Apple MacBook Pro M2 Max review

After nearly a year with the MacBook Pro M2 Max, I’m in love


Not long after its release earlier this year, I’ve used a MacBook Pro M2 Max as my daily laptop. I’ve held off on publishing a review mainly because it’s the first meaningful amount of time I’ve spent with a Mac device after a lifetime of Windows devices. There’s not much point in attempting to be authoritative without intimately understanding how the device works.

With the M3 models already upon us, it’s finally time to share my experience with this absolute beast of a computer. My goodness, I love this laptop. I’m now a Mac convert.

It goes without saying that the daily experience of using a Mac differs in myriad ways from a Windows PC. I’ve used iPhones since the 4S in 2011, so I’m not completely clueless about Apple’s ecosystem. Regardless, there are so many small and relatively innocuous ways this MacBook has improved my workflow.

Powerful, quiet, and long-lasting, the MacBook Pro M2 Max is a marvel of technology. Apple’s transition towards its in-house silicon has worked wonders, with performance levels I’ve never before witnessed in a laptop running a system on a chip (SoC).

Particularly for power users already equipped with an iPhone or iPad, the MacBook Pro M2 Max is the ultimate computing companion. Even if most people don’t actually need it.

MacBook Pro M2 Max review

First impressions

I tested the 14-inch model, which is more my kind of size, although there is a 16-inch version for those who crave more screen real estate. Housed within my unit was a top-of-the-line configuration worth around $7,000, which is a lot to spend on any computer. We’re talking a 38-core GPU, 98 GB of RAM and so on – completely surplus to my requirements. Bear in mind that the M2 Max model is aimed at high-end creative professionals who need massive rendering power in a portable machine. This ain’t the device you send little Timmy to school with, that’s for sure.

Apple’s reputation for engineering premium, quality devices continues here. It’s a sleek and understated laptop that belies the sheer grunt within. At 1.63kg, it’s not super lightweight by any means, so you’ll definitely notice it in your backpack.

Core to the Apple experience is its highly curated ecosystem that sees seamless interplay between hardware and software. Other platforms are catching up, as Android and Windows devices offer more cross-hardware integration, but I love how easy Apple makes it. AirDrop makes it so easy to transfer files between my iPhone and the MacBook, which I do frequently for work. There’s no additional software required, no workarounds involved – it just does it. Quickly.

Perhaps most of this review could be summed up as ‘Man uses Mac device for first time, discovers standard features’. And that would be pretty accurate.

Beyond Apple’s carefully crafted platform, the MacBook Pro M2 Max is fast. Rarely did it leave me waiting to open apps, and export photo and video edits, nor did it groan under the load of many simultaneously open browser tabs. When running on battery, I didn’t even notice a difference. I could easily get through a day without charging, too. I’d only need to plug into an outlet late the next day.

Have I mentioned how much I like this laptop?

MacBook Pro M2 Max specifications

ProcessorApple M2 Max
12-core CPU
Up to 38-core GPU
16-core Neural Engine
MemoryUp to 96 GB
StorageUp to 8 TB SSD
Display14-inch Liquid Retina XDR (3024 × 1964)
Connectivity3x Thunderbolt 4 ports
SDXC card slot
Headphone jack
MagSafe 3 port
Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.3
BatteryUp to 18 hours
96W USB-C Power Adapter
Price (RRP)From $4,999
WarrantyOne year
Official websiteApple Australia


General use

Expanding on my first impressions earlier, this is a dream machine to use. From productivity to creative apps like Premiere Pro and Affinity Photo, it handled everything without dropping a beat.

I’m notoriously fussy when it comes to laptop keyboards, preferring my Ducky One mechanical keyboard over any low-profile inputs. Pleasingly, the MacBook Pro’s keys feel nice to type on, with a decent level of tactility and responsiveness rarely found in laptops.

Kudos to whoever engineered the built-in speakers, too. Although I prefer wearing headphones where possible, playing video and music through the MacBook Pro’s speakers is a rich experience. Producing a full, expansive sound, there was real depth to the audio and a surprising amount of bass. I’m used to laptop speakers sounding flat and tinny, so colour me impressed.

MacBook Pro M2 Max keyboard and speakers
Apple”s engineers know what they’re doing: the speakers are great, and the keyboard is comfortable to type on.

One question my experience left me with: why doesn’t Windows make PDF editing as stress-free as Macs do? Editing, splitting and signing PDFs with the MacBook Pro was the easiest it’s ever been in my computer-using life. I feel duped for having needed separate, clunky-to-use programs up to this point.

My only usability complaint is that Stage Manager often got in the way more than it helped. Introduced with macOS Ventura, Stage Manager is Apple’s attempt at making multitasking easier. Nestled on the left-hand side are other apps you have open, where you can quickly swap between which one takes centre stage, as it were.

In practice, the Stage Manager’s column of background apps routinely popped up when I didn’t want it to. I regularly edit photos and found that whenever I moved the cursor to the left side of the screen to choose a tool in the editor, I’d accidentally click on another app, interrupting my workflow. After a while of trying to get used to it, I eventually turned Stage Manager off, vastly preferring good ol’ Command-Tab to cycle between apps.


I’m bullish about the future of gaming on Macs. After years of being the butt of jokes from PC gamers, there are a couple of big reasons why that’ll change over time. One is hardware: Apple chips like the M2 Max found in the MacBook Pro generate a lot of graphical power without the need for a discrete GPU. Software and APIs that make it easier for developers is another major reason.

Not only are more prominent games like Death Stranding coming to Mac devices but Apple’s also streamlining the process of porting games over. It’ll take a while for the breadth of titles found on PC to accumulate, but the future looks promising.

Blockbuster survival horror game Resident Evil Village runs beautifully on the MacBook Pro M2 Max. Graphical fidelity and smooth performance on a major release like this teases the future of Apple’s gaming prowess. The same goes for the extensive Apple Arcade library, although many of these games are designed with mobile devices in mind. Most of the time, the MacBook Pro runs coolly and almost silently, although its fans occasionally noticeably kicked in during some games as the laptop heated up.

Arguably the most exciting part of Apple’s renewed gaming focus is the potential for more simultaneous releases with PC. Mac gamers had to wait a month after the PC release of Baldur’s Gate III, one of this year’s most popular games, for a native version.

While we’re not yet at a utopian future of gaming on any platform without delay, it’s fast approaching.


Synthetic benchmarks provided by specialist software only tell part of the story but help quantify differences between devices. Overall, the MacBook Pro M2 Max produced good benchmark scores across a range of categories.


DeviceCPU (Single-core)CPU (Multi-core)
Lenovo Legion Pro 7i (Gen 8)287017,089
MacBook Pro M2 Max270114,916
Mac Mini M2 Pro (12-core)241814,268
Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED226911,867
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 311183635
Geekbench 6

One of the more powerful laptops we’ve tested, the M2 Max chip included in the MacBook performed well in CPU testing. Slightly ahead in raw numbers generated using Geekbench 6, the similarly-priced Lenovo Legion Pro 7i struggled with battery life. That’s one advantage Apple silicon has over most other laptops: high power with battery efficiency.

DeviceCPU (Single-core)CPU (Multi-core)
MacBook Pro M2 Max1221031
Cinebench 2024

A new version of Cinebench launched earlier this year, so it’ll take some time to compare against other devices as we accumulate results over time. According to the built-in rankings, the MacBook Pro M2 Max sits above an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X CPU but doesn’t quite reach the raw power of Apple’s desktop M1 Ultra chip.


Lenovo Legion Pro 7i (Gen 8)158,787N/A
Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED82,480N/A
MacBook Pro M2 Max72,83385,485
Mac Mini M2 Pro (12-core)N/A53,334
Geekbench 6

As expected, laptops with discrete graphics cards (the Legion Pro 7i used an RTX 4070) provided higher GPU benchmark results than the M2 Max. Of course, the sacrifice here is battery life. Frankly, it’s impressive that an SoC generates results comparable to discrete laptop GPUs.

MacBook Pro M2 Max6026
Cinebench 2024

Cinebench 2024 reintroduces GPU testing, providing another point of comparison between machines. Like the software’s CPU benchmarking, it can’t be compared to Cinebench R23, the previous iteration. This means we don’t have much to compare results with yet but there are some included in the app. According to these results, the M2 Max sits just above the M1 Ultra, and below an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super GPU configuration.

Disk speed

Using the Blackmagic Disk Speed test, the 4 TB SSD included in my MacBook Pro M2 Max review unit provides write speeds of up to 7,000 MB/s and read speeds of up to 5,800 MB/s. That’s pretty fast, befitting of the laptop’s status as a professional-grade workstation. Keep in mind that smaller storage configurations run substantially slower, which is disappointing considering the laptop’s high starting price.

Who is the MacBook Pro M2 Max for?

It’s by far the best and most capable laptop I’ve ever used. Powerful and fast, the MacBook Pro M2 Max effortlessly handles productivity and media editing alike. You’d certainly expect it of a $5,000 laptop, although you might find a deal as retailers clear stock ready for the M3 models.

For most people, a MacBook Air would completely suffice. As much as I enjoyed using the Pro, the raw power of the M2 Max chip was surplus to my needs. For high-end media editors and 3D renderers, however, this laptop’s rare balance of power and efficiency is hard to ignore. Astoundingly good at many different things, the MacBook Pro is a great machine for power users.

Apple MacBook Pro M2 Max
Value for money
Ease of use
An impressive blend of raw power and battery efficiency
Brilliantly seamless interplay between Apple devices
Excellent build quality
Need to pay more for faster storage on an already expensive laptop
Stage Manager is awkward to use