Macbook Air vs. Macbook Pro: Comparison

by Lissie

Can't decide whether to buy a Macbook Air or Macbook Pro - let me help - updated side-by-side comparison of each - and what type of consumer should buy which

When you are trying to decide whether you want to buy a Macbook Air or Pro - then you really need to consider what you will use your new Mac for.

Both models of Macbook's come in a variety of screen sizes and with a number of upgrade options, so narrowing your choice down to ONE is quite tricky.

Read on for a side-by-side comparison of the most popular Macbook laptops.


Working out whether Macbook Air or Macbook Pro is the best laptop for you is quite a complex question. Both laptops come in a variety of sizes, with over lapping price points. 

The feature sets are quite distinct though, and you need to understand those differences so you can make the best choice. 

Macbook Air Features

11.6" or 13.3"
Apple MacBook Air 13.3-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION)
$1299.00  $1056.49

Macbook Pro Features

13.3", 15.4" or 17"
Apple MacBook Pro 13.3-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION)
Only $309.69

Macbook Air - Features

When it was initially released the Macbook Air was billed as the lightest laptop ever - that was the 11" version. The 13.3" still is quite a light laptop - compared to the Macbook Pro big brother. Its about the same price - but there are some quite large difference in the specs: 

 Macbook Air 13.3" Specs

hard drive 128GB/256GB
processor 1.7GHZ
memory 4GB/8GB
operating system OS X Lion
multi-media none
ports 2 USB, thunderbolt, SD
battery life 7 hours
dimensions 12.8 x 8.94 x 0.68 inches (WxDxH)
weight 2.96lbs

Macbook Pro - Features

Macbook Pro's have been around for a long time -the name doesn't change - but the spec's sure do. As we are comparing MBP to the Air - I am going to stick with the smallest in the range: that's the Macbook Pro 13.3" so I can do a side-by-side comparison. 

Macbook Pro 13.3 Specs: 

hard drive 500GB
processor 2.4GHZ
memory 4GB/8GB
operating system OSX Lion
multi-media DVD
ports 2xUSB, thunderport, SDXC
battery life 7 hours
dimensions 12.78 x 8.94 x 0.95 inches (WxDxH)
weight 4.5 lbs

How to Choose Macbook Pro or Macbook Air

It used to be that the Macbook Air was a lot more expensive. Now however the price difference is not great, instead you are looking at a trade-off with features. 

Do you need an on-board CD/DVD player? 

If having multi-media on-board your laptop, is - then you need to buy the Macbook Pro. 

Do you want a very light laptop?

The Macbook Air is your best option - but maybe you should consider the 11.6" which is only 2.38lbs. The trade off is speed. 

Do you want a robust laptop? 

If your laptop risks being dropped or banged then the Macbook Air is probably the better choice as the hard drive is what is called a solid state drive (SSD) - with no moving parts and therefore less susceptiable to bangs and bashes. 

Which is the Best Choice - for the Following Customers?

For a student? 

if you are carrying a laptop all day, everyday, around campus then you will notice the extra weight of the Macbook Pro. Consider the Air - if money is tight consider the 11.6" Air - but note that it has less battery lfie. 

For the Business Traveler? 

If money is no object, but you don't need a powerful machine, then the light-weight Macbook Air 13.3" is probably your choice. 

For the Graphics Intensive User? 

If you are doing photo or video editing then you need more processing power, more screen size - the downsize will be the weight but I'd consider the 17" Macbook Pro - with an upgrade of HD and particularly memory. 

For more information on Macbooks, current pricing and user reviews - click here

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Recently updated to reflect current pricing: the lightest laptops and their pros and cons. Buyers Guide

Which would you prefer: Macbook Pro or Macbook Air

Which would you buy?
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Macbook Pro
amandeep on 12/20/2011

i guess mac book pro is better option coz its come with 2.4 GHZ processor and also comes with 500 gb hard drive so my vote is for macbook pro....

Updated: 03/01/2012, Lissie
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