14-inch M3 MacBook Pro inherits weakness MacBook Air owners know all too well

Be careful when choosing your next MacBook Pro, they are not all equal...

Apple MacBook Pro M3
(Image credit: Apple)

When Apple introduced new MacBook Pro models during its "Scary Fast" event this week it also introduced a weakness to the range that the M2 models didn't have.

That's because the previous 14-inch MacBook Pro started with a step-up version of Apple Silicon in the M2 Pro and at a higher price point, therefore. Apple opted to retain the 13-inch MacBook Pro as its entry-level alternative.

Now though, with the latest range refresh, it has scrapped the 13-inch variant, replacing it with a cheaper, standard M3-powered 14-inch MacBook Pro. That's great in many regards. but in doing so it has introduced a caveat to the line-up – the entry-level M3 MacBook Pro cannot serve two external monitors.

This is the reason I personally opted for a 14-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro over a new MacBook Air earlier this year. I drive two external monitors and only the Pro sported that feature.

However, some might now opt for a 14-inch model not knowing the distinction.

The issue lies with Apple's base Silicon, no matter the nomenclature. Only the M3 Pro and M3 Max chipsets are capable of outputting video to two external monitors simultaneously.

In addition, the M3 MacBook Pro only comes with Thunderbolt 3 ports, not Thunderbolt 4 which can be found on the M3 Pro and M3 Max models. This means the entry-level MacBook Pro is only capable of outputting to one display at a maximum of 6K 60Hz.

Of course, this might not bother you. And you might instead be thrilled that there is a more affordable 14-inch Pro laptop at last.

Just keep in mind that, if you do want to run two external monitors, you will need to opt for the 14-inch M3 Pro MacBook Pro that starts at £2,099 / $1,999.

If you're not so fussed, the M3 MacBook Pro models start at £1,699 / $1,599.

And, it's not a concern at all if you're in the market for a larger MacBook Pro – all 16-inch models support two external displays and start at £2,599 / $2,499. There is no 16-inch M3 MacBook Pro.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.