Apple has brought bigger screens, more power, and an even higher price tag to the MacBook Pro. But with more options than ever, are the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros right for you?
Since the release of the Touch Bar MacBook Pro, Apple enthusiasts have been waiting to see what the next generation of the MacBook would bring. With the arrival of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros at the end of 2021, that call is answered.
So, is it worth it to go Pro?
What’s Your Budget?
Apple’s 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1999, and a 16-inch MacBook Pro will run you a whopping $2499. You’ll have to look at these devices as an investment.
The price of these laptops might be off-putting to many people. Thankfully, Apple does offer more budget-friendly options. For only $999 you can pick up an M1-powered MacBook Air, and the previous-generation M1 MacBook Pro is still available for $1299.
With Apple offering cheaper alternatives to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, you need a good reason to splash the cash on the latest MacBook Pro.
M1 Pro and M1 Max: Top-Tier Performance
At the heart of the 14-inch MacBook Pro is the M1 Pro chip, and inside the 16-inch model you’ll find the M1 Max. These chips are based on the M1 processor that came to the MacBook lineup in 2020, but are designed with even greater performance in mind.
The M1 chip was already a considerable step up from the Intel processors in older MacBook Pros. Even the iPad Pro with M1 ran circles around Intel i9-powered MacBook Pros. The M1 Pro and M1 Max chips take that power to new heights.
The M1 Pro and M1 Max processors are up to 70% faster than the base M1 processor. Graphics performance is even better, the M1 Pro can deliver up to twice the speed of M1, and M1 Max is up to four times faster than the base M1 in GPU speed. If speed and power are at the top of your priorities, the updated MacBook Pros will deliver.
What’s New on the Redesigned MacBook Pros?
The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are packing some serious power, but they’ve also been completely redesigned.
Bigger Display, Thin Bezels
As the name suggests, the first thing you’ll notice on the updated Pros is the bigger screen size. The MacBook Pros’ displays have grown from 13 inches and 15 inches, to packing 14-inch and 16-inch displays, respectively.
Along with the bigger display, Apple also ditched the bezels on the 14-inch screen and finally brought an edge-to-edge display to the MacBook Pro lineup. Much like the iPhone, the MacBook display features a notch at the top which houses the FaceTime HD camera.
A bigger screen means more real estate to work and play with. Although people love their ultrabooks and small form-factor laptops, many professionals swear by their big screened devices. With competitors like Dell offering laptops with 17-inch, and even larger displays, Apple had no choice but to size up.
No Touch Bar, but More Ports
If you’ve got a 2020 or older MacBook Pro, you’ll notice the Touch Bar has gone. Although the Touch Bar was a big part of Apple’s marketing for the last generation of MacBook Pros, most users didn’t find it very useful.
Lots of buyers actually opted for cheaper, Touch Bar-less models. In a rare instance of Apple actually listening to user feedback, the touch bar has made its exit… for now.
Continuing this trend of giving buyers what they want, MagSafe has made its long-awaited return to the MacBook. MagSafe is Apple’s magnetic charging connector, which quickly snaps in to charge and can quickly disconnect if it’s pulled out accidentally. This feature disappeared in the last generation of MacBook Pros, but thankfully MagSafe is back.
The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are also packing more ports than the previous generation. Older MacBook Pros were USB-C only. So if you had any accessories that weren’t USB-C, you’d need to bring along a dongle or adapter.
On the updated models, Apple actually added numerous ports back. Not only do the updated Pros have MagSafe, a headphone jack, and three Thunderbolt 4 ports, but they also feature an SD card slot and an HDMI port. Having more ports and options for connectivity means the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros work with more devices, with less hassle.
Who Are These MacBooks For?
Despite the name, the MacBook Pro hasn’t really been a “pro” device for a while now. The 14-inch and 16-inch models are looking to change that.
While older MacBook Pros were definitely nice computers, these updated models are much closer to being portable workstations. They’re designed with professionals in mind. These are devices for video editors, coders, and photographers, people who need professional-level power to get their work done.
While they have more power than ever, the updated MacBook Pros are thicker and heavier than previous models (1.6kg for the 14-inch model, 2.1kg for the 16-inch). If portability is at the top of your priorities, keep that in mind before you choose a 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro.
If you’re like most people, and are using your computer for tasks like web browsing, sending emails or online shopping, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros might be overkill. While it’s always nice to have a device with more power, you can save money and get a much more portable device by choosing a MacBook Air instead.
But, if your workflow involves editing 4K video, rendering 3D graphics, or working on a world-changing app, you’ll really see the power of the updated MacBook Pros shine.
Should You Wait Before Buying an Updated MacBook Pro?
The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros might be the devices you’ve been waiting for. But, should you wait a little longer?
M1 has become the new standard for laptop performance, but it’s been out since 2020. Rumors are on the horizon about the next generation of Apple silicone: M2. While Apple has still been silent on the exact details of its next processor, if M1 is anything to go from, it could be mind-bendingly fast.
Even if the updated MacBook Pros has enough power for you, it’s paired with a very steep price tag. While a brand-new MacBook Pro is always going to be expensive, Apple usually continues to sell older models for a reduced price.
For those who want the latest MacBook Pro design, but aren’t ready to drop $2000 on one, it may make more sense financially to wait and pick up a 2021 model when it’s on sale.
Are the 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pros Right for You?
For a while, Apple seemed to be taking the less-is-more approach to the MacBook Pro: reduced weight, fewer ports and less connectivity. Apple completely changed course with 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.
The updated MacBook Pro is a blend of both new and old. It pairs a larger, edge-to-edge display with a chunkier design that’s a throwback to classic MacBooks. Inside that new body are the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, which bring unrivalled power to the MacBook Pro.
However, all of that comes with a high price tag. Starting at $1999, and $2499, these devices are for those with the money to invest in Apple’s latest and greatest. They’re definitely not for everybody, but for those who need the best, and are willing to pay for it, there’s no choice but to go Pro.