MacBook Pro 2021 – It’s Not Just How It Works, It’s How It Feels

So after my first MBP arrived with a broken screen a few days ago I finally got a new one. 16 “, base model, 1TB SSD, space gray. And I’m amazed at its quality. But it’s not just about the amazing performance. Is so good – and not just because of the speed or the ‘efficiency.

The small things

– Attach or detach an external screen, turn Side Car on or off, move screens (to the left or right of the MacBook screen), change the resolution – is instant now. There is no screen flickering, going black or anything – it’s instant. You plug in a monitor, it turns on. You detach it – Windows simply transfers to the built-in screen. You change the resolution – the elements just resize. For years, I thought screens had to flicker, turn off, and turn back on – every time you change these things – but no, no.

– I see a lot of people comparing Apple and Intel / AMD processors based on benchmarks, but they don’t get it. It’s not that Apple chips are faster per watt (they are), it’s that they make the Mac feel like a different kind of computer. To me, Macs were like PCs, but with nicer hardware and operating systems. But now these feel like a different class of devices. It’s like jumping from hard drive to SSD. Have a second GPU, hear the fans for most things, wait whatever during regular use – looks like hard drive platters and mechanical parts compared to solid state drives. Other PC processors may even win benchmarks at this point – I would still choose Apple Silicon because of how they use a Mac to feel.

– iOS and iPad apps work fine. Better than I expected. Sure, they’re not made for Mac, but they’re surprisingly usable. Art apps for iPad support Wacom pressure sensitivity. Media apps that support files on iOS / iPadOS open files from your drive like regular apps. They all run extremely fast and are smooth. Their widgets are working. For example, if you told me Overcast is a Mac app, I would believe you. Of all the apps I tried – the IKEA app was the only one that had a problem because it detected my Mac as a jailbroken device


– The keyboard is great, the speakers are great, the computer looks amazing. You know all this – to quote Han Solo: That’s right. All.

– The screen is something else. Look, I’ve heard people complain about ghosting, response times, flickering. I don’t know what to tell you – if you’re one of those people, you know what you like and what you don’t like. To me this screen looks amazing. HDR looks crazy. Blacks are OLED level. The colors are bursting. The viewing angles are excellent. It looks as good, if not better, than my iPad Pro mini LED display. And if there had been no flowering, it would be nicer than my OLED TV for media consumption (and it’s close).

– Speaking of HDR, it’s not really a hardware feature, but macOS has incredible HDR support. Compared to Windows, this is a huge difference. Not only can you get “localized” HDR on the screen (like, just in the YT window, or as part of a photo) while the rest of the screen is SDR – you get the same effect on them. External HDR displays that support local dimming zones or have self-emitting screens. It works great on my OLED TV.

– The computer is quiet and cool. It takes an effort to warm it up and to hear the fans. Ironically, the fans are quieter than any previous generation, or any laptop I’ve ever tried.

– I don’t know if it’s the chip or the new sensor, but Touch ID is blazingly fast. I barely press the button and it registers. I have used Touch ID on iPhone, iPad and Mac – this one is faster.

– The hinge is really nice.


– I’ve always said that some people need 32 or 64 GB of RAM, but not everyone – and for me 16 GB is definitely enough. And I’m not a casual user either. I opened Blender, Zbrush, Photoshop, and Clip Studio Paint and opened heavy projects in those apps. My Mac was just as responsive. Then I opened several tabs with large Artstation images. Then I opened a few tabs with ClickUp documents, which spend around 1GB each. Then, just for fun, I opened World of Warcraft next to these (I replaced again just to test this 🙂). I have no idea in which universe I would one day open a game alongside these things, but hey, why not. Everything went well. I was multitasking, working lag-free, and coming back to smooth frame rates in Shadowlands. I fully understand that some projects benefit from 32 or 64 GB, but I am really starting to doubt some claims that their MacBooks were lagging behind because of 16 GB of RAM.

– Speaking of RAM, Activity Monitor on my previous MacBook was almost always in the green, but the paging file was several gigabytes. Here it rarely uses swap – it’s usually 0 or a few tens or hundreds of MB. The pressure turns yellow more often, but it rarely changes (it apparently compresses memory and does black magic in it. behind the scenes I have no idea, but it almost always hovers between 10 and 14 GB no matter what I open). It never gets slow or unresponsive (and I’ve tried to make it slow down). I used to tell people to check their memory pressure, but now I would just say – don’t even look at it. Is the computer slow or unresponsive? No? Alright, everything is fine (and even though there is lag, people seem to attribute every slowdown to RAM for some reason). That said, when I managed to get it swapped (in, uh, running WoW alongside Blender, Zbrush, Photoshop, and CSP like I said) it didn’t slow down either.

– There is definitely a reason to have more RAM if your projects are huge. There really is. I keep saying this isn’t Apple’s conspiracy to make you spend more – if you need it, you know you need it, you can have it. But for many workflows – maybe even more workflows – Comparing RAM between these newer Macs and older Macs and PCs is like comparing RAM on iPhones and Android devices. RAM is RAM, that’s right, Apple doesn’t magically increase the value of a gigabyte with unicorn dust – but good computer operation and responsiveness – it’s one thing. apart, and the rules are different here.


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