Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020) review: New processors and new keyboard enhance Apple’s lightweight business laptop Review

Apple ordinarily sticks to a fairly rigid cycle of once-a-year updates for its products but,

Apple ordinarily sticks to a fairly rigid cycle of once-a-year updates for its products but, most likely prompted by the latest economic uncertainty, it has accelerated its products releases in modern months. The MacBook Air and the thirteen-inch variation of the MacBook Professional had been last current in July 2019: the MacBook Air got an early update in March, and it’s now the turn of the thirteen-inch MacBook Professional.

The facts of this update bear shut examination, as the thirteen-inch MacBook Professional now features 4 standard configurations primarily based on possibly eighth-generation or more recent 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processors. There are other dissimilarities in between the many products too, so it’s important to look at the different configurations so that you can make a decision which just one ideal satisfies your wants.


The 2020 thirteen-inch MacBook Professional operates on eighth or 10th generation quad-main Core i5 or i7 processors with up to 16GB (eighth gen) or 32GB (10th gen) of RAM, and up to 2TB (eighth gen) or 4GB (10th gen) of SSD storage. 

Image: Apple

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When Apple updates the thirteen-inch MacBook Professional every single 12 months, it generally retains just one configuration from the previous 12 months available in buy to offer a more affordable entry-level solution (even if the expression ‘affordable’ is some thing of a moveable feast in which Apple is anxious). The beginning value for the 2020 edition remains the identical as last 12 months, at £1,082.50 (ex. VAT £1,299 inc. VAT) or $1,299, and that model does keep on to use the identical processor as its predecessor — an eighth generation, quad-main Core i5 functioning at 1.4GHz, alongside with 8GB of RAM.

That entry-level model does get a minor additional awareness, while, growing last year’s meagre 128GB SSD to 256GB. And, luckily, all the 2020 products now include Apple’s new Magic Keyboard, with its enhanced ‘scissor’ system that aims to offer a more cozy and responsive really feel than the widely criticised ‘butterfly’ keyboards of modern several years (whilst this does bump the bodyweight up fractionally, from 1.37kg to 1.4kg). 


The new Magic Keyboard ditches the much-maligned ‘butterfly’ system for a more ergonomic and trusted ‘scissor’ system.

Image: Apple

The new keyboard is surely an advancement, and feels firmer and more responsive than the lifeless keyboard of before products. The Retina Screen remains the identical, with all the 2020 products sharing the identical bright and colourful monitor, with two,560 by 1,600 resolution (227dpi).

The next standard configuration available on Apple’s web-site only doubles the storage the moment more — to 512GB — for an additional £200/$200, and it’s not till you action up to £1,499.seventeen (ex. VAT £1,799 inc. VAT) or $1,799 that you get the all-new 2020 update reviewed in this article. 

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This new configuration now incorporates a 10th generation, quad-main Core i5-1038NG7 processor functioning at two.0GHz (up to three.8GHz with TurboBoost), with built-in Iris Plus graphics, alongside with 16GB of RAM (functioning at a faster three,733MHz) and a 512GB SSD. This model also incorporates 4 Thunderbolt three ports, rather than the meagre pair of ports available by the entry-level 1.4GHz model. We didn’t have the luxury of opening up our evaluate device, but it’s been documented on-line that this two.0GHz model has a new motherboard structure that incorporates a next cooling supporter and a more impressive set of speakers (we did request Apple if that’s suitable, but have yet to acquire confirmation).

Again, you can double the dimensions of the SSD on the two.0GHz model to 1TB for £200/$200, or you can up grade to a Core i7 processor functioning at two.3GHz (up to 4.1GHz with TurboBoost) for the identical quantity. As often, while, Apple’s memory updates are really pricey, costing £400/$400 to insert one more 16GB of RAM. You can also commit a even further £600/$600 on a 2TB good-point out generate, or £1,200/$1,200 for 4TB of storage. Having said that, the additional Thunderbolt ports on this model make external storage updates a much more affordable and useful solution.


Apple’s announcement of the new thirteen-inch MacBook Professional claimed that it features ‘up to two.8 periods faster performance’ — but that’s in comparison to a dual-main model from two generations back. The efficiency advancement over last year’s model is more modest. The 10th generation Core i5 processor in our 2020 evaluate device achieves one- and multi-main processor scores of five,five hundred and seventeen,950 when functioning Geekbench 4, in contrast to last year’s scores of 4,870 and seventeen,300.

Jogging the more recent Geekbench five made scores 1,250 and 4,480 for one- and multi-main efficiency, which are comparable to the scores of 1,308 and 4,900 recorded by the a little more pricey Microsoft Surface Notebook three. Having said that, the MacBook Professional edged ahead on graphics efficiency, hitting fourteen.8fps with the Unigine Valley test, in contrast to 11fps for the Surface Notebook three, or eleven.5fps for last year’s MacBook Professional model. That could seem to be like a fairly compact difference, but the Valley test suite is rather demanding, so an boost of even a couple frames per next nonetheless signifies a worthwhile advancement. Apple also factors out that the MacBook Pro’s Iris Plus graphics can support external shows of up to 6K resolution — including, of training course, Apple’s personal pricey Professional Screen XDR. 

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The only insignificant disappointment with the 2020 thirteen-inch MacBook Professional is that battery life drops a little. Apple offers ‘up to ten hours’ for the two the eighth generation and 10th generation processors, and last year’s model with the eighth generation 1.4GHz processor did deal with an impressive 9 hrs 45 minutes when streaming movie on the BBC iPlayer. Having said that, this year’s more impressive 10th generation model couldn’t rather match that, providing 8 hrs 45 minutes of streaming movie via the BBC iPlayer. Even so, that’s sufficient to give you a whole day’s do the job with no issues, and also beats the Surface Notebook three by a superior two hrs.


The 720p FaceTime High definition camera in the big bezel above the monitor is thanks an update.

Image: Apple


The 2020 thirteen-inch MacBook Professional is more of a ‘speedbump’ than a radical revamp, but Apple is evidently hoping to offer you a tempting quad-main up grade to owners of older dual-main products, as well as competing with more recent rivals this kind of as Microsoft’s Surface assortment. Its lightweight structure and battery life are nonetheless hard to conquer, and it’s superior to see Apple eventually placing its keyboard issues to rest. So whilst this year’s update may not be an crucial up grade for owners of more modern products, it does assure that the thirteen-inch MacBook Professional proceeds to offer you an attractive, moveable structure and robust efficiency for business buyers.

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