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Apple MacBook Pro M1 Test - The powerful runner


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The new Apple MacBook Pro is now also equipped with Apple's new power processor M1, aka Apple Silicon. The notebook scores well in our detailed test and not only proves its performance, but also shows an excellent battery life. Because with one battery charge you can watch around 16.5 hours of videos or browse the Internet for 16 hours. Despite the "Pro" title, Apple is stingy when it comes to the connection options: The notebook only has two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a jack for a headset. In addition, you can no longer connect an external GPU to this model.


Apple MacBook Pro M1 Review: No experiments, Apple relies on continuity
A look at the new MacBook Pro M1 at the beginning of our test makes it clear that Apple is focusing on inner values and will not try a new design under any circumstances. Because the MacBook Pro M1 looks exactly like its brother with the Intel processor. Even if some users would have wished for more innovation on this issue, Apple understandably relies on the typical and immediate recognition value.

The body of the 13.3-inch laptop is made of aluminum. This gives the MacBook stability and ensures the high quality appearance. Due to the choice of material, the total weight including the power supply is around 1.7 kg. So you can still carry it around with you, but it's not lightweight.

Apple has also installed an oversized Force Touch ClickPad in the MacBook Pro, which does its job with ease and precision. In addition to the familiar gesture control, it also masters the so-called "powerful click", the function of which varies depending on the application.

Apple is also using the tried and tested for its keyboard and has again installed an illuminated keyboard with scissor switches in its notebook and dispenses with the butterfly switches that were previously used. This change not only makes the keyboard quieter, but also gives it a longer service life, as the new switches should be less prone to repair.

The well-balanced travel creates a pleasant counter pressure and writing on the improved Magic Keyboard is simply fun. If you want to change the brightness of the keyboard, you can do this via the touch bar.


Apple MacBook Pro M1: Powerful CPU and GPU combination
Just like in its MacBook Air, Apple also equips the Pro version of the MacBook with the newly developed CPU M1, also known as Apple Silicon. The so-called ARM architecture forms the basis of the new processor. Apple is already using this successfully in its smartphones and tablets.

Unfortunately, Apple is once again holding back with technical details about the CPUs and GPUs. However,  GeekBench  provides information about the clock frequency of the new eight-core. As with the MacBook Air, the standard clock rate should be between 2 and 2.5 GHz and only climb to around 3,200 MHz under increased load.

The changes to the CPU and GPU also have far-reaching consequences for the software. If you want to run programs on your MacBook Pro in the future, you have to hope that they are either available in the M1 code developed and optimized for the processor, called "Universal Binary". Otherwise software that has not yet been converted into this native format can be started with the "Rosetta 2" emulation software and then used. However, this does not yet work with all programs.

That is the reason why we cannot yet include the MacBook Pro M1 in our leaderboard , and why we have tested it with both Cinebench R20 and version R23. Because the former is translated into the corresponding code thanks to Rosetta 2 and can then be used to test the hardware. The other, however, is already available as a version in universal binary format.

Since the CPU is not only busy with the Cinebench R20 during the benchmark, but also has to cede performance to the Rosetta 2 emulation solution, we only measure 2,089 points with the M1 processor in the multicore comparison. Meanwhile, a current Tiger Lake CPU from the Core i7 series achieved 2,318 points.

If we look at the measurements in Cinebench R23, which already exists as a "Universal Binary" version, we get a completely different result, because now the focus of the CPU is only on the benchmark test. Therefore, the M1 achieved 7,564 points in multi-core operation and the Tiger Lake processor only 5,460. In this test run, the M1 leaves no questions about what computing power it has. In general, the speed of the processor gives no cause for criticism and clearly shows what development can be expected in the next few years. (The benchmark results can be found in the table below)

Apple has integrated an eight-core GPU into the CPU, which takes over the graphics performance in contrast to the MacBook Air which only has a seven-core GPU. In the "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" game benchmark, which has to be started with the Rosetta 2 solution, it achieves 22 FPS (frames per second) in full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) with high levels of detail but only slightly faster than its counterpart in the MacBook Air.

We measured 53 FPS in HD resolution (1,280 x 720 pixels) with the same properties, the MacBook Air delivers 42 FPS here. One can only guess what would still be possible with a game that would be in the Binary Universal code. At least, however, the graphics unit proves that its performance can be rated higher than the Iris Plus Graphics G7 of a comparable Intel variant. This is installed, for example, in the Apple MacBook Air 2020 with Intel Core i7 and only achieves 7 FPS in full HD and 18 FPS in HD resolution in the benchmark.

The fast LPDDR4X RAM is also used in the MacBook Pro M1. In our test device this was 16 GB. This, in combination with the new CPU, offers another speed advantage. In addition, the new generation of SSDs has also been optimized in order to increase both the writing and reading speed. However, the memory and SSD are firmly soldered to the board in the M1 models.

Therefore, before you buy, you should think carefully about which memory sizes - Apple currently offers the notebook with a maximum of 16 GB of RAM and a 2 TB SSD and you will need for your tasks, as it is impossible to upgrade the components later without extreme intervention.

In contrast to the MacBook Air, Apple uses active cooling in the Pro and installs a fan. This means that the laptop can hold its power peaks longer because it doesn't have to turn down so quickly. However, criticism is also appropriate for the Pro version. In terms of connectivity, there are no differences to the Air.

There is also the 3.5 mm jack connection for a headset and the two Thunderbolt 3 ports, with which you can also connect devices that have a USB-C port can connect to the notebook, as they support the USB-4 standard. With WiFi 6, also known as the 802.11ax standard, you bring your MacBook online. You pair external Bluetooth hardware with the laptop using BT 5.0.

The equipment is completed by a touch bar, a Touch ID sensor and two-way stereo sound including Dolby Atmos support, three microphones and a 720p webcam. Thanks to the new GPU, it offers a better picture than its predecessors or the Intel variants, but you don't get studio quality here.

 

BENCHMARKS TEST APPLE M1 VS INTEL CORE I7-1165G7

  Apple MacBook AIr M1 Apple MacBook Pro M1 Notebook with Intel Core i7-1165G7

Cinebench 20 (single, cold)

401

407

569

Cinebench 20 (multi, cold)

1,987

2,089

2,318

Cinebench 23 (single, cold)

1,516

1,520

1,437

Cinebench 23 (multi, cold)

7.506

7,764

5,460

Geekbench 5 OpenCL

17.102

18,985

15,530

Geekbench 5 CPU (Single)

1,729

1,715

1,428

Geekbench 5 CPU (Multi)

7,446

7,560

5,425

 

Apple MacBook Pro M1 - Great screen meets long stamina
The reflective retina display is 13.3 inches and has a resolution of 2,560 by 1,600 pixels (WQXGA). In our test it is even better than the display of the MacBook Air. We measured a maximum brightness of an excellent 481 candelas per square meter. If you switch on the "TrueTone" feature, this value is reduced to a still very good 433 candelas per square meter. The checkerboard contrast is 186 to 1 is a very good value.

So, you can use the notebook effortlessly in bright surroundings. In terms of color space coverage, the display can also score: with sRGB the coverage is 100 percent, with AdobeRGB a good 87 percent and in the DCI-P3 color space a very good 98 percent. Overall, the display offers first-class display options and is suitable for image and video editing on a semi-professional level.

Another advantage of the M1 CPU is its low power consumption, which is clearly evident in the battery life. With one battery charge, you can watch around 16.5 hours of video or alternatively surf the Internet for 16 hours. This makes the MacBook Pro a reliable companion on long trips by bus, train or plane.

Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pros:

  • Strong display
  • Rosetta 2 emulation already supports many software titles
  • Extremely long battery life
  • Excellent performance values with universal binary software

Apple MacBook Pro M1 Cons:

  • An external GPU can no longer be connected
  • Available with a maximum of 16 GB of RAM
  • Only equipped with two Thunderbolt 3 ports
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