It’s been four months since I purchased an M1 MacBook Pro. This new Apple Silicon M1 is a replacement to my old 2012 11 inch MacBook Air, so this was the primary reason why I decided to fully spec the new laptop to 16GB RAM and 2TB hard drive as an attempt to make it my main computer for at least 8 years like my old MacBook Air. With the addition of 2 years Apple Care subscription and my work employee discount, the total price was over just over $2,600.00. It’s no cheap price tag but was it worth it? This is a hard question to answer. First we start with Pros and Cons regarding the machine. As far my setup is concerned, I opted to start from a clean slate. I only copied certain files, other than that I opted to install my applications as I went along with my usage. Obviously everything started with installing iTerm, and Visual Studio Code – Insiders. A very interesting thing I noticed is that most of the *.nix tools I use, do not have a native arm64 Apple Silicon binaries, while Linux does.
Pros: By far, the extra long battery life to me is the number one reason to buy an M1 Apple Silicon computer. It is absolutely amazing the battery life you get with a single fully charge cycle. I’ve literally gone a full week without charging it! Thanks to COVID, I haven’t had the chance to take my shining new laptop to a coffee shop and study there, but I definitely do look forward to not have to worry about my battery charge running out. I’m comparing Apples to Oranges (no pun intended) but the awesome battery life I get with an M1 machine reminds me of the really long battery life I get with my Amazon Kindle, where I literally do not have to worry about battery life. The other glaring benefit of using my new M1 MacBook Pro is the laptop cooling. I’ve yet gotten the fan to trigger, let alone notice any sort of heating change. Having to juggle between my work Intel MacBook Pro and personal Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Pro, I can say that I’m having to dread to use my work Intel laptop because of the fact that it gets extremely hot!
Cons: By far the lack of an open source Virtualization application is the biggest limitation of an M1 Apple Silicon computer. To a smaller scale, it also includes containers. So far, I’ve managed to get way out of this limitation by creating a simple Ubuntu VM on my network and VNC into it, whenever I need to use virt-manager to manage my Virtual Machines or to use certain containers that work within Docker’s X86/amd64 emu layer on Arm64. Of which Varnish is the only container that doesn’t seem to work on my M1. That’s really it, those are the only cons for me!
The 2020 13-inch Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Pro is by far the best computer that I’ve owned. To me, the chassis size is perfect (11-in MacBook Air replacement), the keyboard is awesome (a million times better than the garbage butterfly keyboard), and the touch pad is the best in the market. The stupid, and flat-out useless touchbar I can live without, so changing the keyboard layout config to use the actual function keys, make it slightly less annoying.