Here’s a non-pro look at how the new 14″ MacBook Pro stacks up

In November, Apple introduced the MacBook Pro 2021. Available in two sizes (14 and 16 inches), the company also introduced two new chips, the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. While I thought this new Mac would be overkill for me – I needed the ports, ProMotion, miniLED or the Processor not – 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 settled on the latter. Here is my review of this computer from a serious but non-professional user perspective.

First impressions of the design of the MacBook Pro 2021

At first glance, I wasn’t a big fan of the notch on the MacBook Pro. I also thought the all black keyboard was weird when I saw it in the store. Also, I really loved the Touch Bar (for all the wrong reasons – it’s so convenient to send emojis with it). But as the days go by I’m just super in love with this new design.

Going from 16″ to 14″ isn’t a big deal. The screen is large enough for me to have two Safari windows open and working side by side. Not only that, but weight was also a big factor in my decision, and the 14-inch is a lot lighter than my previous Intel Mac.

I find the keyboard and trackpad very reliable, Touch ID always works well and I’m really excited about 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 Intel Mac is that I stumbled over the charger and completely destroyed the computer. The new MacBook Pro adds the MagSafe connector back, 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?

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As I told you at the beginning of the article, I was between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. The difference is massive: the MacBook Air has 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, while the M1 Pro Mac has 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD.

If Apple had already introduced the rumored new MacBook Air, I probably would have gone for it instead, but between these two existing models, I decided it was worth spending an extra $1,000 to get the latest and greatest technology with the new MacBook to have pro.

I’m not a pro user, but I’m a heavy user. For that reason, I recommend Jeff Benjamin’s 2021 MacBook Pro review (if you want to talk specs). Here I want to give you the perspective of 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, needless to say, everything works like a breeze for this powerful computer. Not only that, it’s also very quiet, doesn’t get hot (at least for these tasks) and opens everything in a snap.

It’s important to say that I’m pretty sure I could do the same thing with the M1 MacBook Air, but I’d probably upgrade it with double the RAM and storage to feel more confident with it over the years. That said, these were the reasons I didn’t end up with the Air version:

  • Old design;
  • Missing MagSafe port;
  • Terrible webcam;
  • The display seemed a bit too small.

Last question: Does this MacBook Pro have an all-day battery?

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While the first batch of M1 MacBooks were praised for their never-ending battery life, I was concerned that a Pro chip would use a lot more power and I’d have to charge the Mac more than once a day.

To my relief, the entry-level 2021 MacBook Pro holds up very well when I use it for the above tasks. That means it can easily endure 10 hours of continuous use, but I think it’s possible to stretch it a little more to 12 hours.

Again, having both MagSafe and USB-C options for charging this device is a handy experience.

Conclusion and final thoughts

There’s a lot I’m not going to mention in this mini review of the entry-level 2021 MacBook Pro. The reason is simple: we have already tested this machine. If you want a deeper look, you can find it here.

In this article, I try to answer whether this MacBook Pro is a good deal for a heavy (but not professional) user. To that I say yes, absolutely. The miniLED display with ProMotion is beautiful. They honestly don’t even pay attention to the notch – just like when Apple introduced the iPhone X. Having more ports is great, although a MagSafe connector is the big deal. The keyboard, trackpad, and Touch ID are reliable as always. Last but not least, the battery life is great, which works well for me as this was another feature I really needed.

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Will I change my mind when Apple releases a new MacBook Air? Perhaps. But since we can’t predict when or what exactly this MacBook Air will offer, I can say that for now, if you need a machine and want it to last for years, I can say that the entry-level M1 Pro MacBook is more than enough.

Tune it up if you need a bit more performance or storage but rely heavily on iCloud and only use essential apps. I don’t see why I should need more RAM or storage right now – or in the years to come.

You can find the 2021 M1 Pro MacBook Pro here in Apple’s Amazon Store.

Do you own this computer or plan to buy one? Do share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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