M2 MacBook Pro review roundup: Powerful chip, archaic design

M2 MacBook Pro review roundup: Powerful chip, archaic design

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13-inch MacBook Pro with an Apple M2 processor
The M2 MacBook Pro gets called "a relic from another era" by Engadget.
Photo: Apple

The first reviews of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with an Apple M2 processor are not kind. It gets called a “Pro in name only” and “literally a processor update and nothing more.”

Still, the M2 provides a pleasant increase in speed over the M1, making the new MBP the best-performing 13-inch Mac notebook.

M2 MacBook Pro puts new chip in old design

Apple unveiled an updated version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro two weeks ago at its Worldwide Developers Conference. It was something of a surprise, as the laptop is simply the MBP from 2020 with the M1 chip replaced with a faster M2. And the 2020 model was a modest update of one from even earlier.

That’s why Engadget says the 2022 version “seems a bit like a relic from another era.”

Cnet says, “The M2 MacBook Pro has a throwback design. Its look can be traced back more than a decade.”

Wired is even more critical, calling it “a machine that’s quite literally a processor update and nothing more.”

The 2022 model is bulkier than it needs to be because it includes a cooling fan, even though the M2 processor doesn’t need one – the same chip is going into the fanless 2022 MacBook Air. As Engadget points out, the new MBP is “from a time when Apple had to build machines around Intel’s hotter and less efficient chips, instead of taking full advantage of its own hardware.”

Speaking of throwbacks, the M2 MacBook Pro is likely to be the last with the controversial Touch Bar. None of the reviewers were pleased that the new notebook didn’t come with physical function keys instead the customizable OLED strip, as the 2021 MacBook Pro models do. These 16- and 14-inch models got the redesign that Apple denied the 13-inch version.

First reviews of Apple M2 processor

Despite all the mudslinging at the design of the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro, reviewers are pleased with its M2 processor. “Apple’s new chip is the real selling point of this new Pro,” says TechCrunch.

Benchmarks of the processor done by Engadget showed an 8,984 score on the Geekbench 5 multi-core test. That’s 25% faster than the original M1 in the 2020 MBP on the same test.

But benchmarks also end any wishful thinking that the M2 is somehow faster than the M1 Pro or M1 Max, which debuted in 2021. The 14-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro is 31% quicker than the M2-based model. And the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max offer 41% faster performance.

Still, as Cnet points out, the M2 MacBook Pro is “Apple’s most powerful 13-inch laptop.” But it’s only going to hold onto that title for a few weeks, as Apple promises the redesigned 2022 MacBook Air with M2 will launch in July, and that upcoming models offers many advantages.

As for the M2 MacBook Pro, Engadget dismissed it by calling it “Pro in name only.” Anyone who is nevertheless interested can put in a preorder, and the device starts reaching customers on June 24.