MacBook Pro (2021)Source: iMore

Best MacBook for gaming iMore 2022

Apple MacBooks have never been designed to perform solely as gaming laptops. Despite this, some models are better than others for this type of use. The best gaming MacBook is currently the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021), which includes numerous features that make it a terrific device for casual gamers. There are other noteworthy models we've gathered to help you choose the one that best fits your needs.

Best overall: 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

Macbook Pro With M1 Chip with a fish tank video playing on the screenSource: iMore

For ultimate Mac gaming, there's nothing better than the second-generation 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021). Like the 14-inch MacBook Pro (mentioned below), this model offers either an M1 Pro or M1 Max SoC with up to 64GB of unified memory and 8TB of SSD storage. In addition, you can get up to a 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU.

But there's much more. The latest 16-inch MacBook Pro comes with a Liquid Retina XDR display (3456 by 2234 pixels) with ProMotion technology for adaptive refresh rates up to 120Hz. It's also packed with up to 21 hours of battery life between charges and comes with an all-new 1080p FaceTime HD camera with an advanced image signal processor and computational video.

The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook models (2021), some of the best MacBooks available, also see the return of MagSafe, HDMI port, and an SDXC card slot, besides its three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports. If you're looking for any negatives, understand this is the heaviest MacBook Pro in many years (4.7 pounds). It's also costly, even at the base level.

Pros:

  • Latest and greatest
  • M1 Pro or M1 Max, you decide
  • 16GB to 64GB of unified memory
  • 512GB to 8TB of storage
  • A Liquid Retina XDR display

Cons:

  • Most expensive model
  • Heavy (4.7 lbs)

Best overall

16 Inch Macbook Pro

16-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

Game time

The latest 16-inch MacBook Pro gives you the most power and performance, though the price tag is high.

Best alternative: 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

2021 MacBook ProSource: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore

If you want everything on the 16-inch MacBook Pro but with a smaller display, this is the one to buy. It offers similar internals for less. Nonetheless, it's still an expensive computer, which is something to keep in mind.

Our best advice as a gamer: buy as much memory and storage as you can afford. And remember, you can't change these options after purchase since upgrades aren't possible. With this in mind, consider getting an Apple M1 Pro with a 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine that comes with 1TB of storage, and at least 32GB of unified memory.

Pros:

  • Portable
  • Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Same great features as the 16-inch model

Cons:

  • Still expensive

Best alternative

14 Inch Macbook Pro

14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

Versatility at a lower price

The 14-inch MacBook Pro is nearly identical to the 16-inch model except for the smaller display and price.

Best budget: 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020)

M1 Macbook Pro 2020 Source: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore

The 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020) was one of the first computers with Apple silicon inside. The model features an 8-core M1 chip, which means there are four cores for performance and the rest for power efficiency. You get a 2560x1600 resolution Retina display, up to 16GB of RAM, and 2TB of storage. In addition, you get 20 hours of battery life between charges — more than enough time to play your favorite game.

Apple's likely to replace or retire the 13-inch MacBook Pro before the end of the year. This means you should be able to find great discounts right now (it also means you might want to reconsider buying this product).

Pros:

  • Has Apple M1 SoC
  • Touch Bar with Touch ID
  • 20-hour battery life
  • Retina display
  • Scissor-switch keyboard

Cons:

  • Could be replaced soon
  • Maxes out at 16GB RAM
  • Only has two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports

Best budget

13-inch MacBook Pro (2020)

13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020)

Affordable power

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is an excellent choice for any gamer on a budget.

Game away

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is likely the best Mac for you if you're a gamer. It includes an Apple M1 Pro with 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine. Inside, you'll also find 512GB of storage and 16GB of RAM. If you can, upgrade to one of the models with Apple M1 Max for even more power. With this SoC, memory jumps to at least 32GB, and there's 1TB of SSN storage.

However, if you think 16-inches is too big for the display, buy the 14-inch MacBook Pro. It offers the same specs with a smaller screen. For those searching for a budget option, you can't go wrong with the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which also comes with an M1 chip and up to 2TB of storage. One thing to keep in mind is that Apple may retire this product at the end of the year thanks to the success of the 16- and 14-inch models.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author:

Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. Penn State (go Nittany Lions) graduate here, also a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe

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