I’ve had the MacBook Pro 2022 in my possession for almost two weeks. In my MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) review, I was mostly positive about the device due to it being the longest-lasting laptop ever and offering stellar performance. Though I wasn’t enamored with its dated design and 720p webcam, it was hard to knock the laptop for what it provided. On its own, it’s a solid device that had little trouble sliding into our best laptops and best MacBooks lists.
But that was two weeks ago, and my sentiments have somewhat changed. Or rather, they’ve reverted to how I felt about the MacBook Pro 2022 prior to my review.
I didn’t understand the need for this laptop when it was originally unveiled during Apple’s WWDC 2022 event. Apple M2 chip or not, I couldn’t see why anyone would want it over the redesigned MacBook Air 2022. I found 3 reasons you should buy MacBook Pro 2022 over the new MacBook Air, prior to my review, but those reasons (active cooling, 10-core GPU as standard, longer battery life) never felt as convincing as the 5 reasons you should buy MacBook Air 2022 instead of the new MacBook Pro.
Now that I’ve had time with the MacBook Pro 2022, it has become difficult for me to recommend it to the majority of potential buyers.
And this isn’t only because of my personal experience with the notebook. For example, tech-focused YouTuber Marques Brownlee (aka MKBHD) posted a video expressing the same sentiments (opens in new tab) I've had about the latest Apple laptop. In fact, the video is what inspired me to express my thoughts in writing. Suffice it to say, I don't know why the MacBook Pro 2022 exists.
Not so "Pro" after all
Recently, testing has revealed the base model MacBook Pro 2022 has slower SSD speeds than the MacBook Pro with M1. The laptop also suffers from “severe throttling” when exporting raw 8K videos. I can ignore the latter since that’s basically the equivalent of a stunt and isn’t something people will do during daily use – save for professionals, but I’ll get to that in a minute. However, it’s hard overlooking the fact that the newer laptop’s base model is slower than a computer from 2020.
If you want to avoid being saddled with slow SSD speeds, you’ll need to upgrade the MacBook Pro 2022 to at least 512 GB of storage. One of the notebook’s selling points is that it starts at $1,199. But if you want to upgrade storage, you’ll have to plunk down an extra $200. So much for this laptop being cheaper than the $1,299 MacBook Air.
Who should buy the MacBook Pro 2022?
For regular users like myself, who mostly use laptops and computers for word processing and watching streaming content, the MacBook Pro’s M2 chip is overkill. I could just as easily do the same things on the best budget laptops.
What about professionals who need a powerful machine for video and audio editing? The MacBook Pro 2022 seems tailored to that demographic, based on Apple touting the notebook’s sustained performance. But if you’re a professional audio/video editor who needs a rig that can handle massive workloads, it makes more sense to invest in the base model MacBook Pro 14-inch with its beefier M1 Pro chip and active cooling.
You’ll also get a 1080p webcam, a superior mini-LED display and a modern design that includes MagSafe, HDMI and SD card ports… but I digress.
You could argue that buying a $1,999 laptop in the current economy is a big ask, one that could make some settle for the $1,399 MacBook Pro 2022 with 512 GB of storage. But the way I see it, investing in the better laptop will be worth it in the long run, if you can afford it.
Again, I understand that price is an extremely important factor in today’s world, but even that isn’t enough justification to settle for an M2-powered MacBook Pro if you can instead get the superior MacBook Pro 14-inch.
Why does the MacBook Pro 2022 exist?
I avoided saying this in my MacBook Pro 2022 review and subsequent opinion pieces, but it’s clear that the only reason this laptop exists is that Apple wanted to rid itself of old MacBook Pro components like the dated chassis and the maligned Touch Bar. On top of that, the MacBook Pro line is second only to the MacBook Air in terms of sales and popularity (as Apple has said numerous times). It makes financial sense to release a MacBook Pro and market it as a “new” product that sports the company’s fancy M2 chip. I know that sounds cynical, but let’s call a spade a spade here.
I still maintain that the MacBook Pro 2022 is a better-than-average laptop. I’ve used it for two weeks for both work and everyday computing and found it as competent as any of the best Windows laptops. If you’re still rocking an Intel-powered MacBook Pro, the new M2 laptop will be a major upgrade.
However, this machine doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Outside of a very narrow sliver of people (professionals on a tight budget), it’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend the MacBook Pro 2022.
Average users who need a laptop for everyday computing are likely better off with the upcoming MacBook Air. Power users who edit video and audio should invest in either of the 2021 MacBook Pros. If you’re in the market for a MacBook, those are your best options.
Hopefully, the MacBook Pro 2022 will be the last of its kind. I look forward to seeing what 2023's entry-level MacBook Pro ends up looking like and that it finds a proper place within the larger MacBook line. The last thing we need is another Apple laptop that has no reason to exist.
Next: MacBook Air 2022 pre-orders (opens in new tab) are live. Here's how to get yours.