It’s not unusual for a company in the tech world to release a yearly refresh of popular products. Apple has a reputation for that, even if some launches are more substantial than others. Debating between the MacBook M2 Pro vs. MacBook Pro M1 has put many consumers into a twist, as it’s more of an incremental upgrade than the next generation. If you’re curious how these laptops stack up, keep reading as you’ll need to dig deep to find the differences.
MacBook Pro M2 vs. MacBook Pro M1: Side-by-Side Comparison
|MacBook Pro M2||MacBook Pro M1|
|Display||13.3-inch IPS Retina display||13.3-inch IPS Retina display|
|Resolution||2,560 x 1,600||2,560 x 1,600|
|Processor||Apple M2||Apple M1|
|Memory||8GB, 16GB, 24GB||8GB, 16GB|
|Storage||256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB||256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB|
|Battery Life||Up to 20 hours||Up to 20 hours|
|Dimensions||0.61” H x 11.9” W x 8.3” D||0.61” H x 11.9” W x 8.3” D|
|Weight||3 lbs.||3 lbs.|
MacBook Pro M2 vs. MacBook Pro M1: What’s the Difference?
Normally, when we compare two products, the list of differences covers at least four or five areas like design or battery life. When you’re considering purchasing the older MacBook Pro M1 or the MacBook Pro M2, you only need to focus on two things – performance and price.
The first area to look at between the MacBook Pro M2 vs. MacBook Pro M1 is performance. With computers, that generally comes down to two things: the processor and memory. While both of these laptops have plenty of pop, the MacBook M2 has a significant edge in both departments.
Apple is no stranger to using ARM-based chips in their smartphones and PCs and the M1 was one of their best when it rolled out in 2020. The 8-core chip has four cores for performance and four for efficiency along with an 8-core GPU. It’s powerful as the entry-level model, but even more impressive when you look at the Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max.
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro was one of the first devices to use the company’s M2 processor, which they claim boosts performance considerably over the older Apple M1 SoC. It still has 8-cores, but it’s more efficient and has a 10-core GPU. Memory bandwidth increases to 100GB/s, and you can choose from 24GB of RAM whereas the MacBook Pro M1 tops out at 16GB.
Professionals will appreciate the boost along with a dedicated media engine. Previously, you could only get that on the larger 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros with the M1 Pro and Pro Max processor.
Storage options remain the same on both models as the entry-level MacBook Pro comes with 256 GB of internal storage. Other options include 512 GB, 1 TB, or 2 TB of hard drive space through a speedy solid-state drive.
Please note: As of July 19, 2023, the Apple 2020 MacBook Pro M1 Chip – Silver is out of stock on Amazon. Check back for availability.
Price & Availability
When a company launches a new premium laptop, older models tend to go on sale. That’s not always the case with Apple, however, and something you might be surprised by with the MacBook Pro M1. The 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 launched in November 2020 with an MSRP of $1,299 for the base configuration.
While the newest MacBook Pro with the M2 chip arrived two years later in 2022 with a newer processor, the price point stayed the same. Currently, you can pick up the MacBook Pro M2 from Apple or retailers like Amazon in any configuration you choose.
There are no shortages of this model, but we can’t say the same for the older MacBook Pro M1. Apple no longer sells or manufactures this laptop, which can lead to higher price points.
We found that the newer model is actually cheaper at most retailers unless you want to purchase a refurbished MacBook Pro with the M1 chip. The MacBook Pro M2 is also easier to obtain in every configuration including the base model.
Minor Additions to the MacBook M2 Pro
While pricing and performance are the two biggest changes between the MacBook Pro M2 vs. MacBook Pro M1, there are a few other noteworthy features. The MacBook M2 has an updated 3.5 mm headphone jack.
That may not seem impressive, but it opens the door to spatial audio support and allows you to use high-impedance headphones. Apple also increased the percentage of recycled materials used in the MacBook from the previous generation.
Another small change is the power adapter. The MacBook Pro M1 comes with a 61W USB-C power adapter compared to the 67W version on the MacBook Pro M2. Both laptops have the same size 58.2-watt hour lithium battery, however.
MacBook Pro M2 vs. MacBook Pro M1: What’s the Same?
Now that you know what’s different with these laptops, it’s time to take a quick look at what’s the same. In this case, it’s everything from the design to the features.
Most consumers feel Apple’s products have an attractive design, and that carries over to the MacBook Pro. The company didn’t refresh the design, however, as they did with the new MacBook Air. That means there’s no difference between these laptops when it comes to design, size, or weight.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro weighs 3 pounds and measures 0.61” H x 11.9” W x 8.3” D. While it has a webcam, it’s not as top-notch as the one on the company’s newer devices. It’s not as slim as the MacBook Air and there are laptops with slimmer bezels, but it’s a looker nonetheless.
When you buy a MacBook, you expect a sharp, vivid display. Both versions of the MacBook Pro have fantastic displays – even if they are identical.
All of Apple’s current tech is present on this Retina display, so you’ll get True Tone technology along with the P3 wide color gamut. The maximum brightness on the panel is 500 nits and it has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600. It’s an accurate display, but it’s certainly not ideal for gamers due to response times.
The best display in the MacBook Pro lineup is on the 16-inch M2 Pro. It has a stunning Liquid Retina display with a resolution of 3,456 x 2,234 and has double the brightness. This version also has ProMotion technology which enables an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz.
As one of the company’s flagship PCs, you’ll find an array of features on the MacBook Pro M1 and M2. The 13-inch laptop still has the company’s unique Touch Bar, a nifty strip across the top that some users love and others loathe.
Users that don’t find the Touch Bar useful for editing or with other apps will appreciate the stereo sound system on the MacBook Pro. It also has a three-mic array with directional beamforming and a 720p FaceTime camera. Both versions have the company’s Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and a Force Touch trackpad as well.
Connectivity options on these laptops include Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, and two Thunderbolt 4 ports. It’s ready to work with Siri as soon as you sign in with your account, and has an outstanding battery life of around 20 hours per charge.
MacBook Pro M2 vs. MacBook Pro M1: 4 Must-Know Facts
- The Apple M2 was introduced to the world during WWDC 2022 on June 6th.
- Apple’s M2 Pro and M2 Max processors are higher-powered versions of the M2.
- The original MacBook was powered by a dual-core Intel processor.
- Boot Camp Assistant allows users to run macOS and Windows from a MacBook.
MacBook Pro M2 vs. MacBook Pro M1: Which One Is Better?
You may not be able to tell these laptops apart up close or from a distance, but there is a notable difference in performance with the MacBook M2. The MacBook M2 is easier to obtain and has the same price as the previous model; unless you catch one on sale.
For those reasons, we think the MacBook M2 is an easy choice if you’re shopping for a new MacBook. Alternatively, if you already own the MacBook M1, consider whether the increase in performance is worth it before getting an upgrade.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©canadianPhotographer56/Shutterstock.com.