Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) review: lapse to baseline


The many engaging — and many common — questions I’ve perceived about this new 13-inch MacBook Pro aren’t about a laptop itself, during slightest not directly. They’re about comparison selling it adult opposite other MacBooks and even other Windows laptops. For Apple, that’s indeed good news because, adult until recently, many of a questions would have been “is a keyboard going to break?”

It’s good news for Apple, though it’s many softened news for people in a marketplace to buy a new MacBook given it means we don’t have to second-guess yourself. we can’t definitively contend a new Magic Keyboard will be arguable prolonged term, though all signs indicate to that. It doesn’t harm that it provides a many nicer (and quieter!) typing experience.

As we and others have said, we shouldn’t give Apple too many credit for usually regulating this keyboard. After years of problems, it’s a lapse to baseline functionality. It’s not a whole lot some-more than that, however.

Apple hangs on to laptop designs many longer than other companies. It’s fortunate, then, that they’re generally good designs. Other than swapping out a keyboard and thereby adding a millimeter of density and a few grams of weight, this 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro is matching to a final few dating behind to 2016. Unlike final November’s 16-inch MacBook Pro, zero else is altered here.

That means a 13.3-inch shade still goes adult to a splendid 500 nits, though a bezels around it are still a small vast by stream standards. The speakers, mics, and altogether build peculiarity are above average. It’s a MacBook, and chances are good we know what that means when it comes to hardware. That includes a 720p webcam, that is not great.

The side perspective of a 2020 Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch arrangement dual Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack

The new MacBook Pro is about 1mm thicker than a final indication to accommodate a new keyboard.

The scissor-switch resource underneath a keys on a Magic Keyboard provides one millimeter of travel, a organisation bounce, and a some-more musical thunk than a moth keyboard. The keys are stable, backlit, and, well, we know what? It’s an glorious keyboard. I’m blissful for a genuine Esc key, and we cite a inverted T setup for arrow keys.

There’s also Touch ID for logging in. But during a certain point, I’d like to see Apple figure out how to locate adult to Windows Hello and concede face login. Touch ID is fast, during least, and well-integrated with Apple’s apps and a handful of other well-designed Mac apps.

In between Touch ID and a Esc pivotal is ye olde Touch Bar. Even after regulating it for 4 years, it has nonetheless to truly grow on me. we have finally managed to embody it in my workflows. Enough apps take advantage of it now that we find myself putting in a additional bid to make certain it’s set adult scrupulously app by app. we also put in a (significantly larger) bid to figure out how to customize it with Better Touch Tool.

A screenshot of a MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar customized regulating Better Touch Tool

A customized Touch Bar regulating Better Touch Tool, with a dock, calendar, weather, Spotify controls, and tongue-tied / nap button. Volume and liughtness tranquil by gestures.

Even so, we can’t get over a feeling that a Touch Bar stays underutilized during best and nonessential during worst. we wouldn’t skip it if it were gone, though during slightest it doesn’t actively perplex me.

A 2020 Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with a arrangement on and keyboard visible

The MacBook Pro’s altogether pattern is a same as before models

There are unequivocally dual new 13-inch MacBook Pros. The “base” indication has comparison 8th Gen Intel processors and usually dual Thunderbolt 3 ports. we haven’t tested this one, though we do consider it’s an peculiar duck. we consider many people looking during it would be softened off with possibly a MacBook Air or stepping adult to a some-more absolute chronicle of a MacBook Pro.

I’ve been contrast that some-more absolute version, with a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Relative to my three-year-old MacBook Pro with identical specs, it is a conspicuous ascent in speed and opening opposite a board. If we have a newer machine, we competence not notice as large a difference.

Agree to continue: 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020)

Every intelligent device now requires we to determine to a array of terms and conditions before we can use it — contracts that no one indeed reads. It’s unfit for us to examination and investigate any singular one of these agreements. But we started counting accurately how many times we have to strike “agree” to use inclination when we examination them given these are agreements many people don’t examination and unequivocally can’t negotiate.

In sequence to get past a setup and indeed use a MacBook Pro, we are compulsory to determine to:

  • The macOS program permit agreement, that includes:

– Apple’s guaranty agreement

– Game Center terms and conditions

These agreements are nonnegotiable, and we can't use a laptop during all if we don’t determine to them. There are also several discretionary agreements, including:

  • Location services
  • Sending pile-up and use information to Apple to assistance app developers
  • Allowing Apple to use your Siri transcripts to urge voice recognition

The final total is 3 imperative agreements and 4 discretionary ones.

One of a large advantages of this upgraded indication is a softened Intel Iris Plus graphics. (There’s no apart GPU option.) Apple claims Final Cut exports will be 60 percent faster, for example. What’s astounded me slightly, however, is how apps that don’t traditionally take advantage of new GPUs in Apple machines fared. Adobe Premiere exports haven’t matched a midrange 16-inch MacBook Pro we tested final year, though they’ve outperformed my expectations.

If your “pro” work is pulling your mechanism with lots of regulating apps and even some-more browser tabs, I’m happy to contend that a mechanism kept adult with many of what we threw during it. At one indicate final week, we had Chrome and Safari open with 10 or so tabs each, and a integrate of Electron apps, Lightroom CC, Zoom, and QuickTime. On tip of that, one of those tabs was regulating a videoconference over WebRTC, and we was recording audio around Audio Hijack and regulating Bluetooth headphones.

With all that, a fans were spinning, though zero was chugging. One of a best things about regulating a some-more absolute mechanism is we are giveaway to be a small some-more careless about what we leave open and regulating in a background. we didn’t have to worry about quitting apps when we wanted to open new ones… as prolonged as we left it plugged in.

If there’s a cut on this opening picture, it’s battery life, that usually hardly rises above disappointing. Apple claims 10 hours of web use, though with my common workload, we was removing about five. My customary daily set of apps is maybe some-more than average, though it’s not a absurd amount. we kept shade liughtness during around 70 percent, though we’re articulate about Slack, TweetDeck, Lightroom, Spotify, Mail, and a few other apps.

That includes Chrome, of course, that Apple’s battery guard righteously identifies as a battery hog. By switching out to Safari and tying my use of Chromium-based Electron apps (except Spotify because… come on), we was means to pull it to nearby 6 hours. we pattern we could fist out some-more if we serve singular myself to some-more battery-efficient apps and dialed behind a brightness. But that’s not how we use my computers, and we doubt that many MacBook Pro users are so committed about app use anyway.

Those battery formula aren’t depot (pardon a pun) for my feelings about this MacBook, though they’re not great. For a prolonged time, one of Apple’s biggest strengths compared to Windows machines was a ability to exist them. That’s not unequivocally a box anymore. We’ve seen copiousness of 13-inch Windows laptops final longer between charges underneath identical workflows.

An Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch from above

The MacBook Pro’s trackpad is still a largest we can get on a 13-inch laptop.

Apple’s 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro is a competent, constant computer. The upgraded indication with a 10th Gen Intel processors outperformed my expectations in terms of speed and energy even if it didn’t unequivocally stir me on battery life. we would like to see a bigger redesign subsequent time, though that doesn’t meant this pattern is a problem. It’s usually informed in a time when many of a foe is anticipating ways to slim their bezels.

The whole indicate of a 13-inch Pro is to give we a small some-more headroom for regulating some-more absolute (or usually more) apps than a MacBook Air can unequivocally hoop but groaning underneath a load. It’s meant to be a appurtenance we can take for granted. Now that a keyboard is fixed, I’m looking brazen to doing usually that.

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