M1 MacBook Pro hands on

With my 5 year old 12 inch MacBook retired now thanks to the dreaded keyboard issue I decided to put it on eBay and get myself an upgrade. I went for the 2020 M1 MacBook Pro with 16GB Ram and 256GB storage from the Apple refurbished store.

Unfortunately my experience was only 5 hours long as it was defective out of the box (speaker issue) and I’m returning for a refund. But, in this time I did manage to get a good feel for what I liked and disliked about this particular model.

The good

The first thing I noticed was how snappy it all felt. Apps launch almost instantly and it’s got that iPad speediness feel to it. I didn’t have time to push it with Logic Pro but general use was amazing. The 16GB might play in a bit but I’d feel confident with 8GB and an M1 for my uses I think. I don’t do video editing or real heavy music production so I might save £200 next time.

Next up is TouchID. I’d not owned a Mac with this before and it’s truly amazing. Locking with a touch of the button then simply touching it again to unlock seems like a small thing but it makes a big difference. Even for entering passwords in macOS is made easier but took a bit to adjust.

The screen was a nice step up from my 12″ MacBook and it really did look great. Moving to a 13.3″ is a nice size, not too big but keeps it portable.

The bad

When I’m thinking about what I didn’t like about this machine it comes down to one thing – the Touch Bar.

Having a separate esc and TouchID key is good but having to tap multiple times to get to what I want is a step back for me. I use launchpad a lot on my Mac and I found within 15 minutes of using this MacBook Pro that I’m going to be frustrated. When using Music I thought having the controls accessible would be great but they disappear after a few seconds and again it takes another two taps to get to them.

Safari is cool seeing my favourites or tabs I have open but I can just click on the screen instead of looking down.

I’m sure with customisation or third party apps it might be cool but out of the box I don’t see the reason for it being there.

You might be better off with a MacBook Air

I’m thinking back on my experience of the power of the M1, the larger screen and using that Touch Bar and I keep coming back to the thought that the MacBook Air is probably going to be a better machine for me coming from my MacBook. I missed the keys for volume and brightness etc, the slightly lighter Air might be nicer to take around with me and a saving of a couple of hundred pounds and for me the Air is most probably going to be the way to go.