Apple’s MacBook Pro 13 M1 and its M1 chip bring us to the future of the computer industry; it blew our minds with what it has to offer.

We wanted to hold off a review of the MacBook Pro 13 M1 because reviewing it right off the bat with a lack of apps optimised for the M1 chip would be a disservice to the laptop. Now, with the release of M1-compatible apps like Adobe Photoshop and Apple’s Final Cut Pro, we can finally talk about the laptop and do it justice.

We were excited when we heard about the M1 chip because it’s sort of a combination of what they’re doing with the iPad Pro and a laptop; little did we know that it was more than that. We’ve reviewed and recommended several laptops in the past like the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro 13-inch, but we were so blown away with the M1 chip that we immediately thought that it is going to push the computer industry forward in a big way. The M1 chip’s creation is a huge step for laptops and desktops.

We have been impressed with the MacBook Pro 13 M1 since the moment we turned it on. It is blazingly fast and handles everything with ease even when rendering 6K and 8K videos. We’ve even used the MacBook Pro 13 M1 to edit a few of our reviews for the channel. When comparing the 16-inch MacBook Pro and the MacBook Pro 13 M1 and the latter came out on top in many ways.

The MacBook Pro 13 M1 we reviewed has a price tag of S$2,749. This includes 16GB of RAM and a Terabyte of storage along with the M1 chip – double of the 16-inch MacBook Pro and even more if you wish to configure it.

Design

The laptop’s design looks the same as with 2020’s MacBook Pro. It has two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports, but we wish Apple had added more ports to it or that they included peripherals to give you more. We hope that Apple does add more ports to future MacBooks in the future. Additionally, the MacBook Pro 13 M1’s display and Magic Keyboard are both fantastic.

Some people were previously thrown off by the MacBook Pro 13 M1 at the beginning because it only has 16GB of RAM. We’re here to tell you that 16GB is plenty enough and you don’t need any more than that. The architecture of the M1 chip is different from the processors of other laptops to the point that you cannot compare the M1 chip to those processors. We discovered that the M1’s 16GB of RAM performs like 32GB of RAM on other laptops after we tried comparing it to the other laptops we tried and reviewed. Also, its 1 TB of storage is more than enough for most people.

As previously mentioned, this laptop can handle everything with ease including apps. We’ve found that the laptop was able to launch apps quickly thanks to the M1 chip. Even if the app is not optimised for the M1 chip, the MacBook Pro 13 M1 will still be able to run it beautifully thanks to Apple’s Rosetta 2 – a program that allows you to run apps built for Macs with an Intel processor.

Things will get interesting if you run apps designed for the M1 chip: Photoshop, LightRoom, CC and Final Cut is lightning quick. We edited the reviews for the Leica SL2-S camera and the Apple ProRAW in 2020 using the MacBook Pro 13 M1 and we were surprised to find out that it only took around 20 minutes to render a 23 to 24-minute long video in 4K. Unbelievable.

Photoshop’s tools work flawlessly even when we pushed the laptop’s hardware with our Fujifilm GFX 100-S that gives us 100-megapixel images. It’s a little bit challenging for Photoshop since you need some memory for it, but if you do have the memory, the laptop handles the program well.

We put the laptop through a test with the Sony Alpha 1 to know its performance when rendering 8K videos. We found that the laptop was able to seamlessly render 8K videos to the point that not even one single frame was dropped in Quicktime and Final Cut Pro thanks to the M1 chip. When we did the same test with the 16-inch MacBook Pro, we got dropped frames and stuttering instead of quality rendering. However, don’t take these results the wrong way; the 16-inch MacBook Pro is still a phenomenal laptop.

Some people have been complaining that they were getting under-par performance for the premium they pay, but with the MacBook Pro 13 M1 and the M1 chip, these complaints will become a thing of the past. The performance you’ll be getting from both this laptop and M1 chip is way above what other laptops that are currently on the market are giving you.

Hands-on

If you’re not using intensive applications such as Final Cut Pro, Photoshop and Lightroom and are not doing hardcore edits, then you don’t need to charge this laptop once every few days. The battery won’t die on you if you’re just watching YouTube videos, web browsing and document writing. Apple has done a great job on the MacBook Pro 13 M1’s power delivery so much that you don’t have to worry about the battery even if you take it out of the house without charging beforehand.

The laptop’s fan is silent and will continue to be even during video conferences and video rendering. In contrast, the 16-inch MacBook Pro becomes a vacuum cleaner during video conferences.

The only thing we don’t like with the laptop was the previously mentioned two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports. It’s not really acceptable for a Pro machine to have only two Thunderbolt ports. Apple may be saving additional Thunderbolt ports for their bigger laptops like the 16-inch MacBook Pro but why they decided to force customers to buy third-party peripherals on a Pro machine to get more ports is beyond us.

Overall, the MacBook Pro 13 M1 exceeded our expectations and has blown our minds away with its performance. It will handle most programs you’re probably going to be using the laptop for, and we highly recommend that you get this.

Final Cut Pro will perform much better than Adobe Premiere on the MacBook Pro 13 M1 so for Adobe users out there, maybe it’s time to switch to Final Cut Pro unless Adobe decides to make Premiere work with the M1 chip.

The MacBook Pro 13 M1 is probably one of the best laptops under S$3,000 in the market right now. For those in the US, you can get the MacBook Pro 13 M1 for under US$2,000. You’re going to be blown away by what it can do.


Content by Bobby Tonelli