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MacBook Pro 16 2021 Review, Extraordinary Mobile Workstation

HomeMacityMacAfter the review of the MacBook Pro 14 in the last few weeks, we finally got to try even the most powerful model: two more inches are not few and everyone feels, for a product that here in the editorial office has shown itself for what it promised, not a MacBook Pro with a larger screen, but a similar computer in basic setup, but intended for very different uses.

At a time when there is a lot of talk about the new Mac Studio, which promises truly incredible power, there are still many users who prefer to invest in a product that can be put on the stock market easily.

And that's exactly the point: Is the new MacBook Pro 16 2021 a mobile workstation? The answer is yes, but it is not as obvious as expected.

  • 0.1 Titanium 2.0
  • 0.2 Thunderbolt 4
  • 0.3 Notch
  • 0.4 Keyboard and robustness
  • 0.5 Display
  • 0.6 Power
  • 0.7 To me the power (cit)
  • 0.8 Pros:
  • 0.9 Cons:
  • 0.10 Price:
  • 1 Offers MacBook Pro 16 2021
  • 1.1 M1 Pro 16 Core GPU / 512 GB SSD / 16 GB RAM
  • 1.2 M1 Pro 16 Core GPU / 1 TB SSD / 16 GB RAM
  • 1.3 M1 Max 32 Core GPU / 1 TB SSD / 32 GB RAM
  • Titanium 2.0

    The shape of the new MacBook Pro 16 is definitely different from that of the latest Intel MacBook Pro 16, which had a quite different design.

    This new model is thicker (6 millimeters), heavier (a hectogram or two, depending on the type of processor), narrower in width but wider in height, the latter differences certainly due to the different appearance of the display. measures as 1.68 x 35.57 x 24.81 centimeters total (for about 2.1 / 2.2 kg of weight).

    The impression even at first glance is that the MacBook Pro 16 2021 is more impressive than the previous model: this consideration is no small thing because Apple and many other brands in general after having spent years trying to make laptops thinner and thinner. , perhaps they have understood that at least for the highest end of the market, this factor is not decisive when it comes to the detriment of power.

    Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi Here it is, during the first installation phaseThe squarer shape is somewhat reminiscent of the old PowerBook Titanium of about twenty years ago, which we are sure some readers have not forgotten, the last bit of the old PowerPC architecture.

    The new MacBook Pro 16, unlike that Titanium but also trivially from the 14 “model, is essentially a portable workstation, designed to be used without compromise (or we will almost see later) mainly in the studio, by those who have an extreme need for work power, and if necessary even outside, even if in the humble opinion of the writer, the portability of this model was not among the priorities.

    Thunderbolt 4

    Compared to the past, here we see a return to origins for this model: where before there were only 4 interchangeable Thunderbolt 3 ports, now we find 3 Thunderbolt 4 (standard that has become widely adopted by almost the entire PC industry in 2022), compatible with USB4, split on both sides.

    Alongside these ports, however, there is an HDMI port (with 4K display support at 60Hz), an SDXC card reader, audio jack and MagSafe connector for power supply, although it is possible to power the Mac anyway via Thunderbolt.

    In our opinion, a USB-A connector for lower-level peripherals is missing: although we understand that those who buy a machine like this cannot do without one or more external HUBs, probably Thunderbolt, both fixed and mobile, it is clear that it is boring for computers of plus 2,000 Euros always need an adapter for a simple USB connection (such as keys, mouse, keyboards, webcam or other).

    Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi After many years of only Thunderbolt, we are back to sources, with HDMI and integrated SD card reader. A USB-A port is missing, too badFor the rest, the Thunderbolt 4 connector provides for any need: remember that a single connector can power the MacBook Pro while carrying the signal for two external monitors with resolution up to 6K at 60Hz and over a billion colors (in this model with chip M1 Pro) or three external monitors with resolution up to 6K and one external monitor with resolution up to 4K at 60Hz and over a billion colors (in the most powerful models with M1 Max chip).

    Obviously old formats such as DVI, Mini Display Port or even VGA (via adapters) are also supported, in case they are needed, especially as during this review the laptop was connected simultaneously with a new LG 27UL850 monitor and with an older Apple Cinema Display. .

    Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi

    Notch

    Note of merit concerns the Notch present in the front and upper part of the display, which, as in the iPhone, houses the FaceTime HD front camera at 1080p.

    The notch is positioned so that its height covers the height of the menu bar and in any case it is as if it were a negative area, in the sense that neither the pointer nor the menu items ever go over it.

    In any case, although at the beginning it was a source of extreme curiosity among friends and colleagues, after a while it is no longer noticed and it is a much less visible element than on a smartphone due to the different size ratio.

    It might give some annoyance in some older games, but it is still an element that takes away a few pixels in height, nothing striking.

    On the other hand, the Touch ID is interesting, not an absolute novelty because it had already been seen both in the MacBook Air and in the new Apple Magic Keyboard (where we remember it, the Touch ID only works with Macs with M1) which simplifies many of the authorization processes such as the purchase of the App or, simply, the Log-in phase. The same button also works to forcefully shut down the Mac in an emergency.

    Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi The notch, which houses the webcam.

    Keyboard and robustness

    The keyboard, made of uniform black plastic with white backlit key engravings, is very good. The keys are rectangles with rounded corners of approximately 15-16 millimeters on each side, with a spacing of 2.

    The model we used for the tests obviously had the Italian layout, consisting of 79 keys (ISO), including 12 full-height function keys and 4 arrow keys (arranged in an inverted T). The stroke of the keys, about a millimeter, is supported by a good response and we liked it a lot: for computers like these the integrated keyboard is perhaps the least important component, because usually such a workstation is used with a display, keyboard and external mice, but it is commendable to find outstanding quality here too (which is the same as the 14 ″ model).

    The keys are then designed to let the backlight shine through only in the silkscreen of the letters, while in the edges of the keys the light can only be seen if you look at the MacBook Pro from a very particular angle, otherwise the visual impact is of a job. very painstaking about the stroke of the keys and their position with each other.

    The initial feeling that we had announced of robustness persists throughout the use of the machine: the MacBook Pro 16 2021 is certainly a robust, heavy and solid computer, even if far from the “rugged” classification that provides for other types of materials and protections. .

    The size is still large and, even if in some bags designed for 15 “computers, it fits because the pockets are usually quite elastic, in some backpack we have noticed that it is a stretch and we recommend those interested in buying evaluate a specific backpack.

    Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi The trackpad is, as in previous models, really well done. Large and comfortable to use, one of the things Apple can teach the whole market

    Display

    The display is 16.2 ″ Liquid Retina XDR with native resolution 3456 × 2234 at 254 pixels per inch, 1 billion colors, Wide color gamut (P3), True Tone Technology (the latter, however, often disabled in professional optics) and ProMotion technology with adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz.

    Basically a really important display that makes you look right away: thanks to the P3 profile it is suitable for professional photographic retouching, even if it is not bad to have a second more dedicated external display.

    The maximum resolution of the Finder is 2056 × 1329, more than enough to manage several Apps in a single screen, but clearly the display works natively with different Apps.

    Indeed, if Apple believed more in the gamer market, which has risen strongly in recent years, this display would make every gamer happy, who today can use various casual titles through the App Store, but does not have access to many more popular titles. on Windows (unless you are using virtualization).

    Obviously we are aware that this is not a model suitable for those who play, but it can become for those who instead make streaming on Twich or YouTube their profession, where attention and power are needed for a quality video streaming (perhaps with some accessories. ad hoc) but also the ability to run the most popular titles.

    Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi

    Power

    In this review, an examination of the power of this machine could not be missing, which then, beyond the design and charm it offers, is often the first item that pushes to purchase, a consideration that applies to all Computers in general but for this model. a little more.

    The test model was not the top of the range with M1 max , it had a customized intermediate processor configuration M1 Pro with 32 GB of ram (CPU 10 ‑Core, 16 ‑ core GPU, 16 ‑ core Neural Engine) at 3.22 Ghz.

    Here on Macitynet we have already published some benchmarks that show the differences between the two processors, and also the differences between this MacBook Pro and the slightly older model, which however dates back to 2019: three years is a long time in the world of computing.

    Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochiTo value the power of this machine we relied on Geekbench 5, which offered some numbers that you can see in the images of this article, but before we let you focus on the pure numbers we want to be clear.

    The thing that most amazed us about this model was not so much the peak power, which is there but must be understood and related to the individual needs of each professional, as the naturalness with which the Mac has carried out all the tasks, even parallel ones. .

    The naturalness with which the Mac exported a video with Premiere and in the meantime made us navigate with Safari and Firefox on various variously complex sites was almost incredible and a parameter that can neither be described nor compared by numerical values.

    Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi

    The conversion sequence of several files with HardBrake was also smooth, without the Mac heating up to a noticeable value. If the fan is there, it never played in our tests.

    All perfect? Basically, everything is very nice in this Mac, even if unlike what we used to see with the MacBook Air, here the power is paid for with a certainly higher battery consumption.

    Working with the display on, converting files or with the various Lightroom tools on Raw files shortens its duration significantly, even if it is still one of the best, if not probably the best in its range, computer on the market for ratio power and consumption.

    Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi The speed of the internal SSD is remarkable, it is obvious that Apple has invested a lot in this because, historically, disk speed is macOS's Achilles heel

    To me the power (cit)

    Let's start from an old quote to a cult cartoon of the eighties (He-Man) to try to understand how much this computer is the ideal choice for an audience that is certainly not heterogeneous.

    If in the review of the 14 ″ MacBook it was revealed that that model could attract both the professional who wants power but also the advanced user who needs a computer without the natural compromises that an Air provides, as well as the occasional user who wants a “powerful” Mac to show it around or on the desk, for this mo of the evaluation is very different.

    A little 'the cost, of course, but also those two inches more diagonal, together with the considerable weight, make it a model with less “appeal” for the more common user and certainly a Mac for those who seriously need a important power level.

    And, among other things, he especially needs it above the desk, even if he carries it around from time to time: clearly for those who live between Venice and Palermo, between Turin and Bari or between Paris and Barcelona, ​​this model is not very suitable. , because weight is important and carrying it around all day in the end makes itself felt, so from this point of view the 14th is certainly welcome.

    Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi The cooling system is optimized, although the M1 Chip is one of the least hot on the marketThis MacBook Pro 16 2021 is, from our point of view, the real antagonist of the Mac Studio: perhaps a little less powerful but more versatile, with fewer ports but easier to manage on the go, with an aligned cost but a display in plus: even though these are different machines, it is clear that it is difficult to find those who buy both, and there are those who prefer a fixed station, those who instead embrace a hybrid work trend that has become a mantra in the last two years and that makes this Mac the ideal model.

    A tip: although the display is really beautiful, we recommend using it with an external monitor with mouse and keyboard, because power is important, but posture and health are just as important.

    Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi

    This is not a model to be used only on the go, here we are talking about a workstation suitable for the most demanding tasks, from the construction (and not just export) of an After Effects file to a color with DaVinci Resolve up to the drawing of a topographic map. complete with Adobe Illustrator, from editing a RAW video file of a RED camera with FinalCut Pro to managing thousands of photos with Lightroom.

    Important tasks, with which the Mac seems to be perfectly at ease: with the consideration that some Apps are optimized for M1, others are not, but this is a step that the user really does not pay attention to, so much is the use transparent Rosetta for Apps still designed for Intel.

    Ultimately, the price: it starts at almost 3,000 euros and goes up, even a lot, but it is not new for Apple, and in particular for a computer that is not designed for the general public. The point is not to spend more or spend less, the fundamental thing is that the user understands what this machine represents and what its use will be, a fundamental aspect. If the opinion is confusing or unsure, better turn to the 14 “model.

    Recensione MacBook Pro 16 2021, workstation portatile straordinaria, ma solo per pochi The power supply is the classic one, but unlike the passarto the cable is USB-C / MagSafe. In case it should break, however, the Mac can still be powered via Thundebolt

    Pro:

    • Extraordinary hardware • The battery balanced in consumption • The fans rarely come into action

    Cons:

    • A USB-A connector is missing • Important weight and shape

    Price:

    • € 2,849.00 (M1 Pro, 16GB Ram, 512GB SSD) • € 3,079.00 (M1 Pro, 16GB Ram, 1TB SSD) • € 3,949.00 (M1 Max, 32GB Ram, 1TB SSD)

    MacBook Pro 16 2021 is available starting from the Apple website in three configurations, plus other customized (BTU), but it is also found on Amazon.it. Below you will find the current offers on Amazon. For customized configurations, you can contact Apple directly or the many Apple Premium Resellers present in Italy.

    Offers MacBook Pro 16 2021

    M1 Pro 16 Core GPU / 512 GB SSD / 16 GB RAM

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    M1 Pro 16 Core GPU / 1 TB SSD / 16 GB RAM

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    M1 Max 32 Core GPU / 1 TB SSD / 32 GB RAM

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