Best Value Content Creation Laptop – The M1 MacBook – Balkoni Hijau Blog

Best Value Content Creation Laptop – The M1 MacBook

I needed a new laptop to handle all content creation for my blog & YouTube channel. This article will share my laptop selection process and why I finally chose the M1 MacBook Pro.

Considering that I will spend hours on my laptop every day for years, I am very particular about what laptop to get:

My 3 Shortlisted Laptops

For video editing, I needed to get a laptop with the most CPU cores that I can afford with dedicated graphics. After weeks of binging video editing YouTube laptop reviews, I narrowed it down to 3 laptops:

Laptop Brand & ModelMacbook M1Lenovo Legion 5Dell XPS 15
PicThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is hero_endframe__bsza6x4fldiq_large_2x-removebg-preview-1.pngThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is download-removebg-preview-1.png
PriceStarts from RM 4,399Starts from RM 4,800+Starts at RM 7,999
Lowest ProcessorM1 chip, 8 coresIntel i7, 6 coresIntel i7, 4 cores
Minimum GPUM1 chip, 7 coresNVIDIA GeForce
GTX 1650
4GB GDDR6
NVIDIA GeForce
GTX 1650 Ti
4GB GDDR6
Weight1.4kg2.5kg1.83 kg
Size of ChargerSmall, 61W chargerHuge, 170W chargerMedium, 130W

The M1 MacBook is a clear winner among the 3. Plus, it’s the cheapest! As a former Windows user, here is my 1-month review of the M1 MacBook Pro.

Editing Videos on the M1 Macbook Pro

This is the main reason why I got this laptop, and the YouTube reviewers were right.

Despite only having 8 GB of RAM, the MacBook Pro flies through editing and play back for 1080p video editing with motion graphics and image overlays.

Smooth scrubbing through the timeline on Davinci Resolve

The only time I saw a bit of a hiccup during timeline playback is when playing the built-in fusion titles in Davinci Resolve, which I was a little disappointed. But to be fair, my old Dell XPS can’t handle fusion title playbacks as well.

Hiccups when adding fusion titles

As for 4k editing, if your timeline is also set to 4k resolution, it doesn’t play back smoothly at all. But I found a solution, which is to create a proxy media.

Final video rendering for both 1080p & 4k videos are quick, the laptop stays cool and quiet, and I can do other stuff while I render.

Which is unheard of for any Intel-based PC’s that I’ve used in the past. In comparison, my old Dell XPS desktop sounded like a vacuum cleaner while rendering.

Stays Cool & Quiet

During video editing, the palm rest area, where the batteries are located got a little warm, but I never hear the fans turning on, to the point that I thought there was something wrong with the fans.

But I think this just shows how energy-efficient yet powerful the new M1 chip Macs are:

I’ve never heard the fans turn on, throughout my 1-month ownership of this laptop

The only time the M1 MacBook got very hot and the fans turned on max was when I wanted to create proxy medias for my 4k video timeline. It was super hot and loud. But the cores does not seem to be maxed out:

Screen

The MacBook Pro’s screen is crisp sharp. But although it’s a smaller 13.3″ screen compared to my previous 14″ laptop with a 16:9 ratio screen.

The MacBook’s screen is taller, which is better suited for video editing & reading web articles rather than consuming videos:

Touch Bar

99% of YouTube reviews says that they don’t like the Touch Bar, and it’s a total gimmick. But I love it! Especially during video editing & creativity apps.

The Touch Bar can change, so I can access vital commands easily depending on the app:

My 5 most usage of the Touch Bar when using creativity apps

Other Things I Like About the M1 Macbook Pro

The main purpose of me getting the M1 MacBook was for video editing, but, here are other nice bonuses:

Pros: Professional, Minimalist Look

I like the clean, minimalist & ‘premium’ look of MacBooks

Unlike the Lenovo Legion 5, or any gaming laptop with a look-at-me design & RGB lighting, I won’t be embarrassed to be seen working on a MacBook at the office or a café.

Take a look how clean my desk is now:

BEFORE: Desktop + Laptop Set Up
AFTER: M1 MacBook Set Up

Pros: Amazing Keyboard & Trackpad

KEYBOARD: As I run a blog, I type a lot. The MacBook keyboard does not feel as good as a gaming mechanical keyboard, but it’s not that far behind for a laptop:

There was nothing wrong with my old Acer Swift 5 laptop keyboard, but once I started typing on the MacBook, there was no turning back. It feels great to type and I actually look forward to writing more blog posts.

TRACKPAD: This is such an underrated feature. The massive trackpad is not actually a button but a solid piece of glass that vibrates when pressed to make it feel like you’re pressing a regular button.

The vibrating feedback makes it feel consistent and accurate anywhere you press on the trackpad. With such a large, accurate trackpad, I don’t need a mouse. Which means there’s one thing less to carry.

I tried a few keyboards & trackpads, but the MacBook is by far the best feeling to use, followed 2nd & 3rd by the Lenovo ThinkPad & HP Envy laptops.

Pros: Multiple Desktops & Gestures

Swiping up with 3 fingers will bring up the Mission Control command, where I assign desktops for different task categories to keep things tidy and multitask like a BOSS. Here are some examples of how I multitask using the Mission Control:

  • Desktop 1: Communication apps (Skype & WhatsApp)
  • Desktop 2: Chrome tabs for work stuff
  • Desktop 3: Chrome tabs for personal stuff
  • Desktop 4: Video editing software
  • Desktop 5: Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop

Pros: Great Speakers

Underrated feature. Unlike most laptops where the speakers are bottom-firing, the MacBook speakers fire upwards, and they sound clear with a bit of bass, which is surprising for a laptop.

Loud and clear speakers

Video conferencing & watching YouTube videos are crisp and clear. So much so that I could live without my Bose Bluetooth speakers to keep my desk set up minimal.

Clear audio during online meetings

Pros: No Joke, All-Day Battery Life

INSANE BATTERY LIFE: My Acer Swift 5 laptop can realistically last maybe 2-3 hours of consistent office use. So when Apple said the new MacBook can last all day, I along with a lot of people, were skeptical. 

I use my MacBook for between 8 and 12 hours on a weekday, and I only have to charge once a day. Take a look at my battery usage below.

I charged the battery at noon, then, unplugged it and used the MacBook for work non-stop from noon all the way till 6 pm, where I took a rest for dinner. At around 9 pm, I then continued to use the MacBook to write this blog article.

I still have enough battery left in the morning where I usually need to charge again at about noon the next day. Absolutely insane.

Pros: Charges Via USB-C & Compact Charger

One thing I hate about Windows laptops is that, no matter how polished their laptops are, the charging cable is often an afterthought. Look at the Dell XPS & Lenovo’s charger that literally, looks like a brick.

The new M1 MacBooks are so powerful, yet so energy efficient, they can be charged by a compact USB-C 61W charger. The cool thing about being USB-C, is that I only have to bring 1 charger for both of my laptop & phone.

The included compact 61 W charger

I have bought the Innergie 60C, an even smaller universal charger to carry around in my Thule tech bag:

All my cable neatly organized in my Thule tech bag

What I Don’t Like About the M1 Macbook Pro

There’s no perfect product. So far, here are the things that I find annoying about the M1 MacBook Pro:

Cons: Dongle Life

With only 2 USB-C ports, you NEED to have a multipurpose dongle. This does not bother me so much, but it’s one of things that you have to buy if you get these MacBook.

  • Dongle that can charge your MacBook & have card readers. Click here.
  • Cheaper dongle that has more USB-A ports, but can’t charge your MacBook. Click here.

Cons: Software Inevitability

This is inevitable, when you have a state of the art machine, some softwares are bound not to work. So far, only 1 software is not compatible:

Software That I UseDoes it Work With M1?Not Compatible on M1
Microsoft Office
Davinci Resolve
Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop
WhatsApp app
Skype
Sony Play Memories

The Sony Play Memories app is to import images from my Sony ZV-1 to the computer & manage the media. 

Luckily, the Mac Photos app can also import and organize photos. But until the app developer makes an M1 chip compatible version, I can’t use Sony’s wireless transfer feature.

All in all, I can use the M1 MacBook for almost everything I need it for.

Cons: Keyboard Stains

Oil on keyboard

Apparently, I have oily hands and face. Over the course of a day, when I touch my face and then the keyboard, the oily marks can be quite visible on the keyboard. The above picture was only 2 days after I got the laptop.

Should You Get the M1 Macbook Pro?

All in all, the Pros for the M1 MacBook Pro outweighs the cons. Also, if you equip a Windows laptop to be equivalent to the MacBook, they actually cost more!

If you’re a content creator like me, I’d say, go for it! Here are some buyer pointers:

  • You don’t need 16 GB RAM. The M1 chips are not RAM hungry like Intel chips.
  • If you don’t edit 4k videos, you don’t need the MacBook Pro as the fans never turn on anyway. Save yourself some money and get the cheaper, but similar MacBook Air

You can get the MacBook by walking into any Apple reseller, or you can purchase on Lazada for slightly cheaper:

Helmi Hasan

Hi, I'm Helmi Hasan, the founder, and writer for the personal finance blog, Balkoni Hijau. Read more in the 'About Me' page or follow me on Twitter.

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