This is one of 5 articles dedicated to Apple’s Macbooks:

1. How you can choose the ideal Macbook 12″
2. How to choose the best Macbook Air 11.6″
3. How to choose the best Macbook Air 13.3″
4. How to choose the best Macbook Pro 13.3″ (this article)
5. How to choose the best Apple 15.4″ Macbook Pro

Who is the 13.3″ Macbook Pro ideal for?

Anyone who wants a laptop that’s solid, light weight, with an excellent battery life, great backlit keyboard and trackpad and an higher CPU performance than the Macbook Air, without the bulk nor requirement of the higher performance of the Macbook Pro 15.6″.

The Macbook Pro 13.3″, Retina display, solid reliable, .7″ thick and 3.46lbs.

What is the Macbook Pro 13.3″ good for?

  • Web browsing
  • Office work (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.)
  • Emails
  • Listening to music
  • Watching TV/movies from local files or streaming.The HDMI port allows you to connect your HDTV to it.
  • Audio/photo/video editing. Are you a pro working with heavy files and demanding programs? You may want to consider the more powerful Macbook Pro 15.6″.

Why do you want the 13.3″ Macbook Pro: Pros

  • Outstanding display: 2560 x 1600 13.3″ Retina display, with an IPS panel for accurate colors and great viewing angles.
  • High-performance 1866MHz memory.
  • Better performance than the Macbook and Macbook Air: You still get dual-core CPUs, but with significantly higher frequencies, resulting in higher performance.
  • Good amount of ports: 2x USB 3.0, two ThunderBolt 2 (Mini DisplayPort via Thunderbolt port), 1x HDMI, SDXC card reader and a combo audio jack.
  • Thin and lightweight: 3.46 lbs and 0.7″ thick. Not as thin nor as light as the Macbook nor the Macbook Air, but still far from thick and heavy.
  • It’s an Apple computer: Mac OS X, Time Machine backup (automatically backs up system data to an external hard drive), many built-in apps, highly reliable, excellent customer service
  • Excellent keyboard, great for typing
  • Backlit keyboard
  • High-end performance storage makes your computer feel more responsive.
  • Very quiet: The fan is hardly audible, unless you push the CPU to 100% for a long time.
  • Long battery life: 9 hours of web browsing
  • Solid chassis: All-aluminum unibody
  • Solid screen hinge
  • Excellent trackpad, with great multi-touch support
  • MagSafe power connector which automatically detaches from your laptop if you pull on it, preventing your Macbook from accidentally falling if you trip on the power cord.
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Latest generation 802.11ac WiFi

Why you might not want the 13.3″ Macbook Pro: Cons

  • Somewhat expensive: Starting at $1199.99; the Macbook Air is more affordable.
  • Good, but not the best CPU performance: The Macbook Pro 13.3″ is equipped with a dual-core CPU. For the highest performance, you’ll want the 15.6″ Macbook Pro, equipped with a quad-core CPU. Great for web browsing, music, Office work and lightweight programs. Not ideal for heavy photo/video editing, heavy multitasking or demanding programs where high sustained CPU performance is required. You’ll want a more powerful CPU and possibly more RAM for better performance, so consider a Macbook Pro instead.
  • Limited GPU (video card) performance. Forget playing modern video games or 3D rendering: you want a dedicated video card for that. Once again, a Macbook Pro 15.6″ would be a better option.
  • No LAN port. You can a USB adapter for 10/100 speed, or a Thunderbolt adapter for Gigabit speed.
  • No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  • No Numpad
  • The Macbook Pro RAM cannot be upgraded: It’s soldered. The SSD storage can be upgraded if you have the right tool, don’t mind following a guide to disassemble your Macbook Pro and a guide to copy your data.

How to Choose your Macbook Pro 13.3″

What you need to know:

All models have this in common:

Dimensions: Height: 0.7″/ 1.8cm, Width: 12.3″/31.2cm, Depth: 8.6″/21.8cm
Weight: 3.46 lbs (1.57kg)
GPU: Intel HD Graphics 6100
Screen: 2560 x 1600 13.3″ Retina display, with an IPS panel for accurate colors and great viewing angles.
Storage: High performance PCI-Express based SSDs (Solid State Drive) storage. This offers you a better computer experience because it responds to your inputs much more quickly. Programs launch far more quickly, the Operating System starts in seconds and resumes from sleep instantaneously. No noise, no vibration, higher reliability and higher resistance to shocks. See the SSD FAQ for more details on SSDs.
Ports: 2x USB3.0 (A), 2x ThunderBolt 2 (Mini DisplayPort via Thunderbolt port), 1x HDMI, SDXC card reader, 3.5mm combo jack
Networking: 802.11ac 2×2:2, Bluetooth 4.0
Battery: Up to 9 hours
OS: Mac OS X Yosemite or El Capitan: free upgrade to macOS Sierra, with many built-in apps. Windows through Bootcamp, if needed.

The 3 differences between all the models:

1. Choose between 3 levels of CPU performance:

From the lowest to highest performance:
– Intel Core i5-5257U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7-3.1GHz
– Intel Core i5-5287U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.9-3.3GHz
– Intel Core i7-5557U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 3.1-3.4GHz

The difference is in the base and Turbo clock frequencies (speed). Higher frequencies (GHz) mean higher performance.

2. Four storage capacities:
128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB (1024GB)

Unsure about how whether you want 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB (1024GB) of storage?

Read our article on How to choose the right SSD storage capacity and pay less for your computer to figure it out.

3. Choose between 8GB or 16GB of memory (RAM)

4GB_RAM_macbook_air You have the choice between 8GB and 16GB of memory.

Is 8GB of RAM enough for you or do you want 16GB?

It depends on what you intend to do with your Macbook Pro.

If you only use your MacBook Pro to run a few basic programs at once, like email, some Excel, Word, a web browser, and iTunes, 8GB is plenty of memory.

On the other hand, if you run multiple programs at once, run heavier programs (audio/photo/video/3D), like to multitask and have no time to lose, 16 GB is the wiser option.

If you intend on keeping your Macbook Pro for many years, going with 16GB is a good idea, as newer versions of programs tend to use more and more memory.

Keep in mind that the memory is soldered in the Macbook Pro computer, so you cannot add memory to upgrade your computer.

Apple Macbook Pro 13.3″:
The 17 available configurations

1. Intel Core i5 2.7-3.1GHz, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$1199.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$1189.95 at Newegg

– Intel Core i5-5257U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7-3.1GHz
– 8GB RAM
– 128GB of storage

A good choice if you want a Macbook Pro at the lowest price possible. You do get the lowest  CPU, only 128GB of storage and only 4GB of RAM, which is fine for web browsing, e-mail and basic Office work.

2. Intel Core i5 2.2-3.1GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage
Click here to see the price on Amazon
$1399.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$1414.95 at Newegg

– Intel Core i5-5257U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7-3.1GHz
– 8GB RAM
– 256GB of storage

Compared to the model above, you get twice the storage capacity, at 256GB.

If you want higher performance and or 512GB of storage, see alternatives below.

3. Intel Core i5 2.7-3.1GHz, 16GB RAM, 128GB storage
$1399.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i5-5257U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7-3.1GHz
– 16GB RAM
– 128GB of storage

A good choice if you want 16GB of RAM at the lowest price possible.

4. Intel Core i5 2.9-3.3GHz, 16GB RAM, 128GB storage
$1529.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i5-5287U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.9-3.3GHz
– 16GB RAM
– 128GB of storage

A good choice if you want the second highest performance CPU available for the Macbook Pro 13.3″, with 16GB of RAM. You only get 128GB of storage, so if you want more performance and/or more storage, keep scrolling.

5. Intel Core i5 2.9-3.3GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage
$1534.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i5-5287U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.9-3.3GHz
– 8GB RAM
– 256GB of storage

Compared to the model above, you get twice the storage capacity but half the RAM.

6. Intel Core i5 2.7-3.1GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB storage
$1699.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i5-5257U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7-3.1GHz
– 16GB RAM
– 256GB of storage

If you want 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Compared to the two models above, you get a slightly lower performance CPU though.

7. Intel Core i5 2.9-3.3GHz, 8GB RAM, 512GB storage
Click here to see the price on Amazon
$1699.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$1629.99 at Newegg

– Intel Core i5-5287U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.9-3.3GHz
– 8GB RAM
– 512GB of storage

A good choice if you want the second highest performance CPU available for the Macbook Pro 13.3″, with 512GB of storage but 8GB of RAM.

8. Intel Core i7 3.1-3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, 128GB storage
$1799.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i7-5557U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 3.1-3.4GHz
– 16GB RAM
– 128GB of storage

Want the fastest CPU available in the Macbook Pro 13.3″ with 16GB of RAM? This is the least expensive option, with 128GB of storage. If you want more storage capacity, scroll down to alternative models below.

9. Intel Core i5 2.9-3.3GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB storage
$1799.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i5-5287U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.9-3.3GHz
– 16GB RAM
– 256GB of storage

Here you get the second fastest CPU available in the Macbook Pro 13.3″ with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

10. Intel Core i7 2.9-3.3GHz, 16GBRAM, 512GB storage
$1939.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i5-5287U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.9-3.3GHz
– 16GB RAM
– 512GB of storage

Compared to the model above, you get twice the amount of storage capacity.

11. Intel Core i7 3.1-3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB storage
$1994.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i7-5557U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 3.1-3.4GHz
– 16GB RAM
– 256GB of storage

Want the fastest CPU available in the Macbook Pro 13.3″ with 16GB of RAM?
This is the model with 256GB of storage.

12. Intel Core i7 3.1-3.4GHz, 8GB RAM, 512GB storage
$1999.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i7-5557U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 3.1-3.4GHz
– 8GB RAM
– 512GB of storage

Fastest CPU, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

13. Intel Core i7 3.1-3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage
$2199.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i7-5557U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 3.1-3.4GHz
– 16GB RAM
– 512GB of storage

Want the fastest CPU available in the Macbook Pro 13.3″ with 16GB of RAM? This is the model with 512GB of storage.

14. Intel Core i5 2.9-3.3GHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB storage
$2299.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i5-5287U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.9-3.3GHz
– 8GB RAM
– 1TB (1024GB) of storage

Second fastest CPU, 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. If you want 1TB of storage, but with the fastest CPU and/or more RAM, see the models below.

15. Intel Core i7 3.1-3.4GHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB storage
$2469.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i7-5557U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 3.1-3.4GHz
– 8GB RAM
– 1TB of storage

If you want the fastest CPU available in the Macbook Pro 13.3″, 1TB of storage and only need 8GB of RAM, this is the model for you.

16. Intel Core i7 2.9-3.3GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB storage
$2499.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i5-5287U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.9-3.3GHz
– 16GB RAM
– 1TB (1024GB) of storage

Same as above, but with 16GB of RAM.

17. Intel Core i7 3.1-3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB storage
$2699.00 at B&H (Wolrdwide Shipping)

– Intel Core i7-5557U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 3.1-3.4GHz
– 16GB RAM
– 1TB of storage

This is the highest-end configuration for the Macbook Pro 13.3″. You get the Intel Core i7-5557U Broadwell, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 3.1-3.4GHz CPU, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article on how you can choose the ideal Macbook Pro 13.3″.

Do you have any feedback or any questions? Are you unsure which Macbook Pro 13.3″ is the best one for you?

Please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.