13-inch MacBook Pro Review: Apple's M2 is a worthy sequel to the M1

13-inch MacBook Pro Review: Apple’s M2 is a worthy sequel to the M1

Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro is a little hard to recommend given the options in Apple’s lineup, but that doesn’t change the key conclusion: the new second-generation M2 chip doesn’t disappoint.

Although the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro is called its “most portable Pro laptop,” there is nothing special about it. It has too few ports for advanced users and can’t touch the 14-inch MacBook Pro in performance — yet it offers little to distract potential customers from a similar redesign of the upcoming MacBook Air.

Still, the real story is that this is the first laptop to go on sale with second-generation ARM-based processors for Macs. The M2 is an exciting sequel to the already impressive M1 and a promising messenger of what will come to future Macs that deserve the Pro name.

Specifications

Features overview: 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro
Screen 2560 × 1600 by 13.3 inches
OS macOS Monterey 12.4
Processors Apple M2
RAM 16GB
GPU Apple M2
HDD 1TB SSD
Networking Wi-Fi 6; Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 2k Thunderbolt / USB 4, 3.5 mm headphones
Size 0.61 × 11.97 × 8.36 inches (1.56 × 30.41 × 21.24 cm)
Weight 3 lbs (1.4 kg)
Warranty 1 year or 3 years with AppleCare +
Price according to the review $ 1,899
Other benefits 1080p FaceTime HD camera

There’s only one big difference between the 2022-inch 2022 MacBook Pro and the 2020 model it replaces: it uses Apple’s second-generation M2 system-on-a-chip instead of the M1. We’ll spend most of our time here on that, but let’s get a few more key details out of the way.

Starting at $ 1,299, the laptop offers two basic storage configurations: 256 GB or 512 GB for an additional $ 200. You can further upgrade to 1TB or 2TB for a significant price increase.

No matter which configuration you buy, the choice of ports is the same and quite limited: there are only two Thunderbolt / USB-4 ports and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Since it lacks the new MagSafe charging port found in its 14-inch and 16-inch siblings (and in the upcoming redesign of the MacBook Air), one of them will often be busy with a power connection.

This means that most of the time this laptop has one port. Thunderbolt has bandwidth to work with an external docking station or multi-device adapter. Still, it seems a little strange that a laptop sold to professionals offers less flexibility than a MacBook Air with similar prices and specs a few weeks away.

Like its successor based on the M1, the 2022-inch MacBook Pro can run only one external display (up to 6K) from 13 inches next to its built-in display. This is a potentially devastating constraint for advanced users and several types of professional workflows, and seems to be shared with the upcoming MacBook Air.

Other key specifications include a 1080p front camera, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and a 13.6-inch screen with a resolution of 2560 × 1664 with a maximum brightness of 500 nits. (We tested it and confirmed roughly that brightness range.) That screen compares well to the Air, but is vastly inferior in almost every way compared to what you get with the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

One of the few significant advantages it has over other laptops in Apple’s line is the promised 17 hours of battery life for wireless web browsing. That’s compared to 15 hours for the upcoming MacBook Air, 14 hours for the 16-inch MacBook Pro and 11 hours for the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

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