The new MacBook Air running the M2 chip is seen during Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, on June 6, 2022.
Peter da Silva | Reuters
Apple has five MacBooks to choose from, which can be a little daunting if you’re shopping for a new laptop during the school season. For example, there are new MacBook Airs, but Apple also sells its older 2020 MacBook Airs. Then there are three different MacBook Pro computers to choose from.
Your choice will depend on your purpose and budget for using the laptop. Here’s what you need to know about each of the MacBooks available, and how to pick the one that’s best for you.
2020 MacBook Air with M1, $999
Apple Macbook Air
The 2020 MacBook Air is the cheapest MacBook Apple sells. It runs on the M1 chip and costs $999. But it’s still a great computer. It’s powerful enough to handle what most people need, but it’s slower for tasks like video editing.
The battery life of the 2020 MacBook Air is similar to the 2022 MacBook Air at 18 hours.
You’re missing out on some features in this year’s upgrade, which we’ll discuss next. However, if you “just need a computer”, this should be your first choice.
2022 MacBook Air with M2, $1,199
For most people, this is the best MacBook.
Apple’s latest $1,199 MacBook Air features the latest M2 chip and has been completely redesigned to be thinner than ever.
The latest MacBook Air features MagSafe charging. That’s the small magnetic charging cable, which pops out to the side and pops out easily. So if you trip over a wire, the entire MacBook won’t fall off your desk. You can also charge your laptop using one of the two Thunderbolt USB C ports. If you buy Apple’s 67-watt charger for $59, you can quickly charge it to 50 percent in 30 minutes.
This MacBook is the most portable, weighing just 2.7 pounds. The 2020 Air weighs 2.8 pounds. The screen display is slightly larger, at 13.6 inches. However, the latest MacBook Air has a fan, so if you start editing a video or actually load it, it might not be as quiet as earlier models.
The sound quality has also been upgraded. The M2 MacBook Air has two additional speakers, for a total of four, making movies and music sound fuller. Slightly larger at 13.6 inches, its webcam has been upgraded from 720p to full 1080p HD.
If you spend an extra $200 on the latest MacBook Air, you’ll get faster charging, a better webcam, better speakers, and an updated design. This model also has enough processing speed for the average user.
13-inch MacBook Pro with M2, $1,299
Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2
The new MacBook Pro is a little confusing. This is an upgraded version of the MacBook Air. But it has the latest M2 processor, which isn’t quite as powerful as the older M1 Pro or M1 Max processors found in the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.
The 2022 version runs on the M2 chip, has 20 hours of battery life, is the only MacBook with a Touch Bar, a small bar above the keyboard for scrolling through photos, skipping or pausing/playing media, and more. The Pro also has more features than the MacBook Air. Good speakers and a higher-end display.
It uses MagSafe charging like the 2022 MacBook Air, but it has a feature called Active Cooling, which uses a pair of fans to actively draw in cool air and expel hot air, an improvement over the Air. This helps it handle heavier tasks like more advanced video editing.
The Pro weighs 3 pounds and has a slightly smaller screen at 13.3 inches. Overall, the processor and graphics performance of the 2022 MacBook Pro is noticeably different if you’re using high-performance features like video editing or photo editing.
2020 14″ and 16″ MacBook Pro with M1 Pro or M1 Max, $1999
Apple MacBook Pro
Get these if you need maximum power in your MacBook.
Apple last year launched the $1,999 14-inch and $2,499 16-inch MacBook Pro models, finally bringing back features like an SD card reader, a full HDMI port for adding another display, and more.
They have some of the best screens in a MacBook, with a high refresh rate so everything looks smooth when you’re scrolling through websites. They support up to two additional monitors, as opposed to monitors like the MacBook Airs. And, best of all, they can be configured with M1 Pro or M1 Max chips, which are more powerful than the M2 chips in Apple’s other computers. At least until we heard about Apple’s plans for an M2 Pro or Max.
So if you’re doing heavy video editing, or just like a high-end screen and tons of ports, these are for you. Just expect to pay more.