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This is one of 3 articles dedicated to Apple’s Macbooks:

1. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Air
2. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Pro 13 (this article)
3. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Pro 16

Who is the Macbook Pro 13 ideal for?

Anyone who wants a laptop that offers great performance, with an outstanding display, great sound quality, an excellent backlit keyboard and trackpad, that’s solid, light weight, without the bulk, price nor requirement of the Macbook Pro 16.

What is the Macbook Pro 13 good for?

– Web browsing, office work (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.), social media, e-mails
– Listening to music as well watching TV/movies from local files or streaming.
– 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 16.

The Macbook Pro 13 can handle most workloads, except for the most demanding audio, photo, video and 3D editing, which run more smoothly on the more powerful Macbook Pro 16, which is equipped with an Intel six or eight core CPU, and a dedicated graphic card.

The Macbook Pro 13.3″, Retina display, solid, reliable, .61″ thick and 3.1lbs.

Why do you want the Macbook Pro 13: Pros

– Outstanding display: 2560 x 1600 13.3″ Retina, high maximum brightness (500 nits) and a calibrated IPS panel for accurate colors with DCI P3 color space support and great viewing angles.
– Great CPU performance
– High-performance memory (RAM)
– Very high performance PCIe SSD storage makes your Macbook feel more responsive, is reliable and shock resistant.
– Better performance than the Macbook Air, thanks to active cooling
– Only 3.1 lbs and 0.61″ thick. Nearly as light and thin as the Macbook Air
– It’s an Apple computer: macOS, Time Machine backup, many built-in apps, highly reliable, excellent customer service.
– Excellent backlit keyboard, great for typing
– Outstanding speakers: They get very loud, have great dynamic range and solid bass. It doesn’t get much better than that on a 13″ class laptop.
– Very quiet: The fan is hardly audible, unless you push the CPU to 100% for a long time.
– Long battery life: Up to 17 hours of web browsing or up to 20 hours of video playback
– Solid chassis and screen hinge: All-aluminum unibody
– Pretty much the best trackpad available on a laptop, very large surface, with great multi-touch support

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

– Limited amount of ports: 2 or 4 Thunderbolt 3/USB Type-C is all you get. You’ll most likely require an adapter (dongle), USB hub or a dock for your older USB Type-A devices, memory cards and such.
– Webcam is still limited to 720p HD (1280 x 720, 0.9 Megapixels). Come on Apple, this is 2021 and it’s disappointing when compared to the Ipad or Iphone. At least a 1920 x 1080 Full HD 1080p webcam shouldn’t be too much to ask.
– No LAN RJ-45 port. You can get a Thunderbolt adapter for Gigabit speed.
– No optical drive. Normal on a 13″ laptop. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
– No Numpad: Again, not a surprise on a 13″ laptop
– The Macbook Pro 13 RAM and SSD storage cannot be upgraded: They are soldered.

How to Choose the best Macbook Pro 13

What you need to know:

What’s better on the entry-level (Apple M1) Late 2020 models compared to the entry-level (Intel Core i5) Mid 2020 models:

1. New active cooling. The cooling has been improved to get as much performance as possible while ensuring quiet operation.
2. Massive CPU performance upgrade! The CPU is up to 3.5x faster than the prior generation model!
3. Massive GPU performance upgrade! The GPU is up to 5x faster than the prior generation model!
4. Machine learning workloads are up to 9x faster.
5. Higher RAM performance: You get a significant upgrade from LPDDR3X 2133MHz to LPDDR4X 4266MHz and it is integrated directly into the M1 chip for a unified memory architecture that brings performance and efficiency improvements
6. Storage performance: The SSD is 2x as fast as the previous model.
7. Battery life: Battery life goes up significantly, from up to 10 hours to up to 17 hours of web browsing or up to 20 hours of video playback.
8. Improved webcam quality: Apple says the M1 improves picture quality with better noise reduction, better dynamic range, and other features.
9. Updated USB ports: You now get Two Thunderbolt 3/USB4 ports that support up to a 6K external display

Mid and Late 2020 Apple Macbook Pro 13 models:

All the Mid and Late 2020 models have this in common:

Dimensions: Width x Thickness x Depth: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61″ / 30.4 x 21.23 x 1.55 cm
Weight: 3.1 lbs (1.41kg)
Screen: 2560 x 1600 13.3″ Retina display, with an IPS panel for accurate colors and great viewing angles and True Tone technology.
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: 2 or 4 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) Ports, 3.5mm combo jack.
Networking: WiFi 6 802.11ax (Apple M1) or WiFi 5 802.11ac (Intel), Bluetooth 5.0
Battery: Apple M1: Up to 17 hours of web browsing or up to 20 hours of video playback. Intel CPUs: Up to 10 hours
OS: macOS, with many built-in apps. Windows through Bootcamp (Intel CPUs only)


The 5 differences between all the Mid and Late 2020 models:

1. Choose between an Apple M1 or Intel Core chip:

The new Late 2020 entry-level Macbook is available with either the Apple M1 chip on entry-level models or Intel Core i5/i7 on higher-end models.

Apple M1 equipped entry-levels models have only 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports and are limited to a maximum of 16GB of RAM and 2TB of storage.

This entry-level Apple M1 Macbook Pro 13 will be on sale alongside Mid-2020 higher-end models equipped with an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 CPU, which come with 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports can be equipped with up to 32GB of RAM and 4TB of storage.

Performance: Significantly higher with Apple M1
Compared to the previous entry-level Macbook Pro 13, which was equipped with the Intel Core i5 8th gen Coffee Lake Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.4-3.9GHz, the Apple M1 chip offers up to 3.5x higher performance.

Macbook Pro 13 Mid and Late 2020, from the lowest to highest performance:
– Intel Core i5 10th gen Ice Lake Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.0-3.8GHz
– Intel Core i7 10th gen Ice Lake Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.3-4.1GHz
Apple M1 8 cores: 4 High Performance Cores + 4 High Efficiency cores

Battery life: Nearly twice as long with Apple M1!
Battery life is rated at up to 17 hours of web browsing or up to 20 hours of video playback on the Apple M1 equipped Macbook
On an Intel Core CPUs equipped Macbook Pro 13, battety life is rated at up to 10 hours.

Which one would I pick?
Unless you need 32GB of RAM, 4TB of storage, 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports or need to run Windows through Bootcamp, I’d opt for the Apple M1 chip, which offers higher performance and a longer battery life, at a lower price!

Rosetta 2 will ensure that x86 apps will run just fine on your Apple M1 ARM chip Macbook Pro 13.

2. Five storage capacities:
256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB or 4TB

Unsure about how whether you want 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB or 4TB of storage?

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

Note that models equipped with Apple M1 chip are limited to a maximum of 2TB of storage, while Intel models can be equipped with up to 4TB of storage.

3. Choose between 8GB, 16GB or 32GB of memory (RAM)

4GB_RAM_macbook_airYou have the choice between 8GB, 16GB or 32GB of memory.

Note that models equipped with Apple M1 chip are limited to a maximum of 16GB of RAM, while Intel models can be equipped with up to 32GB of RAM.

Is 8GB of RAM enough for you or do you want 16GB or 32GB?

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 fine.

On the other hand, for multitasking and an heavy program or two, going with 16GB would be better

If you run multiple heavy programs at once, run even heavier programs (audio/photo/video/3D) and have no time to lose, 32GB is the wiser option.

If you intend on keeping your Macbook Pro for many years, going with 32GB is a good idea, seeing as memory usage keeps increasing, with newer versions of programs using 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.

4. Two or four USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports

Models with the Apple M1 chip come with two USB4 Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, while models with the Intel CPUs come with four USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports.

5. Color

It’s available in either Silver or Space Grey. I link to the least expensive one.

The Best Macbook Pro 13 Mid 2020

Prices for B&H as of June 22nd 2021. Prices and availability are subject to change.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links so that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission.

Is it safe to buy a Mac from B&H Photo Video instead of the Apple Store? 

B&H Photo Video is an Authorized Apple Reseller. That means B&H has received authorization from Apple to sell Macs, iPods, etc. This is great for you because B&H prices are generally much lower than the Apple Store. Items ship promptly and you receive the same warranty as if you had made the purchase at the Apple Store. In fact, you still receive all the benefits of the Apple Store (classes, Genius Bar access, etc.) when you buy from B&H Photo Video. So really, the only difference between buying from B&H and the Apple Store is that with B&H you will probably save a lot of money!

Apple M1 chip Late 2020 models:

Apple M1 chip, 8GB RAM, 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports:
– 256GB storage: $1,199.00 at B&H
– 512GB storage: $1,349.00 at B&H
– 1TB storage: $1,699.00 at B&H
– 2TB storage: $2,099.00 at B&H

Apple M1 chip, 16GB RAM, 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports:
– 256GB storage: $1,499.00 at B&H
– 512GB storage: $1,699.00 at B&H
– 1TB storage: $1,899.00 at B&H
– 2TB storage: $2,299.00 at B&H

Intel Core CPUs Mid 2020 models:

Intel 2nd fastest CPU, 16GB RAM, 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports:
– Core i5 10th gen Ice Lake 2.0-3.8GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage: $1,599.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.0-3.8GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB storage: $1,799.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.0-3.8GHz, 16GB RAM, 2TB storage: $2,399.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.0-3.8GHz, 16GB RAM, 4TB storage: $2,999.00 at B&H

Intel 2nd fastest CPU, 32GB RAM, 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports:
– Core i5 10th gen Ice Lake 2.0-3.8GHz, 32GB RAM, 512GB storage: $2,199.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.0-3.8GHz, 32GB RAM, 1TB storage: $2,399.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.0-3.8GHz, 32GB RAM, 2TB storage: $2,799.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.0-3.8GHz, 32GB RAM, 4TB storage: $3,399.00 at B&H

Intel fastest CPU, 16GB RAM, 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports:
– Core i7 10th gen Ice Lake 2.3-4.1GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage: $1,999.00 at B&H
– Core i7 10th gen Ice Lake 2.3-4.1GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB storage: $2,199.00 at B&H
– Core i7 10th gen Ice Lake 2.3-4.1GHz, 16GB RAM, 2TB storage: $2,599.00 at B&H
– Core i7 10th gen Ice Lake 2.3-4.1GHz, 16GB RAM, 4TB storage: $3,199.00 at B&H

Intel fastest CPU, 32GB RAM, 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports:
– Core i7 10th gen Ice Lake 2.3-4.1GHz, 32GB RAM, 512GB storage: $2,399.00 at B&H
– Core i7 10th gen Ice Lake 2.3-4.1GHz, 32GB RAM, 1TB storage: $2,599.00 at B&H
– Core i7 10th gen Ice Lake 2.3-4.1GHz, 32GB RAM, 2TB storage: $2,999.00 at B&H
– Core i7 10th gen Ice Lake 2.3-4.1GHz, 32GB RAM, 4TB storage: $3,599.00 at B&H

Don’t forget about Applecare: Protect your investment

The AppleCare+ Protection Plan Extension for 13″ MacBook Pro from Apple gives you peace of mind by extending your hardware, software, and telephone support coverage to 3-years total. AppleCare+ provides you with expert assistance, incident coverage, global repair coverage for your 13″ MacBook Pro, and web-based resources and diagnostic tools.

It can be selected when adding your Macbook to the cart, see the picture below.

AppleCare+ can be purchased with your new Mac or within 60 days from the original date of purchase.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article on how you can choose the best Macbook Pro 13.

Do you have any feedback or any questions? Are you unsure which Macbook Pro 13 is the best one for you?

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