M1 MacBook Pro (new) for US$1760 - Buy?

I’ve never bought a laptop computer for myself, but my family seems to have a handful. I’ve always preferred the larger screen and keyboard on a desktop machine. (Currently a 2019 iMac and a Logitech K120.) Unfortunately, age is catching up and I can no longer sit at a desk for very long without nasty back pain.

I was thinking of an M2 MBA, but then found a new 2021 M1 MacBook Pro (16/512) for 58K Thai Baht or about US$1760, which is about US$100 less than the M2 MBA (16/512).

I currently have a 2010 MacBook (the heavy white one) at my condo which I’ve upgraded to 8GB RAM, a fast-enough 512GB SSD (WD Blue?) and a new battery. Unfortunately, the screen is dying (probably the backlight) and the speaker sounds like it’s made of shredded aluminum.

At home I use a 2010 MBA that only has 2GB RAM and a very slow SSD. Not much fun for regular use.

I’m pretty much set on the M1 MacBook Pro, but I’m probably missing something.

What is it?

Are you 100% positive the M1 is new? In the US, they no longer sell M1s in Apple stores or authorized retailers.

MacBook Airs got their name because when compared with models with fans, they are relatively weightless. But if you need or want a much speedier model, then go with the M2, which has a fan. Even if you just mess around with photos from time to time, or you like to play games, there will be a noticeable speed difference.

IIRC, the Pros have better screens.

If you go with an Air, there’s not actually much difference in performance between the M1 and M2 Airs. Indeed, I recently bought an M1 Air for personal use specifically because its lower base price made it easier to buy a machine with more RAM and a larger SSD at negligible performance difference. The M1 also doesn’t have a notch, and I like having a bunch of menubar icons visible. The M2 Air does have some advantages, like a brighter display, but for many people, an M1 still is a very viable choice, and it still is available online at Apple.

M1 vs. M2 is really about GPU. CPU-wise the two are sufficiently close (especially non-Pro/Max flavors) that there’s very little difference compared to the huge jump you make when you go Intel to AS.

I’m assuming the Pro you mean is the 13".

These days I really see no reason to choose a 13" MacBook “Pro” (it really isn’t, it’s a cheap holdover to satisfy the $1299 price point and placate clueless corporate buyers who think “Air” signifies consumer whereas “Pro” means office use) over a MBA these days. Perhaps if somebody actually likes the TouchBar they have this as a last chance before it disappears forever. But otherwise I really can’t see anything. Due to active cooling there’s an argument to be made for 13" MBP over MBA, but this pertains to longer periods where you require peak performance. There the MBA will eventually throttle while the 13" MBP can continue to trudge along due to its fan. While this is indeed a valid point, I’d argue the folks that really concern themselves with high performance over sustained periods of time are not buying a lightweight consumer notebook based on a non-Pro/Max/Ultra CPU anyway.

I’d only get the 13" MBP if it were substantially cheaper than the M2 MBA. But $100 strikes me as noise when we’re talking about an $1700 investment (before Apple Care or any peripherals).

The machine I was looking at was a 2021 14" M1 MacBook Pro (16/512). Unfortunately, it is now sold out, so I missed out on what I think was a good deal. It is not unusual for Apple resellers here in Thailand to continue to sell brand new discontinued Apple products long after Apple no longer offers them:

Apple MacBook Pro 14 : M1 Pro chip 8C CPU/14C GPU/16GB/512GB - Space Gray-2021

Not sure what I’ll do now. My wife’s comment when I told I’d missed out: “We have too many computers in this house anyway. Why not just ask Siri to remind you not to sit at your desk so long.”

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:rofl: Sounds like my wife.

It’s a bit academic now, but I’d consider a 14" M1 MBP priced $100 below a comparable M2 MBA a really good deal.

I admit I’m biased as a 14" owner, but I will also say that I was very much tempted when the new M2 MBA came out. It’s a beautiful design, noticeably thinner and lighter than the MBP and if you don’t do GPU-dependent stuff the added performance of the M1/2 Pro/Max over the vanilla M1/2 really don’t render many benefits. Most of my work is CPU core limited so I’d see virtually no gain from Max over Pro and very little from Pro over vanilla.

But I will also say the 14" MBP has an awesome screen and great speakers. And, it may sound petty, it has TB ports on both sides which is nice if you need to hook it up to a hub or dock in an existing setup and don’t have the freedom to reroute everything to just the left side. I’d therefore claim unless you really want smaller/lighter at all cost, the 14" MBP is to me the more attractive machine even if that means getting an older M1 Pro over the M2 in the new MBA. And if you can get the MBP for cheaper, that makes it an even sweeter deal IMHO.

I wholly agree. Still pondering what to do.

I ended up buying the M1 MBA base configuration. It was just over US$800, including the Thai 7% VAT.

I think it will do me well for what I want to do with it.

It’s really quite beautiful and wonderfully light and fast compared to the 2010 White MacBook that I’ve been using. I could have save twenty bucks by buying a gray market model with an English only keyboard, but I really need those Thai keycaps.

Anyway, I’m pleased.

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