MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020) : First Impression

 

Earlier this week Apple announced new 13-inch MacBook Pro. It’s not 14 inches like we were maybe hoping but it does have the new Magic Keyboard, which is very good news ’cause you can actually type on it. There are two models of this thing, basically, there is the lower-end model with two Thunderbolt ports and then there is the higher-end model that has four Thunderbolt ports and it also has the 10th Gen processors, which are the newer processors. And the main difference there that you probably want to pay attention to is graphics performance. It’s all the standard stuff, a cable, some materials, some stickers in there, a charger, this lovely, not bad. the main things to notice are that it looks exactly like the last MacBook. The differences here are there is a real Escape key, a real inverted-T arrow key set and the Magic Keyboard.

There’s the same three-microphone array, there’s the same gigantic Magic Trackpad. It is the exact same 13-point inch, 13-point inch? It’s the exact same. there’s two models of the 2020 MacBook Pro 13-inch. The base model has two Thunderbolt ports instead of four and it also has Intel’s 8th generation processor, not the newest one. This model is the step up, it costs 1,799, it has Intel’s 10th Gen Core i5 processor, it also has faster RAM, it’s 3,733 megahertz, and it has 16 gigs of that RAM plus 512 of storage. You can upgrade this up to 32 gigs of RAM and a full four terabytes of storage if you want to, which is a lot for a 13-inch machine.

Now, looking at this machine, it looks precisely like a 13-inch MacBook Pro, like what it’s looked like for years, and I was mentioning that I was hoping from the rumors for a 14-inch screen but that’s not what we got here. Now, on the 16-inch version of the MacBook Pro they did manage to reduce the bezels and make the screen look bigger. They also managed to give it better speakers and studio microphones. These speakers and the three-micro array here are exactly the same but they’re very good so I’m really not complaining about it.

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But you know, the bezels are the same, they’re small but fine. This screen gets up to 500 nits, it has a wide P3 color gamut, and it has the same 720p webcam, there it is. So I know I’ve been saying that this is the exact same MacBook Pro that we’ve seen for the past two, three, four years or whatever but it actually is just a tiny, tiny bit different.

So I’m gonna grab my 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro here and looking at it from the camera, they seem completely identical, right? But there is a little bit of a difference, so I can see, right here, I can run my fingernail along and notice that the 2020 version is just a little bit thicker, I think it’s 0.61 inches versus 0.59. It’s also just a little bit heavier, it’s 3.1 pounds instead of like 3.02. And the reason for that extra thickness is, what you’ve been waiting for, the new Magic Keyboard instead of the old butterfly keyboard and, I gotta tell you, it’s great.

It sounds good, it feels good, I trust that it’s not going to break because it’s a classic scissor switch, just a huge upgrade all around. Now, Apple says that they did more than just take their old, old keyboards and slap it into this computer, they say that they’ve done work to make the entire key cap more stable so that when you push on a corner it pushes down flatly and evenly instead of having a little wobble to it.

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I guess I can feel that, and the key travel isn’t quite as large as you might be used to from the very old classic MacBooks but it’s still good and it’s way better than the butterfly keyboard. I’m very, very happy that after five years, Apple finally gave up on butterfly keyboards and gave us the scissor switches that we know and love. Now if all Apple had done was gotten rid of the butterfly keyboard and given us the Magic Keyboard I probably wouldn’t complain, but they also gave us this new processor to test out. It is, again, the 10th generation of Intel’s Core series, this is the Core i5, and that’s important ’cause it’s a little bit faster and it also might have better longevity ’cause it’ll just last longer. And also it doesn’t have WiFi 6 for some reason, WiFi performance here is fine.

But the bottom line is the biggest deal is that it has better graphics associated with it, it has Intel’s Iris Plus graphics and that could be a really big deal for you, depending on your workflow. See, one thing we know about Macs is that some software takes huge advantage of the GPU, stuff like Apple’s Final Cut, and other software, not so much, which is, you know, Adobe Premiere Pro which is what we use.

Apple says they didn’t significantly change the thermals on it and we know that, in general, MacBook thermals can’t quite cool quite as well as Windows machines, but I am more impressed than I expected here. Now a question I’ve gotten a lot is should you get the MacBook Air or the MacBook Pro? It’s actually more complicated than that, should you get the MacBook Air, or the base MacBook Pro or this 10th generation Intel processor MacBook Pro and here’s kind of where I land on it. If you just want thin and light, you just want a Mac, you’re not worried about power, you would be very happy with the Air, it is a very good default MacBook.

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If you want a little bit more power but you’re not worried about graphics processing power, you could probably be okay with the base MacBook Pro. If you think you need that GPU though or you just want the best thing, get the 13-inch MacBook Pro, so far I’m really impressed with it. You’re gonna want to see other benchmarks beyond just our one little Premiere export to see if it can actually handle the software that you use but my hunch is that it’s gonna be pretty good. Look, the bottom line here is that the era of the butterfly keyboard in Apple’s laptop lineup is finally dead. In the space of six months they have refreshed all of their laptops to this new Magic Keyboard. I wish it hadn’t taken five years to do it but I am so glad that they finally have.

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