There are 4 key reasons why you should get Apple's cheapest 13-inch MacBook Pro instead of the new MacBook Air

Apple
  • Apple’s new 2018 MacBook Air is a great laptop, but it’s only $US100 less than the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Pro.
  • For an extra $US100, the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Pro gives you a little extra over the 2018 MacBook Air.

Apple’s latest 2018 MacBook Air is a welcome update over the original and severly ageing MacBook Air – but you might be better off getting the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Pro instead.

It’s not because the 2018 MacBook Air is a bad laptop. Rather, it’s because it will only cost you an extra $US100 to buy the base model of the 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro. Indeed, the 2018 MacBook Air costs $US1,200 and the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Pro costs $US1,300.

For $US100 extra, you get a slightly better laptop overall in the cheapest MacBook Pro than the 2018 MacBook Air. The 2018 MacBook Air would have been a no-brainer for a lot of people had it cost $US1,000 like the original, but that’s not the case.

Here’s why you should consider the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Pro over the 2018 MacBook Air:


The 2018 MacBook Air isn’t that much lighter than the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Pro.

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One of the main reasons to buy a MacBook Air over pretty much any other laptop is because of its incredibly light weight. But the difference between the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro isn’t that stark.

The MacBook Air weighs 2.75 pounds and the MacBook Pro weighs 3 pounds. It’s a quarter-pound difference, which is noticeable but not too significant. It’s not that the new MacBook Air is heavy, but rather that the recent 13-inch MacBook Pros are already so light to begin with.


The 2018 MacBook Air is also thicker at its thickest point than the MacBook Pro.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Another reason many would buy the MacBook Air over any other laptop is because of its incredible thinness.

Yet, you might be surprised to know that the 13-inch MacBook Pro is actually thinner than the 2018 MacBook Air at its thickest point. It’s a mere 0.02-inch difference, but it’s still a counterintuitive stat for a laptop that’s marketed as a thin and light device.

With that said, the 2018 MacBook Air does taper down to an incredibly thin 0.16-inch thickness at its thinnest point, while the MacBook Pro has a consistent 0.59-inch thickness. So, overall, the MacBook Air does take up less space than the MacBook Pro, but not that much less.


You won’t really notice it that much, but the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Pro still has a slightly better screen.

Apple

The new MacBook Air has the same 2560 x 1600 Retina resolution as the MacBook Pro. The main area where the two displays differ is in colours and brightness.

Overall, the new MacBook Air’s display isn’t quite as good as the MacBook Pro’s, which comes with better “wide p3” colour gamut, according to the specs. The MacBook Pro’s display can also get brighter at 500 nits, compared to the MacBook Air’s 300 nits.

At the end of the day, only professionals are likely to notice the MacBook Pro’s additional colour depth. The MacBook Air’s display will surely be fine for most people.


The cheapest 13-inch MacBook Pro might be from 2017, but it’s still a little more powerful than the 2018 MacBook Air.

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The 2018 MacBook Air has a newer Core i5 processor than the 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro, but it’s not as powerful.

The MacBook Air uses Intel’s “Y” series of chips, which don’t use up as much power and don’t get as hot as the Intel “U” series chips in the 13-inch MacBook Pro. “U” chips use up slightly more power and are generally more powerful than “Y” chips. As a result, “U” chips do get slightly hotter, but they can fit in laptops like the MacBook Pro because there’s more space for better cooling compared to the MacBook Air.

Indeed, the 2018 MacBook Air doesn’t quite perform as well in benchmarks as the 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro. The difference isn’t massive, and most users will be totally fine with the MacBook Air’s performance. Still, for $US100 more, and considering all the points above, you might as well just get the 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro.


But don’t worry if you have your heart set on the MacBook Air.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

The 2018 MacBook Air is still a great machine that’s perfect for a lot of computer users out there. You won’t be missing out on much at all if you’ve been eyeing – or already bought – the 2018 MacBook Air.

It’s just a shame that it’s priced at $US1,200, which is so close to the $US1,300 13-inch MacBook Pro rather than being in a more affordable price-range of its own, like the original $US1,000 MacBook Air.

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