MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro

MacBook Air
MacBook Pro

The Macbook Air is cheaper, smaller, lighter and more portable but has no DVD drive and much less storage capacity compared to the MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro is more expensive but has a more powerful processor and more ports. MacBook Airs use more expensive SSD drives instead of the HDD drives found in MacBook Pros, which have more storage but are slower and heavier.

The MacBook Air comes in 11-inch and 13-inch screen models and has a maximum weight of 2.96 lb. Prices range from $999 to $1,499. Macbook Pro has 13-inch and 15-inch models, a faster processor, a DVD drive and a maximum weight of 5.6 pounds. Prices for the Pro start at $1,199 for the base 13-inch model to $1,799 for the base 15-inch model to $2,199 for the 15-inch Macbook Pro with Retina display, which is a high-end model with more memory and storage options.

The Macbook Air is best suited for portability, while the Macbook Pro is a suitable desktop replacement for scientists, designers and people working with video editing. Computing magazines suggest that students and those who want a portable, go-to laptop choose the Macbook Air, while those who want a flexible machine with older ports and lots of storage, or those who need extra processing power, go for the Macbook Pro.

Comparison chart

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MacBook Air

User Rating (138):
MacBook Air

MacBook Pro

User Rating (132):
MacBook Pro
Variations 11 inch and 13 inch 13 inch, 15 inch and 15 inch with Retina display
Price 11 inch: $899 and $1,099. 13 inch: $999 and $1,199 13 inch: $1,199 and $1,499. 15 inch: $1,799 and $2,199. 15 inch w Retina: $2,199 and $2,799.
Operating system Mac OS X Mavericks Mac OS X Mavericks
Processor 11 inch: 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5. Configurable to 1.7GHz Intel Core i7. 13 inch: 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 and 2.9GHz quad-core Intel core i7. 15 and 15 inch w Retina: 2.3GHz quad-core Intel core i7 and 2.6GHz quad-core Intel core i7
Turbo Boost Up to 2.7GHz for the 1.4GHz Core i5 processor. Up to 3.3 GHz for the 1.7GHz core i7 processor. 13 inch: Upto 3.6GHz. 15 inch: Upto 3.6GHz. 15 inch w Retina: Upto 3.7GHz
Storage 128, 256 or 512 GB 11 and 15 inch: 500-750GB hard drive (configurable to 720GB hard drive or upto 512GB SSD). 15 inch w Retina: 256-512GB(configurable to 768GB).
Memory 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3 onboard memory (Configurable to 8GB). 1600MHz DDR3l of- 13 and 15 inch: 4GB (configurable to 8GB) and 8GB . 15 inch w Retina: 8GB (configurable to 16GB)
L3 cache 3MB for the 1.4GHz Core i5 processor. 4MB for the 1.7GHz core i7 processor. 13 inch: 3-4MB. 15 inch and 15 inch w Retina: 6MB (configurable to 8MB)
Dimensions 11.8in x 7.56 x 0.68 or 12.8 x 8.94 x 0.68 12.78in x 8.84 x 0.95 or 13.35 x 9.82 x 0.95
Weight 2.38 pounds or 2.96 pounds 4.5 pounds or 5.6 pounds
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 5000 Intel HD Graphics 5000
Display LED backlight, standard display and resolutions avalable in all Air models. An additional Retina display (2880 by 1800 pixels) available in the 15 inch model; LED backlight and standard resolutions avalable in all Pro models.
Camera 720p FaceTime HD camera 720p FaceTime HD camera
USB ports 2 USB3 ports 2 USB3 ports
SD card support In the 13 inch Yes, SDXC
DVD drive No Yes
Wi-Fi Yes Yes
Bluetooth Yes Yes
Battery 11 inch: Up to 5 hours. 13 inch: Up to 7 hours 13 inch: Up to 7 hours. 15 inch: Up to 7 hours. 15 inch w Retina: Up to 7 hours
Trackpad Multi-touch; supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities Multi-touch; supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities
Preinstalled Software Mountain Lion, iLife Mountain Lion, iLife
Operating temperature 50F – 95F 50F – 95F
Warranty 90 day phone support, 1 year limited warranty 90 day phone support, 1 year limited warranty
Environmental factors BFR-free, PVC-free, meets Energy Star 5.2 requirements BFR-free, PVC-free, meets Energy Star 5.2 requirements, Mercury-free LED backlit display
Manufacturer Apple Apple Inc.
CPU Intel Core i5 and i7 processors Intel Core i5 and i7 processors
Website apple.com/macbookair apple.com/macbook-pro

Contents: MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro

Working on a macbook
Working on a macbook

edit Processor

The 11 inch Macbook Air comes with a 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor. The $1099 model can also be configured to a dual-core 2.0HGz Intel Core i7 processor. The 13 inch Macbook Air, on the other hand, comes with an 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, while the $1499 model can be upgraded to the dual-core 2.0HGz Intel Core i7 processor.

The 13 inch Macbook Pro comes with either a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor or a 2.9GHz duel-core Intel Core i7 processor. The 15 inch Macbook Pro comes with either a 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor or a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor.

edit Storage

The 11 inch Macbook Air comes with either 64GB of flash storage or 128GB. The 13 inch Macbook Air comes with either 128GB or 256GB.

The Macbook Pro comes with either 500GB or 740GB of 5400-rpm hard drive. This is configurable up to a 512GB solid-state drive. The 15 inch with retina display model comes only with 256 and 512GB flash storage which is configurable to 768GB flash drive.

edit Performance

Tests suggest that the 13 inch Macbook Pro is seconds faster in processing speed than the 13 inch Macbook Air, but that the Macbook Air’s boot times are faster. The 15 inch Macbook Pro is significantly faster than the Macbook Air.

In one test by Geekbench, the 15-inch Macbook Pro scored 10810 in processing power, while the 13 inch Macbook Air scored 7007 and the 11 inch scored 7004.

The performance benchmarks for 2012 models of MacBook Pro and MacBook Air as seen on Primate Labs are as follows (higher numbers are better):

And here's a video of a speed test and overall comparison of 15 inch Macbook Pro with Retina display with a Macbook Air:

edit Dimensions

The 11 inch Macbook Air is 11.8 inches wide, 7.56 inches deep and 0.11-0.68 inches thick. It weighs 2.38 pounds. The 13 inch Macbook Air is 12.8 inches wide, 8.94 inches deep, 0.11-0.68 inches thick and weights 2.96 pounds.

The 13 inch Macbook Pro is 12.78 inches wide, 8.94 inches deep and 0.95 inches thick. It weight 4.5 pounds. The 15 inch Macbook Pro is 14.35 inches wide, 9.82 inches deep and 0.95 inches thick. It weighs 5.6 pounds.

MacBook Air(L) and MacBook Pro with Retina display(R)
MacBook Air(L) and MacBook Pro with Retina display(R)

edit Graphics

The Macbook Air comes with Intel HD Graphics 4000.

The Macbook Pro also comes with Intel HD Graphics 4000.

edit Display

All Macbook Air models have LED backlight, standard display and screen resolutions.

All Macbook Pro models also have LED backlight, standard display and screen resolutions. The Macbook Pro 15 inch has an additional model with retina display (2880 by 1800 pixels) providing a much finer screen resolution.

edit Wireless

The Macbook Air comes with 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology.

The Macbook Pro also comes with 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology.

edit Cost

The 11-inch MacBook Air is available for $999 (with 64GB flash storage) and $1099 (128 GB flash storage). The 13-inch Macbook Air is available for $1199 (128GB flash storage) and $1499 (with 256GB flash storage).

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is available for $1119 (with 500 GB storage) or $1499 (with 750GB storage). The 15-inch Macbook Pro is available for $1799 (with 500 GB storage) or $2199 (with 750 GB storage). The 15-inch Macbook Pro with retina display is available for $2,199 and $2,799.

Amazon usually sells MacBooks at a slight discount compared with Apple's store.

edit Connections

The 11 inch Macbook Air comes with two USB 3.0 ports, 1 Thunderbolt port, and a power port, as well as ports for headphones and a microphone. The 13 inch Macbook Air comes with the same, plus an SD card slot.

The 13 inch Macbook Pro comes with two USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a Thunderbolt port, an SDXC card slot, a Kensington lock slot, and a 8x SuperDrive. The 15 inch Macbook also comes with these features, plus an audio line in and an audio line out.

edit Battery

The 11 inch Macbook Air comes with up to 5 hours battery when using Wi-Fi. The 13 inch Macbook Air comes with up to 7 hours.

The Macbook Pro has up to 7 hours battery when using Wi-Fi.

edit Environmental Issues

The Macbook Air and MacBook Pro are both BFR-free, PVC-free, highly recyclable, meet ENERGY STAR 5.2 requirements and rated EPEAT Gold. In addition, the Macbook Pro has arsenic-free display glass, mercury-free LED backlit display and a highly recyclable aluminum case.

edit Similarities

Both the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro come with either 4GB or 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L onboard memory, Intel HD Graphics 4000, OS X Mountain Lion, iLife and 90 days free telephone support with one-year limited warranty.

edit Which is more suitable for you?

The Macbook Air is best suited for portability, while the Macbook Pro is a more powerful machine and a suitable desktop replacement for scientists and designers. Computing magazines suggest that students and those who want a portable, go-to laptop choose the Macbook Air, while those who want a flexible machine with older ports and lots of storage, or those who need extra processing power, go for the Macbook Pro.

edit References

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