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Apple recently announced a major update for its high-end MacBook Pro models, with the new machines featuring a complete redesign, the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, larger mini-LED displays with ProMotion, an HDMI port and SD card slot, full-sized function keys, and more.

macbook-pro-14-16-2021.jpg

The redesigned MacBook Pro is available in all-new 14-inch and 16-inch sizes. Despite both being high-end models, the 14- and 16-inch models do have some different design aspects, features, and capabilities, so should you consider purchasing the smaller MacBook Pro, which starts at $1,999, or do you need the larger MacBook Pro, which costs at least $500 more? Our guide helps to answer the question of how to decide which of these two high-end MacBook Pro models is best for you.

Comparing the 14-Inch MacBook Pro and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models share almost all of their key features, such as display technology, chip configurations, and connectivity options. Apple lists these same features of the two machines:

Similarities

  • Mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR display with up to 1,000 nits sustained brightness, 1,600 nits peak brightness, P3 wide color, True Tone, and ProMotion
  • Options for the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip with up to 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU
  • Up to 64GB of unified memory
  • Up to 8TB of storage
  • Touch ID
  • 1080p FaceTime HD camera
  • High-fidelity six-speaker sound system with force-canceling woofers, wide stereo sound, and spatial audio support
  • Studio-quality three-mic array with high signal-to-noise ratio and directional beamforming
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • HDMI port
  • SDXC card slot
  • 3.5mm headphone jack with support for high-impedance headphones
  • 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
  • Available in Silver and Space Gray

Apple's breakdown shows that the two MacBooks share most of their important features, but there are still some meaningful differences between the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro that are worth highlighting, including display size, High Power Mode, thickness, weight, battery size, and power adapter.

Differences


14-Inch MacBook Pro
  • 14.2-inch display
  • Configurations start with M1 Pro with 8-core CPU and 14-core GPU
  • 0.61 inches thick (1.55 cm)
  • Weighs 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg)
  • Integrated 70-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
  • 17 hours of battery life when playing back video
  • Fast charging over MagSafe 3 or Thunderbolt 4
  • 67W USB-C Power Adapter (with M1 Pro with 8-core CPU)
  • 96W USB-C Power Adapter (with M1 Pro with 10-core CPU or M1 Max, configurable with M1 Pro with 8-core CPU)
  • Starts at $1,999


16-Inch MacBook Pro
  • 16.2-inch display
  • Configurations start with M1 Pro with 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU
  • High Power Mode to boost M1 Max performance
  • 0.66 inches thick (1.68 cm)
  • Weighs 4.7 pounds (2.1 kg)
  • Integrated 100-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
  • 21 hours of battery life when playing back video
  • Fast charging over MagSafe 3 only
  • 140W USB-C Power Adapter
  • Starts at $2,499


Display Sizes

The most obvious difference between the two MacBook Pro models is display size. The exact display sizes are 14.2-inches and 16.2-inches.

The 16.2-inch display will be a better replacement for a desktop machine and provide much more screen space to arrange multiple windows and use professional applications that benefit from additional display area. The 14.2-inch display is still larger than the 13.3-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models from recent years, and will likely be the best overall balance of needs for most users.

While the notch containing the webcam does eat into the display space very slightly, both displays are larger than previous MacBook Pro models, so there is still more display area overall. In addition, the display area below the notch has an aspect ratio of exactly 16:10, just like previous MacBook Pro models, to ensure that the notch does not impede normal display views or watching media. On this basis, if you are concerned about the notch, you should not necessarily feel obliged to get the larger, 16-inch MacBook Pro. That being said, since the notch is the same size on both models, it may be slightly less noticeable on the 16-inch model.

Design

The 16-inch model is, of course, physically larger than the 14-inch model, with a markedly bigger overall footprint. It is also worth noting that the 16-inch model is also 0.13 cm thicker and 1.2 pounds (0.5 kg) heavier.

macbook-pro-sizes.jpg

The 14-inch MacBook Pro will be more portable and comfortable than the 16-inch model to carry around on a daily basis. Though the 16-inch MacBook Pro will still fit in larger bags and be adequate for slightly more infrequent travel, it is a much larger, heavier machine. If you are considering the 16-inch MacBook Pro, you should make sure you are comfortable with its greater size and weight.

M1 Pro Configurations

Both the 14-inch and 16-inch models are equally upgradeable to the M1 Max chip with a 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU, but if you are looking to spend as little as possible or do not need extra performance, it is worth noting the difference between the chips of the base configurations.

m1-pro-chip.jpg

The base configuration of the 14-inch MacBook Pro features an M1 Pro with 8-core CPU and 14-core GPU, while the base 16-inch model contains an M1 Pro with a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU. If you upgrade the 14-inch model to the same M1 Pro with 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU that the 16-inch model starts with, it increases to $2,299 – just $200 less than the starting price of the 16-inch model.

For those who are leaning toward buying the 16-inch MacBook Pro and need the M1 Pro with a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU at a minimum, the reduction of the price difference between the two models to just $200 may make it easier to justify getting the larger machine.

On the other hand, if you do not need the performance of the M1 Pro with a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, the 16-inch model may be overkill, and getting the 14-inch model will be the best way to curb the price under these circumstances.

High Power Mode

The 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Max chip offers a software feature called High Power Mode. When enabled, High Power Mode boosts the machine's performance for intensive, sustained workloads.

high-power-mode-macos.jpg

High Power Mode is designed to optimize performance to better support resource-intensive tasks, such as color grading 8K ProRes video, according to Apple. When enabled, High Power Mode will de-prioritize resource-hungry system processes in order to leverage the full performance capability of the ‌M1‌ Max processor. The setting is effectively the opposite of "Low Power Mode," which aims to decrease system performance in favor of prolonging battery life.


The 14-inch MacBook Pro does not feature High Power Mode, so if you want the ability to selectively push the M1 Max chip to its limits, you will need to buy the 16-inch model.

Battery Life

Owing to its larger size, the 16-inch MacBook Pro contains a larger battery and has longer-lasting battery life. The 14-inch model contains a 70-watt-hour battery, while the 16-inch model contains a 100-watt-hour battery.

In terms of battery life, Apple says that the 14-inch MacBook Pro can deliver up to 17 hours of battery life when playing back video. The 16-inch model adds four hours for a 21-hour battery life when playing back video. For maximum battery life, the 16-inch model will clearly be better, but the 14-inch model's 17-hour battery life is still very good and seven hours longer than the model it replaces.

Charging

The 14-inch MacBook Pro uses a 67W or 96W USB-C power adapter, while the 16-inch model uses a 140W power adapter. Both MacBook Pro models are capable of fast charging.

macbook-pro-magsafe-3-charging.jpg

Both models can use the MagSafe 3 port to fast charge, but it is also possible to fast charge the 14-inch model using one of its USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports. If you require the flexibility of being able to fast charge via USB-C, you will need to buy the 14-inch model to have this functionality.

Other MacBook Options

If you are looking for an Apple silicon MacBook Pro, but the latest M1 Pro and M1 Max models are out of your price range, there is the M1 MacBook Pro, which starts at $1,299. This is $700 cheaper than the 14-inch MacBook Pro, and is a good option for users who want a machine that is more capable than the MacBook Air, but something more affordable than the high-end MacBook Pro.

macbook-pro-13-inch-roundup-header.jpg

The M1 MacBook Pro is an entry-level model, featuring a 13.3-inch display, Touch ID, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, the Touch Bar, and a 720p webcam. It is a more consumer-oriented and less capable machine compared to the high-end MacBook Pro, but is more than adequate for most users.

There is also the M1 MacBook Air, which sports the same processor as the M1 MacBook Pro, a 13.3-inch display, Touch ID, and ports, as well as most other hardware features, and starts at $999. For casual users, this means that the additional $300 to upgrade to a MacBook Pro may be difficult to justify.


M1 MacBook Pro still has a number of improvements over the MacBook Air, offering slightly better performance, a brighter display, the Touch Bar, improved microphone and speaker quality, two extra hours of battery life, and an active cooling system. If you want slightly better performance than the M1 MacBook Air, as well as better battery life, display brightness, and speaker and microphone quality, the MacBook Pro is the better option.

Likewise, users who intend to perform a lot of graphics-based tasks should skip the MacBook Air entirely and buy the M1 MacBook Pro because the eight-core GPU MacBook Air configuration is only $50 less than the MacBook Pro, but this is only the case if you don't need more than 256GB of storage, because a storage upgrade would further push up the MacBook Pro's price.

Final Thoughts

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is $500 more than the 14-inch model, so you should be sure that you need the additional display area, battery life, and High Power Mode capability to justify this. That being said, if you upgrade the 14-inch model to the same M1 Pro with 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU that the 16-inch model starts with, the price difference shrinks to $200.


Buyers of the 16-inch model should be aware that it is considerably larger, thicker, and heavier than the 14-inch model. The 16-inch model may also provide slightly better performance than the 14-inch model due to being larger with potentially better thermals, but this is yet to be clearly confirmed with benchmark tests. The 16-inch model's speakers are also likely to provide slightly better sound quality owing to the device's larger size, but we can't be sure of this until reliable, real-world comparisons emerge.

macbook-pro-2021-side-by-side.jpeg

The 14-inch MacBook Pro is clearly a more portable machine than the 16-inch model, so if you intend to carry the MacBook Pro around frequently or need the versatility of easily fitting it into a bag, the smaller model will be the better option. Buyers of the 14-inch models are not missing out on any major MacBook Pro features, and gain the ability to fast charge using one of the machine's USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports. As a result, most users will be better off buying the 14-inch model, with the machine offering the best overall balance of price and form factor.

Article Link: 14-Inch MacBook Pro vs. 16-Inch MacBook Pro Buyer's Guide
 
Last edited:

fenderbass146

macrumors 65816
Mar 11, 2009
1,267
1,642
Northwest Indiana
I literally just got a 2019 16" a few days ago (used) and I plan on having it for the next 2-3 years. As of now I still rely on Windows VM's and Bootcamp a lot, but man am I excited about the 14". I've always liked the smaller form factor but always needed the power of the bigger models. I'm so excited the more portable option is a no comprmise performance monster like it's big brother. I love where Apple is going. I really hope official Windows ARM comes along so I can run it in VM's and x64 emulation in said VM's. (Not ever expecting bootcamp/dualboot) If that happens it will be a no brainer for my next laptop to get one of these or the next gen version.
 
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mrkkbb

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2016
130
100
Not impressed with the weight, especially the 14", a step backwards. I just can't understand why the Mac mini was not updated with these new chips as well. That is what I'm waiting for. Still waiting on a non-experimental native silicon gfortran and Matlab -- 1 year later. Hopefully now that the intel is almost out of the Apple line-up, Mathworks will get the fire lit under them to hurry up. I suspect it all has to do with their numerical libraries being Fortran based.
 
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StoneJack

macrumors 65816
Dec 19, 2009
1,232
478
I literally just got a 2019 16" a few days ago (used) and I plan on having it for the next 2-3 years. As of now I still rely on Windows VM's and Bootcamp a lot, but man am I excited about the 14". I've always liked the smaller form factor but always needed the power of the bigger models. I'm so excited the more portable option is a no comprmise performance monster like it's big brother. I love where Apple is going. I really hope official Windows ARM comes along so I can run it in VM's and x64 emulation in said VM's. If that happens it will be a no brainer for my next laptop to get one of these or the next gen version.
I have also 2019 Macbook Pro 13.3 inches and was thinking about upgrade to 14 inch. It is so powerful that now it seems like an overkill for my modest needs (i want portability and long battery life). But I also would want new MBP's incredible battery life...
 
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R3k

macrumors 65816
Sep 7, 2011
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Sep 7, 2011
Oops, in my rush to buy the 14'' inch asap, I added the 96W USB-C Power Adapter to my base model configuration. :rolleyes:
 

StoneJack

macrumors 65816
Dec 19, 2009
1,232
478
Not impressed with the weight, especially the 14", a step backwards. I just can't understand why the Mac mini was not updated with these new chips as well. That is what I'm waiting for. Still waiting on a non-experimental native silicon gfortran and Matlab -- 1 year later. Hopefully now that the intel is almost out, Mathworks will get the fire lit under them to hurry up. I suspect it all has to do with their numerical libraries being Fortran based.
It is almost same weight as 13.3 inch MBP 2019.
 

kingtj1971

macrumors regular
Feb 11, 2021
129
115
Alton, IL
I literally just got a 2019 16" a few days ago (used) and I plan on having it for the next 2-3 years. As of now I still rely on Windows VM's and Bootcamp a lot, but man am I excited about the 14". I've always liked the smaller form factor but always needed the power of the bigger models. I'm so excited the more portable option is a no comprmise performance monster like it's big brother. I love where Apple is going. I really hope official Windows ARM comes along so I can run it in VM's and x64 emulation in said VM's. If that happens it will be a no brainer for my next laptop to get one of these or the next gen version.

I've owned one of these since they came out in 2019.... 16" Core i9 2.4Ghz model w/32GB RAM and a 2TB SSD. IMO, it's basically the best Mac portable you can buy if you want to dual boot into Windows 10, and probably for Windows VMs too.

After hours of debate though, I pulled the trigger to pre-order one of these new 16" models and accepted Apple's trade-in credit for giving them this 2019 model back.

In my case, it's only because I have a really nice "gaming laptop" now with AMD RTX2080 graphics -- and it'll support Windows 11 with no problems, should I want to upgrade to that. I'm realizing that on the Mac side, my ideal setup would be having the Mac that runs the native OS X stuff as well as possible (and that increased battery life!). The other stuff can just be done on the other machine.

It's nice having "one tool to do it all" ... but not worth the compromises when the new M1 CPUs are this much more efficient on the Mac side.
 

sw1tcher

macrumors 68030
Jan 6, 2004
2,566
5,207
Now I'm curious what the rumored redesigned MBA (for 2022) will be like. MagSafe? HDMI? Since it's more a mainstream consumer model, maybe even one USB A port?
 
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solarmon

macrumors regular
Mar 12, 2015
179
111
These chips are for Apple's "Pro" machines. Apple is not targeting the Pro user with the Mac mini.

That said, I'd love to see a M1 Pro in the Mac mini as well.
I’m going to replace my ~2015 Mac mini with the 14” Mac Pro…for portability, first and foremost. The added ports were like they were reading my mind.
 

solarmon

macrumors regular
Mar 12, 2015
179
111
Apple is definitely going to get more purchases outta my wife and I, mainly due to Apple Card 12 and 24-month 0% payments. Love that. But go figure: they let me do the Watch for 24 months, but the 14” pro for only 12?!
 
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mcilwraith

macrumors newbie
Oct 1, 2016
29
53
Glasgow
damn. im not sure which way to go. I have used 15" MBPs for about 20 years. was kind of waiting for the 16" but its very expensive. would I be happy with a 14"? its strictly a stay at home machine, so I dont need portability. and my eyes are going (age), I like the big screen, but cant use an external. 14" or 16"?? Hmmmm.
 

PowerGala

macrumors regular
Aug 26, 2016
199
271
Apple would have made it so much easier on me if they would have released a new Mini. Now I'm trying to figure out which one of the new laptops that I want. I kind of think the 16 inch is too big and I'm not sure if I really need 1TB of storage... Right now I'm leaning towards the $2500 14 inch configuration over the base model.
 

solarmon

macrumors regular
Mar 12, 2015
179
111
damn. im not sure which way to go. I have used 15" MBPs for about 20 years. was kind of waiting for the 16" but its very expensive. would I be happy with a 14"? its strictly a stay at home machine, so I dont need portability. and my eyes are going (age), I like the big screen, but cant use an external. 14" or 16"?? Hmmmm.
Yes! You can. HDMI port. Hell, get a 42” screen for it!
 

RightMACatU

macrumors 65816
Jul 12, 2012
1,414
1,098
192.168.1.1
In a pickle - I could upgrade to a base 14" from my 2020 Intel MBA as I find myself needing more video conversion horsepower, BUT, I also need my Windows 10 VM from time to time. Not keen on having two laptops.

Curious to hear about what are people doing in such a case?
Thanks.
 

solarmon

macrumors regular
Mar 12, 2015
179
111
Apple would have made it so much easier on me if they would have released a new Mini. Now I'm trying to figure out which one of the new laptops that I want. I kind of think the 16 inch is too big and I'm not sure if I really need 1TB of storage... Right now I'm leaning towards the $2500 14 inch configuration over the base model.
I always buy more memory than I think I need and never regret. In the process now of scanning allllll of my old phots, class notes, books, etc. Tired of lugging them around.
 
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