Apple MacBook Pro 16" (M2 Max) First Impressions
Updated: Feb 2, 2023
Ever since Apple introduced their very own Apple silicon with the M1, things has changed vastly. Not just for Apple themselves but for the entire industry as a whole. Apple silicon is honestly quite the game changer. Today, we have the all new MacBook Pro 16" with the latest M2 Max and while this might not be as revolutionary as when M1 was first introduced, it's still a worthy upgrade nonetheless.
Now to be very honest, we've only had just about a day of experience with the all new MacBook Pro 16" (M2 Max) so we really can't say too much about all that it has to offer. Stay tuned for the full review in the coming weeks to know all about that! But it certainly still impressed us and while it might look exactly the same as the previous MacBook Pro 16" with the M1 Pro or M1 Max, the small little upgrades here and there make this just a tad better.
We really don't have much to say here for Apple has pretty much kept everything the same as before. You're still getting a really sleek and well-built chassis that's made out of 100% recycled aluminium and it is a stunner to look at and to use.
Say what you like but you have to admit that Apple really does know how to make a really good laptop. Arguably however, the 16" does come in slightly on the heavier side of things at a weight of 2.16kg or about 4.8lbs, which might be something worthy to take note of. Though perhaps more importantly, you will need a bigger backpack to safely carry it around.
However given the extra real screen estate that you get with a 16" display, you might also say it's par for the course.
As usual, Apple does offer two colour options. Space Grey or Silver. We have the former here and it might be weird to say this but we're glad it is of the same "Space Grey" colour as before. It would've been awesome to see a Midnight colour option for the MacBook Pro lineup however.
Display & More
Just like with the design of the chassis, the Liquid Retina XDR Display is exactly the same here. With the 16" model, you can expect a 16.2" miniLED panel with a resolution of 3,456 x 2,234 providing 254 pixels per inch. It'll also be capable of achieving 1,000 nits of sustained full-screen brightness with a 1,600 nits peak brightness, 10-bit colour support, P3 colour, True Tone and ProMotion.
All in all, it's an amazing display that really delivers. Be it for light tasks like general browsing or heavy tasks like video editing, it can do it all. It is of no surprise that the MacBook Pro really is a machine meant for professional work.
The only thing, if we were to nitpick, is the fact that the 1,000 nits of brightness isn't really all that truthful. Sure, it can definitely hit a 1,000 nits or 1,600 nits for that matter but it only applies to HDR content. For most people, most if not all tasks are only really done in SDR and with that you get just about 500 nits of max sustained brightness. Couple that with the glossy panel and you will still find it difficult to use it comfortably outdoors in direct sunlight. Here's hoping that Apple can increase the SDR brightness a tad for the next generation.
At this point, we definitely still have to touch upon that notch. It's been slightly over a year since we got the 14" and 16" refresh for the MacBook Pro lineup and the notch was certainly of huge debate back then. While it still isn't the perfect implementation in our opinion, we've gotten used to it. To add on, Apple has also fixed most of the issues with regards to the MacOS handles the taskbar at the top especially when we're talking about 3rd-party software. All in all, it is well out of the way and you really don't notice it with day-to-day use. As with our original review with the previous MacBook Pro 14" (M1 Pro), the use of miniLED helps a ton and when viewing full-screen content with black bars on the top and bottom, the notch simply "disappears".
Additionally, we do want to mention that with the 16", it definitely isn't as intrusive as compared to the 14" thanks to the extra resolution and physical real screen estate.
As for the FaceTime HD camera itself, it'll support a resolution of 1080p and everything looks as good as it should be. Unfortunately, there still isn't support for Centre Stage or any of the other fancy features that's only available on the iPhones and iPads. No worries for microphone quality on the other hand however. Your voice will still come through clear and pristine.
The same can be said for speakers as well. You still get a 6 speaker setup with force-cancelling woofers positioned to the sides of the keyboard and they provide really good sound. We can't say if it's of any improvement compared to the previous 16" (M1 Pro or M1 Max) but if we were to compare to the 14" (M1 Pro) as well as the 13" (M2), it is an audible difference. The 16" definitely has the best sounding MacBook speakers by far.
The Small Upgrade
Putting aside the new M2 Pro and M2 Max itself, the new MacBook Pro 14" and 16" do feature one small upgrade. We now get HDMI 2.1.
With the previous generation, pretty much the whole world didn't really understand why Apple chose to only put a HDMI 2.0 port which limits the output to just 4K 60Hz. With HDMI 2.1, we now get a massive upgrade as it now supports up to 4K 240Hz. Considering the amount of different monitors that are readily available nowadays which sport 4K 120Hz display and more, this is a welcome change that's going to be beneficial now and even more so into the future.
Apart from that, you will still get pretty much the same array of ports. MagSafe 3, three Thunderbolt 4 ports, a high impedance 3.5mm headphone jack and a SDXC card reader. While there might not be a standard USB port in sight, the problem will be quickly solved with the use of adapters and more.
As mentioned, we do get MagSafe 3 here with the same 140W USB-C Power Adapter from the previous generation, just with a new colour matching connector. Same as before, expect the ability to charge the MacBook Pro 16" (M2 Pro or M2 Max) from 0% to 50% in just about 30 minutes. We've also confirmed with Apple that the battery capacity is indeed the same as before, no changes there.
However thanks to the new M2 Pro and M2 Max chip, the new MacBook Pro 16" will now be able to enjoy an additional hour of battery life, bringing the total number up to 22 hours of Apple TV playback and 15 hours of wireless web usage respectively. We will have to test it out full in our full review to really see how much of a difference this makes in a real world usage scenario but safe to say, more battery life is always welcome.
Lastly let's talk performance. Now granted, we don't really have that much to share at this point in time given that we only had just about a day to use the MacBook Pro 16" (M2 Max). But we did have the opportunity to at least edit some photos in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, alongside editing the unboxing of this very laptop using DaVinci Resolve. For context, the unit we have is equipped with the Apple M2 Max with 64GB of Unified Memory and 2TB of SSD storage. The M2 Max featured in the 16" model also does use the full fat chip with the 12-core CPU comprising of 8 Performance Cores and 4 Efficiency Cores alongside the 38-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine as well as 400GB/s of Memory Bandwidth.
No matter how heavy an edit it was, there wasn't a single hiccup. Needless to say we were thoroughly impressed just like we were before with the MacBook Pro 14" (M1 Pro) especially considering the fact that we were doing everything off the grid. Apple silicon really takes performance and power efficiency to the next level and is a clear cut above the rest of the industry. The new M2 Max also boasts great gains in both Single-Core and Multi-Core performance.
Incidentally, we did also run Blackmagic Disk Speed Test to see how the 2TB model performs given the debacle over MacBook Pro 14" (M2 Pro or M2 Max) with the base storage option. No worries here as we're getting over 6,000MB/s in read speeds and over 5,000MB/s in write speeds.
Very Impressive But More To Uncover!
Overall, we simply have to say that the MacBook Pro 16" (M2 Max) is amazing. While this might be our first experience with a 16" MacBook Pro, we were thoroughly impressed. With that said, we still have much more to test and uncover with this beast of a machine so do stay tuned for our full review that's currently in the works. We're going to put it to the test, compare it in relation to the MacBook Pro 13" (M2) and get into the details of performance and temperatures and much more. Look forward to it!
In the meantime, if you're already looking at the new MacBook Pro 16" from Apple featuring the new M2 Pro or M2 Max chips, just do take note that this is going to be quite the purchase. The MacBook Pro 16" starts from S$3,599 or US$2,499 and that will feature the M2 Pro with 16GB of Unified Memory and 512GB of SSD storage. If you're looking at our test configuration, that'll set you back S$6,210 or US$4,299.
It is a lot of money, no doubt. However considering the use case of the MacBook Pro in a professional environment, it might very well be worth it.
While the design might be exactly the same, right down to the specifications of the Liquid Retina XDR Display, the new MacBook Pro 16" with the M2 Pro or M2 Max will feature HDMI 2.1 with support of up to 4K 240Hz.
The M2 Max is a superb chip that performs a tad better than the previous M1 Max in both Single-Core and Multi-Core workloads.
The MacBook Pro 16" starts from S$3,599 or US$2,499 and that will feature the M2 Pro with 16GB of Unified Memory and 512GB of SSD storage.