Hands-on with the MacBook Pro M3: a round-up with experiences

Hands-on with the MacBook Pro M3: a round-up with experiences
Hands-on with the MacBook Pro M3: a round-up with experiences

Hands-on videos and experiences

The first hands-on experiences with the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 chips can now be found online, both in written articles and in videos. The latter are of course the most interesting at the moment, because few people outside Apple have had the super-fast laptops in their hands. There are several unboxing videos that give you an impression of the packaging and putting it into use. Some hands-on experiences relate to the ‘regular’ M3 models, while others have worked with the faster M3 Pro and M3 Max.

Experiences from The Verge

The Verge tested the 14-inch MacBook Pro and calls it an “entry-level conundrum.” This is the replacement for the 13-inch MacBook Pro and that is a great decision. But at the same time, there is now too much overlap with the MacBook Air. According to the reviewer, Apple has made a smart move by removing the 13-inch MacBook Pro from its range. The extra inch of screen space you get is a pleasant addition. The reviewer is also very pleased with the return of the physical function keys. But it’s a shame that the starting price of $1,599 only gets you 8GB of RAM. That’s just not enough. And it would be nice if you had just a little more Thunderbolt ports.

This makes it unclear for whom exactly this entry-level MacBook Pro is intended. The line between the Air and the entry-level Pro is blurred, especially if you (like the reviewer) fall exactly between a heavy Air user and a light Pro user. While writing the review, she often switched between the two devices, but this only made her more confused.

Apart from that, Victoria Song is satisfied with the device as a daily laptop. Ultimately, you’ll be happy with either device: Air or Pro, as long as you get 16GB of RAM.

Further reading: The Verge

At iCulture we always recommend getting more RAM than the standard 8GB that Apple offers.

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The Verge previously made a hands-on video:

Experiences from CNET

For CNET’s opinion, it’s best to watch the video below. The tech site gives the laptops a grade of 8.6 out of 10 and lists a number of advantages and disadvantages. The reviewer mentions the speed, the excellent screen and the long battery life as plus points. But on the other hand, the webcam, the weight and the notch in the screen are less great. If you like statistics, you should definitely check out this review.

Further reading: CNET

Experiences from Tom’s Guide

The reviewer from Tom’s Guide tested the 14-inch MacBook Pro with regular M3 chip and entitled his review “hitting the sweet spot”. This model excels with lightning-fast performance, a brighter screen, remarkably good graphics performance and a very long battery life. For the price of $1,599 it offers a lot of value, although Windows devices in this price range are better for gaming and you have one less port than the more expensive M3 Pro MacBook. This reviewer mentions that there are fewer ports than in an M3 Pro model, that only one external display is supported and that the Space Black color costs extra.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro M3 is an excellent replacement for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, says Mark Spoonauwer. It costs $300 more but you get more. If you have an M1 Pro MacBook or newer, you can skip this generation, but with an Intel MacBook you will make significant progress. It’s not the thinnest laptop in its class, but it has a lot to offer in terms of performance and battery life. The sound is fantastic too. In short: the most complete MacBook for your money.

Further reading: Tom’s Guide

Experiences from Tom’s Hardware

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is a top choice for creative professionals, according to Tom’s HardWare, despite the pricey upgrades. The M3 Max chip delivers powerful performance, battery life is long, build quality is class-leading and the miniLED display is impressive. However, a downside remains the expensive memory and SSD upgrades.

In terms of design, there hasn’t been much new since the big change in 2021, except for the new color option: Space Black. This replaces Space Gray for models with M3 Pro and M3 Max processors. The new chips, based on a 3nm process, and the option of 128GB RAM and an 8TB SSD, make these MacBook Pros the fastest yet. As for the M3 Max chip, it offers impressive performance improvements over the M2 Max, but there is a small drop in battery life. Yet everything is relative: it lasts twice as long as the Dell XPS 15 with Intel Raptor Lake processor. The starting price of $2,499 is a great deal for a great all-round machine, provided 18GB of RAM and 512GB of storage are enough for you. After that, the costs quickly increase if you want extra memory and storage.

If you have an M1 Pro/Max or Intel-based MacBook Pro, this reviewer believes this is a good time to upgrade.

Further reading: Tom’s Hardware

Experiences from Gizmodo

Gizmodo has described the first experiences with the 14-inch MacBook Pro M3 and the 16-inch MacBook Pro M3 Max in a short preview, which does not contain much special information. They note that the design is very similar to the M2 versions, but that there is much more power under the hood. Even more has changed: while typing, the keys have become slightly heavier, with a noticeable ‘bump’ with each press – something we did not see with the other reviewers. The performance of the new M3 chips is better on paper than the previous Apple Silicon chips, but real testing has yet to show whether this is the case.

Further reading: Gizmodo

Experiences from Engadget

Engadget tested the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 and the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Max at the same time. These are the two extremes in the line-up. Reviewer Devindra Hardawar thinks Apple’s confusing laptop line has finally become clearer this year, now that the 13-inch MacBook Pro is gone. The Pro machines are now really for professionals, while the Air models are for everyone else.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro with 8GB RAM is a somewhat pointless option, just like the old 13-inch. It seems only intended for people who want the Pro label, but don’t actually want to perform Pro tasks with it. Hardawar therefore recommends buying as much RAM as possible in the beginning, even if that means getting a smaller SSD.

If you look at the top model 16-inch MacBook Pro that was tested in a $7,199 configuration, you know what you get: a lot of performance. Not intended for the average consumer, but for companies such as Disney, to equip their editors with the fastest that is currently available. You can’t make many wrong choices here: the M3 chips are extremely efficient and powerful. But make sure you have at least 16GB of RAM.

Further reading: Engadget

Experiences from PC Magazine

PC Magazine went to work with the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Max. This has a starting price of $2,499, but the tested copy is a top model with 40 GPU cores, 128GB of memory and 8TB of storage. This one costs a whopping $7,199. The last time PC Magazine tested the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the score was almost perfect. This new version still doesn’t get five stars. This mainly has to do with the price and the fact that the promised GPU improvements do not lead to better gaming performance.

Still, the M3 Max version is definitely the best Mac laptop available and offers significant improvements over previous models. But that’s okay for that price.

Further reading: PC Magazine

Videos from iJustine, René Ritchie, Tech Guide and more

Below you can see some videos from YouTubers who have already enthusiastically started working:

The well-known YouTuber MKBHD does not have a review yet, but previously posted his first impression:

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Handson MacBook Pro roundup experiences


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