It comes with 256GB of storage, but you can upgrade to another model with an additional graphics core and 512GB. Unless you need more storage, the extra core isn’t worth the jump in price. Instead, spend the extra $200 for 16GB of RAM, which will let you run more apps at once without slowing down. My biggest gripe with this machine? The 720p webcam isn’t great. The M1 and M2 Macs originally only supported one external monitor.
For power-hungry fans of outlets
Want the most powerful MacBooks with Apple silicone? Look no further than the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros (9/10, WIRED recommends)—if you can stomach the $2,000 starting price. You can choose to outfit with either Apple’s new M2 Pro or M2 Max processors.
Both models have the same chassis as their predecessors, which come with small LED displays (delivering deeper blacks and richer colors like the iPad Pro), a 120Hz refresh rate for smoother displays, and a physical row of function keys in place of the Touch Bar (complete with Touch ID button). 1080p webcam and six-speaker audio system. You’ll also get a variety of ports including HDMI 2.1, three USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, an SD card slot, a high-impedance headphone jack, and a MagSafe charging port. Apple has also added Wi-Fi 6E support along with Bluetooth 5.3.
My choice of processor choice is much more powerful than most people will need. If you work mostly through a web browser and write documents, these devices are overkill and you should stick to the MacBook Air. Edit 4K videos? Rendering 3D models in CAD? music production? That’s what these machines are for.
WIRED reviewer Adam Speight tested the 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 Max chip. It put the device through its paces by adding 4K footage, 3D effects, and image files to a project in Adobe Premiere Pro. Results? Smooth playback (without the need to reduce the quality of the footage to avoid blurring) and fast export time – proving to be an excellent device for handling graphically intensive production work. And the M2 Pro-powered 14-inch MacBook Pro delivered smooth performance when subjected to a slightly similar stress test (such as editing raw RED footage via Final Cut) without any stutter or hiccups.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Max has exclusive access to High Power Mode, which boosts performance for more graphics-intensive projects like editing 8K footage. The larger body lends itself to better airflow and cooling, and it also beats the 14-inch model on battery life. During intense workloads, the 14-inch MacBook Pro lasted two hours on battery while the 16-inch reached three to four hours. Browsing the web, we got through about 12 hours on the larger MacBook while the smaller model only hit about half that.
If you’re stuck on the exact combo you want to use, we recommend the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro chip for those who want a big screen and longer battery life. For average content creators, the M2 Pro paired with either size will suffice—the 14-inch MacBook Pro is similar in size to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, making it easier to travel with, but the 16-inch MacBook Pro could look great. We’d suggest staying away from the 14-inch model with the M2 Max chip—the smaller battery paired with the power-hungry processor won’t result in the best battery life.
If you want the Touch Bar
The 13-inch MacBook Pro (7/10, WIRED review) with the M2 falls into an awkward spot. It has the same processor as the MacBook Air (our top pick) and offers no major hardware upgrades (except for the fact that it has a fan, which I’ll get to in a second). It still comes with the same 13.3-inch display, 720p webcam, and two Thunderbolt USB-C ports. One small change? There’s support for high-impedance headphones in the audio jack, so you can get a little more fidelity if you have a nice pair of wired headphones.
What makes this device unique from the MacBook Air is the fan, which allows the processor to get a little warmer and increase power over a longer period of time. This helps if you’re working on professional tasks like video editing but can’t afford to spend the premium Apple charges on the larger Pro models. Other perks include slightly longer battery life through the Air and the Touch Bar at the top of the keyboard (if that’s your thing). It’s the only MacBook Apple now sells with a Touch Bar. The laptop is slightly heavier (3 pounds vs. 2.7 pounds), but it matches the Air’s size and is still slim.