The Updated 13-Inch MacBook Pro Gets More Power, Awesome New Keyboard

Stefan Vazharov
Photo credit: Apple
Photo credit: Apple

From Best Products

We judge laptops on a scale of 10, analyzing the categories we think are most important: design, display, and performance. Here’s how the 13-inch MacBook Pro stacks up.

Apple’s latest MacBook Pro with a 13-inch Retina display has gone through a similar update pattern as the recently refreshed MacBook Air. The Touch Bar-toting newcomer has the same beloved and familiar design as its predecessor, but thanks to an all-new keyboard and Intel’s latest processors, it’s a vastly better, more futureproof product than the previous generation.

KEY SPECS

• Eighth-generation Core i5/i7 (quad-core); 10th-generation Core i5/i7 (quad-core) processors
• 13.3-inch Retina display with True Tone Technology, P3 color gamut
• 8/16/32 GB of RAM; up to 4 TB SSD
• Touch ID fingerprint sensor
• Up to four USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 compatibility



I spent a week using the new Macbook Pro throughout my daily life — here's our full review to help you decide if it's the right laptop for you.

DESIGN: 9/10

The New Keyboard Changes Everything

  • The notebook has the same design as its predecessor

  • The addition of the Magic Keyboard makes it worth upgrading to

  • You can choose between a variant with two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports

Introduced alongside its 16-inch sibling, the updated Magic Keyboard is hands-down the most exciting new design bit about the 13-inch MacBook Pro. It’s a vast improvement over the keyboard of the notebook’s previous generation, thanks to a scissor mechanism with longer travel and superb tactility.

Typing on the notebook is a precise, quiet, and satisfying process that everyone will love. The vast, Force Touch-capable trackpad on the other hand, is as excellent as it’s always been. Like the other newly-launched MacBooks, the latest Pro has a Touch Bar above its keyboard. Sitting between the escape key and the Touch ID/power button, the touchscreen is convenient and easily customizable.

Available in silver or space gray, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is timelessly elegant, exceptionally crafted, and impressively lightweight given the hardware capabilities it offers. It weighs just a tad more than 3 pounds, so it’s easy to carry around, too. I only wish that the notebook had the same thin display bezels as the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

DISPLAY: 9/10

It's Up to Apple's Usual High Standards

  • The display panel has the same resolution as the previous iteration

  • Thanks to True Tone tech, it delivers a robust viewing experience in any lighting situation

  • It’s brighter and capable of displaying a wider color gamut than the Retina display of the MacBook Air

The 13-inch Retina display of the MacBook Pro is magnificent and an ideal canvas for any task. Its panel has True Tone technology, so it will automatically adjust its color intensity to ensure that the viewing experience is excellent regardless of the lighting conditions.

Compared to the screen of the new MacBook Air, which has the same size and resolution, the MacBook Pro has higher maximum brightness, as well as support for a wider P3 color gamut. The latter is essential for editing intricate details in images and video, among others. Overall, the notebook’s screen is worthy of its Pro moniker.

PERFORMANCE: 8/10

Abundant Processing and Graphics Power, but Be Mindful of Your Display Brightness

  • The 13-inch MacBook Pro has more graphics and processing power

  • The variant with tenth-generation Intel processors is the one to get

  • Battery life is solid, so long as you are mindful of the screen’s brightness

The MacBook Pro is predictably powerful and up for conquering just about any task on the go. Apple has given the notebook welcome upgrades in processing and graphics power, as well as speedier memory, making it even more suitable for cranking out work on the go.

Photo credit: Apple
Photo credit: Apple

Packing a 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor and 16 GB of RAM, the Pro I tested performed flawlessly. As always, I put the notebook through my usual workflow of constantly switching between 20-plus Chrome browser tabs, editing multiple high-resolution images in Affinity Photo, as well as drafting content in Apple Pages with Slack, Spotify, and Tweetbot running. It managed the processes without even a hint of hesitation (or cooling fans).

According to Apple, the MacBook Pro can deliver up to 10 hours of screen-on time between charges. During my testing, I averaged between 7 and 8 hours of my usual mixed use with the screen’s brightness set above 50% — a stellar achievement considering its size and hardware specs.

However, you should be mindful that performing demanding tasks such as editing 4K video will result in more frequent trips to a power outlet. The same goes for enjoying the display at maximum brightness.

WRAP UP

It’s fantastic that Apple doubled the storage of the entry-level MacBook Pro to 256 GB (up from 128 GB). Power users will also appreciate the opportunity to spec the notebook with up to 32 GB and 4 TB of RAM and storage respectively.

I highly recommend that 13-inch MacBook Pro buyers opt for the model with tenth-generation Intel processors and 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports — it’s more capable and more futureproof than the starter variant.

SHOP 13-INCH MACBOOK PRO

Read More:

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