July 15, 2024

The new Macbook Pro has power and ports

Restore port diversity: Apple has learned that design isn't everything in laptops.
Restore port diversity: Apple has learned that design isn’t everything in laptops.

Photo: DPA

Apple is playing the competition against the wall with an improved version of the M1 chip in the new Macbook Pro. With the device, the iPhone company also admits that design isn’t everything when it comes to laptops.

A quick conclusion up front: The new MacBook Pro is great, but it probably isn’t the perfect laptop for everyone or every woman. But more on that later.

The new Macbook Pro There are two versions that differ mainly in terms of screen size: 14 and 16 inches. It can be ordered in many configurations. The entry point is the 14-inch model with Apple’s M1-Pro processor (CPU) with 8 computing cores, with 6 performance cores responsible for maximum performance, while 2 efficiency cores handle routine tasks in an energy-efficient manner. For this purpose, Apple packs a graphics chip (GPU) with 14 cores.

At the top end of the scale is the M1 Pro Max CPU with 10 cores, the GPU with 32 graphics cores and a number of add-ons that are supposed to speed up video processing and inspire AI. This expansion stage is not only intended for the 16-inch model, but is also available for the “small”.

brutally superior

Our test device, a 16-inch model equipped with the M1 Pro CPU, showed up quickly: Even with the improved version of the M1 Pro, the Apple chip brutally beats Intel processors. As expected, the M1 Pro Max tops the performance yet again.

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In hands-on testing, we tried to embarrass the MacBook Pro by editing an 8K video, which didn’t work. We were able to change the color and metadata, move the timeline, and edit movies without even starting the fan in the Macbook.

The delay between pressing the play button on non-displayed material and the actual start of the video was so short that we couldn’t even measure it, while when compared to the Intel system, it took a few seconds to think about.

Huge computing power: Apple's M1 Pro Max processor.
Huge computing power: Apple’s M1 Pro Max processor.

An apple

The advantages of speed are everywhere

It must be said that Finalcut Pro editing software that Apple uses has already been optimized for the new chipset family. Speed ​​benefits are also achieved by many programs that do not come from Apple. Even programs from Adobe (Photoshop, Premiere, Lightroom, Co.), but also Microsoft Office programs are no longer available only in the Intel version.

Professionals will also be delighted at the screen of their new Macbooks. The same mini-LED technology is used here as in the Pro-iPads. It provides very strong contrasts. It should also be noted on the positive side that the webcam finally delivers the quality needed to cut a good number in video conferencing.

The new generation of professional Macbooks also promises interesting prospects for users who perform technically simpler jobs on a laptop. Apple has not only equipped its latest models with massive CPU power, but has also made some key decisions that make waiting for a new Macbook (without the Pro) exciting.

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apply a little thicker

On the other hand, thicker Macbooks can be applied again. The 16-inch model from our hands-on test is twelve millimeters thicker than the previous year’s 13-inch model. Apple uses the space to give your Macbook more connections (ports). There is again an SD memory card slot (XDXC), which many users have been missing in Macbooks for years.

The new Macbook Pro is slightly thicker than the previous generation.
The new Macbook Pro is slightly thicker than the previous generation.

An apple

While the slot doesn’t support the newer, faster UHS-3, UHS-2 still means 300Mbps. The main thing is that you can save the cable. The same goes for the HDMI connection, which was lost a lot in the previous model.

Here, too, Apple did not choose the best possible option (HDMI 2.1). But HDMI 2.0 still manages to 4K resolution at 60 Hertz (Hz). If you want to control a higher screen resolution, you can do so via one of the four USB-C ports equipped with Thunderbolt 4.

Das Magsafe Return

The Magsafe power supply connector is seeing a comeback, at least on the 16-inch model. The USB-C cable hangs on a powerful 140-watt adapter that weighs 293 grams. Compared to previous Magsafe versions, the magnet holds the power cable more tightly in the case. You can also charge the 16-inch model using a traditional USB-C cable, albeit a little slower than fast charging mode with Magsafe.

The touch bar is gone. The narrow strip of the touchscreen above the keyboard was introduced in 2016 with the MacBook Pro at the time, but it didn’t find a huge following.

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With the new MacBook Pro, Apple continues the successful transition to ARM processors. At the same time, Apple also acknowledges with the new devices that the vision primarily pursued by then chief design officer Jony Ive, according to which thinner devices should have as few interfaces as possible, was not the ultimate wisdom.

If a variety of ports are now finding their way into cheaper Macbooks, Apple laptops will find many loyal customers outside of the professional scene. The MacBook Pro (starting at CHF 2199) is too expensive for a simple mobile office.