This article is updated regularly. Bookmark it (Ctrl + D) to get redirected to the latest version.
Prices for B&H as of June 23rd 2020. Note that I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Prices and availability are subject to change.

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 higher performance 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 a 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.
– 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: CPUs with higher frequencies, resulting in better performance.
– Only 3.1 lbs and 0.61″ thick. Nearly as light and thin as the Macbook Air, 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 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 16, with a six or eight 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 16 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 2020 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
– The Macbook Pro 13 RAM cannot be upgraded: It’s soldered.
– The SSD storage cannot be be upgraded: it’s soldered.

How to Choose the best Macbook Pro 13

What you need to know:

What’s better on the Mid 2020 models compared to the Mid 2019 models:

Faster CPU/Graphics/RAM, more RAM and SSD capacity, more reliable keyboard

1. Higher performance CPUs:  Higher-end models get Ice Lake CPUs, which are based on a brand new architecture, Sunny Cove, which offers significantly higher IPC.
2. Higher performance graphics: Higher-end models get the Ice Lake CPUs, which use a brand new GPU architecture, with significant higher GPU performance.
3. Higher RAM performance: Higher-end models get LPDDR4X-3733MHz RAM, as opposed to LPDDR3-2133MHz RAM on lower-end and older models.
4. Higher maximum amount of RAM: The Mid-2020 Macbook Pro 13 is available with up to 32GB of RAM
5. Higher maximum amount of storage: The Mid-2020 Macbook Pro 13 is available with up to 4TB of high-performance SSD storage
6. Updated keyboard: The new MacBook Pro 13 goes back to a more traditional ‘scissor’ Magic Keyboard, which should be more reliable than Apple’s butterfly keyboard, which was plagued with issues. The Esc key is now a physical key again.

Mid 2020 Apple Macbook Pro 13 models:

All the Mid 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: 802.11ac 2×2:2, Bluetooth 5.0
Battery: Up to 10 hours
OS: macOS, with many built-in apps. Windows through Bootcamp, if needed.

The 5 differences between all the Mid 2020 models:

1. Choose between 3 levels of CPU performance:

Macbook Pro 13 Mid 2020, from the lowest to highest performance:
– Intel Core i5 8th gen Coffee Lake Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.4-3.9GHz
– 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

Base model (8th gen Coffee Lake) versus Higher-end models (10th gen Ice Lake)
The choice of the CPU will also influence the graphics and RAM performance, as well as the number of Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The base model (Core i5 Coffee Lake) comes with older, lower performance graphics, lower performance LPDDR3-2133MHz RAM and only 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The higher-end models (Ice Lake Core i5 and i7) come with newer, higher performance graphics, higher performance LPDDR4X-3733MHz RAM and 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports.

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.

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

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

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 Thunderbolt 3 ports

Base models come with two Thunderbolt ports, while higher-end models with the newer Intel Ice Lake CPUs come with four 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

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 model, lower-end graphics, slower RAM, 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports:
– Core i5 8th gen Coffee Lake 1.4-3.9GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage: $1,299.00 at B&H
– Core i5 8th gen Coffee Lake 1.4-3.9GHz, 8GB RAM, 512GB storage: $1,399.00 at B&H

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

Higher-end model, 2nd fastest CPU, higher-end graphics, faster RAM, 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports, with 32GB of RAM:
– 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

Higher-end model, fastest CPU, higher-end graphics, faster RAM, 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports, 16GB RAM:
– 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

Higher-end model, fastest CPU, higher-end graphics, faster RAM, 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports, with 32GB of RAM:
– 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

What’s better on the Mid 2019 models compared to the Mid 2018 models:

Slightly faster CPU, more reliable keyboard

1. Slightly higher performance CPU: The Core i5 in the Mid-2019 now runs at 2.4-4.1GHz, compared to 2.3-3.8GHz on the mid-2018 model. The Core i7 model now runs at 2.8-4.7GHz, compared to 2.7-4.5GHz on the mid-2018 model.
2. Updated keyboard: Apple said they changed the material in the keyboard’s butterfly mechanism that should substantially reduce issues that some users have seen. Apple also said that any problems with the butterfly keyboard on any of its MacBook Pros would be covered at no cost to the customer. The company has also taken steps to improve the repair process, shortening the time it takes to make repairs to the keyboards.

Mid 2019 Apple Macbook Pro 13 models:

All the Mid 2019 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, with many built-in apps. Windows through Bootcamp, if needed.

The 4 differences between all the Mid 2019 models:

1. Choose between 4 levels of CPU performance:

Macbook Pro 13 Mid 2019, from the lowest to highest performance:
– Intel Core i5 Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.4-3.9GHz
– Intel Core i7 Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.7-4.5GHz
– Intel Core i5 Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.4-4.1GHz
– Intel Core i7 Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.8-4.7GHz

Ignore Core i5 and Core i7!
Pay attention to the frequencies! The difference between the four CPUs is in the base and Turbo clock frequencies (speed). Higher frequencies (number in GHz) mean higher performance.

If you look at the different models above, you can see that there’s quite a gap in frequencies going from the lower-end to the higher-end.
What can be confusing is that the 2nd fastest model, the Core i5 2.4-4.1GHz, offers higher sustained performance than the 3rd fastest model, a Core i7 1.7-4.5GHz!

The first number is base frequency, the frequency that it can hold under a prolonged heavy workload. The second number is Turbo frequency, its maximum frequency that it can use in short bursts, for quick workloads. If you are doing demanding workloads on your Macbook Pro for a long time, the base frequency is what matters.

2. Five storage capacities:
128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB

Unsure about how whether you want 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB 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. I link to the least expensive one.

The Best Macbook Pro 13 Mid 2019

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!

If you don’t mind an used model in order to save money and have a wider variety of choices, check out the choices of used Macbook Pro 13″ Mid 2019 on B&H.

New models:
Base CPU models:
– Core i5 Quad-Core 1.4-3.9GHz, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage: $1149.99 at B&H
– Core i5 Quad-Core 1.4-3.9GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage: $1199.00 at B&H

Base CPU, with twice the RAM:
– Core i5 Quad-Core 1.4-3.9GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB storage: $1449.00 at B&H See the last model below

3rd fastest CPU, with twice the RAM:
– Core i7 Quad-Core 1.7-4.5GHz, 16GB RAM, 128GB storage: $1799.00 at B&H See the last model below

2nd fastest CPU, with twice the RAM:
– Core i5 Quad-Core 2.4-4.1GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB storage: $1379.00 at B&H

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, with many built-in apps. Windows through Bootcamp, if needed.

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.

The Best Macbook Pro 13 Mid 2018

If you don’t mind an used model in order to save money and have a wider variety of choices, check out the choices of used Macbook Pro 13″ Mid 2018 on B&H.

Mid 2017 Apple Macbook Pro 13 models:

Macbook 13 Mid 2017 without a touchbar:

If you don’t mind an used model in order to save money and have a wider variety of choices, check out the choices of used Macbook Pro 13″ Mid 2017 on 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.