Last year, Apple announced the 14-inch MacBook Pro and the 16-inch MacBook Pro after months of speculation and rumors. The two models have seen a slight design change over their predecessors with beautiful mini-LED displays and Apple silicon chips under the hood.
Both are among the most capable laptops on the market right now with exceptional performance. However, the question of which one is the best one for you all comes down to your personal preferences.
In this article, we will put the two devices in a side-by-side comparison so you can make a better buying decision.
14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021
|Screen||14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display (3024×1964 pixels, 254ppi)||16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display (3456×2244 pixels, 254ppi)|
|Processor||M1 Pro (8-core CPU, 14-core GPU or 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU), with optional M1 Max with up to 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU||M1 Pro (10-core CPU, 16-core GPU) | M1 Max (10-core CPU, 32-core GPU)|
|Battery life (claimed)||Up to 11 hours of web surfing over Wi-Fi||Up to 14 hours of web surfing over Wi-Fi|
|Storage||512GB to 8TB||512GB to 8TB|
|Memory||16GB to 64GB||16GB to 64GB|
|Ports||Thunderbolt 4 (x3), HDMI, MagSafe 3, headphone jack, SD memory card slot||Thunderbolt 4 (x3), HDMI, MagSafe 3, headphone jack, SD memory card slot|
|Webcam||1080p FaceTime HD camera||1080p FaceTime HD camera|
|Wi-Fi||802.11ax Wi-Fi 6||802.11ax Wi-Fi 6|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Dimensions||12.3 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches||14 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches|
|Weight||3.5 pounds||4.7 pounds (M1 Pro) | 4.8 pounds (M1 Max)|
|Mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR display with up to 1,000 nits sustained brightness, 1,600 nits peak brightness, P3 wide color, True Tone, and ProMotion|
|Can be configurable for the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip|
|Up to 64GB of unified memory|
|Up to 8TB of storage|
|Touch ID Support|
|1080p FaceTime HD camera|
|High-fidelity six-speaker sound system with force-canceling woofers, wide stereo sound, and spatial audio support|
|Studio-quality three-mic array|
First, let’s talk about similarities. Both devices feature a mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR display. That’s the same mini-LED technology that we saw on the 12.9 inch iPad Pro. Both have a maximum sustained brightness of 1.000 nits and a peak brightness of 1600 for HDR content.
Both feature ProMotion displays that support up to 120Hz refresh rate, thus delivering a smooth scrolling and browsing experience. According to Apple, the display can go from 24Hz to 120Hz depending on what you are doing on the screen to optimize the user experience and maximize battery life.
One of the best things when it comes to the new Macbook models lies in connectivity ports. In fact, both models have 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports, two on the left and one on the right. The best part is that each of them has a maximum transfer speed of 40GB/s, which is pretty impressive. That means you now can connect your accessories from both sides, which is something I could not do with my 13-inch MacBook Pro.
On the right side, both of these devices have an SD card slot, which a lot of photographers are going to fall in love with. There is also an HDMI port that you can use to connect to a monitor, projector, or TV. However, the port is only HDMI 2.0 and not 2.1.
In terms of external displays, if you get either of these models with the M1 chip, you can connect two 60Hz 6K displays. If you get the models with the M1 Max chip, you can connect up to three 60Hz 6K displays and a 60Hz 4K display at the same time. This is one of my favorite upgrades when compared with what I was able to do with my old 13-inch MacBook Pro. Now I can take advantage of a dual or a triple display setup that boosts my productivity.
On the left-hand side, there is a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. The coolest part is that we are getting a MagSafe port, which is a great upgrade. That means you have access to super-fast MagSafe charging, which is super convenient. By the way, power adapters vary depending on what configuration you are getting. The 16-inch model will include a 140W USB-C power adapter in the box. Meanwhile, the 14-inch model with an 8-core CPU and a 10-core CPU will include a 67W and a 96W adapter respectively.
Now, What’s Different?
The two MacBooks basically share most of their features, but there are still some notable differences that make one stand above the other. Let’s find out in the section below.
Display and battery life
One of the biggest differences between the two models lies in the display. To be honest, both devices feature stunning displays, but with the 16-inch model, I feel bigger and more immersive, especially when looking closer to it.
The bigger screen also delivers a more enjoyable content-watching experience. If you are multitasking and have two apps open at the same time, then there’s a lot more room for each app and content to be displayed. If you edit videos, the timeline is wider, allowing for an easier editing experience.
However, the bigger display means extra cash. If you come from the 13-inch MacBook Pro, then the 14-inch model also feels bigger.
Speaking of the battery, the 14-inch model features a 70W-hour battery which is rated for 17 hours of video playback. The 16-inch model is powered by a 100W-hour battery rated for 21 hours, surpassing the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro as the highest-rated MacBook ever made.
I have the base models of the 14 and the 16, so they both come with the M1 Pro chip and 16GB of unified memory. The 14-inch model comes with an 8-core CPU and a 14-inch GPU while the 16-inch model has a 10-core CPU and a 16-core GPU. I put the two devices to the test and the 16-inch model outperformed the 14 inches in some aspects.
The 16-inch model came out ahead for both single-core and multi-core performances because of the additional CPU cores. For GPU performance in Geekbench, the 16-inch came out ahead again.
During my 30-minute test running at 100% CPU capacity with Cinebench R23, on the 14-inch, the fans turned on after one minute and 40 seconds and ramped up to about 3.300 RPM. On the 16 inch model, the fans only turned on after two minutes and 40 seconds and never went up above 1700 RPM. This surprised me given that it comes with two additional CPU cores. The 16 inches basically remained cooler throughout the test.
Both devices are amazing laptops and can handle everything you throw at them. The 16-inch model is $500 more expensive than the 14-inch model, so make sure you really need the bigger display, battery life, and more processing power before placing your order.
The 14-inch model is something that offers a balanced experience in terms of hardware, battery life, and display. Basically, the performance gap between the two might not be noticeable. This has been clearly confirmed with benchmark and Geekbench tests. However, for your specific workflow, if you need something powerful, then the 16-inch model should be a better idea.