Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (M2 Max, 2023) review: A content creator’s dream machine

Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, M2 Max, 2023) professionals and cons Professionals Arguably essentially the most performant laptop computer available on the market Good aspect audio system that get a lot loud Sooner, extra succesful connectivity than M1 fashions Dependable battery life with quick charging Cons Non-power customers could not want such a robust laptop computer … The post Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (M2 Max, 2023) review: A content creator’s dream machine appeared first on Ferdja.

May 5, 2023 - 10:00
Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (M2 Max, 2023) review: A content creator’s dream machine


Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, M2 Max, 2023)

professionals and cons

  • Arguably essentially the most performant laptop computer available on the market
  • Good aspect audio system that get a lot loud
  • Sooner, extra succesful connectivity than M1 fashions
  • Dependable battery life with quick charging
  • Non-power customers could not want such a robust laptop computer
  • Noticeably heavy when carrying round
  • Massive notch with no added performance

extra shopping for decisions

Ever since Apple shifted to in-house silicon and renewed its deal with laptop computer {hardware}, even a Home windows and Android consumer like myself — I do know, it is fairly the pairing for somebody who’s about to assessment a MacBook — has totally succumbed to the Professional line’s supremacy.

That is why, I am not going to drive a 3,000-word essay on you about how nicely the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Max runs browser tabs, streams Ted Lasso, and even handles benchmarks. For those who clicked on this text, then you definitely possible already know the way the flagship Apple laptop computer trounces the above.

As a substitute, I enlisted the assistance of Tom Filip, a producer and editor for the sports activities community Extra time, and somebody who falls below Apple’s buyer guidelines for the MacBook Professional. Collectively, we see how the flagship laptop computer fares with skilled content material creation. Here is a abstract of his experiences, together with options that we each agreed Apple may do higher with sooner or later.



16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR show (3,456 x 2,234, 16:10) with 120Hz


M2 Max with 12-core CPU and 38-core GPU


As much as 96GB RAM with as much as 8TB of storage


100Wh (As much as 22 hours of film playback)


14.01 x 9.77 x 0.66 inches




1x HDMI (2.1), 3x Thunderbolt 4, 1x SDXC card slot, 1x 3.5mm audio jack, 1x MagSafe 3


Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3


Beginning at $3,499

What’s new with this mannequin

On the floor stage, a lot of the brand new MacBook Professional’s {hardware} has been carried over from the 2021 fashions, together with the agency and durable aluminum chassis, 1080p FaceTime digital camera notched up high, finger-grease-loving keyboard, and side-firing audio system that stay the most effective that I’ve heard on a laptop computer. Which means funds and dimension choice stay the 2 most vital elements when deciding between the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBooks.

What’s modified this 12 months largely stems from inside, together with upgrades to the processor, connectivity, and battery life, as damaged down beneath.

1. M2 Max wins the place M1 was already successful

A close-up shot of the MacBook Pro's display.

Sifting by means of a timeline on Premiere Professional is simply as easy as on Remaining Reduce Professional.

June Wan/ZDNET

Final 12 months’s MacBook Professional launched Apple’s M1 Max chip, which featured a 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, and as much as 64GB of unified reminiscence. Contemplating Filip’s current work system ran on that precise silicon, the ball was in Apple’s courtroom to ship increased efficiency with the upgraded M2 Max chip and its now 38-core GPU and as much as 96GB of unified reminiscence.

“My every day workflow includes enhancing roughly 4TB price of footage for movies throughout our media channels,” says Filip. “We’re speaking two to a few of those SSDs (as he factors to a stack of LaCie drives) that I must import onto the MacBook, play by means of the lots of of uncooked 4K clips, and compile a timeline of the easiest to inform a narrative.” All of that is accomplished inside strict deadlines, with every full-length video (about quarter-hour lengthy) taking two to a few days to piece collectively.

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With the M2 Max MacBook, the processes that Filip took to video enhancing had been no totally different, however the speeds for real-time rendering and exporting had been noticeably quicker — or so it appeared to our curious eyes. 

To editors, the telltale signal of a reliable machine is whether or not or not it will possibly play a component in a timeline as quickly because the consumer hovers over it, Filip tells me. (Remember the fact that there are layers upon layers of results, graphics, and coloring that should be processed right here.) Due to the 2 ProRes encode and decode engines on the MacBook Professional, the hardware-based computing makes taking part in again uncooked clips of their authentic high quality satisfying fluid. 

As for export instances? We noticed the M2 Max mannequin beating out Filip’s M1 Max by 20 to 30 seconds in every trial. As soon as you’re taking these aforementioned deadlines under consideration, the faster speeds can imply the distinction between an occupied laptop and shifting on to thumbnails.

2. Sooner, extra succesful connectivity throughout the board

The side of the MacBook Pro.

Do not let the skinny show idiot you. The M2 Max MacBook Professional weighs practically 5 kilos.

June Wan/ZDNET

You will not discover it from the skin however the MacBook Professional this 12 months options three enhancements to its connectivity. The primary is Wi-Fi 6E (up from Wi-Fi 6), bringing a brand new, expanded spectrum for each quicker web speeds and decrease latency. 

Whereas video editors like Philip could not stress the “quicker web” bit, with the ability to entry the speeds in congested areas like basketball arenas and main sporting occasions is a sport changer — so long as these locations have Wi-Fi 6E routers arrange. I echoed that sentiment, having handled the connectivity nightmare that was CES on the Las Vegas Conference Heart earlier this 12 months.

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The 2023 MacBook Professional additionally will get a bump with the extra steady Bluetooth 5.3 and extra versatile HDMI 2.1. The latter of which was essentially the most interesting improve to Filip, who was already extending his MacBook onto a 34-inch LG 5K monitor, however has lengthy thought-about kicking it to an 8K show for future-proofing. If and when that occurs — we each chuckle on the thought of pixels we will not even totally conceptualize on a desktop display — the Apple laptop computer might be greater than ready of supporting the upper decision.

3. Battery life that impresses everybody

A close-up shot of the 16-inch MacBook Pro's keyboard.

The MacBook deck retains the twin firing audio system and drive contact trackpad.

June Wan/ZDNET

Keep in mind the 38-core GPU that I discussed earlier? A part of its carry includes upping the MacBook Professional’s battery life by an hour in comparison with the M1-equipped predecessors. In observe, the improved effectivity was as negligible because the stat makes it out to be, however one thing each Philips and I got here to understand nonetheless.

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When deciding between the M2 Pro and M2 Max variants, customers ought to observe that whereas the latter is extra highly effective, it comes at the price of an hour or two of endurance. Regardless of that, you are taking a look at roughly 14 hours of battery life on the M2 Professional versus 12 hours on the M2 Max, which is promising regardless of which of the 2 you find yourself shopping for.

What we would prefer to see within the subsequent mannequin

For the work that each Filip and I do, there’s not a lot to complain about with the M2 Max, 16-inch MacBook Professional — performance-wise, at the least. The laptop computer begins at $3,499, which I will applaud Apple for retaining the 2021’s M1 Max price ticket. Contemplating the value, listed below are two nitpicks that may make the bigger MacBook expertise even higher.

1. A lighter kind issue

The side of the MacBook Pro.

Think about a large-screen laptop computer that does not really feel like a dumbbell.

June Wan/ZDNET

Even when the MacBook Professional is your first expertise with a 16-inch laptop computer, you will shortly discover simply chunky the factor is. As somebody who’s gotten used to carrying the MacBook together with a full-frame digital camera for work, I can not fathom simply how relieving my again feels after I’m testing a distinct, smaller laptop computer. 

A part of the explanation for the heavier hand really feel normally is the MacBook Professional’s boxier design language. In comparison with the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra, one other 16-incher I lately examined that has curved edges sloping throughout the chassis, the sharp-edged MacBook requires a agency grasp when carrying it round. 

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That is why, in the event you’re switching over to a 2023 MacBook Professional and do not require a maxed-out workstation, I might closely contemplate the 14-inch mannequin. It is simply as snappy, has the identical ports, and is fitter for journey.

2. A notch that does extra

A close-up shot of the 16-inch MacBook Pro's notch.

Identical notch. Identical digital camera high quality and sensors.

June Wan/ZDNET

I by no means had a difficulty with Apple adopting its iPhone notch design onto its MacBook line. For a near-bezeless look, the little bit of black house was negligible. The issue I’ve with the brand new MacBook Professional’s notch is that Apple did not make it any higher. There is not any depth sensing for facial recognition to unlock (which different producers have achieved with laptop computer lids which might be simply as skinny) or a sharper digital camera sensor. There is not any added performance, interval.

In future fashions, I might like to see the corporate both shrink the notch so it is not as obtrusive and even exchange it with a digital camera factor that doubles as a reside exercise widget! It may be referred to as Dynamic Island.

Backside line

The most recent MacBook Professional is a testomony to Apple’s golden age of cell computing. Whereas many of the innovating occurred with the now two-year-old, M1 MacBook Pros, the M2 variants completely ship the place it issues to each Filip’s (thanks once more, Tom!) and my workflows whereas providing a extra future-proof system. 

Reviewing the M2 Max MacBook Professional side-by-side with its predecessor additionally demonstrated simply how succesful the latter was. To fall solely seconds behind when it got here to processing and exporting footage, the M1-powered machines ought to nonetheless be thought-about for buyers who need a great-value MacBook.

Ought to I purchase one?

That is why if you have already got an M1-powered MacBook Pro, hold it. For those who’re upgrading from something older, I recommend you purchase this. At a starting price of $3,499, the 16-inch, M2 Max MacBook Professional isn’t any impulse buy. However in the event you want a laptop computer that may energy by means of pro-grade apps and companies as effectively as potential, with some Apple perks on the aspect like iPhone syncing, a magical force-touch trackpad, and the corporate’s respected after-sales service, then I am unable to suggest something higher.

Alternate options to think about

A person using the 14-inch MacBook Pro (M2 Pro) in a car.


Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, M2 Pro)

The 14-inch, M2 Pro MacBook is the perfect middle ground for professionals and up-and-coming content creators. It’s also more portable.



Apple Mac Studio

The Mac Studio is not a laptop, nor does it carry Apple’s new M2 chip, but it’s one of the best desktop alternatives that can power the same apps and services as the latest MacBook Pro.

MacBook Air M2 with ZDNET homepage on a table


Apple MacBook Air (M2)

The new MacBook Air was ZDNET’s Product of the Year for 2022 for good reason. For how lightweight and powerful it is, it’s arguably the best mainstream laptop for video editors.

The post Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (M2 Max, 2023) review: A content creator’s dream machine appeared first on Ferdja.