A few months later, Apple has updated its top-of-the-range notebooks. The big revolution didn’t happen, but the competition should dress warmly.
It was a bang. When Apple updated its professional computers in autumn 2021, it shook the tech scene. With the newly introduced Pro, Max and Ultra models of its self-developed M chips, the group had raised the bar significantly. So much performance had never been seen before in notebooks. With the new Macbook Pro, the jump is now a little smaller. And yet they perform impressively in the test.
At least you can’t see the jump from the outside. Apple relies on the same design introduced in the predecessor with rounded corners, a comfortable keyboard and a large, very easy-to-use touchpad. The very good display in 14 or 16 inches has not changed either. But that wasn’t necessary either: the new look still looks fresh, and the display is still one of the best you can get in a notebook. So Apple could do without surprises here.
M2 Pro: The star is on the inside
The biggest innovation is therefore waiting inside. Together with the Mac Mini (tested here by us), the new Macbook Pro introduce the next phase in Apple’s chip development. While the first M2 chip was presented in the summer with the strong Macbook Air (also tested by us) and the basic model of the Macbook Pro, the much more powerful variants are now following M2 Pro and M2 Max. And they bring a decent performance boost.
It’s not quite as huge as it was with the first M1 chips, but it’s still remarkable. Even the tested Mac Mini with the basic configuration of the M2 Pro achieved speed increases of between 15 and 60 percent, depending on the test software. The test model of the Macbook Pro now does even more. Compared to the Mac Mini, it gets an additional 26 percent in the Cinebench program, and 20 percent more in Geekbench.
However, this is due to the fact that the tested device is a higher-end model. While the M2 Pro comes with 10 CPU and 16 graphics cores in the basic configuration, the tested MacBook Pro has 12 CPU and 19 GPU cores. Apple pays well for this plus in performance: The more powerful M2 Pro costs an additional 370 euros. If you need even more performance, you have to go for the M2 Max, which even has 30 to 38 graphics cores ready depending on the configuration.
(Too) much power
It should already be M2 Pro be completely oversized off the peg for the vast majority of users. Whether surfing the Internet, office work or simply editing graphics or videos: nothing brings the turbo chip even close to its performance limits. The computer even manages to calculate several 4K and 8K videos effortlessly. Graphics-intensive games also run very smoothly. Unfortunately, the range of games offered natively for the Apple chips is still limited. Nevertheless, the performance for a mobile computer is still impressive two years after the introduction of the first M chips.
Incidentally, the Mac makes virtually no noise. The Macbook Pro does have a fan installed, which it can turn on to cool down during particularly computationally intensive tasks. In fact, this only happens in extreme situations. And even then it’s hardly noticeable: You can only hear a soft whisper if you put your ear right next to the display. Otherwise there is – silence.
It also doesn’t matter how the Mac is currently powered. Unlike many other manufacturers, Apple makes no difference between the performance of a power supply on the cable and use of the built-in battery. The M2 Pro always runs at full power when the demands placed on it require it. Competing chips, on the other hand, often throttle the performance in mobile use. The M2 Pro only switched off almost half of its cores in the test when the battery is very close to the end.
The Macbook Pro runs longer than advertised
How quickly you reach this end of the term depends heavily on your own use. Of course, if you let the Macbook Pro run wild on all cylinders, it will be over sooner than if you just surf the web or edit a Word document. Even then, the battery life is still impressive: The notebook managed to work for almost exactly 100 minutes at almost continuously 100 percent load. Then it turned off. Even those who unleash the heaviest computing loads on the Macbook Pro can do without the cable for almost an hour and a half.
For less demanding tasks, however, there is much more to it. After 90 minutes of streaming on Netflix, the battery level of the previously fully charged device was still 93 percent. So not even 5 percent was lost per hour. If that could be extrapolated, the runtime would be more than 20 hours. And that’s more than the 18 hours that Apple mentions as the maximum runtime on its website. The truth, of course, may lie somewhere between these two extremes. However, the Macbook Pro should also manage a normal working day with office tasks with reserves.
(Almost) all the same
Otherwise, very little has actually changed compared to the previous model. Apple continues to rely on the great display with 3024×1964 pixels and 120 Hertz, the sound of the unchanged sound system with six speakers is still good. The trackpad and keyboard are also good, the touch bar is only reserved for the cheaper 13-inch Macbook Pro (you can find the test of the latest model here). It’s a shame: the 1080p webcam doesn’t support the Center Stage feature that’s familiar from iPads or the Studio Display, with which the camera can follow the speaker through the room.
There are only changes in the details. The notebooks now support the modern WLAN standard Wifi 6E and the latest Bluetooth version 5.3. Multichannel audio output is now also supported on the HDMI connection. With the new chip, however, the Macbook Pro now has the option of using an 8K monitor in addition to the built-in one for the first time. Alternatively, a 6K and a 4K display can be connected at the same time.
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Conclusion: No revolution, but…
It was foreseeable that the next revolution would not follow immediately after the switch to the company’s own M-chip. The new MacBook Pro is therefore first and foremost successful product maintenance: A new chip, some new connection standards – that’s about it. But it is also enough to keep the Macbook Pro fresh. The increase in performance is sufficiently large, and those who longed for more performance now get it. The slightly increased runtime is also a welcome innovation. A downside was the lack of the Center Stage webcam function.
Whether all this is enough as a reason to buy depends on your own needs. The new models are particularly worthwhile for buyers who need every spark of extra power or who attach great importance to future viability. Even the previous models are actually far too potent for most users, but with a cheap offer they are still an excellent buy. However, as the prices of the new models drop, they will soon be the better choice.
The new Macbook Pro are already on the market. They are in 14 and 16 inches available and cost from 2399 euros.
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