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Apple MacBook Pro 13 2020 M1 (A2338) review. The perfect laptop?

2024-03-21
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2020 M1 (A2338) review. The perfect laptop?

Apple MacBook Pro 13 2020 M1 (A2338) review. The perfect laptop?

Is there a perfect laptop on the used market? The Apple MacBook Pro 13 2020 M1 (A2338) is now available in our store. We put it through its paces. Did it pass the test?

Apple's collaboration with others has never been constant throughout its history. During Jobs' lifetime, he emphasized several times that he preferred to have only his own solutions. Apple's iPhones use their own chips, the computers initially also had solutions just for themselves, then there was the switch to Intel chips (also often dedicated and developed for Apple), and with the M1 Apple returns to independence. How that worked out for them. The first MacBook Pros with these "hearts" have surfaced at AMSO, and I haven't failed to review them for you. Below is everything I could find out about the MacBook Pro 13.3-inch model with 16GB RAM and 256 SSD hard drive, codenamed A2338. Have fun reading.

Housing - No visible differences

Apple is sticking with the proven unibody design of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Two color variants are available: silver and graphite. The high build quality leaves nothing to complain about, and the aluminum casing is resistant to dirt and fingerprints. However, it should be noted that the design of the laptop is starting to show its age. The bezels around the screen are significantly wider than the competition, such as the Dell XPS 13.

Compared to the MacBook Air from 2020, the 13-inch Pro has the same thickness but lacks the taper towards the front. This makes the Air slightly more comfortable to type on, as the front edge of the Pro is sharper. The difference in weight is not great - the Air is about 150 grams lighter.

Features: USB 4 and Wi-Fi 6

The MacBook Pro 2238 offers a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack on the right-hand side and two Thunderbolt 3 ports (USB-C ports) on the left-hand side. The ports now support the USB 4 standard, but their bandwidth is limited to 10 Gbit/s, as with USB 3.1 Gen.2. The close placement of the ports can be a problem if you connect a charger - large USB sticks can block access to the second port.

Macbook_Pro_13

Connectivity without revolution, proven screen, performance with potential

The MacBook Pro 13, like the Air M1 and other Apple devices with Wi-Fi 6, uses a Wi-Fi module (2x2) that supports the 802.11ax standard. Unfortunately, it is limited to an 80 MHz band, which does not have a significant impact on speed compared to the previous MBP 13 from 2020 and Wi-Fi 5. The competition with the Windows operating system has an advantage here, even with Wi-Fi 5 modules.

M1_prozessor

The screen remains unchanged - we get a glossy IPS panel with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels (227 ppi) and an aspect ratio of 16:10. Apple specifies a brightness of 500 nits.

The MacBook Pro 13 has many advantages, such as

  • Very well functioning ambient light sensor
  • Automatic adjustment of the color temperature (TrueTone)
  • Excellent scalability under macOS

However, it should be noted that at low brightness (49% or less), backlight flickering occurs, although its high frequency (122 kHz) should ensure that it is not noticed. There is also no problem with light leakage from the backlight on a black background, even at maximum brightness. The stability of the viewing angle of the IPS panel is very good. The screen works well outdoors and is not as reflective as many other glossy screens. As long as direct light reflections can be avoided, using the notebook is not a problem even in brighter environments.

Like the new MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro 13 is equipped with a new Apple M1 processor (8 cores, 4x 3.2 GHz & 4x 2.3 GHz). The chip is identical in both devices, the difference concerns the integrated graphics - the Air has 7 GPU cores and the Pro 8 cores. The MBP 13 M1 also has active cooling, which stabilizes performance under prolonged load.

Quiet and powerful: MacBook Pro 13 with M1

The new MacBook Pro 13 with the Apple M1 processor impresses with its performance. It easily outperforms not only the previous MBP 13 model with Intel processor, but also the more expensive MBP 13 with four Thunderbolt ports.

Macbook_pro_13

The performance of the M1 processor in native applications, measured with Cinebench R23, is impressive. The result of the single-core test is slightly better than the MacBook Air M1, and the first start of the multi-core test is 5% faster in the Pro. In addition, the Pro maintains high performance even under prolonged load, unlike the Air, which drops 12% due to passive cooling.

The MacBook Pro 13 M1 is an incredibly fast and responsive machine in everyday use. The PCIe SSD storage ensures excellent data transfer rates, and the powerful M1 processor handles demanding tasks with ease. MacBook Pro 13 M1 is equipped with an 8-core iGPU, which is faster than the 7-core iGPU in MacBook Air M1. The M1 iGPU is more powerful than dedicated graphics cards like the GeForce MX350 and only 24% slower than the mobile GeForce GTX 1650 Ti.

Fan:

The MacBook Pro 13 with M1 is quieter than its Intel processor predecessor. The fan runs less often and for a shorter time, even under load. You will probably never hear it in daily use.

Speakers:

The speakers have remained unchanged and are still among the best in the notebook class. They offer rich and clear stereo sound. Battery life:

Despite the same battery capacity (58.2 Wh), the battery life is significantly longer than the previous model. The battery lasts around 20 hours in the Wi-Fi test and around 19 hours when watching videos (at a screen brightness of 150 cd/m²). Even at maximum screen brightness, the battery life is around 10 hours. These are impressive results.

Summary

It is incredible that Apple launched a MacBook Pro with an Intel processor in the same year and a version with M1 appeared in the following months. Incredibly, but also amazingly, the MacBook with this processor performs great. Sophisticated, quiet and fast operation, tremendous battery power and long battery life, and tremendous computing power make it a practically perfect machine for me. In the past, outstanding battery performance was possible with Intel Atom processors, but as you know, this was accompanied by very weak processor performance. With Apple, we have all the best in one package. I am not surprised that Intel has fallen behind with such solutions. I can recommend this device with a clear conscience.

More articles in our blog:

Macbook Pro A2251 13 2020 review

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