Home Tech Apple MacBook Pro M3 review: The beloved laptop is back in black

Apple MacBook Pro M3 review: The beloved laptop is back in black

by Elijah
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Apple MacBook Pro M3 review: The beloved laptop is back in black

Apple’s latest upgraded MacBook Pro adds a wider range of chip options, a cheaper price and a new black color option, along with even greater performance and battery life.

The much-loved laptop now starts at £1,699 (€1,999/$1,599/AU$2,699), which isn’t exactly cheap but costs £450 less than its predecessor, lowering the barrier considerably at the entrance.

The exterior of the machine features the same stunning combination of retro and modern design as its predecessor, solidly constructed from aluminum with precision worthy of its price. The port selection remains the same, including the popular HDMI port and full-size SD card slot.

The screen remains one of the best on a laptop: crisp, smooth, and super bright when working or viewing HDR content. It’s now 20% brighter in general use than its predecessor, which was noticeable when working on documents in bright winter sunlight.

The massive trackpad and keyboard are best in class. The power button contains a Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

New for 2023 is the Space Black color option, which is more of a very dark gray but is about as black as you can make from anodized aluminum. It looks great and repels fingerprints better than before. The new color is limited to the mid- and high-end versions of the machine starting at £2,099 (€2,499/$1,999/A$3,499).


  • Screen: 14.2-inch Mini LED (3024 x 1964; 254 ppi) ProMotion (120 Hz)

  • Processor: Apple M3, Pro or Max

  • RAM: 8, 18 or 32, or up to 128 GB

  • Storage: 512 GB, 1, 2, 4 or 8 TB SSD

  • Operating system: macOS 14.1 Sonoma

  • Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD Camera

  • Connectivity: wifi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, 2/3x USB/Thunderbolt, HDMI 2.1, SD card, headphones

  • Dimensions: 221.2 x 312.6 x 15.5mm

  • Weight: 1.55 to 1.62kg

Choice of M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max chips

The M3 version has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, while the M3 Pro and Max have three Thunderbolt 4 ports. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The big news is the introduction of Apple’s latest M3 family of chips, manufactured at an advanced scale not currently available from other manufacturers, improving performance while reducing power consumption and heat.

The new entry-level 14-inch MacBook Pro starts with an M3, moving up to the M3 Pro and M3 Max for higher performance needs.

The M3 chip is about 20% faster than the M2 chip used in the MacBook Air and other machines and about 40% faster than the original M1 chips from 2020. The base model can output to a single external monitor and comes with only 8 GB of memory. , which is probably perfectly acceptable at the moment but could become a limiting factor in the future. Doubling the memory costs £200 and cannot be done after the fact.

Those who require more power, additional ports, and multiple external monitors can upgrade to the M3 Pro chip, which can easily handle demanding tasks and will likely be the most suitable option for those using the MacBook Pro for professional purposes. The M3 Max chip sits at the top of the stack, delivering huge performance in a laptop, which will be overkill for most, although much appreciated by those looking for workstation-level power and who are ready to pay a lot of money for it. .

The screen has a notch at the top housing the webcam. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

All of Apple’s M3 chips are at least as powerful as their Intel counterparts in PCs and offer improved performance in Macs three to five years old. But Apple’s biggest advantage is power efficiency, allowing for double or more the battery life of its competitors and maintaining peak performance when not plugged into the wall, unlike its competitors.

Even the most powerful model equipped with the M3 Max, as tested, will handle about 16 hours of productive office work, such as word processing, browsing, note-taking, and using spreadsheets. That’s more than an hour longer than last year’s model and about double that of most competitors. The M3 models should last around 20 hours of similar work with the M3 Pro models somewhere in the middle.

Battery life decreases when the chips are used for much more demanding tasks, but you should still get around 12 hours of photo editing or similar from a charge. It takes approximately 90 minutes to fully charge the battery with the included 96W adapter, reaching 50% in approximately 30 minutes.


MacBook Pro is made from 32% recycled materials, including aluminum, rare earth elements, tin, gold and plastic. Apple computer crashes environmental impact in its report.

The computer is usually repairable and has repair manuals available, and the battery can be replaced for £245 by Apple. Repair specialists iFixit praised the machine’s modular design but criticized Apple’s use of software locks on replacement parts that artificially limit third-party repair options, giving it a repairability score of only four out of 10. Apple offers free exchange and recycling programs, including for non-Apple products.


The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts £1,699 (€1,999/$1,599/AU$2,699) for an M3 chip with 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage. Models equipped with the M3 Pro cost from £2,099, while M3 Max models start at £3,299.

For comparison, the MacBook Air M2 starts at £1,149while Windows laptops equivalent to new machines, like the Dell XPS 15, cost around £2,000the Razer Blade 14 costs £2,499 and Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio 2 costs from £2,069.


This year, there are more options than ever for Apple’s long-running Pro laptop. The lower starting price is welcome, although it’s still not cheap at £1,699 and comes with a chip that, while extremely fast, may not be powerful enough for professional work and only has 8 GB of memory.

This makes the base model difficult to recommend over the excellent MacBook Air for Apple users. This is not the case with the M3 Pro and Max models, which once again represent a remarkable combination of power and efficiency that no other manufacturer can achieve. Here, Apple continues to strengthen.

The 14-inch size remains the sweet spot for laptops, aided by a stunning display, a top-notch trackpad and keyboard, and a solid selection of ports. It’s not cheap, but if you don’t specifically need Windows 11, it’s one of the best functional laptops you can buy. And it looks pretty good in black.

Benefits: fast chip choices, super long battery life, fantastic ProMotion miniLED display now even brighter, plenty of ports and SD card slot, brilliant speakers, Touch ID, great keyboard and trackpad, 14 inch is a big size, new black color.

The inconvenients: no USB-A, no Face ID, no Center Stage camera, RAM or SSD cannot be upgraded after purchase, expensive, base model skimps on memory for the price.

The new Space Black color is difficult to photograph, looking like a very dark gray in the flesh with a hint of deep blue in some lights. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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