With the powerful Apple tree MacBook Pro, now bachelor in iii screen sizes—and the slim, efficient, and one-size MacBook Air—in that location are 2 Mac laptop families to chose between. With similar specs and exterior styling across both the Air and the Pro, deciding which i is best for yous largely comes downwards to which size screen you demand and how much processing power your typical computing tasks require.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro and $999 MacBook Air utilize Apple’s original M1 processor, which promises speedy operation on everyday tasks. Meanwhile, the 14-inch and xvi-inch MacBook Pro laptops come with your choice of M1 Pro or M1 Max chips for serious content creation needs. Finally, the latest MacBook Air (2022) comes with the newest M2 processor.
Beneath are our choices for the all-time MacBooks for each blazon of employ, from the generalist to the ability-hungry creative professional. Each laptop has gone through the full PCMag testing process, and following our picks is a detailed heir-apparent’s guide answering common questions.
Apple tree MacBook Air M2 Chip 256GB xiii.half dozen” Laptop
Best Mac Laptop Overall
The 2022 version of Apple’s MacBook Air gets a fresh look and the more powerful M2 processor, making it Apple’south best ultraportable laptop yet.
- Stunning, slim design
- Larger, more vibrant 13.6-inch display
- Multiple color options
- M2 flake delivers excellent performance
Shorter battery life than 2020 M1 MacBook Air
Camera notch encroaches on display panel
Limited to two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports (though mitigated, in part, by MagSafe connector)
Read Our Apple tree MacBook Air M2 Chip 256GB 13.vi” Laptop Review
Apple tree MacBook Air M1 13” Laptop
Best Budget Mac Laptop
The M1-equipped MacBook Air at present packs far better performance than its predecessors, rivaling at times the M1-based MacBook Pro. At $999, it’south the best value amongst macOS laptops.
- Adept value, especially for a MacBook
- Much-improved performance, cheers to Apple’s new M1 processor
- Exceptional battery life
- Sleek, portable metal blueprint
- Loftier-quality keyboard, touchpad, and display
- Multiple color options
Port selection limited to 2 USB Blazon-C connections
Still no touch-screen option
Read Our Apple MacBook Air M1 13” Laptop Review
Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro fourteen” 1TB SSD Laptop
Best Mac Laptop for Content Creators
The xiv-inch Apple MacBook Pro occupies a new sugariness spot among pro content-creator laptops: far more than capable than consumer-class alternatives, yet much less expensive than its 16-inch sibling and bulkier Windows workstations.
- Seriously powerful M1 Pro CPU
- HDMI output and SD card reader
- Impressive sound performance
- High-quality 1080p webcam
- Centre-catching HDR display
- Marathon battery life
- Luxurious keyboard and touchpad
Photographic camera notch may be obtrusive for some users or applications
Read Our Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro 14″ 1TB SSD Laptop Review
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (2022, M2)
All-time Mac Laptop for Extreme Battery Life
The 2022 reboot of Apple tree’s 13-inch MacBook Pro gets points for its peppy new M2 processor, which delivers a raw-performance uptick, and remains an iconic design. Just we’d have liked to see more daring innovation on the rest of the laptop.
- Performance tops M1 predecessor and Intel competitors
- Tried-and-true design
- Fantastic 22-hour battery life
Dated physical design
Lackluster 720p webcam and 2,560-past-i,600-pixel display
Supports merely ane external display
Touch Bar has its proponents, but feels similar a pattern throwback
Read Our Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (2022, M2) Review
Apple tree MacBook Pro xvi-Inch (2021)
Best Mac Laptop for Professional Creative Work
The new ultimate Mac laptop, the 2021 Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch is a finely engineered, high-octane workstation that volition thrill content creators. The pumped-upwards M1 Max silicon in our tester, though, is beyond mere bragging rights—it’s reserved for artistic pros with specialized needs.
- Seriously powerful components
- Exceptional battery life
- Impressive audio performance
- HDMI output and SD bill of fare reader
- High-quality 1080p webcam
- Gorgeous Mini-LED display
- Loftier-quality keyboard, huge touchpad
M1 Max CPU pick, as tested, represents poor value for most workloads
Configuration upticks are expensive
Obtrusive camera notch
Weighs nigh v pounds
Read Our Apple tree MacBook Pro xvi-Inch (2021) Review
Buying Guide: The Best Apple MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Laptops for 2022
How to Buy Each MacBook: The MacBook Air
Apple’s smallest laptop is the MacBook Air, newly redesigned for 2022. It’s a slim, sleek machine that measures merely 0.44 inch across and weighs just 2.seven pounds. The latest MacBook Air heavily adopts the newest MacBook Pro design, with compatible thinness, an improved Magic Keyboard, a larger 16:10 screen (thanks to the display notch), MagSafe charging, and more.
The MacBook Air line is also Apple’s cheapest, starting with the 2020 model (M1 processor) at $899 for students and teachers or $999 for the general public. The lowest-cost and near portable entry point into the macOS ecosystem manifestly has enormous entreatment. Read our fully-tested MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review for more data.
(Credit: Molly Flores)
Apple’south 2022 MacBook Air takes every advancement in the 2020 model that much further—for an additional $200 to start at checkout. That extra $200 gets you the latest Apple tree silicon for computers, the M2 processor, which measurably improves performance over the M1 model while maintaining its storied, long bombardment life. Information technology also brings with it many of the features found in the latest MacBook Pro blueprint revision, including the aforementioned 16:10 brandish, improved keyboard, MagSafe charging, and an improved FaceTime webcam.
(Credit: Molly Flores)
The MacBook Air is an ideal travel companion, and given its sleek styling and Apple’south cachet, a bit of a status symbol to boot. It’south the Mac laptop nosotros recommend for about people. But since you lot’ll spend at least $999 on it, you’ll want to brand certain to look at the other, larger Apple tree portables that offer more connectivity and—in some cases—more calculating power.
The MacBook Air vs. the 13-inch MacBook Pro
The closest Apple culling to the MacBook Air is the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, which is just as light as the MacBook Air. In return for a slightly higher starting price ($1,299), the entry-level MacBook Pro has a slightly more powerful version of the M2 flake in the 2022 MacBook Air at the start. (You lot can get the same form of M2 processor in the Air for some other
The functioning advantage is small-scale, though, as the main difference is an boosted two graphics cores, for a total of 10—along with 2 more hours of battery life. And so, about MacBook buyers will probably be better off with the Air than the 13-inch Pro.
(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)
The 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with an active cooling fan, which is something the MacBook Air lacks. The MacBook Air instead uses passive cooling, which works just fine for bones tasks, similar browsing the spider web, but might hamper operation of more than intensive tasks similar video encoding. The retentiveness and storage options of the 13-inch MacBook Pro are the aforementioned as those of the MacBook Air.
We don’t recommend the 13-inch MacBook Pro for most people, since consumers volition be meliorate off with the MacBook Air, and professionals can take reward of the computing ability in the larger Pro models mentioned below.
Just the 13-inch MacBook Pro does take that extreme bombardment life. Although all Mac laptops final for a long time away from an outlet, the xiii-inch Pro lasts for nearly 22 hours in our video rundown test. That qualifies it as the longest-lasting MacBook Pro, though the 2020 MacBook Air has it shell at 29 hours.
14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro: For Pros in the Know
If you are a video editor, lensman, or software developer who might benefit from more computing power, y’all should skip the 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air and instead consider either the 14-inch or the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The factors to consider hither are more than only the extra screen inches and boosted weight. You also need to decide whether you need the extra horsepower that the M1 Pro and M1 Max tin can provide over the M1. At that place is a big operation gulf between the M1 and the M1 Pro, and nigh pros who are doing any type of CPU- or GPU-intensive task will be able to take reward of the latter chip.
That’s non necessarily the instance for the M1 Max, equally the difference between information technology and the already-formidable M1 Pro is limited to specialized macOS workflows such every bit rendering video using Apple tree’s ProRes codec. There are two versions of each scrap, and all four are available in both the xiv-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. The base M1 Pro comes with eight CPU cores—six of which are suited to resource-intensive tasks such as rendering or compiling code, while 2 handle light-duty tasks such equally video playback or web browsing. You lot also go xiv graphics cores for image output and GPU-accelerated tasks. The chip is paired with 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD.
(Credit: Tom Brant)
The upgraded configuration adds two more high-performance CPU cores and two additional graphics cores (for a total of xvi). This is what we recommend for near people. Meanwhile, the only noteworthy differences betwixt the tiptop-end M1 Max and the height-terminate M1 Pro are a heap of extra graphics cores (a maximum of 32) and a doubling of the memory bandwidth to 400GBps.
The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Po models lack whatever form of touch input, following Apple’due south decision on current models to discontinue the thin, touch on-enabled screen forward of the keyboard known equally the Affect Bar. The 13-inch model still comes with a Impact Bar, withal.
While the Impact Bar tin exist useful in special cases like scrubbing through a video timeline, or switching tool selections, it’due south non a substitute for touch support on the device’s main display. An Apple iPad or a Windows laptop is your best alternative for using a digital stylus or other tasks best suited to affect screens. Fortunately, the trackpads on all Apple laptops are splendid, with oversize glass surfaces and virtual “haptic” feedback instead of a physical click mechanism.
One Cool Thing: Apple’south 2021 MacBook Pros Are Hither!
The 14-inch and xvi-inch MacBook Pro laptops are as well obvious choices for professionals who plan to connect peripherals like external monitors or transfer information using SD cards. Both include a full-size HDMI port and an SD card reader, setting them apart from the USB-C/Thunderbolt-but MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Apple frequently releases new Mac laptop models and updates old ones. Several new models could hit before the terminate of 2022, so if you’re fine waiting for the latest and greatest, it might be worth delaying your purchase until the typical fall announcements happen. And if you’re not sure if a MacBook Air or Pro is your thing, also take a look at our roundup of the best laptops overall.