Difference between MacBook Air and Pro
With the release of the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 chips this summer and the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros last fall, Apple has updated all of its MacBook models. Apple will also keep making the M1 MacBook Air. Let's look closely at the differences between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro to see what makes them different.
Difference between MacBook Air and Pro
|Best for Most||Next Best Option||Most Speed for $||For power users||For power users who need a large screen|
|MacBook Air (M1)||MacBook Air (M2)||MacBook Pro 13 (Entry Level)||MacBook Pro 14-inch||MacBook Pro 16-inch|
|CPU||M2 M1||M2||M2||M1 Pro or M1 Max||M1 Pro or M1 Max|
|RAM||Up to 16GB||Up to 24GB||up to 24GB||Up to 64GB||up to 64GB|
|Display||13.3 inches (2560 x 1664)||13.6 inches (2560 x 1600)||13.3 inches (2560 x 1600)||14.2 inches (3024 x 1964), 120Hz||16.2 inches (3456 x 2234), 120Hz|
|Ports||2 Thunderbolt 3, headphone||2 Thunderbolt 3, headphone||2 Thunderbolt 4, headphone||3 Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, SDXC card, headphone||4 Thunderbolt 3, headphone|
|Graphics||M1||M2||M2||M1 Pro or M1 Max||M1 Pro or M1 Max|
|Storage||up to 2TB||up to 2TB||up to 2TB||Up to 8TB||up to 8TB|
|Battery Life (hrs)||14:41 (tested)||14:06 (tested)||18:20 (tested)||14:08 (tested)||21 hours (rated)|
|Security||Touch ID||Touch ID||Touch ID||Touch ID||Touch ID|
|Size||12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches||11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches||12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches||12.3 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches||14 x 9.8 x 0.66 inches|
|Weight||2.8 pounds||2.7 pounds||3 pounds||3.5 pounds||4.7 pounds|
CPU, GPU, RAM
With M2, Apple showed off its second-generation Apple Silicon base processor. Even though the M2 is a big step up from the M1, it is not as powerful as the M1 Pro, Max, or Ultra chips.
The M2 has up to 24GB of RAM, up to 10 GPU cores, and an 8-core CPU that is faster than the M1. Here's a closer look at the differences between M1 and M2 chips.
On the other hand, the 14-inch MacBook Pro has the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip, which gives you the option of adding even more CPU and GPU cores and up to 64GB of RAM.
Apple says that the M2's CPU performance is up to 18% faster and its GPU performance is up to 35% faster than the M1. It can do up to 15.8 trillion operations per second and has more than 20 billion transistors.
The M2 chip also has a media engine that lets H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and ProRes RAW run faster on hardware. It can also encode and decode video and ProRes.
A 1080p webcam, like the one on the 14-inch MacBook Pro, is also a nice addition to the 2022 MacBook Air. Apple says that its "advanced image signal processor with computational video" is the same as that of the iPhone 5. The new M2 13-inch MacBook Pro, on the other hand, still has the old 720p webcam.
If screen brightness is important to you, you'll like that the 2022 MacBook Air goes from 400 to 500 nits.
The new MacBook Air has a bigger 13.6-inch screen with thinner bezels. This is another change that came with the redesign.
Even though the 14-inch MacBook Pro's brightness of up to 1,000 sustained nits and 1,600 peak nits is only for HDR content, you still get up to 120Hz refresh rates, mini-LED backlighting, and thin bezels.
The 1080p FaceTime camera is in the top center of the screen on the new MacBook Air and 14-inch MacBook Pro. But unlike the iPhone, the notch doesn't have hardware or support for Face ID.
If you want to find the best display, you don't have to look too hard. All 13-inch MacBooks are the same size and have the same screen resolution. Yes, the new M2 MacBook Air has a larger 13.6-inch screen with more brightness, but it's still not as bright and clear as the screens on the larger MacBook Pro models. Also, they all have a wide color gamut (P3) and support for True Tone, so they should look good, but they're not the best. The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models stand out because their resolutions are 3024 x 1964 and 3456 x 2234.
The brightness of the screen is one of the most noticeable differences between the 13-inch MacBooks and the bigger Pros. The 13-inch ones have screens that can get as bright as 500 nits, which is better than most laptops. But the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models can get as bright as 1600 nits, which is even better. If you mostly use your laptop inside, you probably don't need the extra brightness, but if you work on the go, it can help you see the screen better when it's bright outside.
Size, weight, and finish
As you might expect, the MacBook Air is still the lightest computer. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is a little heavier, and the 14-inch is the heaviest. The new MacBook Air is even 0.1 pounds lighter than the one it replaces, which came out in 2020.
At 11.3 mm, the new MacBook Air is also very thin (0.44 in). And if you like gold or the new midnight color, you can only get that on the MacBook Air.
Notably, the new MacBook Air has a flat-edged chassis like the MacBook Pro instead of the wedge shape it has had for years. But Apple has made it very thin—only 11.30 mm (1.13 cm) thick.
How long an Apple battery lasts in real life Silicon MacBooks are better than the old Intel models, and Apple's claims are usually true. But that depends on what you're doing on your MacBook, the brightness of the screen, and other factors.
In any case, the new M2 MacBook Air has great power efficiency and battery life.
Apple says that the new MacBook Air can fast charge with the 67W power adapter to give up to 50% battery in just 30 minutes.
The new MacBook Air starts at $1,199, which is $800 cheaper than the 14-inch MacBook Pro, which starts at $1,999.
The new Air comes in 256GB SSD/8GB RAM and 512GB SSD/8GB RAM models as standard. Models of the 2022 Air with 16GB or 24GB of RAM and an upgraded M2 chip must be ordered by the customer.
The base model of the 14-inch MacBook Pro costs $1,999 and has an M1 Pro chip, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD.
Testing has shown that Apple's claims that the M1-based MacBook Air and Pro are much faster are true. On Geekbench 5, the new MacBook Air (M1, 16GB RAM) scored 5,962 and the new Pro (M1, 16GB RAM) scored 5,925, which is pretty close.
But the new MacBook Pros blew them both out of the water. The 14-inch M1 Pro-powered MacBook Pro scored 12,477 on the same Geekbench 5 benchmark test as the 16-inch model, which scored 12,683.
Even though the M2 processor isn't as powerful as the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, it's still a beast. On Geekbench 5.4's multicore test, the MacBook Pro 2022 got a score of 8,911, while the MacBook Air 2022 got a score of 8,919.
On the Handbrake video transcoding test, the M1 MacBook Pro took 7:44 to convert a 4K video to 1080p, while the Air took 9:15. The 2021 MacBook Pros beat them both, with the 14-inch model taking 4:51 and the 16-inch model taking 4:48 to encode. The M2 MacBook Pro did a great job of encoding a video, which took 6:51. With a time of 7:52, the MacBook Air 2022 was just a little bit behind the latter.
BlackMagic Disk Speed Test read rates for the SSDs on the M1 Pro (13-inch) are 2,824.9 MBps, which is faster than the M1 Air's 2,692 MBps and the 16-inch Pro's 2,540 MBps. But, and this shouldn't be a surprise at this point, the new MacBook Pros beat them all, with scores of 5,321 and 5,314 for the 14-inch and 16-inch models. With a score of 2,794, the M2-powered MacBook Pro fell between the old and new M1 chips.
The M1 MacBook Air got 36.9 frames per second on the Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm test, which was just behind the M1 Pro's 38.2 frames per second. Rise of the Tomb Raider ran at 29 fps on both M1 laptops with Very High settings and a 1440 x 900 resolution. Civilization VI ran at 46 fps on the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro, but 47 fps on the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max. The stronger chips in the new MacBook Pros give them a clear edge here. When it comes to gaming, the M2 MacBook Pro is not much better than its predecessor, the M1.
MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro - Which should you buy?
Both the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro are great. Really, the decision has to come down to how much money you have. If you care most about price, the M1 MacBook Air is the best choice, but you'll have to decide if having twice as much storage space is more important to you than the MacBook Pro's longer battery life, extra graphics core, and fan. If your work doesn't require a lot of graphics processing, the 7-core MacBook Air might be enough.
If you have to choose between the M2 MacBook Air and the M2 MacBook Pro, the M2 MacBook Air is a little better because of its new design and better screen. The only good things about the M2 MacBook Pro are the Touch Bar and the fact that it cools better than the MacBook Air. If you need to use your Mac for a lot of work, the Pro might be a better choice.
But if you need the most power, you should really look at the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, which have more graphics cores and can hold more RAM. They also have a lot of ports that will help a lot of people.