2021 Macbook Pro 14-inch vs 2020 MacBook Pro 13-inch: Which One Is For You?

Last year we spoke about the MacBook Pro 13-inch, a MacBook that was developed with Apple’s first M1 chip. The Macbook Pro 13-inch is a thing of beauty and it did a couple of small things to improve the design. The real step forward was with its processing power. The M1 chip proved to be the fastest processor on the market and now Apple has gone one further with the new Macbook Pro 14-inch. Apple has well and truly ditched their old Intel processors and is now only releasing new MacBooks with their own M1 chip.

It will come as no surprise then that the new 2021 MacBook Pro 14-inch has not one but two new chip options you can go for. If you decide to buy the new MacBook Pro 14-inch, you can choose whether you want to upgrade to the M1 chip Pro or go even further and grab yourself a new MacBook Pro with the super-charged M1 Max.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the differences between the 2021 MacBook Pro 14-inch and the 2020 MacBook Pro 13-inch so you’ll have a good idea of what you’ll be getting for your money. First off, let’s take a look at the difference in specs between the two models.

Specifications

 MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020)MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)
ProcessorApple M1 (8-core)Apple ‌M1‌ Pro chip or Apple ‌M1‌ Max chip (up to 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU)
Display13.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 Retina display (backlit LED, IPS, 500 nits brightness, wide color P3 gamut)14.2-inch, 3,204 x 1,964, Mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion
Memory8GB, 16GB, 32GB16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Storage256GB to 4TB512GB to 8TB
Ports2 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack3 Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Dimensions11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56cm; W x D x H)12.3 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches (31.24 x 22.09 x 1.52cm; W x D x H)
Weight3.0 pounds (1.4kg)3.5 pounds (1.6kg)
Webcam720p FaceTime HD webcam1080p ‌FaceTime‌ HD camera
Battery life13 hours and 22 minutesUp to 17 hours
Starting price$1,299 / £1,299 / AU$1,999$1,999 / £1,899 / AU$2,999
MacBook Pro M1

Design

When you sit the two Macbook Pro’s down together, you might not see the key design differences right away. The truth is, Apple has revamped some age-old features to give the Macbook Pro 14-inch a different style. The 2020 Macbook Pro 13-inch has slightly sloped edges and a flat base whereas the 2021 Macbook Pro 14-inch has flatter edges and little feet underneath.

The 2020 model is also a little bit slimmer in diameter whereas the 2021 model looks thicker from the side. This is likely due to the fact the 2021 model has more hardware to pack into its shell. The extra hardware inside the 14-inch model also makes it .5 pounds heavier than the previous year’s model.

The 2020 13-inch model included a 720p webcam however the 2021 14-inch model comes packed with a new 1080p webcam. The 2021 model has also done away with the divisive Touch Bar altogether. So, if you’re a fan of the Touch Bar, you may want to steer clear of the new 2021 Macbook Pro.

The 2020 Macbook Pro 13-inch came with two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a standard headphone jack whereas the new 2021 model comes with three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and a MagSafe 3 port, going back to its roots to the joy of creatives everywhere. 

Display

The display on the MacBook Pro 13-inch features a 2560 x 1600 resolution, 500 nits brightness, P3 wide color support, and True Tone. This was already rather impressive last year, but with the MacBook Pro range targeting the creative market, there were some improvements to be made.

The MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) boosts all this up, introducing the new mini-LED technology to the MacBook Pro that was introduced in the M1-powered iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2021), with a Liquid Retina display running at a native 3456 x 2234 and 120Hz refresh rate and up to 1000 nits sustained (full-screen) brightness and 1600 nits peak brightness.

It’s with pointing out that the 2021 14-inch model has a black notch that covers a small area of the top of the screen where the new webcam is but it shouldn’t affect fullscreen viewability and will probably be barely noticeable.

MacBook Pro M1X

Performance

If you want to know what the main differences are between these two Macbook Pro’s, you’re likely most keen to know what the performance differences are.

In terms of storage, the 2020 13-inch model has up to 4TB of storage space whereas the 2021 Macbook Pro 14-inch boasts up to 8TB.

The M1 Pro offers a 10-core design, a 16-core GPU, and up to 32GB of RAM, while the M1 Max has a 32-core GPU and up to 64GB of memory with the same 10-core CPU. This wipes the floor with the original M1 chip that provides an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, and can ‘only’ be configured with up to 32GB of RAM.

That’s more cores to distribute processes meaning graphics, video rendering, and web surfing are all improved in terms of speed. It also means that the 2021 Macbook Pro 14-inch gets an improvement in battery life compared to the 2020 model. Where the 2020 13-inch model has 13 hours of juice, the 14-inch model has anywhere up to 17 hours of life.

If you want to know what this looks like in terms of benchmarks, we’ve got you covered;

 Single-coreMulti-core
M1 chip15947534
M1 Pro chip16879954
M1 Max chip174911542

These Geekbench scores above show the incremental increase in power as you upgrade from the M1 chip (2020) up to the M1 Max.

Which one Is for you?

The 2021 Macbook Pro 14-inch has taken everything the 2020 model did so well and jacked it up, making it an absolute beast. This new model is for those who want a silly amount of storage space and memory and would ideally be suited to a workhorse that demands the highest amount of performance from their computer.

However, the 2020 13-inch model would suit most people’s needs. It’s still a fantastic computer in terms of performance and physical beauty and even those who need a lot of horsepowers would find it too, in most cases, have absolutely enough power.

Of course, the 2020 13-inch Macbook Pro will suit you better if you’re on a budget and it’s worth keeping in mind that the new 2021 model will set you back $5899 if you opt for the fully specced version.

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