Apple MacBook Pro 13 (2022) review: new chip, old threads

I don’t actually care what the M2 MacBook Professional will get on benchmarks.

I do know that seems like an odd assertion coming from somebody who runs benchmarks for a residing, however this isn’t a tool the place they matter all that a lot as a result of, for those who’re the form of particular person operating benchmarks or the form of particular person to whom benchmark scores are in any respect related, I’m going to inform you proper on the high that you simply shouldn’t be shopping for this.

Allow us to discover the present MacBook market. This MacBook Professional has the very same chassis because the 13-inch M1 MacBook Professional that was launched in 2020 (which itself used a design that dates again to 2016). It’s the identical 2560 x 1600 display, the identical Magic Keyboard, the identical two Thunderbolt ports, the identical Contact Bar, and the identical barely tapered sides. Keep in mind all these cool new (technically outdated) design options, like HDMI ports, SDXC slots, and MagSafe charging Apple placed on the MacBook Professional fashions it launched in late 2021? Yeah, none of these are right here. Neither is the flowery Mini LED show or upgraded 1080p webcam.

There has, principally, solely been one change made to the MacBook Professional from 2020: it has a brand new processor. (Okay, so Apple’s additionally added a 24GB reminiscence choice, the audio system now assist Spatial Audio, the jack has “superior assist for high-impedance headphones,” and the adapter is a complete six watts extra highly effective… however the processor is the principle factor.) Just like the M1, the M2 makes use of Apple’s customized Arm silicon. It has extra transistors than the M1, extra reminiscence bandwidth, and an up to date media engine in addition to further GPU cores (10 to the M1’s eight). It’s a brand new chip in what’s, at this level, a dated chassis.

The 13-inch M2 MacBook Professional begins at $1,299. For that base worth, you get an eight-core CPU with a 10-core GPU, 8GB of unified reminiscence, and 256GB of SSD storage. The very least expensive mannequin of the 14-inch MacBook Professional comes with an M1 Professional processor (eight-core CPU, 14-core GPU) however with 16GB of unified reminiscence and 512GB of storage. That mannequin would price $1,999. Now, Apple despatched me an M2 mannequin that’s a step up from the bottom; this one has 16GB of unified reminiscence and 1TB of storage. It prices $1,899 on Apple’s web site, whereas a 14-inch M1 Professional mannequin with these RAM and storage specs can be $2,199.

Principally, the MacBook Professional with M2 is floating persistently round a number of hundred {dollars} below its extra highly effective and modern-looking 14-inch sibling. However these a number of hundred {dollars} purchase you a heck of loads of perks that shall be of explicit profit to skilled customers, together with an even bigger display, MagSafe, extra ports, and all the additional cores. The M1 Professional CPU additionally has extra performance-oriented cores, whereas the M2 has extra effectivity cores aimed toward extending battery life.

Learn extra: Apple MacBook Professional 14 and 16 overview and Apple MacBook Professional with M1 overview

The MacBook Pro 13 2022 open on a transparent stand. The screen displays a pink and purple desktop background.

It’s a formidable chip in what’s now not essentially the most spectacular chassis.

We’re going to speak about benchmarks in a while, however I’ll spoil the shock proper now: as everybody anticipated, the M1 Professional smokes the M2 typically. It’s near doubling its scores on a few of our regular benchmark assessments — it’s performing greater than twice as properly on others. It’s simply $300 higher for skilled work.

Because of this, the audience for this M2 MacBook Professional is just not of us who shall be exporting issues in Premiere all day. The audience is, so far as I can inform, individuals like me. I spend most of my day in Google Docs, spreadsheets, and Slack — the 14-inch MacBook Professional is overkill for what I want, and it prices greater than I wish to spend. However I do often must do issues in Photoshop, Lightroom, and Audition. I (very) often wish to sport, and I would like one thing that may maintain these masses.

The Apple MacBook Pro 2020 and MacBook Pro 2022 open side by side. Both screens display The Verge homepage.

Look, they’re twins.

This could be the proper system for somebody like me — if it weren’t for the brand new MacBook Air. This new MacBook Air, additionally powered by the M2, is coming very quickly. It will likely be, so far as I can inform from Apple’s web site, the identical worth because the M2 MacBook Professional for a similar specs typically (they stage out on the $1,499 mark). However, in contrast to the MacBook Professional, the M2 MacBook Air did get an enormous redesign, and it consists of every kind of latest options — together with new colours, a bigger show, a 1080p webcam, and, particularly, MagSafe — that this system doesn’t have.

The top left corner of the Apple MacBook Pro 2022 keyboar deck on a lavendar background.

No matter your opinions in regards to the Contact Bar, it’s nonetheless right here.

The Apple MacBook Pro 2022 webcam up close.

Apple didn’t change the webcam {hardware}; it’s nonetheless 720p.

The Apple MacBook Pro 2020 and 2022 open side by side angled to the right. Both screens display The Verge homepage.

Are you able to guess which is which?

Apple hasn’t despatched this system to us but, and it’s not up for preorder at the moment, both. However it very properly could also be a a lot better selection for my use case. And that places the 2022 MacBook Professional — and this overview — in a little bit of a weird spot.

The query of whether or not you should purchase this MacBook Professional is, frankly, not one I can reply till we all know precisely how good this forthcoming MacBook Air is. What I can communicate to proper now’s how properly the M2 performs and how much positive aspects it’s remodeled the M1.

In abstract: the M2 is quick and environment friendly. The M1 was additionally quick and environment friendly.

The 2022 MacBook Professional can maintain heavy masses for lengthy durations of time. Its 30-minute Cinebench rating was really a bit larger than its 10-minute Cinebench rating, which isn’t one thing we see on a regular basis. Outcomes have been additionally the identical no matter whether or not the system was on energy or battery, which we very not often see with Home windows laptops. And although the existence of an energetic cooling system (learn: a fan) is what historically differentiates the MacBook Professional from the MacBook Air, I by no means heard the fan on this M2 system — not even after I was operating video games.

We stated all this in regards to the M1 MacBook Professional as properly. That is simply to say that these qualities stay.

How did this factor do on benchmarks? In CPU outcomes — Geekbench, Cinebench, the Xcode benchmark, and many others. — the outcomes we’re seeing are considerably higher than the M1. In GPU assessments, together with some video games, the outcomes are considerably higher. Which means gaming is a lot better, as I’ll talk about in a while.

The M2 did edge out the pricier M1 Professional within the single-core benchmarks I ran. That’s spectacular in itself. (It signifies that although the M1 Professional has extra energy cores than the M2 does, these cores aren’t as robust because the M2’s energy cores on a person stage.) However it additionally bodes properly for the M2 Professional, Max, and Extremely variants that we’ll presumably see down the road; they’ll possible show single-core pace enhancements over their M1-based predecessors, slightly than simply loading on extra cores.

MacBook Professional 13 (2022)

Benchmark Rating
Benchmark Rating
Cinebench R23 Multi 8689
Cinebench R23 Single 1584
Cinebench R23 Multi looped for half-hour 8725
Geekbench 5.3 CPU Multi 8968
Geekbench 5.3 CPU Single 1937
Geekbench 5.3 OpenCL / Compute 27496
Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (1920 x 1200, highest) 29fps
PugetBench for Premiere Professional 556
XcodeBenchmark 132.262 seconds
4K Export 0:07:09

MacBook Professional 13 (2020)

Benchmark Rating
Benchmark Rating
Cinebench R23 Multi 7729
Cinebench R23 Single 1519
Cinebench R23 Multi looped for half-hour 7729
Geekbench 5.3 CPU Multi 7554
Geekbench 5.3 CPU Single 1730
Geekbench 5.3 OpenCL / Compute 19211
Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (1920 x 1200, highest) 20fps
PugetBench for Premiere Professional 435
XcodeBenchmark 150.125 seconds
4K Export 0:05:28

Apple MacBook Professional 14 (2021)

Benchmark Rating
Benchmark Rating
Cinebench R23 Multi 12363
Cinebench R23 Single 1532
Cinebench R23 Multi looped for half-hour 12368
Geekbench 5.3 CPU Multi 12596
Geekbench 5.3 CPU Single 1770
Geekbench 5.3 OpenCL / Compute 38688
Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (1920 x 1200, highest) 46fps
PugetBench for Premiere Professional 1072
XcodeBenchmark 99.764 seconds
4K Export 0:02:50

So, checkmark: technological progress has been made. Nevertheless, the delta between the M1 Professional and the M2 is considerably bigger than the delta between the M2 and the M1 in each check right here, which underscores how a lot of a greater purchase the M1 Professional is for customers who will often be stressing the system. To repeat: this isn’t sudden; it’s simply meant to exhibit that $300 should buy you fairly much more efficiency.

What’s extra essential for the Me demographic is how the M2 performs on the forms of duties that the M1 Professional is overkill for. So, I put the M2 MacBook Professional and the M1 MacBook Professional aspect by aspect and did a bunch of my each day work on each of them.

The MacBook Pro 13 2022 half open seen from above on a lavender background.

Progress, proper right here, within the flesh.

The M2 did, in some instances, result in a technically sooner expertise. Certainly one of these instances was in Google Docs. The M2 was really noticeably sooner, by a number of seconds, to open up a 350-page Google Doc. My spreadsheets with a whole lot of rows have been additionally noticeably sooner to scroll by on the M2, and the newer MacBook was faster to swap between tabs and run calculations.

The 2022 MacBook was additionally higher at gaming (although I’ll stress that this benchmark is simply meant to showcase the graphic enhancements that Apple has made — don’t purchase a MacBook to play video games). The earlier MacBook ran the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark at a mean of 20fps, whereas the M2 system averaged 29fps, which is near a 50 % improve. That’s the form of distinction I can see with my eyes whereas watching the benchmarks run (and is nearly really playable).

The Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 seen from above.

This might be, like, any variety of MacBooks.

I noticed another small enhancements right here and there. Once I was taking part in round in Swift Playgrounds 4, the M2 was a smidge sooner to load a few of the interfaces and animations. I used Audition so as to add some CPU-heavy results to an audio clip, and the M2 was simply barely sooner to finish them. I don’t suppose both of those would actually make a distinction in my life if I hadn’t been utilizing the computer systems aspect by aspect, however I suppose it’s time that might add up over lengthy durations.

And there have been some instances the place I couldn’t see variations, even after I was actively trying. The expertise in Photoshop, the place I desaturated some pictures and added some fundamental filters, was principally an identical. Lightroom was the identical deal. Most of what you would possibly do in Audition, like playback and hopping by tasks, was additionally the identical.

Ends in Premiere Professional have been combined. The M2 did beat the M1 on the Puget Techniques benchmark for Premiere Professional, which assessments reside playback in addition to export efficiency. I didn’t really see a sizeable distinction in export time after I put the 2 laptops subsequent to one another, although — the M1 really completed first typically as a result of the M2 stored getting caught on sure graphics. I don’t wish to learn an excessive amount of into that as a result of Premiere may be finicky with that form of stuff, so it’s at all times arduous to know precisely what’s occurring. However it’s value remembering that how properly a pc does on some workloads isn’t at all times in its producer’s management.

The headphone jack on the Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022.

Have a look at all these ports.

The ports on the left side of the Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022.

Don’t you like ports? I like ports.

Now, there may be a method during which the MacBook Professional with M2 does have a major benefit over the dearer machines: battery life. This M2 MacBook Professional doesn’t die. I’ve by no means stated this a couple of laptop computer earlier than: I used to be not in a position to totally run it down throughout my testing interval. I can inform you that I’ve been in a position to run it properly previous 10 and a half hours, which is when the 14-inch M1 Professional system was dying after I reviewed that final yr with this identical workload.

I used to be additionally, frankly, pushing this a lot more durable than I pushed the 14-incher throughout that testing interval, partially as a result of I used to be having a lot hassle getting the battery to run down — I threw Premiere, Audition, coding, and even some battery gaming on the M2 throughout these trial runs. I used to be nonetheless persistently seeing over half of the battery left after eight to 9 hours of fixed use. From the outcomes I get, I’d count on it to final 17 and a half to 18 hours.

I’m not gonna lie: that does make this MacBook a tempting buy for me, somebody who spends loads of time utilizing my laptop computer in numerous locations out and about. For me, battery is a extra essential consideration than uncooked efficiency. However, as I’m persevering with to remind myself and as it’s best to as properly for those who’re in my camp — the Air is coming. The Air has the identical processor. It may very properly have an identical lifespan, although Apple claims the Air will get “as much as 18 hours” of use versus the Professional’s claimed 20 hours. I’ll simply need to see after I’m in a position to overview the brand new Air.

The Apple MacBook Pro 13 2022 seen from above on a lavender background.

We may’ve simply shot the M1 MacBook Professional for this — you’d don’t know.

Tech journalists typically complain that chip bumps are boring, and I believe in lots of instances they’re being unfair. I’m penning this overview proper now on an Intel MacBook Professional that solely lasts 4 hours on battery, has followers that may continuously be heard across the workplace, takes a number of minutes as well, and slows down if I’ve over 12 tabs open. New chips redefine what individuals can do; they make higher work attainable, and so they make extra work attainable.

The M2, although, is just not fairly doing that. It’s a formidable chip, and it’s sooner than the M1. And it’s actually serving to the MacBook sustain because the Intels and AMDs of the world get higher. However I’d be stunned if it’s going to let anybody run a program or apply a filter or use a device that they haven’t been in a position to earlier than. The first benefit it has over the M1 Professional (other than its lower cost and slight edge in single-core duties) is battery life. And that’s an enormous profit but additionally one thing I wish to keep away from celebrating an excessive amount of till I’ve a MacBook Air in my palms.

Which leads me to the second query: do you have to purchase it? Should you will need to have an order in at the moment, then sure. Should you’re at the moment on an Intel MacBook (which I assume you’re for those who’re already seeking to improve), the leap to the M2 shall be enormous. (I don’t even need to run benchmarks towards older Intel programs — this machine is quicker.) You’ll get all the advantages of the M1 that we raved about in 2020 plus some further efficiency and further battery life. And the caveats that the MacBook carried in 2020 with Rosetta efficiency penalties and numerous applications being incompatible have largely been ironed out within the two years since.

However, for those who’re not on a deadline, then the MacBook Air is coming. And, properly, that’s a complete factor we’re going to need to kind out. It’s going to deliver an a variety of benefits that the Professional doesn’t have. It might even have some drawbacks — however we don’t know but what these are. I can see this being a superb buy for some individuals if the MacBook Air’s playing cards fall in a number of very particular methods. However I must see the playing cards. So watch this area.