2023 MacBook Pro review roundup: M2 Max brings hefty performance boost

2023 MacBook Pro review roundup: M2 Max brings considerable performance boost

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2023 MacBook Pro
2023 MacBook Pro is the same but faster.
Screenshot: Apple

The new 16- and 14-inch MacBook Pro models that are about to hit shelves have reached reviewers early, giving the world its first independent look at the newest macOS notebooks. The reviewers’ consensus is that the only noticeable change is the performance gain coming from the new M2 Max or M2 Pro processors.

That means the highlights of their reviews are benchmark scores for the much-improved CPUs and GPUs in Apple’s latest chips.

Read my lips: No new hardware

Apple followed a long tradition with the 2023 MacBook Pro by taking the previous design and plugging in a new processor.

As The Verge phrases it, “The 2023 MacBook Pro 16 is almost exactly the same as the 2021 MacBook Pro 16 except that there is a new chip inside.”

And Engadget says of the smaller model, “It’s no surprise to see that this year’s MacBook Pro 14 doesn’t look any different than the 2021 model. It still boasts a gorgeous 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion support and a prominent notch housing a 1080p webcam. It has all of the ports you’d actually want, including a MagSafe power connection, three Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, HDMI, a headphone jack and a full-sized SD card slot.”

So to find out what it’s like using the sleek design of the latest macOS notebook, one need only talk to anyone who has used the one introduced about 14 months ago. There was no criticism from reviewers about this speed boost update: the 2021 MacBook received high praise, and there was no need to fix a design that’s not broken.

M2 Max chip seriously improves graphics 2023 MacBook Pro performance

The latest MacBook Pro offers the performance creative professionals need.
The latest MacBook Pro offers the performance on-the-go creative professionals need.
Screenshot: Apple

With no other hardware changes, reviews for the 2023 MacBook Pro concentrate on the processors that debut in this notebook.

The M2 Max includes a 12-core CPU and can be configured with a 38-core GPU. Mac buyers can equip the chip with up to 96GB of system memory — 32GB more than the M1 Max.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro M2 with 12-cores came out 25% faster than the 2021 model with a 6-core M1 Max in a Geekbench 5 multicore test done by SixColors.

The Verge did the same test on versus a 10-core M1 Max and Apple’s newest scored 20% better than the earlier model.

The differences are more dramatic in graphics performance. “The M2 Max is far and away the most graphically powerful laptop chip that Apple has released,” notes The Verge reviewer. “The M2 Max machine got the fastest time I’ve ever seen from a laptop on our 4K Premiere Pro export test.”

The 2023 MacBook Pro can also be configured with an M2 Pro that comes with a 10- or 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU. This can be paired with up to 32GB of unified memory. A MacBook running this chip scored about 26% better on the Geekbench 5 multi-core test than an equivalent one with an M1 Pro, according to Gizmodo.

Impressive battery life

The performance gains in the 2023 MacBook Pro don’t come at the expense of battery life.

Gizmodo tested the computer by having one with an M2 Pro chip continuously run a video. It lasted over 16 hours, nearly twice as long as an M1 Max MacBook Pro on the same test.

Is 2023 MacBook Pro for you?

2023 MacBook Pro builds on the 2021 version.
The 2023 MacBook Pro builds on the 2021 version, retaining features like the SD card slot.
Screenshot: Apple

The debut of a top-of-the line MacBook Pro always causes users of earlier models to question whether it’s time for an upgrade.

Engadget points out that this newest model includes, “a few features power users may appreciate, like 8K video output and support for WiFi 6E.” And the review also says, “For the creative professionals who need the most power possible, it’s another reason to stick with Apple instead of jumping to a PC.”

The Verge lays its opinion out clearly: “No, there is not a good reason to buy the 2023 model if you already have the 2021 model.”

SixColors sums up by saying, “If you want the very best laptop Apple has to offer, the MacBook Pro will not disappoint you. The M1 models were great in late 2021, and these new M2 models are even better — albeit incrementally so.”

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