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spiderman0616

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Original poster
Aug 1, 2010
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I've been wondering when I would have a chance to travel with the 2021 16" MacBook Pro my employer provided, and have now had that experience, complete with nightmarish layovers and delays and awful TSA people. I was right and wrong about some things with this specific model. I'd say maybe 60% wrong, 40% right.

1. My concerns about weight were dumb. I've forgotten how much heavier laptops used to be than even these new models. I have lugged similar sized Windows laptops through airports a couple of times back in the day and it actually injured the skin on my shoulder where the shoulder strap was rubbing. Not one red mark on my shoulder after this trip.

2. The build quality eliminates a lot of worry. It's been years since MacBooks were this solidly built, where there is no flex to the body when you pull them out of a bag. I do keep my MacBook Pros in Incase shells (I know, I know), but it's nice to know they'll be ok in my laptop bag under the seat in front of me on a plane, even if they take a couple of bumps.

3. I missed MagSafe more than I thought. All it took was a couple rounds of setting up/tearing down my gear in conference and hotel rooms to make me realize how convenient MagSafe for MacBooks was back in the day. I have been mostly ignoring it on both sizes, but as soon as I got home and situated again, I routed a MagSafe cable through my desktop setup. I was wrong to be ambivalent about its return. I'm so happy it's back.

4. I'll never use this thing in an airport or airplane. It's just too big for me to want to use in either situation. You may be tempted to suggest that I use one of those little laptop bays that are always peppered around every airport. And to that I say, I have literally never once seen one of those actually available for me to use.

5. My job and workflows do not require any specific screen size. This is a super personal thing, but I have kind of designed my workflows and tasks around having only one monitor. The combination of Apple Silicon, the Logitech MX3 mouse for Mac, and the awesome trackpads that are built in, have made it become muscle memory at this point. I can fly around very quickly and get to anything I need almost as soon as I think of it. I'm not a professional designer or editor, and avoid convoluted Excel workbooks as much as humanly possible, so screen size on a laptop is just no longer a factor in my buying decisions. Long story short, buying the 14" model for my personal Mac was the correct choice for me. I 100% would use my 14" model in an airport. I avoid using anything bigger than my iPhone in planes, but I would also be ok with using my 14" model on the seat tray if I needed to get something done urgently. If all I have is the 16" model, it's probably going to wait until I get there. Planes and airports are just too crowded these days for me to want to use that big of a laptop.

6. I'm feeling really grateful for Apple Silicon and general Apple quality. Just to keep it brief and simple, I missed a connecting flight home from a work trip due to weather and got stranded overnight in Baltimore while trying to get home to Chicago. My arsenal for this trip was my iPhone 13 Pro Max, Apple Watch S4, AirPods Pro, and of course, my huge work Mac. Through overnight delays, hours of layovers, rough treatment in security, etc. not once did a battery go dead. Not once did anything sustain damage. Only once, on my longest day of airport hell, did I decide to put my phone in low power mode, but that was just to make sure I could get my Uber to the hotel at the end of the long night. That particular day though, I had done a full day of meetings, one half of my flights home, lots of killing time in airports, hotels, and airplanes playing Diablo and watching video, catching Ubers and getting updated flight info and emergency hotel bookings, and countless other things. My Apple gear was reliable and went the distance with me. It would have made a trip that was already pretty awful SO much worse if I didn't have those items. The iPhone and Mac were especially impressive.

P.S. This was also my first time trying noise cancelling headphones on a plane and it was a game changer. They kill most of the annoying passenger noise and engine/wind noise on the flight, and they are AMAZING at silencing noisy airport terminal waiting areas. My god I loved being able to tune it all out during a frustrating trip and AT LEAST get to enjoy this week's Obi Wan Kenobi without having to crank the volume up to 100%. Mind blown.
 

ericwn

macrumors G4
Apr 24, 2016
11,971
10,692
Thanks for sharing. I traveled internationally with the 15” models for a long time (business class) and never had a problem. I understand though that a more compact laptop can make life easier especially in economy, but it’s still a pain on the cheap flights.
 

spiderman0616

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Original poster
Aug 1, 2010
5,670
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Thanks for sharing. I traveled internationally with the 15” models for a long time (business class) and never had a problem. I understand though that a more compact laptop can make life easier especially in economy, but it’s still a pain on the cheap flights.
I really love my job, but I'm still not in business class status with my company unfortunately. :p On the flip side, they don't pay me too bad, and just recently gave me the nicest laptop Apple makes, so I can't be too mad about it I suppose.

True story--I was once traveling on vacation and was sitting by someone who had a brand new MacBook Pro in her carry-on. I knew she must have JUST gotten it, because when she was setting it up on the tray I had recognized it as a brand new design that had just come out a few weeks ago. (I swear I didn't look at her screen. I'm not a creeper.) A few minutes into her using it, the person in front of her forcefully shoved his seat back in the reclined position and smacked the laptop lid really hard with the seat. I was kind of watching for her reaction out of the corner of my eye. It put a nice dent in her brand new computer, and she was filled with crimson hot rage. I think she shook her head and just fumed the entire rest of the flight.

The moral of the story--maybe it doesn't matter what laptop I bring because I'm probably not going to use either model in coach. I usually just use my iPhone and pretend it's the old days and all I have is whatever music I thought to download on my iPod.
 
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