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The M1 chip was the centerpiece of Apple’s “One More Thing” product event from November 2020. The groundbreaking hardware bit debuted on the Mac mini, the MacBook Air, as well as the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Key Specs

• Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, Neural Engine
• 13.3-inch Retina display with True Tone Technology, P3 color gamut
• 8/16GB of RAM; up to 2TB SSD
• Touch Bar & Touch ID fingerprint sensor
• Two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 compatibility

The MacBook Pro with an M1 chip has the same design and 13-inch Retina display panel as the Intel-equipped model. It also has the same keyboard, trackpad, and Touch Bar.

All About the M1 Chip

The Apple M1 is the first computer chip that’s built via a 5-nanometer process. The technology has packed 16 billion transistors—microscopic computer processor building blocks—into a minuscule space. The same process has been used in the making of the industry-leading A14 Bionic chip that powers the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro.

By combining all essential components (CPU, GPU, Neural Engine, memory) together into one chip, the M1 delivers unmatched blend of power and energy efficiency. According to Apple, the chip is up to two times more capable than its rivals in terms of graphics and processing power. Compared to the eighth-generation Intel Core chips found in the previous entry-level MacBook Pro, the performance leap is even bigger.

Because of the M1 chip and the optimized software for it, the new MacBook Pro made quick work of my busy work tasks—frequently switching between a double-digit number of open browser tabs, an email client, Slack, Spotify, Zoom, and Affinity Photo, among other apps.

The MacBook Pro with an Apple M1 Chip Is the Best 13-Inch Laptop You Can Buy
Photo credit: Apple
The MacBook Pro with an Apple M1 Chip Is the Best 13-Inch Laptop You Can Buy
Photo credit: Apple

A High Watermark for Battery Performance

Calling the battery life of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 chip epic is an understatement. With up to 17 hours of web browsing and 18 hours of video streaming between charges, the notebook delivers more screen-on time than any other MacBook.

However, the above numbers are not what will entice you. Instead, it will likely be the new MacBook Pro’s ability to consistently deliver insane battery life from mixed use.

Conclusion

Apple offers the 13-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 chip with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 2TB of SSD storage. Unless you really need the bigger memory options (up to 32GB of RAM and up to 4TB of storage respectively), as well as the additional USB-C ports that the pricier 13-inch Pro with an Intel processor offers, this is the compact MacBook to get.

The MacBook Air with an Apple M1 chip, on the other hand, has excellent performance and battery life in a more elegant form factor — with no cooling fans — for less. However, it’s important to note that the GPU of the entry-level variant is not as capable as the MacBook Pro’s—upgrading it will bring their pricing almost on par. Its Retina display has a lower maximum brightness, too.

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