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Apple MacBook Pro 13 (2020) Review | The Crazy Techie

Apple Macbook Pro 2020

₹ 1,54,990
8.7

Performance

9.2/10

Battery

8.9/10

Design

8.6/10

Storage

8.1/10

Pros

  • Improved keyboard comfort
  • Excellent Retina display
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Good graphics and computing performance

Cons

  • Expensive as configured
  • Limited port variety
  • No support for Wi-Fi 6
  • Average battery life

The MacBook Pro 13 plays a crucial role in Apple’s line-up. Apple sells two main configurations of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Physically, they’re nearly identical. Both of them have the new Magic Keyboard and a thin touch-enabled mini-screen forward of the keyboard called the Touch Bar. They also share the same dimensions: 0.61 by 12 by 8.4 inches (HWD) and 1.4kgs. The main way you can tell them apart from the outside is by the number of ports. The entry-level (₹ 1,19,900) configuration has just two USB Type-C ports on the left side, while the upgraded ₹ 1,54,990 version reviewed here offers an additional two USB Type-C connectors on the right, for a total of four.

On the inside, the differences are more significant. The entry-level configuration uses the same 8th Generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors that powered the previous 2019 version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Meanwhile, our review unit features an improved 10th Generation “Ice Lake” processor, available in either Core i5 or Core i7 variants. In addition to a new CPU design, the 10th Generation chips also bring other benefits, like faster graphics processing and memory, which are unavailable on the entry-level MacBook Pro.

Apple’s 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro is a competent, dependable computer. The upgraded model with the 10th Gen Intel processors outperformed my expectations in terms of speed and power even if it didn’t really impress me on battery life. I would like to see a bigger redesign next time, but that doesn’t mean this design is a problem. It’s just familiar in a time when much of the competition is finding ways to slim their bezels.

Design

As we’ve seen with other recent MacBook releases, Apple hasn’t changed much about the basic design of the 13-inch MacBook Pro – when the laptop’s closed, at least.

It comes in the same Silver or Space Gray colour, and dimensions are roughly the same, at 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61-inches (304.1 x 212.4 x 156mm). This is slightly thicker than the previous model, which had a depth of 0.59-inches (149mm).

It’s also slightly heavier at 1.4kg, versus 2019’s 1.37kg. The difference won’t be too noticeable for most people, and its still reasonably light for a pro laptop. However, there are plenty of 13-inch laptops out there that are thinner and lighter.

Ports-wise, you’re again only getting four Thunderbolt 3 ports (or just two in the entry-level model) and an audio jack. For a professional laptop, the lack of ports, especially legacy USB-A ports, will be disappointing (but probably not surprising) and will mean unless you have all USB-C peripherals, you’ll need to buy an adapter.

You can’t doubt Apple for its uni-body aluminium chassis, however many have attempted to duplicate Apple’s machined aluminium body. The Space Gray colour still looks fresh and sophisticated, especially sitting next to light gray Surface devices.

I do wish the glorious gold finish from the MacBook Air was an option, though.

Display

The MacBook Pro is a leader in display quality, though that picture has slowly changed over the past couple of years. The MacBook Pro 13’s 2,560 x 1,600 screen is crisp, especially for a 13inch screen. If you’re used to a 1080p screen, you’ll notice the difference in sharpness right away.

The screen remains the same as last year’s model, which is no bad thing. The Retina resolution (2,560 x 1,600) isn’t the highest we’ve seen in a 13-inch laptop, but to be honest, a 4K resolution on a 13-inch screen is overkill most of the time, and the Retina display of the MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020) is bright and vibrant. Crucially, for creative professionals, it supports the P3 wide colour gamut, offering excellent colour reproduction.

I especially like the True Tone feature, which optimizes the white balance of the screen for the nature of the ambient light around the laptop.

Camera

Camera quality is also same between the two laptops, both equipped with 720p webcams that offer only marginal video quality. Video chats are frequently grainy indoors, even in well-lit rooms, though this is a common problem among nearly all laptop cameras.

Keyboard

Beyond the internal updates, the Magic Keyboard stands out as the MacBook Pro’s most important feature.

Now that all Mac laptops have the Magic Keyboard, shoppers on a budget will also be considering the MacBook Air, but it lacks a few features that are exclusive to the MacBook Pro. Like the Touch Bar, a thin display above the keyboard gives you context-sensitive buttons that you can press. Not everyone loves the Touch Bar, but many apps like Photoshop now make good use of it, offering you quick access to tools. This tiny touch screen replaces the row of function keys, but the functionality it offers depends greatly upon the app you’re using.

Some apps, like the Safari web browser and Adobe Photoshop, make extensive use of the Touch Bar, offering the ability to open bookmarked web pages or adjust the diameter of a paintbrush tool. Many other apps offer no Touch Bar support, however, in which case the Touch Bar just serves as a way to control basic functions like system volume and screen brightness.

The TouchID button, which also doubles as the power button, has been separated from the Touch Bar, and now sits slightly apart from it. It makes it a bit easier to find, and it again is a reliable way of logging into your MacBook using just your fingerprint. We find it works a lot better than many fingerprint scanners included in Windows 10 laptops. It never failed to read a fingerprint correctly in our time using it.

Frequent users of the Escape key will appreciate that the new Magic Keyboard has reclaimed this vital key from the Touch Bar. There’s now a physical Escape key located to the left of the Touch Bar, instead of a virtual one built into the Touch Bar like on previous versions of the MacBook Pro.

It’s also worth pointing out that Apple’s trackpads are unparalleled. Some other laptops have good, precise and large trackpads but nothing comes close to the precision, accuracy, size and utility of Apple’s force-sensing trackpads.

Battery Life

The current MacBook Pro has never boasted stellar battery life. You can expect around 8 to 9 hours on a single charge, depending on how hard you push it.

The 2020 model of the MacBook Pro 13-inch doesn’t disappoint. It has a 58-watt-hour battery (and a slightly larger 58.2 watt-hour in the entry-level model). In our battery life benchmark test, which involved playing a looped 1080p video, the battery lasted a respectable eight and a half hours.

For a workstation laptop, that’s certainly impressive, and means unless you do some very intensive tasks, like video editing and rendering, the new MacBook Pro 13-inch should last around an entire work day without needing a charge.

It’s also excellent at holding its battery life as well. That means you can close the lid, leave it a few days and the laptop will still have battery left. That’s often not the case with Windows 10 laptops, which seem to bleed battery life even when not in use.

Performance

One thing in which the Apple MacBook Pro 2020 excels in comparison to its competitors, that could make up for the MacBook Pro 13’s hardware options and that made us rank this the Best Laptop in Content Creation is its Performance.

The MacBook Pro 13 beats most other 13-inch laptops in Cinebench R20 and Geekbench 5 — especially laptops that don’t push the CPU hard.

In real-life applications too, the MacBook Pro 13 performs extremely well. I encoded a 4K video in Handbrake to H.265 in just over 3 minutes, which is 10 seconds faster than the Dell XPS 13. This is the best video-encoding score I’ve yet seen from a 13-inch laptop, though not by a lot.

The MacBook Pro 13-inch will suffice for a hobbyist. If you do music production in Logic, photography in Lightroom, or YouTube videos in Final Cut, the 13-inch MacBook Pro won’t get in your way too much, as long as you aren’t pushing the machine with high resolutions or codecs.

If you are a Pro Content Creator and make a living by it then the 16-inch MacBook Pro can do all what the MacBook Pro 13 does in about half the time, thanks to more processor cores and a discrete graphics card. The problem is that laptop starts at ₹ 1,99,900, almost double the price of the entry-level MacBook Pro.

Of course, the MacBook Pro 13 can easily handle dozens of Chrome tabs, Slack, Spotify, and streaming video. If that’s all you need to do.

Colour Options

macbook pro 2020 colour options

The MacBook Pro is available in dark Space Gray and lighter Silver aluminium finish, a classic colour scheme that has been around for several years. It’s sleek and modern, though it’s far from a striking design.

What’s In The Box?

Verdict

The 2020 13inch MacBook Pro two-port and four-port share Apple’s new keyboard, which is genuinely excellent, the fantastic trackpad, great screen and all the other premium, well-executed features.

It lasts a surprisingly long time when doing light office duties and longer than I expected when doing something intense. It’s super quiet and will stay at peak performance for an extended period that’s longer than most competitors.

For most people, the cheaper two-port machine is sufficient. But if you need more power, the four-port 13inch MacBook Pro is the one to buy.

To make a better laptop than this Apple will have to radically redesign the machine, so this feels like the last great version of a long-running model.

Should You Buy It?

Yes. It offers just enough extra performance to be a solid option for aspiring creative professionals.

 

 

 

 

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