If you're looking for a new computer to help you write your next term paper or best-selling novel, you'll notice there are a lot of different models on the market. Our favorite for most writers is the 13-inch MacBook Air, a portable, powerful solution. There are other noteworthy Macs we've gathered to help you choose the one that fits your needs best.
- Best Overall: MacBook Air
- Best Alternative: 13-inch MacBook Pro
- Best Premium: 15-inch MacBook Pro
- Best Desktop: iMac with 5K
Best Overall: MacBook Air (2020)
At 2.8 pounds, the latest 13-inch MacBook Air is the lightest MacBook currently on the market despite having the same screen size as the smaller of the two MacBook Pro models. Along with being less weighty, the MacBook Air provides up to two more hours of use between charges, although actual performance depends on what you're doing. The laptop also includes the new Magic Keyboard, which first launched on the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
The entry-level price for the MacBook Air is appealing. However, it comes with drawbacks, starting with having a slower processor and less robust graphics card. It also contains fewer Thunderbolt 3 ports than most of the MacBook Pro models. None of these disadvantages should affect you if you're mainly using the computer for writing and similar purposes.
- Same screen size as 13-inch MBP
- Up to 12 hours of wireless web between charges
- Only two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
- Not as powerful as MBP models
Save money and still get a Mac
Whether for work or school, this is a great MacBook for writers and almost everyone else too.
Best Alternative: 13-inch MacBook Pro
When it comes to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, $500 separates the base and most complete package. Add more memory, storage, and a better processor, and the price can jump even more. Despite this, the smaller of the two MacBook Pro models has a lot going for it.
At just over three pounds, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is only slightly heavier than the MacBook Air. For this, you receive a better processor and graphics card, more storage availability, and a Touch Bar. On the downsize, adding an even better graphics card or more storage suddenly pushes this model past the $2,000 mark, which might make you reconsider buying a 13-inch versus 15-inch model.
If you're comfortable with the 13-inch screen size and less concerned with price, you should buy this model over the MacBook Air. Otherwise, stick with our first choice.
- Better internals than MacBook Air
- Great mobility
- Much cheaper than the 15-inch MBP model
- You can't upgrade the graphics card
- Price can rise quickly as you add components
A step up
There's much to love about this model, which offers better internals than the MacBook Air.
Best Premium: 15-inch MacBook Pro
If you're looking for a MacBook with the largest possible display, this is the one to get. The 15-inch MacBook Pro features a Retina display with True Tone and comes with 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 15-inch MacBook Pro is a terrific choice for writers looking for the flexibility of a laptop with a larger display. However, if screen-size is much less important, you can save a lot by going with a 13-inch model.
- Apple's best MacBook Pro to date
- Graphics boost, upgrades
- Up to 32GB of memory available
- Most expensive MacBook Pro on the market
- Still only a 15-inch display
When screen size matters
If you're okay with the price, no doubt this is the MacBook to get. Happy writing!
Best Desktop: iMac 5K
Our favorite iMac of 2020 also makes our list of the best Macs for writers. Featuring a Retina 5K display and 1TB Fusion drive, this workhorse computer will provide you with years of service.
The entry-level model is one recommended we recommend for writers. It features 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory, configurable up to 32GB, and more.
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?
The entire family will love this Apple desktop computer. Even after all these years, the iMac design remains breath-taking and lights up any room.
Our 2020 Choice
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, 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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