Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Apple MacBook Professional (16-inch, M2 Max, 2023)

professionals and cons Professionals Arguably essentially the most performant laptop computer available on the market Sensible aspect audio system that get a lot loud Sooner, extra succesful connectivity than M1 fashions Dependable battery life with quick charging Cons Non-power customers could not want such a robust laptop computer Noticeably heavy when carrying round Massive notch with no added performance

extra shopping for selections

Ever since Apple shifted to in-house silicon and renewed its concentrate on laptop computer {hardware}, even a Home windows and Android consumer like myself — I do know, it is fairly the pairing for somebody who’s about to evaluation a MacBook — has totally succumbed to the Professional line’s supremacy.

The newest MacBook Professional is a testomony to Apple’s golden age of cell computing.

That is why, I am not going to drive a 3,000-word essay on you about how effectively the 16-inch MacBook Professional with M2 Max runs browser tabs, streams Ted Lasso, and even handles benchmarks. If you happen to clicked on this text, then you definitely possible already understand how the flagship Apple laptop computer trounces the above.

As an alternative, I enlisted the assistance of Tom Filip, a producer and editor for the sports activities community Additional time, and somebody who falls underneath Apple’s buyer guidelines for the MacBook Professional. Collectively, we see how the flagship laptop computer fares with skilled content material creation. Here is a abstract of his experiences, together with options that we each agreed Apple may do higher with sooner or later.



16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR show (3,456 x 2,234, 16:10) with 120Hz


M2 Max with 12-core CPU and 38-core GPU


As much as 96GB RAM with as much as 8TB of storage


100Wh (As much as 22 hours of film playback)


14.01 x 9.77 x 0.66 inches




1x HDMI (2.1), 3x Thunderbolt 4, 1x SDXC card slot, 1x 3.5mm audio jack, 1x MagSafe 3


Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3


Beginning at $3,499

What’s new with this mannequin

On the floor degree, a lot of the brand new MacBook Professional’s {hardware} has been carried over from the 2021 fashions, together with the agency and durable aluminum chassis, 1080p FaceTime digicam notched up high, finger-grease-loving keyboard, and side-firing audio system that stay one of the best that I’ve heard on a laptop computer. Which means price range and measurement desire stay the 2 most essential elements when deciding between the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBooks.

What’s modified this yr largely stems from inside, together with upgrades to the processor, connectivity, and battery life, as damaged down beneath.

1. M2 Max wins the place M1 was already successful

Sifting by way of a timeline on Premiere Professional is simply as easy as on Ultimate Reduce Professional.

June Wan/ZDNET

Final yr’s MacBook Professional launched Apple’s M1 Max chip, which featured a 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, and as much as 64GB of unified reminiscence. Contemplating Filip’s current work system ran on that precise silicon, the ball was in Apple’s court docket to ship increased efficiency with the upgraded M2 Max chip and its now 38-core GPU and as much as 96GB of unified reminiscence.

“My each day workflow includes modifying roughly 4TB price of footage for movies throughout our media channels,” says Filip. “We’re speaking two to 3 of those SSDs (as he factors to a stack of LaCie drives) that I must import onto the MacBook, play by way of the a whole lot of uncooked 4K clips, and compile a timeline of the perfect to inform a narrative.” All of that is carried out inside strict deadlines, with every full-length video (about quarter-hour lengthy) taking two to 3 days to piece collectively.

Additionally: Easy methods to arrange your personal NAS for extra dependable information backups

With the M2 Max MacBook, the processes that Filip took to video modifying have been no completely different, however the speeds for real-time rendering and exporting have been noticeably quicker — or so it appeared to our curious eyes. 

To editors, the telltale signal of a reliable machine is whether or not or not it might play a component in a timeline as quickly because the consumer hovers over it, Filip tells me. (Remember that there are layers upon layers of results, graphics, and coloring that have to be processed right here.) Because of the 2 ProRes encode and decode engines on the MacBook Professional, the hardware-based computing makes enjoying again uncooked clips of their authentic high quality satisfying fluid. 

As for export instances? We noticed the M2 Max mannequin beating out Filip’s M1 Max by 20 to 30 seconds in every trial. As soon as you’re taking these aforementioned deadlines into consideration, the faster speeds can imply the distinction between an occupied laptop and shifting on to thumbnails.

2. Sooner, extra succesful connectivity throughout the board

Do not let the skinny show idiot you. The M2 Max MacBook Professional weighs practically 5 kilos.

June Wan/ZDNET

You will not discover it from the surface however the MacBook Professional this yr options three enhancements to its connectivity. The primary is Wi-Fi 6E (up from Wi-Fi 6), bringing a brand new, expanded spectrum for each quicker web speeds and decrease latency. 

Whereas video editors like Philip could not stress the “quicker web” bit, having the ability to entry the speeds in congested areas like basketball arenas and main sporting occasions is a recreation changer — so long as these locations have Wi-Fi 6E routers arrange. I echoed that sentiment, having handled the connectivity nightmare that was CES on the Las Vegas Conference Middle earlier this yr.

Assessment: Gradual residence web? This adapter turns unused coaxial cable into Ethernet

The 2023 MacBook Professional additionally will get a bump with the extra steady Bluetooth 5.3 and extra versatile HDMI 2.1. The latter of which was essentially the most interesting improve to Filip, who was already extending his MacBook onto a 34-inch LG 5K monitor, however has lengthy thought-about kicking it to an 8K show for future-proofing. If and when that occurs — we each chuckle on the concept of pixels we won’t even totally conceptualize on a desktop display screen — the Apple laptop computer might be greater than in a position of supporting the upper decision.

3. Battery life that impresses everybody

The MacBook deck retains the twin firing audio system and drive contact trackpad.

June Wan/ZDNET

Keep in mind the 38-core GPU that I discussed earlier? A part of its raise includes upping the MacBook Professional’s battery life by an hour in comparison with the M1-equipped predecessors. In apply, the improved effectivity was as negligible because the stat makes it out to be, however one thing each Philips and I got here to understand nonetheless.

Additionally: The perfect laptops for each kind of consumer and price range

When deciding between the M2 Professional and M2 Max variants, customers ought to word that whereas the latter is extra highly effective, it comes at the price of an hour or two of endurance. Regardless of that, you are roughly 14 hours of battery life on the M2 Professional versus 12 hours on the M2 Max, which is promising irrespective of which of the 2 you find yourself shopping for.

What we might prefer to see within the subsequent mannequin

For the work that each Filip and I do, there’s not a lot to complain about with the M2 Max, 16-inch MacBook Professional — performance-wise, a minimum of. The laptop computer begins at $3,499, which I will applaud Apple for retaining the 2021’s M1 Max price ticket. Contemplating the value, listed below are two nitpicks that might make the bigger MacBook expertise even higher.

1. A lighter type issue

Think about a large-screen laptop computer that does not really feel like a dumbbell.

June Wan/ZDNET

Even when the MacBook Professional is your first expertise with a 16-inch laptop computer, you will rapidly discover simply chunky the factor is. As somebody who’s gotten used to carrying the MacBook together with a full-frame digicam for work, I can’t fathom simply how relieving my again feels once I’m testing a distinct, smaller laptop computer. 

A part of the explanation for the heavier hand really feel usually is the MacBook Professional’s boxier design language. In comparison with the Samsung Galaxy E-book 3 Extremely, one other 16-incher I just lately examined that has curved edges sloping throughout the chassis, the sharp-edged MacBook requires a agency grasp when carrying it round. 

Assessment: Galaxy E-book 3 Extremely: The laptop computer Samsung followers have been ready for

That is why, if you happen to’re switching over to a 2023 MacBook Professional and do not require a maxed-out workstation, I would closely contemplate the 14-inch mannequin. It is simply as snappy, has the identical ports, and is healthier for journey.

2. A notch that does extra

Similar notch. Similar digicam high quality and sensors.

June Wan/ZDNET

I by no means had a problem with Apple adopting its iPhone notch design onto its MacBook line. For a near-bezeless look, the little bit of black area was negligible. The issue I’ve with the brand new MacBook Professional’s notch is that Apple did not make it any higher. There isn’t any depth sensing for facial recognition to unlock (which different producers have achieved with laptop computer lids which can be simply as skinny) or a sharper digicam sensor. There isn’t any added performance, interval.

In future fashions, I would like to see the corporate both shrink the notch so it isn’t as obtrusive and even change it with a digicam ingredient that doubles as a dwell exercise widget! It may be known as Dynamic Island.

Backside line

The newest MacBook Professional is a testomony to Apple’s golden age of cell computing. Whereas many of the innovating occurred with the now two-year-old, M1 MacBook Professionals, the M2 variants completely ship the place it issues to each Filip’s (thanks once more, Tom!) and my workflows whereas providing a extra future-proof system. 

Reviewing the M2 Max MacBook Professional side-by-side with its predecessor additionally demonstrated simply how succesful the latter was. To fall solely seconds behind when it got here to processing and exporting footage, the M1-powered machines ought to nonetheless be thought-about for customers who need a great-value MacBook.

Ought to I purchase one?

That is why if you have already got an M1-powered MacBook Professional, hold it. If you happen to’re upgrading from something older, I recommend you purchase this. At a beginning worth of $3,499, the 16-inch, M2 Max MacBook Professional is not any impulse buy. However if you happen to want a laptop computer that may energy by way of pro-grade apps and providers as effectively as attainable, with some Apple perks on the aspect like iPhone syncing, a magical force-touch trackpad, and the corporate’s respected after-sales service, then I can not advocate something higher.

Alternate options to think about


Apple MacBook Professional (14-inch, M2 Professional)

The 14-inch, M2 Professional MacBook is the proper center floor for professionals and up-and-coming content material creators. It is also extra transportable.


Apple Mac Studio

The Mac Studio is just not a laptop computer, nor does it carry Apple’s new M2 chip, but it surely’s top-of-the-line desktop alternate options that may energy the identical apps and providers as the most recent MacBook Professional.


Apple MacBook Air (M2)

The brand new MacBook Air was ZDNET’s Product of the 12 months for 2022 for good purpose. For the way light-weight and highly effective it’s, it is arguably one of the best mainstream laptop computer for video editors.

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