on the browser or the document. And this time, the display is not transparent because it houses a notch.

Yes, a notch similar to the iPhone but not with FaceID to unlock the machine (there is a TouchID key on the keyboard). However, the 1080p camera is a class of its own. During video calls, I looked much brighter (and less dark and grainy) compared to any other new-age machine.

While initially I was skeptical about this notch, it didn’t hamper the work. Frankly, after a few days it wasn’t even noticeable because the implementation is such that the notch is on the same line as the apple icon on the left and the settings icons including WiFi, battery, search at law.

Among the many old and new changes is the return of the function key row that replaced the TouchBar. The jury was in favor of removing the TouchBar (although some, including me, loved it) and Apple followed suit. Does it matter? Well, being addicted to the TouchBar, it took some time to adapt. But that wasn’t really a problem. Overall, the keyboard is comfortable to type on, and the trackpad is large enough to move your fingers around.

The base of the machine deserves a special mention. First for the raised feet to release heat and keep the machine cool. (Not that I encountered the MacBook Pro heating). And while the Apple logo on top is standard, there’s a nice etching at the base that subtly pronounces it’s the MacBook Pro. Nice touch, Apple.

Apple made a big bet by ditching the Intel chip and designing its silicon and it worked for Apple. After introducing the M1 chip, Apple pushed the envelope with M1 Pro and M1 Max, designed for heavy workloads like creative professionals. My review unit was the old one with the M1 Pro chip. On paper, it houses a 10-core processor with 8 performance cores and 2 efficiency cores, a 14-core GPU, and a 16-core neural engine.

Well, my daily workload is mostly documenting and spending hours video conferencing and editing a few images, and later experimenting with video editing. I had over 100 tabs open on Safari and the power-hungry Chrome browser, and yet it felt fast. Moreover, it easily managed Adobe applications. I must say that the machine seems extremely fast. I recently had to edit some videos for one of my business tech articles before sharing them with my team, and the Final Cut Pro machine handled it smoothly.

But to put this machine to the test, I invited a photographer friend who edits images and videos. The first thing he liked was the card slot, which allowed him to easily transfer data from his DSLR. He is an iMac user and was quite familiar with the ecosystem and controls. He was rather impressed with how the new machine handles the workload, including video cutting and stitching, color correction and more. Performance was top-notch and the machine handled heavy files without issue. There were no hiccups or performance issues while using this MacBook Pro.

What works in the machine’s favor is not just the power it brings to the table, but also the battery backup. Apple claims the machine can handle 17 hours of video playback or 11 hours of wireless web browsing. But what it boils down to is real-world usage, and it easily lasted my entire workday – with still some juice left.

My average work day included accessing emails on Outlook, web browsing, hours of video calls, documentation, a bit of video editing and streaming (for transcription) and l listening to music. The machine is accompanied by
Cloth-wrapped cable that looks much sturdier than regular cables, and it can be charged using the Type-C cable through the Thunderbolt port.

All in all, the MacBook Pro with M1 Pro chip is a powerful machine that can handle the workload without slowing down. Given the power onboard, this MacBook Pro is ideal for business and creative professionals, and especially for those on the go.

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