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MacBook Pro M2 Pro Review

MacBook Pro M2 Pro Review
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21 February 2023
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    Last month, Apple introduced updated MacBook Pros. The main thing that distinguishes them from their predecessors is the processors. Through laptops, the corporation brought the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips to the market. We tested the base 14-inch MacBook Pro with the Apple M2 Pro platform.

    Design, keyboard, touchpad, speakers

    The appearance of the laptop has not changed compared to its predecessor. Recall that a couple of years ago, Apple moved away from the usual wedge-shaped profile and switched to the most brutal case, visually massive and weighty. Some liked the new look, some didn't. But in any case, there is no way back yet (we do not exclude that in five to seven years Apple will again return to the wedge shape).

    67W in Box

    The dimensions and weight of the novelty are identical to the 2021 model. The laptop weighs about 1.6 kilograms, its thickness is 15.5 mm along the entire profile. Because the case does not taper at the bottom, the wrists are quite uncomfortable when working with the keyboard for a long time: a thick end with a sharp edge rubs them. On the left side of the laptop there is a MagSafe 3 charging connectors, as well as a pair of Thunderbolt 4 and a mini headphone jack, on the right is another Thunderbolt 4, as well as a card reader and HDMI 2.1. 

    The latter allows you to connect a monitor with a resolution of 4K at up to 240 Hz or 8K at 60 Hz. In terms of communication capabilities, then it is worth mentioning the upgrade in the form of Wi-Fi 6E with high bandwidth. True, to use its capabilities, you need appropriate speeds and a router. Moreover, Bluetooth 5.3 can be considered as a reserve for the future. The keyboard has nothing to do with the problematic Butterfly mechanism. There are no complaints about her work. Unless, out of habit, the black backing may interfere with the visual separation of the keys at first.

    There is still no touch bar, so instead, the top row is occupied by 12 full-sized function buttons and a power key with a Touch ID sensor recessed into it. Trackpad on- still one of the best in the industry, it is quite capable of replacing the mouse. A six-speaker system is responsible for the sound, spatial sound and Dolby Atmos are supported. The sound quality for a laptop is excellent, quite suitable for replacing a not the cheapest portable speaker. The quality does not suffer as the volume increases, the music plays in volume, the lows are clearly hammered, the middle and highs are clear.

    Display

    Still gorgeous 14.2-inch 3024×1964 pixels (254 ppi) with fantastic color reproduction, brightness (1000 cd/m²) and contrast ratio (1,000,000:1) thanks to the mini LED backlight of 10,000 LEDs. Each display is factory calibrated. Macbook Pro M2 ProAdaptive screen refresh rate works up to 120 Hz. In the interface and games, this gives a clearly noticeable smoothness. However, there are more and more applications supporting this feature every day. Screen cutout preserved, but still no Face ID, only the FaceTime camera. At first, it interferes with the perception of information, then you get used to it. In full-screen mode, the notch is hidden with a black bar at the top of the screen.

    M2 Pro

    Apple has two modifications of the M2 Pro chip: one has 10 computing cores (6 productive and 4 energy efficient) and a 16-core graphics unit, the second has a video subsystem with 19 cores, and 8 productive cores instead of 6. Apple M2 ProNews:

    • Memory. The CPU and GPU share memory. All components of the chip directly access the memory and the data stored in it, without copying them, so everything works faster and more efficiently. There are also separate media processors for hardware acceleration of video encoding and decoding.
    • M2 Pro. We had the younger version with a 10-core chip, 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage. How will the novelty behave in comparison with the previous Apple chips? First, we launched benchmarks where we compared the performance of the M2 Pro with the predecessor M1 Pro, as well as with the very first M1 and M1 Max.
    • Cinebench. In the single-core Cinebench test, all chips show plus or minus the same results. In the multicore test, we get the same 20% advantage over its predecessor, which Apple spoke about during the presentation of new products. Well, no wonder, since the base M1 Pro has only 8 cores, while the M2 Pro has 10.
    • GeekBench. In the GeekBench processor benchmark, the situation is slightly different. In single-core tests, there is also no difference, but in multicore tests, last year's M1 Pro even wins a little.
    • 20%. It turns out that there is not much difference between the Pro of the previous generation and the new one. In some tests, the M2 Pro shows an increase of 20%, but it is difficult to say how this will be reflected in reality.
    • GPU. How did Apple upgrade the graphics subsystem? Note that during the presentation, Apple talked about a 30 percent increase in graphics performance. But, probably, it was about the older modification of the M2 Pro with a 19-core GPU, while the basic version of the chip still has a 16-core processor, as in the M1 Pro.
    • Games. Unfortunately, we didn't get M1 Pro results in the built-in benchmarks in Rise of the Tomb Rider and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which we ran on other MacBook models. But there are indicators M1 and M1 Max. And judging by the performance ratio with the M1 Max, we can assume that, again, the power of the M2 Pro, although impressive, but is plus or minus at the level of its predecessor.
    • SSD. Well, and the sensational test of the write and read speed of the built-in SSD. Here we don't even have to discuss parity: the drive in the base models of new laptops is one and a half to two times slower than that of its predecessor. The more expensive versions of the newer MacBook don't have this disproportion, their speeds are comparable to 2021 laptops.
    • Built-in cooler. The built-in cooler begins to cool the processor almost immediately after the start of hard work. However, it rustles very quietly, the fan can be heard only in complete silence at a distance of up to a meter from the laptop. In this case, we did not observe significant heating.
    • Summary. In general, the M2 Pro left mixed feelings. On the one hand, this is a powerful chip, and even in the initial configuration, capable of laying the top-end processors from Intel and AMD on the blades, and the graphics subsystem completely shows the uselessness of discrete video cards. But it would all be fair if the M1 Pro had not appeared a year and a half ago. That is, the M2 Pro is an advanced chip, but if you compare it with its predecessor, then it’s like nothing special. Almost everything that the novelty offers, we already had in 2021 with the M1 Pro.

    Autonomy

    Apple chips surprise us not only with performance, but also with high autonomy. However, in this direction, it is even more difficult to implement innovations than in the case of power. M1 has made a breakthrough, and in the new chips, Apple is trying to maintain the outstanding performance of the firstborn. BatteryThe updated MacBook still have the same battery, but according to the official specifications, autonomy seems to have grown by about 7% – all due to the energy efficiency of the new chip. However, our laptop was draining at the same rate as its predecessor – about 10% per hour, if you surf the net, download files (benchmarks and games for tests), listen to music, watch YouTube, type text. Under load in the form of games, the charge drains much faster – in this case, the battery runs out in about two hours.

    The base MacBook Pro 14″ comes with a 67W power supply. Charging via MagSafe is safer if you accidentally catch the cable with your foot. But you can also charge your device through any Thunderbolt/USB-C port. It takes about an hour and a half to fully recharge the charge.

    Summary

    MacBook Pro on the M2 Pro chip is an excellent solution, but not perfect. So if you already have a laptop with an M1 Pro processor, or even more so an M1 Max, then there is no point in updating. But from a simple M1, if desired, it is quite possible to change seats. As for the M2 Pro chip itself, basically Apple has provided quantitative growth. Added cores – increased performance. Therefore, growth is noticeable mainly in the pumped version of the M2 Pro. The basic modification, all other things being equal, has not gone too far from the M1 Pro.
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