The Apple branding is synonymous with both creativity and the workplace. Their laptops are the pinnacle of that branding, with the two lines being the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. Each has their positives and negatives. In this article, we’re going to detail those and compare the two based on the following metrics:
Build – The parts in each machine
What They’re Good For – What each device is best at
Value – How the components and the price correlate
The MacBook Air is lighter, smaller, and has more battery life than the MacBook Pro. Despite its size, this machine is the only MacBook with multiple USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, a USB-C slot, and even has the traditional keyboard new MacBook Pro users are missing. It has a thick bezel around its 13-inch screen, but a lower resolution of 1440x900 pixels. Eight gigs of ram are included.
Apple upped the latest Air with a 1.5Ghz 5th-generation Intel chip processor, though that’s still a bit behind the latest 8th-gen processor. It comes with a 128GB hard drive, though that’s customizable upwards. The Air lasts around 14 hours, even with wi-fi on and surfing. This is 6 hours longer than the latest Pro, and even more so than most Windows laptops in the same price range. With how small and light it is (3 pounds), it’ll fit anywhere you need it to without weighing you down. Also, as you probably already know, it only comes with an Intel HD graphics card.
The MacBook Pro is another story. It’s a high-powered machine capable of running up to the highest level of photo, video, and animation software. It comes with an ultra-useful touch-bar, a high-resolution screen, and a decent battery life for the power. It has one USB-C port, so you’ll need thunderbolt dongles to put any extra attachments on it, which it has four ports for, alongside a headphone port.
Pros come in 15 and 13-inch iterations, with 2560x1600 and 2880x1800 resolutions respectively. It comes with options ranging from a 2.3Ghz 7th-gen i5 processor up to a 2.8GHz 7th-gen i7. The 13 inch comes with eight gigs of RAM while the 15 inch comes with 16 gigs. The 13 inch weighs 3 pounds while the 15 inch comes in at 4.
If you’re looking for power, you’re going to need to get a Pro over an Air. The 15 inch MacBook comes with an AMD Radeon Pro 555 with 2GB dedicated VRAM, with the option of a Radeon Pro 560 with 4GB VRAM. Unfortunately, the 13 inch only comes with Intel Iris Plus cards up to 650. Also, these newer generation Pros come with the new butterfly keyboard – one that most Apple fans aren’t a big fan of. It only has .5 mm of space per keypress rather than the old one which has 1 mm.
The MacBook Air. While the Pro is more powerful, there are so many customization options that it can be a bit overwhelming knowing what to get. An Air is simple and to the point, with a fantastic build quality, and the keyboard that everyone loves.
What They’re Good For
A MacBook Air is the ideal choice for users who just need a portable computer for things such as email, writing, and general browsing. Journalists will find this option extra appealing, as it’s tiny with a ton of battery life – perfect for staying up to the task. It’s the least expensive of the bunch, so students will benefit significantly as well.
It also has that satisfying keyboard that the new MacBook Pros are missing. The Air is the only current MacBook with a USB 3.0 port too, so you’ll save money in the long run on dongles and other unnecessary extras. Also, it’s still possible to do some light photo-editing as well – great for article photo touch-ups.
The 15-inch Pro is designed to be a powerhouse machine capable of editing 4K video and photos. Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro X are nothing to this beast, and any on-the-go filmmaker will want this machine in their possession. It has a full HD retina screen for gorgeous views, though it only has thunderbolt ports.
Both versions of the pro have great sounding speakers – perfect for music producers and audiophiles. Also, the multi-touch bar on top of the new Pros is a big selling point. It has native capabilities for standard Apple apps, like editing options in Photos, tab options in Safari, hotkeys in Final Cut, and more. It’s guaranteed to increase your workflow tenfold once you get the hang of it. Unfortunately, the Pros only have USB-C or Thunderbolt ports, so your old USB 3.0 devices will have to go unless you get a dongle.
MacBook Pro. It can do everything the Air can do, and it’s only a pound heavier. There are some annoying aspects, like only having newer ports, but the extra power and touch bar outweigh that annoyance.
As mentioned before, the Air is an excellent value for anyone who just needs a computer. It comes in at $999, though it can be customized for those with more of a budget. Plus, looking for older models on eBay will save you even more. This machine will last you for years provided you treat it right.
The Pros are worth their weight in cash but aren’t a viable option for everyone. The 13-inch with the Touch Bar starts at $1,799, but if you want the graphics card in the 15, you’ll have to jump to $2,399 minimum. But those that do will be delighted customers.
The Air. Simply because it’s at a more affordable price range. The Pro has tons of extra features and is worth the price it’s set at, but most average consumers can’t afford that cost.
Both MacBooks are phenomenal options for go-getters. The Air allows you to have a portable space for all your emails, files, and documents. Journalists and students will love it for its portability, but power users will find it a bit lacking.
The Pro is best for them, as long as they can make the budget for it. MacBook Pros are some of the most powerful machines on the market, and the price matches that title. However, those that can afford such a tool will find it can do anything they want it to with ease.