Is the new MacBook Pro worth it and is Apple M2 better than M1 Max?

The 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 is released today, but should you buy one or save your money for another MacBook?

MacBook Pro M2 2022 review
(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

Is the new MacBook Pro worth it? By which I'm talking about the 13-inch MacBook Pro – and the very first Mac to launch featuring Apple's M2 silicon. That's right, it even beats the MacBook Air M2 to the punch, as the Pro can be bought from today, Friday 24 June. 

I've reviewed the MacBook Pro 2022 already, having now lived with the laptop for more than a week, using it for all my daily tasks, day in, day out. And while initially I was sceptical – who wouldn't be, given the older design that includes the Touch Bar? – I've come around to some of the M2 MacBook Pro's appeals.

But it's all about context: the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 costs from £1,349/$1,299, so it's pricier than the incoming MacBook Air M2. However, the Pro is also a little more powerful because it has a 10-core GPU rather than an 8-core one, and there's also a fan system for cooling to assist with those more demanding tasks. The body is chunkier in the Pro, too, so it should dissipate heat better than the Air. 

All that said, however, it's worth pointing out that the 13-inch MacBook Pro – and only the 2022 13-inch launch – is built on the older chassis design, so it looks the same as the 2020 model. Which, given that Apple released newer designs for the MacBook Pro in 2021, in both 14-inch and 16-inch variants, might seem a little strange at this stage. But those newer designed models will cost you a lot more cash, which is where the 13-inch Pro still holds its worth. 

Is M2 better than M1 Max?

MacBook Pro 2021 14 inch and 16 inch models side by side

(Image credit: Future)

It's in those 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models that you can also obtain the M1 Pro or M1 Max processor options, if you're willing to pay big bucks. But surely M2 is better than M1 in all regards, right?

Wrong! Yes, Apple's M2 silicon outsmarts the base M1 from last year – my Geekbench scores measured at around nine percent from one gen to the next – but M2 is not as powerful as either M1 Pro or M1 Max. The single core performance is similar across the board, but in multi-core and unified memory potential the M1 Pro and M1 Max really step things up. 

And that's why the M2 MacBook Pro will still make some sense for some people. If you see it as the smallest entry-level model in the Pro range, with the least power, then step up to the 14-inch with an M1 Pro, then step up again to the 16-inch with an M1 Max, then you can see how the range crafts itself step by step. 

And also by price. Because the M2 MacBook Pro's £1,349/$1,299 start price is dwarfed by those other configurations: the 14-inch with M1 Pro starts at £1,899/$1,999, while the 16-inch with M1 Max starts at £3,299/$3,499. 

So, sure, the 'new' 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 may seem like old meets new in a slightly strange form, especially with the MacBook Air M2 around the corner, but until we see next-gen M2 chips (including Pro and Max variants, likely in 2023), it will hold its worth for a certain group of Mac users who are governed by purchase price limits. 

Tech Editor at T3, Mike handles all things tech – from phones, tablets and laptops, to gaming and computing. He's been working as a consumer technology journalist for the best part of 15 years, previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for 10 years, and has provided freelance work to publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more over the years. In addition to his tech expertise, Mike is also a bit of a travel fiend, having travelled the globe extensively for both personal and work-related pursuits. You'll always find him setting up a new mobile phone, or critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next get-away.