MacBook M1 vs MacBook Pro M1 ~ Vet Student

My gf is in vet school and I want to get her a new laptop for the Holidays. She is in her first year of veterinary school and because of remote learning is getting about 500 ppt slides and 15 to 20 PDF documents per day from her instructors. I got her and iPad Pro and DEVONthink to go before the semester started but I see her using her 11" MacBook air to do a lot of work. Slowly.

Can someone speak battery life and performance of Devonthink on the m1 Macs? I am particularly concerned about large databases. The pro will cost me about $300 more, and I don’t mind paying for if it helps her. Even if that help isn’t noticeable for 3 or 4 years. But if it isn’t worth getting her the pro than I will upgrade our nas to a new M1 mini and buy devonthink server so she can access her work when they finally start to let her go back to campus.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

I have both a 15 inch MacBook Pro with 1 TB storage and a 1 year old MB air with 8 GB ram and 512 gb SSD. For 99% of my work photography, some videos, and consulting biz i see no difference. DEVONthink is indistinguishable even some 6 GB databases i have. I am also looking at a new M1 and lean toward a pro but only because the screen is slightly better for my photo work. Otherwise i would get the 16 GB ram, 512gb or 1 tb SSD air. From what you describe, an air would work great, just get a 512 GB or larger hardrive .
The 11 inch air is indeed a dog by today’s standards. The 13 inch airs are much better. They willl easily handle devonthink databases. I have over 20 GB of databases on my 15 inch pro and on my air and see no difference in performance. The m1 should be no different.

You might want to read this opinion-piece on 9to5mac. In my opinion the site is unapologetically pro-Mac, so I take articles like this with a grain of salt - but found the article to be no less helpful that the synthetic benchmark results floating around at the moment.