15-Inch MacBook Air vs. 13-Inch: Which One Should You Get?

MacBook Air 13 and 15 inch Credit: Apple
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Apple surprised the whole world when it introduced a new 15-inch MacBook Air during this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference. It’s the first time in the company’s history that it’s offered such a large entry-level laptop.

However, with a new size, there’s also more weight, and even though the new 15-inch MacBook Air is still pretty light, it’s heavier than the 13-inch model.

Bigger isn’t always better, and if you aren’t sure if the new MacBook Air is right for you, here’s a comparison between both devices.

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15-Inch MacBook Air vs. 13-Inch: Hardware

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On the outside, both MacBook Air models look almost identical, except for the obvious size difference. 

The 15-inch MacBook Air measures 13.4 x 9.35 x 0.45 inches, which is obviously bigger than the 13-inch models, which feature an 11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44-inch body. 

Granted, both devices are really thin and compact, and Apple even claims that the 15-inch MacBook Air is the thinnest 15-inch laptop in the world. 

Both devices also have different weights, with the 15-inch weighing 3.3 pounds, while the 13-inch only comes in at 2.7 pounds. Yes, the 15-inch model is slightly heavier, but chances are you won’t be able to tell the difference. Still, if you’re someone who carries a lot of stuff, adding that extra bit of weight might feel annoying. 

Despite their physical differences, both models have the same specs. Both come with a 1080p True Depth front face camera, and are offered in the same color choices: Midnight, Starlight, Space Gray, and Silver.

Additionally, both come with the same keyboard with Touch ID and trackpad. If you don’t notice the size difference, you’re basically looking at the same computer. 

What Do the Internals Look Like?

Just like the outside, the internals on both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air models look extremely similar.

Firstly, Apple went with the same M2 chip in the 15-inch model found in last year’s 13-inch MacBook Air.

While it would’ve been nice to see a higher-performance chip on the 15-inch MacBook Air, especially considering its higher price (which we’ll get to in a moment), the M2 chip is still a powerful processor that can handle anything you’re likely to throw at it without any hassle.

Both models come with an 8-core CPU, although the 15-inch MacBook Air includes a 10-core GPU in its base configuration. The 13-inch model comes with an 8-core GPU standard, which can be upgraded to the 10-core version if you’re willing to pay the price. While casual users won’t notice the difference, this does mean the 15-inch model will be more powerful from the get-go. 

Other than these changes, both come with the same 8GB unified memory and 256 GB of storage, which can be upped to 24GB and 512 GB, respectively, at the time of purchase.

15-Inch MacBook Air vs. 13-Inch: Battery Life

When it comes to battery life, the 15-inch MacBook Air is the winner on paper. 

According to Apple, the 15-inch MacBook Air can last up to 18 hours with a single charge. While it’s still too early to know if this is completely accurate, it’s still an impressive number for an Air model.

The 13-inch MacBook Air, on the other hand, has shown that it can last anywhere between 14 to 16 hours with a single charge. Sure, that isn’t as much as the 15-inch model, but it’s still enough power to last an entire day. 

While it seems like it isn’t a big difference, you need to take the display into account. The bigger the display, the more battery it’ll need, so it’s still impressive that the bigger MacBook Air can (or at least should) last 18 hours with a bigger display. 

Display Differences

Speaking of the displays, this is the biggest change in the new model.

The bigger MacBook Air features a 15.3-inch display. However, thanks to the smaller bezels, Apple managed to keep the MacBook Air as small and thin as possible, even while increasing its size. The smaller MacBook Air, on the other hand, features a 13.6-inch display. Smaller, yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s that worse. 

For one thing, both models have 500 nits of brightness, so you won’t see any major differences in this department.

However, the 15-inch model’s display is 2,880 by 1864 pixels, whereas the 13-inch model has 2,560 by 1,664 pixels. This means the bigger model has a higher resolution and better quality, which will is one of the main reasons why you should pick it over the smaller MacBook Air.

15-Inch MacBook Air vs. 13-Inch: Ports

As we mentioned earlier, both MacBooks are pretty much identical on the outside. In addition to having the same camera and keyboard, both also have the same ports.

They rock a MagSafe 3 charging port, two Thunderbolt ports (USB 4), and a headphone jack — which is always a plus. Other than that, there isn’t anything else on the outside. They’re pretty much the same devices in this department.

What About the Price?

This is the biggest reason why you should choose one or the other. While the MacBook Air has always been the “budget” option when it comes to MacBooks, Apple has increased the price for the 15-inch model.

For the base 15-inch MacBook Air, you’ll need to pay $1,299. However, if you need more storage, you’ll need to pay $1,499 to get a 512 GB SSD.

On the other hand, the 13-inch model starts at $1,099, althoug that goes up to $1,399 if you want a 10-core GPU and 512 GB of storage.

Granted, it’s nowhere near cheap, but it’s still more affordable than the 15-inch model, especially when you consider there aren’t many differences between the two.

15-Inch MacBook Air vs. 13-Inch: Which One Should You Get?

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Both the 15-inch and the 13-inch MacBook Air are excellent computers that will help you get your work done with enough power left over to watch your favorite movies and shows.

However, when it comes to choosing one, the answer is not that simple. If you’re looking for the best MacBook Air and don’t care about the extra cost, the 15-inch MacBook Air is the best option.

However, because of its price, Apple should’ve made many more improvements to make the bigger MacBook Air stand out. For the price of a 512 GB MacBook Air, it might be better to consider a MacBook Pro instead. 

If you’re willing to get a smaller MacBook Air and you don’t care that much about the quality of the display, the 13-inch MacBook Air is a solid choice. You’ll spend less money and still get the best Apple has to offer right now.

Overall, the 15-inch MacBook Air could be a lot better, so it might be better to wait and see what the next model has to offer, especially with rumors that a next-generation M3 chip is right around the corner.

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