The new MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) is a revolutionary laptop in every sense of the word. With the latest Apple silicon powering this beast, you’ll find notebook performance never seen before.

With a redesigned Liquid Retina XDR display, you’ll be amazed by how good any content you view looks. You might forget your online class is over Zoom when your eye-popping 1080p webcam captures every expression on your face in vibrant detail.

And while the ‘notch’ at the top of the display may be noticeable at first, trust me, it will soon become a non-issue.

The MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) is a formidable contender for the title of best laptop on the market, boasting an incredibly comfortable keyboard and remarkable speakers that offer 15+ hours of battery life in one charge. It’s no surprise why it’s considered to be one of the most coveted Macbooks available!

Thanks to the removal of the Touch Bar, a return of MagSafe charging, and an array of ports tailored for content creators – this just might be ​the most optimal laptop currently available for video editing.

Although you will have to pay a hefty price to unlock the full potential of Apple’s 16-inch Pro 2021, it is worth considering all its features before investing. That said, there are still a few areas where this powerful device may come up short.

Discover the pros and cons of MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) in our full review, along with helpful advice on deciding which model is most appropriate for you via our guide – Which MacBook Should You Buy.

MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) Review: Price And Availability

If you want to unlock the full potential of the all-powerful Apple MacBook Pro 2021, start saving up.

The impressive 16-inch device can be bought from Apple’s website (opens in new tab) for a hefty starting price of $2,499 – a $100 more than the starting price of the previous model with Intel components.

You can configure this computer with one of two colors – Silver or Space Gray – and plenty of storage and memory options. With a range of specification choices, you can tailor the MacBook Pro to suit your true needs.

The new M1 Pro chip from Apple makes the new $2,499 entry-level Macbook stand out as a market leader in terms of processing power.

This 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU feature 16GB of unified memory and a 512GB SSD for storage by default, but consumers can opt to upgrade the memory and storage capacity to 32GB and 8TB respectively.

This gives users plenty of flexibility and power to run their desired programs and applications efficiently, making this an attractive choice for those who need reliable and powerful computing power.

If you need an even more powerful machine, upgrade to one of Apple’s new M1 Max-powered MacBook Pro models. With a formidable 10-core CPU and up to a 32-core GPU, the M1 Max chip is the most powerful silicon microprocessor ever developed by Apple.

You can get started with a base-level 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Max for $3,099 and 24-core GPU, 32GB of unified memory, and a 512GB SSD for storage.

Or you can pay to upgrade the M1 Max to a 32-core GPU, double the RAM to 64GB, or opt for a massive 8TB SSD as well. If all of those options sound appealing, be prepared to shell out quite a bit of money.

Elegant Design

Get ready to be impressed with the 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro! Though it is virtually identical in size and weight to its predecessor, measuring 14.01 x 9.77 x 0.66 inches and weighing 4.7 pounds (4.8 if you go for an M1 Max model), it has been completely redesigned from the inside out!

Crafted from 100% recycled aluminum, the chassis of this device boasts a smooth lid design with vents on both sides to efficiently keep it cool and accommodate its newly-engineered 6-speaker sound system.

The biggest shake-up to the design of the 16-inch MacBook Pro however can only be seen when the lid is opened.

For starters, it’s blessed with a jaw-dropping 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display that is framed by drastically thin bezels on the sides that measure at just over 20% thinner compared to its predecessor, and a whopping 60% thinner along the top.

But that’s not all that the design features it also packs a new notch, made up of a rounded black rectangle, which houses the laptop’s webcam and sticks out roughly 0.4 inches from the top bezel.

The notch of the MacBook Pro has been one of the most talked-about design elements since its release. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but having used the Pro as my daily driver for some time now, I can honestly say I’ve become attached to it.

I think the more time spent using iPhones has had a subconcious effect on me, making me more accustomed to the toothy appearance of a notched display.

Plus I really do like the way the MacBook Pro’s display takes a step back on either side of the notch – it really does stand out from the crowd in this regard.

It’s undeniably prompted a fair share of debate, but I think the notch is one of Apple’s design features that we’ll be singing the praises of for years to come.

In my experience, macOS’s thoughtful design of tucking the Menu Bar into the thin ribbon of extra screen space on either side of the notch makes the overall display feel more cohesive.

Rather than feeling as though the bezel is obtrusively bulging down into the display, it instead brings a sense of additional, usable space.

Even if you don’t agree with me, I think you’ll be won over after only minutes of being drawn in by the Liquid Retina XDR display’s spectacular clarity and vibrancy.

In addition to the new design, Apple’s choice to do away with the Touch Bar and replace it with a row of standard function keys is a change that I think many users will welcome.

Personally, I found the Touch Bar tricky to use and often not particularly helpful, so I’m very glad that Apple have replaced it with a more traditional set of function keys.

Not only does this make the laptop appear more professional, it is also more useful to many of us who prefer a no-nonsense workhorse of a laptop.

Connectivity Ports

Appearing along the sides of the MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) is proof that Apple has taken into consideration complaints and provided this laptop with ports that are really useful for professionals.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro has once again revolutionized the laptop world with the inclusion of multiple new industry-leading ports. Along the right edge, you’ll find one Thunderbolt 4/USB port, as well as an HDMI-out that allows users to connect to their HDTV or other external display.

Additionally, one of the most notable features on the new MacBook Pro is the incredible SDXC card reader, which not only has data speeds twice as fast as the previous model but supports ultra-high speed UHS-II. With all of these new features, the 16-inch Pro makes the perfect laptop for digital creatives and gamers alike.

It would have been great if Apple had included an SD card reader with UHS-III/SD Express support in the device.

This laptop is primarily geared towards video professionals, and faster transfer speeds of UHS-III/SD Express would have allowed them to easily move large video files quickly. However, it is still nice to have the standard card reader included in the laptop.

The new MacBook Pro has a range of ports along the left edge to suit your everyday needs. Along with a headphone socket, you’ll find two Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports and the new MagSafe 3 charging port.

It’s great to see MagSafe make a return; I found it to be a really useful feature of earlier MacBook models and it is nice to have the familiar shape of the charging port.

Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t yet included a USB-A port for legacy accessories, so users have to rely on dongles instead.


The new 16-inch MacBook Pro is a technological marvel, boasting Apple’s gorgeous 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display. It’s a mini-LED display that gives a beautiful, vibrant picture and a resolution of 3456 x 2234, complete with Apple’s amazing ProMotion adaptive refresh rate which can reach a blazing 120Hz.

Such a high refresh rate is a real eye-opener; animations and transitions are incredibly smooth and there’s almost no perceptible delay. While not all apps as of yet support the 120Hz refresh rate, one of the first apps to jump on board looks set to be Safari.

One thing’s for sure, with this screen, the 16-inch MacBook Pro looks all set to become one of the most desirable laptops on the market.

Even though the new Apple Macbook Pro is a stunning machine, it is slightly disappointing that Apple didn’t incorporate a 4K display within the laptop. Especially as this product is aimed at professionals, many of whom work with 4K video content.

Whilst it is possible to hook up the laptop to a 4K Pro Display XDR, this comes at an added cost of several thousand dollars. It would have been a fantastic addition to the package if Apple had managed to fit it in.

Despite Apple claiming that the screen can reach a peak brightness of up to 1,600 nits, our laboratory testing found it could only reach a max of 520 nits even when it was displaying HDR content and cranked up to maximum brightness.

This is still an impressive number and we will continue to work with Apple to complete more detailed tests to uncover and validate more accurate results.

Overall Performance

The M1 Max is truly exceptional – Apple’s most powerful piece of silicon yet, and the results prove that. We tested our 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Max chip with Geekbench 5.4 multi-core performance benchmark, and it achieved an impressive score of 12,683.

This result stands out even more when considering competitor performance; it outperforms almost any Windows ultraportable, including the Dell XPS 15 OLED (7,477).

Not only does the M1 Max offer unbeatable speed and power, but it is also incredibly efficient, consuming a fraction of the power used by traditional Intel or AMD designs.

The 2021 MacBook Pro is a powerhouse performer, and the price tag reflects that – a staggering $4k. Comparing it to its Windows competitors of the same range is a bit of an injustice given how vast the specification difference is.

It’s more accurate to compare it to Windows workstations of the same price, and the results can’t be argued; the MacBook Pro smashes the competition due to its superior Apple silicon.

Although the smaller MacBook Pro 2021 14-inch with the M1 Pro chip performed almost as well as the larger Pro with its M1 Max chip, the cost savings have to be taken into account. When tested in the Geekbench 5.4 multi-core benchmark, the MacBook Pro 2021 14-inch scored 12,477.

That’s an impressive score for a laptop that is almost $1,000 cheaper than its bigger brother. In addition, the smaller laptop’s power efficiency and portability make it a great choice for those looking for speed without sacrificing usability or price.

The 16-inch Macbook Pro with M1 Max continues to impress when it comes to performance tests. Not only did it complete a 4K video transcoding using Handbrake in a mere 4 minutes and 48 seconds, one of the fastest times ever recorded, but it was nearly half the time it took compared to the 2020 Macbook Pro with M1 (7:46) and Dell XPS 15 OLED (8:10).

These results prove that the 16-inch Macbook Pro with M1 Max provides an excellent workflow speed improvement over its predecessors.

The Apple MacBook Pro with the M1 Chip is not only more powerful than other Windows workstations, it is also more efficient. It blasted through our benchmark test in a mere 4 minutes and 51 seconds.

This is significantly faster than the Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 (which took 6 minutes and 6 seconds) and about 30 seconds faster than the Dell Precision 5760 (which took 6 minutes and 27 seconds).

This is impressive given that the MacBook Pro with the M1 Chip is more than 20% smaller than the other Windows workstations and its chip is noticeably weaker than its more powerful sibling.

This new Pro is also a beast when it comes to moving files around. When we subjected it to the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max achieved read speeds of 5,315 MB/s and write speeds of 5,565 MB/s, which is about the same as its 14-inch sibling (read: 5,322 MB/s, write: 5,377 MB/s) but far faster than either the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 (read: 2,768 MBps, write: 2,406 MBps) or the 16-inch Intel-powered MacBook Pro (read: 2,540 MB/s, write: 2,805 MB/s) it replaces. 

In the PugetBench Photoshop test, the results of the 16-inch MacBook Pro with the powerful M1 Max chip were impressive, with a score of 877 and a time of 4:44, beating out its M1 Pro-equipped 14-inch sibling (806, 4:54).

This was a much better result than the 2020 MacBook Pro with M1 (577, 7:03), showing that the latest 16-inch MacBook Pro with the upgraded M1 Max processor provides a significant performance increase when compared to the previous version and other Macs with the M1 processor.

Graphics And Gaming Performance 

Disregard the conventional opinion that Macs are not suitable for gaming – the 32-core M1 GPU in our 16-inch MacBook Pro review unit is strong enough to provide an excellent gaming experience, no matter what game you choose!

The 2021 MacBook Pro is more than capable of running complex titles such as Rise of the Tomb Raider, as we were able to achieve an average of 73.8 frames per second while running the game with its Very High graphical setting at 1080p (1920 x 1200 resolution).

Even when cranked up to its max, the MacBook Pro was still able to handle the fast-paced action of Rise of the Tomb Raider with no problems.

It might struggle to run something like Cyberpunk 2077, but the 2021 Pro is certainly powerful enough to run popular, graphically-intensive games with no issues.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021 with an M1 Max chip can offer outstanding performance levels compared to its Mac predecessor. In a test run on the game Rise of the Tomb Raider, the M1 Max model was able to deliver 66.1 frames per second with a 1920 x 1200 resolution and an impressive 39.3 frames per second at the highest resolution of 3024 x 1964 pixels.

This is a significant upgrade from the 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 with an M1 Pro chip, which could only manage a meager 17.1 frames per second.

This comparison demonstrates that the M1 Max chip has the ability to greatly enhance the Mac user experience and make light work of even the most challenging workloads.


Apple has elevated the 16-inch Pro with a new six-speaker sound system that is capable of producing impressive spatial audio and Dolby Atmos. Moreover, it comes equipped with an advanced triple microphone array designed to precisely capture all audio sources.

We were already thrilled with the superior six-speaker setup in the preceding 16-inch MacBook Pro, so we were delighted to hear that the new model offers even more exceptional audio quality.

Listening to musical pieces from renowned artists like Muddy Waters and Massive Attack felt like a totally immersive experience, with treble and vocals filling the room with a warm, resonant tone and bass that thudded right through us.

We were further impressed with the intense 4K Dolby Atmos trailer for Dune; it truly demonstrated the MacBook Pro’s capacity to capture the nuances of swelling sound cues, dialogue and sound effects with clarity and power.

Keyboard And Touchpad 

Having large hands, I typically struggle with laptop keyboards that are too shallow and cramped; however, the Magic Keyboard that is integrated into the new MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) is an exception.

I feel comfortable using this keyboard for all my tasks, including writing this review. Even so, I would have liked a little bit more key travel to it for better tactile feel and response.

Overall, I highly recommend the MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) – its Magic Keyboard is a pleasure to use.

I’m delighted that Apple has finally replaced the Touch Bar on their 16 inch Pro laptops with a row of more useful and intuitive function keys. It’s an admission that their unique strip of OLED touchscreen controls didn’t work as they’d hoped.

While I’m glad they tried to do something creative, I’m much happier with the more practical and functional keyboard they’ve gone with.

Additionally, the 16 inch Pro’s expansive keyboard provides an improved typing experience and a larger trackpad, making this laptop perfect for those who need powerful performance and precise control functions.

I am grateful for the presence of the Touch ID sensor built into the top-right key, which functions quite well. I do wish that the webcam supported Face ID too so that biometric authentication wasn’t solely dependent on Touch ID.

Sitting below it, the Force Touch trackpad is generously sized and incredibly accurate. During my workday I never had difficulty using this pad to scroll or tap around – in fact, it even accurately picked up gesture commands! All-in-all, a great experience thus far.


The importance of looking and sounding good during video calls has exploded in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying global lockdowns.

To accommodate the need for a quality webcam, Apple has equipped the new 2021 MacBook Pro with a 1080p FaceTime HD webcam

making it a breeze to capture great-looking videos and photos.

Not only is this webcam highly capable, but its crispness and detail make it stand out amongst the competition.

The Logitech C920 HD Pro is a great choice for anyone looking for an upgrade from the standard 720p webcams in most laptops. The camera boasts 1080p video and a top-notch autofocus that allows for clear video and pictures.

Unfortunately, the C920 HD Pro does not support Face ID, so you won’t be able to use your face to quickly log into your laptop or computer like you would on an iPhone or iPad.

However, this camera will still provide an improved viewing experience and will be a great addition to your device.

Battery Life 

The MacBook Pro 2021 16-inch is no joke when it comes to battery life. According to Apple, it can handle up to 14 hours of web surfing on one charge.

But our tests have shown the battery life is actually even better! In our battery test, where the laptop was browsing the web continuously over WiFi with a screen brightness of 150 nits, the MacBook Pro 2021 16-inch delivered an amazing 15 hours and 31 minutes of battery life on a single charge.

With such impressive battery life, this laptop is undoubtedly fit for long hours on the go.

That’s an incredibly long-lasting laptop, one that outperforms most of its competitors by offering exceptional battery life.

We’ve certainly come to expect such impressive battery life, especially after witnessing the Apple silicon-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 offer even better performance with a whopping 16 hours and 25 minutes of use on just one charge.

This truly stands as a testament to the advancements Apple has made in laptop battery life and energy efficiency.

The new MacBook Pro offers lightning quick charging, and based on my experience, it lives up to Apple’s promise of being able to boost the battery from critically low to 50% charged in around 30 minutes.

It’s worth noting that you can use either the MagSafe 3 port or the Thunderbolt 4/USB4 ports to charge the laptop, however, the USB ports don’t support fast charging.

So if you want to take advantage of the ultra-fast speeds that the MacBook Pro offers, you must use the MagSafe 3 or Thunderbolt 4/USB4 port.

Final Words

The MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) is an all-encompassing upgrade from the previous model.

So if you’re looking to invest in a 16-inch Pro this is indisputably the version for you. With an exceptional battery life, remarkable processing speed, intelligently redesigned frame, and a high resolution display, this top-of-the-line laptop is capable of tackling tasks for work and leisure alike.

Moreover, choosing to configure it with the new and powerful M1 Max chips from Apple will ensure optimal performance and reliability.

In any case, the Pro 2021 (16-inch) may come at a steep price, but with its range of features, it is deserving of your investment.

Although the 16-inch Pro with a top-of-the-line M1 Max chip may have performed better than the 14-inch Pro 2021 with an M1 Pro chip in certain areas, any performance increases were not significant.

Most of the time, the test results showed that the 14-inch Pro 2021 with an M1 Pro chip had nearly the same performance as the 16-inch Pro 2021 that costs just over $4k.

That being said, the M1 Max did have an advantage when it comes to video games and 3DMark. So, if video gaming or 3DMark aren’t main focuses, the 14-inch Pro 2021 is likely a better value.

No matter which model of 2021 MacBook Pro you choose – the M1 Pro or the more advanced Max you’re guaranteed to receive incredible productivity and video editing performance that only a few Windows laptops on the market can match.

We tested this with the Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 and the Dell Precision 5760, both of which couldn’t provide the same level of performance as the latest MacBook Pros.

It’s worth noting though, that these Windows workstations offer some features that the new Macs don’t, such as 4K displays.

The MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) is an impressive piece of technology that clearly demonstrates the success Apple has experienced from its approach to creating custom silicon for its laptops.