The M2 may sound better, but it’s a base chip next to the M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra that drives the MacBook Pro models for $ 2,000 +. It’s easy to be influenced by Apple’s statistics, which boast that the M2 processor has a 35 percent more powerful GPU, 18 percent faster CPU and 40 percent faster neural engine compared to the M1. But it is not quite enough for most professionals who require more computing power. (The M2, like the M1, still only supports one external monitor, unlike the M1 Pro and above.)
M2 did well. Most of the time I did not run into any hiccups. On busier days where I had about 20 tabs open on Google Chrome and several apps running in the background at the same time, it felt a bit sluggish; there was some delay in switching between tabs and windows and I managed to trigger the dreaded rainbow wheel a few times.
I uploaded 4K Pro Res files recorded on iPhone 13 Pro to Final Cut Pro and edited a stream on the timeline. I applied a light color quality along with a few other built-in effects and saw something stuttering throughout. I did not really change the footage to much, but this MacBook Pro struggled with even the slightest color adjustment (and the rainbow wheel popped up a few).
Editing photos with apps like Pixelmator and Adobe Photoshop felt much smoother. The Mac stuttered here and there while I adjusted the sliders, added small pieces of rotation, and made minor color changes. But it still managed to force a multitude of layers and effects to achieve the desired look – without the fans ever kicking in.
That’s the biggest difference in power between this MacBook Pro and the new MacBook Air – it has a fan. When the fan starts, the MacBook Pro can draw a little more power over extended periods. It also has slightly better battery life. I usually had to connect after eight hours on weekdays.
A hard sale
All of this does not mean that the 13-inch MacBook Pro is completely useless for heavy-duty tasks, but it probably will not be enough for anyone who regularly deals with processor-intensive workloads. If this is you, I think it’s worth saving money and going for the base version of the 14-inch MacBook Pro instead.
If you’re just missing a good, new laptop, wait for the upcoming MacBook Air. You get a slightly larger, more modern screen, a better webcam, nicer speakers and a fast charging support, all in a generally lighter package (and fun colors!). This MacBook Pro remains an awkward middle child and does not bring near enough on the table to be worth it.