MacBook Pro vs. Air: What’s the Difference?

28th December 2022 | by Naveen M

How does a MacBook Pro differ from a MacBook Air? A comparison of MacBook Pro and Air

Apple Mac Book Pro vs Mac Book Ai - The detailed comparisonApple released its new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini powered by M1 chip by the end of 2021. These Macs are the best and fastest among all because of the chipset used in it. Both MacBook Pro and Air come in 13 inches and they use the same M series chip. Hence it can be tough for the customers to choose one of them. Here, we are going to find what difference these Macs have as they come with very similar specifications.

In addition to the 13-inch MacBook pro, there are two other pro models that have 14-inch and 16-inch screens. These models are powered with more special processors that are called Apple M1 Pro and Max. If you have been considering buying a MacBook, this is the best time for it. Apple has replaced the Intel CPUs with the custom Apple silicon chips which is amazing. Though the MacBook Air and Pro models use the same M series processors, there are certain differences that need some addressing. Below you will find the MacBook Air vs Pro comparison including all features and specs.

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro.

Design

There is no big difference between these M1 chip Mac models and all these laptops are made of Aluminum. The MacBook Air is the thinnest and lightest in the group and the 13-inch MacBook pro is more or less the same. Pro models have even thick sides that differ from the wedge-shaped MacBook Air. Obviously the 14 inch and 16 inch MacBook Pros are bigger and heavier than the other. This is because of the bulkier battery and cooling hardware they use.

Option for ports is an important difference to notice. Both the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro just have two thunderbolt ports, while the other two Pro models come with three Thunderbolt ports, HDMI port, SD card slot, and more. To continue, the 13-inch models can connect to only one external display, whereas the bigger pro models with the M1 pro/Max can connect up to four external displays. This is big and multi-screen users need to note this closely.

The biggest design difference is with the Touch Bar. Only one model comes with the touch bar and it’s the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Apple has removed the touch bar from the bigger Pro models, but all these Macs have the Touch ID fingerprint on the power button. Otherwise, there are good color options provided by Apple. It’s just that the MacBook Air comes in an additional Gold variant.

RESULT: 13-inch models are the same with slight differences in looks. For more ports prefer the bigger pro models.

Display.

Comparing the displays of these latest Macs is very easy. While the MacBook Air and 13-inch pro have the same screen resolution, there is a good upgrade in the other two pro models. Let’s check this with the numbers. Both the 13 inch models have a retina display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution. Also they can only produce up to 500 nits of brightness. On the other hand, the 14 and 16-inch models have a way better screen with resolutions of 3024 x 1964 and 3456 x 2234 respectively. These bigger pro models can hit a whooping 1600 nits of brightness. So the difference is quite obvious and the Pro models are much ahead in terms of brightness and quality.

RESULT:

You can go for the 14 and 16-inch pro models if you want more brightness outdoors. Otherwise, the 13-inch models do very well too.

Battery

The size of the batteries used in these Macs increases with respect to the order of the models. Also, Apple’s M1 chipset not only increases the performance but also enhances the battery life. MacBook Air is equipped with the smallest 49.9Whr battery that can run for 18 hours in one full charge. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has a bigger 58.2Whr battery that can last two hours extra. Next, the 14-inch MacBook Pro has a 70Whr battery, but its runtime is only 17 hours because of the screen brightness and other stuff. Finally, the biggest battery, 100Whr, is found in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and this laptop can last for 21 hours with one full charge. While these are the battery capacities, the chargers also follow the same model-wise size. The MacBook Air and the 13-inch Pro can be charged with 30W and 61W chargers respectively. Whereas the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro use 67W and 140W chargers respectively.

RESULT: For better battery performance you must choose the 16-inch Mac as it also comes with other pros.

Performance

Basically the M1 chipset is a huge breakthrough by Apple. They claim that this chipset is triple the speed than earlier, has five times faster graphics, and it has a machine learning performance that is 11 times faster. Both the 13 inch models have the same Apple M1 chipset, so the difference in performance is not significant. For the 14 and 16-inch MacBooks, Apple has used either the M1 pro or the M1 Max chipset that are slightly improved versions of M1.

Though all the Macs are very efficient and powerful, there is something you need to know. The Apple M1 chipset does not need any active cooling and rightly the MacBook Air carries no fan in it. But MacBook Pro has the fan and the use of this fan can reflect in the longer period.

Coming to the RAM and storage variants, we can see that both the 13-inch Macs offer the same options. There are the 8GB and 16GB RAM options that come with a minimum of 256GB storage and a maximum of 2TB. For the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros, the RAM options start from 16Gb and go up to 64GB with storage of up to 8TB. If you want to store a lot of media and files, you would want to go for the bigger Pro models. Else it’s a simple pick.

RESULT: The M1 chipset is the best processor you can find in the market, so it is enough that you buy any of these Macs for good performance.

Other Specs

We have seen the major features of the M1 chip Macs above, but there are certain specs that are different among them. Camera is an important feature to look at as we use them a lot now. The 13-inch Macs have a 720p FaceTime HD camera and the other two Pro models have a 1080p FaceTime HD camera that gives clearer pictures. Connectivity features happen to be exactly the same in all the Macs including Air, so no inequalities were found there, except the port options. Graphics will be better in the bigger Pro models as the variants have up to 32-core GPU, whereas the 13-inch Macs only have a 7-core or a 8-core GPU.

Verdict.

On the whole, the major points we can see as a difference include the fan, brighter screen, better graphics, and storage options in the Pro models. When you buy a Laptop it is important for you to know how and for what you are going to use it. If you are a college student or a rare user, we can surely say that the MacBook Air with M1 chip is enough. Also you will be saving some money with the Air. Professionals and heavy users must choose between the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro for larger and brighter displays. We say this because if you have to use more than one screen for work these Macs are the ones that will support. Overall, these laptops are the most powerful in the market and you need not have second thoughts. Professionals who work as designers and video editors can take a look at the best Laptops for editing and designing.  If you are a fan of Windows, you must check the best Laptops for gamers in 2022.

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