A Deep Dive Into Apple’s New M3 MacBook Pro

An extensive, hands-on review of the M3 Max MacBook Pro and real-life comparisons to M1 and M2 iterations of Apple Silicon.

Attila Vágó
16 min readNov 12, 2023

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Photo by author

As soon as Apple’s Scary Fast event concluded, I was on the website ordering what to date is the most capable, perhaps obscenely powerful computer I have ever owned. Just a fortnight before, I was about to fork over some serious cash for a maxed out 14” M2 Max MacBook Pro to replace my 14” M2 Pro with just above base configuration. The intent was to have a machine that I will keep for a long time — think 5+ years — and be able to still do everything I need to with ease and perhaps even write reviews like “The M2 Max 3 years later”. I am glad I waited so that I could instead get my hands on the M3 Max, and use this instead as my super-long-term use machine.

While there will be a review dedicated to software development and coding soon, this review is for the general public, for literally everyone else who wants or needs a Pro laptop. It’s worth noting though that Pro at Apple doesn’t necessarily mean one needs it for professional work. The M2 Air, for instance, is more than adequate for many types of professionals. Keep that in mind before jumping on the Pro bandwagon.

This review is also meant to introduce you to the entire process from purchasing to owning and using the machine. In all my previous MacBook reviews, I skipped that part because it wasn’t particularly complicated. With the M3 family of Apple Silicon chips it’s a very different and, honestly, quite confusing story, so I’ll shed some light on that too.

Purchase dilemmas

It was never straightforward to decide what MacBook to buy, but with the introduction of M3, it feels even more difficult. Uncharacteristic of my writing style, I am going to list out the oddities and the reasons why these exist.

Memory sizes. For a long time, we used to get multiples of 8 GB. Base models would start with 8 GB, and then you’d be able to select 16, 24, 32, 64, 96, 128 and 192 GB. That is no more the case. While the base model M3 SoC comes with 8 GB of unified memory, the M3 Pro and Max start with multiples of 6 GB. That only changes once you opt for the highest spec…

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Attila Vágó

Staff software engineer, tech writer, author and opinionated human. LEGO and Apple fan. Accessibility advocate. Life enthusiast. Living in Dublin, Ireland. ☘️