Apple hasn't officially killed the MacBook Air yet, but it hasn't redesigned it recently either, choosing to give it a slight bump in specs at WWDC in June only, which it also did to the newer MacBook Pros.
There are six Apple MacBook laptops to choose from, but the closest in price to the MacBook Air is the 13-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar. It too saw a processor update at WWDC and it is thinner than the 2015 ultraportable MacBook Air. How else do they compare though?
Here is how the MacBook Air stacks up against the Touch Bar-less 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch vs Apple MacBook Air: Design
- MacBook Pro 13-inch base model is thinner than MacBook Air
- MacBook Pro 13-inch base model is slightly heavier than MacBook Air
- MacBook Air is lighter
The Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch laptop that lacks the Touch Bar features an aluminium casing and an LED-backlit display. It comes in silver or space grey colour options, while the MacBook Air is only available in silver.
The MacBook Pro 13-inch base model weighs 1.37kg and measures 304.1 x 212.4 x 149mm, while the MacBook Air weighs 1.35kg and measures 325 x 227mm with a tapered height from 33mm to 170mm.
In other words, if you're looking for a portable laptop, the MacBook Pro is the thinner and smaller model of these two laptops, while the MacBook Air just holds on to the title of lightest.
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch vs Apple MacBook Air: Display
- MacBook Pro 13-inch base model higher resolution display and brighter
- MacBook Air lower resolution and less colour support
- Same size displays
The MacBook Pro 13-inch base model has a 13.3-inch LED-backlit Retina display with IPS technology and a 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution at 227ppi. It offers 500nits of brightness and a P3 wide colour gamut.
The MacBook Air has a 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with a 1440 x 900 native pixel resolution for a pixel density of 128ppi. It's therefore not Retina, nor as bright as the MacBook Pro at 300nits.
The MacBook Air also doesn't support as many colours as the MacBook Pro with a standard RGB screen rather than the wide colour gamut one, though millions are still offered and for most, these will be enough.
In a nutshell however, the new MacBook Pro features a superior display to the MacBook Air.
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch vs Apple MacBook Air: Hardware and power
- The MacBook Air has a longer battery life
- The MacBook Pro 13-inch base model is more powerful on paper
- Better configuration options on MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro 13-inch base model features the 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor, Intel Iris Graphics 640, 128GB SSD, 8GB of RAM and a 10-hour battery life. It is configurable to the 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 chip, up to 1TB of flash storage and up to 16GB of RAM.
The MacBook Air base model features the 1.8GHz Intel Core i5 chip, Intel HD Graphics 6000, 128GB flash storage, 8GB of RAM and a 12-hour battery life. It is configurable to the 2.2GHz Intel Core i7 and up to 512GB SSD.
The MacBook Pro 13-inch base model is therefore more powerful, has more storage and RAM, and comes with better graphics, as you would probably expect. It does however offer two hours less of battery life, which is probably down to the Retina display. Both models feature a 720p FaceTime HD camera.
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch vs Apple MacBook Air: Connections and ports
- The MacBook Pro 13-inch base model has two Thunderbolt 3 ports only
- More ports on the MacBook Air, including SDXC card slot
The MacBook Pro 13-inch base model only features two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports with support for charging, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, and USB 3.1.
Everything has been streamlined, allowing you to charge and transfer data using the same ports, but there are disadvantages too, such as not being able to plug in an SD card without a dongle.
The MacBook Air has two USB 3 ports, Thunderbolt 2 port, MagSafe 2 power port and a SDXC card slot, meaning it might be the better option for those that don't want to have to use a dongle to perform tasks they do now without one, like transferring files from their SD card. Both models offer a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch vs Apple MacBook Air: Price
- The MacBook Pro 13-inch base model is more expensive
- MacBook Air only laptop to start under £1000
The MacBook Pro 13-inch base model starts at £1249, while the MacBook Air (2015) starts at £949, meaning a £300 difference in price. Apple recently lowered the price of the 13-inch MacBook Pro at its WWDC event, reducing the price gap between these two models.
The new MacBook Pro base model without the Touch Bar is thinner, more powerful, and has a Retina display compared to the MacBook Air. Its battery isn't as long as the MacBook Air though, you lose some handy connections and it's £300 more expensive so your budget and what you want from your laptop will all come into play in this decision.
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