I’m going to level with you, guys.
I’m halfway through a day out in London working on my Google Pixel 7 review and I really, really want to frisbee my 16-inch MacBook Pro into the River Thames.
I’ll level with you again. That laptop isn’t the only thing in my backpack. I also have a Sony FX3 camera, mini tripod, iPad Air with Magic Keyboard, a change of clothes and a bunch of charging cables.
However, combined, this stuff isn’t actually that heavy. The FX3 is one of the lightest full-frame ‘cinema’ cameras on the market, the mini tripod is barely there, and the iPad Air isn’t what I’d call a beast. But when you combine that lot with the 16-inch MacBook Pro, boy is it a heavy backpack.
So heavy, in fact, that I’m reconsidering my laptop choices going forward.
The London backbreaker
I’m starting to undertake more travel for the Mark Ellis Reviews channel. Whether it’s heading to London to put some real effort into a smartphone review or jumping on a plane to Amsterdam next week for a day out with JBL, I’m finally breaking free of the studio.
I love travelling and feel very fortunate to combine it with a job I love just as much. The challenge, however, is the tech I end up taking with me; it always feels like I’m overdoing it.
I’m often filming myself while travelling and I’m a bit of a camera snob, hence the presence of the FX3 rather than relying on my smartphone. I also write while on the road (as I’m doing now in a lovely coffee shop in the centre of London’s financial district), so a convenient writing tool needs to accompany me, too.
With so many videos being worked on (often concurrently) I also need to be able to dive into edits here and there, which is where the 16-inch MacBook Pro comes in. And where all the problems start.
I went for the big boy MacBook mainly because of that screen, which remains utterly wonderful for on-the-go editing. There’s just a serious trade-off when it comes to portability.
I’ve been informed by certain cretinous YouTube commenters that I need to “go to the gym” if I think this laptop is heavy. Trust me, when you’ve spent all day walking around with this thing glued to your back, it’s anything but light – gym or no gym.
It’s also inconveniently huge when attempting to dig into an edit at venues with smaller tables or while travelling in normal-class train carriages.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is a massive computer. End of story.
The sheer size of the thing also makes it incredibly inconvenient for on-the-go writing, hence the inclusion of the iPad Air in my backpack.
So, where do we go from here?
I should reiterate that I think the 16-inch MacBook Pro is a wonderful laptop. Mine is more powerful than I need it to be, which provides wonderful peace of mind for a return on investment over multiple years of use.
However, I spent some time with the 14-inch version last year, and I often think about its ‘sling-under-the-arm’ convenience. Sure, it doesn’t have the expansive 16-inch screen, but you can place it on most tables and use it to bash out a few hundred words wherever you happen to be.
The timing of this revelation is rather convenient. We’re approaching (possibly) a bunch of new Mac releases from Apple, one of which is likely to be a new M2-powered MacBook Pro.
I’ll be checking these new devices out for review purposes, but with my back sweating from lugging around my beastly 16-inch (laptop) today, I’m wondering if it’s time to cut ties and make the switch.
What are the downsides of doing so? That return on investment takes a hit, and I lose the bigger screen. Although, at the moment – and with the Thames in clear view – I’m willing to make those sacrifices.
Final Cut Pro. On the iPad. PLEASE.
This conundrum has reignited a desire I’ve had for a long time, which is to witness the appearance of Final Cut Pro on the iPad Pro.
This would solve all of my issues. With that option in my backpack, I’d only have needed to bring my iPad Pro with me to London this week, which would have saved all kinds of back problems in later life.
As I’ve noted previously, there are a couple of non-negotiables if Apple is indeed working on an iPadOS version of Final Cut Pro. Firstly, it needs to be the full version with absolutely no corners cut at all. If they skimp on features in any area, it’s a no-go, immediately; I need to switch seamlessly between edits on the Mac and iPad.
Secondly, the transition between operating systems on Final Cut Pro can’t be a heavy lift. This is a tricky problem to solve, I know – Final Cut Pro library files get unreasonably large and cumbersome, therefore the thought of somehow synchronising them between devices is rather unpalatable.
These are challenges I’m sure Apple is working on and I remain hopeful that we’ll see Final Cut Pro on the iPad Pro.
Or maybe I’m living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.
I’m curious – if you’re the current owner of a 16-inch MacBook Pro, do you regret the decision at all? Have you encountered similar back-breaking days as I have?
If that’s the case, are you eyeing up the 14-inch version for your next laptop? Or am I overreacting here?
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