The brand new 13-inch MacBook Professional is a captivating laptop computer. On one hand, its blazing new Apple M2 processor makes it one of many quickest notebooks ever, in a position to chew by way of all types of demanding artistic duties with out breaking a sweat. Alternatively, it packs all of that energy right into a design that hasn’t modified in years, making it really feel a bit old-fashioned in comparison with newer Macs which have since adopted higher shows, webcams and ports.
With all that stated, who’s the MacBook Professional M2 really for? And are its best-in-class speeds value giving up fashionable conveniences like a borderless show and higher charging port? I used the brand new MacBook Professional as my principal laptop for every week to determine simply that.
Critical speeds in a 13-inch design
The 13-inch MacBook Professional M2 is without doubt one of the quickest laptops we have ever examined, and has quite a bit to supply for individuals who want severe energy for issues like video modifying and 3D rendering. Nevertheless, as a result of its dated design, we predict most individuals ought to maintain out for the MacBook Air M2, or splurge for the 14-inch MacBook Professional with higher ports.
When Apple launched the primary MacBooks powered by its personal Apple M1 processors again in 2020, we had been shocked by simply how huge a leap in efficiency they offered over the Intel-powered Macs of previous. The corporate is promising yet one more main bump with the M2 processor that powers this newest 13-inch MacBook Professional, and based mostly on our testing, it lives as much as the hype. The M2 MacBook Professional is definitely one of many quickest laptops I’ve ever used.
The most recent MacBook Professional dealt with my typical multitasking workload of assorted chat apps, video calls, and numerous Chrome tabs with no hitch. However that’s to be anticipated for a contemporary high-end laptop computer. Apple’s new M2 pocket book actually shone when it got here to demanding artistic processes. I used to be in a position to easily juggle a number of high-resolution video streams in Closing Lower Professional, and the app solely buckled as soon as I had seven of those 4K recordsdata enjoying on the identical time. Within the music manufacturing app Ableton Dwell, it solely took the MacBook Professional about 35 seconds to export an intricate 16-track digital music venture right into a shareable MP3 file. And whereas the MacBook Professional has an inside fan for when it’s pushed to the restrict, I by no means as soon as heard it kick in all through my week of testing.
In case you want extra goal proof of simply how highly effective the MacBook Professional M2 is, look no additional than our benchmark checks. The most recent MacBook Professional turned within the highest single-core end result we’ve ever seen from the Geekbench 5 general efficiency check, and trailed solely the bigger, costlier MacBook Professional 14-inch, MacBook Professional 16-inch and Dell XPS 17 when it got here to multi-core efficiency. Heck, it even beat final yr’s M1-powered, 24-inch iMac throughout the board, and that’s a full-on desktop laptop.
MacBook Professional M2
MacBook Professional M1
14-inch MacBook Professional
Microsoft Floor Studio Laptop computer
|Processor/Graphics||Apple M2||Apple M1||Apple M1 Professional||eleventh Gen Intel Core i7, Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti|
|Geekbench 5 (single-core)||1,892||1,729||1,768||1,333|
|Geekbench 5 (multi-core)||8,904||7,628||12,463||5,108|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider (1080p, max settings)||29 fps||N/A||47 fps||47 fps|
The MacBook Professional M2 additionally delivered strong outcomes when it got here to graphics and gaming, working our Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark — consisting of 1080p gameplay with all of the settings cranked up — at 29 frames per second. Whereas that’s only a smidge underneath the 30 fps that we think about ultimate for primary playability, it’s additionally not too far behind the 32 fps that we bought from the rather more costly Mac Studio desktop. In actual world phrases, you gained’t have bother enjoying most fashionable video games (properly, those that help Mac anyway) at medium to excessive settings, and fewer demanding titles like Divinity: Unique Sin 2 ran at a fluid 60 fps with graphics turned as much as the max.
So far as battery life goes, your mileage will depend upon what you’re utilizing the MacBook Professional for. Apple’s pocket book repeatedly bought me by way of whole 8-hour workdays with loads of juice to spare, although the battery appeared to empty quicker throughout video calls. Nevertheless, our in-house battery check — which consists of enjoying a 4K video on a loop — had a major tax on the system, draining the brand new MacBook Professional’s battery in simply over 6 hours. That’s not far off the 6 hours and 36 minutes we bought from the 14-inch MacBook Professional, however it’s properly behind the whopping 14 hours we noticed from the M1 MacBook Air. Lengthy story quick: when you plan on doing intensive video modifying on the go, preserve a charger useful.
One other fast phrase of warning — when you’re a severe multitasker, you’ll wish to think about splurging for extra reminiscence. Whereas my base mannequin with 8GB of RAM allowed me to easily soar between properly over a dozen apps and much more Chrome tabs with minimal hiccups, I did discover some moments of minor slowdown once I had numerous issues working for a protracted time period. You’ll be able to improve to 16GB of reminiscence for an additional $200, or up to an enormous 24GB for $400 when you actually plan on taxing your machine.
The brand new MacBook Professional is bodily similar to the M1 MacBook Professional mannequin that launched in 2020, and that’s not a foul factor. The pocket book’s svelte aluminum design stays a factor of magnificence, with a 3-pound chassis that feels extra substantial and well-made than anything in its value vary whereas nonetheless being skinny and lightweight sufficient to tuck into most luggage.
The bouncy, snappy Magic Keyboard remains to be a delight to kind on, holding my fingers lots snug all through lengthy workdays of hammering away. Similar goes for the MacBook Professional’s vibrant 13.3-inch Retina show, which offered satisfying, inky blacks once I labored in Google Docs and vibrant colours once I fired up an 8K nature video on YouTube. The laptop computer’s stereo audio system had been completely loud and clear sufficient for my day-to-day use, whether or not I used to be blasting instrumental rock whereas working or listening in on vital video calls.
The M2 MacBook Professional can also be the final remaining MacBook to characteristic the polarizing Contact Bar, which can be a professional or a con relying in your preferences. Whereas I want the bodily perform keys on the brand new 14-inch and 16-inch fashions (extra on why later), the Contact Bar nonetheless has its charms. The touch-sensitive LED display screen is able to offering helpful contextual controls, making it simple for me to scroll by way of a YouTube video in Chrome or mute myself throughout a WebEx name. And like with earlier 13-inch MacBook Professional fashions, you’ll nonetheless get a Contact ID fingerprint reader proper subsequent to the Contact Bar that was useful for logging into the machine with no password.
The MacBook Professional M2 delivers unimaginable speeds whereas sticking to a working components design-wise. However whereas the remainder of the MacBook line has developed considerably since 2020, just about each side of the brand new 13-inch Professional — apart from its blazing-fast speeds — feels caught previously.
The 14-inch MacBook Professional, 16-inch MacBook Professional and the brand new MacBook Air M2 have all adopted just about bezel-less shows with solely a small notch up high; the thick black borders across the MacBook Professional M2’s display screen really feel like wasted area by comparability. The brand new 13-inch MacBook Professional nonetheless comes with a 720p webcam, and whereas it’ll be simply advantageous for most individuals’s video calling wants, there’s a noticeable lack of element and readability when evaluating it side-by-side with the 1080p digital camera on my 14-inch Professional.
The MacBook Professional M2 stays minimalist on ports, with simply two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C connections for each charging and equipment. Which will suffice for many folks — particularly in case you have a USB-C hub useful — however it appears anemic in comparison with the brand new 14-inch and 16-inch fashions that throw in an HDMI port, a full-size SD card reader and an extra USB-C port.
However the factor I miss probably the most from the newer MacBook fashions is the up to date MagSafe charging port, which lets you juice up your laptop computer by way of a cable that pops on and off with a easy magnetic snap. On high of decreasing the probabilities that your MacBook goes flying as soon as an individual or pet journeys in your wire, the MagSafe port additionally frees up your USB-C ports for peripherals. And whereas I’ve grown accustomed to the MacBook Professional transport within the typical Silver and House Grey, the MacBook Air M2’s beautiful Midnight blue and Starlight gold choices make me want this mannequin supplied extra colours.
Lastly, whereas the Contact Bar has its advantages, I’ll take the bodily perform keys on the 14-inch, 16-inch and M2 Air fashions any day of the week. Having the ability to modify quantity, up the brightness or pause a tune with a single bodily click on is simply extra satisfying, and far simpler than having to carry out a number of faucets simply to seek out the controls I’m searching for.
This all leads me to my largest criticism of the MacBook Professional M2: when the brand new MacBook Air M2 has a bigger show, a sharper webcam, a bodily perform row and a MagSafe port for $100 much less, why even go Professional?
The MacBook Professional’s largest bodily benefit over the Air is its energetic cooling system, which is constructed to ship higher sustained efficiency in comparison with the fan-less Air. Nevertheless, we’ll have to check the M2 Air for ourselves to see how a lot of a distinction that truly makes in actual world use. And whereas the brand new MacBook Professional’s battery life has been reliable thus far, the decision remains to be out on how a lot endurance you’ll sacrifice when you go for the Air.
The MacBook Professional M2 is without doubt one of the quickest laptops ever made, and for some, that’ll be sufficient to justify its $1,299 beginning value. This laptop computer’s M2 chip runs circles round most opponents — to not point out most different Macs — providing you with sufficient energy to edit video, work on advanced 3D tasks and play graphically wealthy video games with none nasty slowdown. It definitely helps that it has the identical nice keyboard, skinny design and sharp show that’s made the 13-inch MacBook Professional a longtime favourite.
Nevertheless, it’s laborious to totally advocate this blazing-fast MacBook when every part apart from its processor is behind the occasions. You gained’t get the seamless display screen, helpful MagSafe charger or useful bodily perform keys which might be on the 14-inch MacBook Professional, 16-inch MacBook Professional and MacBook Air M2. The bigger MacBook Professionals have a wider array of ports, whereas the MacBook Air M2 has the identical precise super-fast processor for $100 much less — so long as you possibly can stay with no fan.
Our recommendation? In case you can splurge, the $1,999 MacBook Professional 14-inch remains to be one of the best MacBook for individuals who do numerous demanding work. In case you’re on a extra modest finances, wait a couple of weeks to see how the $1,119 MacBook Air M2 shakes out. It’s cheaper, has a greater design, and can seemingly carry out practically in addition to its costlier sibling. And when you don’t care about having the most recent and best, the $999 MacBook Air M1 — our greatest laptop computer decide for Apple customers — is the most affordable MacBook on the market, and nonetheless absurdly quick in comparison with most opponents.
The M2 Professional might fulfill a distinct segment for individuals who need the smallest MacBook Professional accessible and the advantages of an inside fan and Contact Bar, however for everybody else, there are just too many good options to select from.
|Processor||Apple M2||Apple M2||Apple M1 Professional/M1 Max|
|Reminiscence||8GB / 16GB / 24GB||8GB / 16GB / 24GB||16GB / 32GB / 64GB (M1 Max solely)|
|Storage||256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB SSD||256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB SSD||512GB / 1TB / 2TB / 4TB / 8TB|
|Show||13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 Retina show||13.6 inch, 2560 x 1664 Liquid Retina show||14.2-inch, 3024 x 1964 Liquid Retina XDR show|
|Digital camera||720p FaceTime HD digital camera||1080p FaceTime HD digital camera||1080p FaceTime HD digital camera|
|Audio system||Stereo audio system with Spatial Audio help||4-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio help||Six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio help|
|Keyboard||Magic Keyboard with Contact Bar||Magic Keyboard with bodily perform keys||Magic Keyboard with bodily perform keys|
|Ports||Thunderbolt 4 USB-C (2), headphone jack||Thunderbolt 4 USB-C (2), MagSafe charging port, headphone jack||Thunderbolt 4 USB-C (3), SDXC card slot, HDMI port, headphone jack|
|Battery life (rated)||As much as 20 hours||As much as 18 hours||As much as 17 hours|
|SIze and weight||11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches, 3 kilos||11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches, 2.7 kilos||12.31 x 8.71 x 0.61 inches, 3.5 kilos|