Skip to main content

MacBook Pro 2020 Review

MacBook Pro 2020 Review, we need to talk. Like actually talk, for real. You don't return my calls, you don't acknowledge me in public. I mean, I had so many good things to say about the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
MacBook Pro 2020 Review

I just don't understandwhat you want from me. Do you want me to pick upyour new 13-inch MacBook Pro and talk about that too? Is that what you need, 'cause I'll do it. But you might not wannahear what I have to say. You know what you will wanna hear, this segue to our sponsor, Ridge Wallet. Ridge Wallet wants to redefine the wallet with its compact frameRFID-blocking plates. Check out how they can help you keep your wallet bulged down, and use the offer code LINUS to save 10% and get free worldwide shipping. (upbeat motivating music) All kidding aside, Apple's16-inch MacBook Pro was a breath of fresh air. It brought smaller bezels, rocking sound, beefed up cooling, and a vastly superior, while not strictly speakingnew, keyboard that blew the butterfly switches of older MacBook Pros out of the water. That's why the 13-inchis such a weird device for me to look at. 


A lot of what I thoughtwas new, well isn't. The chassis hasn't beensignificantly redesigned since 2016 with the refreshed touchbar-equipped 2019 Coffee Lake model sporting the same design forthis year's low-end models. Kind of flew under our radarbecause we frankly had enough Apple on our hands at the time. So, we're looking at a pretty similar user experience overall to those refreshed models. Shockingly good speakersthat don't quite measure up to the 16-inch, butdefinitely hold their own against most other laptops out there. An awesome P3-enabled2560-by-1600, 16 by 10 screen, and improved triple microphone array, essential for modern teleconferencing. And four Thunderbolt 3 ports, like previous gen high-end 13-inch and all 15-inch models. Although it would be niceto see Apple give more love to USB type C enthusiastson the lower end too. Lttstore.com. On the Surface then, that placesthe new 13-inch MacBook Pro in a difficult position wherethe refreshed MacBook Air is significantly less expensive, while providing a verysimilar set of features. The Air does have a slightlyless impressive sRGB screen of the same size and resolution, though.


It has two fewer Thunderbolt 3 ports, the same number as therefreshed low-end Pro models with Coffee Lake CPUs. And both of them are rockingthe new Magic Keyboard, just without the polarizingtouch bar on the MacBook Air. Speaking of the touch bar,Apple has completely killed off the touch bar-free MacBook Pro, so the only Apple laptop thatyou can buy brand new today without the touch bar is the MacBook Air. To the Pro's credit, its dimensions and even weight, aren'tsignificantly different from the MacBook Air,whose wedge-shaped design actually peaks at a greater thickness than the Pro does. What sets the new 13-inchMacBook Pro apart then, is primarily its CPU. Both the Pro and the Air use Intel's 10 nanometer Ice Lake CPUs, but the Pro gains accessto the Core i7 1068NG7, the fastest of the bunch,coupled with 16 gigs of RAM and a 512 gig SSD as standard. Though we equipped ours with a terabyte to make room for our Windowsand macOS test suites. Speaking of which, we'llgrab our 16-inch MacBook Pro, the 2020 MacBook Air,and the new Dell XPS 13 to help us understand whothis rather expensive machine is actually for. Oh and make sure you're subscribed, because we're also midwaythrough testing out whether the iPad Pro really canbe used as a real laptop. 


Now gaming is obviously notthe MacBook Pro's forte, as demonstrated by the relativelypoor AAA gaming experience that you're looking at right now. But, it does hold itsown in e-sports titles like CS: GO, and actually managed to outpace the Dell XPS 13 despite that computer's supposedlyidentical GPU configuration and faster core clocks. Not too shabby. Moving on to the actualreason people buy Macs though, to get work done, thingsget a little interesting. Quad core versus quadcore, with the same memory and architecture, theMacBook Air falls well short of the MacBook Pro, particularlyin multi-threaded tasks. The XPS 13 meanwhile, hangs close, trading blows here and there, thanks to its higher core clocks. But Apple's moreaggressively-tweaked power profile in macOS helps it in certain workloads, like our Firefox compiled,where it beat the XPS by about five minutes. And beat the Air by nearly an hour. We had to rerun some of our tests, like the Adobe Suite testto confirm these numbers. But the MacBook Pro 13 dominates even the 16-inch MacBook Pro in Photoshop, presumably as a resultof its faster memory and larger cache, while the Air ends up languishing at half the score. It's worth noting thatboth the MacBook Air and Pro crashed duringour After Effects test, something that we didn'tsee on the 16-inch, nor on the XPS, which might point to a bug in macOS whenyou're using an Ice Lake CPU. Speaking of macOS, let's see how Apple's aggressive boost settingsaffect things, shall we? Over the course of a long Blender render, we're seeing core clocksspike to 4.1 gigahertz, and remain steady inthe 3.2 gigahertz range throughout the run. That is well ahead of the MacBook Air and even the supposedly faster XPS 13. Power consumption is naturally quite a bit higher as a result,clocking in around 44 watts peak and settling in the 32 watts range. So around a watt per megahertz, nice. Finally though, temperature. It's just one word to describe it. Ouch. It's not as much straight up fire as the MacBook Air is, but the Pro 13 2020 is firmly past 95% sustainedwith 100-degree peaks, while the XPS 13 sits, and I really hate to use this word this way, but at a relatively cool 90 degrees. We've said this before,but it bears repeating. In my opinion, 100 degree low temperatures basically invalidate a pro machine for these kindsof professional workloads. Optimization at any cost is thename of the game here folks, 


and it's clear thatApple has pulled out all the stops to push this CPU to its limit. That means though, that alongwith new Ice Lake goodies, like deep learning boost, ABX 512, and an expanded cache layout, yeah, this thing is fast, especially per thread, but it leaves us with thesame concerns that we had when they first launchedthe touch bar MacBook Pro. Is the slightly slimmerprofile really worth the trade-off in lifespan? 'Cause remember guys, these numbers are on a brand new machine,a professional machine. Not one that's been running for a year or two sucking in dust. It's not all bad, to be clear. Thanks in part to itsridiculously speedy 3733 megahertz LPDDR4X memory, this thing dominates, first-year memory-heavy tasks. And not only do you get a significant performance improvement, it also runs atsignificantly lower voltages, something that has allowedApple to slightly reduce the total battery capacityusing more power-hungry CPU and still advertise thesame battery life as before. Which really turns out in reality to be generally on point with anovernight 1080p YouTube video going on for about ninehours at half splendor, setting it just slightlybehind the MacBook Air, with the Dell XPS 13 faroutpacing it at over 14 hours. 


That's actually, nowthat you think about it, half again, as long as the Pro lasted and with a smaller battery to boot. Guess that's what aggressiveCPU power tuning gets you. Another point in the XPS13's favor is the price. For our similarly-specked machine, you're looking at around$150 of Apple tax over the Dell, which includes Windows Hello, and in its non touch configuration, also manages to be lighterthan the MacBook Air, making it a more mobile friendly machine. Apple does get some points, however, for having double the Thunderbolt 3 ports, along with better performance, even if it comes at a thermal cost, and awesome speakers. The feeling I can't shake here though is that Apple's kind of carving out a niche within a niche with this one. It seems like it would bea great Photoshop machine, or maybe audio mixer for DJs. But for any pro workthat demands full loads of more than a minute or so at a time, the truth of the matteris, I'm sorry Apple, but I just can't recommend it. What I can recommendthough, is our sponsor. Privacy is a free service that allows you to generate virtual credit cards for online purchases and subscriptions. By using the 12 cardsthat you can get for free, you can make sure that you keep track of what you are subscribed to. Remember that time Chaseforgot to cancel subscriptions? Well now with Privacy, he doesn't need to loop through that cancellation process and remove his credit card information. 


He can simply cancelthe card that was issued for that subscription. By generating virtual cards with limits that you set and no personal information, you can now sign upfor sites and buy stuff that you wanted to try out butthat you were worried might be too sketchy to give yourreal credit card number to. By upgrading to a Pro account, you'll be able to get 36 cards, more security features, and 1% cash back, something that banks onlyoffer to approved credit cards. And, if you've already got it,then that's another 3%, hey. Sign up today and get $5 fornothing at privacy.com/Linus. That's privacy.com/Linus. I hope guys you enjoyed this article.

Comments