Apple’s compact workstation has yet to be beaten
Eagle-eyed readers may wonder why the Best Laptop in the TechRadar Choice Awards 2022 sponsored by Sky Broadband was actually released in 2021. Don’t worry, we’re not confused about calendars or bad at counting – our Choice Awards 2022 looks back at the past 12 months of product launches, and the MacBook Pro 14-inch launched in our window, having launched too late for our 2021 awards.
However, it’s a mark of just how good the MacBook Pro 14-inch is, that in the following 12 months, no laptop surpassed it, in our opinion. In fact, the only laptop that came close was another Apple device – the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), which currently sits at the top of our best laptops guide. But while the new MacBook Air is a great all-round laptop that’s best for most people, the MacBook Pro 14-inch remains the most innovative and exciting laptop of the past 12 months.
Why? For a start, it comes with the choice of an M1 Pro or M1 Max chip. These are created by Apple itself, and they offer incredible performance, especially when it comes to creative tasks. Despite the newer M2 chip debuting with the MacBook Air in July, the M1 Pro and M1 Max especially still beat it when it comes to performance.
Best of all, these chips are incredibly energy-efficient, which means they can work harder for longer without draining the battery life. In our review, we found that the MacBook Pro 14-inch lasted an amazing 15 hours and 58 minutes in our battery tests. For the kind of power on offer, that’s incredible.
Speaking of power, the 14-inch MacBook Pro offers essentially the same performance as the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2022), which also comes with either an M1 Pro or M1 Max chip. So why did we pick the 14-inch model over the 16-inch? Basically, size matters. The 16-inch is a hefty laptop, whereas the 14-inch model is noticeably smaller, which makes it easier to carry around. Also, it just feels more impressive to have that kind of power in a smaller laptop.
The 14-inch MacBook Pro still comes with a large range of ports, reversing an annoying trend that Apple, and some other laptop makers, had of only putting a few USB-C ports in a device and calling it a day.
Finally, the 14.2-inch screen is by far the best display you can get on a laptop, with a Liquid Retina XDR display featuring mini-LED technology for incredible contrast ratio and color reproduction, and with a ProMotion refresh rate of 120Hz.
It’s pricey, and may offer more power than most people need, but when it comes to picking Laptop of the Year, nothing else came close.
By Matt Hanson