16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Pro chip is a performance beast

But there's little reason to upgrade if you have an M2 Pro system

Macworld reports that there’s a rare update to the 140-watt power adapter that ships with the 16-inch MacBook Pro, though it’s unclear what it does as there are no release notes from Apple.

The 24-inch iMac used to be my favorite Mac, but it’s been replaced by the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The biggie-sized laptop is the most practical computer for me at this stage in my life. And my latest is one equipped with the M3 Pro.

As the person who does almost all the work at Apple World Today these days, the biggie-sized laptop attached to a Studio Display is a great desktop set-up for running the website. And when I take a trip for work or pleasure, the 16-inch MacBook has a big enough display that I can easily continue my daily chores. 

And, yep, being a mostly one-man show, I do the morning and evening AWT updates even on vacation. I’ve tried using a 12.9-inch iPad Pro to do this, but, even with Stage Manager, iPadOS is so limited compared to macOS that it takes twice as long to do my work on a tablet as on a laptop.

So a 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M3 Pro processor and 32G of memory is my workhorse. 


The MacBook Pro/Studio Display set-up works seamlessly. I have Pages, Safari, iTunes, Mail, Calendar, Photos, Messages, and Pixelmator Pro all open at the same time (and often Apple Music, as well), and there’s never a hiccup in performance.

However, if you have a M2 Pro system, you’re not going to see a major boost in performance. Of course, the M3 Pro is way faster than the vanilla M3, and building a chip with fewer transistors on a newer 3nm manufacturing process (which includes all the M3 family of chips) has other benefits. 

However, as ars technical notes, here’s a wider performance gap between the M3 Pro and M3 Max than there was in the M2 generation, and you’ll need to wait for the M4 generation before you see substantially faster Pro chips.

Let me back up. According to Apple’s own hardware specs, the M3 Pro system on a chip (SoC) features 150GB/s memory bandwidth, compared to 200GB/s on the earlier M1 Pro and M2 Pro. What’s more, Apple has downgraded the M3 Pro chip to only have a 14-core GPU compared to 16 cores on the base M2 Pro chip model. Finally, the upgraded M3 Pro now only has a 18 GPU cores compared to 19 on the M2 Pro. 

The GPU is only “up to 10% faster” than M2 Pro, “filter and function performance” in Photoshop is just 7% faster, and “text-based editing” in Premiere Pro is 10% quicker. That’s not to say there are some sizeable graphical improvements here, as Apple was quick to tell us all about the new features including Dynamic Caching, hardware-accelerated mesh shading, and hardware-accelerated ray tracing.

Overall, based on my daily work, the M3 Pro MacBook Pro is about 10% faster than my previous M2 Pro MacBook Pro. Of course, if I wanted super-fast performance, I could have bought a laptop with a M3 Max processor. But I don’t need that much power — and I don’t have that much money.

The Display

As with the previous iteration of the laptop, the Liquid Retina XR display of the MacBook Pro is gorgeous. It boasts 7.7 million pixels, up to 1,000 nits of sustained, full-screen brightness, 1,600 nits of peak brightness, a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and extreme dynamic range. It has a P3 wide color gamut and supports one billion colors for smoother gradients. 

However, the display is a bit better than previous models. provide up to 600 nits of peak brightness for SDR content, which is a 20% increase over the 500 nits maximum on the previous models.

It’s a mini-LED display, which means the backlight is composed of 10,000 tiny LEDs, grouped into over 2,500 local dimming zones. Photos look vibrant and crisp. The MacBook Pro is a great system for watching movies, especially with its outstanding speaker system (more on that in a moment). 

The display also sports ProMotion technology that features an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz. ProMotion automatically varies the refresh rate to match the motion of a user’s onscreen content to help preserve battery life.

The Audio

The speakers on the MacBook Pro — unchanged as far as I can tell — sound great. The six-speaker sound system features two tweeters and four force-cancelling woofers. The sound system also supports spatial audio, which creates a three-dimensional listening experience. 

The speakers are clear and crisp with thumping base. You can really crank up the volume with no distortion. Listening to your tunes or watching a movie in Dolby Atmos is an immersive, gratifying experience.

Apple says the MacBook Pro has industry-leading, studio-quality mics that have an even lower noise floor, resulting in clearer calls and voice recordings. I’ll take their word for it, as I’m not a podcaster. 

The Space Black option

The new MacBook Pros are available in a Space Option that I really like. Apple says the anodized material keeps “any but the greasiest of smudges from showing up.” I wouldn’t go that far, but it does reduce fingerprints. 

That isn’t a major concern of mine, as I keep my 16-inch MacBook Pro safely enclosed in a Satechi Eco-Hardshell. Look for my review coming soon.

Ports and battery

Like its predecessor, the latest MacBook Pro has a SDXC card slot, HDMI port, 3.5mm headphone jack, the fantastic MagSafe 3 port for charging, two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, one Thunderbolt 3 port, and one USB 4 port. 

Some welcome upgrades include a move to an HDMI 2.1 port, Wi-Fi 6E support (only useful if you have a Wi-Fi 6E router), Bluetooth 5.3, and MagSafe cables that match the Space Gray or Silver options. However, one complaint is the lack of a third Thunderbolt port, as well as the use of Thunderbolt 3 instead of Thunderbolt 4. 

Another plus for the updated 16-incher: it runs up to 22 hours on a full charged battery. The previous version “only” lasted about 21 hours.

The Controversial Notch

As with the 2021 and later models the new MacBook Pros sport an iPhone-like notch, which some folks apparently hate. The notch houses the 1080p webcam, the camera LED, the TrueTone light sensor, and the ambient light sensor at the top of the display. 

To be honest, the notch doesn’t bother me at all. Basically, the MacBook Pro has a 16:10 display with a little extra space at the top where the menu bar and the notch live. I don’t notice it any more than I notice the notch on my iPhone.


If you’re a one-man business like me and have to take your work on-the-go occasionally, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is a good investment. However, it’s very expensive (you can find pricing here). The 14-inch MacBook Pro will save you substantial money if you don’t need the bigger screen. And, for most consumers, the MacBook Air will be the perfect combination of price, power, and size. 

Apple World Today rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.