The new 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro are a big step up from previous MacBook models, with more ports, a mini LED display, and either the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip. But stay calm — you probably don’t need to buy one.
I’ve seen a few YouTubers post videos about why they are going to buy one despite already owning the incredible 13-inch MacBook Pro. While they spend 15 minutes performing the gymnastics needed to explain their reasoning behind buying one, I will make my case against them. Put simply, you probably don’t need one.
- Here's more about the latest 14-inch MacBook Pro announcement
- Go big with details about the new 16-inch MacBook Pro
- And here's everything you need to know about M1 Pro and M1 Max
I know this goes against my role here at Laptop Mag as a “Deals Writer” (check out where to buy the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro if you are thinking of nabbing one), but it would be wrong of me to allow you to fall for Apple’s marketing without helping you put things into context.
Why you don't need the new MacBook Pro
The main point made in these videos is that by grabbing this MacBook Pro, you future-proof yourself for the next few years. Let’s analyze this for a second because, after just one year, there is no need to re-future-proof yourself after getting the original M1 MacBook Pro.
This 13-inch MacBook Pro has more than enough power for my creatively intense workload of Final Cut Pro 4K video editing or Photoshop work, and doesn’t even break a sweat when put through the challenge of loading many Google Chrome tabs. You only really need that extra power if you are a creative pro, like a film director, composer or photographer.
Apple’s Pro MacBooks have always been viewed as the prosumer’s choice, but there are a whole host of Windows alternatives that can do the same tasks but with more software options for getting the job done.
Plus, as our sister site Tom’s Hardware reported, the Geekbench scores of the M1 Max (allegedly) put these performance improvements into perspective for what they are — spec bumps over an already incredible chip that takes the fight to Intel in a big way.
Other new features include a return to hardware function keys. The Touch Bar is widely hated, but I’ll be honest, you get used to it — just like you get used to the lack of ports with a dongle or USB-C adaptor (I recommend the Hyperdrive DUO (opens in new tab)).
The webcam improvements on the new MacBook Pro are warmly welcomed, but they will both be more than good enough for those daily morning meetings with the team. If you’re using a built-in webcam for streaming, you’re doing it wrong. Take your pick from our best webcams list and go from there.
What are the alternatives?
Let’s break down these aforementioned portable workstations.
Refurbished M1 MacBook Pro: was $1,999 now $1,609 @ Apple (opens in new tab)
Sticking with Apple? Let me make my final pitch to you about the insanely good 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, which received a perfect 5-star review from us. The size makes this easily portable and the power crunches through even some of the more intense workflows. Plus, with 16GB unified memory and a 1TB SSD, this has got the space and the capability to multitask. Give this a thought.
Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED: was $3,449 now $1,999 @ Newegg after rebate (opens in new tab)
This fully-specced beast offers a 15-inch 4K OLED panel up top with gorgeous color accuracy, an 11th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU, RTX 3080 GPU, 32GB RAM and 1.5TB of SSD storage.
Alienware m15 R4: was $2,823 now $2,351 @ Dell (opens in new tab)
Yes, this is a gaming laptop. But with an Intel Core i7-10870H CPU, 32GB RAM, an RTX 3080 GPU and 1.5TB of SSD storage, this has more than enough power to get creative pro work done. Plus, thanks to that 15.6-inch 144Hz display up top and Windows OS, you can play some awesome games by night.
Who should buy the new MacBook Pro?
If you can find a use case for all that extra power, which your current laptop isn’t able to achieve, then go right ahead! If you’re using a MacBook Pro that is several years old, then getting the new model could make sense.
The multi-core and graphical performance have seen a significant bump, but don’t forget to put its performance (and price) into perspective. If you already have an M1 MacBook Pro, you probably don’t need that upgrade. If you want powerful performance with a more versatile OS, then you can get more RAM and storage in a Windows laptop for a similar price.