MacBook Air

Best MacBook for Teachers iMore 2019

Apple MacBooks have always had a place in classrooms thanks to their overall power and durability. If you're a teacher looking for a new laptop, we recommend the MacBook Air (2019). There are other noteworthy models we've gathered to help you choose the one that fits your needs best.

Best Overall: MacBook Air (2019)

2019 MacBook Air

The entry-level MacBook Air offers a 13-inch Retina display with True Tone, 1.6GHz dual-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory, 128GB SSD storage, Intel UHD Graphics 617, and Touch ID. At 2.75 pounds, the 2019 MacBook Air is the lightest MacBook currently on the market. It's also the least expensive.

The lower price comes with drawbacks, starting with having an older and slower processor and less robust graphics card than the 13-inch MacBook Pro. It also contains fewer Thunderbolt 3 ports than most of the MacBook Pro models. On a positive note, the MacBook Air offers two more hours of use between charges than the similar-sized MacBook Pro.

Despite limitations, we recommend this model above all others for teachers, unless you're a creative who plans on using your laptop for intense video and photo work. It's a great laptop at a terrific price.

Pros:

  • Same screen size as 13-inch MBP
  • Up to 12 hours of wireless web between charges
  • Price

Cons:

  • Only two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
  • Not as powerful as MBP models

Best Overall

MacBook Air (2019)

Fun, yet practical

The best all-around option for teachers, the MacBook Air is a great looking device that will provide you with years of service.

Best Alternative: 13-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

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.

Pros:

  • Better internals than MacBook Air
  • Great mobility
  • Much cheaper than the 15-inch model

Cons:

  • You can't upgrade the graphics card
  • Price can rise quickly as you add components
  • Is 13-inches enough?

Best Alternative

13-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

A step up

There's much to love about this model, which offers better internals than the MacBook Air.

Best Large Display: 15-inch MacBook Pro (2019) i7 processor

15-inch MacBook Pro

The least expensive 15-inch MacBook Pro model still packs a punch, offering a 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz. The base 15-inch MacBook Pro comes with 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory, 256GB SSD storage, and four Thunderbolt 3 ports. The model comes standard with an AMD Radeon Pro 555X graphics processor and can be upgraded to Radeon Pro 560X for better performance for an extra $100.

On the obvious downside, this is an expensive laptop. Plus, you'll need to recharge this laptop more often than the MacBook Air. And like all MacBooks, it isn't usually on sale at a discount.

Pros:

  • The least expensive 15-inch model
  • Pay only $100 extra for a graphics boost
  • Biggest MacBook Pro display to date

Cons:

  • Still very expensive
  • Not the most powerful MBP you can buy
  • Up to 10 hours wireless web

Best Large Display

15-inch MacBook Pro (2019) i7 processor

Largest display for less

The entry-level 15-inch MacBook Pro is an excellent choice when the size of the screen matters the most.

Best for Creatives: 15-inch MacBook Pro (2019) i9 processor

MacBook Pro 15-inch

You can elect to go with the 15-inch MacBook Pro with an 8‑core 9th‑generation Intel Core i9 processor and Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz. For this, you'll receive a graphics card boost and 512GB of storage versus 256GB of storage found on the base model. If this isn't enough, you can add more memory, an even better graphics card, and more storage. In doing so, the cost of this model can quickly exceed $5,000.

However, if you're a teacher looking to run video and photo apps, this is almost certainly the one you should buy. Just think carefully before adding extras.

Pros:

  • Apple's best MacBook Pro to date
  • Graphics boost, upgrades
  • Up to 32GB of memory available

Cons:

  • Most expensive MacBook Pro on the market
  • Still only a 15-inch display

Best for Creatives

15-inch MacBook Pro (2019) i9 processor

The best of the best

If you're okay with the price, no doubt this is the MacBook to get.

Bottom line

In 2019, the MacBook lineup shrunk after Apple discontinued the 12-inch MacBook. The change brings to four the number of Apple laptops we recommend for teachers. Our favorite, the 13-inch MacBook Air, is the best choice for most teachers. It offers a Retina display with True Tone, 1.6GHz dual-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory, 128GB SSD storage, Intel UHD Graphics 617, and Touch ID.

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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