Apple dropped a lot of surprises on us with its unveiling of its latest silicon chips, the M2 Pro and M2 Max, and these chips will power two of its latest Macbook Pro lines, the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2023) models.
Thanks to these powered chips, the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) Likely to make our list of The best MacBooks Once we have a chance to review itAnd But how does this update hold up? MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) Model? Is it worth the double dip or should you hold off until another model launches sometime in the future before upgrading from the 2021 model?
Answering these questions can be tricky, especially with not much concrete information currently available for the 2023 model. Keeping in mind that there’s a notable price difference between the two versions and that option is even more difficult. To make it easier for you to know which is right for you, we’ve put the two together to find the benefits of both chips depending on your needs and budget.
MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) vs. MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023): Price and Availability
The starting price for the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) with M1 Pro chip was $2,499 / £2,399 / AU$3,749. The more powerful M1 Max chip model for the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) starts at $3,499 / £3,299 / AU$5,249.
Pricing for the upcoming 16-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro starts at $2,499 / £2,699 / AU$3,999, with the 16-inch M2 Max MacBook Pro starting at $3,499 / £3,749 / AU$5,599.
Of course, you can update the 2023 laptops, which have both specs and prices to amazing levels, as did the 2021 versions. Either way, availability is excellent with all of these models available for purchase in many regions including the UK and Australia, though. Although on its website, Apple has replaced the 2021 MacBook Pro models with the 2023 versions.
MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) vs. MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023): Specifications
The 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) with M1 Pro chip has a 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16GB of unified memory, and 512GB of SSD storage to start. The more powerful M1 Max chip version started with a 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, 32GB of memory, and 1TB SSD storage.
Meanwhile, the basic configuration of the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro chip comes with 10-core CPU (upgradable to 12 cores), 16-core GPU (upgradable to 19 cores), 16GB memory, 512GB GB SSD storage, with the 16-inch M2 Max MacBook Pro model starting with a 12-core CPU, 30-core GPU (upgradable to 38 cores), 32GB of memory, and a 1TB drive.
You can upgrade specifications on the M2 Pro model up to 32GB of memory and on the M2 Max model up to 96GB of non-real memory. Both versions can be upgraded to a whopping 8TB of storage.
And port selection is pretty solid, with three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port that supports 8K video output, an SDXC card slot, a headphone jack, and a MagSafe 3 port. But there’s no real improvement between the 2021 and 2023 models. And just like the current generation, the next generation is still missing an ethernet port, which is something Disappointing for those who prefer a wired connection.
MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) vs. MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023): Performance
As of right now, we won’t be able to compare the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) to the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2023) in terms of performance until we can get our hands on these laptops ourselves and run some proper benchmarks.
From what we can tell from Apple’s recently revealed information, the 2023 Pro series is shaping up to be significantly faster with much improved performance. This is a particularly boon for those in the field of video editing, so the M2 Max will be the perfect laptop for those professionals.
The M2 Pro chip model has up to 18 hours of battery life, while the M2 Max chip version is said to have up to 22 hours of battery life. The M2 Pro’s claimed battery life is slightly less than the 2021 model we tested, which came in at nearly 19 hours, so 18 hours is definitely a reasonable expectation here.
MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) vs. MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023): Which Should You Buy?
Both 16-inch MacBook Pros are priced roughly equally, so if you need a brand new machine and haven’t yet invested in the 2021 version, the new 2023 model is definitely your best bet (at least at MSRP). However, if you already have a current-generation device, it’s hard to recommend upgrading even with the improvements to specs and performance.
The M1 chips are pretty powerful on their own, and the M1 Max in particular is really capable of effortlessly performing productive and professional editing work. But that will likely change once official benchmarks and tests are released, as sometimes final stats differ significantly from company claims.
For now, it might be worth waiting until at least the official revisions come out, then you can better judge whether the upgrades are worth the entry price, especially if you already have a 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021).