Macbook Pro vs Mac Air What Are the Differences

Macbook Pro vs Mac Air What Are the Differences

Written by thetechw, In Technology, Published On
December 9, 2021
, 136 Views
Last modified on December 14th, 2021

In the first quarter of 2020, MacBook sales were up 94%.

Apple produces some of the best computers on the market, and the latest models are great examples. A MacBook Pro guide or Mac Air guide could give you a rundown of each, but which of their devices is actually best?

This article pits the MacBook pro vs Mac Air to see how they stand up to one another, and which one is right for you.

To find out how they compare, keep reading.

Processor

Apple uses its own M1 processors for all new MacBook models. The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13 come with the M1 chip, while the 14 and 16-inch versions come with either the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip.

The M1 chip is powerful and efficient, being a step up from the Intel chips used on previous models.

The MacBook Air lacks a fan, which means it makes less noise, but reduces the performance. The Pro 13 with the same processor can perform more tasks for a longer time as it is actively cooled.

The M1 Pro and M1 Max of the 14 and 16-inch have a much higher level of performance. On the Geekbench 5 benchmarks, the Air and Pro 13 scored 5,962 and 5,925 respectively. Meanwhile, the Pro 14 and Pro 16 scored 12,477 and 12,683, showing how much more powerful these processors are.

Note that these speeds are with new models, but after use, they can become slower. One of the main things slowing computers down that people don’t notice is excess files taking up space.

It’s easy to become unorganized and end up with unnecessary or duplicate files on your MacBook, even worse when they take up a lot of space, such as large video files.

One of our top MacBook pro tips would be to keep it clear and running smoothly. Apps such as Gemini 2 are great tools for this. It can scan your MacBook for duplicate video files and delete them.

Memory

The increased performance mentioned above is not down to the processors exclusively.

Bith the Air and Pro 13 models are available with up to 16GB of RAM, which is a reasonable amount. The other Pro models, however, can have up to 64GB of RAM. This is a huge amount for a portable computer and helps keep everything running smoothly.

Storage

Apple no longer uses HDDs for its MacBooks, instead opting for solid-state drives. This saves on space making the devices smaller. They are also far faster and more reliable than HDDs.

The MacBook Air and Pro 13 models can have up to 2TB of storage, which is already more than most Windows laptops.

If that’s not enough, the Pro 14 and Pro 16 are available with up to 8TB of storage.

The Air and Pro 13 SDDs are capable of read speeds of between 2,600 and 2,900 MB/s, while the Pro 14 and Pro 16 manage to beat this with speeds above 5,300 MB/s.

Design

This is the area where the MacBook Air has a clear advantage. After all, its size is what it is famous for. It measures 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches and weighs 2.8 lbs.

The Pro 13 actually has the same dimensions but weighs slightly more at 3.0 lbs.

The Pro 14 measures 12.31 x 8.71 x 0.61 inches and has a weight of 3.5 lbs, and the Pro 16 is 14.01 x 9.77 x 0.66 inches weighing 4.7-4.8 lbs.

As expected, the more powerful models with larger screens weigh a bit more. This could be a significant factor for you depending on how portable you need your device to be.

The MacBook Air features a tapered design like all previous models making it stand out. All of these models are available in Silver and Space Grey, but the MacBook Air is also available in Gold, an option to really stand out.

All MacBooks have Apple’s Magic Keyboard, a design they have stuck with as it performs well. The Pro 13 is the only model with a Touch Bar, but it never received much praise, which is why it was ditched for the Pro 14 and Pro 16 models and replaced with a row of physical keys.

Display

It is safe to say that all modern MacBook models have impressive screens.

The MacBook Air and Pro 13 have Retina displays that provide sharp images and strong colors. The screen on the Air is capable of 356.8 nits of brightness, with the Pro 13 being slightly brighter at 434.8 nits.

The Pro 14 and Pro 16 Models are far superior here, thanks to the Liquid Retina XDR displays. Mini-LED technology gives better colors and contrast, and they are capable of over 1,000 nits of brightness, so using your device in a bright environment is no issue.

These superior displays also offer 120Hz ProMotion, giving an incredibly smooth performance.

Ports

Connectivity can be very important, and with all portable devices, the ports available are often limited by the size of the device.

As such, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13 each have just two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The Pro 14 and Pro 16 have the edge here, with both featuring three Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI port, and even an SD card slot.

Battery

Another advantage of the M1 processors is that they are very efficient. Apple promises up to 15 hours of wireless web browsing or 18 hours of Apple TV movie playback on the MacBook Air.

The Pro 13 offers a bit more with 17 hours of web browsing and 20 hours of movie playback.

The larger models naturally have larger batteries, but also require more power to run. The Pro 14 can only manage 11 hours of web browsing and 17 hours of movie playback.

The Pro 16 is somewhat better than that with 14 hours of web browsing, but a noteworthy 21 hours of movie playback.

Price

One of the key factors when it comes to making a decision.

The MacBook Air is by far the cheapest at a price of $999. The Pro 13 has some slight benefits but comes in at $1,299. The extra battery life is the most significant difference, but is that worth an extra $300?

The Pro 14 is a big step up in terms of performance and functionality and comes with a price tag of $1,999. Then the biggest and best, the Pro 16 has a price of $2,499. 

MacBook Pro vs Mac Air – Which Should I Buy?

We would say that the best value for money is the MacBook Air, but when it comes to your choice it is all about personal preference. If you need a larger screen or better performance, you may want to spring for one of the more expensive models.

When it comes to choosing between the MacBook Pro vs Mac air, the best thing you can do is be informed. If you understand the different options, making the choice is much easier.

For more tech guides and product comparisons, check out some of our other blogs!

Related articles