I've been using a 14" MacBook Pro (the entry-level base model) as my primary computing device for the past week or so. Some thoughts on the experience so far:
- I upgraded from a 2017 12" MacBook and the differences are noticeable – I miss the portability of the 12", but going from a low-powered Intel processor to the M1 Pro is like night and day.
- I had an M1 Mac Mini that I traded in but it didn't get as much use as expected with its desktop form factor. I think I've validated that a powerful laptop that can be docked when I need it to be is the sweet spot for me. Using the M1 Mini for a few months also gave me enough confidence that the base model 14" would be fine for my needs.
- The boxy shape is fine. I didn't really need the additional HDMI / SD ports but they're nice to have. MagSafe charging is a nice plus but I have enough USB-C charging cables that it's not a dealbreaker either way.
- I like the additional key travel on the keyboard but it's taking some getting used to. Full-sized function keys mean that the trackpad height is reduced, but quickly got used to that as well. TouchID is nice, if only because it saves me from lots of typing to unlock 1Password multiple times per day.
- The display is excellent as expected based on reviews and HDR content looks great. The speakers though are really quite amazing and the hardware component I'm most (pleasantly) surprised by.
- Many of my commonly-used apps (Roam, Notion, Slack) are much faster, and more usable as a result – to the point where I wonder if eng teams at those companies won't realize how much older devices are excluded if they switch to M1 for internal development and testing.
- The battery life is amazingly good. I've had to try to deplete the battery in a full day's use and despite my best efforts I can't.