This is the 13-inch Macbook Pro but this is no ordinary MacBook because the one that you are currently looking at is the one that’s powered by the new M1 chip.
But how’s the battery life? Is the performance okay? And most importantly, if you are someone who uses apps that are designed for x86, will Premiere Pro or Illustrator be able to run smoothly on the ARM based Apple processor?
So that is what we are going to find out on today’s video.
Alright, so before I stray too far, let me just talk about the design of the MacBook Pro and I don’t think this needs much explanation because it looks and even feels exactly the same as its predecessor.
And I think most of you guys who own a MacBook Pro or even the Macbook Air know how sturdy and premium the aluminum chassis of the Macbooks are.
This is actually my first time using a Macbook and I know I’m a bit late to the party, but Macbook’s TrackPad is one of the best I’ve used so far. The surface is so smooth and I enjoy using the gesture controls to navigate the laptop.
I used to love using the mouse to go through each tab of my computer but now even though there’s a mouse right next to me, I’ll automatically use the swipe gesture controls and that proves how good the trackpad is.
There’s also a touch bar on top of the keyboard which is also totally new to me. So what you can control depends on what you are doing on your Mac.
For instance, if you are using Safari, you can navigate each tab that you’ve opened by swiping left or right. If you are using photoshop, it will show you a bunch of editing options like layers or brushes.
So you can really customize to whatever you want the touch bar to do according to the apps that you are using. You can use familiar gestures like tap, swipe, or slide directly on the Touch Bar to adjust settings, and you can also do tasks in different apps. So it is actually pretty convenient.
The 13” Retina display is also bright and vibrant so watching videos or editing on this Macbook Pro is great and I have no complaints.
But… there is a problem.
You find out that there’s only 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left side and a headphone jack on the right. Since my MacBook Pro only comes with 256GB of storage, I need an external drive to save all of my working projects.
So if I’m charging the MacBook while working on my video project, I don’t have any extra ports to transfer files from the SD card. That is why I have to rely on a dongle whenever I am working on the M1 Macbook Pro.
Before this I used the MacBook I was on a ThinkPad X1 Extreme, and that has pretty much every port you would need. It definitely wasn’t an easy switch to make, and I really miss not having to bring a dongle everywhere I go.
Now that we’ve gone through the regular MacBook Pro stuff, let’s talk about what makes this MacBook special. So instead of using Intel processors, this time Apple is using their very own processor and here we are looking at what appears to be the M1 chip.
Unlike Intel processors that are built based on x86 architecture, the M1 chip is ARM-based.
So what this means is that M1 integrates a number of different things into a single chip and that includes the CPU, GPU, RAM, Neural Engine, SSD controller and a lot of the components which power the different features of the MacBook Pro. In other words, it’s a lot like a smartphone SOC.
And because the new M1 Macbook Pro is ARM based, it can’t run regular computer apps that are designed for x86. And that is why, Apple has built Rosetta 2. So Rosetta 2 is something like a translation tool that allows a Mac with Apple silicon to use apps built for an Intel-based Mac. Without Rosetta 2, you won’t be able to run apps like Premiere Pro, Lightroom and even games like Dota 2.
All of that sounds awesome, but if you’re a video creator that relies on x86 apps like Premiere Pro, this MacBook is probably not it. If you guys know me and have been following all of the videos that I’ve created and edited, I ALWAYS shoot in 1080p.
That’s because my previous Lenovo Thinkpad that runs on an i5 couldn’t support high resolutions and that is also one of the reasons why I switched to this M1 MacBook Pro hoping that I could start editing in 4k. Well, boy I have never been so wrong.
Editing a 4k video is just so torturous. If you guys remember I’ve actually edited Rory’s video of the MateStation S and everything was shot in 4k — the brolls, the handheld camera — basically everything is in 4k.
And once I started editing them on Premiere, the app just keeps crashing and you know how annoying it is when the rainbow wheel appears. I have to force my Macbook Pro to shut down and it really disrupts my workflow. And the moment when you try to add fancy transitions, key frames or even title cards, the whole laptop just hangs.
It’s just bad. Don’t edit videos in Premiere unless you are on a simple Full HD timeline and you did not add any motion graphics, something like an ICYMI video. The one I have here is the 8GB RAM, 256GB storage version so I am not sure if the 16GB RAM one will make a difference.
But based on the few YouTube tech reviewers that I’ve watched, the 16GB Macbook Pro doesn’t make a difference either. Editing videos on Premiere probably isn’t a good idea even though you spec the M1 MacBook Pro out. But if you are running on natively supported video editing apps like Davinci Resolve or Final Cut Pro, you should see better performance.
Other than editing videos on this MacBook, I also do play Dota 2 from time to time. I know MacBook is not meant for gaming but I thought it’ll be fun to just test them out. I can only play Dota 2 on low settings which is on 60fps. Anything above that would lag and the game would crash from time to time.
So basically the performance doesn’t really hold up since there are still a bunch of apps not supported on Rosetta 2 just yet. But Adobe did mention that they are currently working on an update to make it natively compatible with M1 devices. What’s good about the M1 Macbook Pro is its battery life.
Apple claims that this Macbook Pro has the “longest battery life ever in a Mac” and it can last up to 17 hours of web browsing and up to 20 hours of video playback.
Well in my experience, the MacBook Pro can last for around 3-4 hours on a busy day. So most of the time I do video editing, go to photoshop or maybe typing out scripts or watching videos.
But 3-4 hours is actually 3 or 4 times better than Intel MacBooks because we have 2 units of the Intel based MacBook Pros in the office and both of them could only last for 1 hour tops. But on the weekends when I am not using Premiere Pro, the MacBook Pro can last me for almost 12-13 hours on a full charge.
The M1 MacBook Pro will also heat up especially when you are running intensive tasks like Premiere Pro or Photoshop. It gets hotter when you charge it. But the good news is that even though the MacBook gets hot, it doesn’t throttle, so that’s not so bad I guess.
Besides the new processor, what’s new with the new Macbook Pro is the operating system and here we are looking at the new macOS Big Sur. One of the biggest changes in BigSur is the interface and I really like it. The interface now has a more modern and cleaner look, which makes it more convenient. But to a certain extent. Let me explain.
With BigSur, Apple has brought a couple iOS features to the MacOS interface.
For instance, the Control Center. If you are familiar with iPhones, you know you can access your WiFi, Bluetooth, AirDrop or even change the brightness and volume by swiping down the top right corner of your device.
On MacBook, you can do the same by clicking the Control Center menu which is located at the Menu Bar. But I don’t find it as useful on a Macbook as I do on an iPhone because I can access many of these things on the keyboard itself.
But I have to say, MacOS Big Sur has the biggest impact on their native Safari app. One of the biggest changes is that you can now watch 4K HDR content on both YouTube and Netflix, which is something that you could not enjoy if you are still on Catalina.
There is also something called Favicon which allows you to see a preview of a webpage when you hover your cursor over a tab.
So, is the M1 MacBook Pro for you? It’s hard to tell because personally I think the M1 Macbook Pro is for those who does more than just browsing the internet and watching videos but they are also someone who’s not like a hardcore video or graphics editior.
And if you are someone who runs Adobe apps on a daily basis, or you are someone who plays games on your Macbook, you should probably skip this one. I am not saying that the M1 Macbook Pro is bad.
What I am trying to say is that the M1 is still new and there are a lot of improvements and upgrades that Apple needs to work on. But the fact that this is a first gen processor is already pretty amazing. The battery life is superb and it is only better if you are using M1’s native apps.
The only complaint I have with the M1 Macbook Pro is support for apps like Adobe since I use them almost everyday. And who knows, in the future once Adobe can finally run natively on Macbook Pro, the performance might be better.
But what are your thoughts on this, do let me know in the comments below.