Almost all MacBook Pro 2021 Rumors came true, even what we didn’t want to see. Yes, the new MacBook Pro 2021 has a damn notch at the top of the display. But, you know what? The idea doesn’t really bother me.
Sure it looks weird. It’s apparently there to put the camera on top of the laptop, but it also looks like a marketing decision to make the MacBook Pro 2021 (14 inch) and MacBook Pro 2021 16 inches more like iPhone.
Some will definitely make fun of it for looking like a bad rendering. But at the moment Apple announced the new model, that doesn’t stop me from pre-ordering one for myself. Or assume that this won’t stop the new MacBook Pro models from taking two of the best laptops on the market.
What we get in exchange for the MacBook Pro Notch
For years, laptops like the Dell XPS 13 have shredded their bezels. Meanwhile, the comparatively bulky bezels of the MacBook Pro continued to age. The presence of the notch is acceptable primarily because that changes.
But a bit of context at the beginning: the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2018 has 0.2-inch bezels on the top and sides that still make the 2020 MacBook Pro with M1In comparison, the device’s 0.3-inch side frames look thick (and not good). And you might be wondering how big is a tenth of an inch. Well, check it out for yourself. I have the latest MacBook Pro on the left and the MateBook X Pro (the only thin bezel laptop I have around the house) on the right.
And colleagues who have access to the XPS 13 released in the summer of 2020 say the bezels measure 0.1 inches on the sides and 0.2 inches on the top.
Apple described the side bezels on the MacBook Pro 2021 as 24% thinner. That should provide 0.2 inch side panels. And since the 2020 MacBook Pro had a 0.5-inch top frame, there was even more room for improvement here (the MateBook X Pro also has a 0.2-inch top frame). And so they’ve reduced it further: from 0.5 inch to 0.1 inch (rounded from 0.14 to the nearest tenth).
So for starters, I’m thrilled that Apple is finally shrinking its bezels to the point where they should have been years ago. It’s an overdue solution.
Unless you know where the notch goes. Apple didn’t say how much space its MacBook Pro notch was taking up in total.
Where the MacBook Pro’s notch is fine
The notch, whatever it looks like, is forgivable for one simple reason: it will fill in space that I don’t need most of the time.
Most of the time I use a Mac, I can see the menu bar, that opaque area at the top of the screen where the menus like File and Edit live on the left and the battery life, time and date, and Siri menus on the right.
And while I can push the limits on the number of apps in the menu bar pretty far, I’ve been using less recently (and the bartender utility lets you hide the ones you don’t need). I just don’t see the right side of the screen go that far.
At this point, the MacBook Pro’s biggest problem is that it is eye candy. This is the last feature Apple seems to want in its products. The fact that you can basically move the menu bar up to take up some space that the bezel used to take up? It’s (probably) worth it.
Where the MacBook Pro’s notch hurts
Apple’s own presentation revealed the very moment when the new notch in the MacBook Pro appears to be a slight nuisance. As can be seen here, full screen applications are essentially displayed in black at the top, which essentially causes the top bezel to grow back.
So, for anyone who uses applications that they love to use in full screen mode (I see you, creative professionals, using video editing programs, it seems your applications don’t seem that borderless.
But then again, we don’t have to get our hands on this notch-bearing MacBook Pro just yet to see what it actually is. Are programs rearranged to accommodate a notch? We will see.
MacBook Pro Notch Outlook
Much like the notch on the current iPhone, I’ll bet I’ll stop thinking about the notch in about a week after using one of the MacBook Pro 2021 models. If I can forget about it on my iPhone – which I use a lot closer to my face – I’ll probably forget about it here, too.
I waited a full nine years to buy a new MacBook Pro. And while I would erase that little blemish if it didn’t mean other compromises, the larger screen real estate with smaller bezels is a worthy replacement.