Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with M2 (2022) review.

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen two big changes in Apple laptops. Apple Silicon has delivered blazingly fast performance to even Apple’s cheapest machines. So Apple reinvented its laptops for a new era with the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

While reviewing the M1 MacBook Pro, we said Apple was going “Mac into the future” with its new chip, but not the notebook design, which was “rooted in the past rather than looking into the future”. After two years, nothing has changed. The first Mac M2 is the 2020 MacBook Pro with a different chip inside.

Does this approach hold up? Let’s find out.

Performance: M2 of a kind

The M1 chip was a quantum leap. Even the entry-level MacBook Air at times embarrassed Apple’s 16-inch Intel flagship in testing. The M2 offers more modest (though still significant, especially in terms of number of GPUs) gains, but nonetheless solidifies Apple’s lead in terms of offering a lot of power while minimizing power consumption.

In terms of raw benchmarking, we found it topped the entire M1 line in some single-core tests and positioned itself somewhere between an M1 and an M1 Pro in multi-core performance. In the real world, that meant our 16GB review unit happily shone through image editing and audio work, along with more mundane tasks.

Video encoding times were also impressive, albeit not far ahead of the M1. While encoding, we also noticed that the fan did its job, turning on when sustained power was required. Conversely, MacBook Air drives slow down, lengthening export times.

Thanks for the memory

The Apple Silicon architecture does interesting things with memory. 8GB of RAM on an Intel Mac would be at best unusable, but often fine on an Apple Silicon Mac. However, during extended use, we’ve found 8GB on an M1 is sometimes problematic when running multiple web-heavy apps, even if that setup doesn’t flash when dealing with fairly complex Logic Pro projects. We imagine the same will turn out for the M2, but a week of testing isn’t enough to confirm. Regardless, we recommend investing in a 16GB model, for the headroom.

Design and build: copy and paste

Objectively, this is a smart laptop. Build quality is great and it screams premium. It’s sleek, sturdy, not too heavy, and features Apple’s familiar and classic lines. But it is also familiar now, especially after lifting the lid.

On top of a tea tray-sized trackpad, you get a high-quality backlit keyboard. But on top of it is the Touch Bar. Regardless of your thoughts on that feature, it’s deprecated technology – no developer will bother to support anything in the borrowed time. However, if you’re a fan, now is your last chance to get a Mac with one.

Elsewhere, the bezels around the display have a comically chunky feel. In use, this won’t bother you too much, but it makes this Mac archaic compared to Apple’s refurbished laptops and even some cheaper Windows drives.

Display, camera and audio – a mostly pretty picture

Apple’s display and audio technology hold up. The screen is sharp and color accurate. The maximum brightness level means it is viable in sunlight. Some will complain that there is no ProMotion, but you don’t get it on Apple’s flagship MacBook Pros either.

In terms of sound, nothing here will get you to download your external audio kit at a charity shop, but the speakers are impressive for a device of this size. The slight thinness of the bass is contrasted by an admirable sharpness.

Face to face on webcam! Left: MacBook Air (2020). Center: MacBook Pro (2020). Right: iMac (2021).

The webcam is where things fall apart. Even in 2020, this unit’s 720p number was old. Today he is completely poor. Apple claims that the M2’s intelligence improves webcam output over the M1, but any improvements are marginal and the image quality is lower than what is achieved with Apple’s iPads and Mac 1080p webcams.

Random observations

  • You only get two Thunderbolt ports. Note that the next MacBook Air will have those And MagSafe, increasing your connection potential.
  • Apple estimates you’ll get up to 20 hours of video playback and 17 hours of wireless web browsing from this Mac. We found that it easily got through a day with typical workloads. It also offers more juice in the tank than the upcoming MacBook Air M2, if that’s a priority for you.
  • For authorization, this Mac retains Touch ID. There is also, thankfully, a physical Esc key to the left of the Touch Bar.
  • Like the M1, the M2 only manages one external display. Conversely, the M1 Pro can drive two 6K displays. Keep this in mind if you like to surround yourself with screens.

Apple MacBook Pro 13 inch with M2 verdict (2022).

Cynics might suggest that this machine exists, so Apple can say that MacBook Pros start at £ 1349, rather than £ 1899. Apple would position this to make the MacBook Pro more affordable and bring its power to the masses.

Regardless, the machine is an anomaly, mixing an impressive new chip with an old design. Apple got away with it two years ago, because the M1 was a breakthrough. Today, this mix is ​​less impressive.

Unless you need to have a low-end Apple laptop with a fan for that sustained performance, love the Touch Bar, or can’t stand a notch on a laptop display, you’ll want to wait for the next MacBook Air M2, which is for less money. it will achieve a number of significant improvements over this aged design.

Technical specifications

Screen 13.3-inch 2560 × 1600 Retina with P3 and True Tone
Processor Apple M2
RAM 8GB / 16GB / 24GB
Warehousing 256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB SSD
Operating system macOS Monterey
Connectivity 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6; Bluetooth 5.0; 3.5mm headset; 2 × Lightning 3 (USB 4)
Dimensions 30.41 × 21.24 × 1.56 cm; 1.4 kg