There is no going wrong with Apple laptops especially since the release of 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Both these models are not only sleek in their looks but have attractive features too. So, it can be hard to decide which one you would want to see on your work desk daily. A MacBook Air vs. Macbook Pro guide could come in handy in this situation.
We will help you decide which MacBook is the right one for you. Of course, you would have to choose the laptop that suits your needs and falls in your budget so keep on reading and make notes along the way.
|Laptops||MacBook Air||MacBook Pro (13 inches)||MacBook Pro ( 16 inches)|
|Retina Display||13.3 inches||13.3 inches||16 inches|
|Memory||Up to 16GB||Up to 16GB||Up to 64GB|
|Battery Life||11 hrs||10 hrs||11 hrs|
|Touch||Touch ID||Touch Bar and Touch ID||Touch bar and Touch ID|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Plus Graphics||Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645||Intel UHD Graphics 630 (all configurations)|
|Display||13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology||13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology||16-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology|
|Ports||Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports||Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports||Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports|
|Weight||2.8 pounds||3.02 pounds||4.3 pounds|
|Camera||720p FaceTime HD camera||720p FaceTime HD camera||720p FaceTime HD camera|
Value for Money
Not everyone has the means to spend thousands on a laptop. As a student or an entry-level professional, you can get many of the Apple’s esteemed features in the MacBook Air.
When it comes to value for money, MacBook Air would take the lead as it is a budget-friendly option for most users. Priced above a thousand bucks, the MacBook Air packs most of the features that you would need in a laptop. Even though there isn’t such a huge price difference between the MacBook Air and the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, if you want to buy the 16-inch Pro, be prepared to pay an extra thousand dollars.
Although, you will be missing out on a brighter screen, larger screen size and more ports, MacBook Air will keep you catered for most other features.
Both the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro have an aluminum finish and both the models are available in silver and space gray colors. If you like the bling, you should opt for MacBook Air which comes in gold color option too. On the outside, there is not much of a difference between the two models.
They both are quite similar but have a few differences that might matter to some users. The 16-inch Pro is bigger in size but has slimmer bezels. It is quite impressive how Apple has shrunk the bezels to fit the larger screen. On the other hand, the 13-inch Pro and MacBook Air still have larger bezels that we see in the older models. Another difference between the two is that there is no gold color option for the Pro.
In terms of measurements, the Pro is obviously bigger at 16 inches but it is 0.6 inch in thickness, which is the same as the other two 13-inch laptops. However, the Pro is heavier at 4.3 lbs. while the 13-inch counterpart weighs 3 pounds. MacBook Air is the lightest of the three laptops at just 2.8 pounds. In this competition of design, there is a draw between the MacBook Pro and Air as both pretty much similar.
When you look at the inside, however, you would see some differences. Both the laptops have a 2560 x 1600 screen resolution with 227 pixels/inch. Despite the similar resolutions, there is a striking difference between their brightness.
While the MacBook Air only has a brightness of 389 nits, the MacBook Pro boasts a brightness of 500 nits. You can expect there to be a difference in color accuracy due to this. If you are a photographer, architect, interior designer or a graphic designer, you would want to spend some extra money on the Macbook Pro to get the colors just right.
After three years of using the butterfly-style keyboard, Apple finally decided to give it up, which was a good decision on their part. The 16-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air have the Magic keyboard which is much easier to work with.
The Magic keyboard is suitable for multi-touch gestures and for smoothly selecting anything on screen from text to windows. However, the problem is that the 13-inch MacBook Pro still has the older keyboard style.
If you use the Touch Bar, you would prefer the 16-inch MacBook Pro. However, it is also easier to accidentally activate functions due to the presence of an OLED Touch Bar. So, if you are looking for a Magic Keyboard minus the Touch facility, the MacBook Air should be great for you.
If you are going to be carrying your laptop around, you would thank us for suggesting the MacBook Air which weighs only 2.8 pounds. On the other hand, the MacBook Pro weighs 3 pounds and the Premium model is much heavier at 4.3 pounds.
The Air is also better in terms of portability because of its slimmer size. On top of that, it has a decent battery life so you can take it to work or class and it will last for the day. One the other hand, you will need a bigger bag for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. It also has a shorter battery life which should only matter to you if you have longer working days.
Overall, MacBook Air takes the lead here. So, if you are a student and you have to carry your laptop around for seven hours a day, you would prefer the MacBook Air.
The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro both have USB-C ports that are compatible with Thunderbolt. However, if you make your decision based on the number and placement of ports, you should opt for the MacBook Pro.
The MacBook Air only has 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports and this is the same in the 13-inch MacBook Pro. If you spend some extra money on the 16-inch Pro, you would get four Thunderbolt ports along with a faster CPU.
Another difference between the two models is that the Air has all its ports on the left side which makes it sometimes hard to work with. On the other hand, the 16-inch MacBook Pro has ports on both sides, making cable management easier. If you are a professional photographer or designer, you would benefit from the extra ports in the 16-inch MacBook Pro as they allow increased connectivity.
If audio is important to you, you would like both the models. They both come with stereo speakers. However, the 16-inch MacBook Pro takes a win here with its force-cancelling woofers and six speakers.
It also features the Dolby Atmos playback which is present in the Air too. If you like to have jamming sessions in your room or enjoy the audio in games, and you want a next-level experience, go for the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
At the end of the day, it is not the aesthetic of a laptop that blows you away but its performance. Since these are Apple laptops, you can expect both of them to work splendidly but one is better than the other in some regards.
The entry-level MacBook Air has i5 CPU while the high-tier MacBook Air comes with 10th-Gen i5-1030NG7 from Intel. It offers a 27% better performance as compared to the entry-level version of the same model.
On the other hand, the MacBook Pro has an 8th Generation i5-8257U processor from Intel. This four-core processor has a boost frequency of 3.9GHz and a speed of 1.4GHz. The 16-inch MacBook Pro has the 9th generation processer with six cores, from Intel, which should explain the higher price. Even though the MacBook Pro has an older processer, it gives a better performance as the Air’s chips have a 9-Watt power-drawing ability which limits the performance.
If you are tight on a budget, you can opt for the entry-level Air as it delivers great performance, thanks to Intel’s 10th Gen CPU. However, you can get the i5 CPU by simply paying a hundred bucks more.
In terms of multitasking, the 16-inch MacBook Pro simply takes the lead as it comes up a RAM of 64GB. The other laptops have a 16GB RAM, which is suitable for light users.
The laptop also has a bigger screen,so there is more screen area to work with. This would be really helpful if you are a designer or a student who needs to have multiple apps or tabs open at once. For instance, if you need to be on a video call and browse the web at the same time, you might feel cramped in the 13-inch space. Thus, the 16-inch MacBook Pro would be idea for you.
Also, the 16-inch MacBook Pro has more ports which makes it suitable for professional photographers, film makers, YouTubers etc. As a professional, you need to attach many things to the laptop such as your phone, camera, disk, memory cards and the list goes on. Collectively, MacBook Pro is a better choice when it comes to multi tasking.
When it comes to battery life, the entry-level MacBook Air takes the lower spot among the two models. While the MacBook Pro has a battery life of over 10 hours, the Air can only last about 9 hours.
When you are using the laptop for web browsing, you can expect the newer Air to last for up to 10 hours which is a better performance than the MacBook Pro. According to Apple, the 16-inch MacBook Pro has a battery life of up to 11 hours with light web browsing.
In reality, the MacBook Pro does not live up to this expectation but it still has reliable battery life. However, if you are looking for the best battery life you could find in a MacBook, it would definitely be the 2020 MacBook Air. This feature of Air makes it an ideal choice for students or professionals who need their laptops to last throughout the day.
There isn’t a lot of difference in terms of storage as the 13-inch Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro have storage of up to 2TB. The 16-inch MacBook Pro with its 10TB storage is suitable for users with high storage consumption, such as designers, photographers, film makers, Youtubers, vloggers, bioinformaticians, statisticians etc.
MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro: Which is better?
The MacBook Air is a clear winner if you are looking for a budget-pick which like all the features required for everyday work. It has a decent processor with an acceptable RAM. The battery life is also one of the best that we have ever seen on an Apple MacBook. If little things like the keyboard, brightness, and size do not matter to you, then there is nothing wrong with the MacBook Air.
However, if you intend to use the laptop for demanding tasks, such as editing pictures, gaming, editing videos, graphic designing or using scientific software, you should opt for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. It has a better RAM for easy multitasking, brighter screen for amazing visuals, and bigger screen size for viewing multiple windows at once. Therefore, when you are making a choice, make it according to your particular needs and budget.