For so long, MacBooks have been the quintessential laptops. It’s lauded for its premium technology and sophisticated hardware. And to be honest, Apple deserves all the hype of their laptops. Imagine a high-speed SSD paired with an Intel Core i9. We’re talking about gold standard performance here. But as Apple rolls out new versions of their mobile gadgets, choosing the best MacBook to buy can be a challenge. In this post, we will discuss a MacBook Pro and MacBook Air comparison to help you find the best pick.
|MacBook Pro 15” |
Intel Core i9-8th Gen
w/ Touch Bar
|Apple MacBook Air |
13” Intel Core i5-8th
|MacBook Air 13.3” |
Intel Core i5
There’s no doubt that Apple is in the frontline when it comes to having the best laptops. They are the first company to introduce IPS displays and sleek aluminum bodies that many brands are copying nowadays.
It’s easy to think that MacBooks have the cutting-edge when it comes to laptops. However, some of their units are a bit outdated when it comes to updates and capabilities. And since most of the units look alike, it’s a hard task to pick one if you don’t know anything about the specs.
MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air
There are two variants of Apple laptops: the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. Both possess the fine technology of the brand including the Retina Display and keyboard structure. However, there are massive differences in its technology.
Let’s break down the comparison with these aspects: performance, design, portability, battery life, and price.
Generally, we hear people say that MacBooks are champs in performance. Personally, I can attest to this but it’s important to remember that MacBooks aren’t made equal.
First off, MacBook Pro’s base processor is Intel Core i5 from the 7th generation with 2.3 GHz dual-core build. The Turbo Boost can increase the frequency up to 3.6 GHz. If you’re willing to spend more money, you can opt for a newer 8th generation processor with six cores. How about MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air for college? The answer depends on your needs.
If we are to base our judgment from that specs, we can say that MacBook Pro is reasonably great for general tasks. However, MacBook Air has a lot more to offer.
MacBook Air has a base processor of 8th generation Intel Core i5 with 1.6 GHz dual-core build. Like the MacBook Pro, this can be increased up to 3.6 GHz using the Turbo Boost. The big difference here is that the Air runs 5-watts lower than Pro. This makes the former more efficient in cooling.
However, the MacBook Air isn’t very reliable for heavy multi-tasking. Its dual-core processor isn’t built for that.
If you want better sound, MacBook Pro would be a good choice. Still, MacBook Air compensates by using a better voice capture so you can utilize Siri without plugging a microphone. When it comes to MacBook Pro and MacBook Air comparison, MacBook pro reigns on the performance department.
Design-wise, there isn’t much of a difference between Pro and Air. Both have the sleek aluminum body with a slim construction. But aside from the Space Gray color of most Apple laptops, the MacBook Air already comes in silver and rose gold color skins. That’s a big plus if you give a lot of attention to the looks of the device. But other than that, it’s hard to tell an Air from a Pro if you won’t look at the bottom bezel of the unit.
When it comes to the display, the MacBook Pro overthrows the Air. It can be as bright as 500 nits, a big upgrade compared to Air’s maximum of 291 nits. With MacBook Pros’ color accuracy, it’s a great option for photographers, website designers, and video makers.
Let’s get geekier here by looking at Pro and Air in a more technical aspect. In terms of friction points, MacBook Air is the winner. It’s designed with excellent durability much like the Pro laptops. However, it doesn’t have the new Touch Bar that MacBook Pro sports. Still, Apple offsets this by placing a Touch ID security on MacBook Air.
To be fair, both the Pro and Air are thin enough to be portable. It’s one of the best features of Apple laptops that many users love. But do you remember how Steve Jobs introduced MacBook Air back in 2008? He pulled it from an envelope. Up to this day, the Air remains to be one of the slimmest and lightest laptop models ever made. Besides, there’s a good reason it’s named as such.
If we are to compare, MacBook Air has a thickness that ranges from 0.16 and 0.61 inches. Meanwhile, MacBook Pro is around 0.59 inches. Both have a width of 11.97 inches. So portability wise, we have to give MacBook Air the additional points. MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air for college? MacBook Air might also be the better pick.
💽Battery life and ports
One of the key promises of the Apple brand is longer battery life. For example, the MacBook Pro is expected to run for about 10 hours and 24 minutes while the Air is slated at 12 hours. But after running some tests, the MacBook Air might be a little less of what it promises. Still, it’s way better than the Pro when it comes to battery life.
As for the ports, you should’ve known by now that Apple is a little stingy in this aspect. You can’t live a MacBook life without using dongles and connection accessories. It’s part of achieving the slim build and promoting a safer digital space.
Anyway, both the Pro and Air have the Thunderbolt 3 USB Type C port, and a 3.5 mm jack.
One thing is for sure: you have to pay premium money to get your hands on a MacBook, regardless if it’s an Air or a Pro. MacBook Air usually runs cheaper at around $1,200 compared to MacBook Pro with Touch Bar that’s around $1,300.
If you want to upgrade from the 7th gen MacBook to 8th generation processors, a MacBook of this kind will cost you around $1,500-$4,500. Still, the additional dollars are worth it since the configurations are geared to have more processing power. If you are transcoding lengthy videos or doing heavy multitasking, the upgraded MacBook Pro would be the great option in this MacBook Pro and MacBook Air comparison.
A bit cash-strapped? If you’re a bit short on cash but still want to enjoy the MacBook experience, the cheapest Apple laptop is around $999. It’s a 13-inch MacBook Air with lower configurations including a 5th generation Intel Core i5 and a measly 128 GB of SSD storage. Also, it’s a non-Retina version.
Which is the winner?
The choice depends on which one actually meets your needs. Setting aside the price, I personally think that MacBook Air has the upper hand here. It has an excellent performance given the better processor and cooling system. Although it doesn’t have the Touch Bar of the MacBook Pro, it’s never an issue when it comes to functionality and overall performance.
MacBook Air is lighter and thinner which makes it a favorite of travelers and businesspeople. Since both the Pro and Air have the same chassis, the design wouldn’t be a problem here. Again, it all depends on what you need.
If you need more processing power for editing, digitizing, or designing, it’s better to invest in a MacBook Pro. How about MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air for college? If you’re a student, a MacBook Air with mid-range configurations should suit you well.
The Best MacBook to Buy
For the best performance: MacBook Pro 15” Intel Core i9-8th Gen w/ Touch Bar
This latest Apple release runs in a lightning-speed 8th generation Intel Core i9 with a massive 32 GB of RAM. With this alone, even the busiest power users will accomplish all their tasks smoothly. This is a lavish update from its predecessor, the MR942LL/A unit which runs in 8th generation Core i7 with 16 GB RAM.
As one of the best laptops for video makers, graphics designers, and photographers, the newest MacBook Pro has a Radeon Pro 560X GPU with 4 GB of memory. And to make things sweeter for this rather expensive laptop, the Turbo Boost can push it to up to 4.8 GHz.
This 15” laptop has 2 TB of SSD storage, something that makes it a total gem despite its hefty price tag. Paired with Apple’s exclusive Retina display and True Tone Technology, there’s nothing you’d ask for with this laptop.
As for connectivity, you’d have to settle with four Thunderbolt 3 slots. Regardless, a dongle would be your bridge through this device. You can also utilize the Bluetooth 5.0 feature.
Let’s take a look at the famous Touch Bar. This has an integrated ID sensor together with multiple multi-touch controls. A winner in this aspect of MacBook Pro and MacBook Air comparison.
For slim and light: Apple MacBook Air 13” Intel Core i5-8th Generation
If you want great performance but in a lighter package, your best bet is the Apple MacBook Air 13” laptop. This runs in an 8th Generation Intel Core i5 which is still a champ in multitasking. Although it’s not as powerful as 2018 MacBook Pro 15, it’s not a goner either.
Available in rose gold, space gray, and silver skins, this MacBook sports a 13.3-inch display with the Retina technology. It also has the Intel UHD Graphics 617 which is enough to support basic editing tasks. This Apple laptop has 8 GB of RAM that’s upgradeable to 16 GB as well as a fast SSD storage of up to 1.5 TB.
You might be surprised by how thin this laptop is: just 15.6 mm and featherweight at 2.75 pounds.
Its chassis is a first from Apple – having used 100% recycled aluminum. The aluminum shavings are then re-engineered in a sophisticated atomic level to reach Apple’s durability standards. It’s considered to be the greenest Mac ever with about 47% fewer carbon emissions but with impressive strength.
If we are to compare this MacBook Air to its previous generations, this version has 25% more sound, twice more bass, and an improved three-microphone array for better voice recognition. With that, you can utilize better Siri for your tasks.
For budget finds: MacBook Air 13.3” Intel Core i5
If you want an entry-level MacBook, the non-Retina MacBook Air 13.3” version is for you. Take note, though, that the production of this unit has been discontinued by Apple but you can still get enough support nonetheless.
The non-Retina unit runs in a 5th to 7th generation Intel Core i5 with 8GB of RAM and 128 GB of PCIe SSD storage with 3 MB of L3 cache capacity. It also has an Intel Graphics 6000 GPU. However, you’d have to settle at a less attractive display with a 1440 x 900 resolution. If you can spend $100 more, you can upgrade to the 256 GB SSD version.
The good thing here is that this budget MacBook has two USB 3.0 slots. You can probably skip the dongle if you only need basic data transfer.
When it comes to battery life, this can run for up to 12 hours but it can be shorter depending on how heavy the usage is. And since it doesn’t have Apple’s Retina display technology, this MacBook tends to have a lackluster display. It may not be excellent for intensive editing tasks.
Did this MacBook Pro and MacBook Air comparison help you? Are you a first-time Mac user? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!