MacBook Air or MacBook Professional

Ought to I purchase the Apple 14in MacBook Professional, M1 Professional (2021) or MacBook Air vs MacBook Professional?

Apple 14in MacBook Professional, M1 Professional (2021) vs MacBook Air vs MacBook Professional
full evaluate

Apple at present sells two laptop computer strains: the MacBook Professional (which at present is available in 13in, 14in and 16in display sizes) and the MacBook Air (which is 13in). The 14in and 16in MacBook Professional fashions have been up to date in October 2021, whereas the smaller 13in MacBook Professional and Air have been launched in November 2020.

With 4 completely different fashions to select from there are some very notable variations between the MacBook Air and Professional. On this article we examine , and , , and , , and extra, together with the primary areas the place the MacBooks differ, the professionals and cons of every, and the elements it is advisable to take into account when making a shopping for choice – together with .

You might also discover our article useful. We even have the next critiques:

  • MacBook Air, M1 evaluate
  • 13in MacBook Professional, M1 evaluate
  • 14in MacBook Professional M1 Professional evaluate
  • 16in MacBook Professional M1 Max evaluate

Design & Construct

The display dimension distinction is not the one factor dividing these laptops, we’ll run via the load and dimensions and different design variations beneath.


When it launched in 2008 the MacBook Air was the lightest laptop computer accessible. Over time the load of the MacBook Professional has additionally declined, so the distinction is so much lower than it was. Right this moment the weighs solely barely lower than the ; at 1.29kg in comparison with 1.4kg.

The is simply very barely heavier at 1.6kg, whereas the weighs in at 2.1kg. Evidently, none of those laptops is absolutely going to weigh you down, but when mild is crucial consider your choice then the Air will little question get your vote.


It isn’t solely the load you’ll have to take care of although. The quantity of house your laptop computer takes up in your bag or in your desk may also consider your choice.

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro: Air (2020)

The MacBook Air is 30.41 x 21.24cm, and 1.61cm thick, tapering to 0.41cm at its narrowest level. The 13in MacBook Professional is 30.41 x 21.24cm so it has the identical footprint, however is a little bit thicker total at 1.56cm because it does not taper.

The 14in MacBook Professional is a model new design for 2021. It measures 31.26 x 22.12cm and is 1.55cm thick. That is really fractionally slimmer than the 13in MacBook Professional, though a tiny bit longer and wider.

The 16in MacBook Professional is the largest, as you’d count on, at 35.57 x 24.81cm with a thickness of 1.68cm  (these dimensions are barely completely different to the predecessor which was fractionally wider.

New 14in 16in MacBook Pro

This is all that at a look:

  • 13in MacBook Air: 30.41cm x 21.24cm x 1.61cm – 0.41cm; 1.29kg
  • 13in MacBook Professional: 30.41cm x 21.24cm x 1.56cm 1.4kg
  • 14in MacBook Professional: 31.26cm x 22.12cm x 1.55cm; 1.6kg
  • 16in MacBook Professional: 35.57cm x 24.81cm x 1.68cm; 2.1kg

Contact Bar/No Contact Bar

All these Apple laptops include Contact ID and the Drive Contact trackpad, however now it is solely the 13in MacBook Professional that options the Contact Bar. The function had confirmed to be unpopular with the professionals, for whom the 14in and 15in MacBook Professional fashions are designed, so Apple has eliminated it. This multi-touch strip replaces the F keys, and may present completely different contextual controls relying on the applying open.

The Contact Bar could also be of use to you, however many professionals discovered the shortage of bodily operate keys an excessive amount of of an obstacle. Whether or not or not you will discover the Contact Bar helpful comes all the way down to a mixture of private desire and what software program you utilize. Examine .


The opposite distinction is the color selections. You’ll be able to select from silver, house gray and gold for the MacBook Air, however the MacBook Professional affords solely the silver and house gray choices.


All these MacBooks include Apple’s Magic Keyboard, which has a scissor-switch design to exchange the that featured in earlier fashions from round 2016 to 2018.

MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air: Dimensions

Processor – CPU

The processors are the foremost distinction between these MacBook fashions. However the distinction is now not between processors made by Apple and Intel. Apple has now up to date all Mac laptops to run by itself processors. So you’ve got the selection between M1, M1 Professional and M1 Max. We’ll run via the variations beneath so you’ll be able to work out which processor fits you greatest.


The November 2020 MacBook Air runs on Apple’s M1 processors, as does the November 2020 13in MacBook Professional.

The M1 has eight CPU cores, 4 of those are high-performance cores and 4 are high-efficiency cores. This is without doubt one of the the reason why the M1 works so nicely – when the high-efficiency processor cores are busy backing as much as iCloud or syncing images the high-performance cores will nonetheless be accessible for extra intensive operations. Because of this you should not see the Mac decelerate due to background processes, for instance.

When Apple launched the M1 chip in November 2020 it made some huge claims about it being the “world’s quickest CPU core” with the “world’s greatest CPU efficiency per watt” in addition to “quite a few highly effective applied sciences” and “improved efficiency and effectivity”. Apple additionally mentioned that the M1 delivers as much as 3.5x quicker CPU efficiency in comparison with previous-generation Macs.

These have been huge claims, however our exams of the M1 Macs show that Apple’s claims are true.

M1 Professional

The M1 was trying fairly good after which in got here the M1 Professional with the arrival of the 14in and 16in MacBook Professional in November 2021.

The M1 Professional typically comes with 10 cores and that is the case for the 14in and 16in MacBook Professional. Nevertheless the entry degree M1 Professional MacBook Professional has simply 8-cores.

The ten-core model affords eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores.

Apple claims that, in contrast with the most recent 8-core PC laptop computer chip, the M1 Professional delivers as much as 1.7x extra CPU efficiency and achieves the PC chip’s peak efficiency utilizing as much as 70 p.c much less energy.

M1 Max

The M1 Max is accessible with both the 14in or the 16in MacBook Professional (it is build-to-order solely with the 14in MacBook Professional). The CPU is similar as that within the M1 Professional although. It is 10-cores, with eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores.

The true distinction between the M1 Professional and M1 Max is the graphics cores, which we’ll focus on beneath.

M1 Pro M1 Max


We’ll point out Intel briefly as a result of Apple now not sells a MacBook with an Intel processor. Nevertheless, it’s possible you’ll discover one accessible on Apple’s refurbished retailer or at a third-party stockist. Certainly, most of the are on the older Intel-powered fashions, so if you wish to lower your expenses a discount Intel-powered Mac would possibly enchantment. Till October 2021 there have been two 2.0GHz 13in MacBook Professional fashions from 2020 and the 16in MacBook Professional additionally supplied Intel processors.

It’s possible you’ll want to stay with Intel in case you are utilizing software program that may’t run on the M1, M1 Professional or M1 Max for instance, though, because of Apple’s in-built Rosetta software program (which interprets the code in order that it will possibly run on the ARM primarily based chips) this should not actually be an issue.

Which MacBooks have which processor?

MacBook Air:

  • M1 Chip with 8‑Core CPU and seven‑Core GPU
  • M1 Chip with 8‑Core CPU and eight‑Core GPU

13in MacBook Professional:

  • M1 Chip with 8‑Core CPU and eight‑Core GPU

14in MacBook Professional:

  • M1 Professional Chip with 8‑Core CPU and 14‑Core GPU
  • M1 Professional Chip with 10‑Core CPU and 16‑Core GPU
  • M1 Max Chip with 10‑Core CPU and 24- or 32-Core GPU (build-to-order)

16in MacBook Professional:

  • M1 Professional Chip with 10‑Core CPU and 16‑Core GPU
  • M1 Professional Chip with 10‑Core CPU and 16‑Core GPU
  • M1 Max Chip with 10‑Core CPU and 24- or 32-Core GPU (build-to-order)

Graphics processor – GPU

As you will note from the specs above, there’s a larger differentiator between the M1, M1 Professional and M1 Max than what number of processor cores can be found. There are numerous choices in relation to the variety of GPU cores and the variety of graphics cores might be a key a part of any choice about which mannequin is greatest suited to your wants.

The GPU choices are decided by which Apple chip you select, so, as above we’ll run via the choices for the M1, M1 Professional and M1 Max.

M1 Pro and Max Graphics


We’ll begin with the GPU choices that include the M1 chip. The entry-level MacBook Air has a 7-core GPU whereas the opposite MacBook Air has an 8-core GPU. The absence of the eighth GPU core does maintain again the 7-core mannequin, so for those who assume you might be prone to want that further GPU core it’s possible you’ll assume that the most suitable choice is to purchase the costlier Air, which additionally affords extra storage. However the MacBook Professional, which has an 8-core GPU as customary, may be a greater choice, as we’ll clarify.

The explanation why the M1 MacBook Professional is a greater choice for graphic intensive operations than the M1 MacBook Air is that it additionally features a fan for cooling – because of this it is possible for you to to push it a little bit additional. The MacBook Air might be completely high-quality for regular operations, however as a result of it lacks a fan it’s possible you’ll discover that issues decelerate to ensure that it to not overheat if you are pushing it.

Certainly, in our exams the M1 MacBook Air fell behind the M1 MacBook Professional and the shortage of followers within the MacBook Air positively had a component to play.

M1 Professional

As with the M1 there may be multiple choice in relation to GPUs.

The 14in MacBook Professional with M1 Professional affords a 14-core GPU or 16-core GPU. There may be fairly a big leap in worth between these choices although: an enormous  £500/$500 distinction.

Do you have to pay the additional £500/$500 to get two extra graphics cores? Sadly we’ve not been in a position to benchmark the 14-core model, however we will see that the Geekbench steel rating is 37670 for that mannequin, whereas in our exams the 16-core M1 Professional scored 42862, so it does look like an honest enhance. Clearly whether or not it is price £500/$500 to you is determined by your wants.

M1 Max

One of many greatest variations between the M1 Max and M1 Professional is the variety of graphics cores (there are different variations, together with the M1 Max being the one chip to assist 64GB RAM, which we’ll focus on beneath).

The 14in MacBook Professional does not ship as customary with the M1 Max, however you’ve got two build-to-order choices: a M1 Max with 24-core GPU (£200/$200 further) or an M1 Max 32-core GPU (£400/$400 further).

There’s a 16in MacBook Professional that ships with an M1 Max, however there may be additionally a less expensive build-to-order choice accessible. So, as with the 14in MacBook Professional there may be an M1 Max with 24-core GPU (£200/$200 further) or an M1 Max 32-core GPU (£300/$300 further).

You’ll be able to count on so much from the 32-core GPU choice that comes with the M1 Max, however the query is do you really want that?

Our personal exams confirmed that the M1 Max within the 14in MacBook Professional shot forward of the M1 Professional within the 14in MacBook Professional. The M1 Max noticed a rating of 68534 in Geekbench 5 Compute benchmarks, in comparison with 42862 for the M1 Professional. The previous 16in MacBook Professional solely noticed 25395.

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We’ll rapidly point out the now discontinued Intel-powered MacBook Professional fashions with Intel Intel Iris Plus Graphics and the now discontinued 16in MacBook Professional fashions that used to supply the discrete AMD Radeon Professional 5300M and AMD Radeon Professional 5500M.

How do these graphics choices examine to the M1 fashions, which function Apple’s personal graphics resolution? Typically it is thought of that discrete graphics are far superior to built-in graphics, so that you may be pondering that the discrete graphics within the older 16in MacBook Professional could be superior.

With the M1 Apple claimed its resolution to be the “world’s quickest built-in graphics in a private laptop” and 2x quicker than PC equivalents. Our exams confirmed that there was a major leap in efficiency between Apple’s GPU and Intel’s choices. The M1 did not simply beat that entry-level Intel choice, even the two.0GHz MacBook Professional lagged behind the M1. Nevertheless, what ought to be no shock is that the 16in MacBook Professional with its devoted Radeon Professional 5500M graphics card was nonetheless a good distance forward.

Now that the M1 Professional and M1 Max are right here although the AMD graphics playing cards have been left for mud (as you’ll be able to see from the graphic above). One purpose why we will count on actual graphics boosts is because of Apple’s use of tile-based deferred rendering know-how, which we focus on right here: .

In the event you want some further grunt with an Intel Mac then is is feasible to plug in an by way of Thunderbolt – examine . Nevertheless, the M1, M1 Professional and M1 Max Macs should not appropriate with an exterior graphics processor. Learn:

RAM (Unified Reminiscence)

All of the M1 MacBooks – each Professional and Air – include 8GB of Unified Reminiscence at their base configuration. There may be an choice to improve to 16GB at level of sale.

The M1 Professional ships with 16GB Unified Reminiscence and is upgradable to 32GB.

The M1 Max ships additionally with 16GB Unified Reminiscence, however is upgradable to 64GB.

This RAM – which Apple calls Unified Reminiscence – is a part of the M1, M1 Professional or M1 Max chip, so it is accessible to each the CPU and the GPU. Apple refers to it as unified reminiscence structure, or UMA. There are efficiency advantages this UMA, so the 8GB RAM within the M1 fashions is not actually akin to 8GB and even 16GB RAM present in an Intel-powered mannequin.

The M1 MacBooks if that they are often configured at level of sale to have 16GB RAM, whereas the M1 Professional will be configured to take 32GB RAM and the M1 Max can take 64GB RAM.


The Air and 13in Professional each include 256GB of storage on the entry-level, with a second mannequin providing 512GB. You’ll be able to add a bigger SSD at level of sale, however the M1 MacBook Air and Professional fashions are capped at 2TB.

The 14in MacBook Professional and 16in MacBook Professional have two customary storage choices: a 512GB SSD or a 1TB SSD. Nevertheless, there are build-to-order choices that go all the way in which as much as 8TB SSD.

Our learn & write exams confirmed that the M1 MacBook Air beat the early 2020 MacBook Air and that is additionally true of the 2021 MacBook Professional fashions in comparison with their predecessors.

2021 MacBook Pro

Battery life

In the case of battery life the M1 Macs actually stand out, as do the M1 Professional and M1 Max.

In keeping with Apple, the M1 MacBook Air affords 18 hours and the M1 MacBook Professional affords an incredible 20 hours. The 14in MacBook Professional affords as much as 17 hours and the 16in MacBook Professional affords 22 hours.

This makes the discontinued 2.0GHz 13in MacBook Professional’s 10 hours battery life look appalling – however 10 hours is lots to get via a day of labor, so possibly you do not want as a lot as these fashions are providing.

Battery life is excessive because of the M1, M1 Professional and M1 Mac chips, which together with macOS’s superior energy administration, intelligently allocates duties between the M1 efficiency and effectivity cores. So every part is optimised. As well as macOS Monterey is bringing a low energy mode that will lengthen battery life even additional.

If battery life is crucial to you then best choice is the 16in MacBook Professional, however the 13in MacBook Professional is not far behind that with 20 hours, so you do not have to lay our a fortune.

MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air: Speed comparisons


Now we have 4 completely different display sizes to contemplate right here:

  • Two 13in Retina shows (which can be really 13.3in measured diagonally)
  • A 14in Liquid Retina XDR show (14.2in measured diagonally)
  • A 16in Liquid Retina XDR show (16.2in measured diagonally)

The show was beforehand an space the place the Air and Professional have been fairly completely different, with the Air not gaining a Retina show till 2018. The Air then gained True Tone know-how in 2019, bringing it into line with the Professional fashions. Nevertheless the MacBook Air show shouldn’t be as vibrant because the show on the 13in MacBook Professional, with the Professional providing 500 nits brightness to the Air’s 400.

The 2021 MacBook Professional shows are superior. The Liquid Retina XDR shows have an excessive dynamic vary. Apple says it’s able to 1,000 nits customary brightness, 1,600 nits of peak brightness, and 1,000,000:1 distinction ratio for deeper blacks and extra vivid colors.

These new display carry ProMotion to the Mac. ProMotion affords a refresh price of 120Hz, which implies it will possibly refresh photographs 120 instances a second, however it will possibly additionally fluctuate the refresh price to a lot lower than that when it is not required (which is extra energy environment friendly and means it will possibly save battery life.)

MacBook Pro screen

As you’ll count on the display decision of the completely different MacBooks additionally differs:

  • 16in MacBook Professional affords 3,456 by 2,234 pixels, whole: 7.7 million pixels.
  • 14in MacBook Professional affords 3,024 by 1,964 pixels, whole: 5.9 million pixels.
  • 13in MacBook Professional affords 2, 560 by 1,600 pixels, whole: 4.1 million pixels.
  • 13in MacBook Air affords 2,560 by 1,600 pixels, whole: 4.1 million pixels.

Compared the 2019 16in MacBook Professional supplied 3,072 by 1,920 pixels. Curiously, there are extra pixels on the 2021 14in MacBook Professional than there have been on the 2019 16in MacBook Professional.

Be aware that the 16in MacBook Professional nonetheless is not 4K – to attain that the 16in would want to supply 3,840 x 2,160 pixels (8.2 million pixels). There are non-Apple shows that provide this, however Apple is not there but (fingers crossed for the ).

Apple doesn’t provide touchscreen shows in its MacBooks. (Examine why we predict ).

The notch…

Notch FaceTime

There may be one elephant within the room in relation to the screens. The notch. It is a function acquainted from the iPhone the place the notch conceals the Face ID and digital camera parts. In that case the notch is a part of the display. Right here the ‘notch’ is definitely the FaceTime digital camera parts overlapping the show, so it is a little bit completely different.

The advantages (a bigger display) ought to, hopefully, outweigh the disadvantages. And the drawback of the notch ought to be simple to hide as soon as the look of the menus of varied apps begin to incorporate the darkish space of the notch. You’ll in all probability begin to see a black strip on the high of your display with all the standard stuff you see within the menu bar wrapped across the notch. It is solely actually prone to trouble you in full-screen mannequin.

There are at all times going to be those that hate it and people who do not actually thoughts it. Learn:  and .

Ports & Peripherals

Over time it is felt like Apple has been on a mission eradicating ports from Macs with the intention to make them slimmer and slimmer. This has been an obstacle for a lot of, though typically for those who want extra or completely different ports you’ll be able to simply plug in an adapter or a dock (learn: ).

So the truth that Apple’s M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Professional provide two USB 4 ports that additionally assist Thunderbolt 3 is limiting, however not unimaginable to work with.

Nevertheless, Apple’s technique with the 2021 14in MacBook Professional and 16in MacBook Professional is considerably completely different. Apple’s listened to the wants of its goal group for the gadgets and has ensured that a lot of extremely wanted ports can be found.

14in MacBook Pro

Therefore the 14in MacBook Professional and 16in MacBook Professional provide:

  • Three Thunderbolt 4 (USB‑C) ports
  • HDMI port
  • SDXC card slot

In case you are questioning what the distinction between USB-C and USB 4 is, USB 4 ought to be capable of provide 40Gb/s, which is what Thunderbolt 3 already affords. USB-C affords 10 to 20Gb/s.

All Mac laptops provide a 3.5mm headphone jack.


Worth is one space the place there is a stark distinction between the completely different MacBook fashions. We’ll run via the pricing beneath, together with among the newest affords on new MacBooks – since you do not essentially should pay Apple’s worth.

MacBook Air costs

The is accessible in two default configurations:

  • M1 Chip with 8‑Core CPU and seven‑Core GPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD: £999/$999.
  • M1 Chip with 8‑Core CPU and seven‑Core GPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD: £1,249/$1,249.

, or look beneath for the very best costs proper now:

M1 MacBook Air, 8-core CPU/7-core GPU, from £999/$999

For offers on much more MacBook Air try our for reductions accessible elsewhere.

13in MacBook Professional costs

There are actually two 13in configurations of the MacBook Professional offered by Apple:

  • M1 Chip with 8‑Core CPU and eight‑Core GPU, 16GB RAM, 256GB Storage: £1,299/$1,299
  • M1 Chip with 8‑Core CPU and eight‑Core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage: £1,499/$1,499

You will discover that the costlier Air is simply £50 lower than the entry-level MacBook Professional – however the latter has half the storage.

, or look beneath for the very best costs proper now:

2020 M1 MacBook Professional Offers, from £1,299/$1,299

14in MacBook Professional costs

The 2021 14in MacBook Professional comes within the following configurations:

  • M1 Professional with 8‑Core CPU and 14‑Core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage: £1,899/$1,999.
  • M1 Professional with 10‑Core CPU and 16‑Core GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage: £2,399/$2,499.

There are further build-to-order choices, so you’ll be able to configure the 14in MacBook Professional with a M1 Max chip, or extra RAM, for instance.

, or look beneath for the very best costs proper now:

2021 M1 Professional MacBook Professional Offers, from £1,899/$1,999

16in MacBook Professional costs

In the event you’re tempted with a bigger display and extra energy then the MacBook Professional 16in is accessible in three configurations:

  • M1 Professional with 10‑Core CPU and 16‑Core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage: £2,399/$2,499.
  • M1 Professional with 10‑Core CPU and 16‑Core GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage: £2,599/$2,699.
  • M1 Max with 10‑Core CPU and 32‑Core GPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB Storage: £3,299/$3,399.

, or look beneath for the very best costs proper now:

We do advocate checking the to see for those who may decide up a reduced MacBook – particularly in case you are after an Intel-powered mannequin, though infrequently we’ve seen Apple sells M1 fashions for much less by way of that retailer.

We additionally advocate that you simply check out our spherical up of the


If a low worth is crucial to you then the M1 MacBook Air is the most suitable choice. If battery life is your most important request then the 16in MacBook Professional is the highest canine, however the 13in MacBook Professional is not far behind. In the case of portability the Air wins, however solely simply.

In the event you want a little bit extra energy then the M1 MacBook Professional is a better option than the Air, predominantly as a result of it has a fan so you must be capable of push it a bit extra.

But when you really want the final word in energy you then actually should be trying on the 14in MacBook Professional and the 16in MacBook Professional, which provide extra graphics cores and assist extra RAM. In addition they provide a bunch of ports that  will profit many.

These are all nice MacBooks. Actually the choice needs to be primarily based in your price range. In case your price range is small then the MacBook Air is a superb choice, however for simply £50/$50 further the 13in MacBook Professional will provide much more.

In the event you want a extremely highly effective Mac then it’ll value you much more than it used to – even the entry-level 14in MacBook Professional now prices greater than it is predecessor did. Then there’s a enormous soar from that mannequin to the following, and an excellent larger leap to the prime quality 16in MacBook Professional, so you’ll be paying a excessive worth for an extremely highly effective Mac if that’s what you want.

However in one other means, this implies which you could now get a Mac that might fairly probably tackle the Mac Professional which prices much more – and it is a laptop computer. So the 16in MacBook Professional may really be thought of a discount.

Determined to get a MacBook, Professional or Air? Try the .

Nonetheless undecided? We additionally have a look at and the way the individually.

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