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Apple MacBook Pro 14 M3 (2023) review: Solid basics

Apple MacBook Pro 14 M3 (2023) review: Solid basics

Apple MacBook Pro 14 M3 (2023)

While technically new, the latest Apple MacBook Pro 14 M3 (2023) sports a familiar design. Apple is doing away with its 13-inch Pro models, and putting its base M3 chips into the 14-inch line. And these base M3 chips have performance to match the M1 Pro machines, too, at least in our tests. This does mean that if you're still using an Intel MacBook, now's a great time to switch.

Quick specs

  • 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display 3,042 x 1,964 pixels, 120Hz, up to 1,600 nits
  • 8-core M3 chip, 10-core GPU, 8/16/24GB RAM
  • 2x Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, SDXC card reader, MagSafe 3, headphone jack
  • From 1.55kg

Like the M2 Pro-powered Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2023) from earlier this year, the new M3-powered MBP sports the same design and look. However, it lacks one Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) port on the right side. Otherwise, you get an SD card reader, HDMI, as well as two Thunderbolt 4 ports on the left side. The 14-inch display goes up to 1,600 nits of brightness like the higher-end models. While it shares the same dimensions, it's slightly lighter at 1.55kg. The MagSafe charger that comes with the base M3 model is only 70W, but you can also fast charge with a 96W charger. And unlike the higher end Pro and Max models, there's no 16-inch version. It sadly also doesn't come in the new Space Black color.

Apple MacBook Pro 14 M3 (2023)
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

Unlike the higher-end Pro models, the M3 MBP 14 only comes in an 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU version. It starts with 8GB RAM, but you may want to get at least 16GB RAM. Based on my tests with 8GB RAM Apple devices, it's more than enough for editing pictures and video, but you'll want 16GB if you plan to do more heavy video editing with 8K files or even run games using the Game Porting Tool Kit. My review unit comes with 16GB, and the M3 goes up to 24GB RAM for this model. If you want more, then you'll have to jump up to the M3 Pro and M3 Max. The latter supports up to 128GB RAM, in case you're wondering.

Apple MacBook Pro 14 M3 (2023)
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

In terms of performance, the M3 chip can match the M1 Pro in certain benchmarks. Its Geekbench 6 scores are 3,048 (single-core) and 11,905 (multi-core). That's already higher than the the M1 Pro. However, synthetic benchmarks aren't everything. For Handbrake, the M1 Pro is slightly slower at 5min 32s versus the 5min 22s of the M3. However, the M1 Pro still shows better Dota 2 performance at around 80fps with more GPU cores versus the 55-ish fps of the M3. I also ported Diablo IV over and managed to get it running on High with AMD FSR 2 on Balanced at around 40fps in full-HD. Do note that the M2 Pro can do 80fps in Diablo 4 with its 14-GPU cores. I don't have an M3 Pro on hand to compare, unfortunately. If you're planning to edit photos and videos, you'll enjoy the buttery-smooth performance.

With a starting price of S$2,299, the Apple MacBook Pro 14 M3 (2023) does offer better performance with its new chip, especially over models using the M1 chip. We've yet to finish testing the battery, but in our normal day-to-day use, the laptop is more than capable of lasting a full day. Apple rates it at 22 hours, above the higher-end models which are rated at 18 hours. It's a great base model for those who want something powerful, but don't need the higher-end M3 Pro performance just yet. Get this from Apple, Shopee, or Lazada. If you're looking for something even simpler, try the M3 iMac.

See Also
Oppo Find N3

Note: Review unit provided by Apple.

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