Portability over power

13-inch MacBook Pro (2020)

Biggest display possible

16-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

For everyday users, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is the one to buy. It's more portable and less expensive than its big brother but still packs a punch. After all, it's still a MacBook Pro!

From $1,299 at Apple

Pros

  • Less expensive
  • More portable thanks to size and weight
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • More limited storage choices
  • Limited RAM

Serious photographers, videographers, and those who simply want the largest display available on their MacBook Pro will want this one. Just expect to spend lots of cash — especially if you upgrade key internals.

From $2,399 at Apple

Pros

  • Graphics-intensive
  • Maximum RAM available for a MBP
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Less portable

The display size isn't the only thing that's different between these two MacBook Pro models. For many, however, it might be the most important reason for choosing one model over another.

Break it down now...

Before making a purchase, you should see the MacBook Pro models side-by-side and decide whether you really need the larger display found on the 16-inch model. You'll also need to determine how you're going to use your laptop regularly. Are you mostly a web-surfer who plans on using the device for writing and spreadsheet work, or are you more of the creative type who plans on using the laptop for graphics-intensive jobs? Do you plan on attaching external displays to your laptop? If so, how many?

13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019)
Starting price $1,299 $2,399
Display 13.3-inch Retina Display with True Tone 16-inch Retina Display with True Tone
Processor 1.4GHz quad-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5; upgradable to 2.3GHz quad-core 10th-generation Intel Core i7 2.6GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 processor; upgradable to 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9
Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 or Intel Iris Plus Graphics AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory; AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6 memory
RAM 16GB, 32GB 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Storage 256GB SSD (up to 4TB SSD) 512GB SSD (up to 8TB SSD)
Ports Two or Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
Battery life Approx. 10 hours Approx. 11 hours
Weight 3.1 pounds 4.30 pounds
Camera 720p FaceTime HD 720p FaceTime HD
Keyboard Magic Keyboard Magic Keyboard

Ultimately, we believe the 16-inch MacBook Pro is the best choice for professionals, although most folks will probably want to consider the smaller model. Pros are looking for a pro-level computer and the 16-inch MacBook Pro is packed with the latest processor, most storage and RAM, and the most advanced features your money can buy. The 13-inch model weighs and costs less, but pros will see that the 16-inch model fits your needs better.

If you do a lot of photo-editing and video work and need the speediest MBP currently on the market, the larger model is your choice. It's the one that offers more or better options when it comes to RAM, processor speed, storage, and graphics card. Plus, you get more screen real estate to work on.

You can purchase up to 64GB in RAM on the bigger model, versus the maximum of 32GB on the smaller unit. The more memory your Mac has, the more apps you can run at the same time, and the better they will perform. While 32GB is more than enough for most people, if you do video editing or other intensive tasks, more RAM is never a bad thing.

When it comes to processors, the 16-inch model is upgradeable to a blazing-fast 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9, compared to the 2.3GHz quad-core 10th-generation Intel Core i7 on the 13-inch model. Storage maxes out at 8TB on the 16-inch model and 4TB on the 13-inch model.

Creators take note the 16-inch model comes standard with an AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory and is upgradeable to the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6 memory for even better performance. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is only available with an Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 or Intel Iris Plus Graphics processor, which are both excellent for everyday tasks, but less so when you need to use graphics-based apps more often.

The workhorse

16-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

When it's time to go big, you can't do any better

If you want power, the most significant display possible, the ability to drive ridiculous amounts of external displays, and options for the most memory, processor cores, and graphics chips available, you want the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Most portable but less pro

13-inch MacBook (2020)

The perfect size for most users

If you value portability over power, are fine with fewer processor cores and lower-end memory and graphics options, and otherwise want a pro without paying top dollar for it, get a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

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