Before the new MacBook Pros go on sale, the first impressions, reviews and unpacking of the new devices went live. First impressions are overwhelmingly positive, and the editors appreciate that Apple listened to user feedback and made the changes requested. Check out our MacBook Pro review and first impressions below.
The design of the new MacBook Pros is actually reminiscent of the MacBook Pro from 2015.
In terms of design, they’re a slight new direction for Apple laptops – the concepts are all known, but the finish is a little more square, a little thicker, a little more aggressive. They share an overall sensibility with the 2015 MacBook Pro, with a touch of the 2001 Titan PowerBook G4. The MacBook Pro name is now embossed on the bottom, along with four raised feet – there was some early discussion about those feet . but in practice they are barely noticeable.
As for the notch on the display, it won’t be a problem:
And yes, the display has a notch that we know will polarize, but I really quickly stopped noticing it, just like everyone doesn’t see the iPhone notch. We’ll see how I feel about this thing after a few days.
The release has only shared its first impressions so far, so not much has been talked about performance.
Inside are Apple’s new M1 Pro and M1 Max processors, which are much more powerful versions of the M1 chip that have much more serious GPU capabilities. We do a lot of performance tests to see what happens to these chips, but now I can tell you that the 16-inch Pro with M1 Max got the fastest time ever in our Adobe Premiere 4K export test … by over a minute .
The design of the new MacBook Pros definitely stands out, especially since they are thicker and heavier than their predecessors.
The first thing you notice about the new 16-inch MacBook Pro is that it’s a bit thicker and heavier than its predecessor. And unlike some previous MacBooks, this version doesn’t try so hard to hide its size with curves and tapers. It’s proudly angular, with thicker sides for more ports and thick rubber feet on the bottom. It’s also about half a pound heavier, which isn’t peanuts. On the outside, it embodies an almost retro style, while on the inside it offers something new.
MagSafe is a useful addition:
In practice, MagSafe is as good as I remember it; The magnetic connector end, which looks very similar to the older models, clicks into place easily and stays in place unless you pull it hard.
The new FaceTime camera is superb and brings a remarkable leap in image quality.
The camera will also spoil you quickly if you’re used to the lower-resolution 720 cameras found on other Macs (and most Windows laptops, too). In our era of non-stop web meetings and remote conferencing, your webcam is important. These new laptops complement the 27-inch (Intel) iMac and the M1 24-inch iMac, as well as a few other computers like theby adding a Full HD camera with 1,080 lines of horizontal resolution. Once you have a better camera for web meetings, .
The new MacBooks are a beast when it comes to performance.
… the new Macs completed this task more than twice as fast as a standard M1-powered Mac or a 2019 MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i7 CPU and AMD Radeon 5300M graphics. On this first quick test, I didn’t see much daylight between the Pro and Max versions of the chip, but I will continue to test with more intense workloads and update these graphs as needed.
The weight and size of the new MacBook Pros are definitely noticeable.
Both notebooks still look like MacBook Pros, with slim, unibody aluminum housings. But lean in a little closer and you will notice some retro flourishes. They are a bit thicker and have more bulbous edges that are reminiscent of Apple’s notebooks from the 2000s. They’re also heavier than you’d expect: the 14-inch model weighs 3.5 pounds while the 16-inch model varies from 4.7 to 4.8 pounds depending on the chip you choose. That’s about half a pound heavier than the last 16-inch MacBook Pro.
The Liquid Retina XDR displays are a pleasure.
Really, you don’t have to think about all of the technology that goes into Apple’s Liquid Retina XDR displays, though. All you need to know is that they look incredible, with breathtaking brightness in sunny HDR scenes and deep black darkness in night shots. These aren’t OLED screens, but mini LEDs make Apple look pretty close at this level of contrast.
The notch is a worthy compromise for a better FaceTime camera.
However, I happily give up a bit of screen real estate when it means Apple can finally squeeze in a decent camera. And judging by the dozen of video calls I’ve made over the past week, this is a huge upgrade. Compared to my 2017 MacBook Pro, there is a significant leap forward in resolution, sharpness and attention to detail. And it definitely looks better than the M1 MacBook Air, which had a few tweaks but was still stuck at 720p. It would have been nice to see FaceID on the MacBook Pro, however, which would have put it on par with Windows Hello-equipped PCs. For now, you still have to rely on the TouchID sensor on the power button.
The battery life of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros is very, very impressive.
But don’t worry, the efficiency of the M1 chip’s ARM design results in great battery performance. The 14-inch MacBook Pro lasted 12 hours and 35 minutes in our benchmark, while the 16-inch MacBook lasted 16 hours and 34 minutes. That is over five hours longer than the last Intel model.
Also, check out some video unboxing and first impressions of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.
The new MacBook Pros definitely look very impressive when you ignore the blocky design and weight. Are you planning to buy one?