MacBook Air vs Pro comparison, which should you buy?

MacBook Air vs Professional comparability, which do you have to purchase?

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Apple’s MacBook lineup presents spectacular efficiency and at first look, the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Professional appear fairly related. They’ve the identical CPU/GPU, identical ports, identical FaceTime digital camera, and extra. Nonetheless, the extra highly effective 2021 14-inch MacBook Professional could complicate your choice. Let’s take a better take a look at the MacBook Air vs Professional to see what differentiates these MacBooks and provide help to determine which to purchase in 2022.

Past the bigger screens, the all-new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Professional notebooks characteristic a refreshed design, mini-LED show backlighting, the return of I/O together with HDMI, SD card slot, and MagSafe, and the removing of the Contact Bar.

And naturally, they’ve extra energy than ever with the M1 Professional and M1 Max chips. When you’re on the fence between the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Professional, try our detailed information.

But when you recognize you need a compact 13 or 14-inch MacBook, learn on for our in-depth Air vs MacBook Professional comparability. Additionally, take into account there’s a new MacBook Air within the works that might arrive as quickly as summer season 2022.


Preliminary reactions to Apple unveiling the brand new M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Professional in late 2020 included confusion concerning the level of constant to supply each since they seem so related.

Whereas it’s spectacular and considerably complicated that the $999 base M1 MacBook Air has the identical CPU/GPU and neural engine because the $1,299 and better M1 MacBook Professional, there are some notable variations which can be value contemplating earlier than making a choice.

And with the 14-inch M1 Professional/Max MacBook Professional obtainable there are much more variations.

MacBook Air vs Professional {hardware} comparability

You’re getting the highly effective and environment friendly M1 chip with 2020 MacBook Air and Professional machines with 4 high-efficiency cores and 4 high-performance cores for the CPU. However curiously sufficient, it’s really a 7-core GPU on the bottom MacBook Air fashions as a substitute of the 8-core on the upper finish Air configurations and all of the MacBook Professional fashions. My colleague Ben Lovejoy wrote an explainer on what’s occurring with that.

Past the slight GPU distinction, you’re getting lively cooling with the MacBook Professional. That’s notable because it permits the pocket book to keep up excessive efficiency underneath sustained masses for longer.

For the 14-inch MacBook Professional, you get the M1 Professional or M1 Max chip with the choice for extra CPU and GPU cores, elevated RAM, full HD 1080p FaceTime digital camera, and extra.

 13″ MacBook Air (2020) 13″ MacBook Professional (2020) 14″ MacBook Professional (2021)
Processor M1 – 8-core M1 – 8-core M1 Professional or M1 Max – 8 or 10-core
Storage As much as 2TB As much as 2TB As much as 8TB
RAM 8 or 16GB 8 or 16GB 16 to 64GB
Graphics 7-core 8-core As much as 32-core
Neural engine 16-core 16-core 16-core
FaceTime digital camera 720p 720p 1080p
Audio system Stereo audio system with extensive sound Stereo audio system with excessive dynamic vary 6-speaker high-fidelity
Mics 3-mic array Studio-quality 3-mic array Studio-quality 3-mic array
Thermal administration Fanless Lively cooling with followers Lively cooling with followers

Possibly extra minor within the huge image, however each MacBook Professional fashions options excessive dynamic vary with stereo audio system and the mics are “studio-quality.”

It’s nice to see Wi-Fi 6 assist all fashions. Nonetheless, it’s only a 720p FaceTime digital camera on the 2020 MacBooks. Apple says it’s improved the picture high quality with its picture sign processor. However to get the total HD 1080p FaceTime digital camera, you’ll want to purchase the brand new 14-inch MacBook Professional.

You’re going to see superior efficiency for on a regular basis computing with all three of those computer systems however in the event you lean towards heavier workflows, the brand new MacBook Professional is the winner.

If in case you have medium to gentle workflows, the MacBook Air is a superb selection for portability and those that are extra value delicate.

MacBook Air vs Professional show comparability

MacBook Air vs Pro - display

If display screen brightness is necessary to you, chalk up one other level for the MacBook Professional with its 500-1600 nits brightness vs 400 nits on the MacBook Air.

The brand new MacBook Professional’s as much as 1,000 sustained nits brightness (1,600 peak) could also be only for HDR content material, however you’re nonetheless getting as much as 120Hz refresh charges with ProMotion, mini-LED backlighting, and even thinner bezels.

13″ MacBook Air (2020) 13″ MacBook Professional (2020) 14″ MacBook Professional (2021)
Precise display screen measurement 13.3″ 13.3″ 14.2″
Decision 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1600 3024 x 1964
Side Ratio 16:10 16:10 16:10 + notch
PPI 227 227 254
Nits (brightness) 400 500 As much as 1000 sustained, as much as 1600 peak
Retina show
Liquid Retina XDR show
ProMotion (as much as 120Hz)
mini-LED backlit
True Tone
P3 extensive shade

The brand new 14-inch MacBook Professional show does embody a notch on the prime middle of the show for the 1080p FaceTime digital camera. However in contrast to the iPhone, the notch doesn’t embody Face ID {hardware}/assist on the brand new MacBook Professional notebooks.

MacBook Air vs Professional I/O comparability

The distinction between the 2020 Air and Professional with the remainder of the I/O not coated above is the Contact Bar approaching the MacBook Professional and devoted row of operate keys (new ones too for dictation, highlight, extra) on the MacBook Air.

One draw back with the 2020 MacBooks is assist for simply 1 exterior show as much as 6K at 60Hz.

In distinction, the 14-inch MacBook Professional presents rather more I/O together with 3 USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, SDXC slot, MagSafe, and assist for as much as 3 exterior shows.

 13″ MacBook Air (2020) 13″ MacBook Professional (2020) 14″ MacBook Professional (2021)
Magic Keyboard
Contact ID
Contact Bar
USB-C/Thunderbolt ports 2 2 3
HDMI
SDXC card reader
MagSafe charging
Bluetooth 5.0 5.0 5.0
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6 (802.11.ax) Wi-Fi 6 (802.11.ax) Wi-Fi 6 (802.11.ax)
Exterior show assist 1 exterior show with as much as 6K decision at 60Hz 1 exterior show with as much as 6K decision at 60Hz As much as 2 exterior shows with as much as 6K decision at 60Hz (M1 Professional) or As much as 3 exterior shows with as much as 6K decision and 1 exterior show with as much as 4K decision at 60Hz (M1 Max)

Measurement, weight, and end comparability

As you’d count on, the MacBook Air is the lightest machine with the 13-inch MacBook Professional weighing a contact extra, and the 14-inch naturally being the heaviest.

The MacBook Air can also be the thinnest pocket book from Apple with its tapered design. And if the gold shade is interesting, take into account it’s solely obtainable with the MacBook Air.

13″ MacBook Air (2020) 13″ MacBook Professional (2020) 14″ MacBook Professional (2021)
Weight 2.8 lbs. (1.29 kg) 3 kilos (1.4 kg) 3.5 kilos (1.6 kg)
Thickness 0.16-0.63 in. (0.41-1.61 cm) 0.61 inch (1.56 cm) 0.61 inch (1.55 cm)
Width 11.97 inches (30.41 cm) 11.97 inches (30.31 cm) 12.31 inches (31.26 cm)
Depth 8.36 in. (21.24 cm) 8.36 inches (21.24 cm) 8.71 inches (22.12 cm)
Show measurement 13.3 in. (33.78 cm) 13.3 inches 14.2 inches
Finishes Silver, area grey, and gold Silver or area grey Silver or area grey

Battery life comparability

MacBook Air vs Pro - battery life

Actual-life use reveals huge battery life positive aspects for Apple Silicon MacBooks in comparison with the outdated Intel fashions. Nonetheless, take into account you in all probability received’t see precisely the Apple rankings of as much as 15-20 hours with out compromises like turning down show brightness, and many others.

However in any case, the ability effectivity and battery life enhancements are huge with Apple Silicon!

13″ MacBook Air (2020) 13″ MacBook Professional (2020) 14″ MacBook Professional (2021)
Wi-fi net battery 15 hours 17 hours 11 hours
Video playback 18 hours 20 hours 17 hours
Included energy adapter 30W USB-C 61W USB-C 67W or 96W USB-C + MagSafe
Battery capability 49.9Wh 58.2Wh 70Wh
Quick charging

Pricing comparability

Throughout the completely different configurations, it’s a $300-$1,000 distinction between the MacBook Air and MacBook Professional.

Stocked fashions are the 256GB/8GB RAM and 512GB/8GB RAM configurations for the 13-inch Air and Professional. Fashions with 16GB RAM for the 2020 Air and Professional are customized orders.

And the 14-inch MacBook Professional base mannequin begins at $1,999 with M1 Professional chip, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD.

Mannequin/value 13″ MacBook Air (2020) 13″ MacBook Professional (2020) 14″ MacBook Professional (2021)
256 / 8GB $999 $1,299
512 / 8GB $1,249 $1,499
256 / 16GB $1,199 $1,499
512 / 16GB $1,399 $1,699 $1,999
1TB / 16GB $1,599 $1,899 $2,499
1TB / 32GB $2,899
Customized builds As much as $2,049 As much as $2,299 As much as $5,899

MacBook Air vs Professional wrap-up

Hopefully, you’ve received readability now on which MacBook is best for you. When you worth probably the most energy, lively cooling for prolonged heavy workloads, a brighter display screen, and extra ports, the MacBook Professional is the best way to go.

In the meantime, when you have gentle to medium efficiency wants, and like the lightest machine with nice battery life, the MacBook Air is the selection beginning at a extremely cheap $999.

However don’t overlook about the opportunity of a refreshed MacBook Air within the coming months. If you recognize you’d like an Air however don’t want it instantly, it might be value ready to see if a brand new mannequin arrives this summer season or fall.

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