In anticipation of the first orders that will arrive to buyers on Friday, reviews of the new MacBook Pro M2 have officially appeared online. The new entry-level MacBook Pro is virtually identical to the previous generation model in every way, making the new M2 chip the star of the show. These reviews provide our first look at the M2 chip and its performance.
The Verge did some comparisons between the M2 MacBook Pro and its predecessor, the M1, and the M1 Pro chip found in the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro. This is true almost exclusively for single-core tasks, and not for multi-core tasks.
The M2 edged out the more expensive M1 Pro in the single-core tests I ran. This is impressive on its own (it indicates that while the M1 Pro has more power cores than the M2, those cores are not as strong as the M2 power cores on an individual level). But it also bodes well for the M2 Pro, Max, and Ultra variants we’re likely to see in the future; they are more likely to show improvement in single-core performance over their M1-based predecessors, rather than simply load more cores.
How did this thing perform on benchmarks? In CPU scores – Geekbench, Cinebench, Xcode test, etc. – the results we see are slightly better than the M1. In GPU tests, including some games, the results are significantly better.
This is also confirmed by the extensive tests carried out by Six Colors. Jason Snell explains that the M2 chip will outperform any M1 machine in terms of single core testing, simply because the M2 is based on the A15 and the M1 is based on the A14. The memory is also faster with the M2 chip:
The M2 also includes some features that previously only existed in the more expensive M1 family of chips. It has improved performance in 4K video encoding and decoding, and supports faster LP5 memory, and this memory can be slightly denser, allowing the M2’s maximum RAM to be 24GB compared to 16GB on the M1.
All the tests I was able to run on the M2 MacBook Pro confirmed this story. Yes, the single-core result of the MacBook Pro M2 will outperform any M1 device; this is because it is an A15 based core and therefore faster. But of course, great performance these days comes from using multiple cores at the same time. And while an 8-core M2 will understandably be faster than an 8-core M1, it can’t keep up with the many cores in the more expensive M1 processors.
CNET notes that while the M2 MacBook Pro is the first M2 Mac, the real comparison will come when the M2 MacBook Air comes out next month. This will give us a more detailed idea of the efficiency and performance of the M2 chip in a machine that is completely devoid of a fan.
Gizmodo has more details on the M2’s performance in benchmarking and how it compares to other machines on the market:
Our tests confirmed these claims: Thanks to the M2 chip, the MacBook Pro 13 scored 8603 in Geekbench 5, which is about 15.2% higher than the previous model (7470). While the MacBook Pro 14 (12,663) with the M1 Max or more powerful Intel chips found in gaming laptops like the Asus Zephyrus G14 (9,830) is unmatched, the MacBook Pro outperforms competitors like Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (6643) and Lenovo Yoga 9i (7259) with the latest Intel Core i7-1260P processor.
You will notice that the main focus of all these reviews is on the M2 chip. This is because the MacBook Pro M2 is literally identical to the MacBook Pro M1 in every other way. It has the same design, the same touchpad, the same ports, and the same limitations. One of the biggest limitations is that the M2 is limited to one external display, just like the M1 before it.
Nearly all reviews come to the same conclusion that the MacBook Pro M2 is an impressive upgrade over the M1. Battery life is impressive at around 17 hours, great performance thanks to the M2 chip and support for up to 24 GB of RAM, and performance under heavy loads is maintained a little longer than before.
However, the design is getting dated – especially with the upcoming release of the updated MacBook Air and the release of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models last year.
Other M2 MacBook Pro Reviews: