M2 MacBook Air & M2 MacBook Pro: How to choose between them

If you’re inquisitive about one of Apple’s new M2 MacBooks but are confused about which one you should buy, don’t worry — it isn’t apparent. The two devices are very similar but have a few crucial differences.

Here’s how to approach your decision.

PRICE

The cost distinction between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro is not hugely noteworthy.

The Air begins at $1,199 for an eight-core CPU, eight-core GPU, 8GB of memory, 256GB of storage, and a 30W power adapter and runs up to $2,499 for an eight-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 24GB of unified memory, 2TB of storage, and a 67W adapter.

CHASSIS DIFFERENCES

The MacBook Pro is a bit heavier — it’s 3 pounds (1.4 kg), while the Air is 2.7 (1.24 kg). The difference is noticeable but not life-changing, though the Air feels much thinner.

MacBooks arrive in Space Gray and Silver, while the Air arrives in Midnight (dark blue) and Starlight (gold). However, beware of the Midnight color — it determines up fingerprints quickly.

The MacBook Air has a bigger screen — 13.6 inches vs. the Pro’s 13.3. The two have identical brightness and color coverage, but the Air’s is a Liquid Retina display while the Pro’s is the exact LED-backlit IPS panel the previous year’s Pro had.

The MacBook Air holds a camera notch, and your cursor will vanish as it passes beneath it. So while you’ll have additional screen real estate to use on the Air, the gap can hamper some menu bar apps.

The MacBook Pro contains a touchscreen OLED strip at the top of its keyboard, while the MacBook Air includes a row of physical function keys.

The MacBook Pro only charges thru USB-C, while the MacBook Air also has a MagSafe power port. It essentially provides an extra port on the MacBook Air since one of the Pro’s ports will be entertained whenever it’s plugged in. MagSafe connectors also pop out of their spaces very quickly, which means the Air is less likely to be pulled off your desk if somebody stumbles over your cord.

The MacBook Air has a more reasonable webcam — 1080p to the Pro’s 720p. Air does make you look crispier and less washed out.

The MacBook Air has several power adapter options, including a 30W USB-C adapter, a 35 dual USB-C port adapter, and a fast-charge 67W adapter. Unfortunately, the Pro only comes with a 67W version.

PERFORMANCE DIFFERENCES

The Pro and the Air have the exact M2 processor and run the same macOS operating system.

Machines require to keep their processors from overheating when working hard. The Pro does this by rotating on its fan. Since the Air can’t do that, it requires to cap its processor’s performance lower than where the Air does. So in practice, you will notice a performance decrease if you run heavy loads on the Air for long periods.

The Air also becomes hotter than the Pro and does not get hot under Chrome tabs, Zoom calls, and most web-based loads you will hold. But you may feel the heat on the Air’s bottom or keyboard if you run heavier programs on it for long periods.

Regarding graphic performance, there is a 26 percent increase in Shadow of the Tomb Raider performance and a two-minute difference in Premiere Pro 4K export time.

Air is fine if you’re primarily working on web design tasks. Having MagSafe in an office can save you some stress, which probably outweighs the performance benefit you’ll see. The Pro will likely save time if you’re frequently compiling elaborate things. The Pro hit the Air by 10 seconds in the Xcode Benchmark.

You use your computer just for Netflix and emailing. Still, you sometimes make YouTube videos: Buy the Pro if you’re performing on your YouTube videos every day or if you often require to do that work on battery — the Air gets quite warm if you’re pushing it hard all the time. Otherwise, Air should be fine.

You are a student who needs to walk around all day and am primarily working in Google Docs or Word or whatever: Buy the Air. You won’t see much performance difference, and its battery life should be adequate to get you through a school day. The Pro’s bigger battery is outweighed by its extra size and weight; a thin laptop is a huge benefit when your backpack is packed.

You travel a lot: This one is tough. It’s a question of whether extra battery life or a thinner, lighter device is more important to you: if it’s battery life, Pro; if it’s portability, Air.