Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020) review: New processors and new keyboard enhance Apple’s lightweight business laptop Review

Nancy J. Delong

Apple usually sticks to a relatively strict cycle of annual updates for its items but, most likely prompted by the latest economic uncertainty, it has accelerated its products releases in new months. The MacBook Air and the 13-inch variation of the MacBook Professional were being very last current in July 2019: the MacBook Air received an early update in March, and it really is now the flip of the 13-inch MacBook Professional.

The specifics of this update bear shut evaluation, as the 13-inch MacBook Professional now delivers 4 typical configurations based mostly on both eighth-generation or newer tenth-generation Intel Main i5 processors. There are other variations between the different styles as well, so it really is significant to compare the different configurations so that you can choose which one most effective fulfills your needs.


The 2020 13-inch MacBook Professional operates on eighth or tenth generation quad-main Main i5 or i7 processors with up to 16GB (eighth gen) or 32GB (tenth gen) of RAM, and up to 2TB (eighth gen) or 4GB (tenth gen) of SSD storage. 

Graphic: Apple

Style & features

When Apple updates the 13-inch MacBook Professional each individual 12 months, it commonly retains one configuration from the former 12 months obtainable in buy to supply a far more inexpensive entry-stage option (even if the expression ‘affordable’ is anything of a moveable feast where Apple is worried). The commencing rate for the 2020 version continues to be the very same as very last 12 months, at £1,082.50 (ex. VAT £1,299 inc. VAT) or $one,299, and that model does keep on to use the very same processor as its predecessor — an eighth generation, quad-main Main i5 functioning at one.4GHz, along with 8GB of RAM.

That entry-stage model does get a little additional consideration, though, raising very last year’s meagre 128GB SSD to 256GB. And, thankfully, all the 2020 styles now include Apple’s new Magic Keyboard, with its improved ‘scissor’ system that aims to supply a far more relaxed and responsive sense than the greatly criticised ‘butterfly’ keyboards of new decades (while this does bump the pounds up fractionally, from one.37kg to one.4kg). 


The new Magic Keyboard ditches the considerably-maligned ‘butterfly’ system for a far more ergonomic and responsible ‘scissor’ system.

Graphic: Apple

The new keyboard is definitely an improvement, and feels firmer and far more responsive than the lifeless keyboard of earlier styles. The Retina Screen continues to be the very same, with all the 2020 styles sharing the very same vibrant and vibrant display screen, with two,560 by one,600 resolution (227dpi).

The next typical configuration obtainable on Apple’s web-site just doubles the storage once far more — to 512GB — for an additional £200/$two hundred, and it really is not till you phase up to £1,499.17 (ex. VAT £1,799 inc. VAT) or $one,799 that you get the all-new 2020 update reviewed listed here. 

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This new configuration now involves a tenth generation, quad-main Main i5-1038NG7 processor functioning at two.0GHz (up to 3.8GHz with TurboBoost), with built-in Iris Plus graphics, along with 16GB of RAM (functioning at a a lot quicker 3,733MHz) and a 512GB SSD. This model also involves 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, somewhat than the meagre pair of ports offered by the entry-stage one.4GHz model. We failed to have the luxury of opening up our assessment device, but it really is been described online that this two.0GHz model has a new motherboard layout that incorporates a next cooling enthusiast and a far more effective established of speakers (we did check with Apple if that is correct, but have but to acquire affirmation).

Again, you can double the measurement of the SSD on the two.0GHz model to 1TB for £200/$two hundred, or you can improve to a Main i7 processor functioning at two.3GHz (up to four.1GHz with TurboBoost) for the very same quantity. As constantly, though, Apple’s memory upgrades are extremely high-priced, costing £400/$four hundred to insert a further 16GB of RAM. You can also commit a even more £600/$600 on a 2TB solid-condition travel, or £1,two hundred/$one,two hundred for 4TB of storage. Nonetheless, the additional Thunderbolt ports on this model make exterior storage upgrades a considerably far more inexpensive and simple option.


Apple’s announcement of the new 13-inch MacBook Professional claimed that it delivers ‘up to two.8 situations a lot quicker performance’ — but that is in comparison to a dual-main model from two generations in the past. The functionality improvement in excess of very last year’s model is far more modest. The tenth generation Main i5 processor in our 2020 assessment device achieves single- and multi-main processor scores of 5,five hundred and 17,950 when functioning Geekbench four, as opposed to very last year’s scores of four,870 and 17,three hundred.

Running the newer Geekbench 5 made scores one,250 and four,480 for single- and multi-main functionality, which are related to the scores of one,308 and four,900 recorded by the a little far more high-priced Microsoft Surface area Laptop computer 3. Nonetheless, the MacBook Professional edged ahead on graphics functionality, hitting 14.8fps with the Unigine Valley examination, as opposed to 11fps for the Surface area Laptop computer 3, or 11.5fps for very last year’s MacBook Professional model. That could seem to be like a comparatively tiny distinction, but the Valley examination suite is fairly demanding, so an raise of even a couple frames for every next continue to signifies a worthwhile improvement. Apple also factors out that the MacBook Pro’s Iris Plus graphics can support exterior displays of up to 6K resolution — including, of training course, Apple’s very own high-priced Professional Screen XDR. 

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The only insignificant disappointment with the 2020 13-inch MacBook Professional is that battery lifestyle drops a little. Apple rates ‘up to 10 hours’ for both of those the eighth generation and tenth generation processors, and very last year’s model with the eighth generation one.4GHz processor did deal with an extraordinary nine hrs 45 minutes when streaming video clip on the BBC iPlayer. Nonetheless, this year’s far more effective tenth generation model could not fairly match that, providing 8 hrs 45 minutes of streaming video clip by means of the BBC iPlayer. Even so, that is more than enough to give you a whole day’s perform with no issues, and also beats the Surface area Laptop computer 3 by a fantastic two hrs.


The 720p FaceTime Hd digital camera in the big bezel previously mentioned the display screen is because of an update.

Graphic: Apple


The 2020 13-inch MacBook Professional is far more of a ‘speedbump’ than a radical revamp, but Apple is clearly hoping to offer you a tempting quad-main improve to entrepreneurs of older dual-main styles, as properly as competing with newer rivals these types of as Microsoft’s Surface area assortment. Its lightweight layout and battery lifestyle are continue to difficult to beat, and it really is fantastic to see Apple at last putting its keyboard issues to relaxation. So while this year’s update might not be an necessary improve for entrepreneurs of far more new styles, it does make certain that the 13-inch MacBook Professional continues to offer you an appealing, moveable layout and strong functionality for business buyers.

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