M1 MacBook Air or Pro? Which is better for which user?

M1 MacBook Air or Pro? Which is better for which user?

The M1 MacBook Air and Pro were created for different types of users, and choosing the correct unit will be key for a good experience.

Apple commenced the Apple Silicon revolution late last year. It will continue the shift in 2021 with a barrage of refreshed products designed with the new chipsets.

Many Intel-based MacBook users have waited for too long for this big shift. Therefore, waiting for another couple of months may not be an option. If that is the case, then read on below for a guide on how to choose between the M1 MacBook Air and Pro.

M1 Macbook Air and Pro key similarities

At face value, the two computers have more similarities than differences. Naturally, both the computers are similarly built, with the Pro coming in just slightly thicker than the Air model.

Both laptops also use identical M1 8-core chipsets with an integrated 16-core Neural Engine. The FaceTime cameras both come in at just 720p, which have been the main source of annoyance from many Apple users. The M1 MacBook Air and Pro also have Wifi-6 as their main connectivity option.

The displays on both the computers vary just ever so slightly, with the Pro coming in with an additional 100nits of brightness. If screen brightness is not an issue, then the 400nits of brightness from the MacBook Air should suffice.

Key differences between the two laptops

The main difference between the MacBook Air and the Pro can mostly be found under the chassis.

Potential buyers of the MacBook Air have the option of going for integrated 7-core or 8-core GPU. For MacBook Pro customers, on the other hand, Apple has fixed the GPU at an 8-core GPU configuration.

As for thermal management, the MacBook Air is fanless. The MacBook Pro, considering the expected work to be done on the unit, has Active Cooling with a fan.

The speakers and the microphones are also more decked out on the MacBook Pro. It comes with stereo speakers with a high dynamic range and studio-quality mic-arrays with directional beamforming.

The input and output on the two computers are quite similar. However, Pro just has an extra TouchBar for alleged additional productivity. Early rumors indicate that the TouchBar will be obsolete in the upcoming MacBook Pros.

With better speakers, mics, integrated GPUs, and the TouchBar, the Pro also comes in at a steeper price. The base model for the MacBook Air is just US$ 999, while the MacBook Pro comes in at $1,299.

Recommendation between the two

The features mentioned above are just some of the key differences and similarities between the two MacBooks. Nonetheless, they highlight what potential buyers would normally consider before buying a new unit.

With that said, just which one is better than the other? The answer is simple, and it will depend mainly on the budget and the purpose for which the laptop will be used.

The M1 MacBook Air at its base model provides more than enough power for a regular user to go through daily activities. The unit can provide buttery-smooth browsing, watching videos, and writing emails. Basic gaming on the M1 MacBook Air will also be supported greatly.

The M1 MacBook Pro, on the other hand, is designed more for the power user or gamer. If the work involves more editing heavy multimedia files, the Pro model can deliver greater performance than the Air.

For those looking for a one-sentence recommendation. If the budget is limited and a laptop change is due, going for the M1 MacBook Air will be the right choice.


Image from Dave2D/ YouTube thumbnail

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