Apple sells a lot of laptop models right now , but the Air offers the best combination of features, performance, and price. You get good-enough performance and a full workday of battery life in a thin, light laptop with a fantastic display and two Thunderbolt 3 ports.
If you do lots of photo or video editing or develop apps but still need a smaller laptop, get the inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.
It also has twice as many Thunderbolt 3 ports, two on each side, and a slightly brighter screen capable of displaying more colors. 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. Its inch Retina display is the biggest and highest-resolution that you can get in a Mac laptop, and like the inch model it has four full-speed Thunderbolt 3 ports.
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.
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.
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Macs are also a good choice if you want great support. We considered the following criteria when deciding which ones to recommend:. The Air uses a dual-core eighth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, with no options for upgrading to a faster model. But for intensive tasks like encoding video, the Air is around half the speed of the quad-core MacBook Pro, and it was around the same speed as the Air in our testing. But neither feature is something most people need or even notice.
Andrew Cunningham. Apple has made the function keys taller to match the height of the Touch ID sensor. The third-generation keyboard includes a rubber membrane that is marginally quieter than that of older models and better protects the keys from dirt and dust, which theoretically makes the keyboard more reliable. Compared with previous non—Touch Bar keyboards, Apple has made the row of dedicated function keys slightly taller in the Air to match the height of the fingerprint sensor.
The MacBook Air has the exact same footprint— That puts it in between the 3-pound inch MacBook Pro and the 2-pound inch MacBook, but carrying it feels very similar to carrying the Pro.
This means that if you have 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. In addition to a headphone jack, the Pro has four Thunderbolt 3 ports, two on each side.
The Touch Bar is a high-resolution touchscreen that dynamically changes to display controls specifically for the current app if the app has been updated for that. The inch MacBook Pro weighs 3 pounds, just 0.
The Best MacBooks
It's also physically larger, of course. But other than the performance, the larger screen, and the bigger size and weight, the inch MacBook Pro is a lot like the inch version. It still has four Thunderbolt 3 ports, two on each side, and a headphone jack. Apple claims 12 hours of battery life for both wireless web and iTunes movie playback. How do I connect stuff? It also provides built-in Bluetooth for wirelessly connecting a mouse or other peripheral.
This laptop also has a pair of USB 3. How fast is it? The MacBook Air is quite capable of handling everyday tasks, such as sending and receiving email, browsing the web, and using office applications. You can even use it for editing short videos, or for working with JPEGs from your iPhone or point-and-shoot camera. The MacBook Air is a great affordable laptop for someone who does general-purpose work and moves around a lot, such as a student or a self-employed person.
Ready to buy a MacBook Air?
Mac Mini vs. iMac
Go to the Apple Store. The MacBook is made for users who prioritize mobility over everything else, including features and performance. The MacBook comes in only one size: There are two models of the MacBook. The MacBook has a native resolution of x and offers scaled resolutions of x, x, and x Want to connect to ethernet? The processors in the MacBook are made to be efficient and cool.
Compared to previous MacBook generations, the current version provides a much-needed performance boost.
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The MacBook is a better value than it has been, thanks to the Kaby Lake processor. That being said, it can handle everything your typical user does on a daily basis. It can even handle some high-end, professional production tasks. Ready to buy a MacBook? Models without Touch Bar were originally released June Touch Bar models were released July The MacBook Pro features a high-density display with so many pixels that images and text look especially smooth and clean.
The MacBook Pro is for the demanding user who wants a portable computer that also performs well.
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MacBook Pro models sit at the top of the performance chart of Mac laptops. The MacBook Pro is available in screen sizes of 13 inches and 15 inches. The inch Retina display has a native resolution of x, and OS X offers a scaled resolution up to x These high-scale resolutions can accommodate the workspace of a larger-screen standard Mac laptop on a smaller Retina MacBook Pro if you can tolerate the smaller icons, text, and other graphics on the screen.
If you use a third-party app such as QuickRes , you can set the Retina screen to use resolutions higher than the scaled settings OS X offers, including the native resolution.