Apple recently announced their new M1 chips for their Macs as a first step in ditching Intel for their in-house silicon. Both the MacBook's run on Apple's M1 chip making them very similar to each other. The M1 chip has also introduced big gains in performance as well as battery life on these machines which has become a huge step forward in the Apple Mac ecosystem, making it a very difficult choice to choose between the two.
Both the MacBook's even though have the same chipset come with the same base price as their intel models i.e. $999 for the MacBook Air and $1299 for the MacBook Pro. Moreover, they even have the exact same specifications when it comes to the RAM, Storage, Ports.
Let's get straight into the blog and I hope by the end of this blog it would be easier for you to decide which M1 MacBook to buy.
Both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro run on the Apple M1 system-on-a-chip, which features an 8-core CPU and a 16 Core Neural Engine. The only difference between the two processors is that the MacBook Air's base model comes with a 7 core GPU while the base model of the MacBook Pro comes with an 8 Core GPU which can allow the base Pro to run a few games and programs better.
The MacBook Pro also has a fan for active cooling compared to the fanless design of the MacBook Air, allowing the user to avoid any fan noise. But the fan allows the Pro to sustain higher performance for a longer period as it would helping in avoiding thermal throttling, which could make the MacBook Pro a better choice for people who need to do heavy tasks for a longer period of time.
The M1 chips still is providing a big performance boost especially to the MacBook Air which has become much more capable than it used to be allowing the Air with 3.5 times better computing power with 5 times better graphics and 9 times better machine learning process as compared to the previous Air. The same goes of the base 13 inch MacBook Pro which has also seen a major performance boost.
The all-new M1 chips even though are very powerful are restricted to a max of 16GB of RAM in Apple's unified architecture, which is more than enough for most people but with the MacBook Pro the option of 32Gb RAM would've been great. Also, both the MacBooks can connect only one external monitor up to 6K Resolution with no support for any external GPUs.
BATTERY LIFE AND FEATURES
Both the Air and Pro have excellent battery life, providing more than 12 hours of battery life without breaking a sweat. Apple claims that the MacBook Pro lasts for 17 hours while browsing the web and the MacBook Air lasts for 15 hours. The biggest difference between the two is that the MacBook Pro includes the ouch Bar instead of the traditional function row.
But the Touch Bar by itself does not justify the purchase of the MacBook Pro over the MacBook Air. But the MacBook Pro does have better battery life and slightly better performance. Both the laptops come with 2 Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, new and improved Apple magic keyboard, a 720p webcam that uses a new image signal processor to improve the image quality, storage options from 256GB to 2TB, and Touch ID.
There are subtle differences between the two when it comes to the speakers and microphones; the MacBook Pro supports High Dynamic Range which allows the Pro to maintain clear audio at its loudest and lowest levels, providing an amazing audio experience thanks to its six-speaker sound system. The microphones on the Pro are also slightly better as they have a high signal-to-noise ratio which Apple says makes them studio quality.
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
The MacBook Air has a wedge-shaped design and is also thinner as well as lighter when compared to the MacBook Pro which has a thicker build and a uniform base. The Air also comes in additional colors which include Gold, Silver, and Space Grey whereas the MacBook Pro comes with only two colors.
The display quality of both the MacBook's is also very similar with both having the same size of 13.3 inches with a resolution of 2560 by 1600 pixels, and they also support the P3 wide color along with Apple's True Tone technology that adjusts the display according to the light in your surroundings often making the screen look less blue. The MacBook Pro has a slightly brighter display that peaks at 500 nits compared to the 400 nits on the MacBook Air.
The MacBook Air while voting $999, paired with the M1 processor provides major performance gains making it not much different from Apple's Professional grade laptops and that to at a lower price; which is significant compared to the previous entry-level MacBook Air that was highly underpowered as it came with a dual-core i3 Intel processor.
The MacBook Pro has an active cooling fan and an extra GPU core at the base level which can sustain higher clock speeds when it comes to long and strenuous tasks and still want a lightweight laptop. MacBook Pro now also has exceptional battery life along with some additional features like studio microphones, speakers, etc.
Still, the MacBook Air is probably the right choice for the majority of people as it is offering the same performance as the MacBook Pro, that too at a cheaper price. The additional GPU core in the MacBook Air can be unlocked by upgrading the SSD of the laptop to 512GB. The MacBook Pro is well suited for people who need more performance, a longer-lasting battery, and a better quality of speakers and microphones.