A new MacBook Air with M2 chip is on display at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, June 6, 2022.
Peter Dasilva | Reuters
Apple has five MacBook computers to choose from, which might be a little daunting if you’re looking for a new laptop now that we’re back to school. For example, there’s the new MacBook Air, but Apple also sells its older 2020 MacBook Air. Then there are three different MacBook Pro computers to choose from.
Your choice will depend on what you use your laptop for and your budget. Here’s what you need to know about each MacBook available and how to choose the best one for you.
2020 MacBook Air with M1, $999
Apple MacBook Air
The 2020 MacBook Air is the cheapest MacBook sold by Apple. It runs on an M1 chip and costs $999. But it remains a great computer. It’s powerful enough to handle the things most people need, but is slower for tasks like video editing.
The 2020 MacBook Air has a battery life of 18 hours that is comparable to that of the MacBook Air from 2022.
You’re missing out on a few features in this year’s upgrade, which we’ll talk about next. But this should be your go-to if you “just need a computer”.
2022 MacBook Air with M2, $1,199
This is the best MacBook for most people.
Apple’s latest $1,199 MacBook Air uses the latest M2 chip and is completely redesigned and thinner than ever.
The latest MacBook Air has MagSafe charging. That’s the little magnetic charging cable that pops up on the side and pops out again with ease. So if you trip over the cord, the entire MacBook won’t fall off your desk. You can also charge the laptop via one of the two Thunderbolt USB-C ports. You can quickly charge it up to 50% in 30 minutes if you buy Apple’s 67-watt charger for $59.
This MacBook is the most portable model, weighing in at just 2.7 pounds. The 2020 Air weighs 2.8 pounds. The screen is slightly larger at 13.6 inches. But the latest MacBook Air has a fan, so it may not be as quiet as the earlier model when you start editing video or actually load it.
The sound quality has also been upgraded. The M2 MacBook Air has two extra speakers, a total of four, making movies and music sound fuller. And the slightly larger one at 13.6-inches and the webcam has been upgraded from 720p to full 1080p HD.
If you spend an extra $200 on the latest MacBook Air, you’ll get faster charging, a better webcam, better speakers, and a newer design. This model also has more than enough processing speed for the average user.
MacBook Pro 13-inch with M2, $1,299″
Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2
The new MacBook Pro is a bit confusing. It’s a step up from the MacBook Air. But it has the latest M2 processor which is not as powerful as the older M1 Pro or M1 Max processors found in the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.
The 2022 version runs on the M2 chip, has a battery life of 20 hours and is the only MacBook with a Touch Bar, the small strip that runs above the keyboard that allows you to scroll through photos, skip media or pause/play. and more . The Pro also has better speakers and a taller screen than what you’ll find on the MacBook Airs.
It uses MagSafe charging like the 2022 MacBook Air, but it has a feature called Active Cooling that uses a pair of fans, actively sucks in cool air and forces the hot air out, improving the air. That helps it perform heavier tasks, such as more advanced video editing.
The Pro is slightly heavier at 3 pounds and the screen is slightly smaller at 13.3 inches. Overall, if you’re using a powerful feature like video editing or photo editing, the processor and graphics performance is noticeably different on the 2022 MacBook Pro.
2020 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro or M1 Max, $1999
Apple MacBook Pro
Buy this one if you need the most power in a MacBook.
Apple launched the $1,999 14-inch and $2,499 16-inch MacBook Pro models last year, finally bringing back features like an SD card reader, a full HDMI port for adding another display, and more.
They have the best screens available in a MacBook, with high refresh rates, so everything looks smooth when you’re scrolling through a website, for example. They support up to two additional monitors instead of just one like the MacBook Airs. And, most importantly, they can be configured with M1 Pro or M1 Max chips, which are more powerful than the M2 chip in Apple’s other computers. At least until we hear about Apple’s M2 Pro or Max plans.
So, if you do heavy video editing, or just love high-end screens and lots of ports, these are for you. Just expect to pay more.