The new 2021 MacBook Pro surprises me every day.

I traded in my Intel Mac. Should you?

A front-facing image of an open MacBook Pro with a sunlit window behind it.
Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

I’m not an “Apple Fanboy”.

I am not an Apple loyalist. There are currently over 20 devices on my wifi network at home. While a lot of them are Apple devices there are also Microsoft devices, gaming computers/consoles and smart home devices. That said, I just bought the newest MacBook Pro and I’m blown away.

I have the base model 16" version with 16GB unified memory, 512GB SSD, and the Apple M1 Pro chip. I traded in a late 2019 Intel mac with identical specs (i7, 16GB, 512GB SSD, Radeon 5300M) in order to upgrade. I’ve been looking at the M1 Macs for a while but I wanted to see a large design change before changing devices and Apple delivered. Here’s why this machine continues to amaze me every day.

Build Quality

My previous Mac always felt very sharp. The tapered edges promised to keep the machine thin, but it was hard to carry. The back hinge and the side vents felt like they could maybe even cut me if I were to pick it up just the right way (OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration). The fan was loud at seemingly random times and I was never really a fan of the USB-C cable that came with the charging unit.

A MacBook Pro sitting at an angle with a sunlit window behind it.
Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

The new Mac addresses all of this. It’s bigger and heavier but in a welcoming way. A more squared chassis allows for a bigger battery and better components while adding weight actually adds to the “pro” feel of the machine. The edges of the machine are expertly rounded which makes carrying it easier and the etched “MacBook Pro” insignia on the bottom makes for a nice finishing touch. The feet are also larger and flat, giving the laptop a better footing wherever you decide to place it.

The USB-C cable was replaced with a MagSafe 3 cable. Not only that, but the charger accepts it as a USB-C input, which means you don’t have to buy a new charging brick if the cable decides to fray. That’s a huge improvement over the older MagSafe chargers.

Battery Life

I have a younger child, which means I don’t get to use my tech all the time. I would charge my Intel Mac and by the time I was able to use it the battery was already half-drained. The same will be true for the M1Pro Mac, but between Apple Silicon and larger batteries this gives me a lot more time to use the machine between charging. I can also charge either with the MagSafe charger that came with it or a USB-C cable. For example, I was able to connect directly to my Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock with power delivery as well as my Dell XPS 15 charger that I use for work. Can you say freedom?

A MacBook Pro with someone’s finger going to press the power button.
Photo by TheRegisti on Unsplash

It’s efficient

One of the main reasons I wanted to upgrade is the power consumption. Apple really delivered on its promise of a low powered chip. Not only is it a powerful machine but it consumes way less power than previous MacBooks.

I have been becoming somewhat focused on my energy output so this is important for me. It also results in a lot less heat generated from the machine which will extend its life exponentially.

OK, but what do you use it for?

I don’t currently use a Mac for work, so the biggest hurdle for moving to a M1 Mac has been removed. I don’t have to worry about incompatibility because I can focus on using the machine for its current ability. That said, I do have some plans for it.

An ornate fountain pen resting on a small spiral-bound notebook.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Content creation

I plan to make this laptop work for me, so I’m going to ramp up my content creation. I am no TikTok star or Instagram influencer but I do have a lot of knowledge and experiences to share. I plan to write articles and get more involved in communities revolving around my future career goals of software development.

Illustrations of two vintage computers with glowing screens.
Photo by Artezio on Unsplash

Creative tools

I’ve been meaning to learn Vector art and have previously taken classes in graphic design tools with Adobe. I own the three Affinity apps (Designer, Photo and Publisher) and would love to learn to utilize them for creative projects.

Glasses depicting a clear image of a computer screen with code.
Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Xcode

Speaking of software development, I’ve been playing around with learning Swift and iPhone development for a long time but never got serious about it. Finally I can change all of that.

Since the M1 Mac can run iOS apps that means I can run Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app to learn interactively. I will pair that with Apple’s developer documentation, Xcode and a Udemy course in order to become proficient in making applications for Apple devices.

A Kindle e-reader on a wooden table next to a coffee mug and an iPhone.
Photo by @felipepelaquim on Unsplash

Vellum

My wife is an author of small-town romance novels (Tangled River series if you’re interested) and needs software to format books into ebook format. This is where Vellum comes in. She’s able to convert Word documents to ebook using a tool that effortlessly lets her add decorative elements to pages, customize front and back-matter and much more.

She doesn’t use a Mac but the software is Mac specific. More versatile tools are up-and-coming but for now it’s very convenient that we can use my Mac for her work instead of hiring a freelance ebook formatter.

The ecosystem

I enjoy the Apple ecosystem. Now that I have a family, I’m realizing just how vital it is to have certain parts of my tech work effortlessly. My photos and messages sync to iCloud and I can’t remember the last time I ran a manual backup or connected a drive in order to transfer files. It really has been a game changer for me.

I backed up my old mac when I was switching over to the new one, but with everything in iCloud, I haven’t had to connect the drive for any missing files at all. Considering my low amount of administrative time, this is a huge plus.

A 2021 MacBook Pro and iPhone 13 Pro on a wooden table.
Photo by Anthony Choren on Unsplash

In the end

I feel like I finally bought a device I plan to keep for many years without upgrading it. I’m making it work for me in ways that will pay itself off. It’s less power hungry, more powerful and easy to carry. It feels premium in all aspects and I’m so happy that I traded in my Intel Mac.

Your thoughts?

I want to hear from you. Have you had a good experience with any tech that really “wowed” you lately? Did you buy a M1 Mac and have a terrible experience? Have questions about anything else that I do? Let me know! I love getting to know people.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store