If you’ve been itching to purchase a brand new MacBook, the time has arrived. Over the previous six months, each laptop computer Apple makes has gotten a major improve, so barring a spec bump within the fall, Apple’s lineup for the remainder of 2020 is ready with three fashions: the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and 16-inch MacBook Pro.
But even with simply three fashions, deciding which laptop computer to purchase isn’t really easy. While we assume 16-inch MacBook Pro consumers know who they’re, the distinction between the 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air isn’t as nice as you would possibly suppose. I’ve taken a deep dive into the specs of each units and got here to a startling conclusion: Even in case you have sufficient cash to afford the 13-inch MacBook Pro, you would possibly wish to get a MacBook Air as an alternative.
It’s clear from Apple’s web site that the 13-inch MacBook Pro is sort of equivalent to the earlier mannequin, with very related dimensions to the MacBook Air. According to Apple’s specs, they each have a physique that measures 8.36 inches by 11.97 inches, however the MacBook Pro has a constant thickness of 0.61 inches whereas the MacBook Air is simply 0.16 at its thinnest level and 0.63 inches at its thickest. As a end result, the Pro is a bit heavier at 3.1 kilos versus the Air’s 2.8 kilos.
When you open them up, they’re very related as effectively. Both have pretty sizable bezels across the display with its title on the underside edge. A pair of vertical audio system flank the perimeters of the keyboard with a large Force Touch trackpad beneath. The foremost aesthetic distinction is that whereas each laptops are available house grey and silver, solely the MacBook Air is on the market in gold.
Buy this: It’s exhausting to argue with Apple’s laptop computer design in any of the colours right here, however in the event you like gold, you’re kinda caught.
As with the earlier generations, the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro have the identical 13.3-inch Retina show with the identical 2560×1600 decision and True Tone expertise built-in. The show specs differ within the brightness (the Pro’s 500 nits is slightly brighter in comparison with the Air’s 400 nits) and coloration gamut (the Pro has an expanded P3 coloration gamut, whereas the Air helps sRGB), however these are comparatively small variations. Tuned eyes will see richer colours when viewing photos on the MacBook Pro, however for probably the most half, the specs counsel you are getting very related shows.
Buy this: Most individuals might be a lot pleased with the MacBook Air’s narrower coloration gamut. Professionals in design or video will need the MacBook Pro.
With the launch of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, Apple has formally bid adieu to the butterfly keyboard, so each laptops have the identical backlit Magic Keyboard with 65 keys, together with 4 arrow keys in an inverted-T association. Based on my experiences with the 16-inch MacBook Pro, I can safely say that it’s an enormous enchancment over the prior model.
Where the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air differ is within the row of operate keys. While each have a Touch ID sensor on the far proper, the Air has a regular array with ESC adopted by the F1 by means of F12 keys, whereas the Pro has ESC, adopted by a tiny horizontal display referred to as the Touch Bar. Designed to extend effectivity, it adjustments relying on the app you’re utilizing and may be personalized with everlasting shortcut keys, together with the old school operate shortcuts.
Buy this: You most likely shouldn’t be making a shopping for choice primarily based on the Touch Bar. People have realized to love it through the years, however in the end it’s only a matter of comfort. The Air’s commonplace operate keys are simply high quality for many individuals.
Both entry-level fashions of the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air have a 3.5mm headphone jack and a pair of USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, so both pocket book can energy certainly one of Apple’s eye-watering Pro Display XDR screens. Since you want USB-C for charging too, that’s principally the naked minimal for getting something achieved. However, in the event you spend slightly extra, you possibly can double the USB-C ports to 4 on the MacBook Pro fashions costing $1,799 and up.
Buy this: For a number of weeks, the MacBook Air truly had higher I/O than the 13-inch MacBook Pro, however now they’re principally equal. Whether it is advisable to spend $500 simply to get the additional USB-C ports is as much as you, however in the event you’re eying one of many larger fashions, it’s a pleasant bonus.
Processor and graphics
The MacBook Pro units itself other than the MacBook Air in terms of velocity, however all configurations should not created equally. Here are the choices Apple sells.
1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 (10th gen)
1.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 (10th gen)
1.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (10th gen; customise to order choice)
13-inch MacBook Pro (2 Thunderbolt ports)
1.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 (eighth gen)
1.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (eighth gen; customise to order choice)
13-inch MacBook Pro (4 Thunderbolt ports)
2.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 (10th gen)
2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (10th gen; customise to order choice)
There are some things to level out right here. Even although the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pros’ processors have larger clock speeds and twice as many cores, they aren’t that a lot quicker than the chips within the MacBook Air. In Geekbench 5 benchmarks of the 2019 mannequin, the 2 machines are very related, with the MacBook Air edging out the Pro in single-core duties and the Pro besting the Air in multi-core duties. In a nutshell, you gained’t discover a efficiency distinction between the 2 machines. You will see a major increase with the high-end MacBook Pros, nevertheless. We’ll have benchmarks quickly, however primarily based on the ninth-gen chips within the 16-inch MacBook Pro, multi-core efficiency might be extremely quick.
When it involves graphics, the MacBook Air and the high-end MacBook Pros each use Intel’s built-in Iris Plus Graphics, that are quicker than the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 within the low-end MacBook Pros. But if graphics matter to you for work or play, try to be wanting on the 16-inch MacBook Pro and its discreet AMD Radeon Pro playing cards.
Buy this: If efficiency issues, stepping as much as the tenth-gen 2.0GHz quad-core processor within the higher-end MacBook Pro is sensible. Otherwise, you’ll wish to weigh choices apart from velocity.
Storage, battery, and RAM
Once once more, Apple divides these laptops into two lessons. The two low-end MacBook Pro fashions and the MacBook Air have equivalent reminiscence and storage, whereas the higher-end MacBook Pro will get twice as a lot throughout the board:
MacBook Air: 8GB/16GB reminiscence, 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB SSD
MacBook Pro (2 Thunderbolt ports): 8GB/16GB reminiscence, 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB SSD
MacBook Pro: (4 Thunderbolt ports): 16GB/32GB reminiscence, 512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB SSD
While you get the identical quantity of RAM, nevertheless, Apple has geared up the MacBook Air with 3733MHz LPDDR4X reminiscence whereas the low-end MacBook Pros have slower 2133MHz LPDDR3 sticks. If you are inclined to preserve numerous apps open, the velocity might be noticeable.
Battery life could be very related throughout the three fashions. Apple claims the MacBook Air will get a bit extra battery life than the Pro—as much as 11 hours of net use and 12 hours of Apple TV app film playback versus 10 hours.
Buy this: The base storage could be very first rate throughout all of those fashions and the RAM ought to suffice, so make your choice primarily based on what you want. That stated, 256GB of storage ought to be a lot for most individuals.
Price (commonplace configurations)
While they give the impression of being very related, there are a variety of costs for Apple’s smallest notebooks:
MacBook Air: $999 (1.1GHz dual-core Core i3, 256GB SSD)
MacBook Air: $1,299 (1.1GHz dual-core Core i5, 512GB SSD)
MacBook Pro: $1,299 (1.4GHz quad-core Core i5, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, two Thunderbolt ports)
MacBook Pro: $1,499 (1.4GHz quad-core Core i5, 512GB SSD, 8GB RAM, two Thunderbolt ports)
MacBook Pro: $1,799 (2.0GHz quad-core Core i5, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM, 4 Thunderbolt ports)
MacBook Pro: $1,999 (2.0GHz quad-core Core i5, 1TBGB SSD, 16GB RAM, 4 Thunderbolt ports)
Buy this: If you need velocity and are searching for an off-the-shelf configuration, contemplate the $1,799 mannequin. If you don’t wish to spend that a lot, there’s the $1,299 MacBook Air. The $999 mannequin isn’t a foul purchase, however the further storage and speedier processor is definitely worth the $300.
Price (customized configurations)
For every of the fashions it sells, Apple presents the identical three customizations: processor, reminiscence, and storage. A quicker chip will run you between $100 and $250 throughout every mannequin, and doubling the RAM prices $100 on the low-end MacBook Pros, $200 on the MacBook Air, and $400 on the higher MacBook Pros. And if you would like extra storage, you’ll pay $200 (512GB), $400 (1TB), and $800 (2TB) to improve the 256GB fashions and $200 (1TB), $600 (2TB), and $1,200 (4TB) on the 512GB ones.
Buy this: Unless cash isn’t an object, we wouldn’t suggest spending further on a greater processor since any velocity boosts will probably be nominal. If you’re going to spice up the storage from 256GB to 512GB on the bottom MacBook Air, we suggest simply shopping for the following mannequin up, because you’re solely spending $100 extra and getting a greater processor. We do suggest spending further on RAM, although. No matter which mannequin you’re shopping for, doubling the RAM is a sound funding, if for no different cause than you possibly can’t improve it later.
What to contemplate
We’re nonetheless seeking to evaluation the brand new 13-inch MacBook Pro. But primarily based on the specs, two fashions stand out: the 1.1GHz dual-core Core i5 MacBook Air with 512GB of storage and a 16GB RAM improve for $1,499, and the two.0GHz quad-core Core i5 MacBook Pro with 512GB and a 32GB RAM improve for $2,199.
Out of these two, the MacBook Air appears to be the mannequin for most individuals. Even in the event you don’t issue within the further RAM on the Pro, you’re nonetheless saving $300 by going with the Ai. The foremost variations between them—processor velocity, Touch Bar, and the wide-gamut show gained’t make that a lot of a distinction to most individuals.