Which MacBook Pro: 14 Inch vs 16 Inch (for 2023 MacBook Pro)

Apple updated the MacBook Pro with the new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. With price differences between the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro is around $200, they are keeping the trend by keeping things as same as possible. However, Apple cannot cheat physics, so what are the differences between the two models? Posted by erwinkarim on 9:34 AM, January 27, 2023 Last updated on 10:06 AM, March 22, 2023 Filed in: macbook pro, comparison, 14-inch, 16-inch,

Table of Contents

For the M1 Pro / M1 Max version of the MacBook Pro, read here

Apple updated the MacBook Pro in early 2023 with the introduction of the new generation of “professional” Apple Silicon: the M2 Pro and M2 Max. Based on our research, the new generation of Apple Silicon basically is a chip that gill up all the gaps that the first generation missed.

Aside from the lower barrier of $1,999, the difference between the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro is just $200 if you match the specs for both sizes. Other than screen size, what extra do you get for that $200? Read on to find out.

Executive Summary:

  • Current generation MacBook Pro has the closest performance levels between 14-inch and 16-inch since Apple moved to Intel
  • Major obvious difference: Screen size, 16-inch has better speakers, better thermals, and longer lasting
  • Minor difference: Base 14-inch does not fast charge. The base 10-core M2 Pro is “good enough” for a lot of people. We recommend adding more memory if you have the budget to upgrade only one thing.
  • If you have the money, go for the 16-inch, if you prize portability, the 14-inch.

Major Differences


Screen size being the obvious difference.

The obvious difference is the screen size. With one offering a screen with 3024 by 1964 pixels on the 14-inch Macbook Pro, the 16-inch MacBook Pro offers a 30% more screen real estate at 3456 by 2234 pixels. With an aspect ratio of 16:10 and a screen that is 93% of a true 4K display, has over 10,000 dimming zones because of MiniLED backing, a variable refresh rate from 24 Hz to 120Hz because of ProMotion, and brightness that goes to 1600 nits for HDR content, it’s one hell of a screen.


MacBook Pro 16-inch batteries (above) and MacBook Pro 14-inch batteries (below).

The other most obvious difference is the battery that is packed in each of the laptops. The smaller 14-inch MacBook Pro has a 70W built in battery. It comes with a 67W power adapter or 96W power adapter if you spec it during your build or bought a M1 Max version of the 14-inch. The 16-inch MacBook Pro has 100W of battery built-in, the maximum allowed by the FAA that can be carried on an airplane. The 16-inch has a 140W power adapter which will be important later on.

Minor Differences

Now we come down to minor differences that are little in nature, but do add up to the whole package.

Speakers Due to the size of the chassis, the speaker enclosure is slightly larger on the 16-inch than the 14-inch. Tests have shown that the 16-inch has slightly more bass than the 14-inch. Proof that you cannot cheat physics.

Power Mode The most significant difference is the high power mode in the 16-inch. This feature allows the MacBook Pro to perform at max speed longer. This feature is only available on the 16-inch and on the M1 Max chip. The better thermals on the larger 16-inch definitely help.


Fast charging is only available with 97W power adapter on the 14-inch

Fast Charging The new MagSafe 3 allows the MacBook Pro to get from 0% charge to 50% charge in 30 minutes. However, it all depends on the power adapter that is used. In the base 14-inch, you will not get this feature unless you get the 96W charger from the store or go for the M1 Max on the 14-inch. In the 16-in, all models got the 140W power adapter which enables Fast Charging.


Cooling fans of the MacBook Pro 16-inch (left) vs 14-inch.

Superimposed images of the MacBook Pro 2021 M1 Max. Both heat sink being the same, the 16-inch fans are much bigger which give better thermals at high load.

Better Thermals Running electrons as fast as possible on the chip will generate hate from resistance in the wires. The heat can be transferred out from the chip by using a heat sink. The heat can be removed faster if you have a larger surface area on your heat sink. This is all physics and naturally, the 16-inch has a larger heat sink which can improve thermals on the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip.

Base Spec Compared

* Fast charging is available if you use a 96W power adapter
FeatureBase 14" MacBook ProBase 16" MacBook Pro
Price $1,999 $2,499
SOC M2 Pro (10-Core CPU, 16-Core GPU) M2 Pro (12-Core CPU, 19-Core GPU)
Screen 14" Liquid Retina Display (3024x1964 pixels) 16" Liquid Retina Display (3456x2234 pixels)
Memory (GB) 16
Storage (GB) 512
Power Adapter 67W 140W
Fast Charging No*Yes
Web browsing longevitity 12 hours 15 hours
Weight 1.60kg2.15kg

Conclusion

So there you have it. The current generation MacBook Pro is not only the most powerful to date but also the most evenly powered among the models to date. The smaller MacBook Pro is no longer the middle child of the portable Mac lineup.


Considering the long and heavy use of a typical MacBook Pro, the 16-inch is worth the $500 premium.

So now, the $500 question: is it worth the premium to go for the 16-inch model instead of the smaller but similarly capable 16-inch? The answer is yes, not only you are getting a bigger screen and battery, but you have a high thermal limit, so it has a lot more headroom to last longer. So in conclusion, the smaller base 14-inch is built to a price point, while the base 16-inch model is built to a feature point. But of course, the appeal of the 14-inch is the compact size that also packs the same punch as the bigger brother.

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Base Pro
iPhones iPhone 15 / iPhone 15 Plus (Renewed) - (Amazon) iPhone 15 Pro / iPhone 15 Pro Max (Renewed) - (Amazon)
Watch Apple Watch SE (Amazon) / Apple Watch Series 9 (Amazon) Apple Watch Ultra 2 (Amazon)
AirPods AirPods 3 (Amazon) AirPods Pro 2 (Amazon) / AirPods Max (Amazon)
iPad iPad 9 (Amazon) / iPad Mini (Amazon) iPad Air (Amazon) / iPad Pro M2 (Amazon)
Laptops MacBook Air (Amazon) MacBook Pro M3
Desktop Mac Mini (Amazon) / iMac (Amazon) Mac Studio / Mac Pro
Displays Studio Display (Amazon) Pro Display XDR (Amazon)

Other Ecosystem Items

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