This is one of 4 articles dedicated to Apple’s Macbooks:

1. How to choose the best Apple Macbook 12″
2. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Air
3. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Pro 13 (this article)
4. How to choose the best Apple Macbook Pro 15

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 higher performance of the Macbook Pro 15.

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 15.

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 15, which is equipped with a six-core CPU, up to 32GB of RAM and a dedicated graphic card.

The Macbook Pro 13.3", Retina display, solid, reliable, .6" thick and 3lbs.

The Macbook Pro 13.3″, Retina display, solid, reliable, .59″ thick and 3lbs.

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.
– 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 12: Dual-core CPUs with much higher frequencies, resulting in better performance.
– Only 3 lbs and 0.59″ thick. Nearly as light and thin as the Macbook Air 13, but far more powerful!
– 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: 10 hours of web browsing
– 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.
– Great, but not the best CPU performance: The Macbook Pro 13.3″ Mid 2018 is equipped with a quad-core CPU. Fine for photo/video editing, heavy multitasking or demanding programs where high sustained CPU performance is required, but for the best performance, the Macbook Pro 15 Mid 2018, with its six-core CPU, is what you want.
– Limited GPU (video card) performance. Not ideal for fast video editing or 3D rendering: you want the Macbook Pro 15 with its dedicated video card for that.
– Webcam is still limited to 720p HD (1280 x 720, 0.9 Megapixels). Come on Apple, this is 2018 and it’s disappointing when compared to the Ipad or Iphone.
– No LAN RJ-45 port. You can a USB adapter for 10/100 speed, or 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
– Maximum amount of RAM is 16GB: It’s not bad, but it could be limitation for some users now and especially in the future. The Macbook Pro 15 Mid 2018 is available with 32GB.
– The Macbook Pro 13 RAM cannot be upgraded: It’s soldered.
– The SSD storage cannot be be upgraded on the Macbook Pro 13 with touchbar: it’s soldered.
– SSD storage can be upgraded only on the non-touchbar models, if you can find a SSD that fits the proprietary connector, have the right tools, don’t mind following a guide to disassemble your Macbook Pro and a guide to copy your data.

How to Choose the best Macbook Pro 13

What you need to know:

What’s better on the Mid 2018 models compared to the Mid 2017 models:

Far faster CPU, improved graphics, True Tone, quieter keyboard and more!

1. Massively higher performance CPU: You get the newer, higher performance, 8th generation Intel Core CPU architecture, Coffee Lake. With a move from a dual-core to a quad-core CPU, Apple is obviously touting a 2x performance improvement. These new CPUs can also boost to higher frequencies – the top-end i7-8559U goes up to 4.5GHz. So performance should be improved in all cases, even in those that can’t take advantage of the additional cores.
2. Higher performance graphics: 
You now get Intel Iris Plus 655 instead of the Intel Iris 650. While the number of execution units is unchanged, at 48, maximum frequency is now 1200MHz instead of 1100MHz and you get twice the eDRAM cache memory, with 128MB instead of 64MB.
3. Updated Bluetooth: You now get Bluetooth 5.0 instead of 4.2
4. True Tone: True Tone display technology automatically adjusts white balance to match the color temperature of the surround light.
5. Updated coprocessor chip: Apple’s T2 brings support for “Hey Siri” which will allow you to invoke the digital assistant by speaking instead of hitting a specific key combo.

The T2 is also Apple’s SSD controller, so this means that the MBP 13 Mid-2018 is getting a SSD upgrade and it also means that said storage is now always encrypted.
6. A quieter and more dust resistant keyboard, protected by a thin silicone layer, as discovered by iFixit. According to them, “dust largely stays around the exterior of the new silicone shield, but particles can make their way past the barrier over time.” Keycaps are changed, making them easier to remove without breaking the mechanism.
MacRumors has leaked an internal document from Apple Authorized Service Providers confirming that the purpose of the keyboard membrane is to “prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism.” Note that Apple now offers a 4 years warranty on the keyboard of all Macbooks equipped with the older buttlerfly keyboard without that membrane.

7. Support for the Blackmagic eGPU standalone external graphic unit. It comes with a Radeon Pro 580 graphics card with 8GB of video memory, with two Thunderbolt 3 and one HDMI output, allowing you to connect two external displays. It’s also a USB hub with four USB-A 3.1 ports and a charger with 85 watts of power delivery. It’s available directly from Apple.

Mid 2018 Apple Macbook Pro 13 models:

All the Mid 2018 models have this in common:

Dimensions: Width x Thickness x Depth: 12.0 x 0.59 x 8.4″ / 30.5 x 1.5 x 21.3 cm
Weight: 3.02 lbs (1.37kg)
RAM: LPDDR3 2133MHz
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: 4 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) Ports, 3.5mm combo jack.
Networking: 802.11ac 2×2:2, Bluetooth 5.0
Battery: Up to 10 hours
OS: macOS High Sierra, with many built-in apps. Windows through Bootcamp, if needed.

The 4 differences between all the Mid 2018 models:

1. Choose between 2 levels of CPU performance:

Macbook Pro 13 Mid 2018, from the lowest to highest performance:
– Intel Core i5-8259U Coffee Lake, Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.3-3.8GHz
– Intel Core i7-8559U Coffee Lake, Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7-4.5GHz

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

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

Unsure about how whether you want 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB (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_airYou 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, 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. Color

It’s available in either Silver or Space Grey.

The Best Macbook Pro 13 Mid 2018

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!

Base models:
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.3-3.8GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage: $1699.99 at B&H
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.3-3.8GHz, 8GB RAM, 512GB storage: $1,849.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.3-3.8GHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB storage: $2,399.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.3-3.8GHz, 8GB RAM, 2TB storage: $3,199.00 at B&H

Base level CPU, with twice the RAM:
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.3-3.8GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB storage: $1849.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.3-3.8GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage: $2,049.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.3-3.8GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB storage: $2,399.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.3-3.8GHz, 16GB RAM, 2TB storage: $3,399.00 at B&H

Fastest CPU, 8GB of RAM:
– Core i7 Quad-Core 2.7-4.5GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage: $2,049.00 at B&H
– Core i7 Quad-Core 2.7-4.5GHz, 8GB RAM, 512GB storage: $2,299.00 at B&H
– Core i7 Quad-Core 2.7-4.5GHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB storage: $2,599.00 at B&H
– Core i7 Quad-Core 2.7-4.5GHz, 8GB RAM, 2TB storage: $3,499.00 at B&H

Fastest CPU, 16GB of RAM:
– Core i7 Quad-Core 2.7-4.5GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB storage: $2,149.00 at B&H
– Core i7 Quad-Core 2.7-4.5GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage: $2,299.00 at B&H
– Core i7 Quad-Core 2.7-4.5GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB storage: $2,699.00 at B&H
– Core i7 Quad-Core 2.7-4.5GHz, 16GB RAM, 2TB storage: $3,499.00 at B&H

Mid 2017 Apple Macbook Pro 13 models:

All the Mid 2017 models have this in common:

Dimensions: Width x Thickness x Depth: 12.0 x 0.59 x 8.4″ / 30.5 x 1.5 x 21.3 cm
Weight: 3.02 lbs (1.37kg)
RAM: LPDDR3 2133MHz
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: With Touch bar: 4 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) Ports, 3.5mm combo jack. Without Touch Bar: 2 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) Ports, 3.5mm combo jack
Networking: 802.11ac 2×2:2, Bluetooth 4.2
Battery: Up to 10 hours
OS: macOS Sierra, with many built-in apps. Windows through Bootcamp, if needed.

The 5 differences between all the Mid 2017 models:

touchbar

1. Touch Bar or No Touch Bar:
Number of Ports, CPU & GPU performance and Price

You have the choice of buying your Macbook 13 Mid-2017 with the Touch Bar or the classic row of function keys (F1, F2, etc.).

The Touch Bar is basically a thin and wide touchscreen above the number row, with useful shortcuts that are based on the app that you are using, that can be customized as you wish.

On the far right side, it features a touch ID sensor, for secure login and secure purchases.

Some people love it, some people hate it. I think that it’s a matter of getting used to it, so that it becomes a second nature to take advantage of it.

That said, it’s optional on the Mid-2017 Macbook Pro 13, so you can choose to get it or not.

Be aware that having a touch bar or not also affects 4 other things on the Mid 2017 models!

1- Number of Thunderbolt / USB Type-C Ports
Models with the touch bar have twice the number (4x) Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) Ports, while the models without the touch bar are limited to two Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) Ports. Keep in mind that charging your Macbook uses one of those ports.

2- CPU performance
Models without the touch bar are limited to lower performance CPUs, while models with the touch bar are equipped with higher performance CPUs. See the section below for more details about this.

3- Graphics performance
Models with the touch bar are equipped with faster Intel Iris Plus 650 GPU, while models without the touch bar are equipped with the Intel Iris Plus 640 GPU.

4- Price
Finally, the models with the touch bar are more expensive than the ones without it.

2. Choose between 2 or 3 levels of CPU performance:

You see, depending on whether you choose a Macbook Pro 13 Mid-2017 with or without a touch bar, it will be equipped with different CPUs.

Basically, the models that are equipped with the touch bar offers higher CPU performance, with significantly higher base frequencies.

Macbook Pro 13 Mid 2017, no touch bar, from the lowest to highest performance:
– Intel Core i5-7360U Kaby Lake, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.3-3.6GHz
– Intel Core i7-7660U Kaby Lake, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-4.0GHz

Macbook Pro 13 Mid 2017, with touch bar, from the lowest to highest performance:
– Intel Core i5-7267U Kaby Lake, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 3.1-3.5GHz
– Intel Core i5-7287U Kaby Lake, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 3.3-3.7GHz
– Intel Core i7-7567U Kaby Lake, Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 3.5-4.0GHz

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

3. 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.

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

4GB_RAM_macbook_airYou 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, 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.

5. Color

It’s available in either Silver or Space Grey.

Macbook 13 Mid 2017 without a touchbar:

Base models:
– Core i5 Dual-Core 2.3-3.6GHz, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage: $1199.99 at B&H
– Core i5 Dual-Core 2.3-3.6GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage: $1,399.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Dual-Core 2.3-3.6GHz, 8GB RAM, 512GB storage: $1,599.00 at B&H Get the model with the touchbar instead, it’s less expensive and more powerful.
– Core i5 Dual-Core 2.3-3.6GHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB storage: $1,999.00 at B&H

Base level CPU, with twice the RAM:
– Core i5 Dual-Core 2.3-3.6GHz, 16GB RAM, 128GB storage: $1,429.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Dual-Core 2.3-3.6GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB storage: $1,599.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Dual-Core 2.3-3.6GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage: $1,879.00 at B&H
– Core i5 Dual-Core 2.3-3.6GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB storage: $2,299.00 at B&H

Faster CPU, but not as fast as the CPUs found in the touchbar or Mid-2018 models:
Not recommended, too expensive at the moment:
Get the newer Mid-2018 models instead, with far higher performance quad-core CPUs, found at similar prices.
– Core i7 Dual-Core 2.5-4GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB storage: $1,899.00 at B&H
– Core i7 Dual-Core 2.5-4GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage: $2,179.00 at B&H
– Core i7 Dual-Core 2.5-4GHz, 16GB RAM, 1TB storage: $2,599.00 at B&H

Macbook 13 Mid 2017 with a touchbar

Base touchbar model:
– Core i5 Dual-Core 3.1-3.5GHz, 8GB RAM, 512GB storage: $1549.00 at B&H

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.