Last week we talked about the news of the Mac mini and the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro. On Monday we posted our reviews of the new M2 Pro Mac mini and 16-inch MacBook Pro. So on today’s show, we’re going to dive a bit deeper into these products and talk about our experiences.
This is episode 825 with Jason Cross, Michael Simon, and Roman Loyola.
Listen to episode 825 on Apple Podcasts
Listen to episode 825 on Spotify
Click on the links below for more information.
- Mac mini (M2 Pro) review: The right upgrades at the wrong price
- 5 reasons to upgrade your 2021 MacBook Pro to an M2 Pro or M2 Max
- 6-inch MacBook Pro review: More speed and more screens
Apple Mac mini (M2 Pro, 2023)
Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (M2 Pro, 2023)
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Transcript for episode 825: Why you should buy the new Mac mini or MacBook Pro
RL: Apple’s new M2 Pro is here and we’ve had our hands on it. In this episode of the Macworld Podcast, we talk about the performance of the new chip, our experiences with the new Macs,
and whether you should run out and buy the new Mac mini or MacBook Pro, or if you should wait for something better to come along. Stay tuned.
Welcome to the Macworld Podcast. I’m Roman Loyola [RL] here with Jason Cross [JC].
JC: Good morning.
MS: And Michael Simon [MS].
MS: Hello, sir.
RL: Last week, we talked about the news of the new Mac mini and the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro. On Monday, we posted our reviews of those two products. So on today’s show, we’re gonna dive a bit deeper into these two new Macs and talk about our experiences. Jason did the review of the M2 Pro Mac mini and I did the M2 Pro MacBook Pro. And since those both have the M2 Pro, maybe we should talk about the chip first. Then we can dive into the specific Macs.
JC: Yeah, that’s a good idea. For our Mac configs, you had the 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 Pro, but it was like the full M2 Pro, not the one with the less GPU, right?
RL: Correct, it’s the 12 core 19-core GPU–
JC: And 16 gigs of RAM and how much storage?
RL: Mine had actually 32 gigs of RAM and it had a two terabyte. It has a two terabyte SSD.
JC: So I had the 16 gigs of RAM, one terabyte SSD, and we both had the full M2 Pro because the entry-level one is like less GPU cores. That’s the cheaper–
MS: 10 cores versus 12 cores.
JC: Yeah, two fewer CPU cores and three fewer GPU cores. We didn’t test that version. We tested the full chip.
MS: The 16-inch doesn’t, you can’t get the lesser CPU, only on the 14-inch for whatever reason.
JC: Okay. Yes. So the chip, the chip is Apple’s numbers where they basically said 20 percent better CPU, 30 percent better GPU is more or less in the ballpark. It kind of depends on what you’re running, of course. That’s a pretty reasonable estimate. I think most things you run, most things you run, don’t isolate one or the other, especially when you’re talking about the kind of things you buy a more expensive system for. And you can expect somewhere in the neighborhood of a 15 percent of performance improvement overall. That was kind of my take.
It has the Neural Engine from the AE14 or 15, whatever, the next Neural Engine, which was like a jump from 11 billion or 11 trillion operations to 15 trillion, a 40 percent improvement. There’s no real way that we can isolate and test that right now.
I never got any kind of fan to spin up in any way I could hear running anything and it just runs full speed. And yeah, the CPU is 15 percent, 20 percent faster, GPUs may be 20, 30 percent faster depending on what you’re running. It’s a nice upgrade. There’s really nothing else particular about the chip anyway that you need to know except that, hey, it’s a good little bump.
RL: Yeah. In my test, most of the time it was a 20 percent CPU increase. Sometimes it was around 16, 17, 18.
RL: Sometimes it was around 25. For the most part, it was about, it was 20 percent. Similar thing with the graphics.
JC: There’s no significant new GPU features like ray tracing or anything. They didn’t change the memory bandwidth that is still 200 gigabytes a second on the Pro and 400 on the Max. The new chip has some changes to how things are cached and stuff that can help. I’m sure they run at different clock speeds, which is always hard to determine on the Mac. In terms of efficiency, did you find battery life improved?
RLLike you said, I have the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Apple states a 22 hour battery life with video playback. I got a whopping 27 hours.
RL: Now the thing is, we do our test at like 150 nits. I think they do, Apple does their test a little brighter. They call it, I think, eight clicks above the bottom.
JC: Yeah, they do it like a percentage of the brightness bar, which is not a good repeatable number to me from one system to the next.
RL: Like the video that we play, it’s a little dark, so it doesn’t push the brightness a lot.
RL: So, you know, so it all depends on like the kind of video you’re playing and stuff. Like, and for a while there, I almost thought, is this thing ever gonna, is the battery ever gonna die? And how long am I gonna have to stay up to make sure that I don’t miss it?
JC: How does that compare to previous MacBooks? Do we have the 14 or the 16 with the M1?
RL: Well, that’s the thing. I have the 14 with the M1 and I think I got something like 23 hours or something. So it’s hard to compare because the battery sizes are different. But that also kind of met or exceeded Apple’s battery life estimations. Apple always plays it a little conservative when they talk about their battery life, or they do now. I think in the past, you were able to get a shorter battery life, but that was a long time ago. Now they’re a little more conservative.
JC: It’s also putting their best foot forward to do video playback because they have video decoding hardware in the CPUs. The CPU and GPU cores, the main cores are basically idle the entire time and all you have is video decoder running. It’s just very energy efficient. So, you’re going to get less. You’re not going to get 22 hours doing regular stuff like browsing the web and video editing and all this other, you know, you’re going to get considerably less, but still, that’s pretty great battery life overall. Like it’s an efficient display. It’s an efficient chip.
MS: Yeah, and you could basically use it for the entire day of like a workday or whatever you’re doing and not worry at all about. You know, charging your battery until you’re done.
JC: Yeah, certainly the 16-inch, like if you’re, you buy that to do stuff like video editing and stuff, you need that big display, you’ve got a big–and you can do that for a good eight to 10 hours for sure, you know, without running out, which is pretty great, you know, instead of running Final Cut or something.
RL: Yeah, you don’t even have to like have second thoughts about maybe like performing a render while you’re on battery life. You know, if you’re on the road.
JC: Yeah, well, like, is this going to last 30 more minutes while I do this big 4K render with a bunch of edits? And it’s like, yeah, yeah, don’t even worry about it. Just do it. Get your work done on the plane, whatever.
RL: What we got from the CPU, I think it’s pretty much what we expected. It’s a bump. It’s a speed bump over the–
JC: It’s a perfectly nice bump. It’s not new features.
MS: Based on your experience with Intel speed bumps on a MacBook or a Mac mini or whatever we want to compare it to, how does this release compare with what Apple was doing before Apple Silicon?
RL: From my experience in recent history, Intel speed bumps were about 15 to 20 percent. What I’m seeing with the Apple’s Mac speed bumps is that you’re getting about 20 percent, but often times you’ll find in some benchmarks that you’re getting more. Like I said, 25 percent sometimes, maybe even 30 in some benchmarks. where there was Intel, it was often 20 was the high mark, usually around 12 to 15 percent of an increase.
MS: So like the ceiling has become the floor basically.
JC: It’s a little bit odd because back in those Intel days, there would be an update, an unceremonious update almost every year. It was a 4680Y, and now it’s a Core i3, 5680Y or something. It’d just be some little thing. Like you said, you’d get 10 to 15 percent improvement, but it’d be every year. We’re not on an every-year cadence with these M chips yet. And we don’t really know where we’re going to be because this is only the first jump. This is only M2. Once we get to M6, we’ll know how often they do these things. But this is only the first major update and we don’t really know what the cadence is going to be, but it hasn’t been every year.
The other side of it is, in the last two years since Apple’s been not updating. They’ve been selling Intel products, but they haven’t updated them and they’re very old, which we’ll get to in a minute because that’s the Mac mini I reviewed was the replacement.
Intel has made some really big strides. Intel and AMD kind of got embarrassed, I think, by the M2, I mean the M1 in the energy efficiency game in the thin and light laptop, high energy efficiency segment. They kind of got embarrassed by them and they’ve really made that the focus of the last couple products, but those don’t exist in any Mac.
RL: Well, Jason, maybe you could speak to this more because you’re more familiar with the AMD/Intel chips. Apple has things like video decoders and the Neural Engine in their chips. I know AMD recently just revealed an AI component to their chips. Does Intel and AMD offer anything like that with their processors?
JC: Not in their consumer stuff right now, although it’s coming. What they do is, their GPUs are capable of, let’s say, running in a mode that is better for the machine learning stuff, but then you’re not using them for graphics. So, you’re taking away from that. And it’s still not as fast as these dedicated AI inferencing hardware, which is why they’re doing it. And they’re starting off putting that in some of their–I don’t want to get the AMD announcement wrong–I think it’s starting in some of their high-end server chips and stuff. And then it’ll move to the APUs, which is like the combo CPU, GPUs that they have in all their systems shortly.
Intel and everybody else is expected to follow suit because this is getting to be just a part of regular consumer hardware. The hardware used to train AI models is big time hardware. We’re talking huge server racks. You need tons of RAM. You need big GPUs. Once you make the model, the hardware that you need to run it, which is what they call inference, that’s what Apple’s Neural Engine is. We’re expected to see that kind of in everybody’s stuff coming forward. Nvidia has that in their GPUs right now and it can be used for things like stable diffusion. and they use it, they have a lot of software to do things like noise reduction on your recordings and all this other stuff. They don’t make processors and they don’t make combo CPU/GPU. So you kind of have to get like a laptop with an Nvidia GPU separate in it and get to get that. It’s going to be everywhere.
I don’t have a good sense for what the performance stackup is for Apple silicon versus everybody else’s because they’re just…some number about trillions of operations per second is useless in measuring like a real world. How fast does it really run this AI model? Because the AI models aren’t the same. You’re not doing the same thing. It’s very hard to test. I’m curious to see because that’s going to become an important component of these chips.
MS: What AMD unveiled at CES, so it’s in the Ryzen 7040 series, the AI Engine, which is for laptops and they didn’t really get into performance at all. But the big thing is power efficiency
and they did say that it’s going to bring up to 30 hours of battery life in laptops. I mean, Apple is delivering 22 at the low end in its 16-inch M1 Max high-performance laptop. I don’t know if that’s what this is. But it’s definitely clear that Apple has gotten quickly the attention of Intel and AMD and the rest of the industry in just – it’s only been two years and they like everyone is like okay, so here’s what we’re going to do now.
It’s amazing how, at the risk of sounding like a cheerleader or a fanboy, like whenever Apple does something in a real way, like there’s like a seismic shift that follows. It’s very interesting with these Mac chips how in a very short time, we’re only on the second-gen, like everyone is for one noticing and be you know, really changing their strategy to kind of compete.
JC: And to me, M2 is the least interesting way they could have done an update because it’s the same manufacturing process basically. It’s an updated version of the five-nanometer process, but still the five-nanometer process. They didn’t go to three. There’s not a major improvement to the CPU core architecture. There’s not a major update to the GPU core architecture. They’re just more cores and higher clock speeds enabled by slightly updating the manufacturing process and some tweaks to caches and stuff. And there’s tweaks here and there. But this isn’t an architectural change and it’s not a major step in the manufacturing process. M3 is expected to be at least the jump to 3 nanometers, which gives you 40 percent more transistors to play with and maybe, a new GPU core architecture, a new CPU core architecture, who knows? But that’ll be an interesting jump.
And I’m curious to see what happens when, if and when they make a different Neural Engine architecture because they’ve been basically just bumping up the clock speeds, and core counts. From the first one they did in the iPhone to the second one or something was like a big leap. And then they got higher clocks, but when are they going to do 100 trillion operations a second or something? Where’s the next big step change in those, in the AI processor? It’s going to come at some point.
You talked a little bit about the dedicated AI decoders. I should also mention while we were talking about video decoders and stuff, those don’t appear to be changed at all in these M2 Pro and Macs. They still encode and decode the same formats. There’s no AV1 notably, which is in all the latest Nvidia, AMD and Intel GPUs. And in the Pro, you have one video encoding Engine. In the Max, you have two. Same as with the M1 versions. They’re probably clocked a little higher, just like the whole rest of the chip is. So if you run some benchmark, it’s probably going to perform a little better. Caching is probably better, which will help all your video encodes and stuff, but not a change there as far as we can see. And they’re kind of falling behind because everybody else is kind of on board with this AV1 shift and where’s Apple? If I’m going to make a prediction, it’s going to be this: the A16, what are we going to have this year?
RL: Is that the next one?
MS: iPhone 17.
JC: A17 in the iPhone 16. Right.
MS: How is that confusing Jason?
JC: The A17 will have AV1 video encoding, but they won’t call it out like that. They’ll give it some stupid Apple branding name, just like they kind of did with HEVC, right? It was H.265 or something. They marketed it as, your photos will be higher quality and take up less space, and they’re going to do that with video and it’ll be an AV1 encoder. And we’ll see it in the iPhone this year. That’s my guess.
RL: So the chips, nobody goes out and buys chips. We all go out and buy, Macs. So Jason, you looked at the Mac mini.
JC: It’s probably the biggest leap because this is replacing… There’s a regular M2 Mac mini, the not Pro or Macs version. That’s an update to the M1, version we had. And that’s, it got a price cut of $100. It’s now what, $499 instead of $599.
MS: $599. It was $699.
JC: Yeah. Okay, right. So it’s got a hundred dollar price cut and pretty much the same RAM and storage stuff. And that’s great. Do beware that just like the MacBook Air that got the M2, apparently the 256 gig version has slower storage speeds. They went with one 256 gig flash chip instead of two 128s and it cut this performance in half. Once you upgrade it to 512 or higher, you’re good. But hey, that got a price cut and that’s great.
But we’ve seen the M2 before. The M2 Pro version starts at $1299 and is the replacement for the old Intel Mac mini, which was still kicking around as of last week.
MS: Yeah. For 1,100 bucks and with no reason to even consider looking in its direction.
JC: Yeah. That has been around since…
JC: 2018, yeah.
MS: With no processor upgrade whatsoever.
JC: And yeah, and the processor in it wasn’t even that new when that came out. It was so it’s like an eighth-gen laptop version core i7s and stuff from Intel, which just,forget, I mean, don’t even compare it to the M1, the basic M1. Like it’s just not even close. It’s not, what are you, what are they even doing here? We’ve always scratched our heads. Why are you still selling this? Like even once they got the M1 Pro and Max, it’s like, why are you still making this at Mac mini? I was still making this Intel Mac mini. Well, they corrected that. And now we have this.
But it’s $200 more. What do you get for $200? Well, obviously a lot more performance than the old Intel version, but that’s not saying much.
MS: Yeah, the M2, the vanilla M2 is faster.
JC: It’d crush it. Yeah, just absolutely crush it. So it still has four Thunderbolt ports on the back, which is what the Intel one did. That’s a jump from two on the regular M1 model. The M2 Pro version has HDMI 2.1. The regular M2 version does not. That lets you hook up an 8K TV or a 4K TV at 240Hz. Apple does support variable refresh rate. You can hook up three
monitors, the HDMI and two Thunderbolts. The more you hook up, the lower the max res goes on the HDMI port, by the way. Other than that, they haven’t updated anything about the device. It looks exactly the same.
MS: Identical. Well, they took away the space gray, which was a differentiator before.
JC: It’s just silver. Just silver, there’s no colors, it’s the exact same size. I really was hoping they would put the ports on the front like they do in the Mac Studio. It has two USB-C ports and an SD card slot. They don’t have that. Not only is it the same since 2018, honestly that 2018 model hadn’t really changed since 2011.
RL: Something like that.
JC: 2011, something like that. 2010, like all they did was turn the Thunderbolt ports vertical instead of horizontal. Like it’s really, it’s really the same Mac mini. They really could have used any sort of design change here. It’s not a bad design.
MS: It’s a very nice design, but when you get a new Apple product, specifically Apple, like you want something. Some reason to buy it other than what’s inside it, and we understood with the M1 version that, okay, this is just a showcase for the chip. We understand but after the MacBook Air got its M2 redesign and then they delayed or rather just didn’t do the Mac mini for eight months or six months, whatever, to seven months, and then nothing. It’s like, oh here it is that you should have gotten last June, but here it is in January and it’s what you–it’s the same thing.
JC: It’s the same thing. And after they put ports on the front of the Mac Studio, I’m like, oh my gosh, they’re willing to put ports on the front for which messes up your whole beautiful clean aesthetic, but is incredibly user-friendly. I’m like, oh, if they’re willing to do that, maybe we’ll get that on the mini. No. You see all the colors in the iMac. No, none of that.
MS: Or even like Midnight, if it came in Midnight, people would have flipped out. Yeah, that’s it. That’s all you have to do.
JC: So, yeah, it’s a little disappointing that they did nothing on the design. It’s a little disappointing that it got a $200 price jump. I mean, that gap between $599 and $1,299 is huge.
RL: There is a $799 model, but that’s just an SSD upgrade.
MS: That’s right.
JC: And that $1,299 version is a cutback version of the M2 Pro. To get the full M2 Pro is another $300. Right? And if you take it the model we did, which is that plus an SSD upgrade from 512 to 1 terabytes, like $1,800. Well, now you’re in spitting distance of a Mac Studio at $2,000 and that’s a better idea. So they’re filling in a gap for sure. They finally got rid of an Intel-based Mac that they really should have stopped selling a long time ago. All that’s good but the value is not there because starting price is a little too high and their upgrade pricing is ridiculous. What you pay to get more RAM, more storage.
MS: It’s consistent with the other products but it’s ridiculous for specifically for this one because once you start building it, then you start butting up against the Mac Studio And it’s like, well, why not just get a better one?
MS: You know, it’s better in every way. Yes, it has an M1 Max instead of an M2, but it’s still the M1 Max is still better or equal to at the very least the M2 Pro in the mini. So it’s just it’s a very strange pricing. like if it came in at $1,099, that’s awesome. But it’s a couple hundred dollars too high, but Apple does this all the time.
JC: Even if it started at $1,299 and its upgrade pricing for RAM and storage was a little more down to earth, you could do those things and end up at $1,500, $1,600, and still have this big gap between that and the studio. As it is, yeah, I feel like, you either spend less than $1,500 on this, the entry-level model, maybe you get a storage upgrade or you just get the Mac Studio, the entry Mac Studio, which has 32 gigs. It’s the M1 right now, but it’s 32 gigs of RAM. It’s got a beefier GPU. It’s probably a wash on the GPU because it’s the cut-down M1 Max, but it’s got more cores and the M2 is faster GPU so like pretty even probably. You get two video encoders and stuff. You get ports on the front and all that stuff.
MS: Question for you, Jason. Why does the Mac Studio need…I understand the Ultra and maybe that’s why they did it just to be consistent, but why does it need that cooling element when the Mac mini, which has a pretty similar processor now doesn’t?
JC: It doesn’t quite have the same processor. The Studio is a Max or Ultra.
MS: Right. If you compare the M1 to Max, which has that aluminum cooling, which is pretty hefty, versus the M2 Pro with 19 cores, they’re in the ballpark. I can’t imagine that the Mac Studio gets that much hotter, but maybe it does.
JC: It’s twice the GPU size. We’re looking at the last step of TSMC’s manufacturing process.
But yeah, they built it out. They built the size for the Mac Studio. But if I remember the teardowns correctly, if you bust open a Mac Studio with an M1 Max, it has a different cooler on it than the one in the Ultra.
MS: Yeah, the Ultra I think is copper and the one in the Max is aluminum if I remember correctly.
JC: So you’re also getting double the base RAM and stuff like that. So it’s meant to be able to cool 128 gigs of RAM and more storage and yeah, because RAM gets hot. So I think they’re just expecting, well, we had to build sort of one solution that’s going to cool at least with the M1 Max, a high-end version of this M1 Max where people are running Final Cut all day and yada yada. Whereas, maxing out a Mac mini is less, I think, than that would be.
MS: Okay. I get that. All right. Last question for you: which do you prefer visually, the Mac mini or the Mac Studio? Because you have both.
JC: I think I like the Studio better. I’m not bothered by, oh my God, it has ports on the front.
MS: I kind of like the ports on the front. It gives it a little bit of character.
JC: The Mac Studio is exactly the right height to be a monitor stand for Apple’s monitors that do not go up and down and are always too low. Like everybody you know with a Mac monitor, has a couple of reams of paper under it or something, right?
MS: Yeah, even the iMac people used to do that, yeah.
RL: A phone book from 1990.
JC: Yeah, any iMac or Studio Display or anything, they tilt, but they don’t go up and down and for some reason, and their default height is too low. It’s not ergonomic to look down at a tilted up screen like that. So there’s an entire aftermarket of like stands and stuff. And the Mac Studio is just the right height for that. A Mac mini is not–
MS: You literally have your studio display sitting on top of your Mac. Yeah,
JC: I do. And it looks–
MS: That’s awesome.
JC: It looks pretty good. It almost looks like it belongs. And it’s the right height. And I got my ports right in the front. I take up almost no desk space. It’s great.
JC: So I prefer the Studio, I think, design-wise. It’s still so compact. If you’re talking about having it on your desk, vertical height of a few extra inches is not–they’re the exact same dimensions in terms of taking up dust space.
MS: The width and the length.
JC: The width is the exact–you put one on top of each other, I think they’d line up within a millimeter. I honestly do.
Now, there is a cottage industry of people who have Mac minis in server racks, like these special racks where they just slot them all in, in stacked up and they’re going to love being able to get M2 Pros in there and use them for their, you know, render farms or whatever they’re doing.
RL: I remember one day I used to actually sell a Mac mini server configuration, went back when they had OS X server.
JC: They will put an OS X server on it. Well, I remember when they used to sell Apple rack servers. So like, was it to you or something for a rack that you run? Yeah.
MS: Yeah. Now you just put this Mac Pro sideways.
JC: Yeah, it’s true. But that’s meant to be a consumer…those aren’t really meant to be, they’re meant to be rack mountable, but they’re still consumer products. They don’t run a server OS or anything. That’s just over. People just run Linux on those. It’s fine.
RL So I looked at the 16-inch MacBook Pro and the thing about that laptop is that everything new about it, really, except for maybe three, except for three features, happened a year
and a half ago in 2021.
MS: Yeah, it was a massive–that was a massive upgrade. The first Apple Silicon MacBook Pro.
RL: There was a redesign with a new display. The touch bar went away. That has continued on with the M2 Pro. The only major upgrades are the HDMI that Jason mentioned, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, which is also on the M2 Pro Mac mini, right Jason?
JC: It’s on all the Mac minis. The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth update is on both of them. You’re not going to notice anything with that Bluetooth update right now. They used to have Bluetooth 5, 5.3, add some stuff that Apple’s not doing anything with right, now. So I call it future proofing maybe. But Wi-Fi 6E, it’s a nice bit of future-proofing for your next home router or whatever.
RL: Yeah, because you need a Wi-Fi 6E router to take advantage of that.
JC: Yeah, of course.
RL: But yeah, if you already have an M1 Pro laptop, those are the three reasons why you would want to upgrade and maybe for you that’s enough.
MS: Well, in your review, you kind of recommended it in a roundabout way that if you do care about displays, if you do care that it’s not a terrible upgrade, even though it’s $3,000 or whatever.
RL: Yeah, because there are some professionals who have particular display setups and they want that, they want the HDMI, the better support in the HDMI, so that might be worth it for some particular person who have the money to burn for that. I mean, if they’re running those kinds of displays, they probably have the money to buy a new laptop again after a year and a half.
MS: Sure, if you have an 8K display running, yeah, for sure.
JC: If you’re doing that kind of professional work where your time is money, like the fact that it’s 10 percent faster at some render or something is, you know, that’s going to shave an hour off your day every day. Like that’s going to pay for itself in six months. And for, you know, everyday users, like your Mac mini buyer, like that’s not really you.
RL: Yeah, professional scales are different. You know, a video render for me is not the same as a video render–
JC:: Yeah, going a lot faster is like 20 seconds faster. And for them, it’s a big project that’s like cutting a four-hour render down to a three and a half hour render is like a huge deal. That saves a lot of time, right?
RL: So as far as recommending the 16-inch laptop, it’s funny because I’m struggling to find something to say because it’s really just a speed bump, but it’s a good laptop. It’s a really good laptop. I love this laptop. I use it and I’m like, oh, it’s really nice. It feels very luxurious. I feel almost guilty using it because it’s just such a darn nice laptop.
MS: You had the 14-inch. Comparing the two, it’s only two inches. What’s your thoughts on that?
RL: See, I have a bias toward large laptops. For the longest time, I used to use a 17-inch MacBook Pro back when they had 17-inch laptops.
MS: The cafeteria tray.
RL: Yeah, I affectionally called it the cafeteria tray. But then they discontinued it, so I used 15-inch laptops. That’s fine. But then I got this…I didn’t actually look at the 16-inch M1 Pro/Max laptop when it came out. So when I got this 16-inch M2 Pro…
JC: It felt like going home.
RL That’s a perfect way to put it. It felt like going home. There’s a lot more flexibility for me in terms of what I can do with the screen. I know it’s only two inches, but there’s just a little bit more, especially if you’re using apps like Final Cut where you need every inch of the screen rail estate because you’ve got so much going on on-screen and it really helps. The 14-inch display, that Liquid XDR display, looks really nice. And I know it’s not qualitatively better on the 16-inch, but it just feels like it because it’s bigger.
JC: Oh, yeah. It’s more immersive. To me, the difference between a 13-, 14-inch laptop and a 16-inch or so is a 16 is where even like you said, it’s just a couple of inches, but it’s enough space that I’m running things in windows instead of full screen. Like when I use my 13-inch Air or 14-inch Pro, I’m using a lot of maximized windows and I’ve just got them on different,
virtual desktops and swipe in between them. And a 16 is like, I’m using it more like a desktop computer. I’ve got layered windows. I’ve got windows that aren’t full screen and I’m moving them around and it just feels, it’s a different feel to me.
I just can’t stand lugging around a 16-inch laptop. It’s a nice thing to plop on a table and use for a while, but if I have to travel, I’m not going to carry that thing. It’s not that they’re heavy for their size, it’s just, every little bit of weight really matters.
MS: Yeah, it’s three, four pounds we’re talking going to be there. They’re not something you just not notice in your bag and you’re going to know if you’re carrying 16 inches of MacBook Pro.
JC: And you’ve got a bigger power adapter and you’ve got all this other stuff, you know.
RL: It’s bigger, so it’s a little more unwieldy when you’re on the road, when you’re traveling around. So yeah, there’s that. There’s definitely that. There are even some laptop bags it won’t even fit in. So that’s definitely a consideration.
If you’re thinking about buying this laptop, and you’re just kind of a… Maybe you consider yourself a power user, but you’re maybe not a professional, so to speak. I think like any of us, so to speak. You might be able to find a better deal with an M1 Pro laptop. They’re still available. You can still find them on Amazon and a lot of them are like $500 off.
MS: Yeah. Yeah. They’ve been running sales for a while and now, they kind of ramped them up where all of them, they’re just blowing them out now. And yeah, you can get that 16 inch one, that’s usually $2,499 for under $2,000 or $1,999, which is, that’s definitely worth looking at.
JC: If you’re just going to hook up to a regular TV, like to do a presentation or something, you don’t care that it’s 240Hz or that you need 8K and you’re just doing everyday work, browsers, Excel, you want your big Excel sheet on that big 16-inch monitor or whatever. That M1 is everything you need and they got all the good stuff. Like you said, they got the keyboard upgrade and the display and all that other stuff last time. There’s no new webcam or any other thing that you need to worry about this time. So for the price cut, it might really be worth getting the M1 version while they last for people.
RL: We have full reviews of the Mac mini and the 16-inch MacBook Pro on our website. We’ll have links to that in our show notes.
That does it for this episode of the Macworld Podcast, episode 825. Thanks to Jason Cross.
JC: Thank you.
RL: Thanks to Michael Simon.
MS: Thank you, sir.
RL: And thanks to you, the audience. Thank you for tuning in. You can subscribe to the Macworld Podcast in the Podcast app on Spotify or through any other podcast app. If you have any comments or questions, send us an email at podcast at macworld.com or contact us through Twitter, that’s @Macworld, or on the Macworld Facebook page. Join us in the next episode of the Macworld podcast as we talk about the latest in the world of Apple. See you next time!