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Which MacBook Pro should you buy in 2022? Here’s how they compare

Which MacBook Pro should you buy in 2022? Here’s how they compare

Categories: Electronics
Posted: February 12, 2022

Powered by the M1 Pro and M1 Max Apple Silicon, the new MacBook Pro notebooks feature big CPU and GPU improvements, increased RAM, all-new displays, expanded I/O, and much more. Read on for an in-depth comparison of the 14 and 16″ new MacBook Pro vs the 13″ M1 and 16″ Intel machines to help you decide which to pick in 2022.

Table of contents

  • 14 and 16″ MacBook Pro vs earlier MacBooks
    • New MacBook Pro vs old – Hardware comparison
    • New MacBook Pro vs old – Display comparison
    • New MacBook Pro vs old – I/O comparison
    • Size, weight, and finish comparison
    • Battery life comparison
    • Price comparison
  • 14 and 16″ MacBook Pro vs earlier MacBooks wrap-up

Apple impressed with the M1 MacBook Pro, Air, and Mac mini in late 2020 and now the next-level Pro notebooks that landed in late 2021 feature the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

That includes RAM up to 64GB, CPUs with up to 10-cores, and GPUs with up to 32-cores. Other additions see a 1080p webcam, all-new Liquid Retina XDR Display with mini-LED backlighting, updated I/O array with HDMI, SD, and MagSafe returning, and much more.

Below we’ve got the 14 and 16″ new MacBook Pro notebooks in the middle columns throughout the comparison with the 13-inch MacBook Pro on the far left and 2019 Intel 16-inch MacBook Pro on the far right.

And if you’re on the fence between the 14-inch MacBook Pro and the 13-inch MacBook Air, check out that detailed comparison here.

Apple is expected to hold a March 2022 event this spring, but with the new MacBook Pro notebooks launching in late 2021, it’s likely they won’t be updated for a while longer.

14 and 16″ MacBook Pro vs earlier MacBooks

New MacBook Pro vs old – Hardware comparison

There’s a lot to take in but for starters, Apple says the M1 Pro offers 70% faster performance than the M1 and 2x faster GPU performance than the M1. And the M1 Pro has 200GB/s memory bandwidth.

Stepping beyond that, Apple says the M1 Max offers 4x faster GPU performance than the M1 and comes with an incredible 400GB/s memory bandwidth.

Both the M1 Pro and M1 Max feature up to 10-core CPUs made up of 8 performance cores and 2 efficiency cores (base model 14-inch with M1 Pro has an 8-core CPU).

Overall, here’s a closer look at what you get with the M1 Pro and M1 Max:

Both the M1 Pro and M1 Max feature media engines to offer hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and ProRes RAW support. But that’s supercharged with the M1 Max with double the ProRes encode and decode engines and double the video encode engines.

If having the maximum GPU power for your workflow is a priority (including support for 4 external displays vs 2), you’ll want to upgrade to the M1 Max. If not, the M1 Pro should be plenty powerful.

New MacBook Pro vs old – Display comparison

A major advancement with both of the new MacBook Pro notebooks is the Liquid Retina XDR Display. It features double the sustained brightness via mini-LED backlighting, ProMotion with up to 120Hz refresh rates, and an increased resolution/pixel per inch density, and greatly reduced bezels.

Notably, the new MacBook Pros come with a notch at the top center of the display for the 1080p FaceTime camera. But unlike the iPhone, the notch doesn’t include Face ID hardware/support on the new MacBook Pro notebooks.

But all-in-all you’re getting much slimmer bezels around the whole perimeter.

New MacBook Pro vs old – I/O comparison

Another big change with the all-new MacBook Pro notebooks is the return of legacy I/O. Apple has included an HDMI port, SDXC card reader, and the return of MagSafe (officially called MagSafe 3).

Apple has also done away with the Touch Bar and with the compromise of more ports overall, there are 3 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C 4 ports instead of 4.

Another big benefit with the M1 Pro and M1 Max is external display support. The M1 Pro supports up to 2 6K displays at 60Hz and the M1 Max offers support for 3 6K 60Hz displays plus 1 4K 60Hz display.

One interesting caveat with the HDMI port, it is limited to 2.0 instead of using the more capable 2.1 standard.

Size, weight, and finish comparison

The new MacBook Pro notebooks weigh more than their predecessors but considering you’re getting larger screens, a whole lot more power, and more connectivity, the minor weight gain feels very reasonable.

Physical dimensions are quite close but again the new machines are a touch larger on the whole. As usual for the MacBook Pro lineup, available are silver and space gray.

Battery life comparison

Battery life looks to be solid, based on Apple’s numbers. But while the new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro machines offer best-in-class performance per watt, the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro will have the longest life when it comes to wireless web use.

However, as you can see below, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro runs circles around the 2019 Intel model with 10 hours longer video playback and 3 hours longer wireless web use.

Another benefit with the new notebooks is fast charging that gives 50% battery in just 30 minutes. In most use cases, it looks like the new MacBook Pros should offer all-day battery life.

Price comparison

The jump in price from the 13″ M1 MacBook Pro to the 14 or 16″ is notable, but you’re getting a lot for the money.

Also, when you look at the base price of the 16″ M1 Pro MacBook Pro is only $100 more than the 2019 Intel 16″ MacBook Pro.

14 and 16″ MacBook Pro vs earlier MacBooks wrap-up

If you’re interested in the new MacBook Pro, you probably have a good idea of what specs are best for your workflow. And it’s really nice to see the same custom build options with both the 14-inch and 16-inch models.

But if you’re on the fence, remember that you can get the same 10-core processor with the M1 Pro and M1 Max. The big difference you’re paying for is the extra GPU power including the more capable media engine and increased external display support with the M1 Max chip options.

And when it comes to RAM, if you have medium to heavy workflows and plan to keep your new MacBook Pro for multiple years, going with 32GB or more will likely be worth the $400+ upgrade.

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