If you have a new, home-based working life that requires better portability than your current laptop but pro-level performance – perhaps as you spending more time creating from your garden or sofa – take a look at the new 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Rumours of a screen-size upgrade as seen on it’s big sister, which went from 15.6 inches to 16 last year, proved to be oh-so-much Internet gossip. Instead the 2,560-x-1,600, 500 nits screen remains the same as its predecessor – but there’s a much-needed keyboard upgrade and performance boost focussed around Intel’s latest line of Core processors, the 10th-gen Core.
2020’s 13-inch MBP gains a Magic Keyboard based on the same scissor mechanism as introduced on last year’s 16-inch model. We haven’t had a chance to try the 13-inch model’s keyboard yet – but in our review of the 16-inch model we said that:
“The new keyboard is a definite improvement – and not only if it fixes the previous keyboard’s reported reliability issues. It’s very comfortable to type on, the keys have a deeper ‘travel’ and it feels more like the Magic Keyboard from desktop Macs that it’s based on.”
The return of a physical Escape key will also please users who hated that this was integrated into the Touch Bar when that was first introduced to the MBP 13.
The introduction of 2GHz or 2.3GHz 10th-gen Intel Core processors should gives the MBP 13 a modest-to-moderate performance boost. In its press release, Apple quotes a huge jump – up to 2.8x performance – but that’s based on dual-core processors from two generations of MacBook Pro ago. It’s worth noting that not all the processors on offer are 10th-gen – the entry level 13-inch MBPs have 8th-gen chips at speeds of 1.4GHz or 1.7GHz.
Where you will see big improvements in the MacBook Pro 13 over its predecessor is in graphics. Apple claims that the integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics makes the 2020 model up to 80% faster than the 2019 model. It also allows you to connect it to Apple’s Pro Display XDR at 6K – though we can’t think of a use case where this would happen.
The base amount of storage as doubled from 128GB to 256GB – topping out at 4TB (also doubled, from 2TB). The base RAM is the same, 8GB – though it’s faster at 3,733MHz and maxes out at 32GB.
Pricing begins at £1,299/US$1,299 for a model with a 1.4GHz, 8th-gen Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. The entry-level 10th-gen model costs £1,799/$1,799 and has a 2GHz Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB storage.
Maxed out with a 2.3GHz i7 processor, 32GB of RAM and 4TB storage, the 13-inch MacBook Pro comes to £3,599/$3,599 – though £600/$600 of that is upgrading from 2TB of storage to 4TB, so realistically you’d stick with 2TB for £2,999/$2,999.