Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Apple | Apple MacBook Pro with M2 Max in review: The king of notebooks | macbook

Very quietly and secretly, without a keynote or Tim Cook Apple presented new editions of its MacBook Pro in mid-January 2023. In fact, he’s driving iPhone manufacturer double-tracked with his new professional notebook. Because in the same breath the next upgrades of the in-house M processor were presented: the M2 Pro and the even more powerful M2 Max. But not only the performance shoots up with it. Because the price of the 16-inch version of the new MacBook Pro starts at around 4,129 euros. One can therefore speak of a real investment with a clear conscience. The test of the 16-inch version of the Apple MacBook Pro (2023) with an M2 Max processor shows that this can pay off for full professionals.

These are the technical data for the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2023) at a glance.

  • Noble case made of aluminum, at 1.63 kilograms
  • Screen With a diagonal of 16.1 inches, Liquid Retina XDR technology, resolution of 3,456 x 2,234 pixels, refresh rate of 60 Hertz
  • processor: M2 max
  • Random access memory: optionally 32, 64 or 96 gigabytes
  • Storage: optional
  • Price: 5,069 euros (tested variant)

These devices last the longest without mains operation.

M2 Max in the test: In a different league

To jump straight into the house, it’s worth taking a look at the performance boost of the M2 Max. Because Apple’s new processor flagship is a sheer force – and not only overshadows all MacBooks tested so far – but also all of IMTEST’s so far tested notebooks. This is made possible by even more cores that make up the chip. A total of 12 cores work together – eight performance and four efficiency cores. There is also a graphics unit integrated into the chip, which consists of a total of 38 cores. If one visualizes this architecture, the results are not surprising. Nevertheless, the brute force of the MacBook Pro (2023) caused astonished faces in the test laboratory.

 Apple MacBook Pro (M2 Max) Apple MacBook Pro (M2)
Processor performance (Geekbench 5) very high (2,075/ 15,394) very high (1,926 / 9,004)
3D rendering (Cinebench R23) very fast (1,665 / 14,768) fast (1,582 / 8,733)
Video Editing (Time in min:sec) very fast (01:25) fast (2:18)
Memory speed (read/write in MB per second) very fast (5,296 / 6,435) a bit slow (1,720 / 1,475)

This is clearly visible in a comparison with last year’s model, in which Apple celebrated the debut of the M2 chip. In all test categories, the new generation leaves its predecessor behind. Among other things, the MacBook Pro 2023 achieved top performances in the performance measurement program Geekbench 5 and in the 3D rendering test Cinebench R23. Converting a 4K video to a Full HD clip was also almost a minute faster. The built-in SSD is particularly pleasing, however, on which 2 terabytes of storage capacity is available ex works. While the read speed is already three times as high, it trumps the write speed even more, with a value four times as high.

The Apple MacBook Pro lies on a red sofa.

Finally a professional notebook again

What does that mean specifically? Apple is finally capitalizing the “Pro” in the name again and is again more clearly distinguishing the model series from the equally powerful Air series. The performance of the MacBook Pro 2023 is therefore sufficient to run a large number of exhausting programs in parallel. Because: Even the tested variant comes with 64 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. There is even an option for up to 96 GB. Video editing of particularly high-resolution 8K material is also included. So it goes without saying that rudimentary office tasks or simple applications for the Apple notebook are child’s play.

MacBook Pro in the test: strong saver

In fact, even more amazing than the power of the M2 Max chip is its efficiency and quiet nature. Even under full load, the MacBook Pro (2023) kept a cool head. In the test lab, 25 degrees were measured in the middle of the case – if you have the notebook on your lap, you don’t have to worry about warm thighs.

Speaking of which, don’t worry: there’s no need to panic even if the fans are spinning. During rudimentary tasks, the notebook didn’t make a peep in the test and only a minimal whirring was noticeable even under full load – but this remained below the 40 decibel mark.

Last but not least, the very low power consumption should be mentioned on the subject of efficiency. In its normal state, the MacBook Pro (2023) requires just 5 watts. If demanding renderings or applications are on the agenda, the value likes to increase to 15 watts, which is still absurdly little in direct comparison to other notebooks. For comparison: In the same test procedure, the Asus ExpertBook B6 Flip reached 84.9 watts. Last year’s MacBook Pro consumes 12 watts – in the test it was 27 watts at the time.

Battery: The efficiency pays off

The increased efficiency also has a positive effect on the battery life of the MacBook Pro (2023). In the test with permanent video playback and constant brightness of 300 candelas per square meter, the notebook lasted around ten hours and 48 minutes. That gives a straight one as a grade. This performance places the new model ahead of its 2022 counterpart, which under the same conditions is ten hours and 16 minutes. Fortunately, while the battery life has increased, the charging time has dropped even further. For a full charge, the MacBook Pro (2023) only had to be connected to the included power supply and data cable for two hours and four minutes. This means that it misses a “very good” result, but is still ahead of the previous model.

Display: A tad better than its predecessor

Of course, Apple also uses the best of the best when it comes to the screen. Specifically, there is a proprietary Super Retina XDR display in here, which measures around 40 centimeters diagonally. As with the iPad Pro 6, countless mini light-emitting diodes (in short: mini-LEDs) ensure not only a sharp resolution (pixel density: 227), but also very natural color reproduction. Even bright and intensive colors of the extended color space are displayed true to the original – which is supported by the measured DeltaE value of 0.82. As a result, the Apple notebook also leaves the competition behind here. The contrast ratio even reached the maximum value in the test. This means that the screen is able to keep the richness of detail at a very high level, even in deep black areas of the image. The same applies to bright image areas. This is usually only possible with OLED displays, since the light-emitting diodes there light up by themselves.

Apple specifies a value of 500 nits for the maximum brightness of SDR content. The test editors were able to confirm this information in the laboratory. A very high value, with which the MacBook Pro 2023 once again places itself ahead of most devices from the competition. And it also leaves the MacBook Pro with M2 chip behind. That came to around 450 candelas per square meter in the test laboratory last year. If HDR material is played, the display should be a good deal brighter. On its website, Apple lists a peak of 1,600 nits. The brightness is also distributed very evenly across the screen. A maximum deviation of four percent was measured in the test laboratory. Only the refresh rate is a bit low at 60 Hertz.

Art Director Caroline Neumann has the Apple MacBook Pro 2023 on her lap.
Mobile giant: Despite its size, the MacBook Pro 2023 is handy and made for mobile use. © IN THE TEST

Appearance and equipment: modern connections

Externally, Apple has not made any changes. But that’s not particularly bad either, because the elegant-looking aluminum case is – as is usual with Apple products – very high-quality processed. That means: Absolutely nothing creaks or rattles here. The mouse field for operation measures 15 centimeters and thus provides enough space for navigation and special swipe gestures. The keyboard is illuminated and has a good pressure point. Writing worked comfortably in the test. Minimal shortcoming: Users have to do without a number pad even with the large 16-inch version. In addition to four Thunderbolt 4 sockets, an SD card reader and the charging port, Apple has installed an HDMI 2.1 port for the first time. Monitors with 8K resolution or 4K monitors with a refresh rate of 240 Hertz can be connected via the interface.

The MacBook Pro 2023 photographed from a bird's eye view.
The keyboard and mouse field have enough space on the case so that it doesn’t get too fiddly. © IN THE TEST

An HD webcam is available for video calls in the home office. The picture is more useful. The sound is nice and clear and thanks to the good microphone quality, none of the spoken word is lost.

IMTEST checked, measured and compared the performance of the candidates in five important areas from battery to temperature. You can see how these tests went in detail below.


M2 Max for maximum power: Apple has definitely taken this credo to heart with the MacBook Pro 2023. The notebook for professionals sets new standards in terms of performance and efficiency and easily leaves the competition miles behind. In addition to this quantum leap, there are also useful innovations, such as an HDMI 2.1 connection for 8K monitors. In addition, there is a very high-quality aluminum housing that contains the top technology. You have to look for potential for improvement with a magnifying glass. For example, there is still room for improvement in the HD webcam or in the refresh rate of the otherwise brilliant display. The high price (5,069 euros for the tested variant) should also deter one or the other.

  • PER
    • Very high working speed, a lot of storage capacity (2 TB), bright, colorful display with very good contrasts, very long battery life, fast loading speed, very high-quality workmanship.
    • HD webcam with somewhat fuzzy resolution, somewhat low refresh rate.

IMTEST result:

very good 1.5

Tag: macbook issue, macbook pro, macbook release, macbook macos

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