• February 1, 2023

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Apple’s two consumer-based laptops for 2022 – the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air – are both powered by the Apple Silicon M2 chipsets. There will be a natural tendency for those lusting after a new laptop to look first at the MacBook Pro with its increased performance and extensive capabilities.

Yet the looks, the speed, and the potential may not be enough to sell the 13-inch MacBook Pro when you compare the macOS portable to either the MacBook Air or the larger professional MacBook Pro models.

First of all, one of the reasons that many will turn towards a MacBook Pro rather than a MacBook Air is the extra perceived power available in the Pro. While that is the case with the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops, the 13-inch MacBook runs the same M2 chipset as the MacBook Air. While adding a fan allows the M2 to run hotter in the MacBook Pro and deliver more performance, the base M2 here is no match for the M1 Pro and M1 Max in the larger laptops. If power is what you need, the answer is not the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Secondly, you might not be looking for power but for a laptop that will help you through a day’s worth of work and leisure, and the flexibility of a MacBook Pro has some appeal.

That’s one of the big use cases of Apple’s consumer laptop, and there’s a much better choice that offers almost similar performance at a better price.

Remember that the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro are sharing the same M2 processor. A laptop’s day-to-day work will not push the M2 to the edge of the performance envelope. Instead, it’s going to tick over as you browse the web, play some music, and perhaps stream some video. There’s no need to have the extra power for this; you just need a laptop that can do all the basics, keep the battery life high, and be light enough to tote around. If an all-rounder laptop is what you need, the answer is not the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

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Finally, there’s also something more intangible. The M2 MacBook Pro is new. It’s a shiny piece of kit, and with everything going on in the world, why not have a little technological treat before the economy contracts anymore?

I totally get this.

So why would you want to pick up a laptop with a design introduced back in the Intel days of 2016? You have the MacBook Air with the new design, improved screen, more I/O choices, fast recharge, and more. Or you have the larger MacBook Pro laptops with impressive miniLED displays, even more I/O choices, and faster charging. If new and shiny is the way forward, your answer is not the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The strongest argument may be “I want a cheaper macOS laptop with the word ‘Pro’ on it.” If that’s the case, you’ve been reeled in hook, line, and sinker. Maybe I can sell you a sticker?

There’s no doubt that the MacBook Pro is a fantastically capable laptop, especially when you consider it in isolation. Once you start looking at the rest of the portfolio, the MacBook Pro becomes a curiously isolated laptop, not quite matching up in any area. The smart choice will be to look elsewhere.

Now read the latest Mac, iPhone, and iPad headlines in Forbes’ weekly Apple Loop news digest…

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