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MacBook Pro M2 13-Inch Review: Familiar Design, New Apple M2 Chip

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“What a strange-looking MacBook.” That was my first thought when I first saw the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the new M2 chip at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino during .  There wasn’t anything particularly strange about it — it looked like the last several models of 13-inch Apple laptops, both Pro and Air. But in the Apple Silicon era, I’ve become far more used to the company’s new design language, which is built around flat, constructivist designs with sharper angles and a studied minimalism. That same design has since been applied to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops, the 24-inch iMac and soon, the new .  The M2 Air, with a bigger screen, better webcam and newer design is said to be arriving sometime in the next month. As both 13-inch laptops have the same M2 chip and a similar price, I won’t consider this a complete review until I can test and compare the two systems side by side. 

MacBook Pro (M2, 2022)

LikeM2 is faster than M1 chip in the same systemIncludes a fan for better cooling

Don’t LikeDated design, with a lower-res webcamSmaller screen than the new M2 MacBook Air

This M2 MacBook Pro, despite being the newest MacBook you can buy right now (until the revamped MacBook Air goes on sale next month), has a gently rounded edge that tapers ever so slightly on the front side. It’s a throwback design that can be traced back more than a decade, starting with the to the . 

Apple M2 vs. M1 vs. M1 Pro vs. M1 Max vs. M1 Ultra

Apple M1

Apple M2

Apple M1 Pro

Apple M1 Max

Apple M1 Ultra

Total CPU cores



8 or 10



Performance cores



6 or 8



Efficiency cores






GPU cores

7 or 8

8 or 10

14 or 16

24 or 32

48 or 64

Neural engine cores






Maximum memory supported (UMA)






Peak memory bandwidth (GBps)






ProRes accelerators






Available in

MacBook Air (2021), iPad Pro (5th gen), iMac 24 (2021), Mac Mini

MacBook Air (2022), MacBook Pro 13 (2022)

MacBook Pro 14, MacBook Pro 16 (2021)

MacBook Pro 14, MacBook Pro 16 (2021), Mac Studio

Mac Studio

In fact, it looks just like the 13-inch MacBook Pro that was part of . Same body, same camera, same limited ports, same Touch Bar. Yes, this remains the last holdout of the Apple Touch Bar, a clever-but-underused second screen that’s fallen out of favor.  And that’s exactly what this system is: The 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro, with the initial M1 chip swapped out for the new M2 chip. That makes it Apple’s most powerful 13-inch laptop, and it will probably edge out the otherwise similar new M2 MacBook Air because its active cooling allows it to run at higher temperatures.  Read more:
Dan Ackerman/CNET
Where the M2 fits in the lineup But despite the hype, the M2 sits in a confusing spot in the Apple silicon hierarchy. It sits above the original M1 chip (which was available in two versions with different numbers of graphics cores), but below the M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra. The M1 Pro and M1 Max are available in the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro. The M1 Ultra, essentially two M1 Max chips side by side, is only available at the moment in the new Mac Studio desktop.  Which of these chips will show up in an eventual revamp of the Mac Pro desktop, or a new big-screen iMac, is unknown.  In the original M1 Mac lineup, I had the hardest time reconciling the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a target audience. It was more expensive than the practically identical M1 MacBook Air, while offering the Touch Bar, active cooling and a slightly brighter screen. For most people, the Air—even with a few upgrades—was a better choice. There’s a reason I call the MacBook Air the most universally useful laptop you can buy. 
Dan Ackerman/CNET
With the new M2 MacBook Air right around the corner, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is an even tougher sell. The M2 Air has the newer design (plus cool colors), a slightly larger liquid retina display, now just as bright as the Pro, and a much-needed full HD webcam.


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