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Apple MacBook Pro (M2 Pro) long-term review: Smooth performer

Be it as simple as working on a keynote presentations or running complex programming code for work purposes, MacBook Pro (M2 Pro) will breeze through without breaking a sweat
Last Updated : 05 June 2023, 04:58 IST

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Apple MacBook Pro is primarily designed to cater to professionals who do heavy-duty work like running test software or simulate creative graphic animations or video editing. With the latest M2 Pro chipset, Apple promises better and smoother performance than ever before on its Pro notebooks. I have been using the 14-inch MacBook Pro model for a little over three months and here are my thoughts.

Design, build quality, and display

The new MacBook Pro iteration continues the design language of the predecessor. It is bulky and heavy, and the high-quality metal, encasing the body, exudes an army tank-like feel. It has the familiar curvy rectangular metal slab structure and Apple has not compromised a bit in terms of build quality.

Like previous and current Apple products, the new MacBook Pro is made with utmost care to ensure there is as less as possible impact on the environment. The aluminium that encapsulate the body is made of 100-per cent recycled material. Inside too, rare earth elements in all magnets, tin in the solder of the main logic board, and gold in the plating of multiple printed circuit boards are 100-percent recycled.

Add to that, 35 per cent of the components made of repurposed plastics. Also, 97 percent of the packaging is fiber-based and it should be noted that Apple has pledged to remove plastic completely from its packaging by 2025. And, importantly the device is free from several harmful substances, and

Apple MacBook Pro (with M2 Pro). Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit
Apple MacBook Pro (with M2 Pro). Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Apple is offering the new MacBook Pro in two screen sizes— 14-inch and 16-inch-- with a high-resolution Liquid Retina XDR display.

Yes, the notch camera at the top of the display looks odd for some, but I am a person who favours function over form factor. I had the same feeling when Apple introduced iPhone X and later versions. The FaceID continues to be the gold standard of the facial biometric security system and that very design instantly lets people know, it is an Apple device.

Similarly, I don’t find any oddity in the new MacBook Pro. The notch at the top houses a fantastic 1080p FaceTime HD camera. It supports high-resolution video chatting provided there is a super fast and stable internet connection. Also, the mics pick the voice perfectly without much distortion.

Apple MacBook Pro (with M2 Pro)'s camera. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit
Apple MacBook Pro (with M2 Pro)'s camera. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

My review unit is a MacBook Pro 14. It features a 14.2-inch (diagonal) Liquid Retina XDR display, True Tone technology. It has a native resolution of 1024x1964p with a pixel density of 254 pixels per inch (ppi). It supports more than 1 billion colours, and has an amazing contrast ratio of 10,00,000:1, and can deliver a peak brightness of 1600 nits (only for HDR content) and for standard work, it can go from 500 nits to 1000 nits.

Also, it boasts ProMotion technology for adaptive refresh rates up to 120Hz. The display is so good that even the screenshots taken on the latest MacBook Pro are so great and are of high resolution, most of the time they weigh more than 2MB. I had trouble uploading the images to our CMS for articles. I had to share those screenshots on WhatsApp to compress the file size and use them on our site, which help in faster loading of the webpage.

Apple also has incorporated a six-speaker sound system in the MacBook Pro and again, they do an amazing job. In public spaces, like on a flight, for obvious reasons, I used to consume multimedia content with AirPods Pro connected, but at home, I used to enjoy watching movies and TV series’ with the loud speakers on. It can fill up any average-sized room of a house at least in India.

Besides the Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 for faster wireless connectivity, it comes with HDMI 2.1 port, to support 8K displays up to 60Hz (a first for any MacBook Pro) and 4K displays up to 240Hz. It also features three Thunderbolt v4 ports for high-speed connection to peripherals (up to 40Gbps), an SDXC card slot, a 3.5mm audio jack, and MagSafe 3 charging port. The charger that comes with a retail box is an absolute gem of the tech marvel. When taken closer to the port, it instantly and correctly connects to the port with a solid grip and latches on to it like Belgian Malinois would to an intruder’s hand. Also, the braided cable is premium quality and will definitely last for several years for sure.

Apple MacBook Pro (with M2 Pro)'s charger. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit
Apple MacBook Pro (with M2 Pro)'s charger. Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

The new MacBook Pro comes with an amazing back-lit Magic Keyboard. It has 12 full-height function keys and 4 arrow keys in an inverted-T arrangement. In total, it has 78 backlit keys. It offers such a smooth buttery typing experience. It greatly helps you with typing speed and controlling the typos in a document. Recently, in the early morning, I was racing against the time, to complete the story and hit publish, before I could dash toward the gate to board a flight. When I got into the flight and had some more time, to go through my article, I had a done pretty good job. Also, the wide Force Touch trackpad is great to move the cursor around the widescreen effortlessly. I don’t think, you will find any other brand incorporating such high-quality trackpads and backlit keyboards in its class.

The TouchID, which is placed in the top right corner does its job finely as advertised. During the entire three months time, I spent time with the device, it was always able to recognise the finger impression and unlock the screen within seconds.

Apple MacBook Pro (with M2 Pro). Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit
Apple MacBook Pro (with M2 Pro). Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Performance

The MacBook Pro is powered by the new M2 Pro, which is said to be 40 per cent faster than the M1 Pro. The new silicon supports 10- or 12-core CPU with up to eight high-performance and four high-efficiency cores for up to 20 percent greater performance over the predecessor. Also, it supports up to 200GB/s of unified memory bandwidth (double that of M2) and up to 32GB of unified memory. It supports Hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, ProRes and ProRes RAW, Video decode engine, Video encode engine and ProRes encode and decode engine.

With Apple’s next-generation 16-core Neural Engine, the new M2 Pro silicon is capable of performing 15.8 trillion operations per second.

With M2 Pro, compiling in Xcode on the MacBook Pro is up to 2.5x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro and nearly 25 percent faster than the previous generation M1 Pro.

The image processing will be 80 per cent faster for Intel-based devices and up to 40 per cent faster when compared to the M1 Pro.

Apple MacBook Pro (with M2 Pro). Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit
Apple MacBook Pro (with M2 Pro). Credit: DH Photo/KVN Rohit

I am no coder by profession or full-fledged video editor as such but, I did do a small video editing test and I have to say, I am mighty impressed with the smooth performance. I tried my hand with the native iMovie video editor and pieced together a collage of images and video files into short multimedia content, it barely took a few minutes for the MacBook Pro to render it. Besides the beastly powerful M2 Pro processor, I have to say that the native video editor is a very handy tool to have on your PC. It is really feature-rich and if you are planning to start any vlogging or set up a YouTube channel to showcase food recipe videos or tutorial videos related to technology, this is the right app to start with.

If you need a more professional quality video editing setup, look no further than Final Cut Pro for videos and Logic Pro for music.

Also, this beastly machine supports most of the top-end graphics-rich games available on Apple Arcade and you will surely have a great time with it.

I’d like to add that the macOS Ventura brings a lot to the table to improve the user experience on the MacBook Pro. I love the handy feature that lets owners use to iPhone as a camera for video chatting. Of course, the in-built camera of the MacBook Pro is great, but it is no match to the impressive triple camera setup of the iPhone Pro models. If you have to try this, you have to first buy a separate docking accessory. By the way, Belkin has some cool iPhone MagSafe camera mounts.

Also, the Handoff feature in FaceTime allows users to start a FaceTime call on their iPhone or iPad and fluidly pass it over to their Mac, or vice versa.

As far as the battery life is concerned, the new MacBook Pro is a marathon runner of a device. Over the last three months of usage, I have developed a strong sense of trust with this review unit so much so that, I have traveled at least three or four times out of the city without the charger for one and two-day assignments and personal work. I used to charge it fully the previous day and travel light to the destination and come back with more than 50 per cent of battery life. Yes, of course, I am a journalist, whose maximum work involves filing reports of the day’s assignment and catching up with the latest episodes of TV series during the travel, but the point is the MacBook Pro is optimized to deliver long battery life and rest assured, even if you are coder, it will serve you a full day’s battery life and never have to feel any anxiety of device dying out in case of power cuts while working from home.

The 14-inch model can deliver up to 18 hours of battery life and the bigger 16-inch model can last for close to 22 hours, the longest for any MacBook to date. For the 12-core M2 Pro model, the company offers 96W USB-C Power Adapter.

Final thoughts

The MacBook Pro (with M2 Pro) is an amazing multi-purpose laptop capable of doing any work you throw at it. Be it as simple as working on keynote presentations or running complex programming code for work purposes, it will breeze through without breaking a sweat. I am even more impressed with the display and capabilities of the macOS 13 Ventura and native apps such as iMovie and new features like Continuity Camera.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro starts at Rs 1,99,900, and Rs 1,84,900 for students (via education plan) and the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro starts at Rs 2,49,900 and Rs 2,29,900 for students (via education plan).

Apple also offers the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Max, which starts at Rs 3,09,900, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Max starts at Rs 3,49,900.

Get the latest news on new launches, gadget reviews, apps, cybersecurity, and more on personal technology only on DH Tech.

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Published 03 June 2023, 23:08 IST

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