MacBook Pro with M1 chip is a big move from Apple, ditching entirely Intel chips that have been powering the company’s Mac lineup for years. To be honest, this is a wise decision to boost the MacBook lineup that is now in danger of being outclassed by Windows-driven models. Apple says that the new M1 chip offers significant performance improvements when compared to non-ARM models. well, there is no denying that on paper, but we want to put the chip through its paces to see if Apple’s claims come good as promised. Here is our M1 13-inch MacBook Pro review.
Design & Display
That’s basically the same design as we have already seen on recent MacBook Pro models. Thick bezels, which have been a staple of the MacBook’s design for years, are still there. Touch Bar is still at the top of the keyboard and changes based on what apps you are using. Everything looks just so familiar especially to those who stick to Apple’s laptop for years.
Unlike Intel MacBooks, the new M1 Mac laptop has only 2 USB-C ports in both versions. The M1 MacBook Pro measures in at 11.97 inches long, 8.36 inches wide, and 14.9mm thick. Plus, it weighs only 3 pounds, which is only 0.2 pounds heavier than the M1 MacBook Air.
The Apple Silicon MacBook Pro models still feature a Retina display with 500 nits of brightness, P3 wide color support, and True Tone functionality. All of those combined in a 2560×1600 display make the image quality so vivid and realistic for users.
M1 Apple Silicon Chip Performance
Let’s move on to the key feature here, the M1 chip! It is created by using SoC tech that combines CPU, GPU, RAM, and I/O all in just one single chip. According to Apple, the M1 chip offers powerful performance with high efficiency for longer battery life.
Unified Memory Architecture
One of the best features in the M1 chip is the unified memory architecture or UMA. It unifies high-bandwidth, low-latency memory into a single pool. This means that all the technologies in the SoC can access the same data without copying it between multiple memory pools.
The M1 features an 8-core CPU and an integrated 8-core GPU. According to Apple, its CPU and GPU are up to 2.8x faster and 5x faster than the Intel chip in the previous Pro version. Also, Apple said it offers 2x faster CPU performance than the latest PC laptop chip while using only 25% of the power. Let’s check the benchmarks to see if these claims are true!
In Geekbench benchmarks, the Apple M1 chip, which has a 3.2GHz frequency, earns more than 1700 points in single-core with almost 7400 in multi-core scores. This means the M1 is faster than even the 2019 high-end 16-inch MacBook Pro models.
Furthermore, the M1 chip offers a single-core performance that is better than any other available Mac. However, when it comes to GPU performance, the Intel-based MacBook Pro is quite tough to beat.
To make sure this data is correct, below is the result of a different performance test in Cinebench benchmarks. In this test, the M1 chip came in at 7508 for multi-core and 1498 for single-core.
Meanwhile, the high-end 2020 16-inch MacBook Pro with Core i9 chip only earned a multi-core score of 8818. On top of that, the base 16-inch MacBook Pro model only reached a single-core score of 1113 and a multi-core score of 6912 on the same test.
Here is another test result via Crossover 20 from developers at CodeWeavers. They were able to use the graphical performance of the M1-powered MacBook models to play games like Among Us and Team Fortress 2. The gameplay for Team Fortress 2 showed some lag in-game and not the highest frame rate possible. But, bear in mind, it is running on the base-level MacBook Air that does not have active cooling and is missing one GPU core. The details of the gaming test results on M1 MacBook is in the link below:
With 8-core GPU, the M1 MacBook Pro can execute 25,000 threads at a time and deliver up to 2.6 TFLOPs of throughput. This is the same TFLOPS achieved by the Radeon RX 560, and just below the GeForce GTX 1650’s 2.9 TFLOPS.
Besides having an excellent processor, the M1 MacBook Pro also supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. Meanwhile, the Intel MacBook Pro is limited to WiFi 5 only. Also, Apple has been using a 720p camera for its MacBook Pro for a couple of years now without offering any quality update. Fortunately, with this year’s M1 chip, we get a more accurate white balance, faster autofocus, and exposure. However, that’s basically the same old webcam that’s outdated when compared to its competitors.
As promised, Apple does increase the use of battery life in the new MacBook models without changing its battery size. Because of the efficiency improvements in the new chip, M1 MacBook Pro’s battery life far exceeds any MacBook model. Here is our battery test result:
Note that the battery life will drain differently depending on what tasks you’re performing on your Mac. For example, graphically demanding games like “Tomb Raider 2020” will consume more battery than just watching YouTube. After all, we can confidently say the M1 MacBook battery life lasts twice as long.
The new M1 MacBook Pro is available online or at Apple Stores too. And, there are 4 configurations for the 13-inch MacBook Pro deals:
- $1,299: Apple M1 chip, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD.
- $1,499: Apple M1 chip, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD.
Note: Apple is no longer selling Intel-based MacBook Airs and 13-inch Intel MacBook Pros anymore. But, you can still see these options at Apple Stores.
Pros & Cons
Unlike the M1 MacBook Air, the Pro still has its own cooling system. Apple didn’t remove the fan on this model because the MacBook Pro needs it to maintain the performance under intensive tasks. Meanwhile, the Air lacks the power for this kind of activity, therefore, there is no need for a fan here.
Sadly, we have confirmed that the new Apple Silicon Macs will not support any external graphics processing units. And, this is probably the biggest drawback on the M1 Macs. You not only have only 2 memory options but also unable to upgrade more RAM on new M1 Macs now.
We were all skeptical about the M1 when Apple made some crazy claims back then. But so far, the M1 MacBook is actually the best laptop you can buy right now. And, when compared to the current 2020 Intel MacBook Pro, we’re getting double the performance and battery life.
So, if you want a laptop with powerful specs and good battery life, the M1 MacBook Pro is the perfect option this year!
If you have any questions about the M1 13-inch MacBook Pro, let us know in the comments!