Apple MacBook Pro M1 13-inch review: Apple M1 silicon gives it wings.
The Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with M1 Apple silicon was launched recently in India for Rs 1,22,900. In this review, the India Today Tech finds that this is a fabulous laptop, arguably the best laptop for most people.
The new MacBook Pro 13-inch uses M1 Apple processor, which makes it extremely fast. The laptop runs cool and has excellent battery life. The price of the MacBook Pro 13-inch in India starts from Rs 1,22,900.
After using the new MacBook Pro M1 13-inch for close to a week, when I sat down to write this review I felt I should give it 9 points out of 10. Nine points is an ultimate high rating from India Today Tech, and it has been given only to two products — and of that one, Freedom 251, got it wrapped in sarcasm — in our entire 6 years of existence. A rating of 9 points is for a product that changes the lives of its users, and which is so good, such a trailblazer, so unique, that nothing comes close to it. The Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with M1 processor is one such product. Yet, in the end, I decided that 8.5 would be a better choice. As good as it is, and this is indeed a product that changes the lives of its users, it does have some areas where I feel Apple could have done a bit more.
About that in a while.
First, the Apple M1. The big deal with the new MacBook Pro 13-inch is its processor. Nearly 15 years after Apple made a switch from PowerPC to Intel processors, the company is making a switch again. It believes that by moving to its own processors, based on ARM technology and similar to Apple-made chips in the iPhone and iPad, it can give a better experience to Mac users. The MacBook Pro M1 13-inch shows that Apple is right.
The new MacBook comes with the M1 processor, paired with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD in its base variant. This processor has 4 high-performance cores in the part called Firestorm. Then there are 4 more cores that are efficient cores in part called Icestorm. The graphics chip with its 8-separate cores is also inside the same silicon. The whole M1 is paired with the low power (LP) DDR4 RAM that runs at 4266Mhz, which is crazy fast compared to industry standard. The RAM uses Apple’s new unified memory configuration, which means all of it is available to all the processing units, graphics or general-purpose. Also, https://jiji.co.ke/17-smart-tvs/55_inch M1 has dedicated processors for specific tasks like AI computing, image processing, security and power management.
All of that, however, is more of an academic interest. Or would be of interest to geeks and advanced users. What matters to most people is how much of a difference M1 makes to their needs and use. And boy, it makes a huge difference! The MacBook Pro M1 13-inch is the fastest laptop I have used.
Same old looks.
You wouldn’t guess all the goodness that the new MacBook Pro 13-inch packs inside it by looking at it. It looks the same as the previous MacBook Pro, has similar compact dimensions and weighs similar 1.4 kilograms. This is an excellent design, with the laptop cased in one unbroken aluminum shell. It is thin, very sturdy, and light enough to be in your backpack the whole day. Unlike the new MacBook Air, which is also powered by the M1 processor, the Pro comes with a cooling fan and has two small perforated openings under the hinge where the screen meets the chassis. Below the shell, there are four round rubber feet, which keep the laptop secure and safe on the table.
Open the lid, and you will be greeted by the same keyboard and trackpad that we have seen in previous MacBook Pro laptops. The keys, which are no longer the butterfly-style seen in the Macs a few years ago, are sturdy and offer a bit of travel as well as actuation — that clicky feel which makes typing more responsive — to ensure that typing is precise and engaging on it. The large glass touchpad is still the best I have seen and used in a laptop.
On the left and right of the keyboard, there are speakers. They are loud and offer full and well-balanced sound. They are more than good enough to ensure a wholesome experience while watching a movie, or for listening to songs, though the speakers in the bigger MacBook Pro 16-inch are better.
Above the keyboard, there is the touch bar. Depending on the context, say the app that is open on the screen, it changes keys. I don’t find it particularly useful, although it all depends on what one can do with it. Some people love it because they can customize it and hence access some functionality faster. On the top right of the keyboard is the Touch ID and power key. The Touch ID works as well as any fingerprint sensor on a phone.
This is a MacBook Pro design that we have seen again and again, and there is nothing wrong with it. It is clean and functional, with great aesthetics that are now part of our popular culture.