While it's true that no matter what spec you pick, you’re going to be happy with your purchase (spoiler alert: we love this laptop), there were some unexpected results that you should know about. Let's see how they compare to one another, and we'll chuck in the standard M2 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Pro for good measure.
Shock results come in two of our big benchmarks: Geekbench 5.4 and Handbrake. The former is an industry standard processor test, whereas the latter is a good exercise of those media engines in transcoding 4K video to 1080p. We run these tests multiple times and take an average to be as accurate as we can.
Both the M2 Pro and M2 Max are monstrous in multi-core power — far outpacing any of its nearest competition. But the surprising detail here is that the M2 Pro actually scored higher than the M2 Max.
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Pro||14,965|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Max||14,939|
|M2 MacBook Air (2022)||8,919|
|M2 MacBook Pro (2022)||8,911|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M1 Pro||12,477|
As for Handbrake transcoding, the M2 Pro was actually three seconds faster than the M2 Max.
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Pro||4:03|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Max||4:06|
|M2 MacBook Air (2022)||7:52|
|M2 MacBook Pro (2022)||6:51|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M1||4:51|
In more unsurprising news, the SSD speeds in the M2 Max MacBook Pro are faster than the M2 Pro — more noticeably in write speeds, given the increased bandwidth potential.
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Pro||5,293.3 / 6,168.4|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Max||5,319.2 / 6,402.4|
|Dell XPS 13 Plus||4,879.8/ 3,638.1|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M1||5,321.5 / 5,377|
Alongside this, the Photoshop benchmark, which utilizes scripts to apply a series of filters and other adjustments to a series of high-resolution photographs in Adobe Photoshop CC, the M2 Pro achieved a score of 988. That is far above the 879 average, but the M2 Max decimates it with a score of 1,199.
Not only that, but we are seeing the additional graphics cores in the M2 Max translate (mostly) into improved framerates in gaming.
|1920 x 1200|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Pro||56 fps|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Max||56 fps|
|Dell XPS 13 Plus||23 fps*|
|1920 x 1200|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Pro||49 fps|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Max||73 fps|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M1 Pro||39.fps|
Of course, we’re talking about synthetic benchmarks here — a set of rudimentary tests that stress certain parts of a laptop to give you a number that doesn’t fully reflect the complete experience you get. However, it is a little eye-opening to see the M2 Pro outperform the M2 Max in both Geekbench testing and Handbrake video transcoding.
Whichever one you pick though, it’s easy to say they are so far ahead of the competition in terms of pure power for any creative pro’s workload. The big decision for you in terms of which one to pick comes in one question: how highly do you hold battery life in your purchase choice?
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Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.