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MacBook Pro 13-inch vs MacBook Pro 14-inch

MacBook Pro 13-inch vs MacBook Pro 14-inch
(Image credit: Apple/ Laptop Mag)

The new MacBook Pro 14-inch addresses most of the complaints people have with its recent predecessors, such as port selection, magnetic charging, and more. The 13-inch MacBook Pro, however, is still around, and its M1 chip is perfectly capable of handling just about every "pro" task. So is the MacBook Pro 14-inch worth the extra thousand bucks? 

The MacBook Pro 13 is barely a year old and, therefore, has all the modern features you’d expect from a high-end notebook. Since it also runs on Apple silicon, it shares a lot of core elements with the new MacBook Pro 14. And even though the M1 Pro processor is much more powerful, most people won't tell the difference in everyday use. So which one should you buy? Read on to find out.

MacBook Pro 14 vs MacBook Pro 13: Specs

CategoriesMacBook Pro 14-inchMacBook Pro 13-inch
Display14.2-inch mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR display (3024x1964 pixels); 1,000 nits sustained (full-screen) brightness, 1,600 nits peak brightness; 120Hz refresh rate13.3-inch LED-backlit Retina display (2560x1600 pixels); 500 nits brightness; 60Hz refresh rate
Dimensions12.3 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches
Weight3.5 pounds3.0 pounds
Storage512GB to 8TB SSD256GB to 2TB SSD
Memory (RAM) 16GB/32GB/64GB8GB/16GB
Ports3x USB-C Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, SDXC card reader, 3.5mm headphone jack2x USB-C Thunderbolt 4, 3.5mm headphone jack
Webcam1080p FaceTime HD720p FaceTime HD
ProcessorM1 Pro: up to 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine M1 Max: 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, 16-core Neural EngineM1: 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
Battery life (per Apple)Up to 11 hours of web browsing or up to 17 hours of Apple TV playback; Up to 96W chargingUp to 17 hours of web browsing or up to 20 hours of Apple TV playback; 61W charging
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0; 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6Bluetooth 5.0; 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6

MacBook Pro 14 vs MacBook Pro 13: Design 

Both MacBooks share a largely similar all-aluminum exterior, but there are a few noticeable differences when you get down to the finer details. The MacBook Pro 14’s bottom edges are more curved than the MacBook Pro 13's, which sports a sharper, boxy look. It’s also half a pound heavier due to the larger screen and beefed-up internals. 

(Image credit: Apple)

Another visual difference appears when you open the lids. The new MacBook Pro 14 features slimmer bezels around the screen and relocates the webcam into a notch, like the iPhone. Apart from that, there’s little separating them. They have the same sleek metallic aesthetic we’ve come to expect from MacBooks, and both are available in Space Gray and Silver color options. 

Winner: Tie

MacBook Pro 14 vs MacBook Pro 13: Display

As the name suggests, the MacBook Pro 14 has a bigger 14.2-inch screen compared to the MacBook Pro 13’s 13.3-inch panel. In addition to the size, the MacBook Pro 14’s display is of superior quality. It’s equipped with the latest mini-LED technology, which emits punchier and brighter results. Plus, the MacBook Pro 14’s Liquid Retina XDR display packs more pixels and can reach double the brightness (1000 nits) than of the MacBook Pro 13’s Retina display (500 nits). 

(Image credit: Apple)

That’s not all. The MacBook Pro 14’s screen supports a higher 120Hz refresh rate, which means scrolling and compatible games will look smoother. It’s also worth noting that because of the narrower black bars, the MacBook Pro 14 fits its 14-inch screen in roughly the same form factor as the MacBook Pro 13 and, therefore, offers a more immersive viewing experience. 

Winner: MacBook Pro 14

MacBook Pro 14 vs MacBook Pro 13: Ports and webcam 

With the MacBook Pro 14, Apple is embracing traditional ports once again. So, along with three Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, the MacBook Pro 14 has a standard SD card reader and an HDMI slot. 

(Image credit: Apple)

The M1 MacBook Pro 13, in comparison, only houses a pair of Thunderbolt (USB-C) inputs. The MacBook Pro 14 gets you a better 1080p webcam, too, compared to the 720p sensor on the 13-inch model. 

Winner: MacBook Pro 14

MacBook Pro 14 vs MacBook Pro 13: Keyboard and touchpad

The MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 13 share a giant Force Touch trackpad and a fingerprint sensor in the keyboard’s top-right corner, but that’s where the similarities end. Though the keyboard offers similar tactile feedback on both, the former lacks the Touch Bar and instead has a physical row of function keys. Another minor difference is the MacBook Pro 14’s keyboard has a black backdrop under the keys, while the MacBook Pro 13’s is silver. 

(Image credit: Future)

Winner: It depends on whether you want the good-ol’ function row or a customizable stripe of touchscreen at the top of your keyboard. 

MacBook Pro 14 vs MacBook Pro 13: Performance

The performance hardware is what truly sets apart the MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 13. 

(Image credit: Apple)

The new MacBook Pro 14 can be configured with Apple’s latest high-end chips: the M1 Pro and M1 Max. 

The M1 Pro houses up to 10 CPU cores, eight for performance and two for efficiency, and a 16-core GPU. As per Apple, M1 Pro is up to 70% faster and can deliver nearly double the GPU performance than the MacBook Pro 13’s M1, which has an eight-core CPU and an eight-core GPU. 

(Image credit: Apple)

The M1 Max is equipped with the same 10-core CPU as the M1 Pro, but its 32-core GPU offers 4x faster GPU performance than the M1. The M1 Pro and M1 Max are additionally capable of reading data out of their memory up to three and six times quicker than the M1. 

What’s more, the MacBook Pro 14 can be outfitted with a maximum of 64GB RAM and 8TB of SSD, while the MacBook Pro 13 is limited to 16GB and 2TB SSD.  

(Image credit: Apple)

Although on paper, the MacBook Pro 13 is no match for the MacBook Pro 14, all but creative pros with the most demanding workloads would be hard-pressed to tell their performances apart in daily use. The MacBook Pro 14’s extra horsepower mainly comes in handy when you’re operating heavyweight processes for apps like 4K video editing and programming. 

Winner: MacBook Pro 14

MacBook Pro 14 vs MacBook Pro 13: Battery life 

The MacBook Pro 13 is one of the longest-lasting notebooks, and even the new MacBook Pro 14 can’t beat it. According to Apple’s own estimates, the MacBook Pro 13 can surf the web for up to 17 hours or play movies on the Apple TV for 20 hours straight on a single charge. In the same tests, the MacBook Pro 14 clocked in 11 hours and 17 hours, respectively. 

(Image credit: Future)

The MacBook Pro 14 does score one advantage in this category: it’s compatible with a 96-watt fast-charger, whereas the MacBook Pro 13 maxes out at 61-watt. We will know for sure whether this means both these computers charge fully in the same amount of time, but the figures most likely wouldn’t be far off from each other. 

Winner: MacBook Pro 13

MacBook Pro 14 vs MacBook Pro 13: Price and configurations 

The MacBook Pro 13 starts at $1299 for 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM and goes up from there depending on how much memory and storage you want. For instance, if you want to double the RAM, it will set you back an extra $200. 

The MacBook Pro 14’s base variant offers the 8-core M1 Pro chip, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD, and costs $1999. You can modify this build and add better components for a fee. 

For example, to swap out the M1 Pro for the M1 Max processor, you’ll have to shell out an additional $900. 

MacBook Pro 14 vs MacBook Pro 13: Which one should you buy? 

The MacBook Pro 14 has a range of new tricks up its sleeves, but there’s a reason why the MacBook Pro 13 is still around. For several hundred dollars less, it offers everything you’d expect from a modern notebook, including excellent battery life, fingerprint authentication, snappy performance, a giant trackpad, and more. Even though the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips are objectively better, the M1 processor has plenty of power for most buyers, even those dealing with advanced laptop tasks. 

So the decision to pick between the MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 13 narrows down to your personal use. If you need the extra ports, or your work actively involves resource-intensive apps and you don’t ever want to see macOS’s rainbow spinning cursor, the MacBook Pro 14 is the way to go. Else, the MacBook Pro 13 won’t disappoint you either, and you can save some money without making a major compromise. 

Shubham Agarwal is a freelance technology journalist from Ahmedabad, India. His work has previously appeared in Business Insider, Fast Company, HuffPost, and more. You can reach out to him on Twitter