Here is my 2021 Macbook Pro 14 Review – Does it hold up in 2023? I upgraded my Laptop a year ago to a 2021 MacBook Pro 14-Inch M1 Pro chip ready for my final year of University to work on more performance-intensive projects on the go and essentially use it as my main everyday computer. As I have had it now for a year, here is my full review. I will be comparing it to my previous Intel Macbook Air 2020 mostly, the new M1 Pro chip is a lot more powerful compared to previous models and has handled any task I have thrown at it such as programming, and having multiple browsers and programs open simultaneously and I have had no overheating issues. You can get yours here
My Impressions and Option
My first impression of the 2021 MacBook Pro 14-Inch M1 Pro is that it is a very powerful laptop that massively benefits from the upgrade from an Intel chip to the new M1 chip. The new look of the laptop is clean and very stylish, I wasn’t too sure about it at the beginning but it has definitely grown on me. Although it’s heavier, I don’t really notice it when carrying it around. The edge-to-edge display is a great new addition to an already feature-packed device and unlike others, I love the bezel where the webcam is but this will be down to personal preference.
The Look of the Laptop
The new look of the laptop is a great new design choice by Apple. A more modern look in my opinion with the laptop’s more box-like shape and the edges being rounded towards the end more than before which I personally really like as it feels better when carrying. It makes the laptop look bulkier but in a good way and it allows for some additional ports on the side such as a MagSafe 3 port, three Thunderbolt 3 ports, a headphone jack, an SDXC slot, and an HDMI port. The previous models didn’t have half of these ports which is a big win for the new Macbooks.
This laptop also comes in two colours both space grey and silver. On my last laptop, I went with silver but this time I went with space grey and I definitely prefer space grey over silver as it being slightly darker makes the laptop look better and it hides any marks if it gets any, which again will come down to personal preference. I am also very thankful there is no touch bar on these models because I found them to be very useless for my needs, as I would never use them.
The keyboard and trackpad also work like a charm. Apple did a great job with this and I love the backlight on the keyboard if I am in a darker area and need to see what I’m typing. It’s a Magic keyword and it has a touch ID for easy and fast sign-in.
When I set out to upgrade my laptop, one of my requirements was better hardware and especially more than 8GB of ram that I had in my MacBook Air. As I am still a University student I didn’t have a massive amount to spend on a new laptop but so I decided to go with the Apple M1 Pro with 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine. This is their cheapest model, here are the specs:
- Apple M1 Pro with 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
- 16GB unified memory
- 512GB SSD storage
- 67W USB-C Power Adapter
- 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
- Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
- Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID – British
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One bit of hardware I wish I had gone for was the 32GB of memory but the 16GB coupled with the new M1 pro chip has made such a difference to my previous MacBook Air. The Storage for me also is completely fine, 1TB would have been very nice but with a lot of my work that requires a lot of space I use an external hard drive and I also have Onedrive for saving files. The 67W USB-C Power adapter has actually been amazing, it only takes an hour or two to fully charge my laptop which usually lasts most of the day depending on what I am working on. There is a 96W USB-C power adapter which would probably give you a full charge in under an hour.
The Apple M1 Chip
Apple’s M1 chip is the Apple M1 Chip represents a significant shift in computer architecture and a substantial leap forward for Apple. As the company’s first chip developed explicitly for Mac, the M1 boasts an unprecedented level of power and efficiency. At the core of this silicon innovation lies an 8-core CPU, composed of 4 high-performance cores for resource-intensive tasks and 4 energy-efficient cores for less demanding processes. This balance ensures optimal performance without unnecessary power usage. Coupled with this, the chip has an 8-core GPU, which presents extraordinary graphical capabilities for tasks such as video editing or gaming. Further enhancing its capabilities is the 16-core Neural Engine, designed to accelerate machine learning tasks, thereby improving performance on software that leverages AI technologies. The M1 utilizes a unified memory architecture, which allows the CPU, GPU, and other cores to access memory simultaneously without the need to copy data between multiple pools of memory. This design enhances speed and efficiency, resulting in smoother performance and faster access to data.
macOS is Apple’s proprietary operating system, crafted specifically for their Mac computers. Designed to integrate seamlessly with the Apple M1 chip, macOS offers a highly efficient, fluid, and user-friendly experience. It takes full advantage of the M1’s capabilities by optimizing the system performance, harnessing the power of the chip’s 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, and leveraging the 16-core Neural Engine for machine learning tasks. When macOS Big Sur became available, which introduced a refined new design, powerful controls, and intuitive customization options, all while maintaining the power and stability that users expect from a Mac. It also marked the first OS specifically engineered for the M1 chip, offering native support for all Apple apps and an improved Rosetta 2 translation process for third-party software not yet updated for the M1 architecture. Beyond Big Sur, Apple typically releases updates to macOS annually, so newer versions are likely available now in 2023, each bringing additional enhancements, updated features, and security improvements.
My Usage and Final Thoughts
So this was my 2021 Macbook Pro 14 Review – Does it hold up in 2023? Yes, I think so, I have been using my laptop for a variety of tasks, my main task lately has been app development using VSCode and I have been using an Android Emulator. The performance has been top-tier with no issues at all. As well as blogging, writing, and watching youtube which has also shown no issues so far.
I think the 2021 MacBook Pro 14-Inch M1 Pro is an amazing piece of hardware that is good for almost all tasks. I would recommend getting 32GB of ram if you are planning to do anything intensive but this is more for future-proofing rather than essential. here