KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — It wasn’t a surprise that Apple was updating its new-design MacBook Pros to the M2 chip.
What was a surprise was getting to test a souped-up MacBook Pro 14-inch model with the M2 Max processor, fitted with 64GB of RAM.
It seems a waste to just do a cursory writeup so expect another multi-parter review with this first being a primer on the state of Apple MacBook Pro land.
Apple’s MacBook Pro line is currently converged into two: MacBook Pro 13-inch models that are using an older design but with newer chips and the new design 14-inch and 16-inch display models.
The company disappointingly only has two colours to choose from in the range, namely Silver and Space Grey but laptop cases and decals exist for a reason.
As for the design, it looks identical to last year’s new MacBook Pro range with the changes all being internal.
Pro users now have a choice between three processors: the M2 Pro with 10 cores, the M2 Pro with 12 cores and the highest-end M2 Max also with 12 cores.
It’s still the same Liquid Retina XDR display here but no one’s complaining as they are still good displays even though some of the competition has started using OLED displays instead.
As for ports, there’s an SD card port, HDMI, 3.5mm audio port, MagSafe charging port as well as three Thunderbolt 4 ports.
While the M2 Pro processors support two external displays, the M2 Max can support up to three external displays.
There is a caveat, though. For the M2 Pro, the two external displays can go up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt, or one 6K Thunderbolt display with the other being at 4K at 240Hz over HDMI.
While the M2 Max can even go up to 8K resolution at 60Hz on an external display, no more than one at that resolution is supported with the other two limited to 6K.
The HDMI port can support 4K at 240Hz like the M2 Pro units.
As for the power adapter, you have 67W or 96W options though it’s safe to say that if you’re using a higher-end model, 96W is what you should choose.
Can you feel it?
Just for comparison’s sake I compared day-to-day use of the MacBook Pro M1 to the MacBook Pro M2 and from the outside you wouldn’t be able to tell I was using different machines.
Could I feel a difference? If you use the same apps on a regular basis there is a palpable difference but it’s not mindblowing.
It’s why, despite other people complaining about the added weight of a MacBook Pro compared to the MacBook, there’s something more satisfying about how smooth the MacBook Pro feels over longer periods of usage.
The MacBook Air, even with the M2 chip, I find, will throttle performance slightly though not as noticeably as the M1 model.
Meanwhile, the M2 MacBook Pro quietly trudges along, managing the usual editing, writing and heavy multimedia use without any show that it’s actually working hard and the fans when they do run are quiet so you don’t actually notice them even on warmer days.
So far it’s great as a daily driver but next week I plan to try them out with accessories for using the Continuity feature with both an iPhone and perhaps an iPad or two attached.
Will my portable Minority Report setup work out or will it be a failed experiment? Stay tuned for that and the installment where I try heavier non-linear editing software and fiddling with programs such as Unity, as well as mobile apps.