Apple recently released the 2023 MacBook Pros in 14 and 16-inch configurations. As expected, there have been many reviews about the new devices. They range from ho-hum to great reviews. As expected, most of these reviews and reviewers go over the specs. They talk about what’s new –more cores, more GPU power, and longer battery life. Bumps are great, but they aren’t bumper! And since this isn’t as big a bump as the e saw from Intel to M1 chips, no one is doing cartwheels about the new devices.
I am one of those who doesn’t care about reviews that are pushed out after using the devices for a couple of days — it is true for the cameras, and it is true for the laptops. You could buy any Apple laptop as a general user, and you won’t be disappointed. I recommend the new MacBook Air to friends and family all day long. Why? Because I used that computer for a few months and was thoroughly impressed — sending it back to Apple was a bittersweet moment.
Apple sent me the 2023 MacBook Pro 14-inch with M2 Max 12-Core CPU/38-Core GPU with 64 GB memory and 2 TB of hard drive space. I have been playing around with the machine and what has surprised me — very pleasantly is the wireless networking capabilities. It has Bluetooth 5.3, but more importantly, it has WiFi 6E, allowing wireless networks to utilize the 6GHz band. It can theoretically support speeds of up to 2.4GB/s —up to twice as fast as the previous generation.
WiFi 6E is an extension of the existing WiFi 6 (802.11ax) standard that allows for using the 6GHz spectrum in addition to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. This additional spectrum provides more bandwidth, which results in faster speeds and less congestion for devices that support WiFi 6E. Since (for now) the 6GHz band is less crowded than the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, theoretically fewer interference issues and better signal quality for WiFi 6E devices.
I have a Ubiquity U6 Enterprise access point plugged into my network and supports WiFi6E. This isn’t my primary network — to be honest, I have struggled with Ubiquity gear — but it is something I use as a test network. I connected the new laptop to this network and saw my connected speeds go from 350 Mbps down and 400 Mbps up to over 800 Mbps down and 800 Mbps+ on the uplink. My network provider — Google’s Webpass can only provide 1 Gbps, so this is as fast as what I am getting on my Wired Ethernet connection.
I saw speeds vary slightly over the few days I had the laptop, but not by much. The speeds were consistent throughout the apartment, even outdoors on the balcony. I walked out of my apartment and to the elevators, and there wasn’t a drop in speed. I saw latency and ping-time were all over the map, but not enough for me to worry.
As a broadband nerd, this alone is a reason for me to contemplate trading up — though I don’t see any need to give up on my 2021 MacBook Pro — for now. But I can justify my upgrade to myself!
I am not sure how many people own WiFi 6E access points, but if and when they do, they will be thrilled, as I am with the addition of 6E. Of course, by then the networks would be crowded, and the performance would drop again!
January 30, 2023. San Francisco
I asked ChatGPT what the top ten features of WiFi 6E are. These are not my words; they are what Chat GPT threw out!
FTA: I recommend MacBook Air 13 (M2 2022 edition) as an on-the-go computer for photographers. It is a solid lightweight machine with long battery life. It is more affordable than the more expensive Pros. Read my full review here.