MacBook Pro M1 and Air is the Best Laptop Now?

Ever since Steve Jobs stood on the stage and took that MacBook Air out from the manilla envelope it has been one of the best laptop for light everyday use. A laptop that is thin and light, with okay performance for most people.

In recent years Apple is tied to Intels roadmap for providing CPUs for their computers. Intel is becoming somewhat stagnant and their CPUs can not keep up with the performance Apple wants from their best selling laptops.

At the same time, Apple is developing and using their own CPUs for their mobile devices: The iPad and the iPhone. With every generation the performance and power increases until we get to a crossing point where the performance is on par with desktop processors.

That time is now, and the CPU is called M1.

As of this writing we have two new laptops with M1 chips available from Apple. The 13 Inch Macbook Pro, and the 13 Inch MacBook Air. And the reviews are raving.

This is just not a new CPU, this is a paradigm shift. If the performance is this good on entry level laptops. How is it going to perform with the professional 16 Inch models?

MacBook Pro M1 – Quick Look Video

In this video I am taking a quick look at how this laptop works in everyday tasks. Like opening up applications such as email, pictures. Using chrome (the M1 version). Checking out how YouTube works in chrome. Showing off some World of Warcraft: Shadowlands and a quick look at Logic Pro X.

What’s the catch?

Applications:

Non native M1 applications needs to run through a translation layer called Rosetta 2. This will take the x86_64 instructions and translate it automatically to something the ARM M1 can run. This can affect performance to a degree. But with that said, Apple have made a great translation layer and it works very well.

Taking a game like League of Legends as an example. This game is not optimized for M1 and it still gives between 70-100 fps depending on settings. This is insane considering it’s running on Rosetta and not native.

Windows (Bootcamp):

Apple have said that they wont prevent running Windows on these laptops. They are very capable of that. However its up to Microsoft to make sure this works and if you need to run Windows software I think you should wait. VMWare and Parallels have said they are working on software for the M1. But I would wait until we see some tests. If you are dependent on some Windows software, I would hold off buying the M1 models.

MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020) – Technical Specifications

Display

  • Retina display
  • 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2560-by-1600 native resolution at 227 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors
  • 500 nits brightness
  • Wide color (P3)
  • True Tone technology

Apple M1 chip

  • 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores
  • 8-core GPU
  • 16-core Neural Engine

Battery and Power

  • Up to 17 hours wireless web
  • Up to 20 hours Apple TV app movie playback
  • Built-in 58.2-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
  • 61W USB-C Power Adapter

Memory

  • 8GB
    Configurable to: 16GB

Storage

  • 256GB SSD
    Configurable to 512GB SSD, 1TB, or 2TB SSD

Ports and Charging

Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports with support for:

  • Charging
  • DisplayPort
  • Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40Gb/s)
  • USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gb/s)
  • Headphone

Wireless 

  • Wi-Fi
    802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 wireless networking
    IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compatible
  • Bluetooth
    Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology

Camera

  • 720p FaceTime HD camera

Buy the M1 MacBook Pro on Amazon.com (Sponsored Link)

MacBook Air (M1, 2020) – Technical Specifications

Display

  • Retina display
  • 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2560-by-1600 native resolution at 227 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors
  • 400 nits brightness
  • Wide color (P3)
  • True Tone technology

Apple M1 chip

  • 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores
  • 7-core GPU, 8-core GPU
  • 16-core Neural Engine

Battery and Power

  • Up to 15 hours wireless web
  • Up to 18 hours Apple TV app movie playback
  • Built-in 49.9-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
  • 30W USB-C Power Adapter

Memory

  • 8GB
    Configurable to: 16GB

Storage

  • 256GB SSD
    Configurable to 512GB SSD, 1TB, or 2TB SSD

Ports and Charging

Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports with support for:

  • Charging
  • DisplayPort
  • Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40Gb/s)
  • USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gb/s)
  • Headphone

Wireless 

  • Wi-Fi
    802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 wireless networking
    IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compatible
  • Bluetooth
    Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology

Camera

  • 720p FaceTime HD camera

Buy the M1 MacBook Air on Amazon.com (Sponsored Link)

Why is the M1 chip so fast?

Main difference between M1 MacBook Pro and M1 MacBook Air

Fan

The Pro has a fan, meaning it can sustain heavier workloads for a longer time without having to throttle the performance. However I have yet to hear any noise from it.

The Air is passively cooled. Meaning no fan, and no noise! The performance is more or less the same but for very heavy workloads it may throttle itself down to prevent overheating.

Keyboard

The pro has the touch bar. The Air has regular keys.

Display

The Pro has a 500 nits display, the Air has a 400 nits display.

M1 CPU

The Pro has a 8-Core GPU, the Air has a 7-Core GPU. Probably not that noticable in real life use.

Power & Battery

The Pro ships with a 61W charger, the Air ships with a 30W charger.

Battery life on the pro is a bit higher with its 58.2-watt-hour battery, the air has a 49.9-watt-hour battery.

Size and Weight

The MacBook Air is lighter than the Pro. That is also why the battery life is a little shorter, but still good!

Is M1 MacBook the Best Laptop you can get now?

If you can live without Windows, and most people probably can these days then. Yes. I believe so. If you are a content creator that rely heavily on the Adobe Suite I think you should wait until their applications are updated. Also if you are a music producer using a lot of third party plugins you should also wait until they are updated for the M1. If you use the stock plugins in Logic X and no third party stuff then go ahead.

Everyone else, go ahead and buy it. Its that good.

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