Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch – Beard Blog Review

MacBook Pro keyboard

The biggest story of this #techtober has been the new Apple MacBook Pro notebook computers. When Apple made the MacBook Pro thinner, lighter, and only strictly USB-C, the “pros” complained. For five years, the complaining continued with only minor adjustments from Apple. They pretty much admitted the butterfly keyboard was bad (without really saying it) and eventually reverted to a traditional scissor switched keyboard.1 I liked the look and feel of the butterfly keyboards, but they were a magnet for debris and often caused typing issues.

Like Apple’s other notebooks, the MacBook Pro finally moved away from Intel to Apple’s own M1 chip. The M1 Pro and M1 Max are faster than the M1, but all are way faster than Intel at most tasks.2

This is the first HDR computer screen I’ve had the pleasure of using and all I can say is, wow! It’s definitely a change worth seeing in person as well as the still not fully implemented ProMotion refresh.

MacBook Pro ports

Apple decided it didn’t want to hear people complain about the lack of ports on the MacBooks Pro anymore so they brought back the HDMI port and SD card slot. They added MagSafe back to the notebooks in a new smaller/thinner design, but it comes at the cost of one of the previous four USB-C ports. I’ve read a lot of people complaining that the MacBooks don’t have a USB-A port. This is not an issue. We’ve had only USB-C since 2016 and the type A port is clearly a dying breed. If you somehow still have something that can’t be upgraded to USB-C, grab your dongle, plug it in, and move on.

If you want to read more about the processors and MacBooks Pro, check out Apple’s technical specifications.

The Good

  • Retina XDR screen is brighter, higher resolution, and supports HDR
  • The design is really pleasing to hold and use
  • Fast, really really fast
  • Fast charging3
  • It’s quiet; even when exporting a 4K HDR video, not a fan spun up
  • The smaller screen bezels are welcomed, even at the cost of a notch
MacBook Pro notch

Missed Opportunities

  • The battery life doesn’t seem as long as the M1 MacBook Air
  • The notch could have housed Face ID
  • While the Touch Bar never took off, I liked the concept and would have liked to see the next iteration of that
  • Full-height function yes, but still tiny arrow keys
  • The 16″ could have probably fit a full size keyboard with number pad
  • MicroLED or OLED will be even better

The Bad

  • Heavier and thicker than previous generation
  • MagSafe takes the spot of a fourth USB-C port
  • Backlit keyboard lights bleed through random keys
  • Side vents feel weird on rounded chassis
  • No real way to tell what CPU/GPU configuration you want/need – confusing lineup

While almost perfect, the new MacBook Pros have room for growth. With a few tweaks, probably to come in the next year or so, Apple could produce the perfect laptop for professionals.

In true Apple fashion, they have some nice touches on the bottom of the laptop that you won’t find on any other laptop. (pictured below)

Read more Beard Blog tech reviews!

  1. https://support.apple.com/keyboard-service-program-for-mac-notebooks
  2. https://appleinsider.com/articles/21/10/30/compared-m1-vs-m1-pro-and-m1-max
  3. Apple says “up to 50 percent in 30 minutes” per https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT212755