When Apple first announced the first ARM-based chip called Apple Silicon, codenamed the M1, I was surprised. The performance it offered was supremely amazing. Fast forward for another year, Apple then released the new generation of MacBook Pro. This new generation of MacBook Pro is what I’ll consider being the first real MacBook “Pro” laptop – made for professionals.
So, the laptop we have here is the base model 14-inch Apple MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro with a slight upgrade to 32GB of RAM and that’s about it.
Let’s just get into it – what makes this laptop a true “Pro” laptop? It’s a culmination of a few things, actually. But of course, there are a few… quirks.
That amazing screen
The first thing that makes this laptop “Pro” is that screen. I think most of the cost for this laptop comes from the screen itself. It’s using a mini LED screen. It comes with a 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR screen with 3024×1964 in resolution. Plus, it can also go up to 120Hz refresh rate too.
Cutting through all the extravagant bombastic names – that means this MacBook Pro is using a mini LED screen. This isn’t the first time we’ve encountered a mini LED display in a laptop too, by the way.
Mini LEDs come with the advantages of both improved contrast, black levels, and also improved brightness. I mean, if I am to compare with any displays with the conventional LED backlighting – it’s a big difference. Mini LEDs actually look a lot more like OLED but without the burn-in issue, which is excellent for desktops and laptops.
With that brightness and contrast means that HDR on the MacBook Pro 14 looks amazing. What makes this display special is how Apple utilizes the display tech with Mac OS. I mean, by default, it’s already using Apple XDR Display preset. But, I didn’t realize I was already using the display in HDR mode. But once I open up a HDR video on YouTube, that segment of the video’s brightness immediately shot up, signifying that HDR is indeed working.
And of course, such a magnificent display means that its brightness levels and color accuracy is just unparalleled. It is perfect for all sorts of content creation – ranging from video to photo, and even audio, since the speakers are great.
Back to the display – the bezels are tiny. This is the tiniest bezels that I’ve seen on a laptop so far, and I’m absolutely impressed by what Apple has done. Of course, there are some cropped pixels too. Like how all 4 corners are rounded, hence cutting out some usable pixels.
And of course – that notch. Yeah, that notch is pretty pointless since there is no Face ID like the iPhones. I guess that is why this display is actually a little taller than a 16:10 aspect ratio – just to compensate for that notch.
But within this notch, it has a 1080p webcam. When paired with the microphones in this laptop, I actually enjoyed doing calls and meetings with this laptop using just the loudspeakers and built-in microphone.
Apple Silicon’s M1 Pro chipset
Of course, we’ll also need to talk about the chipset. The Apple M1 Pro is much more powerful than the original M1 on paper. It supports more CPU cores, more GPU cores, and also more RAM and storage.
But that’s not all. What makes the M1 Pro more “professional” is the media engine. Having hardware-level H.264, H.265 (a.k.a. HEVC), ProRes, and ProRes RAW alongside video encoding and decoding engines, Premiere Pro ran extremely smoothly. Scrubbing through videos is just so damn smooth!
I’m not going to go in-depth about the M1 Pro chip today since it is a massive topic of its own in terms of both performance and power efficiency. As a summary right now, I use the M1 Pro MacBook Pro 14 to edit videos using Premiere Pro. I using MOGRTs a lot and compared to my desktop with this list of specs, this laptop can perform just the same at only a fraction of the power.
However, I am not entirely happy with one thing. You see, the new Apple Silicon computers are essentially embedded systems, everything is soldered onto the motherboard. The RAM and even the SSD are soldered onto the motherboard. Nothing is user-serviceable – except for cleaning the fan. I think that we users should at least be able to swap out the SSD – for longevity’s sake.
And we should also talk about the ports. Somehow, Apple, who robbed us of our beloved ports, decided to give us back some ports alongside the new MagSafe.
I am absolutely in love with the new MagSafe 3 though – particularly the cable. This new cable is USB-C to that iconic magnetic head – but that’s where things get interesting.
I can plug in the MagSafe 3 cable to the Ugreen 100W GaN charger and charge the MacBook instead of using the included charger. I can also buy the MagSafe 3 cable only, so I can use the MagSafe 3 cable with something like my USB-PD power bank.
Fun fact – even though the MacBook Pro 14 comes included with a 67W charger, this laptop actually is able to accept more than 67W of power. That means it can charge even quicker than the stock charger.
Other things worth highlighting
This MacBook Pro 14 comes with a pretty okay keyboard but I don’t like the smoothness of the keycaps and I also do not know why the entire top row of the keyboard is a lot taller.
However, I’m not sure if it’s only happening on our unit or what but there are some inconsistencies when it comes to the keycaps. Some are tilted and some are not, hence having backlight bleed on some keys.
It’s not a big deal to me, but annoying for sure.
As for the trackpad is the same as ever, so don’t fix what works, I guess.
The boxier design with rounded corners on this laptop is also loved by many – me included. I think it just fits the aesthetics as it does seem to be playful while being serious at the same time.
Just don’t mind the shiny look on our particular unit, though. I bought a sticker for this laptop and the product listing seems fine… but it’s actually shiny AF when I got it. The laptop looks like it’s covered in glitter now.
Should you buy the M1 Pro Apple MacBook Pro 14?
For the starting price of RM8,799, the M1 Pro MacBook Pro 14 is certainly not something that everyone should go out and buy. Considering everything that Apple packed in here – the magnificent mini LED display, the performance coming out of the M1 Pro chip, and also the unparalleled battery life and efficiency – I actually think it’s worth the price if you can make use of what it offers.
Where to buy? (Affiliate links)
If you need to upgrade the MacBook Pro (like how we added RAM) then please head over to apple.com to customize your order instead.