Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020) laptop review

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Some of the new toys are not available on the entry-level model, which is a shame. New Intel processors and faster RAM speeds are available in the MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020), but only if you’re willing to pay the price.


  • Same launch price as last year’s model
  • Improved specs (on some models)
  • Larger capacity SSD for starting model
  • New keyboard is great


  • Pricey
  • You still only get Thunderbolt 3 ports

The new MacBook Pro (late 2020)is powered by the M1, Apple’s first laptop processor. Benchmarks show that it is a fantastic product. mobile workstation, a jaw dropping music production notebook and a groundbreaking video editing laptop.

Two-minute review

Because of its updated internals and upgraded keyboard, the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 could be the most important member of the MacBook line. Those who have been waiting due to Apple’s high pricing will be pleased to learn that this year’s edition offers more value for your money.

Sitting somewhere between the 16-inch MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air (2020) The basic configuration, which costs $1,299 (£1,299, AU$1,999), doubles the RAM and storage compared to the previous model. The Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 updates its internals with higher specs than its predecessor in terms of price and power.

However, it’s worth noting that there’s a newer model, the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)Its performance is already impressive, but thanks to the 10th generation Intel CPUs included, this Mac provides a significant boost. Instead of an Intel processor, it comes with the new M1 chip.

In our analysis, we compared this year’s model to last year’s. Having twice the RAM and storage capacity is also beneficial. 13-inch MacBook Pro 2020 vs. 13-inch MacBook Pro 2019 For creatives and business people who need a powerful yet portable computer, the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 is an easy choice. article to see what has changed, and there has been a noticeable improvement in performance. laptop to take on the go.

Moreover, with Even MacOS newbies will be enticed to purchase the 2020 model. macOS Big Sur now available to download, getting into the swing of things with a Mac has never been easier.

However, the entry-level configuration has a significant drawback: it uses an 8th generation Intel processor and slower memory. You’ll have to pay $1,799 (£1,799, AU$2,999) for the $1,799 (£1,799, AU$2,999) model with a 2.0GHz 10th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 512GB of storage, and 16GB of faster RAM to get some of the most significant improvements Apple has made to the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro 2020.

The design of the MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 model is nearly identical to that of the 2019 model, with the exception that the 2020 model is slightly thicker and heavier than the 2019 model.

On the inside, there’s a much-improved keyboard that’s more comfortable to type on and has good key travel for a satisfying typing experience.

(Image credit: Future)
Spec Sheet

The following is the configuration of the 13-inch MacBook Pro that was sent to TechRadar for review:


Intel Core i5-1038NG7 (quad-core, 8 threads, 6MB cache, up to 3.8GHz) 2.0GHz Intel Core i5-1038NG7 (quad-core, 8 threads, 6MB cache, up to 3.8GHz)


Intel Iris Plus Graphics


16GB (3,733MHz LPDDR4X)Screen: 13.3-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels (backlit LED, IPS, 500 nits brightness, wide color P3 gamut)Storage: 2TB SSDPorts: 3.5mm headphone jack, 2x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-F, Bluetooth 5.0Camera: 720p FaceTime HD webcamWeight: 3.1 pounds (1.4kg)Size: 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56cm; W x D x H; 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inch

Price and availability

The MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020) starts at $1,299 / £1,299 / AU$1,999, which is, thankfully, the same price as the 2019 model. However, we must criticize Apple here because the base model features a 1.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor from the 8th generation.

That’s a two-year-old CPU, as we’ve previously stated. elsewhere on the siteApple made a big deal about the inclusion of 10th generation Intel processors in the 2020 MacBook Pro 13-inch, and the performance benefits they provide. If you buy the cheapest model, however, you won’t get those advantages. , but that’s simply not good enough for a business laptop.

While it has 256GB of storage, up from 128GB on the 2019 model, if you really want a cheap MacBook Pro, you’d be better off getting an older MacBook Pro for less money – the performance difference isn’t significant. As a result, we can’t recommend the 2020 MacBook Pro 13-inch base model to professionals.

For $1,799 / £1,799 / AU$2,999, you can get a 2.0GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 512GB of storage, and 16GB of RAM. As a result, we consider the MacBook Pro 13-inch mid-range model to be the absolute minimum configuration to purchase.

Not only will the upgrade from 8th to 10th generation CPUs make a significant difference, but this version also has faster 3,733MHz RAM than the lower-end model’s 2,133MHz RAM.

You can also get a 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor, up to 32GB RAM (for the first time in a 13-inch MacBook Pro), and up to 4TB of SSD storage with the MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020.

So, while we appreciate that Apple has released two new MacBook Pro 13-inch models at the same price as their predecessors, the gap between the entry-level model and the regular model has grown even wider – to the point where the entry-level model is no longer worth considering.

As a result, creatives may find themselves paying a little more this year than in previous years.

(Image credit: Future)


Apple hasn’t changed much about the basic design of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, as we’ve seen with other recent MacBook releases – at least when the laptop is closed.

It’s available in Silver or Space Gray, and the dimensions are similar, measuring 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches (304.1 x 212.4 x 156mm). This model is slightly thicker than the previous one, which was 0.59 inches (149mm) deep.

There are, however, many thinner and lighter 13-inch laptops on the market. It’s also slightly heavier, weighing 3.1 pounds (1.4 kilograms) versus 3.02 pounds (1.37 kilograms) in 2019. Most people won’t notice the difference, and it’s still a reasonably light laptop for a pro. ‘The’ Dell XPS 13 (2020), for example, is 2.8 pounds (1.27 kilograms).

(Image credit: Future)

Only four Thunderbolt 3 ports (or two in the entry-level model) and an audio jack are available this time. The lack of ports, particularly legacy USB-A ports, will be disappointing (but not surprising) for a professional laptop, and will necessitate the purchase of an adapter unless you have all USB-C peripherals.

This is because Apple has finally replaced the infamous Butterfly switch keyboard with the new ‘Magic Keyboard,’ which is also found in the MacBook Pro 16-inch and MacBook Air (2020). However, when you open up the new MacBook Pro 13-inch, you’ll notice more of a difference.

(Image credit: Future)

This is a tremendous improvement. It not only solves previous models’ keyboard issues (such as stuck keys), but it also provides a much more tactile and comfortable typing experience.

Since its debut on the 16-inch MacBook Pro last year, we’ve been fans of the new keyboard, and we’re glad to see it make its way to the 13-inch model as well. The new MacBook Pro 13-inch could persuade anyone who has been putting off buying a MacBook because of the well-publicized keyboard issues to reconsider.

Although not everyone likes the Touch Bar, it is now used by many apps, including Photoshop, to provide quick access to tools. The Touch Bar, a thin display above the keyboard that gives you context-sensitive buttons to press, is back.

(Image credit: Future)

It performs far better than many fingerprint scanners included with Windows 10 laptops, in our opinion. It’s a little easier to find now, and it’s a secure way to log into your MacBook (or pay for things with Apple Pay) with just your fingerprint. During our time with it, it never failed to correctly read a fingerprint. The TouchID button, which also serves as a power button, has been moved away from the Touch Bar and sits slightly apart.

On the other side of the keyboard, the Escape key has been reintroduced as a separate button (rather than being integrated into the Touch Bar), making it easier to locate, and the arrow keys have been rearranged in an inverted-T layout, similar to that found on many laptop keyboards.

It also supports the P3 wide color gamut, which provides excellent color reproduction for creative professionals. Although the Retina resolution (2,560 x 1,600) isn’t the highest we’ve seen in a 13-inch laptop, a 4K resolution on a 13-inch screen is usually overkill, and the MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020)’s Retina display is bright and vibrant. Meanwhile, the screen is unchanged from last year’s model, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

So, the design of the new MacBook Pro 13-inch hasn’t changed all that much, but where Apple has made changes, they’re noticeable and welcome.

This makes the new MacBook Pro 13-inch feel dated, especially when compared to Windows 10 laptops such as the Dell XPS 13, which have ultra-thin bezels that allow the device to be smaller without sacrificing screen size. The thick bezels around the screen, on the other hand, are something we wish Apple had changed with the design.

In the future, we hope Apple tweaks the 13-inch MacBook Pro in a similar way – perhaps for a 14-inch MacBook Pro? With the 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple has demonstrated that it can slim down the bezels, allowing it to include a larger screen without making the overall laptop any larger than the 15-inch model.

(Image credit: Future)

Here are the results of our benchmark tests on the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020):

Cinebench R20 CPU: 1,950Geekbench 5 Single-Core: 1,268; Multi-Core: 4,490Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 8 hours and 31 minutes


We’ve now had enough time with the MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020) to run our benchmark tests and put it through its paces, and we’re still very impressed. It is operational. macOS Catalina The apps we tested loaded up quickly and smoothly, resulting in a smooth and responsive experience.

We also ran the Chrome web browser with a lot of tabs open, which is known for being a memory hog, and the MacBook Pro 13-inch performed admirably.

The new Intel CPU, as well as the faster 3,733MHz LPDDR4X RAM, give it multitasking prowess, making the new MacBook Pro 13-inch feel less of a compromise than the powerful 16-inch model.

It’s worth noting that this is with the MacBook Pro 13-inch, which has a 10th generation processor. Ice LakeProcessor Intel Core i5. The lower-end 13-inch MacBook Pro, which has an older CPU and slower RAM, will not perform as well as the one we received.

Not only does the new Intel Core i5 processor outperform its predecessor in terms of compute performance, but it also has better integrated graphics.

This is important because the MacBook Pro 13-inch lacks a dedicated GPU, unlike the larger MacBook Pro 16-inch. If you’re going to use the new MacBook Pro for graphically intensive tasks like video editing or 3D rendering, the Intel Iris Plus Graphics integrated GPU will be your best bet.

Integrated GPUs can’t match the performance of a dedicated graphics card, so if you really need a graphics powerhouse, the MacBook Pro 16-inch with AMD Radeon Pro 5300M GPU is the way to go.

(Image credit: Future)

It also enables the MacBook Pro 13-inch to connect at full 6K resolution to Apple’s Pro Display XDR. The Intel Iris Plus Graphics in Intel’s 10th generation chips, on the other hand, is a significant improvement over previous generations, according to Apple, offering 80% faster performance in 4K editing and faster rendering.

The improved graphical performance on the Intel Iris Plus Graphics is only available on the MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 models with 10th generation processors, as previously stated.

You’ll have to make do with the older and less powerful Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 if you choose the entry-level MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 model with the 8th generation Intel processor.

Apple’s decision to keep the 8th generation chip in the base model is particularly frustrating, as it means that the performance gap between the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro and the mid- and high-end models has never been greater (along with the slower RAM).

Battery life

It has a 58 watt-hour battery (which is slightly larger than the entry-level model’s 58.2 watt-hour). MacBooks have always outperformed their Windows 10 counterparts in terms of battery life, and the 2020 model of the MacBook Pro 13-inch does not disappoint.

The battery lasted a respectable eight and a half hours in our battery life benchmark test, which involved playing a looped 1080p video. The battery life should be around 10 hours, which is similar to what the previous model promised.

That’s impressive for a workstation laptop, and it means that unless you’re doing very intensive tasks like video editing or rendering, the new MacBook Pro 13-inch should last an entire work day without needing to be charged.

It also does a fantastic job of preserving battery life. That means you can close the lid and leave the laptop for a few days and the battery will still be usable. That isn’t always the case with Windows 10 laptops, which seem to drain battery life even when they aren’t being used.

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

You want a powerful (and small) MacBookThe improved internals benefit the MacBook Pro 13-inch greatly, making this model a great choice if you’re looking for a MacBook that can multitask well.

You didn’t like previous MacBook keyboardsIf you were put off by the older keyboards, you will be won over by the new one. We can’t emphasize enough how much better the new keyboard in the MacBook Pro 13-inch is.

You want excellent battery lifeIt’s impressive. Normally, powerful laptops have to make do with short battery lives, but the MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 manages to strike a balance between performance and battery life that lasts the entire workday.

Don’t buy it if…

You’re on a budgetThe MacBook Pro 13-inch is the least expensive MacBook Pro, but it’s still quite pricey. If you’re looking for a less expensive MacBook, consider the MacBook Air.

You want a graphical powerhouseWhile the 13-inch MacBook Pro isn’t a slouch in terms of performance, it still uses integrated graphics, which means it’s not up to serious graphical tasks.

You don’t like Apple’s designsWhile fans of Apple’s aesthetics will be pleased with the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, it means that those who have been turned off by previous MacBooks will be disappointed.

Senior Computing editor

Matt (TwitterSend him a message on Twitter if you’re having trouble with your PC or Mac and need some help. Matt has written for a variety of publications, including PC Plus, PC Format, T3, and Linux Format, and is passionate about all aspects of technology, particularly computing and PC gaming. ) is the Senior Computing Editor at TechRadar.