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HomeTechMacBook Pro M1 2020 review: Apple’s new laptop is super fast and lasts ages

MacBook Pro M1 2020 review: Apple’s new laptop is super fast and lasts ages

MacBook Pro M1 2020 review: Apple’s new laptop is super fast and lasts ages

APPLE has dropped a furiously fast and long-lasting MacBook Pro right before Christmas.

I’ve been testing the special MacBook M1 and it’s an absolute joy to use – but it’s not done yet.

The Sun / Sean Keach

Apple’s new MacBook Pro is lighting fast[/caption]

Last week, Apple unveiled new Mac products running on the company’s own M1 chip.

It’s the first time MacBooks have used Apple processors, not Intel ones.

This is exciting, because it means Apple can optimise the whole system – design, processing, software.

And that’s good news for customers: Apple has promised huge performance gains.

The Sun / Sean Keach

It’s got the newer keyboard with a sturdier mechanism[/caption]

Looking at the new MacBook Pro, you wouldn’t notice anything afoot.

It looks largely identical to most recent MacBook Pro units, with a thin metal casing and a large, sharp 13-inch display.

The laptop borrows the same fancy keyboard on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, with an OLED Touch Bar and a proper Escape key to boot.

And you still get Touch ID fingerprint-scanning built into the keyboard, so you can unlock it in seconds – or making safe purchases online.

It’s the same brilliant design you know and love.

The real joy of the new MacBook Pro is its performance.

Apple’s own stats sound impressive: 2.8x faster processing, 5x boosted graphics, and 3x faster than the best-selling Windows rival.

Sounds great, but does it translate to the real-world? Absolutely.

Apps are very quick, navigation is smooth, and everything feels generally very snappy.

You can comfortably edit extremely hi-res photos, 4K videos or multi-layered music – as you’d expect from a Pro model.

Now for the big caveat: many apps don’t yet support Apple’s M1 chip.

  • MacBook Pro (M1) at Amazon for £1,299 – buy here
  • MacBook Pro (M1) at Best Buy for $1,299 – buy here
The Sun / Sean Keach

The same sleek metal casing returns[/caption]

The Sun / Sean Keach

There’s a physical Escape key, a Touch Bar, and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor[/caption]

Adobe’s hugely popular Photoshop won’t work natively for the M1 until next year, for instance.

When it does, we’ll probably see a big performance jump – but that’s a way off.

Thankfully, there’s an easy workaround.

When you try to install an Intel app for the first time, you’ll be prompted to install Rosetta, which takes a few seconds.

This is a piece of background software that lets Intel apps run on Apple Silicon chips.

It’s a very smooth process, and doesn’t seem to make any obvious difference to performance.

I used Photoshop extensively through Rosetta and it works just like the regular app.

It wasn’t slow or clunky or buggy. It was the same Photoshop I’ve always known, working as intended.

The better news is that M1 apps are coming, and soon.

By the end of next year, you probably won’t even think about Rosetta – as major apps will have all made the leap to supporting M1.

It means this laptop will be getting a serious speed boost over the coming weeks and months.

So if it’s fast now, that’s only going to get better.

The Sun / Sean Keach

The new MacBook Pro handles difficult tasks with ease[/caption]

The Sun / Sean Keach

The 13-inch display is bright, colourful and pixel-dense[/caption]

A few things I noticed, outside of raw performance: battery life and temperature.

The laptop lasts for ages: Apple says 17 hours of wireless web browsing and 20 hours of video playback.

I’ve been keeping it off charge all day to see if it lasts under heavy use, and it’s absolutely find.

I can get a full day of work done with zero issues – plus some casual use in the evening – and then charge it back up overnight.

This includes running apps like Photoshop, Slack, Apple Music and Safari.

Apple says it’s the longest Mac battery life to date, and I’m not surprised. It’s tough to kill.

And yes, it stays very cool.

One of my pet peeves is typing on a warm laptop: it drives me mad.

But the M1 MacBook Pro stays very frosty even under a decent load, which is encouraging.

The new MacBook Air has even been able to drop the fan from its design, although the Pro has kept it on for high-performance tasks.

The Sun / Sean Keach

Photoshop doesn’t work on the M1 natively yet, but runs through Rosetta[/caption]

The Sun / Sean Keach

The new MacBook Pro will only improve with time[/caption]

MacBook Pro M1 review verdict – should you buy it?

Apple knows how to make a good laptop.

I’ve been using a MacBook Pro for years, because the software is great – and the design is timeless and iconic.

But they’re also powerful, and that remains true for the new M1 version.

It’s a delight to use, and the new macOS 11 Big Sur feels incredibly smooth on M1 – as it should.

It’s obviously not perfect just yet: many apps are still preparing to support M1.

So you’ll be hanging around for a few weeks or months for maximum performance.

But buyers hang on to MacBooks for years, so it’s not a huge issue.

Besides, apps seem to run more than fast enough with Rosetta.

The M1 MacBook is brimming with potential, soon to be unleashed in all of its computing glory.

At £1,299/$1,299 it’s hardly cheap, but this will run rings around many Windows rivals – and it’ll be loved by Mac fans.

The Sun says: Apple’s new M1 MacBook Pro is a dream to use – and it’s only going to get better. 5/5

We reviewed the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) laptop with 256GB of storage and 8GB of memory.

  • MacBook Pro (M1) at Amazon for £1,299 – buy here
  • MacBook Pro (M1) at Best Buy for $1,299 – buy here

All prices in this article were correct at the time of writing, but may have since changed. Always do your own research before making any purchase.

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