I’VE been testing Apple’s brand new MacBook Pro for a week – and it’s still not out.
If you’re thinking about upgrading then you’re in luck: it’s an absolute delight.
There’s no question: Apple just makes good laptops.
We’ve seen a few quality niggles over the years, but generally the MacBook Pro is (rightly) renowned as a powerful machine that gets the job done.
The new MacBook Pro – announced at WWDC 2022 earlier this month – isn’t perfect, but it’s phenomenally good value for money.
This is a classic 13-inch entry-level MacBook Pro – the design is basically unchanged.
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That’s good because this is the second-most popular notebook in the world, behind MacBook Air.
Why fix what’s not broken?
It’s got the iconic slim metal shell, a large and bright Retina display, and an OLED Touch Bar on the keyboard (that changes functions depending on the app you’re using).
I still prefer a row of physical function keys to Touch Bar, but it has lots of benefits – and some people adore it.
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You’ll also enjoy a P3 colour gamut that means the display can accurately show an immense range of hues.
Brightness goes up to 500 nits – I used it outside on a sunny day with no problem.
Really, the big enhancement here is the addition of Apple’s custom M2 chip.
Apple has only recently shifted to producing its own Mac chips – binning Intel for its in-house custom silicon.
And the results have been staggering, with Macs now delivering ludicrous performance across the board.
Now the M2 is out and it’s living up to expectations.
Core processing is up by about 40% over the previous generation, and the same is true for graphics performance.
Of course, these measures – and performance benchmarks on device – are great, but they have limited practical use.
What’s important is the real-world performance, and it lives up to expectations.
You can comfortably edit heavy multi-layered Photoshop documents, multiple streams of 4K video, and run dozens of apps simultaneously with no problem.
For most professionals, the MacBook Pro will give you everything you need.
You’ll really only want to consider upgrading to a 14-inch or 16-inch model with an M1 Pro, M1 Max or M1 Ultra chip if you’re doing extremely demanding tasks like significant graphics rendering or very heavy 8K video projects.
I’ve been using it for work and I’ve not had a single performance issue.
Battery life is all-day too: the official measure is 20 hours, and I struggled to run it down in a working day.
It comes with a base storage of 256GB using a speedy SSD.
But you can spec it right up to a whopping 2TB – more than most will ever need.
You get a FaceTime HD camera as well as Touch ID fingerprint scanning (for verifying purchase and logging into websites and the Mac itself).
And ports are good, with a headphone jack and two USB-C sockets that work for charging, linking up displays, or just as generic Thunderbolt 3 connections.
Still – despite all of its benefits – the MacBook Pro struggles with gaming.
That’s not necessarily because there’s a lack of power: in fact, the new MacBook offers some very compelling performance.
But the gaming world still has catching up to do. Many games simply aren’t supported on Mac, which is a shame – but a fact nonetheless.
You can get plenty of gaming done on this MacBook Pro, but hardcore gamers who want all the latest titles might want to look to Windows instead.
Audio is very impressive for a notebook of this size, with wide stereo sound as well as support for Dolby Atmos spatial audio (if your movie or music choice offers that).
The microphone pick-up is great for video calling too – there’s a “studio quality” triple-mic array on board.
Of course the value of any laptop depends on its price.
For this new MacBook Pro model, you’ll pay a minimum of £1,349.
That’s far from a cheap laptop, so buyers on a budget should consider a MacBook Air.
But for Pro performance – of the kind you’re getting from the M2 – it’s actually a very fair mark-up.
It’s also worth remembering that Apple laptops tend to hold their value better than Windows alternatives.
So if you want to sell it on at some point down the line, you should be able to recoup a significant amount of cost.
The laptop runs on macOS Monterey, which is a brilliant rival to Windows 11 – and trumps it in many ways, especially if you have other Apple devices (iPhone included).
And we’re months away from macOS Ventura, which improves core systems like Mail, Spotlight search, Safari and Messages.
Mac it happen!
Honestly, there’s not much bad to say about this MacBook Pro.
The design is iconic, the price is fair, and the performance is phenomenal.
Like any Mac, it’s not really the right machine for hardcore gamers.
But it’s fantastic workhouse that will suit the vast majority of professionals – or cash-flush students.
If you can afford the 14-inch MacBook Pro with a chip upgrade, you’ll get better performance and a nicer display.
Ultimately it all comes down to what you’re willing to spend.
But if you’ve got the cash and want a powerful Apple notebook, this is what you’ll want to buy.
The Sun says: Apple has made its iconic 13-inch MacBook Pro more powerful than ever – a computing icon that just doesn’t disappoint. 5/5
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro went up for pre-order on Friday, June 17 and will be available to buy outright from Friday, June 24.
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All prices in this article were correct at the time of writing, but may have since changed.
Always do your own research before making any purchase.
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