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How the new MacBook Pros compare to the rest of Apple’s MacBook lineup

How the new MacBook Pros compare to the rest of Apple’s MacBook lineup

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The new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros boast Apple’s latest silicon, but are they worth the upgrade?

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Both the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro will be configurable with either Apple’s M2 Pro or M2 Max chip.
Both the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro will be configurable with either Apple’s M2 Pro or M2 Max chip.
Image: Apple

Apple recently announced some new additions to its Mac lineup — specifically a new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro as well as a revamped Mac Mini. The new Mac laptops can be configured with either an M2 Pro or M2 Max CPU, which Apple says should provide significant performance gains when stacked against the standard M2 processors employed by the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

Both models are already available for preorder online, with units shipping on January 24th. The latest 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999, with configurations of the 16-inch version capable of reaching up to $3,499. However, this price range is a far cry from the starting price of the M2-equipped MacBook Air ($1,199) as well as that of the most recent 13-inch MacBook Pro ($1,299) and M1 MacBook Air from 2020 ($999).

Here, we’ve broken down what sets these models apart ahead of our full review to help you better determine which Apple laptop might best fit your needs and budget.

New book, same cover

The new iterations of the MacBook Pro don’t look terribly different from their 2021 entries and are reminiscent of the latest MacBook Air, which abandons the rounded physique in favor of a flatter lid and chassis that continues to showcase Apple’s distaste for sharp edges. The key upgrades take place under the hood and, according to Apple, are aimed at providing better performance and prolonging battery life.

Both the M2 Pro and M2 Max configurations of the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro offer more processing cores and memory bandwidth than either the 13-inch Pro or the latest Air, which use some variation of the standard M2 CPU that tops out at 100GB/s memory bandwidth as opposed to the 200GB/s offered by the M2 Pro or the 400GB/s of the M2 Max. Apple’s M2 Pro is also a more capable graphics processor, with a total of 19 GPU cores compared to the 10 you could get with the standard M2. The M2 Max will also be an option for the new MacBook Pro lineup, one that is equipped with a total of 38 GPU cores.      

Apple’s latest MacBook Pros can house the latest M2 Pro and M2 Max chips.
Apple’s latest MacBook Pros can house the latest M2 Pro and M2 Max chips.
Image: Apple

Unified memory is also receiving a massive upgrade, with a maximum of 96GB available for certain configurations of the new laptops. This is essentially four times the amount of RAM you can get in either the M2 MacBook Air or the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Moreover, you’ll still be able to configure the new MacBook Pro models with up to 8TB of onboard SSD storage as opposed to the 2TB cap seen on other variations of the MacBook.

While many of the hardware improvements coming to the new MacBook Pro will depend on which configuration you opt for, every model will feature Wi-Fi 6E connectivity in addition to Bluetooth 5.3.

As for their displays, the 14-inch Pro features a maximum resolution of 3024 x 1964, while the 16-inch version has a 3456 x 2234 resolution. However, when you compare this against the LED panel in the M2-powered MacBook Air, which offers a native resolution of 2560 x 1664, and the 13-inch Pro, which offers 2560 x 1600, both the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro still offer the best displays available on an Apple laptop.

Apple MacBook Pro with M2 lifestyle photo
The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro side by side.
Image: Apple

The latest MacBook Pros also retain the same port selection found on the prior models from 2021 with a total of three USB-C ports — all of which are equipped to handle up to 40GB/s throughput — in addition to an SD card reader, a MagSafe 3 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack (forever may she reign). The HDMI port can also now support 8K displays at 60Hz or 4K displays at 240Hz.

We’ll be diving deeper into Apple’s new MacBook Pros with our full review, but for now, here’s a “by the numbers” breakdown of how the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro configurations stack up against the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the M2 MacBook Air. We’ve also included the last-gen MacBook Air from 2022, which still sits at the bottom of Apple’s MacBook lineup.

2022 MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro versus 2023 MacBook Pros

SpecificationMacBook Air (2020)MacBook Air (2022)13-inch MacBook Pro (2022)14-inch MacBook Pro (2023)16-inch MacBook Pro (2023)
Starting price$999$1,199$1,299$1,999$2,499
Display13.313.6-inch with a notch cutout13.3-inch14.2-inch with a notch cutout16.2-inch with a notch cutout
Resolution2560 x 16002560 x 16642560 x 16003024 x 19643456 x 2234
True ToneYesYesYesYesYes
Touch BarNoNoYesNoNo
Pixels per inch227 PPI224 PPI227 PPI254 PPI254 PPI
Brightness400 nits500 nits500 nits1600 nits1600 nits
Refresh rate60Hz60Hz60Hz120Hz120Hz
Dimensions11.97 x 8.36 inches11.97 x 8.48 inches11.97 x 8.36 inches12.31 x 8.71 inches14.01 x 9.77 inches
Thickness0.63 inches0.44 inches0.61 inches0.6 inches0.66 inches
Weight2.8 pounds2.7 pounds3 pounds3.5 pounds (M2 Pro), 3.6 (M2 Max)4.7 pounds (M2 Pro), 4.8 (M2 Max)
Quoted battery life (wireless web)15 hours15 hours17 hours12 hours15 hours
Quoted battery life (video)18 hours (Apple TV app)18 hours (Apple TV app)20 hours (Apple TV app)18 hours (Apple TV app)22 hours (Apple TV app)
CPUApple M1 8-coreApple M2 8-coreApple M2 8-coreApple M2 Pro 10-core or 12-core or M2 Max 12-coreApple M2 Pro 12-core or M2 Max 12-core
GPUApple M1 7-core or 8-coreApple M2 8-core or 10-coreApple M2 8-core or 10-coreApple M2 Pro 16-core, 19-core or Apple M2 Max 30-coreApple M2 Pro 19-core or M2 Max 38-core
RAM8GB or 16GB8GB, 16GB, or 24GB8GB, 16GB, or 24GB16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 96GB16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 96GB
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TBUp to 8TB NVMe SSDUp to 8TB NVMe SSD
Ports2 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4 support, MagSafe 3 Port2 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4 support, MagSafe 3 Port2 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4 support3 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4 support, SDXC card slot, HDMI, MagSafe 3 Port3 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4 support, SDXC card slot, HDMI, MagSafe 3 Port
Number of speakers44266
3.5mm headphone jackYesYesYesYesYes
Front camera720p1080p720p1080p1080p
BiometricsFingerprint readerFingerprint readerFingerprint readerFingerprint readerFingerprint reader
Power adapterType-C, 30W or 35W dual (fast-charge with 67W power adapter)Type-C, 30W or 35W dual (fast-charge with 67W power adapter)Type-C, 67WType-C, 67W or 96WType-C, 140W
ColorsSilver, Gold, Space GraySilver, Starlight, Space Gray, MidnightSilver, Space GraySilver, Space GraySilver, Space Gray
Wireless optionsWi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

The 2023 updates for the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro aren’t massive improvements, but the inclusion of new M2 processors may be just enough to move the needle for anyone on the fence about upgrading.