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

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  • This is the 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro.

    Samuel Axon

  • The design is as familiar with the lid open as it is with it closed.

    Samuel Axon

  • Here’s the bottom. Notice the tapered, smaller-footprint rubber pads—they’re smaller than what you see in newer MacBook designs.

    Samuel Axon

  • The Touch Bar lives on in this machine. It has a physical escape key just out of frame, but you can see the Touch ID fingerprint reader here.

    Samuel Axon

  • There are just two Thunderbolt/USB ports, and one of them will usually be taken up by the power adapter.

    Samuel Axon

  • The laptop has a very low profile. You can see the headphone jack on this side, too.

    Samuel Axon

Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro is a little tough to recommend given the options in Apple’s lineup, but that doesn’t change the key 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 that’s particularly “Pro” about it. It has too few ports for power users, and it can’t touch the 14-inch MacBook Pro in performance. It offers little to draw would-be buyers away from the similarly specced and soon-to-be-launched MacBook Air redesign.

Specs at a glance: 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro
Screen2560×1600 at 13.3 inches
OSmacOS Monterey 12.4
CPUApple M2
RAM16GB
GPUApple M2
HDD1TB SSD
NetworkingWi-Fi 6; Bluetooth 5.0
Ports2x Thunderbolt/USB 4, 3.5 mm headphone
Size0.61×11.97x 8.36-inch (1.56×30.41×21.24cm)
Weight3 lbs (1.4 kg)
Warranty1 year, or 3 years with AppleCare+
Price as reviewed$1,899
Other perks720p FaceTime HD camera

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

Specifications

There’s just one major difference between the 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 2020 model it replaces: 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 a few other key details out of the way.

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

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

That means that much of the time, this laptop effectively has one port. Thunderbolt has the throughput to work with an external dock or adapter to deal with multiple devices. Still, it seems a little strange that a laptop marketed to professionals offers less flexibility than the otherwise similarly priced and specced MacBook Air that’s a few weeks away.

Like its M1-based predecessor, the 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro can drive 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 several types of professional workflows, and it’s one that seems to be shared with the upcoming MacBook Air, too.

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 confirmed roughly 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 advantages the 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro has over other laptops in Apple’s lineup is its 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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