Apple refreshed its most popular MacBooks this year, starting with the MacBook Air a few months ago, and then repeated the process for the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Both computers received minor updates, mostly focusing on storage and their keyboards.
Both are unquestionably great options if you’re looking to buy one. Still, it might be a difficult choice. After all, neither of them are cheap, so chances are that you want to buy the one that fits all of your needs at the best price.
Even if both look similar on the outside, they have key differences that determine which one is the best for you and how you’ll use them.
If you’re having trouble deciding which is the best MacBook for you, here’s a full comparison between the latest MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro laptops.
What’s the Same Between the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro?
Before we dive into the key differences between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro, it’s important to point out what these two models have in common.
First, let’s start with the base models. Apple made changes to both of the MacBooks’ base models. Now, both start with 256 GB of storage, which is double the paltry storage previous models started with.
With that said, only the keyboard on the MacBook Pro comes with a Touch Bar at the top. Fortunately, both computers come with Touch ID for a fast and secure way to unlock them and utilize Apple Pay.
Another thing the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro have in common is the memory on the base models. Both computers come with 8GB of RAM, although the MacBook Pro has another model that starts with 16GB of RAM, albeit, it costs $300 more.
Last but not least, both MacBooks have two ThunderBolt 3 Ports on the left side. But, if you go for the other 13-inch MacBook Pro that we mentioned before, you get four ports, two on each side.
These are the biggest similarities between the base models; now let’s discuss the differences.
Price Differences Between the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro
The 2020 MacBook Air starts at $999 (or less), while the 2020 MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 (or less). Clearly, if you’re looking for the cheapest computer, the MacBook Air is the right choice for you.
With that said, the MacBook Air has another version that costs $1,299 (or less). If you’re going to buy the MacBook Air, I’d recommend you go for this version. For just $300 more, you’ll get a more powerful computer with better specs and double the storage.
For the same price, you’d get more storage than the MacBook Pro, and an improvement on the specs, but more on that later.
MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro Design
On the outside, both MacBooks look very similar. Their dimensions are almost identical as well, except the Air is much thinner overall.
Regarding their weight, and as you would expect, the MacBook Air is a bit lighter, at 2.8 pounds, compared to the 3.1 pounds on the MacBook Pro.
You’ll notice the biggest differences when you open both MacBooks. The first difference is the trackpad.
The trackpad on the MacBook Pro is bigger than the MacBook Air’s. That said, the trackpad on the MacBook Air is a decent size, and you shouldn’t have any issues using it.
The other key difference is the Touch Bar. As we mentioned before, only the MacBook Pro has a Touch Bar at the top of the keyboard. But how useful is it?
Well, the Touch Bar gives you quick access to shortcuts and features with just a couple of gestures. It is helpful to some extent but it’s not a deal-breaker, and you wouldn’t miss much if you go for the MacBook Air.
Another difference in their design is the colors available on both MacBooks.
Both offer Space Gray and Silver finishes, but only the MacBook Air has a Gold finish available. So if you were looking for a Gold MacBook, the Air is the only one you can get on that color.
MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro Display
We all want the best display since we’ll be looking at it most of the time. Fortunately, both displays are great and you’ll have almost the same experience, regardless of which one you choose.
Both Macbooks have a 13.3-inch Retina Display with a 2560-by-1600 native resolution. However, the MacBook Pro’s display features Wide Color or P3.
What this means is that the MacBook Pro can display more color varieties than the MacBook Air.
You can’t really tell the difference between both displays unless you’re comparing them side-by-side, so most of us won’t even notice the difference.
MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro Battery
Battery life is an incredibly important purchasing factor for a laptop. You’ll need something that lasts all day so you won’t have to worry about losing power while on the go.
And, even if the MacBook Pro’s battery is bigger than the MacBook Air’s, Apple states that the MacBook Air will last longer.
- According to Apple, the MacBook Air will last up to 11 hours when browsing the web, and up to 12 hours when watching movies.
- The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, only lasts up to 10 hours for the same activities.
This is because the MacBook Air works better under those kinds of activities. If you were to work on several apps at once and have a ton of browser tabs open, the battery on the MacBook Pro would last longer.
MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro Performance
By far, the biggest differences between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro are on the inside.
- The MacBook Pro comes with 8GB of memory, 256GB of storage, and a 1.4GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 for the base model.
- On the other hand, the MacBook Air’s base model comes with a 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i3, 8GB of memory, and 256 GB.
- However, if you go for the $1,299 MacBook Air, you’ll get a better 1.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, 512GB of storage, and the same 8GB of memory.
This is the most important difference and the reason you would choose one MacBook over the other.
The MacBook Pro is better for multi-core activities. What I mean is that if you plan on doing a lot of heavy work, like 4K video editing or even coding, a MacBook Pro will almost always be better for the job.
The MacBook Air is better for single-core work. If you want to use your MacBook for things like photo editing, web design, homework, browsing the web, or binge-watching Netflix, the MacBook Air is a fantastic option. You can also edit videos and even larger files on the MacBook Air, it’ll just take longer.
Should You Get the MacBook Air or the MacBook Pro?
Now, the reason you’re here. Which MacBook is the best for you?
Whether you go for the $999 or the $1,299 model, I believe the MacBook Air is the best computer for most people. It’s perfect if you want to use it casually, but it will also get the hard work done when you need it.
The $1,299 model offers double the storage and a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 processor for the same price as the MacBook Pro. This will be a perfect model if you plan on browsing the web a lot, writing, watching movies, or if you use apps like Photoshop or Slack. Get it here.
On the other hand, if you’re a power user, and you want to use your MacBook for long gaming sessions, 4K video editing, or you need to use a lot of apps at once, the performance of the MacBook Pro will suit you better.