Which M2 Pro Mac Should You Buy?
A new year means it’s time for new Apple products. In January 2023, Apple refreshed the Mac mini and MacBook Pro models with the long-awaited M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. If you want to upgrade to a Mac with an M2 Pro chip but can’t decide on one, we’re here to help you out.
Here, we’ll look at how the Mac mini and the 14-inch MacBook Pro with the same M2 Pro chips stack up against each other. Which M2 Pro Mac should you buy? Read on to find out.
Apple’s 14-inch MacBook Pro is priced at $1,999 for the base variant, whereas the Mac mini with the M2 Pro chip is considerably cheaper at $1,299. And they both feature the exact same M2 Pro chip.
If you’re deciding based on the price, it seems like a no-brainer with the $700 leap, doesn’t it? But don’t forget that the Mac mini is a portable desktop computer with no peripherals included. So, you’ll have to purchase a display, keyboard, mouse, and any other accessories you may want if you don’t already have them.
That may also total up to a greater sum than the MacBook Pro’s $1,999, especially if you buy the Studio Display. So, choose wisely according to your budget. It’s also a good idea to ask yourself: is a Mac mini worth it compared to other Macs?
Design and Portability
A glimpse at both devices is enough to tell you there is a humongous design difference between them, but that’s because they belong to two different product categories and serve different purposes. Before we get to the build, let’s look at the color options. The MacBook Pro comes in Space Gray and Silver, while the Mac mini only has a Silver option.
Starting with the much larger MacBook Pro, the exact size of the display measures 14.2 inches while the device weighs in at 3.5 pounds. The Mac mini, on the other hand, does not have a display (but can support up to three external ones) and weighs around 2.8 pounds, which is much lighter than the former.
The lack of a screen combined with a lighter weight and a smaller footprint points to the fact that the Mac mini is easy to carry around. You can throw it in your travel bag and carry it with you wherever you want, while it might be harder to carry the MacBook Pro around.
But does that mean it’s actually more portable than a MacBook Pro? Not quite, because you get a functional computer with the MacBook Pro, but the Mac mini would be nothing more than a paperweight unless you have its peripherals wherever you go.
Since this article focuses on the models with the M2 Pro chips, there’s not much to discuss here. You get a 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, and 512GB SSD storage for the base variants of the models with the M2 Pro chips. If you want the full-fledged chip with a 12-core CPU and a 19-core GPU on either of these devices, you’ll need to shell out another $300.
If you already own a MacBook Pro, you may want to know if the new MacBook Pro with the M2 Pro chip is worth the upgrade, and we can help you out there. There is one thing you need to remember, though. Like most thin laptops, MacBooks are prone to overheating, which results in a minor performance loss, a phenomenon referred to as “thermal throttling” in the tech world.
So, despite having the same M2 Pro chip, there’s a slight chance that the MacBook Pro might fall short of its full performance potential due to thermal constraints.
Connectivity and Ports
The MacBook Pro has three Thunderbolt 4-enabled USB-C ports, an HDMI port, and an SDXC card slot. On the other hand, the Mac mini has four Thunderbolt 4 ports and an HDMI port, with two additional USB-A ports and an Ethernet port but no SDXC card slot, so there’s a fair bit of difference.
Despite the lack of an SDXC card slot, the Mac mini has a slight edge in terms of port selection, thanks to its Ethernet port. You can even customize the Mac mini with a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port for insanely high-speed internet connections.
Pick the Right M2 Pro Mac for You
The 14-inch MacBook Pro is more expensive and may be prone to overheating and throttled performance in the long run. And although the Mac mini doesn’t have any such issues, remember that you’re getting a fully functional computer out of the box for the price you pay for the MacBook.
When you add in the peripherals for the Mac mini, the costs do add up, sometimes exceeding the price tag of the 14-inch MacBook Pro. So, depending on your budget, use case, and the peripherals you already have, one of these Macs may be a better choice than the other, but we hope we were able to help you make an informed decision.