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An honest review of the Apple M1

- Published on 4th April, 2021 -

Tags: hardware

This article is older than a year and might be outdated!

Recently, I’ve got into my hands one of the latest MacBook Pro M1 from Apple. As you may know, I’ve never been a big fan of Apple products, often saying those were overpriced pieces of crap.

Well, surprisingly, this machine changed my mind as it is basically astonishing to see how well it runs for an ARM-Based processor. In this article, we’re not gonna talk about benchmark (because I mainly find those irrelevant) but rather of everyday usage in my job (back-end developer).

First, this thing is fast, everything you open is near instant and that may be thanks to the damn 3G SSD.

Surprisingly, everything runs as it was an x86 processor, Rosetta 2 being completely transparent to the user and loosing very little performance at the end. Anything can run on it that is software (Renoise for instance) or even games (Minecraft being the most famous example).

I was also surprised by the performance of World of Warcraft which is surprisingly native to the M1 (good job Blizzard). Other applications like IDEs are running smoothly without any hiccups and now, most of those are actually M1 native like the JetBrains suite or Visual Studio Code. On the side of custom packages, Brew works as expected without problems and the major part of software will install without a problem. Compilation times are also more than generous (very fast) on projects I am working on. The only bad thing I see is the Docker support that is still a bit junky, but it is being fixed at the moment.

Battery life is another good point of this machine as it can hold a complete day without needing to be charged (08:30 to 23:00). For comparison, my ThinkPad T430 I got in April of last year barely passed the 2 hours mark. In the end, Apple Silicon machines are looking very promising, given software providers start to support ARM correctly. Apple made the bet that they could switch to an ARM-based CPU, and they’ve done it correctly.

I’ll see you in three months to see if that positive review still holds.