Different Laptops For Different People
The Surface Laptop 2 is a closer match to Apple’s MacBook Air, in the sense that they’re both highly portable yet capable Ultrabooks, and they appeal to the same type of laptop buyers.
The MacBook Pro is simply in a different class. It’s a pro-grade laptop with a ton of powerful options, much better graphics capabilities and if your wallet will go far enough, even a ridiculous Core i9 processor. It also comes in two sizes, 13 inches and 15 inches, while the Surface Laptop 2 is limited to the single 13.5-inch model. The base model might be a bit of a dud, but the higher specs start to move away.
If you’re already looking at the Surface Laptop 2 as something you think you’d like to buy, get it. The MacBook Pro isn’t really a direct competitor, and you’re going to end up spending a lot more money on the Mac. If you’re thinking of the very bottom spec MacBook Pro, the Surface Laptop 2 will offer better value
M1 Macbook Air Vs Macbook Pro: Key Specs & Features
Due to certain factors, the M1-powered MacBook Air is a better value than the Pro since it provides similar features, configuration options, and performance at a beginning lower price of $300.
Those seeking a general-system laptop equipped for browsing the web, watching videos, writing papers, and some photo and video editing will find lots of wonders in the MacBook Air.
Also, there are still some reasons to opt for the MacBook Pro instead, while the MacBook Air is ideal for most guys. The MacBook Pro is available with a few extras that could make it a better choice for professionals with specific needs, such as higher-quality microphones, longer battery life, and, most important, internal cooling fans.
However, you may not fully understand the concern unless you go technical and explore their respective specifications.
Design And Ports: The Original Apple M1 Misses Out On Ports
MacBooks didnt vary a whole lot in terms of design, until Apple released the redesigned MacBook Pro models earlier this year. The MacBook Air is naturally the thinnest and lightest of the bunch, but the MacBook Pro 13-inch isnt substantially larger. The big difference is the MacBook Pro having more even thickness throughout, while the Air is a bit more wedge-shaped. Of course, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is much bigger and heavier than the other models. Thats because the 16-inch MacBook Pro has much more power-consuming hardware that requires more cooling and a beefier battery. The 13-inch MacBook Pro could probably have been smaller with the Apple M1 refresh, but Apple kept the exact same chassis its just slightly lighter now.
As far as the rest of the design goes, these are all aluminum laptops that look fairly similar. All the MacBook Pro models come in the same color options, but the MacBook Air adds a Gold variant. That might be worth keeping in mind if you want something that stands out a bit more.
If youre planning to work in a multi-monitor environment, the Apple M1 processor is very limiting.
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Do Macs Slow Down Over Time
Macs will slow down when performing complex tasks, or a number of tasks at any one time. This is perfectly normal, as the Mac divvies up tasks through its processors. Slow load times, extended start times for applications, and unresponsive windows are all signs that your Mac may be slowing down over time.
The Best Laptop For Students
Lenovos Chromebook Duet is a great convertible laptop for kids, or anyone who wants a reliable secondary driver for browsing and games. Its a nice-looking, well-made 10-inch device that comes with a detachable keyboard and kickstand.
The Duet is tailor-made to be used around the house and on the go, weighing just 2.03 pounds and delivering over 11 hours of battery life. Its MediaTek processor isnt designed to shoulder heavy loads, but its just fine for browsing in a couple tabs, watching Netflix, or playing Android games it even handles photo editing pretty well. The Duet also features a new tablet mode for Chrome OS, which supports an Android-inspired gesture navigation system and a unique Chrome layout optimized for tablet use.
The Chromebook Duet is an absolute steal for its low price, and is the Chromebook to buy if youre on a tight budget.
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Best Macbook Pro 14 Alternative
If you’re drawn to a MacBook Pro for its featureless-slab aesthetic, Razer’s your Windows go-to. If you want one that roughly matches the 14-inch Pro for design, size and weight, the Blade 14 is your option its little brother, the Razer Book 13 makes a great alternative to the 13-inch MacBook Pro when you want something a bit smaller and less expensive.
A smaller version than the 15-inch staple, the 14-inch Razer Blade delivers a lot of gaming power for its size without feeling small — an important consideration for a gaming laptop, and one that Apple doesn’t need to worry about — but has decent battery life, a nice size for travel and a subtle design that’s buttoned-up enough for sitting in a meeting with the top brass or clients.
The Best Laptop For Business Travel
In many ways, the ThinkPad X1 Nano is a run-of-the-mill ThinkPad. Its got a solid sturdy chassis, discrete clickers, a physical privacy shutter, a red TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard, and all kinds of business-specific security and management features.
But the Nano is special because its the lightest ThinkPad Lenovo has ever made. Its also one of the lightest laptops you can buy, at just 1.99 pounds. Youre not sacrificing performance to get that mindblowing weight: The Nano kept up with our heavy testing workloads without any fan noise or noticeable heat. If youre looking for a reliable business laptop that will feel like nothing in your briefcase, this is the one for you.
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The Best Multimedia Laptop
Most thin and light laptops share one significant weakness thin, tinny audio. Thats not the case with the Lenovo Yoga 9i. This 14-inch convertible has a rotating soundbar in its hinge, meaning that no matter how its positioned, the speakers face outwards. You can expect clear, booming sound whether youre using the 9i in tablet, tent, or clamshell mode.
Theres a lot more to like as well. You get an excellent 1080p touch display and a built-in stylus for easy artwork and note-taking. The 11th-Gen processors deliver satisfactory performance and all-day battery life. The audio quality, screen, and convertible form factor all add up to an unbeatable machine for multimedia entertainment.
Component Considerations: Who Is Each Laptop For
Plenty of shoppers are primarily concerned with the physical traits of each laptop, which makes those factors a natural starting point for comparison, but you should also pay attention to the specs. The MacBook Air, made for less demanding users who are focused on portability and a lower price point, tops out with less powerful component options. With the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, Apple smartly offers a wider range of prices and power.
The components tell a story about whom these laptop families are made for, though you might not be able to glean this from the starting configurations. The $999 MacBook Air starts with an M1 processor, 8GB of memory, and a 256GB SSD. The starting $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro also comes with an M1 processor, 8GB of memory, and a 256GB SSD. Yes, those are identical specs, but there are two hidden differences that help explain the Pro’s higher starting price.
The 2020 MacBook Air from the back
The first is cooling capabilities. Even the extraordinarily efficient M1 generates heat as it powers through that Zoom video call or enormous Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The Air has no cooling fan, though. It employs a passive cooling technique. Heat follows a path away from the processor and through the exhaust vents all on its own, a unique arrangement that’s more similar to the design of an Apple iPad or iPhone than any other comparable Windows laptop.
Apples Magic Keyboard on the MacBook Pro, a welcome change from the much-maligned “butterfly” design
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Designs And Features: Similar But Different
The MacBook Airs lower price has to come from somewhere, but its not from a drop in quality or from cutting the fundamentals. You get the same all-metal design as the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which is a hallmark of the MacBook brand. The display panels are also very similar. Each is a 13.3-inch IPS screen, with the same native resolution and support for the P3 color gamut.
The 2020 MacBook Air’s screen
Both are also built around Apples Magic Keyboard, a welcome change from the much-maligned “butterfly” keyboard that once graced both models. The butterfly keyboard has an infamously flat feeling when typing, with little feedback. It was also prone to malfunction when dust or debris got under the keycaps, disabling certain keys. The Magic Keyboard offers a much more traditional, satisfying typing experience on both models. A scissor mechanism with rubber-dome springback delivers more feedback, and feels more stable when typing.
The 2020 MacBook Air’s Magic Keyboard
Both laptops only have USB Type-C ports and a headphone jack. This is common for super-slim laptops, as there simply isnt room for larger, standard USB Type-A ports. USB-C connections are great, offering versatility and faster data transfer speeds, but if you already own a lot of USB-A peripherals, you’ll need to get converters or new cables for them. Both laptops USB-C ports support Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and data transfer speeds up to 40Gbps.
The two USB Type-C ports on the 2020 MacBook Air
Macbook Pro Vs Surface Pro: Which Should I Buy
Aside from the macOS vs Windows question, the big thing to answer here is whether you’d rather have a laptop/tablet hybrid or a full-power laptop.
The Surface Pro range offers a solid amount of computer power in a frame that’s very portable, and makes it easy to draw on.
The MacBook Pro range offers a major increase in performance, but in a very traditional laptop form factor. The MacBook Pro is also better for ergonomics when it comes to long periods of typing, and the 14-inch and 16-inch models have class-leading screens for creative work.
It comes down to priorities both machines might live up to their branding of offering lots for pros, but they have different needs in mind.
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Touch Bar/no Touch Bar
All these Apple laptops come with Touch ID and the Force Touch trackpad, but now it’s only the 13in MacBook Pro that features the Touch Bar. The feature had proven to be unpopular with the pros, for whom the 14in and 15in MacBook Pro models are designed, so Apple has removed it. This multi-touch strip replaces the F keys, and can provide different contextual controls depending on the application open.
The Touch Bar may be of use to you, but many pros found the lack of physical function keys too much of a disadvantage. Whether or not you’ll find the Touch Bar useful comes down to a combination of personal preference and what software you use. Read about what you can do with the Touch Bar.
Madeline Ricchiuto Lab Tester
Despite being faster during the typing test on the discontinued 15-inch MacBook Pro, Apple’s butterfly keyboard is the worst thing I have ever had the displeasure of typing on. The thin membrane and butterfly switches result in a typing experience that feels disconnected. My fingers would actually get lost on the butterfly keyboard if I wasn’t careful.
That wouldn’t be the worst thing, if that were the biggest problem I had with the butterfly keyboard. But I ended up slamming my fingers against the keys with too much force because of how little give they had. This left me with aching fingers.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro’s scissor-switch keyboard was far more comfortable. It felt like the old-style MacBook Pro keyboards with enough resistance to not make me feel like I was stabbing my fingers into the aluminum body of the laptop, and the increased key height was enough to keep my fingers from sliding out of position without warning.
During the typing test, I hit speeds of 88 wpm with 98% accuracy on the 15-inch MacBook Pro, compared with 85 wpm on the 16-inch MacBook Pro. However, my increased speed on the butterfly keyboard wasn’t worth the agony of using it.
Winner: Scissor keyboard
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The Best Laptop Of 2021
The late-2020 MacBook Air, powered by Apples M1 processor, is the best laptop you can buy. The base model, which includes 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, starts at $999.
Appearance-wise, this laptop has a lot in common with the Intel-powered MacBook Air that Apple released earlier this year, including the same 2560 x 1600 screen, Touch ID, 720p webcam, fingerprint sensor, and scissor-switch keyboard.
But the new processor is the star of the show here its fast. In our testing, it handled intense photo- and video-editing workloads better than almost any Intel-powered laptop weve tried this year. It was also able to run Shadow of the Tomb Raider at close-to-playable frame rates, which is quite a feat for integrated graphics. At launch, these apps hadnt yet been optimized for the M1 processor and were running through Apples Rosetta 2 translation layer but they still worked fine.
And the processing power didnt even weigh down the battery life: we got between eight and 10 hours of sustained work.
Another benefit of the M1 processor is that it enables the MacBook Air to run iPhone and iPad apps natively on macOS. As of this writing, there still isnt a huge selection of mobile apps available, and some that have been released arent quite optimized for the laptop screen. Still, its a benefit we can look forward to as time goes on.
The MacBook Pro is an excellent laptop for video editing and intensive work.
Why Are Macs So Expensive
The case of the MacBook is made with aluminum. This aluminum material is quite expensive, and it is a major reason the price of a MacBook is so high. The aluminum also makes the MacBook feel more premium. It does not feel like a cheap laptop in any way, and as you can tell from the pricing, it is certainly not cheap.
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Apple Macbook Air M1 Vs Macbook Pro 13 M1
If you dont need the brute force power offered from the M1 Pro chip, then both of these machines should perform admirably for everyday tasks and some content creation. The Air is 0.2 pounds lighter and slimmer at the edge, which makes it simpler to lug around, especially if youre going to be moving it in and out of a bag multiple times per day. The base model Air, however, does have one fewer CPU core than the Pro, so step up to the slightly upgraded Air if you dont want to give up any performance.
If you step up to the 8-core CPU on the Air , its performance should be just about identical to the MacBook Pro when used in short durations. Once the computers start to heat up, though, the MacBook Pros built-in fans and more powerful charging setup will start to make a noticeable difference.
If youre only ever going to surf the web, watch content, and do some occasional light content creation, the MacBook Air will be just fine. If youre planning on pushing your machine with video editing or photo editing on a semi-regular basis, its likely worth the extra money to move up to the much more powerful 14-inch M1 Pro machines.
Winner: The MacBook Air is probably the right choice for most people.
Best Macbook Pro Alternatives For 2022
Think differently about your laptop options.
Senior Editor / Reviews
I’ve been writing about and reviewing consumer technology since before the turn of the century. I’m also a photographer and cat herder, frequently at the same time.
The days of deriding the MacBook Pro for its awful keyboard, annoying Touch Bar and overreliance on Thunderbolt/USB-C connections are over thanks to Apple’s most recent updates. They brought us 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro devices with new processors, a top-notch design, mini-LED backlit displays, plus added back the ports we’ve missed and removed the Touch Bar.
But the fact remains that there’s a far bigger variety of designs, feature sets and display choices for Windows laptops and Chromebooks, and Windows remains the preferred platform for playing games locally. Cloud gaming lets Macs circumvent the gaming problem to a certain extent, but not completely only a fraction of the universe of games is playable via the cloud.
This list is periodically updated with new models we’ve tested and reviewed. It’s a great place to start to get an idea of what’s available. If you need advice on whether a particular type of laptop or two-in-one is right for you, jump to our laptop FAQ at the bottom of the list.
So when want to go Windows, here are our recommendations for laptops to fill that MacBook-size void in your life.
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Laptops You Should Consider Instead Of The New Macbook Pro 13
When released, Apples updated MacBook Pro 13 will get the most powerful 10th-gen Intel Ice Lake CPU available. But otherwise Apples late to the gameagain. We can think of a bunch of Windows laptops that already outstrip it in features, and well tell you about them as we work through the MacBook Pro 13s major improvements.
First item for examination is the CPU. Intel originally launched its most advanced 10nm 10th-gen Ice Lake series of CPUs way back in August. PC laptops based on Ice Lake appeared by October, and its gradually made its way into dozens of laptops since then.
One chip thats been conspicuously absent since the announcement is the higher-wattage Core i7-1068G7 chip. Well surprise: The MacBook Pro 13 will offer it as one of its CPU options.
Most of Intels lineup has been available except the most powerful of them all: The Core i7-1068
The chips main difference isnt more cores, more threads, or even more graphics EUs itll just be a higher TDP rating of 28 watts. Thats long been the TDP Apple prefers for its MacBook Pro 13. In this case, itll officially be the most powerful Ice Lake chip in town, but in reality, it may not be that much faster than some 10th-gen Ice Lake laptops, which can be configured to run up to 25 watts. While we dont know how hard Apple will push its new MacBook Pro 13, we do know that on paper, 25 watts to 28 watts is no big deal.