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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 hard to recommend given the options in Apple’s lineup, but that doesn’t change the important takeaway: The new second-generation M2 chip doesn’t disappoint.

While Apple calls the 13-inch MacBook Pro its “most portable pro laptop,” there’s nothing particularly “Pro” about it. It has too few ports for power users, and it can’t touch the 14-inch MacBook Pro in display. It offers little to entice buyers from the similarly specified and soon-to-be-launched MacBook Air redesign.

Specs at a glance: 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro
screen 2560×1600 at 13.3 inches
OS macOS Monterey 12.4
cpu Apple M2
to hit 16 GB
GPU Apple M2
HDD 1TB SSD
networking Wi-Fi 6; bluetooth 5.0
ports 2x Thunderbolt/USB 4, 3.5mm headphones
Shape 0.61×11.97x 8.36-inch (1.56×30.41×21.24 cm)
weight 3 lbs (1.4 kg)
Guarantee AppleCare+ . with 1 year, or 3 years
price as per review $1,899
other facilities 720p FaceTime HD Camera

But the real story is that this is the first laptop for the Mac to be released with a second-generation ARM-based processor. The M2 is an exciting follow-up to the already impressive M1 and heralds what’s to come with a future Mac carrying the “Pro” moniker.

Specifications

There’s just one big difference between the 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 2020 model that replaces it: The new machine sports Apple’s second-generation M2 system-on-a-chip instead of the M1. We’ll spend most of our time here on that, but let’s get to some other important details.

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

Whatever configuration you buy, the port selection is the same, and it’s pretty limited: there are only two Thunderbolt/USB-4 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Because it lacks the new MagSafe charging port found in the larger 14-inch and 16-inch siblings (and in the upcoming MacBook Air redesign), one of those will often be taken up by a connection to a power brick.

This means that most of the time, this laptop effectively has one port. Thunderbolt has the throughput to work with external docks or adapters to deal with multiple devices. Still, it seems a bit odd that a laptop marketed to professionals offers less flexibility than the otherwise similarly priced and typical MacBook Air that’s a few weeks away.

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

Other key specs include a 720p front-facing camera, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and a 13.6-inch, 2560×1600 resolution screen with 500 nits of maximum brightness. (We tested it and roughly confirmed that brightness range.) That screen compares well to the Air, but it’s inferior in almost every respect to what you get with the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

One of the few notable benefits is the 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro promising 17 hours of battery life for wireless web browsing over other laptops in Apple’s lineup. This compares 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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