Apple M3 MacBook Pro review: Opt for the lower spec sets and you have an affordable powerhouse with heaps of battery life

A well-built M3-powered MacBook that your small business can rely on – just be careful with your configuration choices

The Apple M3 MacBook Pro on a desk
(Image: © Future)

IT Pro Verdict


  • +

    Stunning display

  • +

    Super M3 processor

  • +

    Decent typing experience

  • +

    Long battery life


  • -

    Top spec model is extremely expensive

The Apple M3 MacBook Pro came as a surprise at the end of 2023, particularly to those who had picked up an M2 MacBook much earlier in the year. The pace of change is relentless as we are already talking about M4 chips in iPads, but it is worth holding on to M3 for a moment, if only just to appreciate the sheer quality of this latest MacBook Pro. 

It comes in a wide range of price points and specifications. As well as a slick new shade – 'Space Black'. The basic option is $1,849 for a 14in model but you can max it out to 16in and 8TB storage, though that will cost you over $7k. For this review, we've got a more modest 14in Pro M3, with 18GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, but it has at least come in that fancy new color. 

Apple M3 MacBook Pro review: Design

At face value, there isn't a lot of change for the new MacBook, aside from the lovely black finish. It is almost exactly like the M2 model, which isn't a problem, as that still means you get an attractive laptop with a solid aluminum chassis. The lid is particularly pleasing as it is quite stiff and sturdy. 

The design is solid, overall, and there is a great selection of ports. You get a full-size SDXC card slot, HDMI 2.1 output, and a MagSafe charging port. There are two USB-C ports on the left-hand side of the machine, which support Thunderbolt 3 and USB 4 data transfers, charging, and DisplayPort video output. Understandably, those ports bulk out the MacBook Pro, resulting in a chunky chassis that weighs 1.55kg. But this isn't much bigger than you would expect from a MacBook Pro

Apple M3 MacBook Pro review: Display, keyboard, and trackpad

Apple's 14in liquid retina XDR display is very nice. It has a 3024 x 1964 resolution, 254 pixels per inch, and an exceedingly bright panel. We can't say it's the best of the best – it's no Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra – but it is one of the most vibrant and color-accurate screens we've seen on a Mac. One thing that does stand out as a fault is the notch at the top; this was introduced with the M2 MacBook Pro and it really does need to go.   

The Apple logo on the M3 MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Otherwise, this is an amazing display. With our calibrator, the M3 MacBook Pro scored 98% for color accuracy and 120% for volume. Both are impressive scores but again, slightly below the impressive Galaxy Book3 Ultra – though it does have a higher peak brightness, 633cd/m2.


The webcam, which is housed in the notch, produces nice, crisp images, and seems adaptable to most lighting conditions. And the six-driver speaker system is very clear. It makes the Pro is great for video meetings, though there isn't anything that's better or worse than previous MacBooks in that regard. 

The keyboard is decent, though it does tend to rattle when you pick up speed. That being said, the keys themselves are nice, large, and well-spaced, so typos are very few and far between. 

The glass-topped Force Touch touchpad is very good; a highly responsive control with plenty of room to swipe. You can click pretty much anywhere on the pad and get the same response – something that isn't always the case with Windows machines. 

Apple M3 MacBook Pro review: Specs and performance

The MacBook Pro review unit we were sent has the Apple M3 16-core CPU and it is as rapid as we have come to expect from the M-series. We also have 18GB of RAM, which seems like a strange amount, and 1TB SSD, which is very welcome.

M3 and the M-series, in general, have a huge advantage that comes from the way they are developed with a standardized architecture that has more and more cores wrapped around. This gives it stellar performance levels, no matter what size and spec set you opt for.

The port selection on the M3 MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Under GeekBench 5, the M3 MacBook Pro hit 3,184 for single-core and 15,704 for multi-core scores. Here Apple is looming over Windows-based machines as there is nothing that can match the power of M3, except other Apple laptops. Even the brilliant Dell XPS range pales in comparison. 

We gave the M3 MacBook Pro as stringent a test as we could – 50 tabs, intensive video loops, lots and lots of Adobe edits – and it came through them with barely a whimper of complaint. What's more, Apple promises 22hrs of battery life and to be fair it isn't far off if you do the bare minimum with the machine. Under our looped video test, the Pro lasted 15hrs 44mins, which is very impressive – far longer than the 9hrs and 53mins of the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra. Again, no Windows machine can get anywhere near the latest Macs when it comes to battery life.  

Apple M3 MacBook Pro review: Is it worth it? 

The lid on the M3 MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Future)

There are many spec sets and sizes of MacBook Pro on offer and these include the suped-up M3 Max versions. The higher you go, the more dizzying the prices get. Small businesses can use Apple Financial Services to find a flexible payment plan, which is probably best for newer businesses. You can also work out upgrades and trade-ins here. Similarly, the Apple for Work service can also help with after-sales support. 

However, even with the most affordable variants, the M3 MacBook Pro is a brilliant laptop. It has a premium feel regardless of RAM size or color. If you're after a professional-looking machine, that's innovative and reliable, the Apple M3 MacBook Pro should be top of your list.

Apple M3 MacBook Pro Specifications

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Display14in liquid retina XDR, 3024 x 1964 resolution, 254 pixels per inch
ProcessorApple M3 processor 16-core CPU
GPU12-core GPU
PortsHDMI port, 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (charging, display), 3.5mm headphone jack and a MagSafe 3 port.
Camera1080p HD camera
Storage1TB SSD
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3
Dimensions (HWD)1.55 x 31.26 x 22.12 cm
Battery Capacity70Wh lithium-polymer batter, 70Wh power adapter
Operating System macOS Sonoma 14.1
Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.