I was jet-lagged and beyond tired when I ordered my 16-inch MacBook Pro.
I knew I had to get one, though. Reviewing Apple’s biggest and most expensive laptop wasn’t an option; it was a necessity for my YouTube channel.
Having waved goodbye to my Intel 16-inch MacBook Pro back in April, I was also pretty desperate to get back into the laptop video editing game (albeit without the ever-present danger of singeing my important man equipment).
Despite this need and want, purchasing the big boy MacBook Pro was still pretty nerve-wracking. It is a lot of money to spend on a laptop, no matter its intended use.
For me, it was entirely a business investment; I rarely use my Macs outside of work. But it’s still a sizeable chunk of cash to remove from your business account.
I’m glad I did, though. Because the 16-inch MacBook Pro has transformed my business for two very specific reasons.
Specs do matter. Benchmarks are important to some people. But for me, the best tech is the tech that takes you by surprise.
The M1 Mac mini is a great example of this. Right up to the point I stopped using it as my main video editing machine, it would surprise me on a daily basis. The speed with which it would undertake complex video-related tasks was astonishing, given its price and relatively modest spec.
The fact it did so without ever kicking in the fans or getting remotely hot was the icing on the cake.
My 16-inch MacBook Pro is just the same. The difference is, of course, the sizeable outlay required for this particular machine, but what you get in return is effortlessness that is on an entirely different level.
As superb as that Mac mini was, I still had to wait for it to do stuff. Rendering a 20-minute piece of 4K colour-graded a-roll would give me enough time to make a coffee before diving into the edit.
I’ve carried that mindset over to the 16” MacBook Pro, but with the M1 Max now doing the rendering, I barely have time to swivel from my chair before it’s done.
There’s no waiting around; this thing just smashes through every task I throw at it.
As a video creator, this really is transformative. I’ve run tests previously that have revealed how much faster the M1 Max is versus the M1 Pro and M1, but those are just numbers. As I’ve always said, it’s how this stuff performs day-to-day that matters.
I’ve never owned such a powerful computer. More importantly, I’ve never owned a computer with this much power that can be used all day without ever being plugged in.
This brings me to my next point.
Living the battery life
On Wednesday this week, I headed to the studio with my fully charged 16-inch MacBook Pro. I then spent a full day using it, without ever reaching for the charging brick.
This involved some audio editing in Logic Pro, a full edit of my weekly newsletter in Final Cut Pro (plus the subsequent uploading and publishing), several Teams calls, a fair amount of writing, time spent in both Lightroom and Photoshop working on blog header images and YouTube thumbnails, and a bunch of work in Excel spreadsheets.
Most of the aforementioned apps were left open all day, all at the same time.
By the end of the day, there was about 20% left in the tank. But more importantly, I totally forgot that it wasn’t plugged in. There wasn’t a moment where I glanced at the battery status indicator or had my work interrupted by the dreaded “plug your Mac in soon or you’ll lose everything” message.
This is what freedom feels like for a video editor. I know that I can take this laptop anywhere and not worry about the battery, whatever I’m doing.
I’ve written far too much about the battery performance of the 16-inch MacBook Pro, and if you’re bored of my ramblings, I’m sorry – this will be the end of it. I promise.
But I can’t stop thinking about the fact I never think about it.
One last thing…
I lied. There are actually three things that have enabled this MacBook Pro to transform my business.
That SD card slot is an absolute dream.
I record both audio and video to SD cards, and the ability to simply slip those cards into the side of the MacBook Pro and transfer files super-fast is more useful than you might think.
The only time I reach for a dongle these days is to transfer images from my Compact Flash card (and that’s only because the SD card slot in my Canon 5D mkiii is broken).
The SD card slot on the new MacBook Pro is the perfect example of a small change (or, in this case, a huge backtrack) that makes a world of difference.
I’m curious – have you got a new 16-inch MacBook Pro? If so, has it transformed your working life for good or worse? Get involved in the comments!