Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020) review: New processors and new keyboard enhance Apple’s lightweight business laptop Review

Apple ordinarily sticks to a fairly rigorous cycle of once-a-year updates for its items but, possibly prompted by the recent financial uncertainty, it has accelerated its product or service releases in recent months. The MacBook Air and the thirteen-inch version of the MacBook Pro had been previous up to date in July 2019: the MacBook Air received an early update in March, and it can be now the change of the thirteen-inch MacBook Pro.

The details of this update bear shut evaluation, as the thirteen-inch MacBook Pro now delivers four common configurations dependent on either eighth-generation or newer 10th-generation Intel Main i5 processors. There are other distinctions between the various versions far too, so it can be essential to assess the different configurations so that you can make your mind up which 1 finest meets your demands.


The 2020 thirteen-inch MacBook Pro operates on eighth or 10th generation quad-core Main i5 or i7 processors with up to 16GB (eighth gen) or 32GB (10th gen) of RAM, and up to 2TB (eighth gen) or 4GB (10th gen) of SSD storage. 

Image: Apple

Design & features

When Apple updates the thirteen-inch MacBook Pro each individual yr, it normally keeps 1 configuration from the preceding yr available in order to supply a far more reasonably priced entry-amount possibility (even if the time period ‘affordable’ is one thing of a moveable feast in which Apple is worried). The starting off rate for the 2020 version remains the identical as previous yr, at £1,082.50 (ex. VAT £1,299 inc. VAT) or $1,299, and that design does proceed to use the identical processor as its predecessor — an eighth generation, quad-core Main i5 managing at 1.4GHz, alongside with 8GB of RAM.

That entry-amount design does get a minimal additional notice, nevertheless, increasing previous year’s meagre 128GB SSD to 256GB. And, thankfully, all the 2020 versions now consist of Apple’s new Magic Keyboard, with its enhanced ‘scissor’ system that aims to supply a far more comfy and responsive come to feel than the extensively criticised ‘butterfly’ keyboards of recent years (despite the fact that this does bump the pounds up fractionally, from 1.37kg to 1.4kg). 


The new Magic Keyboard ditches the substantially-maligned ‘butterfly’ system for a far more ergonomic and responsible ‘scissor’ system.

Image: Apple

The new keyboard is certainly an improvement, and feels firmer and far more responsive than the lifeless keyboard of previously versions. The Retina Display screen remains the identical, with all the 2020 versions sharing the identical bright and colourful display screen, with 2,560 by 1,600 resolution (227dpi).

The next common configuration available on Apple’s internet site just doubles the storage when far more — to 512GB — for an additional £200/$200, and it can be not right until you phase up to £1,499.17 (ex. VAT £1,799 inc. VAT) or $1,799 that you get the all-new 2020 update reviewed in this article. 

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This new configuration now features a 10th generation, quad-core Main i5-1038NG7 processor managing at 2.0GHz (up to three.8GHz with TurboBoost), with built-in Iris Furthermore graphics, alongside with 16GB of RAM (managing at a more quickly three,733MHz) and a 512GB SSD. This design also features four Thunderbolt three ports, somewhat than the meagre pair of ports offered by the entry-amount 1.4GHz design. We failed to have the luxurious of opening up our review unit, but it can be been described on the web that this 2.0GHz design has a new motherboard style that incorporates a next cooling enthusiast and a far more potent established of speakers (we did inquire Apple if which is appropriate, but have still to receive affirmation).

Yet again, you can double the sizing of the SSD on the 2.0GHz design to 1TB for £200/$200, or you can update to a Main i7 processor managing at 2.3GHz (up to four.1GHz with TurboBoost) for the identical volume. As generally, nevertheless, Apple’s memory updates are incredibly costly, costing £400/$400 to incorporate a further 16GB of RAM. You can also devote a further £600/$600 on a 2TB good-condition push, or £1,200/$1,200 for 4TB of storage. Even so, the additional Thunderbolt ports on this design make external storage updates a substantially far more reasonably priced and realistic possibility.


Apple’s announcement of the new thirteen-inch MacBook Pro claimed that it delivers ‘up to 2.8 moments more quickly performance’ — but which is in comparison to a twin-core design from two generations ago. The effectiveness improvement above previous year’s design is far more modest. The 10th generation Main i5 processor in our 2020 review unit achieves one- and multi-core processor scores of five,500 and 17,950 when managing Geekbench four, as opposed to previous year’s scores of four,870 and 17,three hundred.

Managing the newer Geekbench five created scores 1,250 and four,480 for one- and multi-core effectiveness, which are equivalent to the scores of 1,308 and four,900 recorded by the a little bit far more costly Microsoft Surface Laptop three. Even so, the MacBook Pro edged forward on graphics effectiveness, hitting 14.8fps with the Unigine Valley take a look at, as opposed to 11fps for the Surface Laptop three, or 11.5fps for previous year’s MacBook Pro design. That could possibly seem like a fairly smaller variation, but the Valley take a look at suite is quite demanding, so an enhance of even a couple of frames per next still represents a worthwhile improvement. Apple also points out that the MacBook Pro’s Iris Furthermore graphics can assist external displays of up to 6K resolution — which include, of study course, Apple’s personal costly Pro Display screen XDR. 

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The only slight disappointment with the 2020 thirteen-inch MacBook Pro is that battery lifestyle drops a little bit. Apple rates ‘up to 10 hours’ for the two the eighth generation and 10th generation processors, and previous year’s design with the eighth generation 1.4GHz processor did deal with an outstanding 9 hours forty five minutes when streaming video on the BBC iPlayer. Even so, this year’s far more potent 10th generation design could not quite match that, providing 8 hours forty five minutes of streaming video through the BBC iPlayer. Even so, which is sufficient to give you a whole day’s do the job with no challenges, and also beats the Surface Laptop three by a good two hours.


The 720p FaceTime Hd digicam in the huge bezel above the display screen is owing an update.

Image: Apple


The 2020 thirteen-inch MacBook Pro is far more of a ‘speedbump’ than a radical revamp, but Apple is clearly hoping to offer a tempting quad-core update to homeowners of older twin-core versions, as properly as competing with newer rivals these as Microsoft’s Surface assortment. Its lightweight style and battery lifestyle are still tough to defeat, and it can be good to see Apple ultimately putting its keyboard challenges to relaxation. So when this year’s update may well not be an important update for homeowners of far more recent versions, it does make certain that the thirteen-inch MacBook Pro continues to offer an beautiful, moveable style and solid effectiveness for business buyers.

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