Forget the new MacBook Pro, Apple has something better
The launch of Apple Silicon’s next generation in the M2 chip should have heralded a wave of positive improvements in its consumer laptops. Whereas MacBook Air M2 has not yet been published, the M2 MacBook Pro is on sale right now. And it is very difficult if not impossible to recommend.
Those looking for a new laptop with a modern design should wait for the next MacBook Air. Those looking for performance should look to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops which are still a step ahead of the entry-level MacBook Pro. Poor MacBook Pro M2 reviews were confirmed this week by laptop teardowns, slower storage options, and overheating and throttling issues when performance is required.
That’s why you should skip Apple’s MacBook Pro M2.
The various entry-level MacBook Pro launch reviews have pretty much identified the machine as a throwback to the Intel-powered MacBooks of 2016. Yes, the laptop has the new Apple Silicon M2 which definitely offers more performance than these Intel machines, but that’s about it. Everything else, from the tired screen with huge bezels, the lack of I/O ports, the misplaced credence in the Touch Bar, screams this is a laptop Frankenstein of everything. that Apple had left on its shelves.
This point was driven by iFixit. The team conducted one of their ever-popular takedowns on the new macOS laptop and the results are striking… Apple basically rebadged the 2020 model, replaced a few small components, and replaced the M1 processor with the M2 processor.
Apple has also locked down the hardware so that while the M2 and M1 cards are fine in either case, they won’t recognize the new keyboard, trackpad, or TouchID circuitry. The modularity that might have been offered here, and the advantages this would offer from a recycling and recovery point of view, was ignored.
iFixit also confirmed the switch to a single-chip SSD for the 256GB version on the M2 machine, which offers an almost fifty percent performance drop compared to the dual-chip 256GB SSD version of the MacBook Pro M1.
Given the Pro designation, it’s disappointing that the MacBook Pro M2 gets hotter and macOS has to throttle performance when under heavy load. Max Tech’s Vadim Yuryev ran some tests on the M1 and M2 models, asking them to render a video file which Yurev says is a very demanding real-world test…but this is a MacBook Pro, and consumers expect big things. Apple’s “Pro” label. What they get is disappointing:
“We exported Canon RAW 8K and saw temperatures hit 108°C, higher than ever on a Mac, even an Intel Mac. The fan was at 7200 rpm on entire time, so there was nothing the MacBook Pro could do to cool itself except to strongly throttle the M2 chip. This led to much lower performance than the M1 Pro chip, which didn’t have to max out its fans.”
That’s significantly worse than the M1, which under the same test saw the CPU and GPU running at full power for the full test and the cooling fans working as advertised, negating the need to throttle the chip.
Apple’s decision to continue with this MacBook Pro is a brave one. There was an argument that delivering a MacBook Pro M1 that looked exactly like Intel-based MacBook Pro laptops created an air of continuity in 2020. But with the larger MacBook Pro design established in 2021, and the MacBook Air of 2022 following in that same mould, the M2 MacBook Pro is a throwback in terms of design.
The MacBook Pro M1 had a slight power advantage over the MacBook Air – enough to perhaps satisfy the marketing department, but those looking for a truly powerful Mac laptop would opt for the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. With the revelation that the M2 is little more than the first M1 laptop with the new chip integrated, that any demand for significant power levels will lead to overheating and throttling, the argument around consumers asking for a bit more power was swept away.
It’s hard to recommend this MacBook Pro. With the M2 MacBook Air due out later this month, Apple has a better deal for consumers and a better deal for professionals.
Why anyone would buy this MacBook Pro is a mystery. But not such a big mystery as to why Apple decided to release it.
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