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2020 Apple 13-Inch MacBook Pro Review Roundup: ‘A Strong and Safe Bet’

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Apple announced a new 13-inch MacBook Pro earlier this week. It’s a big upgrade for several reasons, but the most important change is the new Magic Keyboard. It means that Apple no longer sells any laptops with its older and unreliable butterfly keyboard, which made its debut in 2015.

Now, ahead of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro going on sale tomorrow, the first set of reviews of the laptop have hit the internet.

Dana Wollman, writing for Engadget, believes that the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is an excellent upgrade across the board:

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is the third and last laptop in Apple’s lineup to receive an upgraded keyboard, meaning those much-maligned butterfly keys are now a thing of the past. In addition to a pleasant typing experience, the 13-inch MBP brings improved graphics performance, healthy battery life and the same lovely Retina display as before. It’s mostly a solid choice, save for a few shortcomings (namely, a hot bottom and the ongoing omission of pro-grade ports).

Mashable‘s Brenda Stoylar notes that battery life isn’t quite as good as Apple claims it to be:

As for its battery life, the MacBook Pro is supposed to last up to ten hours on a single charge. And I believe that’s fairly accurate if you stick to Apple’s native apps like Safari.

After using the Pro as my primary laptop during the workday, however, my battery ran down to about 36 percent after only three hours of use. An hour later, it dropped to five percent while I was on a video call. So, that means it lasted me about four hours before I had to plug it back in. 

Jason Snell for Six Colors writes that the new MacBook Pro is faster than last year’s model in every way:

In my tests the new high-end model was definitely faster than last year’s high-end model, across the board. Though Apple claims that graphics performance should receive an extra boost in this upgrade (when compared to last year’s model), the Geekbench 5 scores only showed improvement in line with the general CPU performance. This may be an artifact of Geekbench itself; as I don’t have the previous model to test in graphics-intensive apps like Final Cut Pro X or games, I can’t speak to that.

TechCrunch notes that one downside is how the 2020 MacBook Air complicates matters when compared to the new MacBook Pro. All in all though, the publication calls the 13-inch MacBook Pro a “strong and safe bet.”

Again, the biggest drawback of the 13-inch Pro is that the improved Air blurs the product lines in a number of ways. But that device is thinner, lighter and $300 cheaper. The case for choosing the pricier device isn’t as clear as, say, the decision between the 13-inch and 16-inch models.

For most users, the Air should be plenty for most tasks. For those who need more power without breaking their backs or banks, however, the 13-inch model is still a strong and safe bet that’s now much easier on the fingers.

Mashable states that the most obvious and important upgrade here is, of course, the Magic Keyboard:

The one major upgrade that truly revolutionizes the new Pro experience is the keyboard itself. So much so, that it merits its own section. 

Apple has finally incorporated its new Magic Keyboard into the 13-inch lineup, which uses a scissor switch mechanism and has 1mm of key travel. […]

In comparison to the Butterfly Keyboard, the Magic Keyboard has an additional .3mm of key travel.  While I know that sounds like a minor improvement, it really makes a world of a difference. The keys are the perfect height — they’re not too high to require much extra effort, but also not too low. 

CNBC‘s Todd Haselton notes that there’s a significant difference between the entry-level 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro and the higher-end models:

But here’s what I think you should do: If you’re thinking of buying the 13-inch MacBook Pro, you should probably get the $1,799 model if you can afford it. It has newer and faster 10th-generation Intel processors, 512 GB of storage, twice the memory (and it’s faster memory, too) and four Thunderbolt 3 ports instead of just two.

It’s a big bump in price, but I think this is the one if you’re coming from an older MacBook Pro.

The Verge concludes that the all-new 13-inch MacBook Pro is a solid, welcome update to Apple’s laptop lineup — especially with the new keyboard:

And that’s the bottom line: by all indications, Apple has delivered an update to the 13-inch MacBook Pro that does the things most people would expect a good laptop to do. First and foremost, the keyboard is expected to be trustworthy. It’s always possible that there’s a critical flaw nobody has caught yet. But I think it’s safe to trust this Magic Keyboard — and this MacBook.

The base model of the MacBook Pro is currently available for $1,699 CAD and has a 1.4GHz quad-core 8th Gen Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 GPU. You can configure it up with up to an 8th Gen Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD.

Click here to visit Apple.ca to check out the new 13-inch MacBook Pro.

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