M1 MacBook Air vs Pro: What to buy and why to spend extra on RAM and storage

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The primary Mac laptops with Apple silicon have modified the sport. However now that the MacBook Air and MacBook Professional fashions have almost an identical M1 processors, selecting which mannequin to purchase is not as straightforward because it was once. That is why we’re right here to interrupt all of it down and take away the guesswork.

Design

Neither the 13-inch MacBook Professional nor the MacBook Air is any completely different than the fashions they exchange. They each measure the identical 8.36 inches by 11.97 inches, and the Air nonetheless has a tapered edge that extends from 0.16 inches to 0.63 inches whereas the Professional has a set 0.61-inch peak. And the Air is lighter at 2.8 kilos versus simply 3 kilos on the Professional.

macbook air 2020 hero1 IDG/Willis Lai

The design of the brand new MacBooks is an identical to the previous ones.

The within is identical as properly. Each characteristic a Magic Keyboard flanked with a pair of vertical audio system together with household sizable bezels across the show. A giant Power Contact trackpad is centered beneath the keyboard and so they are available in the identical colours: silver and area grey for the Professional and silver, area grey, and gold for the Air.

Our take: It’s a little bit of a bummer that the design is so just like final 12 months, particularly since Apple clearly needed to do fairly a little bit of re-engineering to configure the previous MacBook physique for the brand new chip. However the design of each machines could be very good and should not sway your choice in some way.l

Show

Whereas each laptops already featured 13.3-inch shows, the Professional had a little bit of a bonus with assist for the DCI-P3 gamut for higher shade saturation. Now the MacBook Air has that spec too, so the shows are almost an identical:

  • 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit IPS
  • 2560 by 1600 pixels
  • Extensive shade (P3)
  • True Tone

The one distinction between them now’s one most individuals aren’t prone to discover. On the MacBook Professional, the max brightness is 500 nits whereas the Air solely reaches 400 nits. However each are brighter than your eyes can deal with for an prolonged time period.

Our take: Each of those computer systems have incredible shows, however we’d nonetheless wish to see some enhancements with the subsequent era: mini-LED, edge-to-edge designs, rounded corners, something to make it really feel just a bit extra trendy. Just like the design, the show should not be a consider your choice.

Keyboard, ports, and digicam

The Air and Professional have the identical Magic Keyboard that launched final 12 months, so that you don’t want to fret about loud, sticky keys. Apple’s latest keyboard is a big enchancment over the previous one and can really feel nice to kind on. Each characteristic backlighting with an ambient gentle sensor in addition to a Contact ID sensor for unlocking, authentication, and Apple Pay purchases.

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