Mac Air Vs Mac Pro 2020

By | 31/10/2022

MacBook Air vs Pro: Which should y’all purchase?

MacBook Air vs Pro - Apple Silicon

(Epitome credit: Apple tree)

Choosing between the Apple MacBook Air vs Pro is difficult considering both are fantastic laptops that are better than always cheers to Apple silicon. Comparison the laptops is tough but important considering you need to know exactly what each is capable of when deciding which 1 is correct for y’all.

The pick is now more than complicated thank you to the multiple models bachelor in the lineup. There’southward the MacBook Air M1 and the entry-level MacBook Pro M1, which were released in 2020 just all the same deliver excellent performance cheers to the M1 chip. In that location’s also 2021’southward $1,999 MacBook Pro 14-inch, which offers M1 Pro/M1 Max chips that are more than powerful than the M1 in the 13-inch MacBook Pro, a larger mini-LED display, more than ports and a sharper 1080p webcam.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro offers all of the same upgrades plus a larger, sharper brandish and longer bombardment life. And of course, there’s the new M2-powered MacBook Pro xiii-inch and MacBook Air 2022.

Apple tree’south reaping the rewards of ditching Intel’s processors for its own Apple silicon and the results are staggering, ensuring all of these laptops have a spot on our best laptop list. As we’ve seen in our MacBook Air with M1 review and MacBook Pro with M1 review, upgrading these MacBooks with Apple silicon has given them surprising speed and crazy battery life. And as nosotros’ve seen in our Apple M2 benchmark tests, the latest processor is even more than powerful than the regular M1.

Hither’s everything yous demand to know to find the best MacBook for you lot when choosing between the MacBook Air vs Pro.

MacBook Air vs Pro: Specs

Swipe to coil horizontally

MacBook Air (2020) thirteen-inch MacBook Pro (2020) 14-inch MacBook Pro 16-inch MacBook Pro xiii-inch MacBook Pro (2022) MacBook Air M2
Starting price $999 $1299 $1,999 $2499 $one,299 $ane,199
Screen 13.3 inches (2560 x 1600) 13.three inches (2560 x 1600) 14.2 inches (3024 x 1964) min-LED sixteen.2 inches (3456 x 2234) min-LED thirteen.3 inches (2560 x 1600) 13.6 inches (2560 x 1664)
Battery life 14:41 of web browsing (M1, tested) | Up to 18 hours of video playback (M1, claimed) | ix:31 (Intel, tested) sixteen:32 of spider web browsing (M1, tested) | Up to 20 hours (Apple M1, claimed) | 10:21 (Intel, tested) 17 hours of video playback (rated) 21 hours video playback (rated) 18:20 (tested) 14:06 (tested)
Processor Apple M1 (8-cadre) Apple M1 (viii-core) Apple tree M1 Pro, M1 Max (ten-core) Apple M1 Pro, M1 Max (10-core) Apple M2 (8-core) Apple tree M2 (8-core)
Graphics Integrated 7-core M1 GPU | Integrated eight-cadre GPU Integrated 7-core M1 GPU | Integrated 8-core GPU 16-core or 32-core xvi-core or 32-core Integrated viii-cadre M2 CPU | Integrated 10-core GPU Integrated 8-core M2 CPU | Integrated eight-core GPU
Storage 256GB to 2TB 256GB to 4TB 512GB to 8TB 512GB to 8TB 256GB to 2TB 256GB to 2TB
Memory 8GB, 16GB 8GB, 16GB, 32GB 16GG, 32GB 16GB, 32GB, 64GB 8GB to 24GB 8GB to 24GB
Ports 2 Thunderbolt two Thuderbolt iii Thunderbolt, HDMI, SD Menu, MagSafe 3 Thunderbolt, HDMI, SD Card, MagSafe ii Thunderbolt/USB4, headphone jack 2 Thunderbolt / ane USB-four, ane headphone
Bear upon Bar No Yeah No No Yes No
Security Bear upon ID Touch ID Touch ID Touch ID Impact ID Affect ID
Audio Stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos support Stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos support, 3-mic assortment 6-speaker assortment, Dolby Atmos support half dozen-speaker array, Dolby Atmos back up Stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos support, 3-mic array 4-speaker audio system, patial audio and Dolby Atmos support
Dimensions 12 x eight.4 ten 0.6 inches 12 x 8.4 x 0.half dozen inches 12.31 ten 8.71 x 0.61 inches 14.01 x 9.77 ten 0.66 inches 11.94 x viii.36 x 0.61 inches 11.97 x 8.46 ten 0.44 inches
Weight 2.8 pounds 3.0 pounds 3.five pounds 4.7 to 4.8 pounds 3.0 pounds 2.7 pounds

MacBook Air vs Pro: Pattern

MacBook Air with ports showing

(Epitome credit: Future)

The M1 MacBook Air and Pro share machined aluminum shells, come up in silver and Infinite Grey, and all have the piddling lip at the front end of the base, for easily opening the screen. The Air has a tapered-wedge design, equally it always has.

The new MacBook Pros deliver slim bezels and ditch the Touch Bar in favor of a dedicated function row (nosotros say good riddance). There’southward a notch at the top for the 1080p webcam, but it’s not too distracting.

The M2 MacBook Air 2022 has a blueprint that’south more akin to the 2021 MacBook Pros, ditching the tapered design. It too has thinner bezels and a notch for the photographic camera. The M2 MacBook Pro has the verbal same blueprint as its M1-powered predecessor.

MacBook Pro 14-inch bezel with notch

(Image credit: Apple via YouTube)

While the M1 MacBook Air’south tear-drop (it’s more like a wedge than a rectangle) design is iconic, my favorite singled-out characteristic near the Air is its gold color option, which just looks so much more bonny than the low-cal and dark silverish options.

When it comes to portability, the 2.vii-pound MacBook Air 2022 is the lightest followed by the three-pound thirteen-inch MacBook Pro. Only the fourteen-inch MacBook Pro is still fairly portable at 3.5 pounds. The xvi-inch goes to four.7 pounds.

Unfortunately, the new MacBook Pros are limited to Silverish and Space Gray.


MacBook Air for portability, new MacBook Pros for slimmer bezels

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro: Ports

MacBook Pro 14-inch at Apple event

The new MacBook Pros offer the well-nigh ports, including HDMI and SD Card slot.

(Image credit: Apple event via YouTube)

If you want plenty of ports, the MacBook Air is not the all-time choice. Information technology offers only two Thunderbolt 3 ports. The M1-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro also has only two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports. The M2-powered machines share the same number of ports.

The new xiv-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros deliver the nearly ports, including 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port and SD Card slot. Plus, there’due south MagSafe charging.

New MacBook Pros

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro: Display

MacBook Air Display

(Image credit: Time to come)

The Retina displays in the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro are both abrupt and colorful, and while it’s close, there’s a reason to go Pro: effulgence.

Based on our lab test results, the MacBook Air (M1) maxes out at 365.eight nits of brightness, while the M1 MacBook Pro (thirteen-inch: 434.8 nits) got fifty-fifty brighter. The M2 MacBook Pro achieved 474.6 nits of standard brightness while the MacBook Air 2022 achieved 489 nits, per our testing.

On color output, though, the M1 laptops are more similar. The Air (M1) netted a 114.3% sRGB rating from our colorimeter, which slightly beats the 110.6% rating we got from the M1 thirteen-inch Pro.

The 2021 MacBook Pros accept display quality to the next level with their Liquid Retina XDR displays. They’re rated for 1,000 nits of brightness and offer mini-LED engineering for superior colors and dissimilarity. Plus, you go a 120Hz ProMotion display for smoother performance.

2021 MacBook Pros

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro: Keyboard and Touch Bar

MacBook Air Keyboard

(Image credit: Hereafter)

All of the MacBooks yous can purchase offer Apple’s Magic Keyboard, which delivers strong tactile performance and comfort.

The MacBook Air doesn’t feature a Bear upon Bar, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro does, and this OLED bar frankly doesn’t offering a lot of value. It’southward mayhap telling that the fourteen-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro ditch the Touch Bar for a dedicated function row of physical keys.


Information technology’south a draw

MacBook Air vs Pro: Performance

MacBook Air vs Pro: Performance

(Image credit: Future)

Apple’s claims of amazingly improved performance in the M1-based MacBook Air and Pro accept been proven out in testing. On the Geekbench five benchmarks, the new MacBook Air (M1, 16GB RAM) scored a 5,962 and the new Pro (M1, 16GB RAM) netted a pretty similar 5,925.

They were both demolished by the new MacBook Pros, nevertheless. On the same Geekbench 5 benchmark test, the 14-inch M1 Pro-powered MacBook Pro scored 12,477 while its xvi-inch counterpart scored 12,683.

Though not as powerful as the M1 Pro and Max chips, the M2 processor is nevertheless a animate being. On Geekbench 5.4, the MacBook Pro 2022 scored eight,911 on the multicore portion of the test, while the MacBook Air 2022 scored 8,919.

On the Handbrake video transcoding test converting a 4K video to 1080p, the M1 MacBook Pro had a time of vii:44, beating the Air’due south 9:15 time. The 2021 MacBook Pros won over both, with the MacBook Pro 14-inch having a time of iv:51 and the 16-inch laptop transcoding in 4:48. The M2 MacBook Pro delivered impressive results by transcoding a video in half-dozen:51. The MacBook Air 2022 was only slightly backside the latter, delivering a time of 7:52.

The SSDs on the M1 Pro (13-inch) are impressive, with BlackMagic Deejay Speed Exam read rates of ii,824.9 MBps, beating the 2,692 MBps from the M1 Air and the 16-inch Pro’due south 2,540 MBps speed. However (and it should be no surprise at this point), the new MacBook Pros trounced them all with 14-inch and 16-inch models scoring 5,321 and v,314, respectively. The M2-powered MacBook Pro scored 2,794, which puts it betwixt the old and new M1 fries.

MacBook Air vs Pro: Apple Silicon MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

While testing Sid Meier’s Culture VI: Gathering Storm test, the M1 MacBook Air notched 36.9 fps, slightly behind the M1 Pro’s 38.two fps. Ascension of the Tomb Raider (at Very Loftier settings at 1440 x 900 resolution) ran at 29 fps on both M1 laptops. The fourteen-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro achieved 46 fps on Civilization Half dozen while the 16-inch M1 Max-powered MacBook Pro got as loftier as 47 fps. The new MacBook Pros accept an obvious edge here due to their beefier fries. Unfortunately, the M2 MacBook Pro isn’t much better than its M1 predecessor when it comes to gaming.


MacBook Air for value, new MacBook Pros for sheer speed

MacBook Air vs Pro: Battery life

Battery life is the other place where Apple’s move to its own M1 processors has delivered serious wins. The M1 MacBook Air lasted for xiv hours and 41 minutes on our battery test (web surfing at 150 nits), while the M1 Pro (16:32) lasted even longer. Both times leave the 16-inch MacBook Pro (x:55) in the dust.

The 2021 MacBook Pros trounce these numbers. During our testing, the MacBook Pro 14-inch lasted for 14:08 while the MacBook Pro xvi-inch endured for fifteen:31.

However, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 destroys them all as information technology lasted for an amazing 18 hours and 20 minutes during our testing. That makes it the longest-lasting laptop we’ve reviewed at Tom’s Guide.

The new MacBook Pros.

MacBook Air vs Pro: Sound

While the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro offer great stereo sound (the latter has more dynamic range) — the new MacBook Pros are on another level.

That’s because the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro offering a six-speaker setup. And you now get more bass forth with an octave lower audio for even more robust audio contour. Plus, the new MacBook Pros support Dolby Atmos in speaker as opposed to but headphones.


New MacBook Pros

MacBook Air vs Pro: Value and toll

MacBook Air vs Pro: Value and price

(Image credit: Future)

The MacBook Air with M1 is withal the value leader with its $999 starting cost and it arguably gives y’all more bang for your cadet in terms of performance than the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Both the old and new 13-inch Pros give you lot longer battery life, but it may not be enough to justify the $ane,299 price.

The MacBook Pro 14-inch represents a big leap in cost over the xiii-inch, but y’all get a lot for your $1,999. This includes a much faster M1 Pro fleck, larger and superior 14-inch mini-LED brandish with 120Hz refresh charge per unit, a shaper 1080p webcam and more ports. Merely you’ll likely need to have a demanding workload to appreciate all of these benefits.

The xvi-inch MacBook Pro is the ultimate Apple laptop for people who need the biggest display, and it’due south priced accordingly at $ii,499. And you’ll go a longer-lasting battery.

MacBook Air

MacBook Air vs Pro: What should you purchase?

This is somewhat tricky since different users have dissimilar needs. At the risk of sounding cliché, there are MacBooks for everyone.

The MacBook Air is the best MacBook for nigh people, delivering crawly M1 performance and longer battery life in a fairly portable design. If you tin spare the extra cash, the new MacBook Air is too worth because due to its versatility and improved performance.

The 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro is all the same good, just it’south outshined by the more premium fourteen-inch MacBook Pro and all of its upgrades. Simply we’re guessing at least some shoppers will think twice about jumping from $i,299 to $i,999. Because of that, the new M2 MacBook Pro looks more enticing for budget-conscious folks. But if you need power to a higher place all, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is the ultimate splurge machine for power users for those who want the about screen real manor they can accept at domicile and on the get.

If you want pure horsepower or simply want the latest models available, the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros might be best for yous. Of course, you’ll need to decide (or justify) if their respective $1,999 and $ii,499 starting prices are within your upkeep. Just if money is non an object, these are the MacBooks to get.

Marker Spoonauer is the global editor in main of Tom’s Guide and has covered technology for over twenty years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom’south Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key manufacture events and appears regularly on TV to talk over the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business organisation and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Magazine, and his work has appeared in Wired, Pop Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.