The launch of Apple’s next-generation Apple Silicon in the M2 chip should have ushered in a wave of positive improvements in its consumer-facing laptops. While the M2 MacBook Air has yet to be released, the M2 MacBook Pro is now on sale† And it is very difficult if not impossible to recommend.
Those looking for a new laptop with a modern design should wait for the next MacBook Air. Those looking for performance should look to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops that still have an edge over the entry-level MacBook Pro. Bad reviews for the M2 MacBook Pro were supported this week by teardowns on the laptops, slower storage options, and both overheating and throttling issues when performance is demanded.
This is why you should ignore Apple’s M2 MacBook Pro.
The various entry-level MacBook Pro launch reviews has more or less paired the machine with the Intel-powered MacBooks of 2016. Yes, the laptop has the new M2 Apple Silicon which certainly offers more performance than those Intel machines, but that’s about it. Everything else, from the tired screen with massive bezels, to the lack of I/O ports, to the lingering misguided belief in the touch bar, screams this is a Frankenstein laptop from what Apple had left on the shelves.
That point is powered by iFixit. The team has performed one of its ever-popular teardowns on the new macOS laptop and the findings are grim… Apple essentially renamed the 2020 model, replaced a few minor components and replaced the M1 processor with the M2 processor.
Apple has also locked down the hardware so that even if the M2 and M1 cards fit in either case, they won’t recognize the new keyboard, trackpad, or TouchID circuitry. The modularity that could have been provided here, and the benefits it would bring from a recycling and upgrading point of view, has been ignored.
iFixit also confirmed the move to a single SSD chip for the 256GB version on the M2 machine, which offers a performance reduction of nearly fifty percent compared to the dual SSD chip 256GB version of the M1 MacBook Pro.
Given the Pro designation, it’s disappointing that the M2 MacBook Pro gets hotter and macOS has to slow down performance when placed under significant load. Vadim Yuryev of Max Tech did tests on both the M1 and M2 models and asked them to create a video file that Yurev acknowledges is a very demanding field test… but this is a MacBook Pro and consumers expect now great stuff from Apple’s “Pro” label. What they get is disappointing†
“We exported 8K Canon RAW and saw temperatures rise to 108°C, more than we’ve ever seen on a Mac, even an Intel Mac. whole time, so there was nothing the MacBook Pro could do to cool itself down except for heavy throttle back on the M2 chip. This led to much worse performance than the M1 Pro chip, which didn’t have to push its fans to their limits.”
This is significantly worse than the M1, which in the same test saw the CPU and GPU running at full power for the full test and the cooling fans working as advertised, negating the need to throttle the chip.
Apple’s decision to go ahead with this MacBook Pro is a brave one† There was an argument that delivering an M1 MacBook Pro that looked just like the Intel-based MacBook Pro laptops created an air of continuity in 2020. But with the design of the larger MacBook Pro, launched in 2021, and the MacBook Air from 2022 that followed in mold, the M2 MacBook Pro is a design legacy†
The M1 MacBook Pro had a slight power advantage over the MacBook Air – perhaps enough to satisfy the marketing department, but those looking for a really powerful Mac laptop would go for the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro. With the revelation that the M2 is little more than the first M1 laptop with the new chip inside, that any demand for significant power will lead to overheating and limitation, the argument around consumers asking for a little more power is, blown away.
It’s hard to recommend this MacBook Pro. With the M2 MacBook Air released later this month, Apple has a better offering for consumers and a better offering for professionals.
Why anyone would buy this MacBook Pro is a mystery. But not such a big mystery why Apple decided to release it.
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