It took me a while to start missing my Intel-based 16” MacBook Pro.
After waving goodbye to it earlier this year, I was relieved to have recouped at least some of my original investment, and to be finally done with all the heat, noise, and weight that came with that machine.
I then headed deep into M1 territory with the brilliant Mac mini and what remains my favourite laptop of all time, the M1 MacBook Air.
But, after a while, I missed the ability to take a video edit downstairs to the couch, rather than being chained to the desk upon which my M1 Mac mini sits.
I now have that ability once again, thanks to the emergence of the brand-new Apple silicon powered 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Today, I’m not going to delve into the specs or raw performance of my M1 Max 16-inch MacBook Pro. That’s for later – this is all about what it’s like to live with Apple’s biggest laptop.
It’s not for everyone – trust me. Indeed, I think there are three points to consider before you opt for the 16-inch over the 14-inch.
1. The size
This is a massive laptop.
If you’re considering the 14-inch MacBook Pro, you need not worry about its size, or consider travelling to an Apple store just to get a feel for it. It’s a beautifully weighted, purposefully-designed professional laptop.
The 16-inch is another matter. As you’d expect, it’s heavier than its 14-inch sibling, but the difference is considerable.
It’ll be too much for some people. If you’re after a super-powerful MacBook Pro that will accompany you regularly on train journeys, daily trips to the coffee shop, and in-person meetings, the 16-inch will quickly become a burden.
For me, it’s perfect. As I’ve noted before, I love the new design, and I’m delighted to see Apple finally issue an apology in the form of a thicker, more practical professional laptop. The extra weight and chunkiness this about turn leaves us with is a reasonable compromise in my book.
This is made easier to bear thanks to my relatively simple remit for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. For my business, it is squarely a video and audio editing computer. This means that it only travels from my house to my studio; a journey that takes five minutes by car, seven minutes on the bike, or 20 minutes on foot.
There may be occasions in the future when I take the 16-inch to a coffee shop to finish off an edit, but now that I have a studio, this is an increasingly rare event. My travel time with this laptop is therefore extremely limited – and manageable.
My use case for the 16-inch MacBook Pro ensures that any concerns over the weight are short-lived and completely banished by the utility it offers. If your use case is different and you have even an ounce of concern about the size of this thing, go to an Apple store and get one in your hands.
2. The battery life
You know me – I don’t perform detailed, technical battery life tests on any of the devices I review. They bore me to death, and I don’t think they offer any real indication of what it’s like to live with the device in question when it comes to being away from a power outlet for extended periods of time.
A case in point: the true superstar of the M1 MacBook Air when it comes to battery life isn’t the duration you’ll get while putting it to task (although, it is brilliant in that regard) – it’s actually the standby time which still amazes me every single day; it feels like I barely put the thing on charge.
The standby time on the 16-inch MacBook Pro is equally stunning and capable of delivering a genuine quality of life improvement over laptops of old. But I’m far more impressed with its in-use time.
This is primarily because I would never have conducted battery-powered video editing sessions on my Intel 16-inch MacBook Pro. That thing would chew through the battery ridiculously fast – a fact that never surprised me, given how bloody loud and hot it got as soon as you started doing anything remotely intensive.
But this new 16-inch machine is a different animal when it comes to battery life – I rarely plug it in when working on a video edit. And it isn’t a conscious decision, either – my trust in the battery life appears to have solidified after just a few days of using the laptop.
I can now comfortably edit an entire 4K YouTube video from start to finish with plenty of battery life to spare. That is huge.
If you’re at all concerned about battery life with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, don’t be. It is epic, and we are once again entering a brand-new era of convenience, thanks to Apple silicon.
3. The notch
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is a considerable investment for anyone and any business. The gains you’ll experience from a performance standpoint are considerable, but it’s worth keeping in mind that Apple now enables us to enjoy the exact same raw power in a much smaller laptop.
It’s for this reason that I urge you to go and see one in the flesh, rather than falling for that gigantic screen and the promise of owning the most expensive and expansive laptop Apple makes.
The only exception to this rule is if your use case matches mine, because I can say without hesitation that this new 16-inch MacBook Pro fits the bill perfectly for me. It is everything I’d hoped for, and a little bit more.
But it really is an acquired taste. And no, it definitely won’t fit on an airplane meal tray.