For those who plan on doing a lot of resource-intensive work, like heavy photo and video editing, audio work, graphic design, or even gaming, then the 13-inch MacBook Pro is the better and more versatile option. But if you don't need a lot of power, and just need a MacBook for work and school (like a lot of people), then the MacBook Air is still the best MacBook for most people.
Pro power or affordability?
Despite the slightly higher price tag, we think the 13-inch MacBook Pro is the better buy, especially if you don't mind paying more and need to do some resource-intensive work on it. This includes serious photo and video editing and rendering, graphic design, audio recording, programming, and even gaming. Otherwise, then we believe that the MacBook Air is the best MacBook for the majority of folks, as it can handle pretty much everything else just fine.
|13-inch MacBook Pro||MacBook Air|
|Cost||From $1299||From $999|
|Colors||Silver and Space Gray||Gold, Silver, and Space Gray|
|Weight||3.1 pounds||2.8 pounds|
|Processor||Starts at 1.4GHz quad‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz||Starts at 1.1GHz dual-core Intel i3, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz|
|Keyboard||Scissor-switch Magic Keyboard (backlit)||Scissor-switch Magic Keyboard (backlit)|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645||Intel Iris Plus Graphics with support for Thunderbolt 3-enabled eGPUs|
|Storage||Starts at 256GB SSD, configurable up to 4TB||Starts at 256GB SSD, configurable up to 2TB|
|Memory||8GB up to 32GB||8GB up to 16GB|
|Ports||Starts with two, goes up to four USB-C||Two USB-C|
|Audio||Stereo speakers with high dynamic range, wide stereo sound, and Dolby Atmos support||Stereo speakers with wide stereo sound and Dolby Atmos support|
|Microphone||Three-mic array with directional beamforming||Three-mic array with directional beamforming|
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro is a nice upgrade and surprised everyone by keeping it at the same starting price. From $1299, you get double the starting storage (starts at 256GB), though the RAM starts at 8GB for the lower end models and can be configured to 16GB, with the two higher-end models starting with 16GB and can go up to 32GB.
With four cores in the higher end 2.0GH 10-th generation Intel i5 processor (with Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz) and an Intel Iris Plus Graphics card, you'll be ready to take on pretty much anything you can throw at your 13-inch MacBook Pro, from video editing to audio recording to programming to gaming. It also has stereo speakers with high dynamic range, wide stereo sound, and support for Dolby Atmos, making it the second-best MacBook Pro for sound (that goes to the 16-inch MacBook Pro). Plus, the 13-inch MacBook Pro has the updated backlit Magic Keyboard now as well, so no more woes from the butterfly mechanism, since this goes back to the old scissor-switch.
So, which should you buy?
If you don't need all of that power, and just want a lightweight laptop that can handle simple web browsing, writing, some coding, a bit of simple photo and video editing, email, and media playback, then the MacBook Air should suit your needs. And it's also a few hundred dollars cheaper. Plus, the latest 2020 model MacBook Air starts with a higher base storage, can be configured to go up to an i7 processor, and comes with the new scissor-switch keyboard mechanism that was first introduced with the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Power for anything, anywhere
The 13-inch MacBook Pro has plenty of power and storage for your needs, thanks to more starting storage and the 10th-generation Intel i5 processor in the higher-end models. It also has the newly updated backlit Magic Keyboard across all four versions, so you still get the improved typing experience, regardless of price point.
The MacBook for everyone
The MacBook Air is the laptop for the everyday, average consumer. It's lightweight, portable, and packs enough processing power to help you get through a school or workday. Plus, the butterfly keyboard is out, and scissor-switch back in!
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