Apple 16in MacBook Pro, M1 Max, 10-Core CPU/32-Core GPU, 1TB SSD (2021) full review

The 16in MacBook Pro with M1 Max processor has a bigger screen, faster processor and faster everything. This is a computer for professional users.
The 16in MacBook Pro appears to be retro-inspired with its MagSafe charger, more ports and memory card readers, but sometimes things actually were better before. Even companies like Apple can come to the realisation that its butterfly keyboard sucked and that those who really liked the TouchBar could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

So now we've got the real MacBook Pro back, and it's a happy reunion. The 16in model feels, despite its size, more like a 15in. By reducing the frame around the screen, Apple has managed to keep the size down and been kind enough to give us a notch. And yes, it does look weird, but just like with the 14in MacBook Pro, you get used to it quickly. (Read our 14in MacBook Pro M1 Pro review).

And if your aesthetic mind is shaking in the fetal position, you can easily do any of the following: 1) Switch to a darker background, 2) Switch to dark mode or, 3) Remember how much you complained when the iPhone X was released with a notch and how quickly you became used to it.

Like its little brother the 14in MacBook Pro, it has a slightly tighter look. The first impression is that it is angular, but at the same time has soft lines. When you open the lid, you look at 7.7 million pixels, which sit in a bright Liquid Retina XDR screen with a resolution of 3,456 x 2,234 and a pixel density of 254 ppi.

It is a bright screen, up to 1,000 cd / m² continuous brightness across the entire screen that can be topped to 1,600 cd / m² locally. The color gamut is P3. And thanks to adaptive promotion technology, the refresh rate can go up to 120 Hz. This means that scrolling on web pages is soft and smooth. The refresh rate frequency is adjusted automatically according to what you are viewing, but you can go into settings and set it yourself.

A 1080p webcam that takes advantage of all the black magic found in the M1 Max processor means that those who participate in a zoom call or the like do not back away in horror when they see you. In this camera you look really good! Unfortunately, we do not get Center Stage (that feature is only gifted to iPad users).

MacBook Pro 16in

M1 Max - bizarre graphics performance

Now that we've done with the formalities it's time to go straight to Apple's latest SoC (System on a chip), the M1 Max. M1 Max has the same 10-core CPU as the M1 Pro, with eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores that provide up to 1.7x faster performance than the M1.

With up to 32 graphics cores, capable of delivering 10.4 teraflops of graphics performance, the M1 Max is four times faster than the M1. The memory bandwidth is 400GB/s - twice as fast as the M1 Pro and six times faster than the M1. And it is also incredibly energy efficient. You can load the processor with heavy tasks for hours before the battery packs in.

In our benchmarks, including Cinebench and Geekbench, the M1 Max's graphics performance was bizarre. M1 Max scored 48,605, 14,000 points more than M1 Pro! In other tests, there was basically no difference at all compared to the M1 Pro, in some cases the result was slightly lower, however within the margin of error. We do not know exactly what this is due to, it could be so simple that some benchmark programs cannot use all the cores. We do not know.

What we do know, however, is that the meters in the Black Magic Disk went to the bottom when we measured read and write speeds. The result for reading was 5,697 MB/s and writing 7,077.4 MB/s.

Blackmagic test

When we converted a 3.28GB 8k video to 1080p in Handbrake, the difference between the M1 Pro and the M1 Max was subtle. M1 Max did not break a sweat at 5.58, two seconds faster and within the margin of error. When we exported an 8k clip to 1080p in Final Cut Pro, the M1 Max tensed its muscles though: it took 35.5 seconds, 22 seconds faster than the M1 Pro.

In our test of the 14in MacBook Pro, 22 seconds is not much, but then our clips are only a few minutes long. If you work with feature films, you earn many precious minutes with a fast computer. Not to mention if you work with 3D modeling in Cinema 4D or mix symphony orchestras in Logic Pro, the M1 Max can handle 1,500 tracks in Logic Pro without hiccups.

16in MacBook Pro

Verdict

This is the type of work that the MacBook Pro 14in and 16in are made for. And considering the pandemic and working from home, they are exemplary, as you can work anywhere with even the most demanding work, without the need for a desktop computer.

Of course, professional machines have an equally professional price. The 2022 16in MacBook Pro costs from £2,399/$2,499, although it its the M1 Max you want you’re looking at £3,399/$3,499 (or, if you are happy to opt for the M1 Max with 24-core GPU option instead, a minimum of £2,999/$3,099).

This is a breathtaking sum for an ordinary consumer who surfs, emails and flicks through the Pictures app. But for the professional user who has to render millions of pixels in a virtual 3D landscape or the editor who has to cut a feature film, who can now do it wherever they are, there is nothing to talk about. But damn it is expensive!

This article originally appeared on Macworld Sweden. Translation by Karen Haslam.

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