Skip to content

10 Compelling Reasons to Avoid Buying a 14-inch MacBook Pro in 2023

The 14-inch MacBook Pro is the pinnacle of Apple‘s laptop lineup, packing incredible performance and sleek design into a compact powerhouse. But while it may be the default choice for Apple fans and creative professionals, there are several noteworthy drawbacks to consider before taking the plunge on this pricey machine.

As someone who has tested and worked on countless laptops over the years, I‘ve seen firsthand where the 14-inch MacBook Pro excels – and where competitors offer compelling alternatives at lower price points. In this article, I‘ll break down the top 10 reasons you may want to think twice about buying a 14-inch MacBook Pro in 2023, and suggest some great Windows options to consider instead. Let‘s dive in!

1. Sky-High Pricing

There‘s no beating around the bush – the 14-inch MacBook Pro is expensive. The base model starts at $1,999 and can easily soar over $4,000 with higher-end specs. At those prices, you‘re paying a massive premium for the Apple brand and design compared to similarly-specced Windows laptops.

For instance, a high-performance Lenovo Yoga 9i with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD and an OLED display costs around $1,800. That‘s $200 less than the base MacBook Pro 14", despite offering a superior OLED screen and 2-in-1 convertible functionality.

The price gap only grows wider at the top end. A fully maxed-out MacBook Pro 14" with the M2 Max chip, 96GB unified memory, and 8TB storage runs an eye-watering $6,299. In contrast, even the highest-specced models from manufacturers like Razer, Gigabyte, Asus ROG, and others tend to top out around $4,000. The age-old Apple tax is definitely a factor with the MacBook Pro 14".

2. Less Than Ideal for Gamers

While the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips in the MacBook Pro 14" are graphics powerhouses, the machine overall is a suboptimal choice for gamers. The core issue is that macOS simply doesn‘t support many popular AAA game titles, nor does it work with Microsoft‘s DirectX graphics APIs that many games rely on.

Apple‘s Metal graphics API can run some games quite well, but the selection is limited compared to Windows. You also may have to jump through hoops like installing Windows via Boot Camp or Parallels Desktop to get the best gaming experience.

Dedicated gaming laptops like the Razer Blade 14 are a far better fit for serious gamers. With its top-tier NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics, 165Hz QHD display, and vapor chamber cooling, the Blade 14 is ready for the most demanding game titles right out of the box. Mainstream laptops from ASUS, Acer, Lenovo and others also offer better price-to-performance ratios for gaming compared to the MacBook Pro.

3. The Controversial Notch

With the 14-inch MacBook Pro, Apple made the controversial decision to carry over the display notch from the iPhone. Located at the top center of the screen, the notch houses the webcam and ambient light sensors, but eats into the display area.

While some don‘t mind the notch, others (myself included) find it quite distracting, especially in full-screen mode. The asymmetry can be annoying when viewing content or using apps with lots of menu options that now get pushed to the sides.

I much prefer the uninterrupted rectangular displays offered by the Dell XPS 15, HP Spectre x360, and other premium Windows laptops. The notch may be necessary on the iPhone where space is at an absolute premium, but on a laptop screen it feels more like an arbitrary design choice than a functional necessity.

4. Limited Port Selection

To its credit, Apple did backtrack from its USB-C-only approach and reinstated the HDMI port and SD card slot on the 14-inch MacBook Pro. However, it still lacks any USB-A ports for connecting older peripherals and accessories.

That means you‘ll need to buy and carry adapters to use anything that isn‘t USB-C native. With many legacy devices and thumb drives still relying on USB-A, that‘s more of a hassle than should be necessary on a "Pro" tier laptop.

Most high-end Windows laptops like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme or Razer Blade 15 manage to fit in USB-A ports alongside newer standards like USB-C/Thunderbolt 4. For maximum flexibility without dongles, a MacBook Pro 14" alternative is the way to go.

5. Tired Gray Color Options

This is a nitpick in the grand scheme of things, but I‘ve always found the drab gray color options on the MacBook Pro disappointing. While the MacBook Air now comes in vibrant hues like Starlight Gold and Midnight Blue, the 14-inch Pro is stuck with Silver and Space Gray.

It‘s puzzling that Apple doesn‘t offer its higher-end laptop in the same eye-catching finishes as its entry-level MacBook Air. The Dell XPS 15, Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, and many others prove that premium performance and design flair aren‘t mutually exclusive.

Again, this is far from a deal-breaker, and the MacBook Pro‘s aesthetic is still best-in-class. But after all these years of Space Gray, I wouldn‘t mind some variety, especially at these lofty prices.

6. Windows vs macOS Ecosystems

Your affinity for macOS vs Windows should be a major consideration when choosing between a MacBook Pro 14" or an alternative. If you‘re deeply enmeshed in the Apple ecosystem with an iPhone, Apple Watch, iCloud, and App Store purchases, then that alone could be reason enough to stick with a Mac.

However, it‘s worth noting that Windows offers a far larger software library, with many apps and games exclusive to the platform. Windows is also more flexible in terms of UI customization, touch/pen input, and connectivity to a wider range of devices and peripherals.

Conversely, macOS excels in terms of privacy, ease-of-use, creative production apps, and integration with Apple‘s other products and services. For a general productivity laptop, both Windows and macOS can excel. But there are still major tradeoffs to consider between the two dominant ecosystems that a slick laptop design can‘t erase.

7. Target Market Mismatch

The 14-inch MacBook Pro is overkill for many potential buyers at its price point. If your workflow consists of office productivity apps, web browsing, streaming, and light photo/video editing, you‘re better off with a cheaper MacBook Air or Windows ultrabook.

The ideal audiences for a MacBook Pro 14" are creative professionals doing serious creative work (4K/8K video production, 3D modeling, CAD, etc.) or developers who need the power of the M2 Pro/Max chips. Even then, a Windows workstation laptop can often get the job done for hundreds or even thousands less.

So before you default to a 14-inch MacBook Pro, assess your actual performance needs. Don‘t pay the Apple premium unless you‘re certain you‘ll push the hardware to its limits.

8. Longevity and Repairability

With the move to Apple Silicon chips and the emphasis on sleek unibody designs, MacBook Pros are becoming harder to repair or upgrade over time. Components like the SSD, RAM, and battery are soldered in place, making user replacements all but impossible.

If something goes wrong with your MacBook Pro outside of the 1-year warranty, you‘re at the mercy of Apple‘s repair pricing – which is notoriously expensive. A new battery alone can cost upwards of $200 if you go through Apple. And any logic board issues often require full replacements costing over $1000.

The limited repairability also makes it difficult to extend the useful life of a MacBook Pro as it starts to feel slow after 4-5 years. The inability to add more RAM or swap an SSD limits its long-term value.

In contrast, many Windows laptops from the Dell Latitude to Lenovo ThinkPad series still offer user-upgradeable RAM and storage so you can improve performance as your needs evolve. And while Windows laptops aren‘t always cheap to repair, you have a wider range of third-party repair options beyond the manufacturer.

9. Performance Bragging Rights

There‘s no question that the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips in the 14-inch MacBook Pro are incredible feats of engineering. In both raw CPU performance and graphics/video prowess, they trounce many competitors in benchmark tests.

However, the real-world advantage of that power is debatable unless you‘re constantly exporting 4K video timelines or doing hardcore ML model training. An Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 Windows laptop can still handle advanced multitasking and demanding workloads with ease for a fraction of the price.

Synthetic benchmark wins make for great marketing copy, but don‘t always translate to noticeable improvements for everyday professional work. A slightly lower Geekbench score won‘t impact the quality of your Python code or 3D renders.

So while the 14-inch MacBook Pro has undeniable performance bragging rights, think long and hard about whether you need that last 10% of cutting-edge speed for your actual workloads. The value proposition often isn‘t there.

10. Form vs Function

Lastly, I‘ll push back a bit on some of the design choices Apple made with the 14-inch MacBook Pro. While the chassis is undeniably sleek and premium-feeling, it comes at the cost of some functionality.

The Touch Bar is a prime example – a feature that seemingly nobody asked for that takes away physical function keys and adds complexity to the user experience. The limited travel of the keyboard also makes extended typing sessions more fatiguing than on a ThinkPad or Dell XPS. And as discussed, the sacrifices made for thinness result in more dongles and less repairability.

These design details can start to grate over time, resulting in a beautiful laptop that‘s less practical to use than its appearance suggests. Many of the leading Windows alternatives put usability on equal footing with aesthetics.

At the end of the day, a laptop is a tool, not a fashion statement. The 14-inch MacBook Pro is the most stunning laptop on the market, but that doesn‘t necessarily make it the most functional.


None of this is to say that the 14-inch MacBook Pro is a bad laptop – far from it. When price is no object and you want the absolute best Mac experience, it‘s a phenomenal machine. The display, speakers, trackpad, performance, and design are all world-class.

But the value equation gets muddy when you‘re paying such a premium for a laptop with some notable limitations and tradeoffs compared to the competition. For the vast majority of users, an M2 MacBook Air, Dell XPS 15, Lenovo Yoga 9i, or Razer Blade 14 can meet your needs for far less money and with greater flexibility.

So unless you meet a very specific niche of deep-pocketed users who are locked into macOS and need maximum performance, think long and hard about if a 14-inch MacBook Pro is the right choice before buying. Weigh the Apple ecosystem benefits against the drawbacks and consider if a compelling Windows alternative might better suit your needs and budget.

Spending $2000+ on a laptop is a major investment. Make sure you‘re buying the 14-inch MacBook Pro because its unique benefits provide clear value to you – not just because it has an Apple logo and a slick design. Your wallet will thank you.