October 31, 2021

M1 Pro MacBook Pro Computer Upgrade

My 2015 MacBook Pro is getting pretty old. Last year when the M1’s came out I was really tempted to buy a new computer, but I decided to hold out until 2021 to see what happened. I was hoping for new computers in June. When that didn’t happen I basically made an agreement with myself that I was going to buy whatever Apple came out with in the fall. I did.

I think I put in my order for a 14" MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip within 15 minutes of the announcement finishing. I was able to get my new computer on day 1 of shipping this past Tuesday.

I thought I would share my initial thoughts on my new computer.


I am sure you have all heard that the performance is insane. I cannot really add much to that discussion. The performance is a lot better than my 2015 MacBook Pro. The battery life seems amazing. So far it seems like this computer offers way more power than what I need most of the time. I haven’t noticed the fans spin up at all.


I don’t exactly know what I expected out of this computer, but I thought it would be thinner and/or lighter than my old one. It is neither. It feels about the same overall thickness and weight. I might be wrong… I haven’t even compared the specs.

The case design changed a bit. It doesn’t follow the exact same “squared-sided” design language as the iPads & iPhones, but it does move in that direction. It has a retro look. I don’t know that I absolutely love it, but it has grown on me over the past week. It feels nice and sturdy and dense. One reason I love buying Apple products is that they always feel premium. This computer is no exception.

Screen & Notch

Knowing I didn’t need the most powerful computer I initially considered saving a bit of money by getting an M1 Macbook Pro from this past year. However, the mini LCD screen put things over the top for me. Most of the time I used my laptop plugged in to a 32" 4K monitor, but it is always open right beside it. However, this screen is going to inspire me to use it in laptop mode much more often[1]. I am also going to use this computer quite a bit to watch tv and movies. It looks amazing.

I thought the 120hz display would also be a big factor for me. I don’t think I have noticied it, but I also haven’t gone back to my old display and done a comparison. Overall the screen looks amazing. I don’t know if/how the high refresh rate is contributing to that.

When I first heard about the notch it seemed insane to me. Why would we need to cut out part of the screen on something this overall size. I will say the screen part is very thin, and I appreciate the small bezels. While the case design may look retro, it is clearly a modern computer when you look at the screen. Ultimately I don’t mind the notch at all. In practice it has no effect on how I use the computer. I like that the menu bar lives in the “ears” on either side of the notch. When I use an app in full-screen mode it goes away completely anyway. It doesn’t get in the way of video. The notch is a non-factor when actually using the computer.


I sat out on MacBooks for the last several years, so I never got to experience the butterfly keyboard or the TouchBar. I like using tactile keyboards and I didn’t love the keyboard on the 2015 MacBook Pro. The keyboard on my new computer is better in every way. It is difficult to explain, but it does have a nice tactility that feels snappy. It definitely isn’t clicky, but it doesn’t feel nearly as mushy as the old version. I can happily type on this keyboard for a long time. [2]

Honestly I am a little sad this computer doesn’t have a TouchBar. I thought it would have been an interesting thing to play with while I am using the computer in “laptop mode”. It is fine either way. I enjoy and am used to the function keys. I love having Touch ID. This is my first laptop with that feature.

Final Thoughts

The new M1 Pro Macbook Pro is the best computer I have ever used. That is clear. It is extremely fast, especially for my needs. The screen looks awesome. The battery life is amazing. It has everything I could want out of a laptop. The Apple chips are clearly leading the way and I am happy to have a laptop that has one.

It is impressive that Apple released this computer with additional ports and no touch bar. The company made the decision to reverse direction on a couple items that seemed to be the future just a couple years ago. That is big deal for them. They have re-thought the pro line of laptop computers to give the people what they were asking for.

I actually thought the ports would be a big deal for me. However, I bought a cheap USB-C hub and have been able to plug everything I need into there. It is nice to have the MagSafe charger on a dedicated cable, but it is also nice to be able to unplug just one cable when I want to take my computer away from my desk.

Overall this has been a big upgrade for me. I was excited to get my computer on day one when I know a lot of other people are having to wait for theirs. This was an expensive computer, but I am confident it will serve me well for several years to come.

  1. Laptop mode… as-in, actually using the laptop keyboard with the screen much closer to my face. Not necessarily on my lap.  ↩

  2. I still mostly use this computer while connected to a mechanical keyboard.  ↩