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MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro: how Apple’s laptops compare

MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro: how Apple’s laptops compare


Could the new MacBook Air be better than the 13-inch MacBook Pro?

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Apple announced a new MacBook Air today during a hardware event in New York. The new MacBook Air finally gets a Retina display as well as modern processors, 50 percent thinner bezels, and an updated keyboard. It’s the first major refresh of the MacBook Air in years, and it finally turns it into a modern, competitive machine. But how does it stack up against Apple’s existing MacBook and MacBook Pro?

Now that the MacBook Air has been revamped, it’s no longer at the $1,000 price point. Instead, the Air has ditched its price advantage in favor of more competitive specs. But with it lining up so closely with the 13-inch MacBook Pro, it might seem easier to just spend $100 more for what is in some ways a more powerful model.

Other MacBooks are behind on updates

At the same time, Apple hasn’t updated the MacBook and MacBook Pro (without the Touch Bar) for over a year, meaning that the processors and keyboards are dated. Buying a laptop with a 7th Gen Intel chip means losing out on some performance gains, and getting a second-gen Butterfly keyboard could mean running into some of the issues people have been complaining about, such as unresponsive keys.

The new MacBook Air still has a few shortcomings: its clock speeds are inferior to the Pro and, as is the case with its predecessors, it has low base storage (though there’s an option to upgrade up to 1.5TB). Whether those are enough to sway you toward the larger MacBooks or not, looking at all the specs will definitely help with the decision. To simplify things, we’re looking at the base specs and starting prices of each MacBook.

MacBook Spec Comparison

-MacBookMacBook AirMacBook Pro (no Touch Bar)MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
Display12 inches13.3 inches13.3 inches13.3 inches
Resolution2304 x 14402560 x 16002560 x 16002560 x 1600
Processor7th Gen 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core m38th Gen 1.6-GHz dual-core Intel Core i57th Gen 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i58th Gen 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 615Intel UHD Graphics 617Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
RAM8GB, 16GB8GB, 16GB8GB, 16GB8GB, 16GB
Storage256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1.5TB128GB, 256GB256GB, 512GB
Camera480p FaceTime camera720p FaceTime HD camera720p FaceTime HD camera720p FaceTime HD camera
Battery10 hours12 hours10 hours10 hours
PortsUSB-C port, 3.5mm headphone jackTwo Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, 3.5mm headphone jackTwo Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, 3.5mm headphone jackFour Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, 3.5mm headphone jack
Weight2.03 pounds2.75 pounds3.02 pounds3.02 pounds
Dimensions (in.)11.04 x 7.74 x 0.5211.97 x 8.36 x 0.6111.97 x 8.36 x 0.5911.97 x 8.36 x 0.59
Starting price$1,299$1,199$1,299$1,799
ColorsGold, Silver, Space GrayGold, Silver, Space GraySilver, Space GraySilver, Space Gray
FeaturesSecond gen Butterfly KeyboardTouch ID, third gen Butterfly KeyboardSecond gen Butterfly KeyboardTouch ID, Touch Bar, True Tone, third gen Butterfly Keyboard