The Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2023) M3: Setting New Standards for 14-inch Laptop Performance

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MacBook Pro 14-Inch - Unveiling the Design

Design and Build Quality: A Sleek Transition

The MacBook Pro 14-Inch boasts a carefully crafted design that exudes professionalism. The top side showcases a smooth and clean surface, featuring the iconic Apple logo at the center. The overall aesthetic is one of understated elegance, with flat surfaces and clean lines reflecting Apple’s dedication to precision and sophistication.

Every detail of the design is purposefully created to maintain a professional look. The smooth and clean surface on the top side, adorned with the iconic Apple logo, adds a touch of elegance. The simplicity of flat surfaces and clean lines speaks to Apple’s commitment to a sleek and sophisticated design.

Ports and Connectivity: Now With Extra Thunderbolt

All 14-inch MacBook Pro versions share a consistent set of essential ports on the left side – a MagSafe charging port, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and a 3.5mm audio jack. These ensure seamless power, versatile connectivity, and audio support. On the right side, users benefit from an HDMI output for connecting to TVs or monitors and an SDXC card slot for easily transferring photos or videos from a camera memory card.

However, it’s note worthy that the additional perks, such as a bonus third Thunderbolt 4 port, are exclusive to the M3 Pro and Max versions. This bonus port brings extra advantages, including charging capabilities, DisplayPort support, and speedy 40Gbps data throughput.

With the extra port also comes expanded monitor support. The M3 base model supports just one external display with up to 6K resolution and 60Hz refresh rate. But the M3 Pro configuration with the extra Thunderbolt port adds support for a second 6K 60Hz monitor, plus an additional 4K resolution monitor at 144Hz. And, if you really want mind-blowing resolution or speed, you can also opt to run a single external display, but at 8K resolution and 60Hz or a single 4K monitor at 240Hz, which is ideal for gaming or video content work.

Keyboard and Trackpad: A Tactile Experience

The backlit keyboard, while still excellent, has become a fingerprint magnet. The sizable glass trackpad offers ample space and smooth navigation, maintaining Apple’s high standards. The key strokes could also be a bit quieter and the arrow keys are very small. The MacBook is still superior to Windows laptops in terms of keyboard illumination, even after all these years. The brightness can be adjusted very precisely and both the automatic activation as well as intensity based on the ambient lighting work perfectly.

Display: A Feast for the Eyes

The 14-inch liquid Retina XDR display boasts impressive specs, including a 3024×1964 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, 600 nits sustained brightness (up to 1600 nits peak), and excellent color accuracy. The notch becomes a non-issue with regular use.

What sets the Liquid Retina XDR display apart from most laptop screens is a combination of technologies. First, the MacBook Pro has an IPS panel, which is not uncommon, but as those panels go, it’s high in quality. Broad color coverage and excellent detail come standard. Behind that panel are thousands of mini LEDs for backlighting, which provide higher brightness, deeper contrast, and tighter control for HDR effects, leading Apple to coin the term XDR for Extreme Dynamic Range.

Performance: M3 Delivers

Powered by the M3 chip with 8 CPU cores and 10 GPU cores, the MacBook Pro handles daily tasks effortlessly. Upgradable to 16GB unified memory, it excels in more demanding activities like video editing and 3D rendering. Even light gaming is surprisingly smooth. The new Apple M3 processor is one of the first chips manufactured in a 3 nm process. The core configuration does not differ from the previous M2 processor and you still get one performance cluster with four cores as well as an efficiency cluster with four cores. The clock of the cores is now higher at up to 4.056 GHz (M2 max. 4.38 GHz) for the performance cores, at least in theory. We only observed up to 3.78 GHz (usually 3.7 GHz) in single-core tests as well as 3.63 GHz in multi-core tests. The efficiency cores can now reach up to 2.748 GHz (previously up to 2.4 GHz).

Battery Life and Audio: Exceptional

The 70-watt-hour battery provides up to 22 hours of video playback and around 17 hours in real-world usage. The six-speaker system delivers crisp and immersive audio, making external speakers often unnecessary. You can drain the battery under load in ~1.5 hours if you want to, but you also get uncompromised performance in return. Our Wi-Fi test at an adjusted brightness of 150 nits runs for 15 hours and 51 minutes, which is considerable longer compared to the MBP 14 M2 Pro at around 13 hours. Only the smaller MacBook Pro 13 M2 had an advantage (19 hours).

Conclusion: The Perfect Pro Model for Most Users

Despite being in the premium laptop category, the MacBook Pro 14 M3 offers a powerful and proficient experience. Fingerprint magnetism remains a drawback, but the overall package is compelling. With impressive components, build quality, and stunning battery life, the MacBook Pro 14 M3 is an excellent choice for the majority of users.

The Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop M3 chip with 8‑core CPU, 10‑core GPU: 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display, 8GB Unified Memory, 512GB SSD Storage. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Gray is currently on sale at Amazon.

As an  affiliate I get a small fee from Amazon.

 

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