Now the MacBook Pro 16-inch has been announced and is available to buy, that begs the question - which of Apple's pro portable Macs is best for you?

Earlier this year the 13-inch models were all updated as well. Everything now has a Touch Bar - the non-Touch Bar 13-inch model went the way of the dodo and is no longer available. The MacBook Air has also been updated during 2019 - if you're considering that as well, check out our bigger MacBook guide

All these new Macs run Apple's latest version of its Mac operating system - macOS 10.15 Catalina

So which is the model for you - the larger 16-incher or the more manageable 13-inch? Let's find out!

MacBook Pro 16-inch vs MacBook Pro 13-inch: Design and build

  • 16-inch slightly larger than outgoing 15-inch
  • All models have Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • 16-inch has a new style keyboard - dubbed the Magic Keyboard

Both sizes of MacBook Pro are available in silver and space grey and have the Touch Bar and Touch ID for fingerprint. 

The 13-inch models measure 304.1 x 212.4 x 14.9mm and weigh 1.37kg, while the larger 16-inch models all measure 358 x 246 x 16.2mm and weigh 2kg. Despite the larger screen size, the new 16-incher is only marginally bigger than the 15-inch it replaces. It is also slightly heavier. 

The keyboard has been completely redesigned for the 16-inch, however, after mass criticism of Apple's previous Butterfly design (still present on the 13-inch we're looking at here). That keyboard remains the subject of an ongoing recall program

The Magic Keyboard on the 16-inch is designed to be much more durable and with better travel for more comfortable typing. The physical Escape key has also returned - on the 13-inch models it is absent (it appears on the Touch Bar). 

You'll get two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports on the 13-inch aside from the top-end model which has four. The 16-inch models all have four. Every MacBook Pro retains its 3.5mm headphone jack and there's the Force Touch trackpad, too. 

MacBook Pro 16-inch vs MacBook Pro 13-inch: Display

  • New MacBooks offer True Tone display
  • Sizes and resolutions remain the same 

 The 16-inch model has a resolution of 3, 072 x 1,920 pixels (226ppi), with almost six million pixels on board. The 13-inch model has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels (227ppi), the same as older 13-inch MacBook Pros. 

All MacBook Pro displays boast True Tone, 500 nits of brightness and a wide P3 colour gamut. True Tone is a tech first introduced on the iPad Pro, adjusting the screen to match the colour temperature of the lighting in the room. 

MacBook Pro 16-inch vs MacBook Pro 13-inch: Processor, graphics and storage

  • 8th and 9th generation Intel Core processors
  • Radeon Pro graphics for 15-inch
  • 15-inch gets 6-core i9 option 

While the 13-inch MacBook Pro has 8th generation Intel Core processors, the 16-inch model adds some 9th generation options and everything on the bigger model has either 6 or 8 cores. 

The 13-inch MacBook Pro boasts quad-core Core i5 processors as standard, either clocked at 1.4 or 2.4Ghz. You can also configure Core i7 at 1.7Ghz or 2.8GHz with maximum Turbo Boost speeds lof 4.7Ghz. 

The 16-inch has the 'basic' option of a 2.6Ghz Intel Core i7 with six cores, but there are two Core i9 processors you can get in the range, too, clocked at 2.3Ghz or 2.4Ghz with Turbo Boost speeds of 4.5 or 5Ghz respectively. 

The MacBook Pro 16-inch uses AMD Radeon graphics with the AMD Radeon Pro 5300M or 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory and automatic graphics switching between that and the integrated Intel graphics. 

Unfortunately, there's no discrete graphics option on the 13-inch, but Intel's Iris Plus graphics chips - available in 645 and 655 variants depending on the model - are no slouch and are way better than the integrated graphics of yesteryear. They aren't a patch on the 16-inch, however. 

The 16-inch model can be topped up to 64GB of memory, while the 13-inch can have up to 16GB. 8GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory is standard on the 13-inch and 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory is standard on the 16-inch. 

The storage tops out at a whopping 8TB on the 16-inch and 2TB on the 13-inch, but starting at 512GB and 128GB respectively. As we mentioned earlier, adding more internal storage at the time of purchase ups the cost significantly. 

The MacBook Pro lineup all has Apple's own T2 chip. This is a chip dedicated to security that handles Touch ID and some other capabilities such as powering Siri. 

MacBook Pro 16-inch vs MacBook Pro 13-inch: Price 

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The new 16-inch model starts at $2,399/£2,399, £50 more than the outgoing 15-inch. You'll have to shell out from $1,299/£1,299 for the 13-inch. 

As usual, you can fine-tune the processor, memory and storage, though as always the larger SSD storage options are expensive.

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Conclusions

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is a real step up in terms of the power and options it offers, but you have to really need the larger screen, dedicated graphics and sheer power to justify the expense. It's a machine for people who edit video, photos, chop between projects and need a do-anything machine with the power to match. 

The 13-inch model is still our pick for most users and, with the MacBook Air now much more powerful, it's always worth seeing if that's actually the 13-inch laptop that you need. 

The new MacBook Pro 16-inch is available today.