The Air includes most of the good stuff from the Pro, such as the great screen, the solid construction, and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, for a bit less money. But its dual-core processor is noticeably slower. But its dual-core processor and slower integrated graphics make it a worse choice if you plan on doing much photo and video editing or programming, or if you plan on connecting it to high-resolution external monitors. It also skips the Touch Bar in favor of a row of physical function keys and a standalone Touch ID fingerprint sensor, though depending on how you feel about the flashy but superfluous Touch Bar, you might prefer this.
But you pay a lot for that extra speed.
The inch MacBook Pro is our top Mac pick in our guide to laptops for video and photo editing. Andrew Cunningham spent more than six years testing, reviewing, and otherwise writing about PCs, Macs, and other gadgets for AnandTech and Ars Technica. He has been building, upgrading, and fixing PCs for more than 15 years, and he spent five of those years in IT departments buying and repairing laptops and desktops as well as helping people buy the best tech for their needs.
He has also used just about every Mac laptop that Apple has released in the past two decades. The operating system is stable and easy to use, but more important, it integrates well with iPhones and iPads—iMessages and SMS messages sent from your Mac also appear on your iPhone and vice versa, and features such as AirDrop and iCloud make it easy to share notes, pictures, videos, reminders, contacts, passwords, bookmarks, and other data between your devices.
Macs are also a good choice if you want great support.
Best MacBook 12222: All the facts on Apple’s MacBook, Pro and Air lines
Windows ultrabooks provide as good or better performance, more kinds of ports, and more storage at or below the price Apple charges for the MacBook Air. As of this writing, Apple offers four different laptops in multiple configurations. We considered the following criteria when deciding which ones to recommend:. The Touch Bar is a high-resolution touchscreen that dynamically changes to display controls specific to the current app if the app supports that. Apple now includes the Touch Bar on every MacBook Pro and not just on the more expensive models—even if you never use it, getting the added performance of the Pro is worth putting up with the Touch Bar.
The inch MacBook Pro weighs 3 pounds, just 0. Current MacBook models use Thunderbolt 3 for all connectivity, including power. This means that if you own any hard drives, scanners, printers, thumb drives, or card readers that use USB Type-A ports, you need a hub or adapter ; similarly, if you want to use an external display or projector, you need the right video adapter.
The only other port is a 3. The keys are still full size, but they feel stiff and shallow. Plus, it has slightly better battery life than the Pro. It also skips the Touch Bar in favor of a row of physical function keys and a standalone Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Depending on how you feel about the flashy but superfluous Touch Bar, however, you might regard that omission as a feature rather than a bug. The Air runs on a dual-core eighth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, and you have no options for upgrading to a faster model.
But for intensive tasks such as encoding video or compiling code, the Air is around half the speed of the quad-core MacBook Pro. Neither feature is something most people need or even notice, though True Tone is a nice addition that Apple left off the version of the Air.
macOS Catalina system requirements: Which Macs support it?
Apple has made the function keys taller to match the height of the Touch ID sensor. You'll need to buy multi-port adapters like this one to plug stuff in and stay charged at the same time. There are a few things you might miss from higher-end MacBook Pros.
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Those pricier machines get extra USB-C ports, and faster insides. The only high-end laptop Apple makes is the inch MacBook Pro.
The latter option has the fastest internals and biggest, highest-resolution display of all the MacBooks, making it well suited to everything from 4K video editing to massive Lightroom batch exports. Its big screen is also a major boon to productivity, making side-by-side document editing and web browsing a cinch. Four Thunderbolt 3 ports mean you'll have plenty of ports for all your devices, too. This small display above the keyboard is touch-sensitive and plays host to a row of customizable, interactive controls.
It can be handy, at least in theory, but many apps have yet to truly take advantage of this skinny touch interface. Apple MacBook Pro Inch. It might be just right. Offering powerful quad-core processors and all-day battery life in a reasonably portable 3-pound package, the entry-level inch MacBook Pro will be the best of both worlds for many people. You get the Touch Bar and a faster chip than the Air, but avoid the extra weight and bulk of the inch model.
The best laptops 12222:
The entry level model sports a 1. Unlike previous generations of MacBook, there are eccentricities and problems with Apple's laptops that you should know about before you buy. Bland Touch Bar: When Apple debuted the Touch Bar in late , it touted the thin touchscreen strip above the keyboard as the next-generation of user input. Unfortunately, this hasn't panned out. There seems to be little interest from third-party software designers in doing anything innovative with the tiny display.
Those Touch Bar-packing laptops have Touch ID, which lets you log in and access sensitive data with your fingerprint, but what's been swapped out for that is something you'll miss: a physical Esc key. Palmy Trackpad: Apple's trackpads are among the best in the computer business, but with the newest MacBooks, these input devices have been blown up to unbelievable proportions and crammed right up against the bottom of the keyboard, right where you rest your palms while typing.
Although there's supposed to be intelligent palm rejection software at work, the trackpads are susceptible to accidental input.
Your mileage may vary. Keyboard Killer: The flat style of Apple's 3rd-generation "butterfly switch" keyboards might not be to everyone's liking, but widespread stories of non-responsive keys are worrying. Perhaps the most famous screed on the subject is Casey Johnston's post detailing her keyboard woes for The Outline.
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Apple now replaces the keyboards for free and has added extra dust guards in the newer models. Apple has detailed instructions on how to clean the keyboard if yours gets flaky, which is a decent first line of defense against busted keys. Apple also recently extended its keyboard repair program to cover repairs on all Macs that have been purchased within the past four years, regardless of warranty status. Parched for Ports: Then there's the port situation.
It's a newer port that might not work with the devices you own. You'll want to invest in a few adapters like this Aukey adapter if you plan on hooking your computer up to a projector, or want to use things like USB keys or SD cards. Plan to buy some dongles. Unfortunately, the MacBook Air didn't change much until It sports a dowdy-looking non-Retina screen and weak Intel chips that are years old. It might not require the dongles that a newer MacBook might necessitate, but the newer laptops will undoubtedly feel faster for longer.
Don't let its price tag tempt you—there are way better laptops you can nab for that kind of cash. How to spot it: The older Air has a thick silver border bezel around its screen, instead of black glass like the new models. It's still rocking an impossibly old, era Intel chip inside, and despite its appealing array of USB and Thunderbolt 2 ports, this inch model is a poor value for money. How to spot it: It has standard USB ports and it's much thicker.
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