3 things that would make me upgrade from my M1 MacBook Pro to an M2 version

How do you improve on a laptop that's pretty much perfect? Well, as an M1 MacBook Pro owner, I still have some thoughts

MacBook Pro 13-inch M1 on green background
(Image credit: Future)

My 13-inch, M1 MacBook Pro is pretty much the perfect laptop: it's super portable; it's ridiculously fast; and no matter how hard I drive it, it never seems to struggle. Where my Intel Macs used to complain about overly ambitious music-making projects, my M1 just breezes through everything I throw at it. 

But "pretty much perfect" isn't the same as "perfect", and there are some things I wish my M1 MacBook Pro did better. There are rumours that Apple is planning to release an M2 MacBook Pro within the next few months, so what would make this a must-have upgrade even for someone who has the M1 version? Spoiler: it isn't processing power.

1. More graphics

We're not expecting any additional CPU cores in the M2, but more graphics cores are likely – and that's good news. The M1 isn't a great gaming machine: compared to the M1 Pro and M1 Max it's lacking in graphics power with its 8 GPU cores and up to 16GB of shared memory compared to the 32 cores and up to 64GB of its newer stablemates. Benchmarks for the M1 Pro and M1 Max come very close to that of the Razer Blade 15 with an RTX 3070 – while the M2 won't be that powerful, it should at least be better than the current model.

It's not just about gaming – video and photo editing can also push the GPU, and even a boost of 25% or so (which is what's predicted) gives a lot more headroom for people. It makes it a better investment.

2. More ports

My MacBook Pro has just two Thunderbolt/USB-C ports, and as a result my desk is a world of cables and hubs. The larger Pros have one more of those, MagSafe charging, an HDMI port for dongle-free monitor connections and an SDXC card slot for storage. My MacBook has 512GB of storage and it's getting pretty crowded in there, mostly with things that don't need the fastest possible access. I

f I'd ordered the 1TB version of my Mac, Apple would have added £200 to the price for an additional 500GB of storage; I can buy two 512GB SDXC cards for that and have money left over. So let's take a bit of the new Pros and put it into the older-style Pro, please?

3. A mini-LED display

Reports that the M2 13-inch won't get any significant updates to the design does mean my third wish is unlikely: a mini-LED display. But I'm hopeful anyway: mini-LEDs are in the larger 14 and 16 inch MacBook Pro already and in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2021) too. It's much brighter and clearer than the display in my MacBook with much better black areas and higher contrast, and it's particularly good for watching movies in HDR. 

And it would help differentiate the M2 MacBook Pro from the M2 MacBook Air, which I'm sure is near production too: at the moment there's very little difference between the Pro and Air models, and having mini-LED across all the Pro devices would be a welcome difference between Apple's pro and consumer laptops.

Mini-LED is very expensive, which is likely to be the key hold-up, but it's possible that Apple could put in a less advanced version of the technology, which would be cheaper. It's already said that the iMac Pro will have fewer LEDs and dimming zones in its screen than the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, so maybe the 13-inch one could too…

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).