Apple has achieved its status as the biggest brand on the planet by consistently creating amazing products; products that effortlessly blend simple style with fantastic functionality.
The MacBook range is perhaps the best example of this. The collection of sleek, hard-wearing, premium laptop computers has a legion of dedicated fans around the world, and rightly so. It’s at home in any environment, business or otherwise, but choosing the right model can be tough.
In this article, we’ll help you make your decision by focusing on the ins and outs of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and MacBook.
The MacBook Air
The MacBook Air might be Apple’s most affordable laptop, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking any power, capability or prettiness. In fact, it has all three in abundance, so it could well be the way to go. Let’s take a closer look at some of the important details.
Size and weight: Lighter than most of its peers, the 11-inch model tips the scales at just 1.08 kg, with its 13-inch big brother weighing 1.35 kg. As you’d expect, both models stay trim too, standing just 0.68 inches off the desk when closed.
Display: The lack of a retina display might be enough to put some users off, but the financial savings have to be found somewhere. There’s still plenty to impress, with an LED-backlit widescreen boasting resolutions of 1366 x 768 (11-inch) and 1440 x 900 (11-inch). It’s all supported by an Intel HD Graphics 6000 card too.
Power and storage: As standard, the Air comes equipped with a latest-generation 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, with 4GB of RAM. It is, however, possible to upgrade to a faster 2.2GHz Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB onboard memory. As for storage, you have two hard drive options: 128GB and 256GB, both of which are flash-based.
Battery: Expect around nine hours of use on the 11-inch model and 12 hours on the 13-inch.
The verdict: The MacBook Air is a very capable machine if you’re looking to complete day-to-day tasks (email, web browsing, video-watching) quickly and portably. If you’re constantly working on the go, the 11-inch model in particular is a great option, but think carefully about how much data you have. If you’re not yet ready to rely on the cloud, the 256GB hard drive is worth investing in.
The MacBook Pro (w/ Retina display)
The MacBook Pro has long been Apple’s workhorse notebook, and things only got more interesting with the release of the MacBook Pro with Retina display. Put simply, they don’t get much more capable than this.
Size and weight: There are 13-inch and 15-inch models on offer here, and your choice will depend on how much time you plan to spend at your desk. As for thickness, both models stand 0.71 inches when closed, with the former weighing 1.58 kg and the latter coming in at 2.04 kg.
Display: Two out of three in the range come with the impressive Retina display, and sport native resolutions of 2560 x 1600 (13-inch) and 2880 x 1800 (15-inch), capable of showing 227 and 220 pixels per inch respectively. Once again, this is all supported with a great graphics card, but this time it’s the even better Intel Iris Graphics 6100.
Power and storage: Those opting for the smaller of the two models can expect to find a dual-core Intel Core i5 chip once again, but with either 2.7GHz or 2.9GHz of processing speed. The 15-inch comes with an unbeatable 2.2GHz/2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, which is among the best processors on the market. RAM comes in at either 8GB or 16GB.
As expected, it’s flash-based storage on offer here too, but this time you can also double up again and go for a 512GB drive.
Battery: You’ll get around ten hours of basic use on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and nine hours on the 15-inch model – enough to get through a lengthy train journey without a power point.
The verdict: The MacBook Pro is a stunning machine, from both aesthetic and functional perspectives. If you want to leave no doubt over capability, this is the one to go for. The combination of extra processing power and larger, crystal-clear display makes it perfect for video and image editing, so if that’s what you specialise in, it’s a no-brainer.
Size and weight: At just 0.52 inches when closed, this is officially the thinnest computer Apple has ever released. It’s also weighs in at just 0.92 kg – less than half the weight of the larger MacBook Pro.
Display: Once again, there’s an LED-backlit Retina display to enjoy, and this time it stretches 12 inches from one corner to the other. It sports a native resolution of 2304 x 1440 too; ideal for viewing images and movies. Under the hood is an Intel HD Graphics 5300 card, making everything look pretty and move smoothly.
Power and storage: Both of the models on offer come with dual-core Intel Core M processor chips, with the basic version offering 1.1GHz and the slightly pricier choice running at 1.2GHz. Both, however, come equipped with a handy 8GB of RAM.
The hard drive is the big differentiator between the MacBook’s two price points, and you can choose either 256GB or 512GB of flash storage.
Battery: Both models will give you around nine hours of basic use from a single charge.
The verdict: The MacBook offers a great middle ground between the Pro and the Air. With it, Apple has attempted to combine the functionality and size of the former with the unparalleled style of the latter, and the results are fantastic. While the Retina display makes everything that much prettier, there isn’t quite enough power to take care of video and image editing, so consider the Pro if that’s your game.
Otherwise, the size and weight make the MacBook ideal for working efficiently on the go, and you certainly won’t be embarrassed to get it out.
There’s definitely a lot to consider here, but the decision process doesn’t have to be daunting. Think carefully about what you want to achieve, and why you’re looking at Apple computers in the first place.
They’re all stylish, so there’s nothing much to separate them in the looks department, but if you’re after ultimate portability, it’ll be worth considering the smaller MacBook Air or the MacBook; at 11 and 12 inches respectively, they’re easy to pick up and go.
That said, if you’re constantly editing video, audio and imagery and don’t want to compromise on productivity when travelling, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is the way to go. There’s nothing to stop you using an external monitor back in the office when you need more detail.
On the whole, though, it’s safe to say you can’t go too wrong with Apple’s MacBook range. Each machine has its benefits and the power to complement any business’s IT strategy or individual’s creative endeavours.