CPU: Apple M2 (8-core)
Graphic: Integrated 10-core GPU
R.A.M: 16GB unified LPDDR5
Screen: 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 Retina display (LED-backlit, IPS, 500 nits brightness, P3 wide color gamut)
Storage: 1TB SSD
Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack
Connectivity: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Camera: 720p FaceTime HD webcam
Weight: 3.0 pounds (1.4 kg)
Size: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 in. (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56 cm; W x D x H)
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro is here, and it now includes Apple’s new M2 chip, a powerful upgrade over the original M1 chip that debuted in the previous model two years ago. It’s an exciting prospect for everyone who has been impressed by the M1’s capability – and that includes us.
So a MacBook Pro with this new chip, aimed squarely at creative professionals, is destined to be one of the best laptops for graphic design, as well as one of the best laptops for video editing—and much more.
However, while almost every other Mac and MacBook, including the 24-inch iMac and upcoming MacBook Air, has received an exciting visual refresh, the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) retains the same design as previous models. For some people, that might be a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but it leaves this MacBook a little overlooked.
For this MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) review, we spent several weeks with the MacBook Pro and ran numerous creative applications on it, including Photoshop and Premiere Pro, to get a full feel for the creative potential of this new MacBook. You can read more about how we test laptops to see how we rate these products. For now, though, read on for our thoughts on Apple’s latest MacBook.
design and presentation
If you were hoping for a redesign inspired by MacBook Air and iMac, then we have bad news: the new MacBook Pro 13-inch shares the same design as the previous model. If you liked this design, then maybe that’s not a problem, but you can’t help but feel that this design, which already felt a bit dated when it returned with the M1 version of the MacBook Pro two years ago, now is decidedly archaic.
So it has the same big, chunky bezels around the screen as the previous model, and in this day and age when most laptops have thin bezels, it’s not the sleek mobile workstation it used to be, especially compared to similar Dell XPS 13 for example – or even the MacBook Pro 14 inch.
While keeping the same design, the new MacBook Air gets a redesign that shrinks the bezels and also increases the screen size to 13.6 inches. That means it actually has a larger screen than the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro 13-inch. With this in mind, the MacBook Pro 13-inch no longer seems to be the standard proposition for creative professionals, especially those who work with visual media. The new MacBook Air offers a bigger screen for less money.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro also retains its 720p webcam, while all other MacBooks now come with an upgraded 1080p webcam, another instance where the 13-inch MacBook Pro falls a step behind the rest of the lineup. While the boosted M2 chip should help improve webcam quality anyway, it can only do so much.
The Touch Bar is also used. That thin LED screen above the keyboard has been around for a number of years, and while it’s proven handy for giving users context-sensitive shortcuts when working in certain apps, third-party apps and all other MacBooks don’t really support it had now managed to drop the feature, causing the Touch Bar on the 13-inch MacBook Pro to feel out of place and a bit unloved.
Elsewhere, build quality remains impeccable and it remains light enough to easily carry around, making it an excellent choice for people looking for a powerful laptop to work with.
However, it’s worth noting that the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) still only comes with two USB-C ports plus an audio jack — a fairly limited amount for a laptop aimed at creative professionals.
Cinebench R23 CPU: Single core: 1,554; multi-core: 8,722
Geekbench 5 single core: 1,935; multi-core: 8,972
Handbrake: 54 fps
Blender Monster: 146; junk shop: 70; classroom: 68
Battery life: 15 hours and 31 minutes
The MacBook Pro 13-inch is the first device to feature Apple’s new M2 chip, which features an 8-core CPU with four efficiency and four performance cores, with a 10-core GPU, that’s two more than the GPU in the Apple M1 that powers the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020) and more than the M2 chip in the base model of the new MacBook Air.
So while the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13-inch are now powered by the M2 chip, the MacBook Pro still has the edge when it comes to graphics performance. This fact may sway people who need graphical grunt for their projects, but it’s also worth noting that the new MacBook Air can be configured to also feature a 10-core M2 chip, albeit at a higher cost.
The M2’s neural engine, which handles many of the AI and machine learning functions in apps like Adobe Photoshop, has been improved, with Apple claiming 40% faster performance, and you can now configure the 13-inch MacBook Pro with up to 24GB of the unified Memory. The previous model reached a maximum of 16 GB.
We ran a series of benchmark tests, which you can see in the box on this page, and we saw a decent increase in processor performance in Geekbench 5 and Cinebench compared to the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 chip. Coupled with the fast unified storage (our review unit has 16GB), this means that the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) is particularly good at multitasking.
We ran several apps, including the Adobe Photoshop photo editor, while also browsing websites on Safari, and the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) kept up brilliantly. macOS felt fast and responsive, and we even edited 4K video with different sources playing simultaneously, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro held up its performance. We also barely heard the fans kick in, meaning this is a workstation laptop that’s almost completely silent when running.
However, it has been reported that some MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) devices are not cooling properly, resulting in throttling, where components in a computer intentionally slow down to avoid overheating – which affects overall performance affects. We didn’t experience this while testing the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022), but we’ll keep an eye on those reports. If there is a problem, hopefully it can be one that can be easily fixed with a software update.
Overall, we found the performance of the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) to be very good and a step above the previous model.
In addition to being a powerful piece of hardware, the M2 chip is also very efficient. This is important in a laptop as it can provide plenty of power for the tasks you ask of it without draining the battery too quickly.
Apple boasted that the M2 chip could offer CPU tasks an 18% performance boost while still consuming the same amount of power as the M1 chip – an exciting prospect considering how powerful – and energy efficient – the M1 chip was.
In our testing, we’ve found Apple’s claims to be on the money, with the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) lasting 15.5 hours in our battery test that plays a 1080p video on a loop.
That’s very impressive, beating the previous 13-inch MacBook Pro’s score by several hours. In our test of the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022), we were able to easily get a full work day out of the battery, even with intensive tasks such as video editing.
For people looking for a powerful laptop they can work on from almost anywhere without worrying about a dead battery, the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) is a great option.
The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) starts at $1,299 / £1,299. That’s actually the same price as the previous M1 model launched, which we should give Apple’s credit for. That means if you’ve got your eye on an M1 MacBook Pro, hold on and get the M2 model instead, as you’re getting a much more powerful machine for the same price.
That’s why Apple has stopped selling the M1 model, although you can still buy it from other retailers like Amazon or Currys – at least while supplies last.
This model features an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU M2 chip, along with 8GB unified storage and 256GB SSD storage. That’s probably not enough storage space for creative professionals, especially those working with large file sizes.
As with other MacBooks, you can configure the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) with more SSD storage and RAM, which we’d recommend, but it also increases the price of the laptop – quite significantly. Still, we’d avoid the base model for creative professionals.
Should you buy the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022)?
The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) is an odd laptop to test. On the one hand, it offers excellent performance and exceptional battery life.
However, the dated design, 720p webcam and lack of ports mean there are many better laptops out there for creative professionals. But perhaps the biggest threat to the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) is the upcoming MacBook Air (M2, 2022), which comes with a bigger screen, better webcam and speakers, and similar performance — but for less money.
So, unless you’re totally sold on the idea of getting a MacBook Pro, or love the Touch Bar (come on, there must be some of you out there), you’d better stick to the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) and buy the MacBook Air instead.
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