M2 MacBook Pro (2022) vs M1 MacBook Pro (2020): Which should you buy?
It's decision time. Should you even consider the older model?
One of the first M1 Macs, the MacBook Pro (2020), is very similar to its successor, right down to its FaceTime HD camera, storage specs, battery life, and more. There are important differences, however.
- It's still a fantastic machine
- Watch for excellent discounts
- Same body style, some similar internals
- No denying M2 > M1
- No Spatial Audio
- Now two years old
The 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022) comes with Apple's new M2 system-on-a-chip (SoC), providing better internals and more memory options. Still, a lot stays the same.
- Comes with Apple M2 SoC
- Spatial Audio, better audio tools
- Better unified memory options
- Superior battery adapter
- It's not that much different
- Competing with the 2022 MacBook Air also
- Both have an older body style
When Apple introduced the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022) earlier this year, many heads were shaking in disbelief. Many in the industry had expected Apple to discontinue this model after the 2021 introduction of the 14-inch MacBook Pro. But instead, Cupertino added an Apple M2 chip to the 13-inch version and called it a new model. Because the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) is very similar to the newer one, you might be wondering whether it's better to go with the older model — assuming you can find one at a significant discount. Keep reading for the answer.
M2 MacBook Pro (2022) vs M1 MacBook Pro (2020): Breaking it down
If you're set on buying a 13-inch MacBook Pro, there are just a few differences between the previous and current models. And yet, those differences might not even mean much, depending on your situation. If you need improved performance, better memory options, and advanced audio features, the MacBook Pro (2022) is probably the one for you. Otherwise, you might still want to consider the older model, which will soon be available for a steep discount at places like Amazon. So here's a look at the differences:
|Header Cell - Column 0||MacBook Pro (2020)||MacBook Pro (2022)|
|Cost||From $1,249||From $1,299|
|Display||13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology||13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology|
|Colors||Space Gray,Silver||Space Gray,Silver|
|Resolution||2560 by 1600 pixels||2560 by 1600 pixels|
|Security||Touch Bar with Touch ID||Touch Bar with Touch ID|
|CPU||8-core M1 SoC||8-core M2 SoC|
|Dimensions||0.61 x 11.97 x 8.36 inches||0.61 x 11.97 x 8.36 inches|
|Weight||3.0 pounds||3.0 pounds|
|Battery Life||20 hours||20 hours|
|Battery Adapters||61W USB-C Power Adapter||67W USB-C Power Adapter|
|Media engine||Hardware-accelerated H.264 and HEVC||Hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and ProRes RAW|
|Headphone Jack||3.5 mm headphone jack||3.5 mm headphone jack with advanced support for high-impedance headphones|
|Ports||Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports||Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports|
|Camera||720p FaceTime HD camera||720p FaceTime HD camera|
As you can see, the two laptops are nearly the same on many points, starting with the exterior design. Both laptops, for example, feature the same body, color choices, number of ports, and FaceTime HD camera. They also come with an 8-core CPU, a Touch Bar, up to 20 hours of battery life, Touch ID, and an identical 13.3-inch Retina display.
Inside, the MacBook Pro (2022) offers the Apple M2 chip versus the older Apple M1 chip on the 2020 model. The M2 is up to 1.4 times faster than the M1. This means better video editing and image processing performance, an improved gaming experience, and more. In addition, the M2 offers a 10-core GPU and up to 24GB of unified RAM on the MacBook Pro model. The media engine and audio features are also slightly better on the newer model.
M2 MacBook Pro (2022) vs M1 MacBook Pro (2020: Which should you buy?
This is a tough decision because these are very similar devices. I would say that the MacBook Air (2022), one of the best Macs currently available, is a better choice because of its newer design and similar internals to the 2022 MacBook Pro. However, the latter is the right choice for most people if you're solely comparing the MacBook Pro (2020) and MacBook Pro (2022). This is because it offers the latest Apple silicon and will be the one supported by Apple in the long term. Plus, the price isn't that much higher than the older version, so if you're looking to buy a new laptop, you might as well go for the latest and greatest.
If you find a Black Friday MacBook Pro deal on the 2020 model, it should be considered if you're only looking for a laptop for lower-intensity jobs such as writing, spreadsheets, and web surfing. Remember, it comes with the same display as the newer model and many of the same internals.
What about upgrading from the MacBook Pro (2020) to the MacBook Pro (2022)?
Unless your MacBook Pro (2020) has become very sluggish in performing your everyday tasks, there's no reason to upgrade to the latest model. As noted above, the models are the same in many ways, including the amount of storage available.
One of the first Macs to offer Apple silicon, the 2020 MacBook Pro is still a powerhouse, although you will find slightly more goodies on the newer model.
The one at the top
The MacBook Pro (2022) is like the older model, except it offers better performance and more GPU power.
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Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.