MacBook Pro 14 M3 vs. MacBook Pro 13 M2: Which is the better value?

MacBook Pro 14 M3 vs. MacBook Pro 13 M2
(Image credit: Future/Apple)

Apple's sneaky late night event unveiled its latest new MacBook Pros, featuring all-new M3 chips, including the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max CPUs as well as a new color: Space Black — shocking.

We've already told you which M3 Series MacBook you should buy, and straight up said to skip the MacBook Pro M3. But when getting down to the gritty details, is the MacBook Pro 14 M3 worth upgrading to from the MacBook Pro 13 M2? And if you have neither, should you shoot for the moon or something more affordable?

Let's see where the MacBook Pro 14 M3 vs. MacBook Pro 13 M2 debate will land. Keep in mind that, since we don't have all the testing complete, we cannot provide a definitive take, but we can make an educated guess based on Apple's claims versus previous results and we'll update with a final ruling once our full review is complete.

MacBook Pro 14 M3 vs. MacBook Pro 13 M2: Price

The new MacBook Pro 14 M3 has a starting price of $1,599 and comes with an M3 CPU & GPU, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 14.2-inch, 3024 x 1964 display.

Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro 13 M2 is discontinued, but is still on offer at several places for what I imagine will be a limited time. You can find the MacBook Pro 13 M2 for $1,149 at B&H. It comes with an M2 CPU & GPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 display.

If you tried to match the price, you can get Pro 13 M2 with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD (actually, it'll still be cheaper, at $1,499).

In terms of value, there's no better time to buy the MacBook Pro 13 M2. You can wait on the MacBook Pro 14 M3.

Winner: MacBook Pro 13 M2

Which M3 Series MacBook Should You Buy?

(Image credit: Future)

MacBook Pro 14 M3 vs. MacBook Pro 13 M2: Design

Calm yourself, this section isn't anything exciting. And especially don't expect that shiny new black look because it's not available on the base M3 MacBook Pro 14.

The MacBook Pro 14 M3 comes in at 3.4 pounds and 12.3 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches, while the MacBook Pro 13 M2 measures 3 pounds and 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches. If you want a more portable device, the 13-inch is obviously the better choice.

Apart from the subtle size difference, the thing to concern yourself with is whether or not you want that TouchBar on the MacBook Pro 13 M2 or a relatively normal keyboard layout. Unfortunately, the MacBook Pro 14 M3 doesn't even have a discrete function row, so you're losing out on something regardless.

Since the TouchBar gets a lot of hate over here at Laptop Mag, it's easy to give this win to the MacBook Pro 14 M3.

Winner: MacBook Pro 14 M3

MacBook Pro 13-inch M2

(Image credit: Future)

MacBook Pro 14 M3 vs. MacBook Pro 13 M2: Display

This should be easy because when it comes to displays bigger is better.

The MacBook Pro 14 M3 features a 14.2-inch, 3024 x 1964 display, while the MacBook Pro 13 M2 rocks a 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 display. We haven't tested the latest laptop, so we can't tell you which is brighter or more colorful.

However, MacBooks have been consistently good when it comes to the display, so size and resolution might be the only deciding factor. For now, the MacBook Pro 14 M3 is the better choice.

Winner: MacBook Pro 14 M3

MacBook Pro 14 M3 vs. MacBook Pro 13 M2: Specs

We already did a price to specs comparison, so you know that might get a little more or a little less depending on which you go with, but how big of a difference will the M3 and M2 have?

Let's look at Apple's claims. In terms of CPU, it stated that the M3 offers 35% faster performance than the M1. When the M2 launched, Apple claimed that it offered 18% faster performance than the M1. Doing a little math, that means the M3 should be roughly 17% faster than the M2. I get why the company wouldn't want to say that the percentage increase over a generation is less than the previous.

To bring some coin back into play, a 17% performance increase costs a 28% increase in price. Overall, MacBook Pro 14 M3 takes the win in general performance, but it's more costly than it should be at this time.

Winner: MacBook Pro 14 M3

Macbook Pro 13-inch (2022)

(Image credit: Apple)

MacBook Pro 14 M3 vs. MacBook Pro 13 M2: Battery life

On the Laptop Mag battery test, the MacBook Pro 13 M2 lasted 18 hours and 20 minutes, which is pretty impressive, so can the MacBook Pro 14 M3 really beat that?

According to Apple, the MacBook Pro 14 M3 offers up to 22 hours of video playback and up to 15 hours of wireless web surfing. It's possible that it could land in the same timeframe as the M2. 

But when Apple launched the M2, it claimed that it could last up to 20 hours if it’s straight video playback and 17 hours of web browsing. The former is shorter and the latter is longer than the M3, according to Apple's claims.

We'll call this a draw for now until we get more information.

Winner: Draw

Which M3 Series MacBook Should You Buy?

(Image credit: Future)

Outlook

The MacBook Pro 14 M3 is the newer and better product on paper, but we won't really know for sure until we get our hands on it and run those critical benchmarks. If you're really stuck on which to get, listen to your wallet. If you can't afford the Pro 14 M3, get the Pro 13 M2. It'll be just as good as long as you don't need that slightly more power and sharper display.

But if you can afford it, the Pro 14 M3 is clearly the superior model, and it's going to have a longer life at this point than the Pro 13 M2, which has already been discontinued.

We'll see. For now, follow along with Laptop Mag on TwitterFacebook, and Flipboard for the latest word as it arrives.

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Rami Tabari
Editor

Rami Tabari is an Editor for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.