Apple MacBook Pro (M2 Pro, 2023) reviewon February 14, 2023 at 12:00 Tech Advisor

At a glance

Expert’s Rating


Fantastic core performanceHDMI and SD card reader1080p webcamAstonishing battery life


No USB-A portsThat notchNo touchscreen

Our Verdict

There’s little to dislike in Apple’s latest 14in and 16in MacBook Pro models, which add the new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips into an existing design. The pure power here is hard to deny, and battery life is unmatched, but the old niggles remain, especially the lack of USB-A and the still-bizarre notch.

Price When Reviewed

From £2,149 | Model reviewed £2,699

Best Prices Today: Apple 14-inch MacBook Pro (M2 Pro, 2023)


Apple’s most powerful laptop has been given yet more oomph inside, with the latest generation of MacBook Pro now powered by the company’s own M2 Pro and M2 Max chips.

Available in a choice of 14in or 16in screen sizes, the new Pro stretches from compact, affordable-ish productivity devices all the way up to out-sized, over-powered mobile workstations with better performance than most desktop PCs.

Some familiar Apple headaches remain. The company stubbornly refuses to include a USB-A port – even as it fits in HDMI and an SD card reader – and despite the unsightly notch at the top of the display there’s still no face unlock option.

But if you want a Mac and you need the power, this is as good an option as there’s ever been, and should still prove a mighty temptation to Windows stalwarts who have the budget.

Design, build & ports

Classic Apple aluminium buildMinimalist and sleekFairly heavy

Apple hasn’t tweaked the MacBook Pro’s design this year, sticking with the basics it established in late 2021 – and with clear heritage going back years before that.

You can expect a simple aluminium design, in your choice of silver or grey, with a black keyboard and wide trackpad.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

I’ve been reviewing the 14in MacBook Pro, which is the smaller of the two early 2023 models. Apple also sells a 13in Pro laptop, but this is using the older design, with fewer ports and the Touch Bar, and doesn’t include the latest chips.

As you’d expect this is chunkier than the discontinued MacBook or recent MacBook Air at 1.55cm thick, though it’s also definitely thicker than most high-end Windows laptops, unless you start comparing to the chunky gaming and creative-focussed models with discrete GPUs.

The weight of around 1.6kg is enough to notice, without ever feeling unreasonably heavy. That bit of heft also adds to the premium, polished feel of the hardware – no-one could ever accuse this beauty of feeling cheap.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Following criticism of a previous MacBook Pro design, which packed nothing but USB-C ports, Apple shifted gears when it redesigned the chassis in 2021. It dropped one of those ports to leave three – all supporting USB 4/Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort, and charging. You also get a dedicated MagSafe 3 charging socket, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a full-size HDMI port, and even an SDXC card slot.

No-one could ever accuse this beauty of feeling cheap

This is all great news. What’s less great is that despite all that, there’s no sign of what remains perhaps the most widely used port of them all: USB-A. It may be old tech, but for better or worse most peripherals still ship with USB-A connections, and the majority of people will need to schlep around a dongle everyday with this laptop. 

Apple is far from the only offender on this count, but it does feel especially egregious given that there’s no way the company could argue that space was the constraint.

Keyboard, trackpad & webcam

Comfortable keyboard with Touch IDWide, haptic trackpadAbove-average 1080p webcam

Excellent keyboards are now non-negotiable in high-end laptops, and the competition from Windows rivals like Dell and Huawei has never been fiercer. Fortunately Apple doesn’t have too much to worry about here, with a light, springy board with a quick and comfortable typing action. 

It’s not quite as smooth as some of the best Windows options, and the speaker grilles to either side mean it’s a little more cramped than others, but those are minor complaints by any measure.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

The keyboard also has a fingerprint sensor built into the power button, allowing you to unlock the laptop and approve App Store purchases and other payments using Touch ID. It’s quick and easy to use, and fast to set up.

The trackpad is wide and generous, and loaded with the same haptic tech Apple has used for years to simulate a click without any actual moving parts. One shame is that Apple hasn’t followed Dell, Huawei, and others in using that haptic feedback to drive additional trackpad controls – such as adjusting volume or brightness – but when it comes to the basics there’s nothing to complain about.

Last time around Apple also upgraded the MacBook Pro’s webcam, and once again this laptop ships with a 1080p camera. That’s a definite selling point when most laptops are still limited to miserable 720p cameras, and the sharp picture here should reduce the need to splurge on a separate, dedicated webcam.

It’s not quite picture-perfect – while footage is crisp, I find the colour range to be off, skewed towards red and orange hues. Still, few built-in webcams are better, so for now chalk this up as a win – especially since iPhone owners now have the option of wirelessly connecting their phone camera up as a source anyway, for an unmistakeable upgrade.

Screen & speakers

14in or 16in screen optionsHigh resolution, mini-LED, 120HzNotch cut into the topPunchy stereo speakers with Spatial Audio

The first thing to get out the way is that, yes, like the previous generation these new MacBook Pro models have a notch in the display.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

A small section of the screen is covered by a small black bar which contains the laptop’s webcam – similar to the design of the iPhone, at least up until the ‘Dynamic Island’ was introduced on last year’s iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.

The notch is ugly, and it is annoying – especially since it doesn’t contain a full Face ID module, making it feel rather unnecessary for a single webcam. That said, you’ll probably forget it’s there pretty quickly, and outside of a handful of apps with expansive menu bars, it doesn’t really ever affect usability.

It helps that if you can look past the notch, this screen is hard not to love. Across either screen size (technically 14.2in or 16.2in, to be precise) you get a rich resolution (3024×1964 on the 14, 3456×2234 on the 16), impressive peak brightness of 1600 nits, and, best of all, a 120Hz refresh rate

Windows manufacturers have been slow to adopt fast refresh rate panels outside of their gaming lines, so this is one area where Apple is ahead of the curve. Few people will take advantage of the spec for gaming on a MacBook of course, but it’s one part of why the laptop as a whole feels so smooth and snappy. 

The notch is ugly, and it is annoying

Then again, one element where Apple is behind Windows rivals is that the company still doesn’t include a touchscreen option. This isn’t as critical to laptops as it is other hardware, but as someone used to occasionally tapping and scrolling with a fingertip, it is a slightly irritating omission.

Specs aside, you can expect rich contrast and bright colours from the screen here, which uses the same mini-LED LCD tech found on the latest iPad Pro models. Tested using our SpyderX calibration tool, it doesn’t appear to be the brightest panel out there, but colour range is excellent: 100% of sRGB, 87% of AdobeRGB, and a mighty 98% of DCI-P3. That puts it among the most colour-accurate panels we’ve tested, though it is beaten by the likes of the Dell XPS 15 and LG Gram 16.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

The bottom line is: it will look great whether you’re working or streaming Netflix, and has the colour accuracy needed for demanding creative tasks.

Audio impresses too, with six speakers that probably deliver the best audio around on a laptop right now – and that’s before you even get into the support for Apple’s Spatial Audio tech. You might use headphones more often than you play tunes out loud from this, but it can deliver when you need it to.

Specs & performance

M2 Pro or M2 Max chips drive excellent performanceFrom 16GB up to 96GB RAMFrom 512GB up to 8TB storage

The headline here is the move to the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, announced alongside these two MacBook Pro models.

These are the latest processors that Apple has designed in-house, and for the moment still off near-unrivalled power and performance for the price.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

There are actually four options here, not two. The M2 Pro is available in two configurations: a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, or a 12-core CPU with 19-core GPU (the model I’ve been testing). Meanwhile the Max always offers the same 12-core CPU, but gives you the choice of a 30-core or 38-core GPU for heavier graphical tasks, along with options for more memory.

Benchmarking scores can be misleading at the best of times, and comparing them between Mac and Windows devices verges deep into apples/oranges territory, but even running basic tests it’s clear how powerful this machine is – and I’ve not even been using an M2 Max.

All that power makes the new MacBook Pro an excellent option for anyone with serious performance needs for work, though of course it remains the case that you can’t really leverage that power for gaming. Apple insists Macs are better than ever for videogames, but we’ll believe that when studios actually start releasing Mac-compatible versions en masse. 

RAM starts from 16GB – what my machine comes equipped with – with options to upgrade to 32GB, 64GB, or even 96GB of memory, though the latter two are only options together with the M2 Max CPU.

Storage can be similarly cavernous. It starts from an already respectable 512GB and ranges all the way up to a whopping 8TB.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Finally, networking tech is essentially the latest around. There’s no 5G option, but Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 will make this nippy and reliable for other connections.

Battery & charging

Outstanding all-day battery lifeFast chargingChoice of MagSafe or USB-C charging

If the pure power of the M2 Pro chip impresses, it’s the battery life that really sets it apart from the competition.

Apple boasts that the laptop can handle up to 18 hours of video playback or 12 hours of web browsing, though in our playback test it actually exceeded that, lasting for almost 24 hours of non-stop video – which means it’s easily capable of lasting a full workday without a top-up unless you’re a particularly heavy user.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

For a real-world example, I’ve been writing this review so far while sitting in a cafe near my home. I’ve been writing for a couple of hours, all on battery, with some light multi-tasking. I just checked, and the laptop is still on 98%.

When it comes to charging, there’s a little more variation. For one, Apple ships the laptop with a variety of chargers: if you opt for the cheapest chip on the 14in you get a 67W power adapter, while upping processing power nets you a 96W charger instead (which is also an upgrade option with the lower spec silicon). Meanwhile any 16in model ships with an even faster 140W charging brick.

I’ve been writing for a couple of hours, all on battery, with some light multi-tasking – the laptop is still on 98%

I was sent the middle-of-the-road 96W charger with my review unit, which offers enough juice to restore 53% of the battery in just half an hour over MagSafe, with a full charge taking a little over an hour. That’s at the faster end of even high-end laptops, so you needn’t feel chained to a power socket for long.

The included charger uses Apple’s updated MagSafe port, with a surprisingly strong magnetic lock to hold the cable in place. If you prefer, you can use just about any sufficiently powerful USB-C charger (or simply swap the cable and keep using Apple’s brick), which would let you top this up with the same charger you may use for your phone, tablet, or Switch.


Ships with macOS VenturaExcellent compatibility with iPhones and iPads

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to hear that the MacBook Pro runs macOS – currently on version 13, Ventura.

It is (whisper it) a little more like Windows

I’ll be honest: I’m a Windows guy, and every time I switch to a Mac I face a steep learning curve as I re-learn where everything is and how it all works.

Ventura’s updates are mostly focussed around multi-tasking and ecosystem compatibility, especially Stage Manager, a new mode that shows all of your open apps along the left-side of the screen, and lets you organise them into groups. It is (whisper it) a little more like Windows, and as a result I’ve found it all the easier to get used to.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

It helps that over the last couple of years Apple has slowly brought macOS and iPadOS closer together, unifying their feature sets and interfaces so that either can work equally well for productivity on the go. 

The interactions between devices go further than that though, with easy options to send files and share screens between almost any modern Apple hardware, and the aforementioned ability to use an iPhone as a webcam. 

Only Huawei’s ecosystem integration comes close, and you’re a hell of a lot more likely to own an iPhone than a Huawei handset, making Apple the de facto market leader here.

Price & availability

Ah, here’s the rub. A MacBook Pro is never cheap, and nothing’s changed here in that regard. 

Prices start from $1,999/£2,149 for the 14in model and $2,499/£2,699 for the 16in, though the company will let you spend up to $6,499/£6,749 for a maxed out version.

You can of course buy it directly from Apple, but check out our guide to the best MacBook Pro 2023 deals for more places to pick one up – often at a better price.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Setting aside the ludicrous peak prices – you’ll know right now if you can possibly justify spending thousands extra on RAM and storage – Apple’s pricing is steep, but not quite uncompetitive.

You’d spend only a little less on a specced out Dell XPS 15 or Huawei MateBook X Pro, and there’s an argument to be made that neither comes close to the Mac on power or battery life. 

More powerful Windows laptops focussed on creative work and gaming exist, but as a rule they’re bulkier than the MacBook Pro – and rarely much cheaper anyway.

That said, if you don’t need piles of power, you should definitely look at one of the cheaper MacBook or MacBook Air models – they’re more compact, and still plenty powerful for day-to-day stuff.

Check out our full ranking of the best laptops for more alternatives.


The 2023 MacBook Pro is only a spec refresh really, but what a spec it is.

The M2 Pro is one of, if not the, most powerful laptop chips we’ve ever tested – and the M2 Max is even faster.

I can find complaints to make. The lack of a USB-A port feels the most obvious, while the notch is a design element only Tim Cook could love – though I have at least come to tolerate it.

Still, for anyone able to work in macOS, it’s hard to beat the MacBook Pro’s performance and power-efficiency, even at Apple’s slightly inflated prices. This is overkill for most of us, but a really lovely laptop for those who can make the most of it.


Apple M2 Pro or M2 Max chipsetUp to 96GB RAMUp to 8TB storage14.2in or 16.2in mini-LED, 120Hz display1080p webcam3x USB-C 4/Thunderbolt 41x HDMI1x SDXC card slot1x 3.5mm headphone jack1x MagSafe 367/96/140W chargerWi-Fi 6EBluetooth 5.3macOS

Apple, Laptops, Mac, MacBook, MacOS

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