Apple MacBook PRO 2020: Apple M1 Chip Consumer Review In 2021

Finally, we got the MacBook Pro on the M1 chip. We tested it completely, including launching games and specific software.

An Apple MacBook Pro on an M1 chip came to us and we have a lot of questions for it.

  • What software works and what doesn’t?
  • What’s the difference between MacBook Pro and MacBook Air?
  • What about performance and battery?
  • Why are there iOS applications?
  • And most importantly, does the M1 processor turn a laptop into a device as smooth as we are used to on mobile phones?

So this is a MacBook with a new processor made on the ARM architecture, as opposed to the x86 architecture that Intel runs on.

Interestingly, the packaging doesn’t tell you it’s a new MacBook. There is no word M1 anywhere.

The difference is in the picture. keep in mind if you order, so that you do not suddenly receive an old laptop.

Externally, the device differs only slightly – a button for switching the language has appeared.

What does this mean for us? Good news. ARM is a more energy efficient architecture and provides more performance with less power. That is, the laptop will live longer and run faster.

Bad news. Most applications are written for x86. What will happen to them?

MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air

Let’s see what the difference is. After all, there is the same chip inside, which erased all the differences.

  • MacBook Air has a slightly less bright display.
  • The MacBook Pro has a touchbar.
  • MacBook Pro is 100 grams heavier.
  • The battery in the MacBook Pro is larger – 58 W * h versus 50 W * h.
  • The MacBook Air also comes with seven instead of eight graphics cores. This is certainly a little strange …
  • The MacBook Pro has a cooler, but the Air doesn’t. What does it mean? It will be able to deliver the highest processor frequency longer.

What’s the bottom line? The differences are actually less than between the iPad Pro and the new iPad Air.

M1

So, the new M1 chip. This is, as in smartphones, SoC, that is, System on Chip or, in Russian, system on a chip.

The memory architecture is UMA.

The clock frequency is 3.2 GHz. At the same time, we have big.LITTLE – 4 large and powerful cores + 4 energy efficient ones.

And the main thing is the 5 nm process technology.

Apparently, this is something like the A12Z Bionic, which was shown as the “heart” of the Mac Mini for developers, or the A14X processor (possibly Z), which we may see in the next iPad Pro. Or maybe not.

Also on the chip there is a GPU, which consists of 8 cores.

One of the bonuses of the new platform is quick launch. We do not wait for the phone or tablet to boot, when we unlock it. Here is the same principle.

But launching after a complete shutdown is common for other devices. No magic happened here …

And one more important part of the chip is the Neural engine.

Tests

But what do the tests say? You’ve probably seen a bunch of tests by now. For example, in Antutu, the MacBook Pro on the Apple M1 chip scores over one million points. In GeekBench, the results are almost double that of a similar MacBook Pro with an Intel processor. And according to the schedule – 3 times more. But this is all theory. I wonder how it looks in practice.

You know that you can run 3 types of programs on a new Mac:

  • Adapted for M1
  • Not adapted, written for Intel
  • And suddenly iOS apps. This is an interesting point separately.

I compared the launch of programs with what is at hand – an ASUS laptop from the StudioBook line. It is in a slightly different price range, but there is an Intel Core i7.

Chrome works. Moreover, this is already a version for M1 and during installation they ask you which version to install.

Evernote. Windows won this test and launched the program clearly faster. And at this moment there is a feeling that the MacBook does not fly …

I didn’t really like the comparison with Windows, let’s take the iPad Pro.

Let’s try Apple’s own software – Safari. And interestingly, the iPad Pro launches the browser faster. In general, I do not see any space results in terms of launch speed.

What is not adapted for M1 is launched through the special utility Rosetta 2. And there is one caveat – I would like to see a small icon somewhere – that this is not a native application and launched through Rosetta 2, but this is not. Apparently, in order not to take a steam bath – it works and works.

When launching Adobe’s Lightroom and Premiere Pro products, the launch speed is comparable to that of Windows.

By the way, the MacBook uses a new fast SSD. Now let’s try to open the project, the difference is already visible here …

In stock we have 256 gigabytes, and for an increase up to 512 GB they will ask for additional money.

But let me remind you – these are applications that have not yet been rewritten for M1. So the result will be even better.

Adobe Premiere:

  • Asus: 3 minutes
  • MacBook Pro: 1 minute 20 seconds.

Another, heavier project, I started from hard and here I must say that the project does not play at all. But the render went and here it turned out the other way around:

  • ASUS: 33 minutes
  • MacBook: 1 hour 10 minutes

It seems that the matter was in the speed of reading the source code from an external hard drive, which is strange because here is USB 4. But something else is interesting …

It turns out that the MacBook ran at almost full power for an hour. What about the cooler?

What do you think? Apparently he didn’t even turn on. At least I didn’t hear that. And the case didn’t get hot either.

Programs

Move on. Office applications Word and Excel. Everything starts and works, does not lag.

Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom also work fine.

But what about the software for developers?

Docker. Many have asked if the Docker developer program works. No, it throws an error at startup.

And Xcode starts up.

Windows on a MacBook also cannot be started yet. And it is unclear when it will be possible. Perhaps Microsoft will first want to roll out its full-fledged laptops on ARM, although they have a line of interfaces, we’ll talk about them sometime.

iOS Apps

Cannot be resized. First of all. But not all applications are found and not all can be installed.

For example, you can’t just go and download YouTube! If he was? then, purely for the sake of this, you could take the MacBook on the M1.
There is also no Netflix and Google Maps.

Secondly. Even if the iOS application is launched, everything is tailored for touch control. But some iPad apps work cool. For example, Bookmate.

And in general, a search for iOS applications gives a lot of trash. In general, not very much like Apple, that’s all. Obviously done in order to get rid of the feeling of lack of applications.

Games

Steam – lags. Worse than on Windows, however, this is probably more a question for Steam. I will forgive everything if it will be possible to play CS: GO without lags. It downloaded and … hung immediately upon launch. Moreover, monitoring showed that it consumes 120 percent of the processor.

Hardware

To be honest, the brightness of the monitor is a bit lacking.

Resolutions too: when you get close, the pixels are visible. 2560 x 1600 pixels – that’s the width of the iPhone 12 Pro.

An external monitor can be connected. And here’s an interesting point. because iPad Pro has big problems with it. And I checked the connection via Thunderbolt 3 cable. And got a greenish screen. But if you connect via HDMI via an adapter, it will be ok.

Also, external video cards are not supported. And there are only 2 Thunderbolt ports. It is worth noting support for the USB 4 standard.

What surprised everyone, and with a minus sign, was the camera, the resolution of which remained the same – 720p. And this is in 2020 when video calls came to the fore.

Fast SSD. Tests show that it is also twice as fast as its Intel counterpart.

There is also 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM inside.

And most importantly – we remember the difference between MacBook Pro and Air – a cooler. And we still did not understand when it turns on.

Battery

From the very beginning, we have said that the ARM processor is very energy efficient. For 3 hours of very active use (downloaded programs, installed and launched) the laptop sat down by 30%. Seems not bad…

At the same time, it is declared up to 17 hours of work in the browser.

And the main thing is charging. Despite the “fast” charging, the laptop takes a really long time to charge.

OS

General feelings from the system? First, it’s not an iPad with a keyboard.

The animation is smooth, but not so good. Rarely, but FPS drops, especially inside non-updated applications.

Safari does a good job of having 15 tabs open at the same time. And this despite the fact that I was simultaneously downloading and installing something.

Also, the MacBook quickly moves between many running programs. Of course, in comparison with Windows, it is rare that it can twitch. But there is no mobile magic either. Well, support for 120 Hz is not enough, which they decide on the iPad Pro.

Conclusion

If you are a regular user, you can take your MacBook Pro now. You will get greatly increased life time and smoother operation.

If you are a PRO user and your tasks include programming, editing, something engineering, then unexpected things may come out in your programs. And it will take some time to finish it all.

By the way, one secret: I use Windows all the time. And I’m thinking of trying to switch to Mac and it seems like a good reason.

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