Best Mac for Writers iMore 2021
Whether you're using Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or another word processor to write your next term paper or best-selling novel, we've got you covered. The following are the best Macs for writers in 2021, starting with our favorite, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), a portable, powerful solution. There are other noteworthy Macs we've gathered to help you choose the one that fits your needs best, including the best iMac of the year.
- Best Overall: MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
- Best Alternative: 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020)
- Best Premium: 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019)
- Best Desktop: iMac with 5K
Best Overall: MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
At 2.8 pounds, the overall best Mac for writers, the latest 13-inch MacBook Air, is the lightest MacBook on the market despite having the same screen size as the smallest MacBook Pro model. Along with being less weighty, the MacBook Air is also cheaper than the Pro model even though it contains the same internals — Apple's all-new M1 SoC. The laptop also includes a backlit Magic Keyboard and a Touch ID sensor.
The entry-level price for the MacBook Air is appealing. However, it comes with drawbacks, including fewer Thunderbolt 3 ports, less display brightness, and more inferior speakers than most MacBook Pro models. It also offers 2 hours less battery life between charges than the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020).
None of the disadvantages should stop you from buying the MacBook Air if you're mainly using the computer for writing and similar purposes.
- Same screen size as 13-inch MBP
- Up to 18 hours of wireless web between charges
- Excellent Price
- Only two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
- Less battery life than similar MacBook Pro with M1
Best Alternative: 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020)
The 13-inch MacBook Pro is in a transition period thanks to the late 2020 arrival of Apple Silicon. As things stand, there are entry-level Apple M1 13-inch MacBook Pro models and those that still offer Intel-based processors. If you're a writer who isn't looking for an extraordinary amount of internal storage, we suggest going with our favorite, the MacBook Air. The price difference is substantial enough to warrant sticking with the less expensive laptop.
However, if you're looking for more storage or memory, go with an Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pro. The model offers up to 4TB of storage and 32GB of memory. (The M1 model maxes out at 2TB of storage and 16GB of unified memory.) With an Intel-based model, you'll receive four Thunderbolt 3 ports and Touch Bar.
One reason to skip all 13-inch MacBook Pro models right now is that the Intel-based versions will probably get replaced later this year as Cupertino transitions the entire MBP lineup to Apple silicone.
- More options than the M1 versions
- Great mobility
- It's much cheaper than the 16-inch MBP model
- Could be replaced in 2021 by an M1-based model
- Price can rise quickly as you add components
Best Premium: 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019)
If you're looking for a MacBook with the largest possible display, this is the one to get. The 16-inch MacBook Pro features a Retina display with True Tone and at least 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory. Upgrades cost more, of course, and these could set you back thousands of dollars extra if you're not careful.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is a terrific choice for writers looking for a larger display. However, if screen-size is much less important, you can save a lot by going with a 13-inch model. Another reason to wait: the 16-inch MacBook is due for an update in 2021.
- Largest MacBook Pro to date
- Best Intel-based MBP you can buy
- Most expensive MacBook Pro on the market
- New model is coming this year
Best Desktop: iMac 5K (2020)
Our favorite iMac of 2021 also makes our list of the best Macs for writers. Featuring a Retina 5K display, this workhorse computer will provide you with years of service.
The entry-level model is the one we recommend for writers. It features a 3.1GHz 6-Core Processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz, 256GB Storage, and much more. Be sure to increase the storage to at least 1TB.
If a desktop computer is in your future as a writer, this is the one you should get, case closed.
- Great price
- Plenty of add-ons
- Retina 5K display
- Obviously, not portable
- Is the screen too big for what you want to do?
Best Mac for Writers
Whether for school, business, or home use, a Mac is a great choice. For writers especially, you can't go wrong, no matter the model you select. Our favorite, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), offers a terrific Retina display in a portable frame that won't break the bank.
Available in space gray, gold, and silver, the MacBook Air is the lightest Apple laptop on the market and also the one that offers the most battery life between charges. It's also the thinnest so you can bring it with you at any time.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. Penn State (go Nittany Lions) graduate here, also a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe
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