The Apple Silicon transition continued in full force this year, with the introduction of not only the all-new 24-inch iMac, but also the completely revamped 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro lines. The new MacBook Pro corrects many of the flaws of the 2016 generation MacBook Pro and shows the true power and versatility of the M1 chip.
For these reasons, and many others, we are crowning the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro devices as well 9to5Mac product of the year.
Chance Miller, 9to5Mac Editor-in-Chief
As I wrote on the day the new 14-inch MacBook Pro went on sale, I believe the new machines are a stunning return to form for Apple’s professional laptops. Not only are the flaws of the previous MacBook Pro on the right, they also move the tripod even further forward thanks to the ProMotion display with a mini-LED.
One of my favorite features of the 14-inch MacBook Pro is the extra inch of screen you get compared to the previous 13-inch model. The 13-inch MacBook Pro / Air screen has always seemed a bit cramped, but I didn’t want to switch to a 16-inch boat-sized MacBook Pro. 14 inches is the perfect compromise for my use case.
None of this means the new MacBook Pro is flawless. There were some issues with the ProMotion screen, the SD card slot and HDMI ports are not the latest and greatest, and the cutout on the screen is a clear compromise. However, unlike the problems that plagued the 2016 MacBook Pro, these issues can be solved with iterative updates over the next few years.
Anecdotally, I will also honorably mention the 24-inch iMac. As Parker says later in this post, it is an amazing machine that achieves a perfect balance between form and function.
Zac Hall, 9to5Mac Senior Editor
Starting at $ 1999, the new MacBook Pro made the M1 MacBook Air even better in value a year later.
Jeff Benjamin, YouTube host 9to5Mac
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is, by most accounts, an Apple laptop that professional users have been waiting for for years. It’s a product with very little compromise that addresses key areas that users like me are most concerned about. Outside are redundant features like the Touch Bar, and inside are full-size hardware function keys, MagSafe, and even ports like the SD card (UHS-II) and HDMI (2.0)… – okay, maybe Apple could reconsider its choice of ports, but it is clear what this laptop means work.
Apparently the most prominent feature of the M1 Max MacBook Pro is the performance, which revolves around every laptop before it and, depending on the type of work you do, can embarrass many desktops.
If you’re a Final Cut Pro user like me who opted for the full-featured version, this is basically your dream laptop. Not only does it have huge bandwidth for handling 8K ProRes timelines, but it also has a screen that thinks ahead. The M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro displays provide an HDR editing experience with 120 Hz that even surpasses Apple’s premium Pro Display XDR of $ 4999, albeit in a much smaller form.
Simply put, the 16-inch MacBook Pro can function as a traditional desktop workstation in almost any area. It still doesn’t occur to me that this much power is available in a device that I can throw in my bag and take with me on the go. And while I was on the move, the battery life was absurd. It’s basically as close to perfect as the top laptop ever was in my eyes, making it the obvious winner for the 2021 product of the year (edited)
Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac editor:
For the past five years, I have relied on two MacBooks as my primary machines. From 2016 to 2020, I used a 15-inch Intel MacBook Pro, and then tested the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro for a year.
After spending two months with a 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip, it became my favorite MacBook. While restoring ports is precious to many, the biggest advantage for me is removing the Touch Bar and the new 14-inch size with thinner frames. I’ve found that it’s a sweet spot between 15/16 inches and 13 inches where you get enough screen magnification to be noticeably useful while remaining very light and portable.
Like the 2020 M1 MacBook Pro and Air, the 2021 MacBook Pro’s battery life is super impressive and can often last two or more days of operation at the same time. Finally, I like the new form factor with a slightly thicker construction that gives a little sign to the design of Apple’s late PowerBooks.
Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac American editor
As for the design, there is a mixture of modern (thin frames) and nostalgic (look of the Powerbook G4), and I really like it. Screen brightness, contrast and ProMotion smoothing are big improvements.
Performance is smooth even when editing 4K video, but for me the complete lack of heat and fan noise during everyday use is also a big win. Finally, one of my favorite features is the battery life. My Intel machines typically provided five hours of real-life usage, while the M1 Max Pro gives me a touch of over ten hours – which is a real all-day life. Personally, this is the best product that Apple has launched this year.
Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac EU Editor
Apple Silicon continues to extend Apple’s leadership in the computer hardware space. The M1 Pro and M1 Max chips inside the MacBook Pro offer powerful CPUs and competitive GPU performance without the need for noisy fans. These laptops are not just benchmark kings, they feel noticeably faster in the real world than their Intel-based predecessors, while working for hours on a single charge with almost inaudible operation.
However, the 2021 MacBook Pro is more than just new silicone. The new screen is stunning to look at, and the overall industrial design of the laptop has been significantly improved, with thinner screen frames and a sleek black keyboard. The webcam has also been brought to an acceptable standard, and Apple has returned HDMI and SD card slots to satisfy the professional base of users who have complained about their absence for so long. These new machines are so good in every way; their brilliance makes it easier to forget Apple’s past Mac bugs.
Michael Bower, Senior Graphics and Social Media Manager
As an Apple user since 2001, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro is the best Mac (and probably the best computer) I’ve ever owned. The new screen makes design work a dream and, unlike my Intel Core i9 MacBook Pro, the M1 Max is quiet and never warms up. It’s fast, responsive and the most exciting is the Mac of the Titanium PowerBook G4. It seems like it took Apple a long time to get here, but it was worth the wait.
Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac Associate
Apple has strengthened two of its most important products this year: the iMac and the MacBook Pro. Each is an exercise in restoring product size. And while I firmly believe that the M1 iMac is a more fun product than the two of them getting a revived personality, the MacBook Pro has been a tour de force in solving product problems.
For the past 5 years, Apple has been trying to fix individual parts of the MacBook Pro one by one. They tried to make the terrible butterfly-shaped keyboard work, they improved the thermal envelope, extended the battery life, but none of that was enough. The 2021 MacBook Pro solved almost every complaint in one go. He restored the much-needed ports such as HDMI and the SD card slot. It features a spectacularly good keyboard with a scissor switch without the dreaded Touch Bar. And while I could do without the incision, at least it’s undeniably new when seen in person.
The best features of the 2021 MacBook Pro are not necessarily what has been fixed. This is something completely new. My personal favorite feature is the 120Hz ProMotion Retina display. I’ve been waiting for years for high refresh rates to come on the Mac and they did a great job. Another feature I love is the brand new design. While it takes a lot of hints from the PowerBook from the early 2000s, it has a fresh look that is completely different from the previous generation MacBook Pro. The boxy design combined with the all-black keyboard gives the right statement.
Obviously, the star of the show is the next generation of Apple Silicon in M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. I used a machine with an M1 Pro chip and had almost no hiccups or lags. These machines scream, no matter what configuration you choose. After all, you can’t go wrong with a MacBook Pro. It’s an easy purchase if you’re willing to pay for it.
Blair Altland, 9to5Toys Editor-in-Chief
After relying on the base 16-inch MacBook Pro for 2019 for the past two years, I was thrilled that Apple not only brought all of its customized silicon to some high-end machines, but also introduced a new 14-inch earlier this year shape. years. So that’s the model I had to go with. Descending to that smaller size, but with all the power offered by the M1 Max chip was nothing but a change in my workflow.
The return of MagSafe and capable batteries make it a dream to work away from the table, and having an SD card slot comes in really handy every day. That alone makes it a significant upgrade, despite all the other improvements. So it’s a pretty easy choice to make the new M1 Max MacBook Pro my favorite Apple edition of the year.
FTC: We use auto affiliate links to earn revenue. More.
Watch 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:
Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.