Which MacBook Pro should you buy in 2022? Here’s how they compare

Which MacBook Pro should you buy in 2022? Here’s how they compare

May 9, 2022 0 By Michael Potuck

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Powered by the M1 Pro and M1 Max Apple Silicon, the latest MacBook Pro notebooks feature big CPU and GPU improvements, increased RAM, miniLED ProMotion displays, expanded I/O, and much more. Read on for an in-depth comparison of the 14 and 16″ new MacBook Pro vs the 13″ M1 and 16″ Intel machines to help you decide which to pick in 2022.

Update 5/9: New and even existing MacBook Pro orders from Apple are delayed until July for the 14 and 16-inch models. However, certain configurations are available from retailers like AmazonAdoramaB&H Photo, and Best Buy at the time of writing. But inventory does appear to be dwindling with supply chain constraints.

Apple impressed with the M1 MacBook Pro, Air, and Mac mini in late 2020 and the next-level Pro notebooks that landed in late 2021 feature the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

That includes RAM up to 64GB, CPUs with up to 10-cores, and GPUs with up to 32-cores. Other additions see a 1080p webcam, all-new Liquid Retina XDR Display with mini-LED backlighting, updated I/O array with HDMI, SD, and MagSafe returning, and much more.

Below we’ve got the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro notebooks in the middle columns throughout the comparison with the 13-inch MacBook Pro on the far left and 2019 Intel 16-inch MacBook Pro on the far right.

And if you’re on the fence between the 14-inch MacBook Pro and the 13-inch MacBook Air, check out that detailed comparison.

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro: Which should you buy in 2022?

14 and 16″ MacBook Pro vs earlier MacBooks

New MacBook Pro vs old – Hardware comparison

13″ MacBook Pro (2020)
14″ MacBook Pro (2021)
16″ MacBook Pro (2021)
16″ MacBook Pro Intel (2019)
Processor
M1 – 8-core
M1 Pro or M1 Max – 8 or 10-core
M1 Pro or M1 Max – 10-core
Up to Intel Core i9 – 8-core
Storage
Up to 2TB
Up to 8TB
Up to 8TB
Up to 8TB
RAM
8 or 16GB
16 to 64GB
16 to 64GB
16 to 64GB
Graphics
8-core
Up to 32-core
Up to 32-core
Up to AMD Radeon Pro 5600M
Neural engine
16-core
16-core
16-core

FaceTime camera
720p
1080p
1080p
720p
Speakers
Stereo speakers with high dynamic range
6-speaker high-fidelity
6-speaker high-fidelity
6-speaker high-fidelity
Mics
Studio-quality 3-mic array
Studio-quality 3-mic array
Studio-quality 3-mic array
Studio-quality 3-mic array

There’s a lot to take in but for starters, Apple says the M1 Pro offers 70% faster performance than the M1 and 2x faster GPU performance than the M1. And the M1 Pro has 200GB/s memory bandwidth.

Beyond that, Apple says the M1 Max offers 4x faster GPU performance than the M1 and comes with an incredible 400GB/s memory bandwidth.

Both the M1 Pro and M1 Max feature up to 10-core CPUs made up of 8 performance cores and 2 efficiency cores (base model 14-inch with M1 Pro has an 8-core CPU).

Overall, here’s a closer look at what you get with the M1 Pro and M1 Max:

Both the M1 Pro and M1 Max feature media engines to offer hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and ProRes RAW support. But that’s supercharged with the M1 Max with double the ProRes encode and decode engines and double the video encode engines.

If having the maximum GPU power for your workflow is a priority (including support for 4 external displays vs 2), you’ll want to upgrade to the M1 Max. If not, the M1 Pro should be plenty powerful.

New MacBook Pro vs old – Display comparison

A major advancement with both of the new MacBook Pro notebooks is the Liquid Retina XDR Display. It features double the sustained brightness via mini-LED backlighting, ProMotion with up to 120Hz refresh rates, an increased resolution/pixel per inch density, and greatly reduced bezels.

13″ MacBook Pro (2020)
14″ MacBook Pro (2021)
16″ MacBook Pro (2021)
16″ MacBook Pro Intel (2019)
Actual screen size
13.3″
14.2″
16.2″
16″
Resolution
2560 x 1600
3024 x 1964
3456 x 2234
3072 x 1920
Aspect Ratio
16:10
16:10 + notch
16:10 + notch
16:10
PPI
227
254
254
226
Nits (brightness)
500
1000 sustained, up to 1600 peak
1000 sustained, up to 1600 peak
500
Retina display




Liquid Retina XDR display




ProMotion (up to 120Hz)




mini-LED backlit




True Tone




P3 wide color



Notably, the new MacBook Pros come with a notch at the top center of the display for the 1080p FaceTime camera. But unlike the iPhone, the notch doesn’t include Face ID hardware/support on the latest MacBook Pro notebooks.

But all-in-all you’re getting much slimmer bezels around the whole perimeter.

New MacBook Pro vs old – I/O comparison

Another big change with the all-new MacBook Pro notebooks is the return of legacy I/O. Apple has included an HDMI port, SDXC card reader, and the return of MagSafe (officially called MagSafe 3).

Apple has also done away with the Touch Bar and with the compromise of more ports overall, there are 3 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C 4 ports instead of 4.

Another big benefit of the M1 Pro and M1 Max is external display support. The M1 Pro supports up to 2 6K displays at 60Hz and the M1 Max offers support for 3 6K 60Hz displays plus 1 4K 60Hz display.

One interesting caveat with the HDMI port, it is limited to 2.0 instead of using the more capable 2.1 standard.

13″ MacBook Pro (2020)
14″ MacBook Pro (2021)
16″ MacBook Pro (2021)
16″ MacBook Pro Intel (2019)
Magic Keyboard




Touch ID




Touch Bar




USB-C/Thunderbolt ports
2
3
3
4
HDMI




SDXC card reader




MagSafe charging




Bluetooth
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11.ax)
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11.ax)
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11.ax)
Wi-Fi 5 (802.11.ac)
External display support
1 external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz
Up to 2 external displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz (M1 Pro) or Up to 3 external displays with up to 6K resolution and 1 external display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz (M1 Max)
Up to 2 external displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz (M1 Pro) or Up to 3 external displays with up to 6K resolution and 1 external display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz (M1 Max)
Up to 2 displays with 6K resolution at 60Hz or
Up to 4 displays with 4K resolution at 60Hz

Size, weight, and finish comparison

The new MacBook Pro notebooks weigh more than their predecessors but considering you’re getting larger screens, a whole lot more power, and more connectivity, the minor weight gain feels very reasonable.

Physical dimensions are quite close but again the new machines are a touch larger on the whole. As usual for the MacBook Pro lineup, available are silver and space gray.

13″ MacBook Pro (2020)
14″ MacBook Pro (2021)
16″ MacBook Pro (2021)
16″ MacBook Pro Intel (2019)
Weight
3 pounds (1.4 kg)
3.5 pounds (1.6 kg)
4.7 pounds (2.1 kg)
4.3 pounds (2.0 kg)
Thickness
0.61 inch (1.56 cm)
0.61 inch (1.55 cm)
0.66 inch (1.68 cm)
0.64 inch (1.62 cm)
Width
11.97 inches (30.31 cm)
12.31 inches (31.26 cm)
14.01 inches (35.57 cm)
14.09 inches (35.79 cm)
Depth
8.36 inches (21.24 cm)
8.71 inches (22.12 cm)
9.77 inches (24.81 cm)
9.68 inches (24.59 cm)
Display size
13.3 inches
14.2 inches
16.2 inches
16 inches
Finishes
Silver or space gray
Silver or space gray
Silver or space gray
Silver or space gray

Battery life comparison

Battery life is impressive with the new machines. But while the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro offer best-in-class performance per watt, the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro will have the longest life when it comes to wireless web use.

As you can see below, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro runs circles around the 2019 Intel model with 10 hours longer video playback and 3 hours longer wireless web use.

13″ MacBook Pro (2020)
14″ MacBook Pro (2021)
16″ MacBook Pro (2021)
16″ MacBook Pro Intel (2019)
Wireless web battery
17 hours
11 hours
14 hours
11 hours
Video playback
20 hours
17 hours
21 hours
11 hours
Included power adapter
61W USB-C
67W or 96W USB-C + MagSafe
140W USB-C + MagSafe
96W USB-C
Battery capacity
58.2Wh
70Wh
100Wh
100Wh
Fast charging



Another benefit with the new notebooks is fast charging that gives 50% battery in just 30 minutes. In most use cases, it looks like the new MacBook Pros should offer all-day battery life.

16-inch MacBook Pro charger currently only charges at full power via MagSafe

Price comparison

The jump in price from the 13″ M1 MacBook Pro to the 14 or 16″ is notable, but you’re getting a lot for the money.

Also, when you look at the base price of the 16″ M1 Pro MacBook Pro is only $100 more than the 2019 Intel 16″ MacBook Pro.

Model/price
13″ MacBook Pro (2020)
14″ MacBook Pro (2021)
16″ MacBook Pro (2021)
16″ MacBook Pro Intel (2019)
256 / 8GB
$1,299



512 / 8GB
$1,499



256 / 16GB
$1,499



512 / 16GB
$1,699
$1,999
$2,499
$2,399
1TB / 16GB
$1,899
$2,499
$2,699
$2,799
1TB / 32GB

$2,899
$3,499
$3,199
Custom builds
Up to $2,299
Up to $5,899
Up to $6,099
Up to $5,799

14 and 16″ MacBook Pro vs earlier MacBooks wrap-up

If you’re interested in the new MacBook Pro, you probably have a good idea of what specs are best for your workflow. And it’s really nice to see the same custom build options with both the 14 and 16-inch models.

But if you’re on the fence, remember that you can get the same 10-core processor with the M1 Pro and M1 Max. The big difference you’re paying for is the extra GPU power including the more capable media engine and increased external display support with the M1 Max chip builds.

And when it comes to RAM, if you have medium to heavy workflows and plan to keep your new MacBook Pro for multiple years, going with 32GB or more will likely be worth the $400+ upgrade.

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About the Author



Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.

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