Apple MacBook Pro 13 M2 (2022) Review – Reviewed

Updated July 20, 2022
The 2022 MacBook Pro 13 (available at B&H) has a single improvement over the 2020 version: the M2 processor, which is faster, more efficient, and helps extend battery life up to 19 hours. However, its performance does not leap ahead of the pricier MacBook Pro 14 with an M1 Pro processor, and the upcoming MacBook Air 2022 has a lot of perks over the MacBook Pro 13’s unchanged body; you’ll miss out on the MacBook Air’s refreshed look, bigger display, 1080p webcam, and physical function row. Unfortunately, the MacBook Pro 13 now sits in an awkward position in the Apple lineup.
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Review body
About the Apple MacBook Pro 13 M2
What we like
What we don’t like
Should you buy it?
Related content
All-day battery life
Fast performance
Good build quality
720p webcam
Thick display bezels
No function keys
The new MacBook Pro 13 comes with 8GB, 16GB, or 24GB of memory.
We tested the Macbook Pro 13 laptop with the base configuration:
The 2022 M2 MacBook Pro 13 comes in several configurations starting at $1,299. While all configurations come with 8 cores on the M2 processor, you can choose between an 8-core and 10-core graphics processor. For memory, there are 8GB, 16GB, and 24GB options. Storage is the last configurable spec, ranging from 256GB to 2TB.
The M2 processor is a bump up from the M1, but it sits beneath the M1 Pro.
Compared to the M1 processor in the 2020 MacBook Pro 13, the M2 processor in this year’s model is faster and more efficient. Among Apple’s lineup, it sits squarely between the M1 and the M1 Pro for performance. Across several multi-core benchmarks, the M2 sees anywhere between 9-20% percent performance increases over the M1, and it sits about 10% below the M1 Pro. However, the M2’s individual cores are seven percent faster than both M1 processors’ cores according to our Geekbench 5 benchmarks.
Rendering images in Blender using the M2 processor is a smooth affair. It took four minutes and 32 seconds to render a model of a car, which is 40 seconds faster than the M1 and 15 seconds slower than the M1 Pro. Considering the MacBook Pro 13 M2 is almost a thousand dollars cheaper, that’s impressively close.
The M2 MacBook Pro 13 is well suited for smaller video projects and heavier productivity tasks, although it will be slower than the M1 Pro MacBook Pro 14. Graphics performance is similar to the core performance—the M2 is slightly faster than the M1, but it’s slower than the M1 Pro. While the M2’s cores are undeniably faster than the M1’s cores, it does not make up for the difference in multi-core performance between the 8-core M2 and the 10-core M1 Pro. More cores still mean more power in the Apple lineup.
The body comes with two Thunderbolt ports and a headphone jack. There is no dedicated charger port.
There’s no denying that Apple MacBooks consistently rank among the best when it comes to battery life. To test battery life, we set the laptop’s display to 200 nits of brightness and rotate through dozens of web pages on Google Chrome, which gives us a good idea of how long the laptop will last for productivity usage. When we ran our battery test, the M2 processor squeezed 19 hours out of its battery before the laptop powered down. That’s five hours longer than the 2020 M1 MacBook Pro 13, which already had impressive battery life.
You could fly across the Pacific Ocean and you’d still have a workday’s worth of battery left. Its battery life is leagues ahead of the M1 Pro MacBook Pro 14’s 10 hours, and the only laptop that’s managed to beat the M2 MacBook Pro 13 is the M1 Max MacBook Pro 16, which lasted a revolutionary 22 hours and 32 minutes.
There’s slightly more customization than last generation, but it pales in comparison to the MacBook Pro 14.
Many people missed the option to stuff more than 16GB of memory in their MacBooks when the M1 MacBook Pro 13 and M1 MacBook Air debuted. The M2 chip supports up to 24GB of RAM, which will give MacBooks more breathing room when you’re multitasking or working with active memory. Coupled with up to 2TB of storage drive space, the M2 MacBook Pro 13 serves as a great video editing machine for frequent travelers.
The MacBook Pro 13 still lacks a physical function row.
The only difference between the 2020 MacBook 13 and the 2022 MacBook 13 is the processor. Some say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but it hardly seems like a tall ask to at least try to improve on little details. We still have the same quarter-inch thick bezels that make the display smaller, the same 720p webcam, the same controversial Touchbar, the same two Thunderbolt ports, and no distinct charging port.
If you already own an M1 MacBook Pro 13, the modest performance bump does not feel like it’s enough to justify buying a whole new $1,300+ computer, especially when you consider all the improvements Apple made in the M2 MacBook Air. If you can wait a couple of weeks to buy a laptop, you can already preorder the M2 MacBook Air, which ships in early August.
There’s nothing egregiously wrong with the MacBook Pro 13’s body, but it looks dated compared to the other MacBooks.
The M2 MacBook Pro 13 greatly improves on battery life on the 2020 M1 version—it adds five more hours for a total of 19 hours. But you can expect the M2 MacBook Air to provide a similar battery life since they share the same processor and general specs. With a 52.6Whr battery, the MacBook Air could have slightly less battery life than the MacBook Pro 13, but it should still easily beat the 12-hour mark set by the M1 MacBook Air.
The MacBook Air also has a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina Display, a 1080p webcam, and a more modern design, which means you’ll get better specs for $100 less. Springing for the pricier laptop only makes sense if you need the slightly larger 58.2Whr battery on the M2 MacBook Pro 13 or if you’re a devout Touch Bar user.
The MacBook Pro 13 feels dead on arrival.
The new MacBook Pro 13 (available at B&H) is in a weird spot, trapped with a body that now feels dated compared to the sleeker MacBook Pro 14, and even the cheaper MacBook Air. On the other hand, it’s still a great laptop with more than enough power to run productivity apps and some light video editing without sacrificing its 19-hour battery life.
For the MacBook Pro 13’s price, you can get Windows laptops just as sleek and powerful, like the Lenovo Yoga 9i or MSI Summit E16 Flip, with 4K touch screens, but you simply won’t get two days’ worth of usage on one charge. If you can wait for a couple of weeks for the M2 MacBook Air (which is available for pre-order), you can get a cheaper Mac with the same performance, a slightly larger screen, slimmer body, a 1080p webcam, and a physical function key row. Yes, the MacBook Air reportedly has less battery life (we have yet to test this ourselves—keep an eye out for our review!), but if the M1 MacBook Pro 13 and MacBook Air have taught us anything, you’ll still be getting more than 12 hours of use off a single charge.
For a laptop with “pro” in the name, the MacBook Pro 13 lacks a pro feel. It’s not much slower than the MacBook Pro 14, but it’s missing the features that would put it above the 2022 MacBook Air. Aside from the battery life, there is little reason to consider the MacBook Pro 13 over the Air. Leave the M2 MacBook Pro 13 for Touch Bar enthusiasts.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Adrien Ramirez
Staff Writer
Adrien is a staff writer for Reviewed, mainly focused on reviewing laptops and other consumer tech. During his free time, he's usually wandering around Hyrule.
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