The new MacBook Pro 14-inch with M3 Pro chip has been declared by DxOMark as the best laptop ever for its screen, camera, and speaker setup – and a top performer for watching videos and listening to music as a result.
DxOMark, a well-known site for assessments of cameras (plus displays and speakers) – mostly dealing with smartphones, but also laptops – gave the highest rating ever to this new Apple model, putting it top of the notebook rankings. The M3 MacBook Pro hit a score of 148.
New top score alert in the #DXOMARK laptop ranking! 🚨 The @Apple #MacBookPro14M3Pro (2023) rises to the top with an overall score of 148 and just one point ahead of the MacBook Pro 14" (2023). 🍎 💻 Missed the product review? https://t.co/ShJSplN6bR pic.twitter.com/qxU51d68fKNovember 28, 2023
It was rated as the top dog for watching videos and listening to music, a category in which the MacBook Pro 14-inch managed a score of 154. It was also top of the rankings for its camera (scoring 135), with DxOMark noting that it offered: “Great camera image detail and control of visual noise in video calls.”
And the site scored the display at 156 which was also top of the class.
The laptop offers a “best-in-class music and video use-case performance” as well as benefiting from “outstanding audio dynamics and pleasant tonal balance” according to DxOMark.
There were some niggles, though, namely “difficulty in managing duplex speech during video calls” and a “lack of saturation and contrast in SDR video playback.”
Analysis: One small step for MacBook media consumption
While this is clearly an impressive performance in these aspects from the MacBook Pro 14-inch M3, we should bear in mind that its predecessor MacBook Pro 14-inch with M2 (released at the start of 2023) only scored a single point lower. It was rated at 147, compared to a 148 result for the M3 laptop, so there’s not a lot of difference overall.
However, there is a more pronounced gap for the music and video category where the M3 scores 154 compared to 149 for its M2 predecessor. The notable differences are SDR videos looking a bit better with the new MacBook Pro (though they’re still not perfect, lacking a bit in the saturation and contrast departments), and DxOMark complained about the bass being slightly resonant with the M2 MacBook Pro, but not with the new M3 model.
That slightly more refined bass could be down to improvements with the M3 chip, perhaps, as could the other improvements picked up by DxOMark here. We should remember, of course, that Apple has used the same camera, speaker setup and display components in the MacBook Pro M3, so the gains are coming from refinements elsewhere – and that could include slight tweaks to the internal layout.
Note that while the M3 model’s chassis is the same, and iFixit found the internal layout was pretty much identical in its teardown, there were small adjustments here and there – which might be beneficial for that slight taming of the bass perhaps?
Whatever the case, there appears to be a modest step forward with the MacBook Pro M3 in terms of media consumption, and that’s something we agreed with in our review of the new MacBook Pro 14-inch (as well as our write-up of the 16-inch model for that matter).
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).