Picking Apples: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro

Compare MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro

So you’re in the market for an Apple notebook computer. If you’re looking to buy a new Mac notebook, your best choices (really the only choices) are the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. A new 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,299 (the 11-inch starts at $999) while the 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,199. With such close pricing, how do you decide which notebook is the best fit for you? What follows is a quick overview of the hardware and target audience of each device.

The Hardware: MacBook Air

MacBook Air

MacBook Air

The new MacBook Air has some pretty enticing features for the cheaper price. Perhaps the most impressive piece of hardware with the new MacBook Air is its 1.6GHz dual-core Intel i5 and i7 processors, which—for a computer its size—are extremely fast and effective at processing multiple tasks. It also boasts a nice LED-backlit screen with a great capacity for producing vibrant colors. Bonus perks include a backlit keyboard and the built in camera we’ve come to expect from Macs long ago.

Users will find that they’re still limited by the SSD hard drive (up to 256GB flash memory), fixed ram (4GB) and virtual video card. These are really impressive stats for a notebook if you utilize it primarily for travel and casual use.  Considering the MacBook Air’s size, these “drawbacks” are small potatoes.

The Hardware: MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro can afford to flex a little more hardware muscle. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has a 2.3GHz Intel core i5 processor or you can upgrade to 3.4GHz Intel Core i7 processor, which according to Apple’s website allows the MacBook Pro up to double the performance capacity of the previous generation. The 15 and 17 inch MacBook Pros also feature AMD Raedon graphics processors which allow for amazing video display capability; they work particularly well with graphic-intensive online MMORPGs.

The new MacBook Pro also features the Thunderbolt digital output device which allows the user to connect high-quality peripherals and displays to a single port at incredible data transfer rates. What’s more, Apple includes a 500GB or 750GB hard 5400-rpm ATA serial hard drive so you have tons of space to store files. The only drawback to the Pro’s impressive hardware is the price: the 15-inch model starts at $1,799 while the 17-inch starts at $2,499.

Which is MacBook is Best for You?

The MacBook Air is all about content consumption. Lightweight, extremely portable, modest features: this is the ideal notebook for the digital consumer on the go. If you’re a Mac lover that doesn’t have a professional investment in design, video editing or gaming, stick with the MacBook Air.

On the other side of things, the MacBook Pro is all about content creation and manipulation. This notebook is perfect for people who use their notebooks in graphic design, artistic/architectural rendering, or just some hardcore gaming. If you have the money to burn and the talent to spare, the MacBook Pro will definitely satisfy.

The Price : MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro

If you’re looking to buy a cheaper MacBook Air or Pro, there are 3 places to look:

  1. Refurbished MacBooks on Apple.com – Even though these Macs are refurbished, they still come with the same, kick-ass Apple Care warranty as a brand spankin new Mac. You just save a bucks. Check this page often because the inventory changes daily.
  2. MacMall.com – Occasionally, MacMall has discounts on new Mac. Typically, you can save about $50 or more vs buying at Apple.com. It’s worth a look.
  3. MacConnection.com – Similar to MacMall, you’ll find small discounts on new MacBooks, iMacs, etc.

Still not sure which MacBook to buy?

I completely understand – it’s a big decision. When in doubt, make sure to check out this page on Apple.com to compare all MacBooks. It has all the nerdy details like processor speed, amount of RAM & hard drive space, etc. Happy shopping! And congrats on your new MacBook!


Guest post by Mariana Ashley. Mariana is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031@gmail.com.

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