MacBook Pro 14 - a quick review

Cascavel -

I got a MacBook Pro 14" with an Apple M1 Pro SoC, 16GB of memory and 500GB of disk a couple of weeks ago, and wanted to write my impressions about it, since a lot of people ask.

The following are a revised format of my notes as I was setting up the M1 for the first time.

About this Mac.

About this Mac.

Rosetta 2

Rosetta 2 allows you to run amd64 apps on arm64 Macs.

Install Rosetta.

Install Rosetta.

Some apps I found that run on Rosetta:

  • Whatsapp (even the beta)
  • Logitech Options (don’t even get me started)
  • Secret
  • Discord - although the canary version is already M1-native
  • Transmission - not a big deal as I don’t really use it much

Something I noticed is that, even after you kill all processes running on Rosetta, there are still remains of Intel processes for some reason in the Activity Monitor:

Activity Monitor.

Activity Monitor.

If you kill them, they don’t come back until you open another Rosetta app.

Activity Monitor

The activity monitor actually takes a long time to load… the app itself opens instantly - as most apps do on the M1 Pro, but its contents take ~5s to load up.

I thought it was weird, so I tried on the Intel as well… and… it takes ~8 seconds! 😨

I seem to remember this opening “instantly”, maybe its just bad memory, maybe its the recent macOS updates, I don’t know, I just know its weird.

The Notch and Screen

Initially I installed the famous TopNotch.app, but then decided to try to live without it.

After a couple of hours, I just didn’t notice the notch anymore. I guess Apple get me used to it on the iPhone. The only thing you might notice is that the menu bar is a bit taller compared to “notch-less” devices.

In any case, if it bothers you, TopNotch.app is your friend.

The screen itself is amazing! Brightness is a lot higher than my Intel Mac. It looks amazing, not really sure why, but it does.

I don’t notice the ProMotion thing though - not even on my iPhone, so I don’t know what that’s all about. I do care about it if the lower refresh rates help saving battery though.

Battery

Speaking of battery… it is amazing.

On my 15" Intel Mac, the battery was basically a no-break. Just maybe 2 hours and that’s it.

On the M1 Pro, I can easily work a full day on battery power. It feels like witchcraft, and it is amazing.

Magsafe

Should never have been removed. Period.

Charging via USB-C still works though.

Keyboard and lack of Touchbar

A grand total of 0 people are sad that the touchbar is gone. For me, most useless tech in the last couple of years, with foldable phones being a close second.

The keyboard is very nice if compared with the 2016 Mac I had before.

A weird thing is that they changed the function keys a bit

HDMI, card reader et al

Should never have been removed in the first place.

But I don’t use the HDMI port anymore because I have a USB-C cable now… and using USB-C, both the charger and monitor can be plugged in the same side.

Performance

Performance-wise, it is indeed amazing. I don’t know if it is as great as advertised, but its a great improvement over the Intel I had before.

In theory it has fans… but not once I heard them - I don’t think they ever turned on.

Sensei showing fans turned off.

Sensei showing fans turned off.

I also don’t feel it getting hot, like, ever.

In any case, I don’t think you can find another laptop this fast with this kind battery life.

Should I buy it?

Maybe the only complaint I have about it: it is expensive.

Like, really expensive. Specially in Brazil.

That said, if you really like Apple stuff and/or don’t have anything better to spend your money with and/or just want it, go for it.

If you are looking for a cheap laptop, look away. 😅

PS if you live in brazil and want to buy one, I have a “contact” - hit me up on Twitter.

hardware
Avatar photo Carlos is a Site Reliability Engineer who enjoys working on OpenSource. Twitter Tweet