13-inch MacBook Pro M2 vs 14-inch MacBook Pro M3: Battle of the base models

Apple announced the brand new M3 MacBook Pros at its "Scary Fast" event and, in doing so, replaced the base model MacBook Pro. The new M3 chip is the fastest chip Apple has ever made and includes some huge new performance additions like Dynamic Caching.

If you're in the market for a new MacBook Pro, there are a few options to choose from, and one of those might be to pick up the previous generation M2 13-inch model to save some cash.

We’ve put together a comparison so that you can make an informed decision and make sure that you purchase the right base model MacBook Pro for you.

13-inch MacBook Pro M2 vs 14-inch MacBook Pro M3: Specs

The M3 14-inch MacBook Pro replaces the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 as the base model MacBook Pro available via Apple. There's a lot to compare, including the brand-new M3 chip and the design differences, like the notched display.

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Specs13-inch M2 MacBook Pro14-inch M3 MacBook Pro
PriceFrom $1,299From $1,599
ColorsSpace Grey/SilverSpace Grey/Silver
Display13.3" Retina Display 14.2" Liquid Retina XDR Display
Resolution2560x1600 pixels3024x1964 pixels
Unified Memory (size)8GB 16GB 24GB8GB 16GB 24GB
Unified Memory (speed)100GB/s100GB/s
SSD Storage 256GB 512GB 1TB 2TB256GB 512GB 1TB 2TB
Battery lifeUp to 20 hoursUp to 22 hours
Touch IDYesYes
Touch BarYesNo
FaceTime Camera720p1080p
SpeakersStereoSix-speaker sound system with woofers
MicThree-mic arrayThree-mic array
3.5mm headphone jackYesYes
Keyboard65 U.S. keys78 U.S. keys
Wireless802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) Bluetooth 5.3
PortsThunderbolt/USB 4 x2Thunberbolt/USB 4 x2
SD Card SlotNo Yes

The older M2 model is great for users who need power but don't need all the bells and whistles of the M3 chip and newer design. If you're looking for a powerful machine with a better display, better connectivity, more ports, a bigger display, and more power then it's a no brainer — Pick the M3.

13-inch MacBook Pro M2 vs 14-inch MacBook Pro M3: What's new?


The Apple M3

(Image credit: Apple)

One of the main differences between the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 vs 14-inch MacBook Pro M3 is the processor found inside. With the brand-new M3 chip you'll get better performance alongside Dynamic Caching, Mesh Shading, and Hardware- accelerated ray tracing. Apple estimates 20% better CPU and GPU performance on the M3 compared to the M2.

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CPU cores 8-core8-core
GPU cores 10-core10-core
Unified Memory 8GB (Up to 24GB)8GB (Up to 24GB)
Neural Engine16-core16-core
Memory bandwidth100 GB/s100 GB/s
chip process size3nm5nm
Dynamic CachingYesNo
Mesh ShadingYesNo
Hardware-accelerated ray tracingYesno
AV1 DecodeYesNo


Apple Mac Event

(Image credit: Apple)

The newer M3 MacBook Pro has a larger, squarer design compared to the M2 MacBook. It's also a bit heavier, and naturally larger because of the bigger screen sizes. The larger design enables more ports for connectivity and MagSafe charging. 

The 14-inch M3 model is larger in terms of both width, and depth, and also heavier. The newer 2023 models also don't come with a Touch Bar, whereas the 2022 13-inch Pro is the last Mac to feature the ill-fated but loved-by-some design. 


MacBook Pro logo

(Image credit: Future)

The M3 14-inch MacBook Pro boasts a significantly improved display over the M2 13-inch model. The M3 has a Liquid Retina XDR display, which means you're getting a larger display with more pixels, and it's also brighter at 1,000 nits of sustained brightness compared to just 500 nits on the 13-inch M2.

Even more importantly, the M3 MacBook Pro has a 120Hz ProMotion display which will make the user experience feel far smoother than the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro

Speakers, audio, and ports

The M3 MacBook Pro offers a high-fidelity six-speaker sound system with force-canceling woofers to stop your Mac from vibrating while playing audio. The M2, on the other hand, only has stereo sound.

There is no difference to be found in the "studio-quality" mic array, and both come with a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can plug in your favorite wired headphones.

The M3 MacBook Pro also offers more ports, including an HDMI for video, and an SDXC slot for your memory cards. 


The M3 14-inch MacBook Pro has Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, while the M2 13-inch has slightly older connectivity technology with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.

13-inch MacBook Pro M2 vs 14-inch MacBook Pro M3: Battery life

14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro (2023)

(Image credit: Apple)

The M3 chip is more efficient than its predecessor which means the 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro has slightly better battery life than the M2 13-inch despite being more powerful. Apple says you can get up to 22 hours of battery life in the M3 compared to up to 20 in the M2, we'll need to test the new MacBook out to confirm this.

13-inch MacBook Pro M2 vs 14-inch MacBook Pro M3: Which should you buy?

The decision is pretty simple. If you want the best base model MacBook Pro Apple has ever made, purchase the M3 14-inch MacBook Pro, as it has awesome specs, an amazing design, and a beautiful display. That said, the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro is no slouch, and if you want to save some cash, you'll be able to find some great deals on the now-discontinued MacBook, especially in the run-up to Black Friday.

If you are looking to buy a new MacBook Pro, be sure to check out the best MacBook Black Friday deals, as iMore is your best friend when it comes to finding a bargain.

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.