I’ve decided to sell my 16” MacBook Pro.
I’m going to miss it – big time. It was, after all, the most expensive Mac I’ve ever bought, and it was purchased at a time when my business was growing and becoming more demanding on the type of creative work required.
Then, I bought an M1 Mac mini. And I’ve only given that poor 16” MacBook Pro fleeting glances ever since.
I’ve noticed a number of people doing the exact same thing. In fact, if you watch any of the big tech YouTubers (I’m not counting myself amongst them, in case you’re wondering), you’ll invariably spot an M1 device of some description acting as their daily driver, in place of their previous 16” MacBook Pro.
How is this possible? My M1 Mac mini was around £2,400 cheaper than my 16” MacBook Pro, but the latter is exiting my studio stage left.
Here’s why I and so many others are waving goodbye to that beast of a laptop.
I can’t tell the difference during video editing
I’ve mentioned this a few times, but it bears repeating: using the M1 Mac mini to edit videos feels identical to the 16” MacBook Pro.
My Mac mini is the 16GB version with a 512GB SSD. My 16” MacBook Pro is the i9 8-core version with 32GB of RAM and the best graphics card that was on offer back in 2019.
In fact, the only difference between the two machines while editing 4K video in Final Cut Pro is the MacBook’s astronomically loud fan noise and heat generation (I’ll get to that later). By comparison, the M1 Mac mini is silent and as cool as a cucumber. Literally.
This alone is reason enough to ditch the MacBook Pro. I just don’t need it anymore for the most intensive work I undertake. I genuinely didn’t expect that to happen.
The day-to-day performance speaks for itself
The M1 Mac mini is just such an easy computer to use. It breezes through my daily workload.
This makes it an equally easy computer to fall in love with. I think I’ve seen the dreaded beachball once and there’s no waiting for most apps to load (if you’ve got an M1 Mac, marvel at how quickly the settings window appears after clicking the gear icon – seriously, try it).
The M1 Mac mini is the first computer I’ve owned which doesn’t feel like it could ever bottom out and demand a restart (or undertake one itself without warning).
When you rely on any device to be productive and profitable, this kind of performance is absolute gold dust.
It doesn’t make a sound
As much as I reveled in the power and incredible headroom offered by the 16” MacBook Pro, it had one huge usability issue, which I simply hadn’t considered before buying it.
Put it to work – and by that, I mean any form of a mildly processor-intensive task – and it sounds like an aircraft heading down the runway. The fans spin up to full RPM and, worse, the chassis gets incredibly hot. In fact, it’s so hot just above the Touch Bar that you can barely touch the metal.
By comparison, the M1 Mac mini doesn’t make a sound. I’ve never heard the fan spin up, nor does it ever appear to raise its temperature. This is deeply impressive and reveals just how much those MacBook Pro cases are struggling to keep thermal performance under control.
It matters, too. I don’t want a computer that makes more noise than the ambient sound in the room – particularly if I’m editing video or audio.
We’re looking at two very different computers here with specific use cases – I get that. But the Mac mini’s crowning glory has always been its form factor.
It’s tiny. It’s also square and stackable, so you can literally pop it anywhere on your desk without fear of it taking over your workspace.
The 16” MacBook Pro is a big laptop. It’s wonderful having a screen of that size on a laptop, but the overall package is cumbersome, no matter where you place it. Even when docked sideways, it feels unwieldy.
There is so much value on offer
I viewed my 16” MacBook Pro as a business investment. Has it paid me back? Only just, if I’m honest. But the M1 Mac mini paid me back handsomely within the first month of ownership.
That’s the other crowning glory for the Mac mini; it has always been one of the most affordable points of entry into the macOS ecosystem. The additional cost of adding a 34” widescreen monitor, mechanical keyboard, and Logitech mouse hasn’t phased me either; it’s still an incredibly cost-effective package.
With a machine like the 16” MacBook Pro, you really need to spec it up to get the best out of it. It reminds me of an Audi; opting for the base spec A5 is always going to leave you wanting due to the number of missing features, whereas if you opt for a Ford, you’ll get practically every modern convenience without paying a premium for it. That’s what the M1 Mac mini feels like.
So, what do I miss about the 16” MacBook Pro?
For all its lumbering form factor issues and relentless sweatiness, I do miss using that laptop, and I have a feeling that parting with it is going to be pretty tough.
But it needs to go. I have lots of thoughts about Apple’s use of the word ‘Pro’ these days, but my experience with the M1 Mac mini has revealed that I no longer need a Mac with that word plastered onto the tail end of its name.
I’ll miss the 16” screen (despite my new-found love for ultra-widescreen monitors)… and that’s it, if I’m honest. The M1 performance – both in terms of raw power and thermal efficiency – makes the 16” MacBook Pro feel poorly engineered. It’s a computer that is entirely at odds with its internals; macOS appears to be fighting with the hardware. That’s not fun.
What Apple does next with the MacBook Pro will be fascinating, but for now, this Mac mini is my new pride and joy.