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M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16: A Review of Apple’s Upgraded Creative Workhorse

Except for a new processor inside, the M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16 is nearly identical to the 2021 MacBook Pro 16. And, to be clear, there is no compelling reason to purchase the 2023 model if you currently own the 2021 model. Probably many people were considering doing so. However, if you were tempted, consider this a nice push in your way. Your  2021 model is still adequate.

Apple’s 2023 upgrade to its top M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16-inch range complies with the company’s standard procedure. It is a minor improvement from the more extensively modified 2021 model, with notable enhancements to the current generation of M2-class CPUs, Wi-Fi 6E, and HDMI 2.1, which includes compatibility for 8K/60Hz and 4K/240Hz screens, as well as variable frame rates. The blend of old and modern improves the seasoned laptop’s capabilities as a powerful machine for creativity and development work.

M2 Pro Macbook Pro 16 Display and Speakers

M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16: A Review of Apple's Upgraded Creative Workhorse

The M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16 isn’t new in every way, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great in every way. Among its many notable features is the Liquid Retina XDR display, which is an absolute masterclass in how laptops should display content

It may take some time to decode that panel name since it’s very much written in Apple language. In Cupertino, the ‘XDR’ bit refers to the company’s Mini LED and high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities. 

After all, Apple is not new to Mini LED backlighting; it’s the kind used in the most recent iPad Pro models, and it employs, as the name implies, small LED backlights to provide big brightness while simultaneously being big on accuracy. Because these LEDs are so tiny, they can provide excellent contrast, with great black depths and strong contrast, as well as a peak brightness of up to 1600 nits. That’s equivalent to top-tier finest TV quality, but on your laptop.

It’s also a crucial feature because you can’t discern the difference between the actual black in the panel and the display’s black bezel ring.

And while this M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16 has a notched display, which means there’s a piece up top where the cameras are located, this almost completely disappears from visibility in many programs that ‘fill in’ the edges on the screen. Sure, People usually prefer not to have a notched screen design, but eventually, it kind of disappears from consciousness after only just a few hours of being used.

The resolution is not 4K, but the 3456 x 2234 pixels across the diagonal of the 16-inch screens (the 14-inch model is 3024 x 1964, giving the same thickness and hence clarity at a relatively small scale) provide sharp pictures, which is sufficient for many creatives. After all, with all of the editing tools available, you can alter a Full HD movie pixel-by-pixel. ‘Full HD,’ you say, laughing. And, sure, the M2 Pro here will easily handle 4K and 8K material without hesitation. But, at the very least, it scales neatly to fit on the screen.

The built-in audio capability of the 2023 M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16 is rather excellent. You’ve never heard a laptop produce such believable low-frequency tones, which are truly transformational for anything, whether spoken language or music.

The incorporation of built-in Spatial Audio capability is part of what makes these speakers so brilliant. So, even if you’re not using headphones, you’ll enjoy a truly three-dimensional experience while listening to music in the object-based format or watching an Atmos-mixed program or movie. And even when I’m not dabbling with Atmos, this six-speaker setup just sounds so clear, clean, and powerful.

In addition to Bluetooth wireless (and Spatial Audio for AirPods (3rd Gen), AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max headphones), there’s additionally a 3.5mm connector if you want to plug in, and HDMI 2.1 compatibility also offers multi-channel audio output.

The M2 Pro Macbook Pro 16 Battery 

M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16: A Review of Apple's Upgraded Creative Workhorse

MagSafe rapid charging is new for these devices. This could be the most noticeable enhancement on this laptop. You won’t have to connect that MagSafe cable in everyday use, since battery performance remains so fast and battery life so long that you’ll only connect it at the end of the working day, just like you’d plug in your smartphone—or at the beginning of the day when you want extra power.

Apple promises that the M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16 14-inch model will last up to 18 hours of movie playback, and the 16-inch model will last up to 22 hours—the greatest battery life ever in a Mac laptop. That’s one hour longer than the previous-generation model for the 16-inch laptop.

CPU, GPU, of M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16

M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16: A Review of Apple's Upgraded Creative Workhorse

Because the previous 14-inch MacBook Pro provided consumers the option of the M1 Pro or M1 Max, it stands to reason that the next version will do the same, but on a new generation of processors.

The basic M2 Pro features a 10-core CPUT with six performance cores and four economy cores. A 12-core model with two more performance cores is available as an alternative.

This is combined with a 16-core Neural Engine that is 40% quicker than the M1.

On the GPU front, the basic chip has a 16-core GPU, whilst the 12-core CPU has a 19-core GPU.

Both M2 Pro models include 200GB/s memory bandwidth, as well as the Media Processor. Sometimes this component offers hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and ProRes RAW coding and decoding, as well as specialized decode and encode engines and ProRes encode and decode engines.

If the M2 Pro isn’t enough, there is always the M2 Max, which has greater memory bandwidth, 30c-re and 38-core GPUs, and a more powerful Media Processor.

Then there’s consolidated memory, which is utilized by all sections of the chip, including the CPU and GPU, and has a massive pool of memory to reduce duplication of data. The M2 Pro versions start at 16GB and can be upgraded to 32 GB.

Other memory sizes are available, including 64GB and 96GB, but you must use the M2 Max chips for them.

We compared the new basic model M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16 to the step-up M1 Pro 14-inch MacBook Pro throughout the testing. Both computers include 10-core CPUs and 16-core GPUs. Despite the fact that it is comparing an enhanced older model to the new base model, the M2 Pro excels.

The Keyboard for the M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16

M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16: A Review of Apple's Upgraded Creative Workhorse

The keyboard of the M2 Pro MacBook Pro, like the casing, has not yet changed. The Magic Keyboard remains an outstanding substitute for the problematic Butterfly technology.

The Touchpad is still missing, therefore there are 12 multifunction keys at the top of the 78-key keyboard, as well as a Fingerprint Sensor button in the top-right corner.

Underneath, the Multitouch trackpad provides excellent cursor control, as well as pressure-sensitive functionality such as Force clicks and Multi-Touch gestures.

M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16 – Camera and Audio

M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16: A Review of Apple's Upgraded Creative Workhorse

The notch conceals a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, which is identical to the previous release. It is supported by a graphics processor, which enhances the image further than the camera’s regular feed using Apple’s synthetic photography expertise.

This continues to be good, and it is mostly unaltered from the adoption of the same innovation in 2021.

Just on the audio front, a six-speaker sound system with high-fidelity speakers and force-canceling woofers is available. The speakers have a broad stereo sound and support Spatial Audio when playing music or movies with Dolby Atmos.

They sound amazing on the M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16 and somewhat better on the  MacBook Pro. In such a way that 2021 reviews from Windows-centric sources proclaim them the finest speakers, they have ever experienced on a laptop.

If you have AirPods with Spatial Audio and usually start tracking, you can utilize them with the MacBook Pro as well.

Audiophiles might make use of the 3.5mm headphone jack, which is a gradual implementation of headphones.

For audio capture, a trio of studio-quality mics in an array with a quality device ratio and directed spatial multiplexing are used.

Wrapping It Up

The first release of the M1 Pro/Max MacBook Pro almost two years ago generated a lot of buzz. It wasn’t merely a new design. It was a fresh concept for the product line, with a new processor, appearance, and features.

In comparison to that announcement, the M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16 update seems low-key, if not banal. Perhaps this is unfair because the 2021 version was so wonderful, and Apple didn’t need to modify anything. However, essential improvements such as HDMI 2.1, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.3, in addition to the upgraded processor, make the new 16-inch Pro an upgrade-worthy product.

In conclusion, the M2 Pro MacBook Pro 16 is a worthy successor to the M1. If you continue to use an Intel-based laptop and have enough money to buy a new MacBook Pro, there’s just one valid reason not to: you have critical software that won’t operate natively on Apple hardware. And if that’s the scenario, you’ll have to figure out how to proceed since Apple silicon is here to stay. The quicker you can become a part of the movement, the better.

If you currently own an M1 Pro or M1 Max MacBook Pro, you could consider waiting for the M3 or M4 model to arrive unless that 20% speed gain is critical.

Whereas the HDMI update is significant, you’ve probably already made adjustments to your display setup to make it function. And you won’t need to upgrade your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for quite some time. However, if you have a few thousand dollars saved up and you have been expecting this era to arrive, your investment will be effectively invested.

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