Comparison of MacBook Pro 13″ M2 vs MacBook Pro 14″ and 16″ (2021)

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Comparison of MacBook Pro 13″ M2 vs MacBook Pro 14″ and 16″ (2021)

Apple announced a major update to its top-of-the-line MacBook Pros last year with a complete redesign, M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, larger mini-LED displays with ProMotion support, an HDMI port and SD card slot, full-sized function keys, and more. This month, Apple updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip, and in this article we will compare these models.

Despite the fact that the MacBook Pro M2 is positioned as a high-end model, it is still different from the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, so it is important to figure out who should save money and buy an inexpensive MacBook Pro 13″, prices for which start at $1299, and who should look at the more powerful 14- or 16-inch MacBook Pros that cost at least $700 more. In this article, we will help you answer the question of which of the modern MacBook Pros is best to buy.

The MacBook Pro 13 and the top-of-the-line MacBook Pro share many of the same important features, such as the Apple Silicon chip, wide stereo sound, and Touch ID. Here is a list of common features of these two MacBooks:

What common

  • P3 wide color display with True Tone technology
  • Apple Silicon System-on-Chip (SoC)
  • Media engine with hardware accelerated H.264, HEVC, ProRes and ProRes RAW, video encoding and decoding engines, and ProRes encoding and decoding modules
  • 16-core Neural Engine
  • 16 GB of combined memory
  • Storage options 512 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB
  • Ambient light sensor
  • FaceTime HD camera with advanced image signal processor
  • Wide stereo sound
  • Studio-quality three-mic system with high signal-to-noise ratio and directional beamforming
  • touch ID
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • 3.5mm headphone jack with extended support for high impedance headphones
  • At least two Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
  • Available colors: space gray and silver

Apple’s comparison shows that the two MacBooks share a large number of key features in common. However, there are some significant differences between the MacBook Pro M2 and the 14- and 16-inch models worth highlighting, including design, chip options, battery life, and display brightness.

Differences

Macbook Pro 13″

  • 13.3″ display
  • Retina LCD
  • Brightness 500 nits
  • Apple M2 chip
  • 8-core processor
  • 10-core GPU
  • 8, 16 or 24 GB of combined memory
  • 256, 512 GB, 1 or 2 TB storage
  • FaceTime 720p HD camera
  • Stereo speakers with high dynamic range
  • Dolby Atmos playback support
  • Two Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Supports one external display up to 6K @ 60Hz
  • Touch Bar
  • Built-in 58.2 Wh lithium polymer battery
  • Up to 20 hours of battery life with video playback
  • 67W USB-C power adapter

MacBook Pro 14″ and 16″

  • 14.2″ or 16.2″ display
  • Mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR Display with ProMotion Technology
  • Brightness up to 1000 nits (full screen mode), peak brightness 1600 nits
  • Apple M1 Pro or Apple M1 Max chip
  • Up to 10 CPU cores
  • Up to 32 GPU cores
  • 16, 32 or 64 GB of combined memory
  • 512 GB, 1, 2, 4 or 8 TB storage
  • 1080p FaceTime HD camera
  • High-quality six-speaker sound system with forced-cancellation woofers
  • Support for spatial audio when playing music or video using Dolby Atmos on the built-in speakers
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port and SDXC card slot
  • Supports two external displays up to 6K@60Hz (M1 Pro) or three external displays up to 6K and one external display up to 4K@60Hz (M1 Max)
  • Full size function keys
  • Built-in 70 or 100 Wh lithium polymer battery
  • Up to 17 or 21 hours of battery life with video playback
  • 67W, 96W, or 140W USB-C power adapter
  • MagSafe 3 and fast charging

Design

The entry-level and high-end MacBook Pro models are available in silver and space gray, but their design is different. While the laptops are about the same thickness, the 14-inch and 16-inch models don’t have tapered edges, making them appear thicker and bulkier. The keyboard area of ​​the high-end MacBook Pro is also completely black. The size comparison of the three MacBooks is shown below:

Macbook Pro 13″

  • Thickness : 1.61 inches (1.56 cm)
  • Width : 11.97 inches (30.41 cm)
  • Depth : 21.24 cm
  • Weight : 3.0 lb (1.4 kg)

MacBook Pro 14″ and 16″

  • Thickness : 0.61″ (1.55cm) / 0.66″ (1.68cm)
  • Width : 31.26 cm / 14.01 inches (35.57 cm)
  • Depth : 22.12 cm / 9.77 inches (24.81 cm)
  • Weight : 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg) / 4.7 lbs (2.1 kg)

The 13-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pro are very similar in size, so the size of the two shouldn’t weigh heavily on your decision. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has a much older design with tapered edge appearance compared to the rounder appearance of high-end models. The MacBook Air M2, announced alongside the MacBook Pro M2, has a more modern 2021 design similar to the MacBook Pro 14/16″, while the MacBook Pro 13″ has a 2016 design.

MacBook Pro Keyboard

Touch bar

The Touch Bar is a touch bar of virtual buttons on a small OLED Retina display located above the keyboard, where the function keys would normally be. The Touch Bar keys change depending on the application you have open on your Mac.

New MacBook Photoshop screen

The touchpad is a matte display that blends in with the rest of the keys on the keyboard and supports True Tone, allowing you to adjust the white balance according to the ambient light conditions. Interaction with the Touch Bar is carried out using taps, swipes and other multi-touch gestures with support for up to 10 fingers at the same time.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro has a Touch Bar, while the 14- and 16-inch models have full-size function keys. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is now the only device left with this feature, so if you like the Touch Bar, you’ll have to go with the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Ports

The main difference between the two laptops is the number of ports. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has just two Thunderbolt 3 ports. The 14-inch and 16-inch models have three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, and an SDXC card slot.

2021 MacBook pro ports

Both machines have a 3.5mm headphone jack with support for high-impedance headphones, but the 13-inch MacBook Pro only supports one external display, while the older model with the M1 Max chip supports up to four displays. All of this makes the top-of-the-line MacBooks much more versatile in terms of connecting external devices, and will be of particular importance to professionals who use digital cameras or need to connect external displays.

Display size

The entry-level MacBook Pro’s display size is exactly 13.3 inches, which is significantly smaller than the 14.2 inches and 16.2 inches of high-end models. However, the 13.3-inch size is still larger than the largest iPad Pro model that comes with a 12.9-inch display and will be sufficient for most users.

The 16.2-inch display will be a better desktop replacement and provide much more screen real estate for multiple windows and professional applications that get more display real estate. The 14.2-inch display is still larger than the 13.3-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models in recent years, but still adds to the overall size of the laptop. Larger MacBook Pros also have thinner bezels, a notch, and rounded top corners.

MacBook pro 2021 chelka

The display notch contains a webcam, but it doesn’t take up any usable display space, and even with the notch, both MacBook Pros are larger than previous models and overall display area remains larger.

The display area below the notch has an aspect ratio of exactly 16:10, like previous MacBook Pro models, so the notch doesn’t interfere with normal display interaction or media viewing.

Since the notch is the same size on both models, it may be slightly less noticeable on the 16-inch model. If you really dislike the notch, consider the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Display technology

The display technologies of the compared MacBooks also differ significantly. Like most MacBooks in recent years, the 13-inch model has a Retina LCD display. The 14″ and 16″ models feature Apple’s latest mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR technology for deeper blacks, better dynamic range and improved color accuracy.

MacBook Pro display Technology

The brightness of the XDR display can be boosted up to 1600 nits of brightness at peak when displaying HDR content. The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models also feature ProMotion displays, allowing you to change the refresh rate up to 120Hz. The 13-inch model does not have variable refresh rate display technology.

Choose top-of-the-line MacBook Pros for viewing and editing HDR content, as well as watching high frame rate videos such as sports events. The 13-inch MacBook Pro’s display will still be more than adequate for normal daily use, but the older model, which offers deeper blacks and a smoother picture, offers a much better picture.

Chip

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is equipped with the M2 chip, while the 14- and 16-inch models can choose between the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip. M1 Pro and M1 Max are larger versions of the M1 chip.

Chip

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is equipped with the M2 chip, while the 14- and 16-inch models can choose between the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip. M1 Pro and M1 Max are larger versions of the M1 chip.


The M1 Pro and M1 Max chip configurations allow the chip to be upgraded with two additional CPU cores, 24 additional GPU cores, up to 56 GB of memory and up to 6 TB of storage compared to the M2 chip. The M2 chip is much closer to the M1 than the M1 Pro, prioritizing efficiency over performance. The M2 came close to the M1 Pro in some ways, with the capabilities of the M1 Pro’s dedicated media engine, and a more powerful single-core chip with a higher 3.49GHz CPU clock, but the M1 Pro and M1 Max are significantly better in multi-core and graphics tasks. See a more detailed comparison of the M2 and M1 Pro chips for a better understanding of their power:

While the M2 is ostensibly a more modern chip, fabricated using a next-generation 5nm process and offering the latest core technologies, the M1 Pro and M1 Max remain more performant due to their size. With significant transistor counts, high performance CPU and GPU cores, not to mention more combined memory and higher memory bandwidth, the M1 Pro and M1 Max are powerful chips for professionals with demanding workflows. The M2, on the other hand, is more of a consumer chip focused on delivering performance for everyday tasks and excellent efficiency for lowering temperatures and extending battery life.

Camera

The high-end MacBook Pro has a significantly better 1080p webcam compared to the 13-inch model’s 720p webcam. If you frequently use the built-in webcam for video calls, you’ll experience significantly better image quality on the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Speakers

The 13-inch MacBook Pro features high dynamic range stereo speakers. With the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, Apple has completely redesigned audio with a new six-speaker system that supports spatial audio when playing music or video using Dolby Atmos.

 

Both speaker systems are very good for a laptop, but if you rely heavily on the built-in speakers, then the top-end MacBook Pro will sound the best.

Battery Life

The 13-inch MacBook Pro provides three extra hours of battery life over the 14-inch MacBook Pro, but one hour less than the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The 13-inch MacBook Pro can last up to 20 hours of video playback on a single charge, according to Apple. On the other hand, the 14-inch MacBook Pro can last 17 hours on a single charge, while the 16-inch model can provide 21 hours of battery life.

Charger

The 14″ and 16″ MacBook Pros feature MagSafe 3 for easy magnetic connection and removal of the charging cable from your computer. MacBook Pro 14 and 16 inches also have fast charging capability.

 

Other MacBook options

If you’re looking for a more affordable MacBook with an Apple Silicon processor, there’s the MacBook Air M1, which features the same processor as the M1 MacBook Pro, 13.3-inch display, Touch ID and ports, and other hardware features, starting at $999 . It will be difficult for ordinary users to explain the overpayment of $ 300 for the M2 MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro M1 is a more consumer-oriented laptop, slightly slower than the Pro on the M2, but more than adequate for most tasks.

The MacBook Pro M2 still has a number of improvements over the MacBook Air M1, offering slightly better performance, a brighter display, Touch Bar, improved microphone and speaker quality, two extra hours of battery life, and active cooling. If you want slightly better performance than the MacBook Air M1, along with better battery life, display brightness, and speaker and microphone quality, the MacBook Pro M2 is your best bet.

Users who plan to do a lot of graphics work should not consider the MacBook Air and should opt for the MacBook Pro M2 as the MacBook Air configuration with 8-core GPU is only $50 cheaper than the MacBook Pro M2 which offers ten GPU cores, but this is only if you don’t need more than 256GB of storage, as more storage will increase the price of the MacBook Pro.

Conclusion

Overall, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is the best option for mainstream consumers. In fact, it looks more like a MacBook Air than older MacBook Pro models, and is more than good enough for the needs of average users. It’s lighter, smaller and more portable than the 14-inch MacBook Pro. Starting at $1,299, the 13-inch MacBook Pro should be the laptop of choice for the average user looking for more power than the MacBook Air.

Professionals looking for larger, more accurate displays, more ports, more memory and storage, hardware-accelerated media, and very high levels of performance should consider the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, and the prices are correspondingly higher – from $1999 for the 14-inch and $2499 for the 16-inch model . These high-performance MacBook Pros are not intended for the average consumer, but are clearly tailored to content makers and professionals who rely on a laptop as their main tool.

MacBook pro space Gray

If you want maximum performance, lots of different ports, high quality display and speakers, the older MacBook Pro is your best bet. The 16-inch MacBook Pro in particular is also potentially a good desktop replacement due to its large display.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro costs $1,999 , which is $700 more than the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s starting price of $1,299. However, maxing out the 13-inch MacBook Pro with 16GB of storage and at least 512GB of SSD would bring it closer to the entry-level 14-inch model at $1,699. In that case, it’s better to add $300 and buy a 14-inch MacBook Pro.

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