Notebookcheck Logo

The new MacBook Pro 13 is pretty boring, but still very good

Instead of a full redesign, the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro only gets the new keyboard as well as current Ice Lake processor. Did the manufacturer miss an opportunity or can the old design still shine in 2020?

The current 2020 MacBook Pro 13 has not changed much at a first look. Many things are the same, like the case, the ports, and the display. The less expensive model with 2x Thunderbolt 3 even keeps the old Whiskey Lake CPUs. Only the much more expensive SKU also gets updated Ice Lake CPUs from Intel. The only real new feature here is the keyboard, because Apple now removes the controversial Butterfly keyboard from the 13-inch MacBook Pro and follows the example of the MacBook Pro 16 as well as the MacBook Air. Thanks to the switch to more a conventional scissor mechanism, you get more key travel, and we believe many users will prefer the new input.

The performance on the other hand is pretty much the same. Thanks to the good cooling solution, the performance is also stable under sustained workloads, but the performance of the current Intel chips is just not improving. However, there is not much Apple can do about that, and a switch to AMD with the current design would probably cost too much money and time. At least the integrated graphics card is a bit faster.

Apple still waives Wi-Fi 6 despite the Ice Lake processor, maybe to keep the features between the two MacBook Pro 13 models even. All in all though, the MacBook Pro 13 with the new keyboard is a very good subnotebook.

But what about the heavily rumored MacBook Pro 14? After Apple replaced the MBP 15 with the MBP 16 in the end of last year, many users expected a MacBook Pro 14 and we would have liked to see it as well. It seems this device is just not ready yet or there is an insufficient number of components wight now. In addition to the rumored Mini-LED display, we believe a switch to AMD CPUs is realistic, because Intel does not show any major advancements in terms of performance and efficiency for a while now. Initial tests of AMD's Renoir CPUs show big improvements over Intel CPUs, for example. The connection between Apple and AMD already exists in the laptop segment (AMD GPUs in the MacBook Pro 16). We are definitely eager to see such a device and recommend to wait if you are planning to upgrade but don't need a new MacBook right now. 

static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 06 > The new MacBook Pro 13 is pretty boring, but still very good
Andreas Osthoff, 2020-06- 5 (Update: 2020-06- 2)