Apple MacBook Pro 14 with M1 Pro review, what a pleasure!

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After almost a month of use, here I am ready to tell you what my experience was with the new one MacBook Pro 14 from Apple . Announced at the beginning of October, the new notebooks of the bitten apple are products that look decisively towards the future, winking at the past. Alongside the new Apple Silicon platforms and the Liquid Retina XDR display with Mini LED backlighting, we find the return of HDMI and the SD reader, but also a design that recalls that of the old PowerBook G4.

An almost perfect mix of innovation and tradition which led to a device that, under different views, has no equal within the international notebook market. From the first start up, I had the impression that I was dealing with a machine capable of offering a user experience of the highest level at 360 degrees. But let’s not get lost in small talk.

SUMMARY

DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION AND MATERIALS

Just unboxed this new MacBook Pro 14 immediately offers a feeling totally different from the Pro 13 which I used until a few days ago. The design is as always extremely sober and clean but the new lines decidedly less angular help to make the new Apple laptops seem much more bulky than they really are. Do you think that even the new Pro 14 is very slightly thinner than the MacBook Pro 13 with M1. We are talking about fractions of a millimeter but the sensation to the sight is opposite.

The larger display instead obliges to have a width and depth of about one centimeter greater . Nothing to worry about, indeed, to be a 12 inches the size is adequate. But I will tell you more, even the weight seems to be greater than what we then read on the data sheet . We are talking about 1.6 kg, which are not few but at first glance they seem much more.

Merit of the structure in extremely solid and compact aluminum. When we lift the new MacBook Pro 14 seems to be holding a solid, sturdy and absolutely rigid metal plate in your hands. A feeling that we also find in everyday use and deliberately going to tread the hand on the palm rest and keyboard. The feature that will really leave you speechless is the resistance. display panel . If you happen to have one in your hands, try flexing it and you will be amazed by how solid it is. Beyond the weight, which however you get used to quickly, I can safely say that the build quality is out of the question and as always it remains one of the best notebooks from this point of view.



Since I’ve already mentioned something to you on its rigidity let’s go into the details of the keyboard for a moment. Let’s talk about one of the most comfortable keyboards among all those I have tried to date . The layout is typical of the latest MacBooks but the key travel is a little bit deeper. I like the feedback, the force required to press the keys is correct and the click is quite muffled but still easily perceptible. Then the TouchBar disappears and has been replaced by a series of physical buttons. I have never been a great admirer of the TouchBar and therefore I do not particularly miss it but, at the same time, I also understand the resentment of some users who, in this way, lose some shortcuts and the ability to customize the layout.

The physical key remains with the sensor for fingerprint recognition who always does his job flawlessly. On the other hand, FaceID is largely absent; apparently the notch is not enough to contain the sensors needed to implement it.



As anticipated in the introduction, those announced last month are the MacBooks that in some ways we could define “back to the future”. After a few years of absence, in fact, a series of doors that had been eliminated return. Let’s talk in detail about the HDMI and the SD card reader that characterize the right side of the solution and are accompanied by a USB-C with Thunderbolt support. The left side offers two other USB-Cs, also Thunderbolt, the audio jack and the Magsafe connector for charging, another great return.

Two notes about this provision of doors. The HDMI is 2.0 only and the SD reader is a UHS II . It could have been done better? Probably yes but as it was conceived, this is the only possible solution. The two instruments in fact replace the fourth Thunderbolt port and, in fact, share the bandwidth left free by the latter. So you understand how it would have been impossible to do more.

However, there are still some important additions, which for some users represent a real turning point in the user experience. Can we then ditch our USB-C adapters and dongles? Absolutely not, if you need an ethernet port or a Standard USB there are no alternatives. But let’s say that forgetting them will be less serious than before.

DISPLAY AND AUDIO

And here we are talking about one of the most interesting innovations of the new MacBook Pro: the display. In our case we are talking about one screen from 14 inches diagonal offering a resolution of 3024 x 1964 pixel and a dynamic refresh rate, known under the commercial name of Pro Motion, which allows you to reach a refresh rate of 120 Hz. But it does not end there, the real highlight of this display is certainly the technology used for the backlight.

We are in fact facing a Mini LED panel that is in able to guarantee very high performances in terms of luminance and, at the same time, depth of blacks. Although it is not an OLED panel, in fact, the Mini LED technology, by turning off the LEDs in correspondence with the dark areas, allows at the same time to have a high luminance and almost absolute blacks.



Apple declares 1. 600 peak nit and 1. 000 constant nits for this panel . These are numbers that are reflected in the measurements we have made. Using the Apple XDR mode, a maximum of 1 can be recorded. 580 cd / mq, while the HDR Video mode, which is also the most accurate from the point of view calibration results in 1. 000 constant nits across the entire panel for a basically unlimited period of time.

But it doesn’t end there, as just mentioned the HDR Video mode also offers an excellent white balance, with Delta E mediums excellent for both grayscale and colors . Goodness of the panel and calibration which are then confirmed by the practically complete coverage of the P3 color space.



The only drawback, in my way to see, is given by the presence of the notch that, although the applications and software can be optimized to ensure that it does not interfere with our use, it is still there in the middle that looks at us and gets noticed, you can’t say no, going a little bit to ruin the harmony of the design. Notch that contains the sensor of the webcam that offers a resolution of 1080 for a quality that finally greatly improves performance compared to previous generations but also to most of the other notebooks on the market.



A display of the highest quality therefore, flanked by an equally good speaker set , very good indeed. We are talking about a system consisting of a total of 6 speakers, two of which are tweeters and four woofers that reflect the force canceling technology seen on board the previous MacBook Pro 16. Basically the 4 woofers are positioned coupled in the opposite direction to make sure that the vibrations are canceled, obtaining a deep but extremely clean sound.

The result is a full-bodied but at the same time sharp and extremely clean sound on the highs and mids, with well-present bass despite the difficulties due to the little space available and the consequent small size of the woofer cone. There is very little to say, it is undoubtedly the best audio you can find on a notebook and marks what we could call a new reference in the sector.

I close with certainly not a small detail: the audio jack that we find on board the latest generation MacBook Pro supports high impedance headphones thanks to a load detection system and automatic adjustment of the output power. Basically, if you connect headphones with an impedance lower than 96 ohm, the headphone jack provides up to 1, 25 V RMS. For headphones with an impedance of 150 to 1. 000 ohm , the headphone jack provides 3V RMS. Thanks to this system, in some cases it will be possible to eliminate the use of a dedicated amplifier.

HARDWARE AND PERFORMANCE

Let’s talk about what is hidden inside the shell of these MacBooks. The model in my hands is the basic one and is therefore equipped with Apple Silicon M1 Pro SoC with 8-core CPU , 6 high performance and 2 high efficiency, GPU a 14 core, 16 GB of RAM and one SSD from 512 GB offering speeds of reading and writing higher than 5. 000 Mb / s.

Obviously I couldn’t avoid opening it and I must admit that the architecture of this notebook is really fantastic , inside the body order reigns supreme and you have the feeling of being in front of a product made with care from every point of view. Too bad that none of the components are accessible for an upgrade, but I would not have expected anything different.

MACBOOK PRO DATA SHEET 14

  • SoC: M1 Pro with 8-core and GPU 14. core; M1 Pro with CPU 10 – core and GPU 14 – core; M1 Pro with CPU 10 – core and GPU 16 – core; M1 Max with CPU 10 – core and GPU 24 – core; o M1 Max with CPU 10 – core and GPU 32 – core
  • Screen : Liquid Retina XDR from 14, 2 “(diagonal); native resolution 3024 × 1964 to 254 pixels per inch.

    XDR (Extreme Dynamic Range Constant brightness (full screen) up to 1. nit, brightness of picc or 1. 600 nit. Contrast 1. 000. 000: 1. 1 billion colors, wide color gamut (P3), True Tone technology, ProMotion technology with adaptive refresh rate up to 120 Hz (fixed refresh rates: 47, 95 Hz, 48, 00 Hz, 50, Hz, 59, 94 Hz, 60, 00 Hz ).

  • Memory:

    • 16 / 32 / 64 GB of unified memory (64 GB only by choosing the SoC M1 Max)

    • 512 GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB or 8TB

  • Connectivity : SDXC card slot, HDMI port, 3.5mm headphone jack, MagSafe 3 port, three Thunderbolt 4 (USB ‑ C), DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 4 ports (up to 40 Gbps), USB 4 (up to 40 Gbps), Wi-Fi 6 802. 11 ax compatible with IEEE 802. 11 a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 5.0

  • Battery and power supply : up to 17 hours of movie playback on the Apple TV app, up to 11 hours of wireless web browsing, lithium polymer battery from 70 watt hour, USB-C power adapter from 61 W (included for M1 Pro with CPU 8 ‑ core), USB ‑ C power adapter from 94 W (included for M1 Pro with CPU 10 – core or M1 Max; optional for M1 Pro with 8-core CPU), USB-C to MagSafe 3 cable, fast charging with USB-C power adapter 96 W

  • Camera : FaceTime HD a 1080 p, advanced ISP processor with computational video

  • Audio : six-speaker hi-fi sound system with force-canceling woofer, wide stereo sound, spatial sound supported when playing music or video in Dolby Atmos with built-in speakers, spatial sound with dynamic head position detection when using AirPods ( third generation), AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, three microphones in professional-quality array, with high signal-to-noise ratio and beamforming dire 3.5mm headphone jack with advanced support for high impedance models

  • Operating system : macOS Monterey

  • Dimensions and weight : 1, 55 cm high, 31, 26 cm wide, 22, 12 cm deep. 1, 61 kg

How are MacBook Pro and especially M1 Pro doing? Great, and there would be very little to say except that probably the power of these platforms is even too much for the 95% of users . As I told you in the content published last week, in everyday use it is basically wasted. If yours is mainly domestic use, or let’s say standard business, you can easily save at least 1. 000 euro and get off to a MacBook Air or Pro with standard M1.

In general I can however tell you that taking this MacBook to the limit is no small feat . To reach the maximum load I had to launch a render with Premiere Pro of a video in 4K with color correction and various graphic elements and at the same time start two conversions with HandBrake. Basically an operation that probably no one would dream of doing in everyday life.



Even in these conditions, however, keeping an eye on the values ​​recorded by the various sensors inside the body never goes beyond 70 degrees with an average that is slightly higher than 60 and fans running just above the 2500 rpm always maintaining an unknown silence to many competitors . The latter are activated only above the 50 degrees e therefore in everyday use, where you never go beyond 40, remain basically always off. In terms of consumption, on the other hand, we have a peak of 50 W at maximum load with an average, always during the stress test, between 40 and i 45 W.

It is not a novelty but certainly the unified memory and the bandwith up to 200 GB / s are one of the elements that make these SoCs unique and contribute in a fundamental way to raise performance to these levels. This was already the case on M1, as widely explained in the MacBook Air review, and it is still the case today for the new Pros. The fact that the CPU and GPU have access to the same portions of memory allows for reduced loading times but also lower consumption. . Also for this reason it has never happened to me to get to saturate the 16 GB of this model.

As you have surely already read and heard, the biggest step forward has been made with the new GPUs . Compared to the standard M1, the cores of the graphics card have substantially doubled already in our basic version. The result is extremely better performance in all operations that require GPU intervention. A render of the exact same 8-minute 4K video edited with Premiere Pro takes just over 4 minutes with the new M1 Pro and about 7 minutes with the base M1 of my MacBook Pro 13. A delay of 2 and a half minutes that is accumulated precisely in the points where the graphic components and color correction are processed.



But the feature that most of all surprised me is the performance when the notebook is running on battery and then disconnected from the current. In fact, these remain practically unchanged even when we work away from the power outlet. Just think that the same render as above only uses 15 extra seconds to complete. We are talking about a result that revolutionizes the experience of use of all those who often work on the move with this type of machines.

AUTONOMY


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