Apple MacBook Pro 13 (2020) review
Quick verdict: The Apple MacBook Pro 13 sits in an interesting space between the more affordable everyday MacBook Air and the beefier 16 inch MacBook Pro Model. It's a very good choice for those who want power and portability – as long as you buy the right model.
- Easier to carry around than the 16 inch version
- Keyboard is back to being good
- Some quite good processors on offer
- Lower-spec models feature older processors
- Could use port variety
- Battery life lags compared to Windows ultraportables
Apple’s upgrade cadence for its MacBook lines has been odd over the years. At some points, Apple leads the way grabbing the latest Intel processors for its Pro-grade laptops. At other times it lags behind its Windows competition, sometimes by a very wide margin indeed. With Apple reportedly eyeing off a move to its own ARM-based architecture for its Mac lines, the 2020 models could be amongst the very last to rely on Intel at all.
For the 2020 MacBook Pro line, that means a bit of an each-way bet, with the cheapest MacBook Pro models featuring processors that are quite old, as well as a few more cutting-edge models if you’re willing to pony up the cash for them. Along with the switch to Apple’s “newer” Magic Keyboard, the end result can be a very pleasing model, although it’s worth sorting out exactly what you want as to whether it’s the best Mac for your needs.
- 13.3 inch display
- magic keyboard
- limited ports
- 10th Gen Intel Core processors perform well but lower end models only get 8th-gen
- Battery life trades off for power
- A good portable Pro machine at the upper end
Should you buy it?
It’s hard to make a compelling case for the entry level MacBook Pro 13. At that price point if you didn’t need the processing power, you’d get better value – and a lighter heft – from a MacBook Air, especially considering both have the same number of expansion ports.
For the upper tier models, however, there’s definitely a use case for Apple’s smaller MacBook Pro model, because carrying the MacBook Pro 16 around for any serious period of time quickly gets to be annoying, if not outright painful. That’s mostly going to be true if you’re upgrading from a MacBook model with more than a few years on it, however. As always, aiming for a two to three year refresh cycle for your laptops should ensure you get the best performance and value out of your tech purchases.
Pricing and availability
Apple has greatly simplified its MacBook range in recent years, and there’s now only two other MacBook alternatives in the market. You could opt for the lighter MacBook Air, which is a lesser performer but also somewhat cheaper.
Or you could go all-out on the MacBook Pro 16, which features not only a larger display (still “retina” by Apple’s reckoning) but also even better processor and memory options if that’s important to you.
Images: Alex Kidman
Note: We tested the Australian version of this product which is identical to the local model.