The New M3 MacBook Pro Is Practically the Perfect Laptop

The New M3 MacBook Pro Is Practically the Perfect Laptop

Apple’s latest MacBook Pro has almost everything you could want from a laptop. It has speed, thanks to the new M3 chip; 512GB of storage, which is great for any Apple laptop; a fantastic XDR display, which provides the best viewing experience on any Mac; and it costs $US1,599, $US400 less than what a 14-inch MacBook Pro usually costs.

With this in mind, you might think the 14-inch MacBook Pro is now the perfect laptop. However, it has one glaring flaw: THe base model includes only 8GB of RAM.

The new MacBook Pro won’t be slow, but it won’t last forever

Don’t get me wrong—8GB of RAM isn’t cripplingly slow for basic use cases such as writing, browsing the internet, making Zoom calls, etc. It’s what Apple offers for the base models for all but its top-line MacBook Pros. But if you’re buying a MacBook Pro over a MacBook Air, chances are you expect more from your machine. Even if 8GB of RAM is good enough to get you going, most people with any kind of heavy professional use needs, like graphic design, video editing, or coding, are going to want more RAM.

The more RAM you have, the more things you can do with your laptop simultaneously before things start to slow down. In an age where browsers alone can use gigabytes of RAM, you want to have some headroom in a machine intended for heavy workloads. Apple seems to stubbornly stick to low baselines in certain products (never forget the iPhones with 8GB storage), and the new MacBook Pro seems to be a victim of the same ethos.

It’s also not just a 2023 problem. Macs can last a long time, thanks to a combination of good build quality and the fact Apple makes both the hardware and software. You want a $US1,599+ machine to last you for years to come, and you’re going to feel the limits of 8GB of RAM much faster than even 16GB. If you don’t plan to swap out your laptop every few years, bumping up the RAM is a great way to future-proof your Mac.

Apple knows this, of course. In all likelihood, this is a way to make you buy more RAM for your MacBook, as upgrades are where the company makes huge profits. Upgrading to 16GB RAM, which doubles the memory in your machine, costs $US200. If you want to bump it up to 24GB RAM, you’ll have to shell out another $US200. That’s a lot of money for minor RAM upgrades, which you can no longer perform on your own.

The M3 MacBook Pro can be the perfect laptop

Based on the spec sheet alone, there’s a lot to like about the new MacBook Pro, especially the battery life: Apple claims the M3 MacBook Pro gets up to 22 hours of Apple TV playback and 15 hours of web browsing. That’s longer than models with the more powerful M3 Pro and M3 Max chips, which means this is the machine for those who hate worrying about when we’re going to charge up next.

You also get a good set of ports on this model—an SDXC card slot, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports (as opposed to three on the M3 Pro and M3 Max variants), and a MagSafe 3 port for charging (which I prefer over the USB charging port). This is a really good machine in every sense but the RAM.

If you know 8GB of RAM isn’t going to cut it for you, spend the extra $US200 to upgrade to 16GB. With that, the M3 MacBook Pro really does become the perfect laptop. Sure, if money is no object you could spend $US2,000 on the M3 Pro MacBook Pro, which ships with 18GB RAM, an extra USB port, and a more powerful chip. But for $US1,799, the M3 MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM is offers the best of both worlds.

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