I’ve been waxing lyrical about the new MacBook Pro 2023 because it’s simply an astounding laptop for creators. Certainly the best MacBook if that’s your specialty and you have high-end requirements anyway, all thanks to Apple’s M2 Pro / M2 Max silicon and masses of unified memory.
On the flip side people have been (fairly enough) criticizing the 14-inch and 16-inch 2023 MacBook Pro models for being largely similar to their 2021 MacBook Pro equivalents. Sure, the design is the same between the generations, it’s mainly the addition of M2 Pro and M2 Max that elevates the new models’ potential power.
But there’s more to it than that. It’s often the features that remain unseen which can elevate a new-generation device – and that’s exactly what you get in the 2023 MacBook Pro. If you’re an external monitor user with one of the best 4K monitors (or greater!) then the latest laptop adds one killer new upgrade that you’ll most definitely want to utilize.
The picture of my 16-inch MacBook Pro 2023 above gives it away. While the HDMI port there may look one and the same as the one you’ll find in the 2021 model, there’s a critical new difference: the newer model features HDMI 2.1.
That’s important because the 2.1 specification can do a lot more. It’s the must-have for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 users, for example, because it supports 120fps gaming at 4K resolution. HDMI 2.0 doesn’t.
In Apple’s configuration you can get a whole lot out of it too: the new MacBook Pro models support 4K monitors at up to 240Hz resolution, meaning you can get super-smooth Ultra-HD visuals output from the newest MacBooks.
|MacBook Pro 2023||M2 Pro||M2 Max|
|4K up to 240Hz (HDMI)||Yes||Yes|
|8K up to 60Hz (HDMI)||Yes||Yes|
|2 displays up to 6K 60Hz (Thunderbolt)||Yes||Yes|
|3x at 6K 60Hz (Thunderbolt) + 1x 4K 144Hz (HDMI)||no||Yes|
|2x at 6K 60Hz (Thunderbolt) + 1x 8K 60Hz (HDMI)||no||Yes|
|2x at 6K 60Hz (Thunderbolt) + 1x 4K 240Hz (HDMI)||no||Yes|
Depending on whether you choose M2 Pro or M2 Max the specifications can go well beyond that when it comes to multiple monitor support too. I’ve put the table in above to show just what each platform is capable of handling. There are quite a lot of variations, but both can support 4K at 240Hz, multiple 6K monitors at 60Hz, and even 8K resolution.
The M2 Max adds extra, though, with the ability to support triple or quad monitor support, whereas the M2 Pro maxes out at dual monitor support. Hardly slacking in either scenario, of course, but you can see why M2 Max and its wider memory bus is even more powerful… and expensive!
The pricing table below gives you an idea of the 2023 MacBook Pro’s starting prices for the 14-inch and 16-inch models across M2 Pro and M2 Max variations. That only climbs when you begin adding customization, such as 96GB unified memory, or 8TB of SSD storage. Niche, then, but for power creators this is still going to be enticing, as other competitors simply cannot match this kind of performance potential.