Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro 14-inch review: A portable, professional powerhouse

From a distance, the brand new 14-inch MacBook Professional seems lots just like the 13-inch MacBook Air or 13-inch MacBook Pro you would possibly already be utilizing. Look once more and the variations come out. It has a much bigger display screen (clearly), slimmer bezels and a brand new keyboard shade scheme. 

Get shut sufficient to select it up, and that is when it hits you: This factor is definitely fairly heavy. It is 3.5 kilos, in comparison with 3.0 kilos for the present 13-inch Professional and a couple of.8 kilos for the MacBook Air. A half-pound could not sound like a lot, however within the arms race towards ever slimmer and lighter laptops, we’re now undoubtedly shifting in the wrong way. 

Learn extra: Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch M1 Max review

For the artistic execs and different energy customers who’ve been ready for a post-Intel Mac with the graphics processing energy they want for his or her work, that may hardly matter. For informal customers who simply need the newest and biggest MacBook, you may need to calculate if the portability trade-off is value it for the brand new options, which embody a greater webcam and extra ports. 


  • HDMI and SD card ports return
  • MagSafe energy connection is again
  • Larger, higher display screen with slimmer bezels
  • New great-looking 1080p webcam
  • Enormous leap in graphics efficiency over earlier M1 techniques
  • Operate keys substitute the Contact Bar

Do not Like

  • Provides some weight, so not as moveable
  • Excessive beginning value in the event you simply need the higher display screen/webcam and ports
  • The display screen has a notch cutout for the webcam

The 14-inch MacBook Professional and its companion product, the 16-inch MacBook Professional, are a part of Apple’s second wave of units with the corporate’s personal M1 collection chips. As an alternative of the stock M1 already within the MacBook Air, 13-inch Professional, Mac Mini and 24-inch iMac, the selection right here is between the M1 Professional and the M1 Max, each of which provide extra cores devoted to graphics processing than the vanilla M1 (14, 16 or 32 GPU cores, vs. 7 or 8 GPU cores), and extra on-board video encoding and decoding capabilities. 

The 2 new fashions are very related in options and configuration choices, with a few lower-end M1 Professional choices reserved for the bottom 14-inch MacBook Professional My evaluate of the 16-inch MacBook Professional covers plenty of the brand new options and efficiency modifications in depth, so right here I will simply hit on a couple of of the highlights and the way the smaller dimension of the 14-inch modifications the potential viewers for it. 


Libe Ackerman

Present MacBook lineup

14-inch MacBook Professional 16-inch MacBook Professional MacBook Air (13-inch, M1) 13-inch MacBook Professional (M1)
CPU M1 Professional or M1 Max M1 Professional or M1 Max M1 M1
No. of GPU cores 14-16 (M1 Professional), 24-32 (M1 Max) 16 (M1Pro), 24-32 (M1 Max) 7 8
Display screen dimension 14.2-inch 16.2-inch 13.3-inch 13.3-inch
Display screen decision 3024×1964 3456×2234 2560 x 1600 pixels 2560 x 1600 pixels
Beginning storage 512GB 512GB 256GB 256GB
Beginning RAM 16GB 16GB 8GB 8GB
Webcam 1080p 1080p 720p 720p
Networking 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Connections Thunderbolt USB-C x3, HDMI, SDXC card, MagSafe 3 Thunderbolt USB-C x3, HDMI, SDXC card, MagSafe 3 Thunderbolt USB-C x2 Thunderbolt USB-C x2
Weight 3.5lbs 4.7lbs 2.8 lbs 3.0 lbs
Beginning value $1,999 $2,499 $999 $1,299

With its thicker physique and bigger footprint, this isn’t going to be a 1:1 substitute in your present MacBook Professional in the event you worth portability above all else. That stated, I carried this round for a number of days and did not really feel prefer it was an enormous imposition, though I often carry a really gentle machine like a MacBook Air or Floor Professional. It could be a distinct story if I have been commuting with it daily, particularly through subway. There, an additional half pound can get outdated fairly fast. 

This is what you get in return for a bit additional dimension and weight:

Larger, brighter display screen

Pondering of this as a successor to the 13-inch Professional, the display screen dimension jumps from 13.3-inches to 14.2 inches. It is what Apple calls a Liquid Retina XDR show, which is principally a mini LED display screen, as within the 12.9-inch iPad Professional. Its sustained brightness is doubled, from 500 nits to 1,000 nits (a measurement of brightness, explained here).

Macbook Pro 2021

Dan Ackerman/CNET

And because the display screen grows, the bezel, or border, across the show shrinks. It is a development in every part from TVs to laptops to the brand new OLED-screen Nintendo Switch. On this case, nevertheless, the border is so slim, a notch must be lower out of the display screen actual property to slot in a webcam. Sure, that is the dreaded “notch” iPhone customers have complained about for a couple of generations. 

Having a notch lower out of your display screen is rarely splendid. That stated, it is much more clear right here than on the iPhone, as a result of Apple has tweaked MacOS to combine the notch. Menu bars now slide proper up subsequent to it, successfully hiding the notch. Going full-screen with a photograph or video hides the notch in a letterbox bar throughout the highest of the display screen. It is a compromise, and your tolerance for it could be completely different than mine. 


The 14-inch MacBook Professional display screen bezel vs the 13-inch Professional. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Higher webcam

That notch additionally permits for a greater webcam, one thing we have wished for years. That is grow to be far more necessary now that so many people are working from residence and collaborating in plenty of video conferences. The outdated 720p-resolution cameras on earlier MacBooks (and lots of Home windows laptops) have been positive after we have been solely utilizing them often. For knowledgeable Zoomer, we want higher. The digicam right here jumps to Full HD, which suggests it bumps from 720 traces of horizontal decision to 1,080. 

The distinction is apparent, and when you attempt it, you may have a tough time going again to a 720p webcam. Each the 27-inch (Intel) iMac and M1 24-inch iMac even have 1080 cameras, as do a handful of Home windows laptops, however it’s nonetheless removed from the norm. 

A retro port revival 

Generally Apple provides ports, generally it takes them away. MacBooks used to have miniDisplayPort as the primary video output, then there was HDMI, then HDMI was ditched in favor of USB-C, and now we’re again to HDMI once more. That is a snapshot of roughly the previous 15 years, since the first MacBook Pro in 2006. The SD card slot makes a comeback as effectively.

Macbook Pro 2021

Get these SD playing cards prepared. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

It seems like after years of listening to individuals complain about lacking or eliminated options, the MacBook Professional’s designers gave in and added everybody’s high want record objects, together with the traditional MagSafe energy connector. There’s far more on the return of MagSafe within the 16-inch MacBook Professional evaluate, however it’s nearly as good as you bear in mind, even when I additionally appreciated our present period of common laptop computer energy cable interoperability, with nearly everybody and every part utilizing the identical USB-C charging. 

Go Professional, or go Max 

Each the M1 Professional and M1 Max out there within the 14-inch, and it may be configured with the identical 64GB RAM and 8TB storage because the 16-inch Professional. The comparative costs for that high config are $5,800 for the 14-inch and $6,100 for the 16-inch. However what you will get on the 14-inch are a few lower-end M1 Professional choices not out there for the 16-inch, with fewer CPU and GPU cores. 

MacBook Professional M1 Professional and M1 Max efficiency

GeekBench Multicore Cinebench R23 multicore
MacBook Professional, 14-inch, M1 Professional 12529 12302
MacBook Professional, 16-inch, M1 Max 12627 12365
MacBook Professional, 13-inch, M1 (2020) 7457 7772
27-inch iMac, Intel Core i9 (2020) 10140 N/A

As my CPU expert colleague Lori Grunin explains, “There are two variations of the M1 Professional, one with eight CPU cores and 14 GPU cores and one with 10 CPU cores and 16 GPU cores.” The M1 Max additionally has 10 CPU cores, however your selection of 24 or 32 GPU cores. 

In each benchmark assessments and 8K video assessments in Premiere, the brand new MacBook Execs have been a lot quicker than final yr’s 13-inch M1 MacBook Professional or a 2019 Intel MacBook Professional with discrete AMD graphics. In my preliminary hands-on testing each the Professional and Max supplied related outcomes, and I am in search of a more difficult workload to push them additional. 

Premiere video export check

Premiere 8K export
MacBook Professional, 14-inch, M1 Professional 10:44
MacBook Professional, 16-inch, M1 Max 10:11
iMacc 24-inch, M1 (2020) 22:20
MacBook Professional, 15-inch, Intel Core-i7/AMD (2019) 20:37

Who should purchase this, and who should not

I am not a video editor or 3D designer, however I do shoot and edit a great deal of my very own video in Premiere, design 3D printing tasks in CAD packages and work with middle-res pictures in Photoshop. For my prosumer wants, final yr’s M1 variations of the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Professional have been greater than highly effective sufficient, and people have been in flip quicker than previous Intel variations. 

In case you’re a university scholar, espresso store author or different mainstream laptop computer consumer, think about that it is a hefty premium to pay for a greater display screen and webcam and extra ports. It could be like shopping for a sports activities automobile only for driving on metropolis streets. Usher in all-day, daily net video conferences, you would possibly be capable to make a very good case. All that stated, the $999 M1 MacBook Air remains to be my suggestion for mainstream customers: It is an especially helpful laptop computer at an inexpensive value. 

Macbook Pro 2021

The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Professional fashions.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

However for the skilled viewers the brand new MacBook Professional was meant for, the decision comes right down to display screen dimension versus portability. There is a $200 to $300 or so premium for leaping to the bigger 16-inch display screen with the identical specs. The 16-inch Professional seems like a rebooted model of the long-lost 17-inch MacBook Professional, which was discontinued in 2012. It is the kind of large laptop computer we used to name a desktop substitute. 

The 14-inch mannequin, then again, is simply sufficiently small to go round with you regularly, though it does not really feel as weightless as the two.8-pound MacBook Air. 

We’ll proceed to replace this evaluate with extra check scores and evaluation, together with battery check scores, within the coming weeks. | Apple MacBook Professional M1 Professional 14-inch evaluate: A conveyable, skilled powerhouse


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