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2024 M3 MacBook Pro 16-inch Review

Apple in 2023 and beyond had made no secret of the fact that they see their devices as not only powerful productivity machines, but also a rather formidable contender in the gaming arena too. Boasting increased performance due to their new M3 Silicone. First their phones in 2023 and now the new range of M3 laptops in 2024 are being touted as gaming ready macs. Lets see if the M3 Macbook Pro lives up to Apple’s lofty expectations.

For users that are brought up on the Windows operating system like myself, adapting to iOS and the apple ecosystem might pose some difficulties initially and is why this review has taken me way longer to write than I'd hoped. But despite the initial challenges, The Macbook's seamless integration with the iPhone has proven somewhat invaluable for me once I knew how to use it to its full potential. Features such as universal clipboard, as well as using your iPhone to not only control your Macbook, but also act as an external webcam for much higher quality video calls and content creation videos. If you can persevere through the initial frustration of having things like the “title bar buttons” or “window control buttons” on the left rather than the right then you'll find a lot of benefit in the apple ecosystem as a whole.

Another of these “crossover” features involves the Apple Airpods, along with the Macbook Pro, i've also got some new gen Airpod Pro’s and the way they interact with both devices is excellent. I can simply wear my Airpods and whatever device I am viewing content the airpods transition seamlessly to that device. For example, I watch a video on Youtube on my macbook, my airpods play the sound from my Macbook. Then I play a video on Facebook through my phone and the airpods flawlessly swap audio to the phone while simultaneously pausing the laptop audio. This might not sound like a big deal bit its a massive quality of life feature.

I have been playing around with the 16-inch version of the Macbook pro for just under 2 months now and while this thing is probably ideally suited to gaming, due to its large screen size and robust design, whichI'm all about. It's also very big and heavy, probably too much so for the everyday user. If you're using this as a laptop and not interested in the gaming aspect then you'll probably want to opt for a smaller version.That being said, I am, as stated, all about the gaming aspect. Apple has long been the butt of many jokes relating to its “gaming prowess' ' or lack thereof, so the idea that I can now potentially game competitively with other devices on my Apple Mac intrigues me, a lot.

Without a doubt, one of the hallmark features of the Macbook Pro is its incredible looking 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR display, one which I can honestly say is the best looking laptop screen I've ever laid eyes on. The vibrant colours, crisp detail and depth to everything you're looking at looks amazing and is head and shoulders above any of the laptops I've tested previously. This really adds to the immersion both when gaming and while being productive alike. The overall design is one of pure class, the premium alloy finish, the large trackpad and all the I/O you can poke a stick at. 3 USB type C, 1 HDMI, an SD card slot and the magsafe charging plug. The only thing missing is a USB type A slot for older peripherals.

When it comes to battery life, the Macbook Pro M3 is a slightly mixed bag. Don't get me wrong, the battery life itself is incredible. In fact, I can use it for a whole day and not have to worry about the possibility of having to charge it. Don't even get me started on standby mode. Before writing this review, I had the Macbook in standby mode for about a week after fully charging it, opened it up this morning and still had 98% battery remaining. The issue I have though, is that the battery from 100%-70% seems to last a lifetime, then it seems to run down a bit quicker over the next 70%. For example the drop from 100%-95% seems to take a few hours of use, yet in the same time at 70% you'll drop probably 10%-15%. This isn't a huge deal, since the battery lasts well long enough that you wont need to stop and charge during the day and can probably charge it exclusively overnight no matter how much you use it during the day. The design of the magsafe charger is also very good, coming from windows devices with a standard power cord, the idea of a magnetically locating cord whats USB C on the other end really changes the game. 

Let's talk a little bit about why we're all here. Gaming performance! Can the Macbook Pro really be an effective gaming machine? I put it to the test..

Two of the biggest native releases on MacOS are Death Stranding and Resident Evil 4 Remake, so naturally these were the first games I jumped into. While the results highlight the Macbook Pro isn't going to rival any top end PC’s, they're also very respectable. See the results below for yourself:

Death Stranding

4K Max Settings - 40FPS 

1440p Max Settings - 65FPS

1080p Max Settings - 92FPS

Resident Evil 4 Remake

4K Max Settings - 55FPS

1440p Max Settings - 90FPS

1080p Max Settings - 120FPS

There are however a few games that are clearly very poorly optimised, the biggest example of this is Baldurs Gate 3. The game runs very, very poorly and is pretty much unplayable. See the performance results below:

Baldurs Gate 3 

4K Max Settings - 15FPS

1440p Max Settings - 30FPS

1080p Max Settings - 44FPS

The reason the Macbook manages to run so effectively is because of Apple’s all new M3 Silicone pushing it to heights the MacOS hasn't been able to reach before. It is important to note that Windows PCs with dedicated high-end GPU’s will always maintain the edge in terms of raw performance, but the M3 Macbook Pro offers a very respectable alternative in terms of gaming capabilities. 

The biggest issue facing Mac gaming as it stands is the lack of playable titles. While its true you can download multiple clients such as Steam and epic etc. A large majority of the games available on each are not playable on MacOS. Admittedly, there does seem to be more and more games added regularly, however at the moment, what's on offer is pretty bare bones. I've also had instances where games that state they’re MacOS compatible, I've booted them up and they freeze or force the laptop into rebooting.  This doesn't happen with many games, but there have been a couple that do it consistently, Dying Light The Following being the most common to do so.

Overall the 2024 M3 Macbook Pro is an exceptional all round machine, excellent for gaming, video editing, and a seamless integration with Apple's ecosystem, where the more Apple devices you own the better off you'll be. While we can all acknowledge that Windows PC’s are superior in terms of sheer performance, the Macbook Pro compensates for this with a unique blend of capabilities and synergy across its ecosystem. The Macbook Pro M3 is now the premier “non-windows” gaming laptop on the market. Whether you're an Apple user from way back, or someone looking to make the switch. The Macbook Pro M3 is an excellent centrepiece for your Apple lifestyle. It's important to acknowledge that while I'm giving the MacBook Pro an overall of 8/10, as a lifestyle laptop, it's easily a 9.5. It does your day to day excellently, but as a gaming outlet we have to review it on its gaming performance. And while it's a step in the right direction, it still has room to grow.

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