M2 vs. M1 MacBook Pro: What’s the Difference?


The M2 MacBook Pro may simply be the odd one out in Apple’s pocket book line-up, however that doesn’t imply it’s best to write it off utterly. Should you’re keen on the 13-inch type issue or Apple’s earlier design decisions, the M2 improve may simply be value your time.

The New M2 Chip

The primary factor Apple has modified on this revision is the brains of the operation. Gone is the first-generation M1 chip in favor of the higher-end M2 with an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU. Whereas the CPU core rely stays unchanged, the GPU will get an additional two cores on final yr’s mannequin which ought to assist issues transfer a bit of extra swiftly in graphically-intensive purposes.

Apple is promising a 1.4x enchancment in video modifying and 1.2x quicker picture modifying operations in comparison with the M1 chip. It is a far cry from the massive efficiency leaps (round 4x) we noticed when Apple first launched its new chips in 2020, however it’s nonetheless a welcome step in the proper course (particularly contemplating each chips use the identical 5nm structure).

Apple M2 SOC Chip Data information sheet

Along with an improved GPU core rely, the M2 includes a devoted media engine with hardware-accelerated playback for H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and ProRes RAW. The chip additionally options video decode and encode engines, and a devoted ProRes encode and decode engine for professionals who shoot in that format. It’s a fantastic leap ahead for anybody who makes use of their MacBook for video modifying.

As a part of the improved M2 chip, Apple now affords as much as 24GB of RAM as an possibility at checkout which ought to assist in memory-intensive duties like modifying big RAW picture information or mastering audio initiatives with a number of channels and plugins. The storage choices stay the identical, with 256GB obtainable within the base mannequin and as much as 2TB selectable at checkout.

The Final MacBook With a Contact Bar?

One purpose you may need to go for the 13-inch MacBook Professional is the lingering Contact Bar, which is absent on Apple’s redesigned 14 and 16-inch fashions. The choice to drop bodily perform keys in favor of a context-aware OLED strip that spans the highest row of the keyboard proved divisive, however followers of the characteristic can rely their fortunate stars.

13-inch M2 MacBook Pro Touch Bar

This actually is perhaps your final probability to seize a MacBook Professional with a Contact Bar, because the revised machines ditch the characteristic utterly. Grabbing the 2022 revision ensures you’ve obtained an ARM-based Mac that may proceed to be supported into the longer term. In fact, there are some compelling causes to go for the 14-inch mannequin as an alternative however we’ll get to these later.

Look Ma, No Notch!

The show on the M2 MacBook Professional is equivalent to that used on the earlier mannequin, which is to say an IPS panel that falls in need of Apple’s “Liquid Retina” branding. It hits 500 nits of brightness which is loads to see what you’re doing in most gentle situations. Like all fashionable Macs with a show, it helps P3 huge shade, True Tone, and is “Retina” high quality so distinguishing particular person pixels is tough underneath regular use.

13-inch M2 MacBook Pro Display

Whereas the show falls in need of the dizzy heights set by the 14 and 16-inch 2021 MacBook Professional fashions, there’s no notch to talk of. Should you hate Apple’s choice to position the webcam module in an oblong cutout (despite the fact that it’s not a giant deal and you’ll cover it) then the 13-inch MacBook Professional is the one Apple moveable with an M2 chip that lacks a notch.

Not even the brand new MacBook Air will get away with out the notch therapy.

RELATED: Apple’s New M2 MacBook Air Has MagSafe and a Higher Webcam

M2 Fashions Get Spatial Audio

Except for the M2, Apple solely made two different actual adjustments to the 2022 13-inch MacBook Professional, with one including assist for Spatial Audio on the built-in audio system. That is largely virtualized and gained’t sound pretty much as good as listening to Dolby Atmos over headphones with head-tracking (just like the AirPods Professional).

13-inch M2 MacBook Pro Speakers

The opposite change permits the MacBook Professional to drive high-impedance headphones utilizing the built-in 3.5mm stereo output.

Every little thing Else Stays the Similar

It’s simpler to checklist the adjustments Apple made to the 2022 revision than the similarities since virtually all the pieces else stays the identical. This consists of the chassis and total design of the MacBook Professional, storage configurations, show, the burden of the machine, the webcam used (nonetheless 720p sadly), and the Magic Keyboard.

13-inch M2 MacBook Pro

There are nonetheless solely two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, one in all which have to be used to cost the machine (no MagSafe both, I’m afraid). Lastly, the battery life continues to be unchanged with a quoted 17 hours of “wi-fi net” gentle utilization in a power-efficient browser like Safari.

RELATED: Mac Customers Ought to Ditch Google Chrome for Safari

What In regards to the M1 Professional and M1 Max Fashions?

If you’d like extra energy out of your MacBook Professional, it’s best to think about the 14 and 16-inch 2021 fashions as an alternative. These begin at $1,999 and $2,499 respectively, whereas the M2 MacBook Professional is a price range possibility at $1,299.

Should you’re weighing up the 13-inch mannequin, a 14-inch MacBook Professional may take advantage of sense when you’re searching for an improve. Along with the M1 Professional and M1 Max chip choices which give 10-core CPU and as much as 32-core GPU efficiency, you’ll get extra choices in relation to RAM (as much as 64GB) and storage (as much as 8TB) when you’re blissful to open your pockets.

MacBook Pro 2021

There are different enhancements too, together with a superior show with as much as 1600 nits of brightness in HDR content material, ProMotion 120Hz refresh charges, higher shade rendition, and extra usable space (although you’ll should cope with the notch). These machines use a brand new type issue that feels a bit of bulkier and utilitarian however one which fits the notion of a transportable workstation that may chew by way of most duties you throw at it.

Different enhancements within the 2021 M1 Professional and M1 Max fashions embrace barely higher battery life, MagSafe 3, quick charging (although not all 14-inch fashions include a fast-charge succesful charger), a six-speaker sound system, an HDMI port, and SDXC reminiscence card slot.

You’ll lose the Contact Bar, however you’ll get a row of bodily perform keys again. Contact ID continues to be right here too, so you possibly can rapidly authorize funds and log in with a swipe of your finger.

M2 MacBook Professional or M2 MacBook Air?

Maybe a extra becoming comparability level is the M2 MacBook Air, which has obtained a very overhauled design that not solely seems nice however consists of options like MagSafe, a Liquid Retina (learn: barely nicer) show, smaller measurement, lighter weight, a greater webcam, and extra shade choices (together with a surprising darkish “Midnight” end).

MacBook Air M2 (2022) Midnight

There are drawbacks after all. The MacBook Air is passively cooled, which implies there’s no fan inside. One of many details of distinction between the unique M1 MacBook Professional and MacBook Air fashions was the inclusion of a fan within the Professional. This enables the laptop computer to maintain the next load for longer earlier than thermal throttling units in. If you’d like a extra performant machine, the MacBook Professional can deal with increased CPU and GPU hundreds for longer earlier than efficiency is restricted to guard the silicon.

13-inch M2 MacBook Pro Active Cooling

The MacBook Air additionally comes with a barely weaker 8-core GPU setup in its base configuration, which is simply $100 cheaper than the MacBook Professional M2. You’ll get barely worse battery life, no Contact Bar (however a full row of bodily perform keys), and a notch (however barely bigger show) too.

Select between them primarily based on what’s most necessary to you: passive or energetic cooling, bodily keys or Contact Bar, MagSafe or USB-C charging, and whether or not a weaker GPU and fewer battery life is definitely worth the trade-off for an arguably extra modern-feeling design.

A Good Time to Purchase a Mac

You may’t purchase the older M1 mannequin in most territories because the 13-inch Macbook Pro with M2 went up for pre-order, however the M1 MacBook Air continues to be obtainable as a $999 price range possibility. No matter you go for, it’s a great time to be a Mac consumer because the efficiency positive factors made within the swap over to Apple Silicon have had a massively optimistic impact on the macOS expertise.

Should you want extra energy, it’s best to in all probability look to the M1 Max processor within the higher-end 2021 MacBook Professional or go for a desktop Mac within the type of a Mac Studio, essentially the most highly effective desktop pc Apple has ever made.

The Greatest MacBooks of 2022


MacBook Professional 14-inch (M1 Professional, 2021)


2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop computer: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Show, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Digicam, Contact ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; House Grey


2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop computer: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Show, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Digicam, Contact ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; House Grey


MacBook Professional 16-inch (M1 Professional, 2021)

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