MacBook Pro vs Air
Apple’s lineup of laptops now comprises a 13-inch MacBook Air and three variants of the MacBook Pro; 13-inch, 14-inch, and 16-inch.
As a result, it can be difficult deciding which MacBook to get, especially since Apple has now introduced MacBooks with M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max processors. Not to forget that Apple still has MacBooks with Intel processors.
Between the 13-inch MacBook Air, the 13-inch, 14-inch, and 16-inch MacBook Pro, this review will attempt to help you figure out which MacBook is worth your buck by comparing battery life, display, performance, pricing, weight, and more.
By the end of this guide, you should know if you need to get the current MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air or whether you should wait for the next MacBook version to arrive.
MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air: Hardware Comparison
With the 2020 and 2021 MacBook Air and Pro, you’re getting the efficient and powerful M1 chip with 4-efficiency cores and four high-performance cores in the processing unit.
However, it’s a 7-core GPU on the base MacBook Air as opposed to the 8-core GPU on the higher MacBook Air models and all MacBook Pro models.
Apart from the slight GPU difference, you will be getting active cooling on the MacBook Pro. This is crucial because it allows your PC to have peak performance for longer.
For the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, you get the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips with the option for additional CPU and GPU cores, RAM, Full HD (1080p) camera, and more.
In addition, both MacBook Pro models have a high-dynamic range with stereo mics and speakers.
It’s great to see Wi-Fi 6 on all 2020 and 2021 MacBook models. However, 2020 MacBooks only have an HD (720p) FaceTime camera.
Apple says it enhanced the image quality with the image signal processor, but to get a Full HD camera, you’ll have to get the 14-inch MacBook Pro.
MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air: Display Comparison
If you value screen brightness, then you should go for the MacBook Pro thanks to its 500-1600 nits of brightness as opposed to 400 nits on the MacBook Air.
The new MacBook Pro has up to 1000 nits of brightness (1,600 peaks), maybe just for HDR content, but you’re still getting mini-LED backlighting, up to 120Hz refresh rates with ProMotion and even thinner bezels.
The 2021 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro screens have a notch at the top center where the Full HD (1080p) camera is housed.
However, unlike the iPhone, the notch doesn’t have Face ID support on all MacBook Pro models.
MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air: Finish, Size and Weight Comparison
As you can expect, the MacBook Air is the lightest machine in the lineup, with the 13-inch MacBook Pro weighing a bit more; of course, the 16-inch model is the heaviest.
The MacBook Air is also the thinnest laptop by Apple with its tapered design. If the gold color appeals to you, keep in mind, it’s only available on the MacBook Air.
MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air: Battery Life Comparison
Real-life use shows impressive battery life on the M1 MacBooks compared to the old Intel-based MacBooks.
However, remember that you won’t exactly achieve Apple ratings of up to 18 hours without compromises such as reducing brightness, etc. Not to worry, though, battery life and power efficiency are impressive with Apple Silicon.
MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air: Ports Comparison
The difference between the 2020 MacBook Air and Pro is the dedicated row of function keys on the MacBook Air and Touch Bar coming on the MacBook Pro.
On the downside, 2020 MacBooks support just one external display up to 6K at 60Hz.
On the contrary, the 14-inch MacBook Pro offers more ports, including 3 Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, Magsafe, SDXC, and support for up to 3 external monitors.
MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air: Pricing Comparison
Across the different MacBook models, there is a $300-$1000 difference. The stock models have 8GB/256GB and 8GB/512GB RAM and SSD configurations for the 13-inch MacBook Air and Pro.
Models with 16GB RAM for the 2021 MacBook Air and Pro are custom orders. What’s more, the 14-inch MacBook Pro base model starts at $2,000 with an M1 Pro chip, 16GB and 512 GB RAM and SSD, respectively.
We hope this review has given you clarity on which MacBook is ideal for you. If you want active cooling, a brighter screen, more ports, and the utmost power, the MacBook Pro is the way to go.
However, if you have light to medium performance requirements and want a light machine with impressive battery life, go for the MacBook Air.