13-inch MacBook Pro review: Apple’s M2 is a worthy follow-up to the M1

Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro is a little tricky to recommend given the options in Apple’s lineup, but that doesn’t change the main takeaway: the new second-generation M2 chip doesn’t disappoint.

While Apple calls the 13-inch MacBook Pro “the most portable Pro laptop,” there’s nothing particularly “Pro” about it. It has very few ports for power users, and it can’t touch the 14-inch MacBook Pro in performance. It does little to lure potential buyers away from the soon-to-be-launched redesign of the MacBook Air.

Specifications at a Glance: 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro
Monitor 2560 x 1600 at 13.3″
The operating system macOS Monterey 12.4.0 Update
CPU Apple M2
RAM 16 GB
GPU Apple M2
HDD 1 TB SSD
Networks wifi 6; Bluetooth 5.0
ports 2 x Thunderbolt / USB 4, 3.5mm Headphone
size 0.61 x 11.97 x 8.36 inches (1.56 x 30.41 x 21.24 cm)
Weight 3 pounds (1.4 kg)
a guarantee 1 or 3 years with AppleCare +
Price as reviewed 1899 USD
Other perks FaceTime HD 720p camera

But the real story is that this is the first laptop released with 2nd generation ARM-based processors for Macs. The M2 is a really impressive follow-up to the M1 and a promising harbinger of what’s to come with future Macs bearing the “Pro” moniker.

Determine

There’s only one major difference between the 13-inch 2022 MacBook Pro and the 2020 model it replaces: the new machine runs Apple’s second-generation M2 on a chip instead of the M1. We’ll spend most of our time here on that, but let’s get some other basic details out of the way.

Starting at $1,299, the laptop offers two basic storage configurations: 256GB or 512GB for an additional $200. You can upgrade to 1TB or 2TB for a significant price hike.

No matter which configuration you buy, the port selection is the same, and it’s very limited: There are only two Thunderbolt/USB-4 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Because it lacks the new MagSafe charging port found on its larger 14- and 16-inch siblings (and in the upcoming MacBook Air redesign), one of these devices is often addressed by connecting to the power unit.

This means that often, this laptop has effectively a single port. Thunderbolt has the ability to work with an external dock or adapter to handle multiple devices. However, it seems a little strange that the laptop marketed to professionals offers less flexibility than the similarly priced MacBook Air with specifications that are just a few weeks away.

Like its M1-based predecessor, the 13-inch 2022 MacBook Pro can only run one external display (up to 6K) in addition to its built-in display. This is a potential deal-breaking limitation for power users and many types of professional workflows, and appears to have been shared with the upcoming MacBook Air as well.

Other key specs include a 720p front camera, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, Bluetooth 5.0, and a 13.6-inch screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1664 with 500 nits of maximum brightness. (We tested it and almost confirmed this brightness range). This screen compares well with the Air, but it’s inferior in almost every respect than what you get with the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

Among the few notable advantages that the 2022 MacBook Pro 13-inch has over other laptops in Apple’s lineup is the promised 17 hours of battery life for wireless web browsing. That’s compared to 15 hours for the upcoming MacBook Air, 14 hours for the 16-inch MacBook Pro, and 11 hours for the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

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