Since ‘dropping’ (that’s what the kids say, right?) my 16-inch MacBook Pro on YouTube, I’ve received several questions about its suitability as an all-round business laptop.
This is a more fascinating question than you might think.
You see, if you’re asking that question, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is probably unlike any other laptop you’ve previously used. It has a very defined audience.
But I understand why you’re rather captivated by it – even if its main task will be to help you smash through that weekly budgeting spreadsheet.
So, is it suitable as general work computer? Or will you be wasting your money?
There are a few things to bear in mind – and there might be a far more suitable alternative.
A question of power
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is far more powerful than you need it to be.
But the same goes for the 14-inch MacBook Pro, given that they’re technically the same computer, albeit with different casings.
Unless you’re delving into video editing, coding, music production, or deep and meaningful calculations, you only need the base spec. Trust me.
If this laptop is going to be your main work machine, but it’ll rarely (if ever) stray beyond the realm of Microsoft 365 and Apple Mail, you don’t need any more power than what’s on offer from the base spec.
Are you a mover?
I’m a pretty fit guy. I work out five times a week and have no problem lifting a heavy weight.
Why, then, is the 16-inch MacBook Pro such a burden for me? Honestly – it feels huge. And it isn’t, really; it’s not that much heavier or thicker than the outgoing Intel version, which I used to lug with me everywhere.
I think I’m particularly conscious of the weight this time around because I’ve been such a heavy user of the M1 MacBook Air. Stepping up from such a light, nimble laptop to the 16-inch beast is quite a jump.
The size of the 16-inch MacBook Pro might not be an issue for you. If it’s going to spend most of its time on your desk, or, like me, it’ll only travel to and from a place of work, you’ll probably be ok.
But if you’re a mover, it might be troublesome. If you’re the sort of person who loves to head down to the coffee shop to get work done, or if you spend long days out on the road dashing between meetings, this probably isn’t the laptop for you.
Go and get one in your hands at an Apple store. You’ll know if it’s for you almost immediately.
How much screen is too much screen?
I love the 16-inch MacBook Pro’s screen. Although it feels a little lost on the desk in my studio (come on, Apple – give us that lower-priced XDR display!), when working from my dining room table, it’s a joy to use.
Being that close to such an expansive laptop screen provides a video editor with such an immersive experience. And all from a single device! This is exactly why I wanted to get back into laptop editing.
However, I’m writing this guide with the assumption that you’re not a video editor. You need this thing to run your business, satisfy your boss, or make good on those promises you’ve made to clients.
Depending on the apps you use, the 16-inch screen on this laptop might actually be too big. For instance, if you do a lot of writing, you simply won’t need all of the white space it affords; in fact, this is the main reason I don’t use my 16-inch MacBook Pro for writing – it feels like complete overkill, screen-wise.
Sure, multitasking is nice on a laptop display this big, but you can also use two apps side-by-side very comfortably on the 14-inch version.
Big screens are lovely – but they do force several compromises; the biggest (if you’ll excuse the pun) being the aforementioned size of this laptop overall.
Do you just want one?
Yeah? Cool. Buy it.
Palms sweating a bit?
There might be another answer.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro comes with an equally massive price tag. It’s why you’re still researching it and pondering over whether or not to remove a significant chunk of cash from your bank balance in exchange for owning one.
I get why you want this laptop, but I also understand why you’re so hesitant to hit the ’checkout’ button. Put it this way – I probably wouldn’t buy a 16-inch MacBook Pro if I was in your position.
Instead, I’d opt for the M1 MacBook Air.
Hear me out. I know it isn’t as big, shiny, chunky, and new as the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but it is built exactly for your needs, and it’s a fraction of the cost.
Like me, you’ll fall in love with it. The first chip or dent on the casing will hurt, but become deeply characterful over time. You’ll marvel at its snappiness and how convenient the battery life is. It’ll never weigh you down, piss you off, or fail to fit on the seat tray in front of you.
I had a feeling I’d end this blog talking about the MacBook Air. Are you sure that’s not a better laptop for you?