Apple MacBook Pro 13 M2 03

the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 becomes the new ultraportable king of autonomy

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While waiting for the MacBook Air M2, which is really desirable, as much for its processor as for its design or its new Midnight color, Apple has just opened the floodgates. The MacBook Pro M2s are upon us. Better, we were able to get our hands on a test unit.

In addition to its M2, with eight CPU cores and ten GPU cores, it has 16 GB of unified memory and 1 TB of storage. All this for the tidy sum of 2289 dolars, or 690 dolars more than the basic model, offered at 1,599 dolars.

During our test, we were able to ensure that the M2 delivered on Apple’s power-gain promises in an alas unchanged package – really hoping Tim Cook’s teams had a secret plan to explain this. fallow. But performance wasn’t the only point we wanted to watch carefully.

MacBook Pro 13″ M2 256 GB at the best price Base price: $1,599

The heir to the M1

In November 2020, when they were launched, the MacBook Pro M1, accompanied at the time by new MacBook Air and Mac mini, broke a record for autonomy. Or more exactly two autonomy records, since they rose to first place in our versatile and video autonomy tests.

  • The first simulates a set of daily uses incessantly until the battery gives up the ghost.
  • The second plays the same video file by streaming it from a server, always until the device turns off.

It was during these two tests that the MacBook Pro M1 had established itself without discussion as the most enduring of ultraportables. With respectively 16:57 in versatile autonomy and 14:08 in video autonomy.

Between M1 and M2

Eighteen months later, what happened at the top of the food chain, in the ultraportable category? Not much. The 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 continues to reign supreme.
In versatile autonomy, it was followed, a year later, by the 14-inch MacBook Pro (and its 3:45 p.m.), which slipped just ahead of the 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro, which had created a surprise at the time with an autonomy of 14 h 24. Largely enough to allow it to get ahead of the MacBook Air M1, of 2020, and its 13 h 46.

WF News

In video autonomy, the 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 2020 was at the top just ahead of a good second, the Galaxy Book S, in ARM version (with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx), released in 2020. The third was none other than the MacBook Air M1.

And life was sweet and flowing peacefully, until the arrival of the 14-inch MacBook Pro, which ousted the Intel 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) from fourth place… A voluptuous calm jostled, again, by the arrival of the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2, which is, unsurprisingly, at the top of the versatile and video autonomy rankings for ultraportables.

Top 5: ultraportable PCs in video autonomy (June 2023)WF News

See wider…

But let’s take a step back and broaden our comparison spectrum to all laptops, all formats combined.

Then appear two new competitors. On one side, the 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 Max, on the other, the Ideapad Duet 5 Chromebook, from Lenovo.

With 6:27 p.m., the Lenovo Chromebook is de facto the most enduring of the laptops we have tested in versatile autonomy. It beats out the 16-inch MacBook Pro and its 5:18 p.m.

The all-new MacBook Pro M2 is only third in the general-purpose autonomy ranking…

Top 5: Laptops with versatile autonomy (June 2023)WF News

On the other hand, for the “video” counterpart, it is ahead of all the portable competition, whatever the format. First, the MacBook Pro M2 (and its 4:01 p.m.) is followed by the Ideapad (3:25 p.m.), again, then the MacBook Pro M1 (2:08 p.m.). So much for the podium.

In fourth place, the 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 Max (1:22 p.m.) gives priority to Samsung’s Galaxy Book S, still in ARM version (1:05 ​​p.m.). In fifth and sixth place are the 13-inch MacBook Air M1 (11:36 a.m.), and the 14-inch MacBook Pro M1 Pro (11:08 a.m.), respectively.

Top 5: laptops in video autonomy (June 2023)WF News

Where are the 12th Gen Intel Cores?

As you will have noticed, there are no machines equipped with 12th generation Core processors in our Autonomy Tops, while endurance is one of the promises of this new architecture. Without prejudging the ability of Intel’s Cores to do as well as ARM chips, two relatively simple explanations seem to emerge.

For the time being, and to begin with, most of the PCs that have passed through our hands and equipped with the best Intel has to offer are gaming machines, which care more about performance than autonomy.

Then, we didn’t have the opportunity to test a few laptops that ship 12th generation Cores stamped U, therefore low consumption, but their endurance was simply not good enough to climb into the Top 5, and even Top 10.

MacBook Pro 16 and Lenovo Ideapad, two special cases

As we have seen, the 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 and M2 were beaten by their big brother and by the Lenovo Ideapad. However, these two machines are, each in their own way, out of scope.

The MacBook Pro M1 Max stands out from other MacBooks with a colossal battery. Apple is flirting with the legal limit of 100 Wh imposed by air transport safety standards. With its 99.6 Wh, the lithium polymer battery of the 16 inch is a monster cut to supply the machine with energy even when heavy tasks are carried out without being connected to the mains.
For comparison, the 14-inch MacBook Pro, Apple’s second largest portable model, only has a 69.4 Wh battery…

In short, designed to work on all platforms, from smartphones to tablets and PC gamers, our tests leave Apple’s 15-inch device plenty of time to highlight its strong point, the balance between power and consumption, so much praised by Johny Srouji’s engineers. We won’t say that the 16-inch MacBook Pro cheats, it’s just out of the category.

Now let’s move on to the Ideapad Duet 5 Chromebook, from Lenovo. We are there at the other end of the spectrum, at the antipodes. This laptop is a Chromebook. Even if the situation has changed a lot in recent years, these machines still occupy a segment that designates them a bit like “light” PCs, with often limited uses.

In this case, with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c SoC, without being slow or unpleasant, the Ideapad is light years away from the potential of the MacBook M1 or M2. To give you proof of this, let’s quickly compare the results obtained by these three platforms with a synthetic cross-platform tool, Geekbench 5.

MacBook Pro M1 and M2 against the Ideapad Duet 5 Chromebook, from Lenovo.WF News

As seen in the table above, the two Macs do not play in the same category as the Ideapad. The difference in performance in Single Core follows a ratio of 2.8 in favor of the MacBook Pro M1, and 4.4 in Multi Core, always in the same direction. And, even if it’s obviously more complicated than that, the worst consumption ratio is 3.1 times more favorable to the Lenovo machine, whose battery is not much smaller than those of Macs.

In short, with a substantial battery, an economical chip because it is not very powerful, the Ideapad has a good chance of displaying good autonomy. And this is also very good news for those looking for this kind of machine. However, as the 16-inch MacBook Pro is an alien compared to an ultraportable, the Ideapad is hardly comparable to ultraportable Macs.

So ?

Is the MacBook Pro M2 the king in autonomy of ultraportables? Yes always. Is it against all types of laptops? No, it’s a fact. However, if a common point unites all these machines which monopolize our Top 5 (with one exception), it is their use of an ARM chip. Apple currently holds the upper hand with its first two generations of chips. We can’t wait to see what Qualcomm has to offer when it introduces more performance-oriented SoCs. Because competition is always a good source of emulation. Because if Qualcomm initiated the ARM PC market, Apple defined it from above. Now is the time for the San Diego giant to seriously enter the arena, because we will all have to win.

MacBook Pro 13″ M2 256 GB at the best price Base price: $1,599