The M1 MacBook Pro 13 debuted in 2020 but now we have two new MacBook Pros with two new M series chips. This leaves us with the question: Should you still buy an M1 MacBook 13 or go for the M1 Pro or M1 Max MacBook Pro 14/16?
While all the MacBook Pro models are powerhouses, the M1 Max and M1 Pro chips outperform the M1 and previous Intel Macs. However, the new MacBook Pros also command a starting price of $1,999 which can go up to a staggering $6,000 for the Maxed out MacBook Pro 16. If you consider the potential of the new MacBooks, they’re not made for everyone, which makes the M1 MacBook Pro 13 more approachable.
Reasons To Buy An M1 MacBook Pro 13
Before the Apple silicon lineup, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro differences were too wide to bridge. The M1 chip leveled the playing field so much so that the Pro could somewhat not justify its premium over the Air.
With the introduction of the M1 Pro and Max, Apple has reinforced the walls between the Pro and the Air. However, this time, the Air, or even the MacBook Pro 13 are not underpowered choices. Just up until last month, the M1 MacBook Pro 13 was outperforming most laptops in its class with the M1 chip.
Its A Pro
If you look at the specifications, the new MacBook Pro 13 packs studio-quality mics, solid speakers, and a 2560x1600p display with 500 nits of brightness. Apple claims up to 17 hours of wireless web browsing on the machine, and if you liked the Touch Bar, this is the only MacBook left with it. Lastly, the M1 chip gives it enough juice to fly through tasks like photo and video editing.
The Right Configuration
The M1 MacBook Pro 13 is a good choice if you want a portable and powerful machine. You should also check our Mac buying guide to help you decide.
Getting a MacBook Pro 13 will also save you some money over the 14 or 16-inch models. You should consider spending more on extra RAM and storage to get the right configuration for future-proofing.
There’s a manageable $300 price gap between the MacBook Pro 13 with (16GB/512GB/$1,699) and the base MacBook Pro 14 (16GB/512GB/$1,999). However, the choice between 13 and 14 is entirely up to how you’re planning to use it. The MacBook Pro 13 can handle multiple streams of video editing. The render speeds are also good, thanks to the M1 chip.
The 14-inch Pro, on the other hand, is in a different league altogether. It is a seriously powerful machine and its full potential can be utilized in advanced video editing and entry-level 3D modeling and rendering.
Why You Should Not Buy The M1 MacBook Pro 13
The previous section makes it clear that the M1 MacBook Pro 13 is a compact and powerful notebook. However, you should consider the following points before you make a buying decision:
New Design Has Arrived
The new MacBook Pro 14 and 16 get Apple’s latest ‘notched’ design with a flat build and more ports. This design is expected to trickle down to the MacBook Pro 13 and the MacBook Air. It brings more ports and a better webcam, which are enough reasons to wait.
The current MacBook Pro 13 was introduced with the M1 MacBook Air and Mac Mini in November 2020. So both models are due for a refresh and we expect this to happen in the mid of 2022.
More Chip Options
While the M1X leaks didn’t pan out for the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros, the rumor mill is abuzz again. Recent leaks suggest that the upcoming MacBook Air will feature an M2 chip. If that’s the case, then the MacBook Pro 13 is also likely to get one of the updated chips. It could be the M2 from the latest Air, or it could be the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip from the new Pros.
In all cases, we should have a new MacBook Pro 13 by 2022. However, it is a long shot and a long time to wait, so if you want an M1 MacBook Pro 13 now, it is still a solid option.
14-Inch MacBook Pro Is A Better Choice
|Specifications||M1 MacBook Pro 13 (base model)||M1 Pro MacBook Pro 14 (base model)|
|Dimensions (HxWxD) and weight||0.61 x 11.97 x 8.36-inch|
3.0 pounds (1.4 kg)
|0.61 x 12.31 x 8.71-inch|
3.5 pounds (1.6 kg)
|Display||13.3-inch Retina display||14.2-inch liquid retina XDR display|
|Chip||Apple M1 chip|
8-core CPU, 8-core GPU
16-core Neural engine
|Apple M1 Pro chip|
8-core CPU, 14-core GPU
16-core Neural engine
|Battery||Up to 20 hours||Up to 17 hours|
|Ports||2 Thunderbolt (USB-C) ports||3 Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports|
|Secure Authentication||Touch ID||Touch ID|
Budget problems aside, the 14-inch MacBook Pro is a way better choice than the M1 MacBook Pro 13. If you look at the table above, you’ll see how both notebooks fit in almost the same form factor. This is so because the MacBook Pro 14 has narrower bezels and a flat design.
The MacBook Pro 14 is also superior in terms of display, I/O, processing power, and specifications. So, if you have the budget, the MacBook Pro 14 is clearly the better machine to buy.
Is The MacBook Pro 13 A Good Buy?
The MacBook Pro 13 is a good purchase if you want a Pro machine that burns a slightly smaller hole in your pocket. For now, the 13-inch Pro is basically an M1 MacBook Air on steroids. If you were (not) buying the Pro for future-proofing, you could save more and get the MacBook Air instead.
However, if you’re into heavy tasks like working on multiple streams of 4K videos, 3D modeling, etc. then the MacBook Pro 13 is a good choice, only if you’re on a budget. The premium you pay for the MacBook 14 is also justified better in its specifications.
So in my view, the M1 MacBook Pro 13 is well-placed to be an entry-level Pro notebook. And if you’re future-proofing it with crazy money, you could go for the 14 or 16-inch models.
What do you think about the 13-inch MacBook Pro? Will you get one or go with the 14 or 16-inch instead? Let us know in the comments.