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Battle of the MacBooks: Should you buy the new MacBook M1?

It’s never been harder to decide which laptop to buy ever since Apple released the MacBook Air M1 and MacBook Pro M1, both of which make use of the powerful, next-generation M1 chip.

What is the M1 Chip?

Apple is slowly transitioning away from the Intel chips it has been using in MacBooks since 2006.

The new M1 chip is currently powering the new generation of MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro M1, and Mac mini. As Apple’s first chip designed specifically for the Mac, the M1 delivers up to 3.5x faster CPU performance, up to 6x faster GPU performance, and up to 15x faster machine learning. Battery life is also 2x longer than previous-generation Macs.

Macs and PCs have traditionally used multiple chips for the CPU, I/O, security, and more.

However, the M1 chip integrates all these technologies into a single system on a chip (SoC). The M1 chip is also the first personal computer chip built with the 5-nanometer process technology and has 16 billion transistors, the most Apple has ever put into a chip.

Comparison between the MacBook M1 and the other MacBooks

But do you really need that new Mac with the M1 chip? Let’s take a look at how the newly released MacBook M1 fares against other products under the MacBook line-up.

Business insider

 

MacBook Pro M1 VS MacBook Air M1

The most notable difference between the MacBook Air M1 vs the MacBook Pro M1 would be the weight difference of 110g, Touch Bar, higher-quality microphones, and most importantly, internal cooling fans appearing on the MacBook Pro M1 and not the MacBook Air M1.

For general users who are simply browsing the web, watching videos, and doing some light photo and video editing, the MacBook Air M1 is good enough.

However, for those who are planning to run graphics-heavy programmes for long periods, they will be better off with the MacBook Pro M1. The MacBook Pro M1 is great for these users as it also comes with an 8-core graphics processing unit (GPU) in its entry-level configuration, compared to the base model of the MacBook Air M1 that only comes with a 7-core graphics processing unit (GPU).

 

MacBook Air M1 MacBook Pro M1

(13-inch model)

 

Price HK$7,799 HK$9,999

 

Retina Display

 

13.3-inch Retina display 13.3-inch Retina display
Compute 8-core Apple M1 Chip

 

8-core Apple M1 Chip

 

Memory 8GB
16GB 
8GB
16GB
Storage 256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD
256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD 
Battery Life and

Power

Up to 15 hours wireless web

 

Integrated 49.9-watt-hour lithium‑polymer battery

30W USB-C Power Adapter

Up to 17 hours wireless web

 

Integrated 58.2-watt-hour lithium‑polymer battery

 

61W USB-C Power Adapter

 

Keyboard and Trackpad Backlit Magic Keyboard, Touch ID, and Force Touch trackpad Backlit Magic Keyboard, Touch Bar, Touch ID, and Force Touch trackpad

 

Ports Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports

 

Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
Size and Weight Height: 0.41–1.61cm

Width: 30.41cm

Depth: 21.24cm

Weight: 1.29kg

 

Height: 1.56cm

Width: 30.41cm

Depth: 21.24cm

Weight: 1.4kg

 

 

MacBook Pro M1 VS other MacBook Pros

MacBook Pro M1

(13-inch model)

 

MacBook Pro 2020

(13-inch model)

MacBook Pro

(16-inch model)

MacBook Pro 2016

(13-inch model)

Price HK$9,999

 

HK$16,999 HK$18,999

 

HK$13,928
Retina Display

 

13.3-inch Retina display 13.3-inch Retina display 16-inch Retina display 13.3-inch Retina display
Compute 8-core Apple M1 Chip

 

Up to 4-core Intel Core i7 Up to 8-core Intel Core i9 Up to 2-core Intel Core i7
Memory 8GB
16GB
16GB
32GB
16GB
32GB
64GB
8GB
16GB
Storage 256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD 
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD
4TB SSD
256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD
256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
Battery Life and

Power

Up to 17 hours wireless web

 

Integrated 58.2-watt-hour lithium‑polymer battery

 

61W USB-C Power Adapter

 

Up to 10 hours wireless web

 

Integrated 58.0-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery

 

61W USB-C Power Adapter

 

Up to 11 hours wireless web

 

Integrated 100-watt-hour lithium‑polymer battery

 

96W USB-C Power Adapter

Up to 10 hours wireless web

Integrated 54.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery

 

61W USB-C Power Adapter

 

Keyboard and Trackpad Backlit Magic Keyboard, Touch Bar, Touch ID, and Force Touch trackpad

 

Backlit Magic Keyboard, Touch Bar, and Touch ID, Force Touch trackpad Backlit Magic Keyboard, Touch Bar, Touch ID and Force Touch trackpad

 

Backlit Magic Keyboard and Force Touch trackpad
Ports Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports

 

Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports

 

Size

and

Weight

Height: 1.56cm

Width: 30.41cm

Depth: 21.24cm

Weight: 1.4kg

 

Height: 1.56cm

Width: 30.41cm

Depth: 21.24cm

Weight: 1.4kg

 

Height: 1.62cm

Width: 35.79cm

Depth: 24.59cm

Weight: 2.0kg

 

Height: 1.49cm

Width: 30.41cm

Depth: 21.24cm

Weight: 1.4kg

 

 

Our Verdict

It is tough choosing which MacBook to buy, with some models using the custom M1 chip and others using the Intel processors. Here’s our advice:

MacBook Air users – If your MacBook Air is 3 years old or more, it’s worth making the switch over to one of the new M1-based MacBooks. Even newer MacBook Air users will benefit greatly as the M1 chip transforms the MacBook Air M1 to an almost pro-level, with a great boost in performance and battery life. 

MacBook Pro users – For owners of older MacBook Pros, the new MacBook Pro M1 is still an upgrade from the Intel-based MacBook Pros. For owners of the newer MacBook Pros, however, it may be harder to justify buying a brand new MacBook Pro M1. The MacBook Pro M1 is absolutely faster than the previous models, but it isn’t exactly the best use of your money unless shorter wait times matter a lot to you.

Windows users –Apple is not exactly known for providing value-for-money computers and laptops but the low-cost M1 MacBook Air certainly gives Windows users a run for their money. The new generation of M1 MacBooks are suddenly not only on par with Windows equivalents for media and professional tasks, but also superior in many other areas.

Starting from HK$7,799 onwards, the new M1 is highly recommended for everybody, save for the most Mac-resistant shoppers.

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