Wow, just the mention of the MacBook Pro with M1 Pro Max Impressions gets me excited. It’s easy to be thrilled with the new MacBook Pros it feels like Apple finally listened to everyone and brought back the best parts of the beloved 2015 MacBook Pro while pushing the display and performance to new heights.
I know a lot of people who ordered one sight unseen; the pent-up demand for a great pro Mac laptop has been growing since Apple released the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 chips last year.
We also know a lot of people are eager to order these new MacBook Pros but have a lot of questions, so ask away in the comments and we’ll answer as many as we can in the review later this week.
MacBook Pro with M1 Pro Max Impressions
The three MacBook Pro models we have here are a silver 16-inch model loaded with a 10-core M1 Max with a 32-core GPU, 64GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage that sells for $3,899; a silver M1 Pro 16-inch with a 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage that costs $3,099; and a space gray 14-inch with the same 10-core M1 Pro with 16-core GPU, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage.
Design-wise, they’re a slightly new direction for Apple laptops the concepts are all familiar, but the execution is a little more squared off, a little thicker, a little more aggressive.
They share an overall sensibility with that 2015 MacBook Pro, with a hint of the titanium PowerBook G4 from 2001. The “MacBook Pro” name is now stamped on the bottom, along with four raised feet there was some early discussion about these feet, but in practice, they are barely noticeable.
Apple Adds Useful Ports
In a welcome move, Apple has added some useful ports back to the new MacBook Pros: gaze upon an SD card slot and an HDMI port. Other than that, you’ve got three Thunderbolt 4 ports and the MagSafe power connector.
It’s great that MagSafe is back, but I get the feeling it’s a hedge against the confusing mess of USB-C power standards: you can charge the new Pros from any of the Thunderbolt 4 ports and fast charge the 14 over USB-C, but Apple tells us you can only fast charge the 16 with the MagSafe port.
And we need to really test how fast charging works on the 16 with other USB-C adapters to make sure it works, since that’s always goofy. We’ll see.
Other Major Design
The other major design change is a personal victory: Apple finally got rid of the Touch Bar, which never really lived up to its potential, and replaced it with full-height function keys. They’re great, uncomplicated, and do exactly what you’d expect.
The TouchID button looks a lot uglier in photos, but it’s totally fine in person and seems very fast to unlock the machine. The keyboard feels great, although Apple’s claim that it feels like a mechanical keyboard is just like an idea from another dimension?
Here, in reality, it feels like a nice laptop keyboard. The most controversial thing about it in our office has been the all-black keyboard deck, which some people think will get dirty fast. So far: it hasn’t been an issue.
Testing of New Mini Led Display
According to the verge, a lot of time is going to be spent on testing the new Mini LED display that supports 120Hz refresh rates in the full review, but in early use, it looks great, with a claimed peak brightness of up to 1,600 nits in the default profile out of the box.
One nice surprise, given Apple and Google’s history of weird video codec fights: you can just open up an HDR video on YouTube in Chrome and it will work and look incredible.
It’s great. And yes, the display has a notch, which we know will be polarizing, but I very quickly stopped noticing it, just like everyone stops seeing the iPhone notch. We’ll see how I feel after another few days with this thing.
Inside the notch, there’s a new 1080p camera that takes advantage of Apple’s image processing system on its chips. It’s noticeably clearer and crisper than the miserable quality of previous Apple webcams, but it’s still a laptop webcam it’s not even close to an iPhone front camera.
The Battery Life
Apple is very proud of the fact that its chips draw so much less power than the competition, so it’s able to deliver the same performance plugged in as on battery power.