I have never truly needed a high-performance laptop. The most media-intensive tasks I have done were way back in journalism school when we had fully rigged PCs to deal with endless hours of video editing, handling terabyte after terabyte of footage demos with ease. My work life has never demanded such tasks.

I’ve been using the dependable Apple MacBook Air that handles most of my writing, editing, online meetings, reading, and watching shows without any snags. However, over the last month, I have been using the new Apple MacBook Pro with M3 as my primary to see in what ways it lures me in for a potential upgrade. 

I pull the steel-grey metallic device out of its box, and it could not be more Apple-coded. There’s nothing new in the aesthetics of the MacBook Pro. It’s the 14-inch base model of a slew of upgrades with three new processor customisations - M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max. So, I’m guessing most facelifts are beyond what the eye can perceive. 

Design details

I pop this 1.5 kg laptop in my tote bag and it feels pretty much the same as when I carry my MacBook Air to the office. Overall, the device is a lot more compact than the Air, but a bit stockier too.

I prop open the 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display, which offers more than what I need in terms of brightness levels. The bezels are thin enough, with a notch design housing the webcam. Having just gotten rid of these design elements in the iPhone, it’s strange yet familiar to see it here. 


The display offers up to 120 Hz refresh rates and a 1,600 nit peak brightness. This makes it a pleasure to watch media on. I hit play on Curry and Cyanide, a jaw-dropping documentary on Netflix about a series of deaths within a family. A fast-paced narrative, excellent cinematography and brooding visuals were all delivered smoothly on the MacBook Pro (M3).

A six-speaker sound system delivers punchy audio throughout and is a joy to stream some music on as well. The microphone also picked up my voice well during online briefings, on the days that I wasn’t using my wireless earbuds. I was chuffed to use the 1080p webcam on the system which honestly makes me look better than any other laptop can (apart from the MacBook Air), in web meetings. 


Switching from a sleeker, roomier Air, I initially wondered if the typing felt a little too cramped, but got used to the new dimensions soon enough. If you are used to a 13-14-inch laptop then this isn’t going to be an issue for you.

MacBook Pro with M3 enables users to compile and test millions of lines of code in Xcode with even greater speed.

MacBook Pro with M3 enables users to compile and test millions of lines of code in Xcode with even greater speed.

The keyboard layout is quite compact and efficiently packed. The brightness of the backlight doesn’t have any dedicated buttons to toggle through, instead, I could add a shortcut to the menu bar, in case I needed to quickly tweak it. The  Touch Bar has finally been shown the door, and a full range of physical function keys take its place on top of the keyboard.


I also hooked up a spare PlayStation 5 controller to try out a quick gaming session with Lies of P, a third-person adventure game where I guide a full-grown Pinocchio, as he takes on badass boss villains thrice his size.

The device never got warm during any of my gaming sessions, nor too loud with the cooling. Gaming for about 20-30 minutes at a stretch also didn’t make a huge dent in the battery life, which I’ll talk about a little further along. The new M3 chip also enables better ray tracing for a more realistic rendering of light, shadows, and reflections throughout the game. The unit I reviewed had 16 GB RAM and 1 TB storage. 

Battery life

With the brightness always hovering around 50 percent, in the absence of any battery-saving modes, the new MacBook Pro with M3 kept me company for almost 14-15 hours of usage. I could go multiple days without having to plug it in.

Plugging it in once in three days or so would see me through an equal number of days again, with my moderate usage. My usual workload generally involves having multiple browser tabs open, responding to Outlook mails, streaming from Spotify or YouTube for an hour or so each day, and a whole lot of writing, reading, and editing text.


The new MacBook Pro with M3 is everything you’d expect of an Apple device - powerful performance, on-brand aesthetics, excellent battery life, and an amazing display. What I missed on this device is the option on the new Space Black variant that Apple has made available only on the higher-end variants i.e. MacBooks Pros with M3 Pro and M3 Max.

It also features one less Thunderbolt port compared to the aforementioned models. At the end of the day, with the Pro models, the potential case for work (and play) on the device is what justifies spending the big bucks.

So, if you’ve been on the lookout for something that will handle heavy multimedia with ease, without ever triggering your battery anxiety, this is worth exploring. If casual browsing, generic office tools, and the occasional time management game keep you occupied, then an Air itself would suffice. 

Price - ₹1,69,900 onwards

Pros - Brilliant display, excellent battery life, quiet cooling, no slowdowns

Cons - Limited colour options, connectivity ports

(This article was first published in Technophile, The Hindu businessline on 28 Dec. 2023)