Sunday , August 9 2020

2020 13-inch MacBook Pro test: the standard MacOS workhorse

The revision of the laptop product range by Apple has been completed: The new 13-inch MacBook Pro is a real eye-catcher controversial butterfly keyboard in favor of the proven Magic keyboard, and it brings special bumps to the boot.

While the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is in most This update, which is very similar to its predecessor from 2019, rounds off a revision of the MacBook product line that Apple has been doing for several months.

The result is an effective workhorse machine that closes a gap in the lineup for professional and hobby users who need high CPU power but for whom graphics are secondary – people like developers and the like.

Table of Contents


Specifications at a glance: 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro
screen 2560 x 1600 at 13.3 inches
operating system macOS Catalina 10.15.3
Central processor 2 GHz 4-core Intel Core i5 (3.8 GHz Turbo) with 6 MB L3 cache
R.A.M. 16 GB 3733 MHz LPDDR4
GPU Intel Iris Plus graphics
hard disk 512 GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac Wi-Fi; IEEE 802.11a / b / g / n; Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 4x Thunderbolt 3, 3.5 mm headphones
size 1.56 cm x 30.41 cm x 21.24 cm (0.61 in x 11.97 in x 8.36 in)
Weight 1.4 kg (3.1 lbs)
guarantee 1 year or 3 years with AppleCare +
Price as rated $ 1,799
Other benefits 720p FaceTime HD camera, stereo speakers
Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020) product image

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)

(Ars Technica can receive compensation for sales of links to this post through affiliate programs.)

Of course, there are a number of configuration options for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, but the big gap is between the two-port Thunderbolt 3 and the four-port model. The first two standard configurations – starting at $ 1,299 and $ 1,499 – have the new Magic keyboard, but the 10 are missingthGeneration Intel CPUs or the faster memory. In addition, two Thunderbolt 3 ports are not optimal for most applications.

Our test device has four connections. We recommend this to most interested parties for this device. The advantage of the 13-inch MacBook Pro over the MacBook Air is somewhat blurry in the low-end specs of the former. But go to these 10th-gen CPUs and four Thunderbolt ports make a big difference. (The 4-port configurations start at $ 1,799.)

The cheapest two-port specification is equipped with a 1.4 GHz quad-core 8th Generation Intel Core i5 CPU, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645, 8 GB LPDDR3 memory at 2133 MHz and 256 GB solid-state memory. The four-port configuration starts with a 2 GHz quad-core 10thGeneration Core i5, newer Iris Plus graphics with 64 execution units, 16 GB 3733 MHz LPDDR4X memory and 512 GB memory with read / write access up to 3 GB / s.

You can upgrade the CPU to a 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, the memory to 32 GB and the memory to 1, 2 or 4 TB. (The last of these memory upgrades costs a Bonkers $ 1,200 versus the 512 GB base option, so it’s certainly not an option for everyone.)

Maybe this is just a person with a hammer who sees everything as a nail, but to me, the configuration options of this machine seem to be deliberately tailored to web and mobile app developers. They are also more than sufficient for most web and mobile design work. As strong as Intel’s built-in Iris Pro graphics have become over the years, they still don’t think of candles as discrete graphics. Potential buyers who want to do 3D modeling, game development, video editing, or even high-performance photo editing should instead look at the 16-inch model (or of course any number of desktops or Windows laptops).

The current version of macOS supports external GPU solutions, and Apple sells one in its own Blackmagic Design store, which includes a Radeon Pro 580 GPU with 8 GB of GDDR5 memory. This is a step for this device, but this GPU gets one little long in the tooth, and Apple seems to have stopped selling a more expensive, more powerful alternative from Blackmagic.

That said, as long as graphics performance is not your top priority, the 13-inch MacBook Pro offers you numerous configuration options.

In terms of other specs, the MacBook Pro has a 720p front camera (which, to be honest, seems a bit weak for this price) and supports Bluetooth 5.0. Unfortunately, this laptop doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6 – an unfortunate omission because these laptops should be designed for a long life and the new mobile devices from Apple have these features. Wi-Fi 6 is not yet widespread, but it will certainly be a long time before this laptop’s life cycle expires.

This device has a 13.3-inch display with 2,560 × 1,600 pixels and a brightness of 500 nits. It’s a very good display, and although there are higher resolution screens, it’s more than good enough for this screen size.

Apple claims that this laptop can have a battery life of up to 10 hours when you surf the web wirelessly or watch video content in the Apple TV app.


At first glance, you may not notice a difference between this MacBook Pro and its immediate predecessor. While Apple has reduced the frame and increased the screen size from 15 inches to 16 inches for the larger cousin of this laptop, the basic design remains essentially unchanged here.

It is very light, hardly noticeably thicker to accommodate the new keyboard. And of course the layout of the keyboard and the touch bar is different. That being said, this is the same old 13-inch MacBook Pro. That’s not a bad thing, although it would have been nice to get just a little bit more screen space than we did with the larger MacBook Pro.

The laptop is available in two colors: silver and space gray.

As mentioned above, there are configurations with two Thunderbolt 3 ports and others with four. For most applications for which this laptop is intended, I don’t think two are sufficient – especially since one is used for the power supply.

Buying the two-port option essentially guarantees that most users will want to buy a USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 dock, and many of them are expensive enough that many people will buy the four-port version of this laptop as well can.

Yes, the butterfly keyboard is gone

The most striking change is the new keyboard. I’ve written a lot about this transition in the previously released 16-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air reviews, but the short version says that the butterfly keyboards included in the previous model were both controversial (some people hated typing experience). others liked it) and unreliable.

The latter was probably the biggest problem; Apple had to start a free repair program for practically the entire laptop line in order to repeatedly repair faulty butterfly keyboards. The company has attempted to update the design a few times, which may have contributed to its reliability. Ultimately, however, the answer was to press the reset button and switch to a tried-and-tested scissor switch design that is modeled on Apple’s Magic Keyboard peripheral, which has long been sold on Macs.

The keyboard of this laptop is now called “Magic Keyboard”.

Sometimes I wonder if Apple’s penchant for clearly absurd names like “Magic Keyboard” drives more customers than it inspires. It might make people suspect that Apple is made up of charlatans who sell snake oil. But it is definitely a very good laptop keyboard, even if it is not “magic”.

It offers 1 mm key stroke. According to Apple, a rubber dome under each keycap saves more energy than before, and the scissor mechanism snaps into the keycap at the top of the trip. Apple claims the latter details reduce jiggle and increase stability.

The layout also differs a little from previous devices with butterfly fittings. The arrow keys now have an inverted T shape, there is a physical escape key and the Touch ID sensor (which also acts as an on / off switch) is now different from the touch bar.

Touch bar support from third-party apps is still mixed, and nobody really needs a touch bar, but it can be nice to have one. The only thing you are sacrificing for it now are physical function keys. Most users don’t care, but some do. Unfortunately, Apple no longer sells MacBook Pros with physical function keys.

I didn’t hate the butterfly keyboards as much as some people, but I think this scissor switch design offers a great typing experience. I don’t think most people between this and Apple’s premium touchpad will have a lot of complaints about inputs here.

Even if you preferred the butterfly keyboard, I don’t think you’ll hate it. The reliability improvements probably make it worth the change no matter how you felt about the old keyboard.

About Asmaa Sims

Asmaa, who was born and raised in Pakistan, now lives in New York and works in a technology company. He also writes blog articles about technological developments.

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