On Wednesday, Apple officially released the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. We’ve already compared it in detail to the 15-inch MacBook Pro it replaces, but what about the 13-inch MacBook? Read on as we compare the specs, price, and more of the 13-inch vs 16-inch MacBook Pro.

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13-inch vs 16-inch MacBook Pro: Design

The designs of the 13-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro are very similar, aside from the obvious difference in screen size. The unibody aluminum design will be familiar to anyone who has used a modern MacBook Pro.

Alongside the keyboard, you’ll find a spacious trackpad and the controversial Touch Bar. We’ll have more on that in a bit, but the Touch Bar is here to stay – just with some minor changes.

In terms of size, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is noticeably larger and heavier. In addition to the overall increase in footprint to accommodate the larger display, the 16-inch model is also around 1-pound heavier. You will notice slightly smaller bezels on the 16-inch model compared to the 13-inch. Here are all of the details:

Both the 13-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro are available in silver and space gray.

Display

The biggest difference between the two MacBook Pro models sold by Apple is the display. The 16-inch MacBook Pro features a resolution of 3072×1920, which equates to a density of 226 pixels-per-inch (PPI).

The 13-inch MacBook Pro features a resolution of 2560×1600, which equates to a density of 227 pixels-per-inch (PPI). Both displays feature things like Apple’s True Tone display technology for adaptable color temperature, a P3 color gamut, and more.

Here are the technical details compared, note that the 16-inch MacBook Pro includes custom refresh rate support.

Performance

If you’re choosing the MacBook Pro over the MacBook Air, chances are you’re looking for a decent amount of power. Here’s how the 13-inch vs 16-inch MacBook Pro comparison stacks up in terms of performance.

The base configuration 16-inch MacBook Pro features a 2.6GHz (Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz) 6‑core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor. You also get 16GB of 2666MHz RAM, as well as a AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics card with 4GB of GDDR6 memory. In terms of storage, the base configuration 16-inch MacBook Pro includes a 512GB SSD.

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Meanwhile, the base configuration 13-inch MacBook Pro packs a 1.4GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz. You get Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645, as well as 8GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory and a 128GB SSD.

In comparing the base configuration 13-inch MacBook Pro agains the base configuration 16-inch MacBook Pro, there is a significant delta in terms of power. Here are the two tiers of the 13-inch MacBook Pro:

$1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro:

  • 1.4GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645
  • 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 128GB SSD storage (+$200 for 256GB)
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports

$1,799 13-inch MacBook Pro:

  • 2.4GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
  • 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 256GB SSD storage (+$200 for 512GB)
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports

And the two tiers of the 16-inch MacBook Pro:

$2,399 16-inch MacBook Pro:

  • 2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory
  • 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports

$2,799 16-inch MacBook Pro:

  • 2.3GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory
  • 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • 1TB SSD storage
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports

In addition to each standard configuration, you can also do custom build-to-order configs of the 13-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Top of the line 13-inch MacBook Pro, $3,099:

  • 2.8GHz quad‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.7GHz
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
  • 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 2TB SSD storage

Top of the line 16-inch MacBook Pro, $6,099:

  • 2.4GHz 8‑core 9th‑generation Intel Core i9 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6 memory
  • 64GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • 8TB SSD storage
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As you can see, the 16-inch MacBook Pro can get quite a bit more powerful than the 13-inch model, but that comes at an added cost in terms of price and size. If you’re looking for sheer storage volume, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is the best choice for you. Apple says that it is the first laptop on the market to feature 8TB of SSD storage – though that will come at a cost.

Keyboard

16-inch MacBook Pro teardown

Other than the difference in screen size, the keyboard is the biggest differentiator between the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro uses Apple’s controversial butterfly keyboard, which has been proven to have reliability issues and low key travel. Meanwhile, the 16-inch MacBook Pro uses an all-new Magic Keyboard that ideally solves those problems.

Apple says the new keyboard features an Apple-designed rubber dome, with 1mm of travel and a more stable feel compared to the butterfly keyboard. You also get a physical escape key, as well as an inverted T arrow key arrangement.

Even though the 13-inch MacBook Pro uses Apple’s third-generation butterfly keyboard, it’s still far from perfect. While some people have grown used to the lower-profile design, reliability issues persist. Apple is running a keyboard repair program for this reason, but the best choice might be to wait until the Magic Keyboard design spreads to the rest of the MacBook lineup.

Speakers and Microphones

Apple has also made useful upgrades to the speaker and microphone setup on the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The company says the machine features a “studio‑quality” three-mic array with high signal-to-noise ratio and directional beamforming. For speaker quality, you can expect six high-fidelity speakers with Dolby Atmos support.

Meanwhile, Apple simply says that the 13-inch MacBook Pro features stereo speakers with high dynamic range and a three microphone setup.

Battery life

The 16-inch MacBook Pro features a massive built-in 100-watt-hour battery, which Apple says gets you up to 11 hours of wireless web support. Here are how the two machines compare:

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Price

If you’re looking to get a MacBook Pro at the lowest price possible, the 13-inch model is the way to go. You can get the base configuration with two Thunderbolt ports and Touch Bar for just $1,299. Keep in mind that while this option is branded as a MacBook Pro, it won’t pack nearly as much power as the higher-end configurations.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399 – and even that base configuration is plenty powerful for many people. What you have to consider is what sort of power you need, and how much you’re willing to spend to get it.

13-inch vs 16-inch MacBook Pro: Which should you buy?

Apple discontinues 15-inch MacBook Pro

Apple’s MacBook Pro lineup has gotten a lot stronger this year thanks to improved SSD pricing, wider adoption of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, and more. The new 16-inch MacBook Pro takes things a step further with the new Magic Keyboard, 8TB of SSD storage, and the slightly larger display.

With that being said, if you’re shopping for a MacBook, it’s hard to recommend anything other than the 16-inch model for one key reason: the keyboard. As explained earlier, the 16-inch MacBook Pro uses an all-new Magic Keyboard design with more key travel, improved reliability, and more.

Rumors suggest that Apple will bring that new Magic Keyboard design to the rest of the MacBook lineup next year. If you want the new Magic Keyboard, but prefer the 13-inch form factor, we’d highly recommend waiting until 2020 to see what else Apple has in store.

If you need as much power as possible, and don’t mind a slightly larger form factor, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is an excellent choice. Hopefully, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is a sign of things to come, and the rest of the MacBook line follows suit in 2020.

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