You can play plenty of games on the MacBook pro too, thanks to the M1's powerful GPU cores. Just like on the MacBook Air, I was able to run Fortnite smoothly in 720p. That's impressive since it's running via Rosetta 2 emulation. But Fortnite is also pretty buggy, since Epic hasn't updated it in months due to its ongoing legal battle with Apple. Apple Arcade titles like The Pathless and The Last Campfire ran flawlessly at 60 frames per second, but that's not too surprising since they also run well on the iPhone and iPad. When it comes to gaming on computers, Apple has always lagged behind Windows PCs. But I wouldn't be surprised if more developers start paying attention to Macs now that they see what the M1 can do.
Even though it's equipped with a fan, I rarely hear it turn on. You really have to stress the M1 MacBook Pro with something like a lengthy video rendering job to make that spin up. And when it does kick in, it's far quieter than it usually is on Intel machines. That's likely because it just doesn't have to work as hard to keep things cool. Even under a heavy workload, the system felt warm to the touch, but not scorching hot like some earlier models. The MacBook Pro’s battery life is yet another example of how efficient the M1 chip can be. The system lasted 16 and a half hours in our battery benchmark, which involves looping a video at fixed brightness. At the end of a typical workday, it usually has around seven hours of juice left.
As impressive as this MacBook Pro is, I'll admit it doesn't feel much different than the M1 MacBook Air during normal use. The Geekbench and Cinebench R21 scores on the two systems are practically identical when it comes to single core performance, though I saw a noticeable bump when it came to multi-core speeds. Still, the fact that the Air is competitive at all is a testament to what Apple was able to cram into the M1 in the first place. But once you start looking at the M1 through the eyes of professional users, its flaws become more obvious.