The best mac 2020 buying guide is here. Wondering which MacBook to buy? We can help you to decide which model is best for you. Our Best Mac 2020 Buying Guide will help you choose between MacBook Air 2020 and MacBook Pro!
We are going to compare all the Apple MacBook laptops side by side to help you pick the right one. Now all in all this isn’t the typical type of article where we take for laptops and you know put a vs. symbol next to each one of them and then declare a winner at the end of the discussion because honestly there’s really no wrong choice here. It just depends on what kind of laptop you need.
By the way, we also have a detailed review of the Macbook Air 2020. Make sure to check it out.
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– All in One – MacBook Air 2020
– Value for Money – MacBook Pro 13 (Entry Level)
– For Multitasking – MacBook Pro 13 (Premium)
– For Power Users – MacBook Pro 16-inch
Table of Contents
- In details
2. Buying Guide – which one is for you?
All Four MacBook’s Specs Compared-
MacBook Pro 13 (Entry
MacBook Pro 13 (Premium)
MacBook Pro 16-inch
13.3 inches (2560 x 1600)
13.3 inches (2560 x 1600)
13.3 inches (2560 x 1600)
16 inches (3072 x 1920)
1.2-GHz 10th gen Intel Core i3
1.4-GHz 8th gen Intel Core i5
2.0-GHz 10th Gen Core i5
2.6-GHz 9th gen Core i7
Up to 16 GB
Up to 16 GB
Up to 32 GB
Up to 64 GB
Intel Iris Plus
Intel Iris 645
Intel Iris Plus 655
AMD Radeon Pro 5300M (4GB)
2 Thunderbolt 3, headphone
2 Thunderbolt 3, headphone
4 Thunderbolt 3, headphone
4 Thunderbolt 3, headphone
MacBook Air Vs Pro 2019
Apple has two kinds of laptops on offer: The MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. Within those two categories, there are two versions of the MacBook Air, four 13in MacBook Pro models, and two 16in MacBook Pro. There are also a number of build-to-order options that you can add such as extra RAM, more STORAGE, or a FASTER PROCESSOR.
So Apple has finally fixed the MacBook lineup. Now in 2020 the MacBook lineup finally makes sense but there are also more options than ever with options ranging from a thin and light nine hundred ninety-nine dollar MacBook Air to maxing out an 8 core 16-inch laptop with 8 gigabytes of dedicated video memory and 64 gigabytes of RAM for six thousand and ninety-nine dollars.
Well, now I’m going to try and do my best to explain the entire lineup to you and go over the pros and cons of all these different laptops in Apple’s lineup. So if you are thinking about buying a new MacBook- MacBook Pro or MacBook Air – there are a lot of factors to consider.
Now there’s really no wrong choice here. It just depends on what kind of laptop you need. So after reading this I hope you can come away with the takeaway that you want. Honestly, the choice may not be as clear as you think so let’s start with the lowest cost model and what will probably end up being the most popular MacBook.
Best Value: MacBook Air (2020) or MacBook Pro?
The new MacBook Air 2020 delivers almost everything you could want in an Apple laptop. Although the new MacBook Air 2020 hasn’t changed much, it’s still light and thin and the display bezels are relatively narrow.
For most people the MacBook Air is certainly aimed at the entry-level of the market it starts at nine hundred ninety-nine dollars for a dual-core i3 processor which is capable enough for most daily tasks that the average person would do on a laptop.
Day to Daylife
Which one is better?
Think of things like web browsing, social media, listening to music, watching videos, browsing your photos, FaceTime or video conferencing, calls, word processing, Excel spreadsheets, and of course PowerPoint or keynote presentations.
For all these works or day to day life, the MacBook Air is also the most portable in the lineup weighing in at just 2.8 pounds compared to the 13-inch MacBook Pro at 3.1 pounds and the 16 inch MacBook Pro at 4.5 pounds it’s the one that will take up less weight in your bag and while strangely enough, the thickest part of the MacBook Air is slightly thicker than the MacBook Pro.
The overall thickness is thinner near the middle and bottom making it easier to pick up. Thanks to the tapered edge design this makes the MacBook Air an ideal laptop for casual users like students or business execs who don’t need RAW processing power but who needs it for all day on a reliable keyboard thankfully now
every single MacBook in this lineup now has the new magic keyboard which offers increased one millimeter of travel and better reliability over the old 2015 to 2019 butterfly keyboards that used to be in the MacBook lineup
Which one is better?
Battery life is also an important factor to consider and from our experience, the MacBook Air also offers the best battery life. Apple rates the battery life to be 11 hours of playing offline video straight which isn’t a realistic battery test also battery life can range widely depending on what you’re doing on your laptop.
But in day to day life one can get an average around 8 hours of battery life on the MacBook Air 2020
In Terms of Power
Which one is better?
Now I do want to go back to the conversation of processing power because this entry-level nine hundred ninety-nine dollar MacBook Air does come with a dual-core i3 processor.
However, there are some other processor options that might be suitable for most people for example you can upgrade the MacBook Air to be a much more capable machine with options for a quad-core i5 processor for an additional $100 upgrade and a quad-core i7 processor for an additional 250-dollar upgrade.
Now for most people reading this, I actually think it would be beneficial to you to upgrade to that quad-core i5 processor which is only an additional $100 as it gives just enough of a power boost to that entry-level MacBook Air to make it a more capable machine of dipping into some more powerful tasks. This means you can start experimenting and dabbling in areas like video editing, sound production, and development, and the i5 and i7 models also have better graphics.
But you shouldn’t buy a MacBook Air for gaming but you can play some older games on low settings by opting for the i-5 upgrade or you can play some lighter titles in Apple arcade.
However, the main point stands that the MacBook Air is the better laptop for most people, especially people who value Portability and battery life above all else. And let’s be honest guys it doesn’t have the pro name for a reason.
Now many of you who are reading this and are wondering, well should I get a maxed-out MacBook Air with a quad-core i7 processor or should I upgrade to the 13-inch MacBook Pro for only $50 more. When you choose that i7 option well I have some things for you.
Now at first glance you might think that there’s not much of a difference between the MacBook Air and the 2020 entry-level MacBook Pro.
For example, if you just take a look at Geek bench benchmark scores you can see that single-core performance on the MacBook Air actually beats out the entry-level MacBook Pro.
So is Apple pulling a fast one on us and is the i7 air with a quad-core processor actually faster than the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro? With its eighth-generation processor, no! so it’s one of the real-world power measurements that we can personally measure.
So for a video export, we have all the MacBook’s exporting a simple 10-minute 4k video file to Progress and when we’ve run the export benchmark, we find out that the 16 inch MacBook Pro is the clear winner here, exporting a 10-minute 4k video file in just 4 minutes and 32 seconds. The second-place winner is the MacBook Pro with a value of seventeen hundred ninety-nine dollars with 4 Thunderbolt 3 USB C ports with the new 10th generation Intel quad-core i5 processor, it finishes the export at 8 minutes and 6 seconds.
Now the big question remains how will the entry-level MacBook pro go off against the fully loaded i7 MacBook Air?
Well actually pretty well that entry-level MacBook Pro even with the older 8th generation processor finishes the export at 8 minutes and 48 seconds just a 42-second difference between that and the more expensive MacBook Pro. Now surely the MacBook Air is going to finish in just a few seconds right? nope the MacBook Air is actually still way behind and it takes a full 15 minutes and 47 seconds to finish exporting this 4k video, a whole 7 minutes longer than the entry-level MacBook Pro. Anyway, the 16 inch MacBook Pro here exported the fastest.
It should be the most expensive and it’s the biggest one has the better THERMAL better CPU and the better GRAPHICS no one else is surprised by the MacBook Air results either. It is the slowest in the lineup and it is not meant for video editing and even with this i7 version, it took a long time to export that 4k video.
Now the really really interesting one is, of course, these two because they are pretty close in comparison for this simple 10-minute 4k video export now yes the seventeen hundred ninety-nine dollars one finish faster than the entry-level model but this entry-level model MacBook Pro always gets a bad rap because people look at the processor in it they see that it is an 8th generation processor and they immediately go well the new one has a 10th generation processor.
It must be so much better than the entry-level model. How could Apple not put a 10th generation processor inside of this machine well this was a very simple 4k video export test. It was done to Progress, there was no advanced color grading on any of these clips, no advanced graphics.
This 13-inch MacBook Pro this entry-level model might end up being the better value even though this on paper looks like it’s going to be much more powerful.
MacBook's Display and Battery Usage
Now on top of that, there are also some other differences between MacBook Air Vs Pro. From the air, besides processing power, all of the MacBook Pros have better displays than the MacBook Air.
They can reproduce a wider range of colors thanks to their expanded P 3 wide color gamut which should be for people that need accurate color representation like a photo or video editors.
The display can also get 100 nits brighter than the MacBook Air at 500 units of peak brightness compared to the MacBook Air which can get 400 nits. All the MacBook Pros also have the touch bar. A small extra display that replaces the function key row and can be interacted with to not only change the brightness and the volume sliders but also offer customized shortcuts and apps and different ways to control commonly used tools in a lot of your favorite applications.
However, both the MacBook Air and the entry-level MacBook Pro just have to Thunderbolt three USB C ports on the same side of the device which could end up being a big bottleneck for people.
Also, the four-port model isn’t just an upgrade in slight processing power and ports. It also comes standard with 512 gigabytes of SSD storage and 16 gigabytes of RAM that’s compared to the 256 gigabytes of storage and eight gigabytes of RAM found on the entry-level MacBook Air.
And the entry-level MacBook Pro also has worse speakers than the four-port model not having subwoofers in the speakers themselves.
However, this model of the seventeen hundred ninety-nine dollars MacBook pro isn’t better in all respects; the four-port model had the worst battery life of every model. Real-life usage is around 5 to 6 hours of battery life with mixed usage on a single charge that’s worse than the entry-level MacBook Pro worse than the MacBook Air and worse than the 16 inch MacBook Pro that’s not to say the seventeen hundred ninety-nine-dollar models is invalidated because of this.
This is the most powerful compact MacBook that Apple offers and for some people that’s going to be the only thing that matters and it’s going to be the winning argument above all else.
Now size isn’t an issue or you just want the biggest display possible you should really check out the 16 inch MacBook pro. Now, this is by far the biggest
MacBook in the lineup with the biggest footprint thickness and weight with it weighing in at 4.5 pounds. But that increased weight and thickness do come with significant gains.
First of all, a lot of that added weight is thanks to the bigger battery inside of the 16 inch MacBook Pro, which comes in at a 100-watt our battery that is the biggest battery you could possibly pack into a consumer laptop with you. Still being able to take it on a plane thanks to some flight regulation.
So literally it’s almost impossible to complain about the battery life in the 16 inches because technically this is the best they could get. You know without switching over to like ARM processors or something like that overall the battery life is pretty similar to the MacBook Air. Making the less portable 16-inch option a much better choice than the 13-inch MacBook Pro if you’re going to be away from a power socket for long periods of time.
The increased thickness and weight is also attributed to a better thermal design, something the 13-inch MacBook Pro is still lacking and better CPUs GPUs combined with that better thermal design give us much better performance. This laptop exported twice as fast as the 13-inch model seventeen hundred ninety-nine.
However, this MacBook Pro is pretty maxed out; it has the 8 core i9 processor and AMD Radeon Pro 5500 M. This model can also be configured with the highest storage and RAM options allowing you to get up to 8 terabytes of internal solid-state storage and up to 64 gigabytes of RAM.
This model is also the only MacBook Pro that comes with a dedicated graphics card. If you’re willing to load windows onto the 16 inch MacBook pro via boot camp you can actually get some pretty respectable performance and use the MacBook Pro as a side laptop for some gaming.
Furthermore, the 16-inch screen just gives you even more area to have multiple windows open and gives you a beautiful 16-inch display to watch content on which makes it the ultimate entertainment MacBook. Furthermore, the 16 inch also has the best quality speakers of any of the other MacBook’s in the lineup offering the best sounding speakers I’ve heard in a laptop period. The 16 inch also has the best microphones with Apple only calling the 16 inch MacBook Pros inbuilt microphone studio quality.
MacBook Pro, The Main Weakness
Now it’s not all praise for the 16-inch model because it does come with one significant weakness that is going to impact most consumers and that is the price.
It is by far the most expensive MacBook in the lineup with a starting cost of two thousand three hundred and ninety-nine dollars for the six-core model but if you didn’t bat an eye at that price and you just need the most powerful laptop possible for video editing, photo editing, development and yeah maybe even playing some games in Windows boot camp the 16 inch MacBook Pro is really great.
Well again there’s really no wrong choice here it just depends on what kind of laptop you need.
Now let's take a look at the specific reasons for buying your MacBook -
Best MacBook Laptop for Battery life
The MacBook Air was always the highest of any MacBook available.
Apple calls it an “all-day battery”. When Apple refreshed the MacBook Air in March 2020, it updated the processor to 10th-generation Intel Core CPUs. Those chips made the MacBook Air not only more powerful but more conservative with its power usage.
The Air comes with a 49.9-watt-hour battery. Apple claims that you can get up to 12 hours of Apple TV movie playback. You may be able to extend this further by keeping screen brightness low and background applications to a minimum.
Best MacBook Laptop for Portability
For carrying you need a small and lighter device. An easy answer for that is the MacBook Air.
MacBook Air: 30.41cm (11.97in) x 21.24cm (8.36in). The tapered design at the smallest edge is 0.41cm (0.16in) but the thicker edge is 1.61cm (0.63in). It weighs 1.29kg (2.8lb)
13in MacBook Pro: 30.41cm (11.97in) x 21.24cm (8.36in). There is no tapered design, so the edge is 1.49cm (0.59in). It weighs 1.37kg (3.02lb)
Best MacBook Laptop for Storage
If you prefer storage then MacBook Pro is for you, giving you storage options all the way up to 8TB – but the price will reflect this.
The entry-level 13in MacBook Pro models go up to 2TB while as of May 2020 the two mid-range MacBook Pro now offers 4TB storage.
As of March 2020, the MacBook Air also has a build-to-order 2TB option (previously it only went to 1TB).
Fastest MacBook Laptop for Video Editing
The 16 inch MacBook Pro is definitely the fastest in the lineup, going all the way up to a build-to-order 2.4GHz i9 eight-core option, which when paired with the standard 16GB of RAM – or 64GB RAM for the ultimate machine – will breeze through most things you throw at it.
The 9th-gen six-core processor in the cheaper 16in MacBook Pro still has substantially more processor power than the other MacBook’s.
Best MacBook Laptop for Work/Designer
The 13inch MacBook Pro is for you. In our view it’s the best all-around Mac laptop for business thanks to its high-resolution display which is not only color accurate, covering the DCI P3 color gamut, it also runs at a bright 500 nits which prevents eye strain and makes from working on anything from spreadsheets to hosting video meetings a pleasure.
Another big plus goes to its four USB Type-C Thunderbolt ports, which allow multiple monitors to be hooked up along with USB-C accessories to take advantage of lightning-fast data speeds.
Normally we’d say the MacBook Pro is the best for work. The Pro in its name is the clue. But for now, as of the March 2020 update, the MacBook Air is a better option – unless you need a more powerful Mac or more ports.
Best MacBook Laptop for Gaming
For gaming Apple offers several MacBook models ranging from the cheaper (and recently updated) MacBook Air to the shiny new MacBook Pro (MBP) with a touch bar.
Each MacBook line serves a purpose, but if you’re looking for a capable gaming machine, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is the top choice. The entry 16-inch MBP with a Radeon Pro 555X ran our test games at an average 73.7 FPS. Not as fast as an iMac, but more than enough for the average gamer.
In fact, it has the power to comfortably run most modern games at 1080) and Medium settings.
So in our opinion maybe this is the best choice for you
Best MacBook Laptop for Students
In our opinion, the best one is the MacBook Air 2020.
Whether you’re still in high school or racing across your college campus, a laptop is an essential piece of equipment for every student.
Apple makes some of the best laptops around with its MacBook lineup. Whether it’s a powerful MacBook Pro, or a light and portable MacBook Air, Apple’s laptops will power you through any task you’ll meet.
For most students, the 2020 MacBook Air is the best choice. It has enough power to face most any academic challenge you come up against, while still offering up to 12 hours of battery life.
Cheapest MacBook Laptop
If the money is your concern, in our opinion the MacBook Air 2020 is going to win without any doubt.
2020’s MacBook Air is here, and it brings a pretty powerful overhaul of the previously underwhelming Air range. This is no longer a watered-down Pro, but instead a lightweight luxury laptop with the specs to support itself in its own right.
That means the latest 10th generation processors with up to quad-core CPUs now available for the first time on an Air, double the storage space at entry, and up to 16GB RAM on offer as well.