MacBook Pro 13 inch review (M2, 2022): Pro in name only | Engadget

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Say hello to Apple’s most amazing laptop, the 13 inch MacBook Pro with an M2 chip. It was quite a confusing computer when we reviewed the M1 model in 2020 and it was outshined by the Fanless MacBook Air. But now that they exist a new MacBook Air With a larger screen and a more modern design, the 13-inch Pro feels a bit like a relic from another era. It comes from a time when Apple had to build machines around Intel’s hotter and less efficient chips rather than taking full advantage of its own hardware.

Gallery: MacBook Pro 13 inch (M2, 2022) | 12 photos


To be fair, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is still a very nice machine, and the M2 chip gives it a decent performance boost. But it’s also something I can’t really recommend, not when the new Air offers so much more and the 14-inch MacBook Pro has a far better screen, plus ports that pros actually need. Apple claims the 13-inch MacBook Pro continues to be one of its most popular models, and that’s not too surprising given it’s the cheapest “Pro” notebook in its lineup. Still, it’s 2022, and this MacBook Pro design has been around for years. Popularity is no excuse for laziness.

advantages

  • The M2 chip is very fast
  • Long battery life
  • Build quality is still great
  • Excellent keyboard and trackpad

Disadvantages

  • No ProMotion display
  • Thick screen edges Touchbar remains annoying
  • Only 2 USB-C ports

Well, I suppose it makes sense that Apple would back off a bit. The MacBook Pro’s aluminum unibody chassis still puts the vast majority of PCs on the market to shame. And given the many design and supply chain constraints we face amid the ongoing pandemic and chip crisis, it was probably wiser for Apple to focus on the new Air and the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros. It’s just a shame those priorities have left the 13-inch model with the same chunky screen and anemic port selection we’ve seen for years.

And no, the Touch Bar doesn’t help the situation at all. Just when we thought we were breaking free from Apple’s second screen misfire, it’s back to torment us again with disappearing function keys and ever-changing app shortcuts. It’s almost as if Apple had some leftover Touch Bar stock it just had to unload, and we’re paying the price. Developers don’t do much more to take advantage of it, so in a few years it will just be a useless appendage, like the last protohuman with a tail.

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Now that I’ve vented my frustrations, let’s talk about what’s good: Apple’s new M2 chip. It offers 8 CPU cores and up to 10 GPU cores, which Apple says will deliver 18 percent faster multi-threaded performance and up to 35 percent faster graphics speeds. The real upgrade for pros though is that it now supports up to 24GB of RAM (rather than being capped at 16GB) and also has twice the memory bandwidth. Coupled with support for ProRes encoding and decoding, the M2 should make the MacBook Pro a far better option for video editors who don’t want to make the leap to the more expensive 14-inch model.

Our review unit, which contained the M2 chip (10 GPU cores) with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, was noticeably faster in almost every benchmark. It scored nearly 9,000 on Geekbench 5’s multi-core test, while the M1 MacBook Pro scored closer to 7,000. The M2 chip also blew the M1 away in Geekbench’s Compute benchmark, as well as Cinebench R23, where it scored 1,300 points better than the M1 machine. The performance boost isn’t enough to ditch the M1 MacBook Pro if you’ve already bought one, but it’s still nice to see Apple making some decent gains with its sequel chip.

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Geekbench 5 CPU

Geekbench 5 Compute

Cinebench R23

Apple MacBook Pro 13 inch, (Apple M2, 2022)

1,938/8,984

27,304

1,583/8,719

Apple MacBook Pro 14 inch (Apple M1 Pro)

1,767/11,777

38,359

1.515/12.118

Apple MacBook Pro 16 inch (Apple M1 Max, 2021)

1,783/12,693

60.167

1,524/12,281

Apple MacBook Pro 13 inch (Apple M1, 2020)

1,696/7,174

18,556

1,492/7,467

Dell XPS 15 (Intel i7-12700H, RTX 3050 Ti, 2022)

1,680/11,412

60.205

1,724/13,100

Here’s the thing: We haven’t rated the new MacBook Air yet, and based on my experience with the last model, I expect it to perform about the same as the MacBook Pro. Once again, Apple’s big selling point for this computer is that it has a fan and a more sophisticated cooling system that allows it to handle sustained workloads like video encoding or 3D rendering. The MacBook Air is still fanless, so it’s likely to throttle performance significantly as it warms up.

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