How a MacBook Pro got me back into PC gaming | Digital Trends

How a MacBook Pro got me back into PC gaming | Digital Trends

Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

I have fond memories of the old days of PC gaming. That is, the old days for me. Games like Starcraft and Elder Scrolls: Morrowind had a big impact — but honestly, it’s remembering the endless hours of Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn that ring my nostalgia bell the loudest.

But somewhere along the way, I more or less retired from regular gaming. Between reaching my mid-30s, getting some new hobbies, being married, buying a house, and having kids, I wasn’t finding a lot of time or energy for the old pastime. It sounds stereotypical, I know, but its sadly true.

Then a laptop came around called the M3 Max MacBook Pro, along with a little game called Baldur’s Gate 3. And bam — all of a sudden, I was 13 again, compelled by an expansive game world and a convenient means to easily get there.

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It’s all about convenience

A screenshot from Baldur's Gate 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Baldur’s Gate II came out in the year 2000. I’m not going to try and pretend I remember the details of all my experience with this game, but let’s just say I wasn’t a hardcore PC gamer at the age of 13. I played it on whatever computer my parents happened to have, which was primarily used to access AOL. It was the same beige computer on which I did homework assignments, chatted on AIM, and made my first MySpace account.

The metaphor isn’t perfect, but being drawn to Baldur’s Gate 3 on the M3 Max MacBook Pro felt a lot like that for me. These days, you’re not going to play AAA PC games by accident. You need some dedicated hardware to make those games work well, and most of it is targeted specifically at that demographic. That is, for the most part, has been a good thing. But that’s definitely not what the M3 Max MacBook Pro is. Even as it’s launched its own gaming service in Apple Arcade, Apple has always seemed to hold the PC gaming community at arm’s length. There are signs of that changing in the near future, but we’re still in the beginning stages.

I’ve been using the 14-inch M3 Max MacBook Pro for the past month or so, and wrote the initial review of it after it launched in November. The most notable thing about it is the huge boost in graphics with the M3 Max. The previous versions were powerful, but for the first time, the hardware here felt capable enough to handle many of the latest flagship PC games without sacrificing too much in settings. And hey — Baldur’s Gate 3 just so happens to be one of the big new titles to run natively on Macs.

A MacBook Pro on a table in front of a window.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

It’s not just the fact that it can handle a game like Baldur’s Gate 3. It’s that it handles it like a dream. Unlike almost every gaming laptop I’ve ever used, the temperature on the surface of the device never gets uncomfortably hot, and the fan noise doesn’t overpower the fantastic speakers. You can even play this game unplugged from the wall without a discernible drop in performance.

I have to mention the screen too. Gaming laptops are finally starting to catch up with some of the mini-LED displays out there, but the XDR display on the MacBook Pro is still unbeaten in terms of quality. The colorful and detailed world of Baldur’s Gate 3 looks gorgeous in HDR — a perfect match for the the MacBook Pro’s bright, bold screen. Throw in the ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate and the clarity of its glossy screen, and you have a visual feast accessible right at your fingertips. It’s even one of the few games you can comfortably play right on the trackpad, which is a huge convenience factor. I know that sounds crazy — but trust me, it works.

All of that means I have an incredible gaming experience on the same laptop that I’ve been composing articles on, writing emails, and taking Zoom calls. It’s right there, just like that beige box I used back in the early 2000s in my parent’s basement. And that accessibility has made it far easier to jump in here and there when I have the time.

Of course, a MacBook Pro alone isn’t enough to get me hooked on a game. I needed something that reached deep into my brain and tapped a nerve of pure nostalgia and joy. And for me, that’s exactly what Baldur’s Gate 3 offered.

Pure nostalgia

A player looting the gilded chest in Baldur's Gate 3.
Larian studios

I’m happy to admit that nostalgia plays such a big role in my connection to Baldur’s Gate 3. Like my resurged obsession with embarrassing 2000s-era pop punk, I should have known that the game to get me back into gaming would be something directly tied to my adolescence. Because that’s exactly what Baldur’s Gate 3 is — old school in all the best ways.

Rather than adopt a more modern storytelling style or updated combat mechanics, Baldur’s Gate 3 feels almost relentlessly determined to stay true to its roots as a Dungeons and Dragons tabletop adventure. The absorbing story doesn’t rely on extravagant cut scenes and cinematic drama, but instead on dialogue trees, digital dice rolling, and choices you make. It seems to revel in just how nerdy it is too — never wincing away at less dorky costumes, characters, and storylines. And that’s exactly what makes it so charming and unique.

Heck, for me, even the frustrating bits are nostalgia bait. It’s clunky at times, there are plenty of graphical glitches, and sometimes I’m really not sure what I’m supposed to be doing. If you spent time PC gaming in the early 2000s, all of that should be familiar territory.

In all my time trying out new devices and testing out games on them, I’ve never felt drawn to go beyond what I needed to properly evaluate the product. It’s not that there haven’t been games that intrigued me over the years. Of course not. A brief stint in Halo Infinite was the last time a game like this grabbed me, and it was for very similar reasons. But as life has gotten busier, the barrier of entry of time and convenience keeps getting higher and higher.

Being absorbed into a game like Baldur’s Gate 3 on a MacBook Pro somehow smashed its way through that barrier, and left me reminiscing about when PC games, technology, and life itself was a bit simpler.

Editors’ Recommendations

Will the Vision Pro replace the Mac? Apple has to be careful | Digital Trends

Will the Vision Pro replace the Mac? Apple has to be careful | Digital Trends

The Vision Pro headset is poised to be one of the most significant products Apple has introduced in years, and it has the potential to launch a new era of success for the company. But at the same time, there’s a risk that it could end up cannibalizing the Mac line by giving plenty of people something that could replace their computer altogether.

That means Apple has got to be very careful with how it handles the Vision Pro. It no doubt wants as many people to buy it as possible, but it wants that to happen without having to sacrifice sales of its other devices. How on earth is it going to do that?

The Mac killer?


Right from the word go, Apple has been busy hyping the Vision Pro’s capabilities. The company calls it a “spatial computer,” suggesting we need to completely reimagine what a computer is in the first place. The product’s sky-high $3,500 price tag and abundance of high-end materials and technologies give it an undeniably premium feel, far beyond what we’ve seen from even the best VR headsets.

At the same time, Apple has claimed that the Vision Pro will be able to do a host of tasks you’d normally perform with a laptop or desktop computer, from gaming and video calling to writing documents and browsing photos.

To be clear, Apple didn’t explicitly put the Vision Pro and the Mac head-to-head during its reveal event, nor has it ever said you can go ahead and ditch your Mac. But the comparison is obvious if you look at what both products can do. And that’s obviously what Meta is trying to do with the Quest Pro.

The risk, then, is of users asking why they need to bother with a Mac. If the Vision Pro can do 99% of what a Mac can, why not just get the headset? Of course, things are a little more complicated than that.

The ‘buy them all’ ecosystem

Apple CEO Tim Cook standing in front of four Vision Pro headsets.

Apple is an ecosystem company, and that means all of the devices it makes fit perfectly together. Like every other business, Apple wants you to buy as many of its products as you can, but the way Apple has crafted its ecosystem makes that a much more tempting prospect than it is with many of its rivals, since everything clicks together seamlessly.

If the Vision Pro lives up to its promises, it might blur the boundaries of those products. Sure, it’s expensive, but you can pump the latest MacBook Pro so full of extras that it costs a whopping $7,199 — double the price of the Vision Pro. If you’re prepared to spend that much — and if the Vision Pro does everything the MacBook does and more — getting a headset instead isn’t such a leap.

Yet, despite the similar abilities, it seems to me that Apple is trying very hard to make sure you don’t forsake the Mac for a Vision Pro, or vice versa. To me, the term “spatial computer” implies something separate from a regular computer, and Apple has explained the ways you can use the two products together. In reality, they can do many of the same things, of course, but Apple doesn’t want you to ditch one for the other just because of that inconvenient fact. It wants you to see them as complementary.

Remember when Apple said the iPad can replace a PC? The company hasn’t done that with the Vision Pro, and I think that’s simply because it wants you to buy a Vision Pro and a Mac. And right now, there are some very strong reasons why you might not want to ditch your Mac for a headset anyway.

Deliberate positioning

Apple Vision Pro being worn by a person while using a keyboard.

As things stand, the Vision Pro can only really replace a Mac in theory, and even then, only in certain limited scenarios. If you want to watch movies, work with multiple displays, or conduct video calls, then it might make sense on the surface. But would you pay $3,500 just to do that? A cheap MacBook would be just as capable.

And what about if you render videos? Or play the best Mac games with a mouse and keyboard? Or work with data-heavy mathematical models? In those cases (and many more), chances you’re going to need a Mac.

Apple has also decided to launch its high-end, high-price headset first while keeping the rumored cheaper model back for another time. That could be a very deliberate ploy to ensure the Vision Pro doesn’t impact Mac sales too heavily by establishing it as a premium device way above what most Macs cost. After all, you can buy a Mac mini for $599 — you can’t say that about the Vision Pro. When the cheaper headset launches, though, that differentiation could be much harder to enforce.

I’ve got no doubt that the Vision Pro is going to be an incredible device, and maybe it could replace a Mac for for some people. But if Apple is going to turn it into the company’s next big thing, it’ll have to convince a lot of people that it’s not only better than their existing tech, but can replace it entirely. Based on what we’ve seen so far, that’s unlikely to happen until the cheaper Vision Pro sees the light of day.

Editors’ Recommendations

Mac Mini with M2 at its Cheapest Ever Price for Black Friday | Digital Trends

Mac Mini with M2 at its Cheapest Ever Price for Black Friday | Digital Trends

Digital Trends

The Apple Mac Mini M2 is just less than a year old, but its 256GB model is already down to its cheapest-ever price of $499 in Amazon’s Apple Black Friday deals. The $100 discount on the computer’s original price of $599 may be gone sooner than you think, and there’s no assurance that the offer will appear again on Cyber Monday. If you want to get the machine for cheaper than usual, your only choice is to buy it right now — if you don’t, there’s a chance that you miss out entirely on the bargain.

Why you should buy the Apple Mac Mini M2

The Apple Mac Mini M2, which was released early this year, promises extremely powerful performance from a very small package through Apple’s M2 chip. With an eight-core CPU, a 10-core GPU, and 8GB of RAM, the computer will be able to handle demanding activities with no issues, such as editing huge multimedia files and multitasking between several apps. The 256GB SSD will give you enough space for your projects, but you can always sign up for cloud storage services or connect an external hard drive if you need more.

There’s no shortage of ports on the Apple Mac Mini M2 if you need to link accessories like an external SSD. It features two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack. The computer is designed to work amazingly well with the Apple Studio Display and other Apple devices like the Magic Keyboard, and while it ships with macOS Ventura, you can upgrade it right away to macOS Sonoma.

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If you were hoping to score from Mac Mini Black Friday deals, check out this offer from Amazon — the Apple Mac Mini M2 with 256GB storage capacity for its lowest price so far of $499, for savings of $100 on its sticker price of $599. It’s never a good idea to wait until the last minute of Black Friday deals as we’re not sure which offers will stay available throughout the shopping holiday, so if you’re interested in buying the Apple Mac Mini M2 with a discount, you should add it to your cart and check out as soon as possible.

Editors’ Recommendations

The MacBook Pro we all want is still many years away | Digital Trends

The MacBook Pro we all want is still many years away | Digital Trends

As great as the MacBook Pro is right now, there’s one important feature that’s always been missing. A touchscreen. It’s something Windows laptops have enjoyed for years now, and many have viewed it as a missing piece of the puzzle for the Mac.

The latest rumors, however, suggest that a solid road map is in place that could potentially end with touch-enabled OLED screens coming to the MacBook Pro.

The news comes from @Tech_Reve on X (formerly Twitter), who indicates that Apple has plans to reveal MacBook Pro models featuring OLED displays in the 2026 to 2027 time frame. These models might come in 14.2-inch and 16.2-inch variants and are also expected to be touchscreen enabled.

𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟳 𝗢𝗟𝗘𝗗 𝗠𝗮𝗰𝗕𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗼𝘂𝗰𝗵𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗻

1. Apple is expected to introduce a display-integrated touchscreen technology in the OLED MacBook anticipated to be released in 2026–2027.

2. The OLED MacBook Pro, expected to be released in 14.2-inch and…

— Revegnus (@Tech_Reve) November 20, 2023

After the introduction of the OLED touchscreen MacBook Pro, Apple is expected to push both features to MacBook Air models in 13.6-inch and 15.3-inch variants. This could happen starting in 2026 and beyond, depending on the tentative timeline of the MacBook Pro launch.

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According to @Tech_Reve, Apple is working with Samsung and LG as its display suppliers. Each manufacturer has their own updated version of touchscreen technology that integrates the touch panel directly into the display. Samsung’s technology is called Y-OCTA and LG’s is Touch On Encapsulation. However, they ultimately produce the same result, a thinner panel at a lower cost. The current standard entails layering the OLED panel and then a separate touch panel, WCCFTech noted.

The OLED touchscreen MacBook Pro might trickle down from the OLED iPad Pro, which is one of the big Apple rumors for a launch during the first half of 2024. The tablet already has a touchscreen display, so many believe it would be an easy transition to add an OLED screen for a similarly high-end product. Additionally, the rumored 11-inch and 13-inch models are expected to be solid testers for future OLED touchscreen devices, such as the 2026-2027 MacBook Pro.

WCCFTech made the point that the OLED touchscreen MacBook Pro would likely require tweaks to the macOS interface to accommodate for the precision needed when using touch on a display. Notably, the iPad Pro already has the assistance of the Apple Pencil, but there’s no telling how accessories will fit into the equation.


TechRadar also noted that Apple has in the past made a stance indicating touchscreen was not a necessary feature for laptops. Other downsides, especially when coupled with an OLED display, could include a higher price point and fingerprint smudging to the pristine high-end screens.

While these features remain rumors, there has been a long-standing indication that Apple especially has plans to transition its Pro products to OLED panels. It’s worth mentioning that even with OLED on the road map, there’s no guarantee for sure that Apple will bring the touch capability to the MacBooks, which would reverse the company’s long-held belief that touchscreen laptops are ergonomically problematic.

Editors’ Recommendations

MacBook Pro 16 vs. MacBook Pro 14: the important differences | Digital Trends

MacBook Pro 16 vs. MacBook Pro 14: the important differences | Digital Trends

MacBooks are among the best laptops you can buy, but there are some critical differences between Apple’s two MacBook Pro models.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro is a relatively new arrival on the market, with a bigger screen size than the now-discontinued 13-inch model. The 16-inch model was a refresh of the existing MacBook Pro, but there were enough changes to call it a new laptop entirely. Both of them are worthy of being listed among the best MacBooks out there, and our review of the new M3 Max MacBook Pro 14 just confirms how great the laptops really are. The question is, which model is right for you?


Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you’ve taken a close look at the previous iterations of MacBooks, examining the new ones will reveal a few small changes. However, comparing the 14-inch to the 16-inch doesn’t uncover any massive design difference apart from the size of the notebooks.

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Both Macs feature Apple’s new flat-edge design. A few years ago, the brand slowly started to revert its products to the design it used before, and the new MacBook Pros continue that trend. This means drifting away from the curved edges we’ve all grown used to.

However, the change is pretty minimal in the new MacBooks, as the edges don’t appear sharp. The main difference is that the top half of the notebook now matches the bottom half. You could easily compare this design choice to what Apple has done with the iPhone or the iPad Pro ranges.

In terms of cooling, both Macs utilize the same heat pipe design previously used in the MacBook Pro 16. The size of the heat sink has been increased by 35% to accommodate the powerful and heat-prone components found inside. For the 16-inch Mac, this is simply the retention of a previously used technology. For the smaller 14-inch model, this is a huge upgrade.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

One thing Apple has said goodbye to with the new MacBooks is the Touch Bar. It was somewhat controversial and often left unused, so replacing it with a set of physical function keys may have been the right step for Apple.

Both laptops feature the Magic Keyboard, and whether you go with the 14-inch or the 16-inch model, the keyboard remains the same excellent version. They also benefit from an upgraded webcam, bringing much-needed 1080p quality to replace the 720p used in previous versions.  The downside of the webcam? The notch at the top of the screen — although the apps do fold neatly around it, so it doesn’t obstruct the screen. Both laptops use Apple’s outstanding Force Touch haptic touchpad, and both use all the available space on the palm rest.


While the two new Macs don’t vary much in terms of design from previous generations, they certainly do when it comes to their displays. Apple entered a new era with the release of these notebooks, upgrading their screens to utilize mini-LED technology. This applies to both models.

The use of mini-LED makes the Liquid Retina XDR displays of these new Macs brighter than ever. Around 10,000 LEDs, each smaller than 200 microns, are found within the thin, light, and colorful screens of the 14-inch and the 16-inch MacBook Pros.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Switching to mini-LEDs was a smart move by Apple. What we get here is a wider color gamut with rich, satisfyingly, vibrant shades, better contrast, and deeper blacks. These screens are essentially very close to OLEDs, but they shouldn’t suffer from the same degradation and burn-in problems that OLEDs sometimes do. They’re also incredibly bright, up to 1,600 nits when displaying high dynamic range (HDR) video. That makes them probably the best laptops around for consuming HDR content.

Both the screens are beautiful, but they’re not the same size. The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros sport display resolutions of 3024 x 1964 and 3456 x 2234, respectively. This is an increase over the previous models. The aspect ratios are as unusual as the resolutions are, resulting in the 16-inch Mac having a 1.55:1 aspect ratio and the 14-inch having a 1.54:1.

Unusual as the sizing may be, it’s quite refreshing to see a taller screen on a laptop, and these Retina displays pack a lot of pixels to make them seem even bigger. The pixel density has been increased to 254 pixels per inch, sharpening the image and adding clarity.

As far as refresh rates go, there are no differences between the new MacBook Pros. ProMotion technology is in use here, meaning that the refresh rate is adapted to what you are currently doing. At the lowest level, you can expect a refresh rate of 24Hz, but it can go all the way up to a respectable 120Hz when necessary. This design choice will help preserve battery life while still allowing for smooth performance during gameplay and creative workflows.


Screenshot showing Apple Silicon M3 processor range.

It hasn’t been long since Apple introduced the M1 chip, switching from Intel-based systems to its own Apple silicon. To call that decision a hit would be an understatement, and things only get better from there with the introduction of the M3. The MacBook Pro 14 can now utilize the base M3, part of the move to discontinue the 13-inch MacBook Pro that used the base M1 and M2 processors. Both sizes can utilize the M3 Pro or the M3 Max chip, and they represent significant upgrades from their predecessors.

The new M3 Pro and M3 Max chips come with more cores and faster speeds. Apple’s engineers have outdone themselves with these chips, somehow combining fantastic performance with even better power consumption and good thermals. They’re fast, reliable, and great for productivity, creativity, and most other things you might want to throw their way.

Although MacBooks have never been particularly known for their gaming capabilities, these two new notebooks are even faster in a lot of titles, provided you’re not a hardcore gamer in need of a monster gaming PC — but then, not many users turn to Apple for gaming purposes anyway.

The M3 Pro and M3 Max versions available to the 14-inch and 16-inch models vary slightly. The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at an 11-core CPU/14-core GPU M3 Pro, while the 16-inch model starts at the 12-core CPU/18-core GPU M3 Pro. At the high end, both models max out at the 16-core CPU/40-core GPU M3 Max.

That means that the 16-inch model is likely to be slightly faster than the 14-inch machine thanks to better thermals, but not by much. And by offering the base M3 processor in the 14-inch MacBook Pro, Apple was able to lower the price of entry.

Another change is that the 14-inch MacBook Pro can now access the same high-power mode as the 16-inch model when configured with the M3 Max. If you’re plugged in and don’t mind some extra heat and fan noise, this power mode offers a meaningful uptick in performance.

Screenshot showing Apple M3 performance increases.

Not everything is perfect with the new processors, however. The M3 Pro has switched up the core counts, with the 12-core M3 Pro having just six performance cores and six efficiency cores compared to the M2 Pro’s eight performance cores and four efficiency cores. And memory bandwidth has been reduced from 200 GB/s to 150 GB/s. We haven’t benchmarked the M3 Pro yet, but it remains to be seen if the base M3 Pro is all that much faster than the base M2 Pro.

Nevertheless, alongside the beastly processor and integrated graphics, we’re getting an upgrade in RAM. Both notebooks support up to 128GB of memory with the M3 Max, up to 36GB with the M3 Pro, and up to 24GB with the M3. One change is that the base M3 14-inch MacBook Pro comes with just 8GB of RAM rather than the 18GB starting point with the M3 Pro and M3 Max. There has been a bit of controversy around the introduction of an 8Gb base version of the MacBook Pro 14, with Apple claiming that 8GB is as fast as 16GB on other platforms.

That may not be true, though, and some testing has shown that 8GB might represent a bottleneck. That’s been even more controversial given that it costs $200 to upgrade the base M3 14-inch MacBook Pro to 16GB. On the other hand, the 18GB that comes with the M3 Pro and M3 Max should be sufficient for less demanding users who don’t want to splurge.

In terms of storage, the standard is 512GB for both the 14-inch and the 16-inch models. It can be upgraded if you find yourself in need of extra space for all your files. Note that the new base storage doesn’t use single-NAND memory compared to the larger SSDs that use double-NAND memory as seen in the M2 models, so there’s no performance compromise from going with the base storage.


The new MacBook Pro 14 is similar in size to the MacBook 13 that it is replacing. Measuring 15.5 mm and weighing 3.5 pounds, the notebook is thin and portable. The increase in the display size stems from the fact that Apple slimmed down the bezels and got rid of the MacBook Pro label at the bottom.

Unsurprisingly, the 16-inch Mac is larger. Measuring 16.88 mm and weighing 4.7 pounds, it’s slightly more of a burden to carry around, but the larger size is made up for by the bigger display. It’s hard to pick a winner here — only you know whether you care more about better portability or a larger screen.

For most people, the difference in sizing will not be a deal breaker one way or the other. Both notebooks are relatively easy enough to carry. According to Apple, the 14-inch MacBook Pro has worse battery life, 18 hours compared to 22 hours with the 16-inch model. That, more than the size, might affect the final decision. More on that below.


Many MacBook users have been longing for the return of the ports. At some point in 2016, Apple decided to rid its notebooks of all ports aside from USB-C. Fortunately, 2021 was when things are finally starting to return to normal, and the new notebooks sport a highly anticipated list of ports.

We got the return of MagSafe, a technology that was on the brink of being forgotten but was always very missed. MagSafe magnetically attaches the charging cable to your Mac. Should you happen to pull on the cord, the tech will detach itself as opposed to pulling your notebook toward an early demise. As an added bonus, Apple gave MagSafe a face-lift and improved the charging speeds compared to previous Macs.

Connectivity on the new 2021 Macbook Pro. SD reader, USB-C port, HDMI port.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The laptops both feature an HDMI port, several Thunderbolt 4 ports, and a full-size SD card reader, which is something we haven’t seen in a MacBook for years. Note that the base M3 14-inch MacBook Pro has just two Thunderbolt 4 ports compared to three on the other models. The ports are evenly spread across the notebook, with one or two Thunderbolts and a MagSafe on the left side, and an HDMI port, another Thunderbolt port, and the SD card reader on the right.

Note that the base M3 14-inch MacBook Pro supports just one external display, while the M3 Pro supports up to two external displays and the M3 Max supports up to four external displays. Anyone looking for the ultimate multimonitor setup should keep this in mind. Also, both laptops have been updated to Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, so both benefit from faster wireless connectivity.

This is a definite upgrade over the previous MacBooks. There is no winner in this category, and if we had to pick one, we’d say that both the 14-inch and 16-inch Macs are winners. They feature the same set of ports, bringing some much-needed relief to Apple fans who often needed to buy extra dongles to make the most out of their notebook.

Battery life

Each of the new MacBook Pros has a different battery, but both present improvements over the previous generation.

The MacBook Pro 16-inch has a battery rated at 100 watts. Combined with the use of Apple silicon in this laptop, which has already tremendously increased battery life compared to older, Intel-based systems, we’re in for a treat.

Lifestyle image of someone using the new Macbook Pro 2021.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Compared to the previous MacBook Pro 16, the battery in this model is slightly smaller, but that has no negative impact on the battery life. Users can expect at least 22 hours during light computing.

The smaller, 14-inch MacBook Pro also features an upgrade in the battery over its 13-inch predecessor. The chassis allows for the use of a larger battery, and Apple made the most of it by installing one that’s rated at 70 watts.

When it comes to battery life on the 14-inch Mac, we can expect it to be shorter than what the 16-inch has to offer. It’s no wonder, considering that this notebook is smaller and just doesn’t have the space for a battery as large as the 16-inch. The 14-inch MacBook Pro should be able to last through around 18 hours of video playback before it’s time to plug it back in.

Laptop users know full well that you don’t always get the most out of your notebook when not connected to a source of power. Apple is out to dispel that notion with the addition of High-Power Mode. This is an optional setting, present in both laptops, that lets users boost the notebook’s performance even when it’s not connected.

On the other end of the scale, there’s the Low-Power Mode, which still lets you preserve some battery life by turning off unnecessary processes.


Not many people turn to Apple products for the price — the brand remains aware of this by pricing both notebooks higher than many competitors. While both offer excellent quality, they’re not exactly cheap. Despite that, it’s hard to deny that by using the new chips, Apple managed to make these notebooks a great value for the money.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro is slightly more expensive than the 13-inch version that it replaced. It’s difficult to complain about this, as this notebook does offer a larger display while remaining virtually the same in size. The performance that it provides is also worth the higher price tag.

If you want to get your hands on the latest MacBook Pro 14, be prepared to spend at least $1,599 for the base M3 configuration, which is the only one that offers an M3 with just eight CPU cores.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is priced higher than the previous version. To benefit from the various improvements that it provides, customers have to spend at least $2,499.

Both the laptops can be upgraded by adding more RAM and storage, so this could drive up the price a little bit further.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the winner here

Photographer using the new Macbook Pro.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

We recommend the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but not by a huge margin.

This time around, more than ever, it’s difficult to pinpoint one true winner between these two MacBook Pros. This is because, in a lot of aspects, they are virtually the same.

Except for the base M3 14-inch model, both of them run on (mostly) the same chips and have stunning displays, as well as the same number of ports, the same amount of storage, and the same general design.

While both are very close, the 16-inch MacBook Pro does offer theoretically much better performance and a larger 16-inch display. In addition, it also has a longer battery life and improved airflow.

Editors’ Recommendations

5G MacBooks are coming, 20 years after Steve Jobs nixed them | Digital Trends

5G MacBooks are coming, 20 years after Steve Jobs nixed them | Digital Trends


In the future, your MacBook could come with wireless connectivity, allowing you to access the internet even without a Wi-Fi link. That would be perfect for any time you head out onto the road with your MacBook and struggle to connect to the internet, and would bring it on par with the iPhone and Apple Watch.

How do we know this? Well, it’s the latest claim from reporter Mark Gurman’s Power On newsletter, and the journalist claims this won’t be any old wireless chip — it will be an in-house component built directly into the Apple silicon chip that powers all the best MacBooks of the future.

Unfortunately, it’s not likely to see the light of day until 2028 at the earliest, meaning you’ll have to stick to tethering your iPhone as a mobile hotspot for now. Gurman notes that the wireless chip will potentially be ready by 2026, but that Apple will need two to three years to fit it inside its devices.

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Still, if your MacBook does belatedly get 5G connectivity (or something even faster), it could be a brilliant move for Apple fans, especially if you head off into the wilds with your laptop and need solid internet coverage.

20 years in the making

Apple's redesigned MacBook Pro set to release in the second half of this year.

Apple has been trying to design more of the parts in its devices for a long time now — after all, that control is what led to the company ditching Intel chips in favor of Apple silicon a few years ago. In the case of the wireless chip, there’s a very clear reason why it makes sense.

In 2008, Steve Jobs claimed that Apple had explored adding some sort of 3G connectivity to its MacBooks, but abandoned the plans because the required chips would take up too much space inside the laptop’s case. If Apple can integrate a wireless modem into its Apple silicon chips by 2028, however, that problem could be fixed — 20 years after Jobs admitted defeat.

Sure, you can get 5G on your MacBook right now if you tether your iPhone to it, and that works well for a lot of people. But it’s an imperfect solution. What if you forget your iPhone, or you wander out of range with your phone while your MacBook is downloading something? Building wireless connectivity into the Mac itself avoids all that.

Plus, it gives Apple even more control over its ecosystem and lessens its reliance on third-party manufacturers, something the company has evidently been keen to do for years. Whatever the motivation, though, the upshot will be the same: a better experience on your Mac when you’re away from the Wi-Fi router. And I’m all for that.

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These are the best games to play on your new M3 Mac | Digital Trends

These are the best games to play on your new M3 Mac | Digital Trends

Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

It’s an exciting time to be a Mac gamer. The latest MacBooks are genuine gaming machines thanks to the addition of ray tracing, mesh shading, and some impressive GPU performance. Even more, Apple is courting more developers to port their games to Apple’s computers with features like Game Mode and the Game Porting Toolkit.

In short, Mac gaming has never been in a better place. If you’ve bought a new Mac loaded with a chip from the M3 family, you might want to test out its power with a few demanding games to see what it can do. There’s no need to stick to mild indie games that won’t cause your Mac to break a sweat — we’re talking AAA titles that will run natively on Apple hardware. And, of course, you can always use an app like CrossOver to run any Windows games you can imagine. But here are the best games that run natively on an M3 Mac to try out, ranging from incredibly deep fantasy RPGs to exhilarating battle royales.

Baldur’s Gate 3

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Coming from the team that made Divinity: Original Sin 2 — one of the best Mac games around — expectations were high for Baldur’s Gate 3, and it has delivered on almost every front. It’s been widely hailed as the game of the year on any platform, and having that kind of title on Apple’s computers is fantastic news for Mac gamers.

It’s well-suited to Apple’s powerful new M3 chip, too. The level of detail, from the world itself to the characters that inhabit it, is absolutely breathtaking. Things can really heat up in combat too, with all kinds of eye-catching special effects, whether you’re raining down fire or blasting your enemies with lightning strikes.

The developer recommends an M1 Pro chip for the best performance, and that’s now been surpassed by the M3 series. If you have one of the latest chips, you should get excellent performance out of one of the most exciting games around right now.

Lies of P

Lies of P is the kind of AAA game it would be hard to imagine on a Mac just a few years ago. Yet here we are, with an engrossing Soulslike title paired with Apple’s top-notch hardware. If you’ve been lamenting the absence of Elden Ring on macOS and want something that captures that same atmosphere, Lies of P will scratch the itch for you.

We tested it out when we reviewed the M3 iMac and got around 55fps at 1080p with medium settings, showing that this is the kind of game that can really push Apple’s chips. Using the M3 Max in the 14-inch MacBook Pro, we got well over 100fps at 1080p resolution and max settings. At the higher 2294 x 1432 resolution, our reviewer recorded an impressive 70 fps. Even with the latest high-end games, then, Apple’s M3 series is more than capable of running things smoothly.

Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4, the latest title in Capcom’s legendary horror franchise, got its outing on the PC in March 2023, but it won’t launch on the Mac until December 20 this year. Yet judging by the ecstatic reception it’s received on Windows, it’s going to be one to look forward to for Mac gamers.

Now that the M3 chips support hardware-accelerated ray tracing, this game can offer an exhilarating visual experience to match the thrill and tension of its gripping story and gameplay. That’s something you just wouldn’t get with older Mac chips since they simply don’t have the ability to output that kind of graphical fidelity.

Resident Evil Village

It used to be rare for Apple to show off high-end games at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), but the company’s recent improvements have been such that it’s not unusual these days. One game that got the glitzy show treatment was Resident Evil Village, and it’s an excellent game to push your M3 Mac to see what it can do.

When we tested it on a MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip, and it got around 60fps at 1080p resolution and the Balanced settings preset. Try that with an M3 chip, though — or better yet, an M3 Pro or M3 Max — and you’ll be able to turn the settings right up and still get smooth frame rates. It’s a great showcase of what you get with Mac gaming today — and what the future could look like for the platform.

Divinity: Original Sin 2

If Baldur’s Gate 3 is your kind of game, you’ll love Divinity: Original Sin 2, as it was also made by developer Larian Games. Even years after its release, it remains one of the most enjoyable titles you can play on the M3 series of Mac chips.

With a rich story, captivating characters, and some of the most creative, rewarding combat in any turn-based game, this is a superb experience from start to finish. And when battles start to get frantic — with fireballs flying and explosions rending the sky — you’ll be glad you’ve got a beefy M3 chip to handle it all.

Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima’s post-apocalyptic tale depicts a world afflicted by the Death Stranding, which has opened a link between the realms of the living and the dead. As Sam Bridges, you must help humanity recover by connecting the last remaining survivors across a ravaged United States.

With an M3-series chip inside your Mac, Death Stranding is an ideal chance to ramp up the settings and take in the desolate beauty of a forsaken world. Sure, you might have been able to do that on an M1 or M2 chip, but you’d have to drop the settings down to cope. With an M3 chip and the extra performance it brings, Death Stranding on the Mac really gets a chance to shine.


Fortnite might not seem like the most strenuous of games to run on an M3 Mac, but it has plenty of options you can crank up to give you an even better experience. If you prize visual fidelity, there’s a lot you can do to make it prettier — and ask more of your Apple chip.

Of course, in any kind of shooter, you might want to actually lower settings to give you as many frames per second as you can get. But with the power in the M3 series — especially the high-end M3 Pro and M3 Max — you’re not compelled to turn every setting down to “low” just to make things playable on a Mac. That’s what’s so impressive about Apple’s latest chips: you can get both performance and aesthetics without too many sacrifices, and Fortnite is a good example of that.

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Best Mac Mini Black Friday Deals: Mac Mini M2 and More | Digital Trends

Best Mac Mini Black Friday Deals: Mac Mini M2 and More | Digital Trends

They’re here, they’re big, and they’re some of the best deals we’ve seen all year. Early Black Friday deals are available to shop right now, ahead of the big holiday shopping event. TVs, smart home tech, computers, you name it, they’re discounted, and the prices are low enough that they’re worth buying and not waiting. Another piece of tech on sale is Apple’s Mac Mini, an excellent yet minimalistic desktop computer that serves as a full alternative to MacBooks and iPads. If you’re in the market for one, listen up, because we’ve rounded up all of the best Mac Mini Black Friday deals, including new and refurbished units. Take a look and take your pick.

Best Mac Mini Black Friday deals


Mac Mini, in any variant, is designed to be used like a desktop with a mouse and keyboard plugged in. Although, they do not come with a desktop monitor, which means you’ll need to have one or supply one of your own. It’s a much more convenient and versatile option versus the larger full-sized desktop towers. You can quickly and easily stow them in a bag, luggage, or day-bag to take back and forth between home and work. Or, you could leave them on a small desk in your home in a small nook — you don’t need as much room to accommodate the system.

Black Friday and Cyber Week are some of the best times to find Apple’s Mac Mini at a great price. Here are all of the best Mac Mini Black Friday deals we’ve found:

  • M1 Mac Mini with 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD —

  • M2 Mac Mini with 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD —

  • M1 Mac Mini with 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD —

  • M2 Mac Mini with 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD —

  • M2 Pro Mac Mini with 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD —

Best refurbished Mac Mini Black Friday deals

The Mac mini on a wooden table.
Digital Trends

Refurbished or renewed means reassembled, fixed, and tested and in working condition. Of course, they come in several rated conditions from good to excellent — like new.

Here are all of the best refurbished Mac Mini Black Friday deals we could find:

  • Intel Core i5 Mac Mini renewed with 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD —

  • Intel Core i5 Mac Mini renewed with 8GB RAM, 480GB SSD —

  • M1 Mac Mini renewed with 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD —

  • M1 Mac Mini renewed with 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD —

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A new iMac Pro could still launch. Here’s what I want to see | Digital Trends

A new iMac Pro could still launch. Here’s what I want to see | Digital Trends

A week ago, a shocking report emerged: Apple apparently had no plans for a larger iMac, potentially meaning the iMac Pro was dead and buried. However, opposition voices soon emerged, and the consensus now seems to be that Apple has only ruled out the 27-inch iMac, not the idea of a larger all-in-one entirely.

In fact, just yesterday, Bloomberg Mark Gurman reiterated his previous claims that a larger iMac is still in the works. That’s an exciting rumor because I’ve felt for years that the iMac isn’t quite living up to its potential. If a larger, more powerful version really is still in development, it could be a seriously impressive device. Here’s everything I want to see from it.

More raw power


There’s no doubt about it, the new 24-inch iMac is well and truly a consumer device. With its bright colors and entry level M3 chip, it’s a fun, capable machine for everyday use, but there’s no question that it struggles with the most demanding of tasks. That’s no good for pro users.

What would fix that? A more powerful chip. If Apple can bring out a new all-in-one with the M3 Pro — or, better yet, the M3 Max — it will offer far more raw power for the most demanding users, whether they’re editing videos or crunching code. It could also be a more streamlined offering than having to buy a Mac Studio and a separate Studio Display.

And with the gaming power of Apple’s M3 Max chip, it could give gamers a brand-new option: a gorgeous large display and impressive performance, all wrapped up in a sleek package with a small desktop footprint. Now how’s that for enticing?

A truly pro display

Apple iMac Pro News

In its other products, Apple has used the prospect of an improved display to tempt users into shelling out for a high-end product — just look at the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and its gorgeous mini-LED screen. The iMac Pro would be the perfect candidate for this, and I’d love to see an iMac fitted with Super Retina XDR display tech.

While we’ve seen this in smaller-screen devices like the iPad Pro and the MacBook Pro, the only large device this technology has made it into is the Pro Display XDR, and that costs $4,999. I can’t imagine the iMac Pro will set you back that much, meaning it will hit a much more reasonable price point for this class of screen.

Throw in ProMotion and Face ID and it would be the ultimate Apple display for professional users. And combined with the power of the M3 Pro or M3 Max, we could see a boost to its gaming chops. That’s my kind of machine.

New colors — including space black

An iMac Pro on a desk with a range of accessories, including a Loupedeck board, a mouse, a keyboard, and other audio equipment.
JC Gellidon / Unsplash

The 24-inch iMac currently comes in a range of bright, energetic colors. While Apple often does that for its consumer products, its professional devices are outfitted in more muted tones: silver, gray, black. I’d love to see that in the iMac Pro.

And now that the MacBook Pro comes in a new space black shade, that would be the perfect addition to the iMac Pro. After all, back when the original iMac Pro was available, Apple sold it in a beautiful dark gray color. Space black would point toward that heritage whil going in a new direction.

Better ergonomics

An orange 24-inch iMac seen from behind, with a focus on its hinge and ports.
Digital Trends

When you look at the 24-inch iMac, one problem becomes immediately obvious even before you’ve turned it on: you can barely adjust the stand. Sure, you can tilt the display forward or backwards … but, uhh, that’s about it.

Apple really needs to improve that with the iMac Pro. I’m not asking for some sort of absurd engineering construction like the $999 stand that’s offered alongside the Pro Display XDR, just something that — at the very least — allows you to move the screen up and down.

That level of ergonomic freedom is something the iMac hasn’t had since the days of the iMac G4 two decades ago. It’s about time Apple put it right.

New accessories at last

Magic Mouse next to a Mac keyboard on a desk.
kaboompics / Pixabay

Speaking of long overdue changes, how about the iMac Pro’s accessories? Users of Apple’s all-in-one have been making do with the same keyboard and mouse for years, and it’s disappointing Apple hasn’t changed that with the M3 iMac.

OK, I’m not too fussed about the Magic Keyboard — that’s fine as it is, although a Space Black option would be great. No, what really needs to change is the Magic Mouse. It’s rightly reviled as one of Apple’s biggest design mistakes, with its flat, uncomfortable shape causing discomfort and wrist pain in too many users. And don’t get me started on the upside-down charging fiasco.

If Apple can launch a truly pro-level mouse alongside the larger iMac, I’ll be one happy camper. I don’t expect it to happen, but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming, right?

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Here’s more proof Apple is wrong about its MacBook memory | Digital Trends

Here’s more proof Apple is wrong about its MacBook memory | Digital Trends

Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

Apple has made some big claims about its unified memory over the past few years. That was made explicit this week when an Apple representative was asked why it has begun to sell an 8GB starting configuration of its new M3 Pro MacBook Pro, a laptop that’s already been under scrutiny recently. The interviewee responded by saying that 8GB on a MacBook was equivalent to 16GB on a comparable system. But is that really true? It’s been hard to test so far, but a recent video posted by Max Tech suggests that in practice, at least, it’s not so simple.

The YouTube channel is testing an 8GB and 16GB configuration of the M3 Pro MacBook Pro. This has been the first time that these exact models have been compared side-by-side, and the reported results appear to contradict Apple’s broad claims.

The video shows that 8GB of memory is easily used up by an instance of Google Chrome, and how big of an effect that has on performance in other applications. For example, Max Tech shows that with 20 Chrome tabs open, Lightroom Classic was 79% slower at completing a media export when it only had 8GB of RAM to work with. That means something that a job that took just a minute and 6 seconds to complete took five minutes and 16 seconds.

This isn’t terribly surprising, though, and is representative of how past Mac memory has behaved as well. Once memory is fully used, Macs switch to relying on SSD swap, which dramatically reduces performance. Check out the full video embed above for more info on the other tests performed by Max Tech, all of which are fairly convincing.

A screenshot from a Max Tech video comparing how RAM affects performance.
Max Tech

While 8GB will continue to be enough for the tasks typically used on entry-level MacBook Air models, the situation described above is extremely common for creative professionals working on their laptops. The idea that someone could shell out this much cash on a system with only 8GB of RAM is a big problem. Suffice it to say, if you’re buying a MacBook Pro, you should plan to start with at least 16GB of memory, which is going to cost an additional $200. It should be noted that the M3 Max version of the MacBook Pro starts with a minimum of 36GB of RAM, which can be configured all the way up to 128GB.

It’s not that Apple’s unified memory subsystem isn’t impressive. The company is right that the ability to share memory freely between the CPU and GPU does make it significantly more efficient than competitive systems. But that doesn’t change the fact that these higher-end MacBook Pros should really not be sold with just 8GB of RAM. It’s just not the kind of experience that anyone looking for a powerful computer is going to be happy with.

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