Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020) review

MacBook Pro 13-inch review 2020

Editor’s Choice

(Image: © Tom’s Guide)

Our Verdict

The design of the MacBook Pro 2020 is a little too familiar, but it offers excellent 10th-generation performance, a fantastic Magic Keyboard, and a long battery life.


  • Great performance
  • Fantastic Magic Keyboard
  • Long battery life
  • Vibrant and colorful display


  • Bezels too thick
  • Pricey to get 10th gen power
  • Webcam could use upgrade

MacBook Pro 2020 (13-inch) specs

Price: $1,299 ($1,799 as tested)CPU: Core i7 processors range in speed from 1.4GHz quad core 8th generation to 2.3GHz 10th generation.RAM: 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory to 32GB 3733MHzStorage: 256GB SSD to 4TBGraphics: Intel Iris Plus 645, Intel Iris PlusDisplay: 13 inch Retina Display (2560 x 1600)Ports: Two Thunderbolt 3 to four Thunderbolt 3Size: The dimensions are 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches.Weight: 3.1 pounds

Editor’s note: Take a look at our This Intel MacBook Pro is still available from Apple, but only in configurations that start at $1,799. MacBook Pro with M1 review If you’re looking for a new Apple MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon, starting at $1,299, look no further.

The new Magic Keyboard ($1,799 as tested) is the most significant upgrade on this laptop, replacing the shallow Butterfly keyboard and making a significant difference. The 13-inch MacBook Pro 2020 offers an excellent balance of computing comfort and raw power.

On the 13-inch MacBook Pro, Apple also offers Intel 10th generation processors, as well as faster RAM and double the storage. However, an Intel CPU will set you back at least $1,799, so keep that in mind.

Many people will prefer the MacBook Pro M1, which has a faster processor and longer battery life but only two Thunderbolt 3 ports compared to four on the Intel model. The design of this laptop, as you’ll see in my full MacBook Pro 13-inch review, is looking dated at this point, and I’d prefer to see thinner bezels.

If you haven’t made the switch to Apple silicon yet, the MacBook Pro 13-inch with Intel is one of the best options. best laptops you can buy.

MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020: When will it be released and how much will it cost?

The Intel-powered MacBook Pro 13-inch is still available, but it starts at $1,799. That model comes with a powerful 10th generation Core i5 processor, faster 16GB 3733MHz RAM, and 512GB of storage. The MacBook Pro 2020 was released on May 7, and it can be purchased from and a variety of other online retailers.

The $1,799 MacBook Pro comes with four Thunderbolt 3 ports (two on each side), while the $1,299 MacBook Pro with M1 Chip (Apple Silicon) has two Thunderbolt ports.

1TB of storage is included in the $1,999 MacBook Pro 13-inch. It costs $400 to upgrade from 16GB to 32GB of RAM, and you can choose between 2TB ($600) and 4TB ($1,200) of storage.

MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 review: Design

The top bezel, in particular, is quite thick, particularly when compared to watches like the After seeing how Apple slimmed down the bezels on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the “new” 13-inch MacBook Pro feels like a step backwards. It’s the same old unibody aluminum block, which looks and feels solid but isn’t particularly inspiring. Dell XPS 13.

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The Dell XPS 13 weighs only 2.8 pounds and measures 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches, while the HP Spectre x360 weighs 2.7 pounds and measures 12.1 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches. It is slightly heavier and thicker than its predecessor (3.02 pounds and 0.59 inches thick), measuring 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches. Given its 13-inch screen size, the MacBook Pro 2020 is a hefty slab of a laptop.

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MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 review: Ports

On the left side of the system, there are two Thunderbolt 2 ports and a headphone jack, and on the right side, there is a headphone jack. The $1,799 model adds four Thunderbolt 3 ports, allowing you to connect more peripherals at the same time. There’s not a whole lot to see here, especially if you choose the $1,299 or $1,499 MacBook Pro 13-inch.

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I don’t expect to see full-size USB-A ports on MacBooks any time soon, but I do believe that photographers would appreciate a SD Card or microSD card slot.

MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 review: Magic Keyboard

You will be sorely missed. As with the Butterfly keyboard, rest in peace. 16-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook AirThe Magic Keyboard on the 13-inch MacBook Pro uses scissor switches to achieve 1mm of key travel. The overall typing experience is much more comfortable than before, thanks to an Apple-designed rubber dome and new keycap structure.

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I typed slightly faster on the new MacBook Pro 2020, at 78 words per minute compared to 77 on the previous model, and I was slightly more accurate on the newer Magic Keyboard, at 97% vs. 95% on the previous model. The Magic Keyboard’s keys are pillowy soft, whereas my older MacBook Pro’s Butterfly keys feel like I’m typing on a rock. However, it’s more about how your hands and wrists feel while typing, and there’s a big difference.

Apple has also changed the arrow keys to an inverted-T layout, making them easier to locate by touch. Because the Magic Keyboard has a dedicated physical Esc key, it is no longer hidden in the Touch Bar.

MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 review: Display

The 2560 x 1600-pixel display on the MacBook Pro hasn’t changed, but it’s still one of the best on a 13-inch laptop. Although there is no 4K option, you will get a bright and sharp panel that is ideal for editing photos, watching videos, and doing work.

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I also appreciate being able to work in direct sunlight while still being able to see incoming Slack messages and Google Docs. Individual crimson streaks of blood could be seen dripping down Homelander’s face in the trailer for The Boys season 2.

The screen on the MacBook Pro 2020 averaged 485 nits of brightness in our lab tests, outshining both the 4K version of the Dell XPS 13 (301 nits) and the 1080p version (417 nits) of the Dell XPS 13. 369 nits were achieved by the Spectre x360.

The MacBook Pro 2020’s screen reproduced 114% of the sRGB color gamut, compared to 107.5% and 114.8% for the 4K XPS 13 and 1080p versions, respectively. At 109%, the Spectre x360 was a little behind.

The panel on the MacBook Pro has a slight advantage in terms of color accuracy, with a Delta-E score of 0.24 (where 0 is perfect). The 4K XPS 13 received a score of 0.3, while the 1080p version received a score of 0.25.

MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 review: Audio

When listening to The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” on Spotify, the driving guitars and Justin Hawkins’ soaring vocals worked well together. And, despite the fact that it’s only a 13-inch laptop, the impressive stereo separation on the opening strings of Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days are Over” surprised me. The two speakers on either side of the keyboard produce loud, clear sound with surprising bass. The audio on the MacBook Pro is still underappreciated.

MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 review: Performance

The MacBook Pro 2020 we tested is equipped with a 2-GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of 3733MHz RAM, and 512GB of storage. However, in some tests, Apple’s laptop lagged behind some Windows laptops in the same price range. All of these features add up to one of the fastest 13-inch laptops on the market.

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The fans didn’t spin nearly as fast as the number of tabs I was opening increased. The MacBook Pro remained responsive and quieter than last year’s model even with dozens of tabs open in Chrome, streaming Spotify, and editing images in Pixelmator. My daily tasks included using the MacBook Pro both on its own and in conjunction with a CalDigit USB hub and a 34-inch LG monitor.

The MacBook Pro 2020 scored 4,399 on the multi-core portion of Geekbench 5, which measures overall performance. This outperformed the Spectre x360 with its Core i7-1065G7 CPU, which scored 4,074, but fell short of the Dell XPS 13 with the same processor (4,648).

That’s a lot faster than the Dell XPS 13 (15:40) and a lot faster than the Spectre x360 (21:13). The MacBook Pro 2020 took 12 minutes and 43 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p in a real-world video editing test.

The Apple system received a score of 569, but the XPS 13 received a score of 657. On the PugetBench Photoshop benchmarks, which put a laptop through 21 different tasks three times, the MacBook Pro didn’t fare as well.

Apple’s laptops still have some of the fastest SSDs on the market. The 512GB SSD in the MacBook Pro achieved read speeds of 2,060 megabytes per second and write speeds of 2,315.9 on the Blackmagic benchmark. 1,421.9 MBps and 1,198.7 MBps, respectively, are the averages.

On the Civilization VI benchmark, this laptop managed just 18 frames per second, which is slightly less than the XPS 13’s 19 fps. The Iris Plus graphics on the MacBook Pro 2020 are ideal for photo and video editing, but don’t expect to play demanding games at high frame rates.

The MacBook Pro kept up with Sayonara Wild Hearts’ frenetic racing and fighting action, though using the keys felt less fluid than using a touch screen in this game. Rayman Mini, for example, ran smoothly on the 13-inch Retina Display and had simple controls (such as the space bar to jump and the right arrow to attack). The good news is that the MacBook Pro 2020 performs admirably in Apple Arcade games.

MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 review: Battery life

With its 1080p screen, the HP Spectre x360 clocked in at 13:20. On our web surfing battery test, the laptop lasted an impressive 10 hours and 21 minutes at 150 nits of screen brightness. Given all of the power under the hood, the MacBook Pro 2020’s battery life is excellent. This time is faster than the 4K version of Dell’s laptop (8:14), but slower than the 1080p version (12:39).

MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 review: Webcam

At this point, I believe Apple should upgrade the MacBook Pro’s webcam. For full HD video, I’d prefer to see 1080p. For a price range of $1,299 and up, a 720p resolution seems low.

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However, if you want more detail and clarity, choose one of the. The image quality is just fine; the webcam did an excellent job of capturing my skin tone and the fine horizontal lines in my blue shirt. best webcams.

macOS Big Sur: What to expect

macOS Big SurIn addition, the Notification Center has been updated to consolidate all of your notifications and widgets into a single column. The MacBook Pro 13-inch will be available this fall, but you can try it now as a public beta. Big Sur has a new look, including an updated menu bar, floating dock, and new app icons, as well as a customizable Control Center.

Safari gets a boost in Big Sur, with better battery life and performance, as well as the ability to view more tabs at once. In addition, the App Store now has a translation feature and Safari extensions, as well as improved password monitoring, which can help you upgrade existing passwords if you’re a victim of a data breach.

Last but not least, macOS Big Sur brings improvements to Messages, including the ability to pin favorite conversations, improved search, inline replies in group conversations, and more.

MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 review: Verdict

Overall, I like the MacBook Pro 2020, but the newer models are even better. MacBook Pro with M1 Because Apple Silicon provides faster performance and longer battery life, it is a better option in general.

If you want to stick with Intel and have four Thunderbolt 3 ports instead of two, this $1,799 configuration of the 13-inch MacBook Pro is the way to go.

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If you’re not sold on macOS, the Dell XPS 13The HP Spectre x360 and the HP Spectre x360 are excellent Windows alternatives with slimmer bezels and sleeker designs. If you’re looking for a good everyday notebook, the is a good option. MacBook Air M1 is still the best choice for most people.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is a great choice if you want a more powerful portable for work and play, including photo and video editing.

MacBook Pro 2020 (13-inch) specs



$1,499 $1,799 $1,999
CPU 1.4-GHz quad core 8th gen 1.4 GHz quad-core 8th gen 2 GHz quad-core 10th gen 2 GHz quad core 10th gen
RAM 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory 16GB 3733MHz LPDDR4X memory 16GB 3733MHz LPDDR4X memory
Storage 256GB SSD 512GB SSD 512GB SSD 1TB SSD
Graphics Intel Iris Plus 645 Intel Iris Plus 645 Intel Iris Plus Intel Iris Plus
Display 13 inch Retina Display (2560 x 1600) 13 inch Retina Display (2560 x 1600) 13 inch Retina Display (2560 x 1600) 13 inch Retina Display (2560 x 1600)
Ports Two Thunderbolt 3 Two Thunderbolt 3 Four Thunderbolt 3 Four Thunderbolt 3
Size 11.97 x 8.36 x 061 inches 11.97 x 8.36 x 061 inches 11.97 x 8.36 x 061 inches 11.97 x 8.36 x 061 inches
Weight 3.1 pounds 3.1 pounds 3.1 pounds 3.1 pounds

Mark was previously the editor-in-chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in publications such as Wired, Popular Science, and Inc. @mspoonauer is his Twitter handle. Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets in addition to overseeing Tom’s Guide’s direction. Mark Spoonauer has been covering technology for nearly 20 years and is the global editor in chief of Tom’s Guide. He’s spoken at major industry gatherings and is a regular on television, discussing the latest trends.