MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro: Criteria To Decide Which Apple Laptop Must Buy in 2024

Difference between Macbook Air And MacBôk Pro

The latest MacBook Pro and MacBook Air versions come with Apple’s upgraded M3 chips that offer better efficiency and performance compared to the M2 chips. With five different MacBook models to choose from, it’s important to select the one that best suits your needs. Before deciding on which one to purchase, let’s examine the key distinctions between the Pro and Air models through the below aspects.


MacBook Air and Pro both carry the company’s signature design with a luxurious monolithic metal structure and both have two basic color options: Gray and Silver, however, MacBook Air has an eye-catching Bronze Gold color option.

However, the two models still have some different details, the MacBook Air is considered the most beautiful and impressive model of the MacBook with a beveled design so when held in the hand it looks light, flexible, and easy to use. More portable than the MacBook Pro.

Portability is an important element in Apple’s design philosophy, until now MacBook Air still holds the leading position in the thinnest and lightest laptops with a weight of about 1.25kg and a width of 0.61 inches.

Although the MacBook Pro is not as compact and convenient as the MacBook Air, it also has a compact design (0.59 inches thick and 11.97 inches wide). Overall, the MacBook Air is still the most portable laptop.

The 2021 MacBook Pro version has thinner screen bezels and a rabbit-ear design for the camera cluster. It is predicted that the MacBook Air 2022 version will also have a similar design, helping to display more widely.

Result: The MacBook Air is more portable, MacBook Pro has thinner screen bezels


Both MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines are currently equipped with Retina screens with high resolution, eye-catching display colors, and high contrast. 

The 2023 Macbook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch have introduced Liquid Retina Xdr while Macbook Air 13-inch and 15-inch used Liquid Retina display. 

However, the MacBook Pro has a screen brightness 100 nits higher than the MacBook Air. In contrast, the MacBook Air offers better color rendering and a wider and more accurate color range.

Result: Equal


Both the MacBook Air and Pro offer Thunderbolt 3-compatible USB-C ports. These ports can perform a variety of tasks, including charging and high-speed data transfers.

The MacBook Air only has two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left side, limiting the number of accessories you can use at once. Similar to the 13-inch MacBook Pro version, it only gives you two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

MacBook Pro 14 inch and 16 inch provide 4 connection ports (2 ports on each side), including three Thunderbolt 4 ports, one HDMI port, an SD Memory Card slot, and support for fast charging via MagSafe port, saving waiting time and connecting to a TV or separate monitor via HDMI port.

Result: MacBook Pro wins

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Both the MacBook Air and Pro offer Apple’s Magic Keyboard, providing strong performance and comfort.

The MacBook Air does not have a Touch Bar, a small, long touch screen used to replace the row of function keys at the top of the keyboard. While the 13-inch MacBook Pro does, this OLED bar doesn’t offer much value.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro have removed the Touch Bar for a row of F function keys including Spotlight, Siri, Dictation, and Do Not Disturb to help you perform on/off commands quickly and conveniently.

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Compared to the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro shows superiority in performance with a discrete graphics card, RAM capacity (Minimum 8GB) and larger hard drive (Minimum 2 TB), more powerful processor (Minimum 4 cores).

The MacBook Pro is a reasonable choice for users who need to run multiple applications at the same time and do heavy tasks such as audio and video editing or graphic design.

Although the MacBook Air is weaker in performance (2-core processor, lower RAM capacity, 1 TB hard drive), this machine still handles most daily tasks well and performs high-level image processing.

Result: MacBook Pro wins

Read Also: How to Monitor Your MacBook RAM Usage

Battery Life

As for battery life on the two models, the MacBook Pro is a bit behind the MacBook Air but still quite good. In one test, the MacBook Pro was able to last more than 10 hours of battery life in a video playback loop and 5 hours and 3 minutes in a web browser.

Meanwhile, the MacBook Air’s battery life allows for 8 hours of light web browsing and 10 hours of video playback. This is slightly better than the Pro and has arguably the best battery life of any computer currently on the market.

Apple has made some changes to the MacBook Air 2018, the battery is easier to replace, but you must take the device to an Apple Store for processing. In the long run, this could give the Air a slightly longer lifespan than the MacBook Pro line.

Result: MacBook Air wins

Sound & Audio

The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13-inch offer excellent stereo sound (the latter has more dynamic range).

The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro is equipped with a six-speaker system that includes 4 power-canceling woofers for deeper tones, filling the room with up to 80% more bass, and 2 speakers. The high-performance tweeter delivers clearer, more vibrant vocals. Additionally, the new MacBook Pro supports Dolby Atmos in the speakers instead of just the headphones.

Result: MacBook Pro wins


In terms of price, the MacBook Air is cheaper compared to the MacBook Pro with a starting price of $999 while the 13-inch, 14-inch, and 16-inch versions of the MacBook Pro are slightly more expensive at $1,299 and $1,999 and $2,499 respectively. 

The MacBook Air arguably offers more bang for the buck in terms of performance than the 13-inch MacBook Pro because the 13-inch Pro just gives you longer battery life.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro has a price jump compared to the 13-inch, due to its M1 Macbook Pro chip, 14-inch mini LED screen, 120Hz refresh rate, 1080p webcam, and more ports.

Thus, with configuration and performance not too inferior to the cheapest version of MacBook Pro, MacBook Air shows an advantage in terms of price.

Result: MacBook Air wins

Overall Evaluation: Which Laptop should I buy in 2024?

Display13.3 inches (2560 x 1600) The 2017 – 2018 models only have a resolution of 1440 x 900Includes 3 options: 13 inches
14 inches
16 inches
Connector2 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)Various types of USB ports
KeyboardThere is no Touch BarHas Touch Bar support
StorageWeaker in performance but still good at handling most daily tasks and performing light image processingBetter hardware and performance, suitable for design-related work
BatteryThe battery is strong and durableWeaker battery
SoundStereo speakers, Dolby Atmos support6-speaker system, supports Dolby Atmos
PriceFrom $999From $1,299 and up to $2,499
Macbook Air and Macbook Pro Which Should Buy in 2024

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro: Purpose Of Use

Your decision will be greatly influenced by how you plan to use the laptops and how important display size and weight are to you. Investing in a dependable computer is crucial; you don’t want to splurge on a laptop with more capabilities than you need, but you also don’t want to end up with a computer that can’t meet your requirements.

For those working in graphic design, music production, photography, or iOS app development, the MacBook Pro is the top choice among MacBooks. The Pro models can handle demanding graphics processing and run multiple software programs without any noticeable lag, overheating, or slowdown.

Alternatively, if you are a student or primarily use Microsoft Office or Google Workspace, the MacBook Air might be a better fit for you. If your laptop use is more geared towards internet browsing, streaming videos, email management, and video calls with friends, the Air model is a reliable choice that won’t weigh you down as you carry it around.

Apple MacBook’s Timeline And What Has Changed? 

The MacBook Pro with the M3 chip, which is the cheapest option, will be priced higher than the Air with the same M3 chip. Nevertheless, the Pro boasts greater power due to the enhanced internal components.

The M3 MacBook Pro variants come with improved unified memory, extended battery life, additional ports, and generally more advanced GPU and CPU compared to the Air models. Apple has stopped selling the 13-inch MacBook Pro so now has two sizes available for the display: 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro

The M3 MacBook Pro is equipped with enhanced internal hardware for improved efficiency and performance. There are three different chips within the M3 family. Both the M2 and M3 chips offer the same number of CPU and GPU cores and neural engines. But M3 Pro and M3 Max chips offer higher performance compared to the M2 and M2 Pro chip found in the 2022 13-inch MacBook Air. With these advanced chips, the 14-inch and 16-inch Pro models are capable of handling tasks such as editing high-quality video content, composing music, and editing high-resolution photos using Adobe Photoshop.

According to Apple, you have an option to upgrade the 14-inch and 16-inch Pro with Apple’s latest M3 Pro or M3 Max chips. The 14-inch Pro can be purchased with the base M3 chip. If you choose the 16-inch Macbook Pro models, you will need to select either the M3 Max or M3 Pro chips, which will increase the cost.

The M1 Macbook Air was the beginning of Apple’s two-year transition from Intel to Apple Silicon chip. In 2022, 13-inch MacBook Air features Apple’s basic M2 chip, while the 2024 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air models come with the standard M3 chip. Despite the absence of Pro and Max chips, the MacBook Air is still a capable computer. It is thinner and lighter than the Pro due to its minimal internal hardware, which excludes ports like HDMI and an SD card slot, as well as a cooling fan. Apple relies on the efficiency of its chips to manage heat dissipation in these laptops.

The MacBook Air is cheaper than the Pro due to its less extensive hardware, but you have the option to upgrade certain features. For the 13-inch Air, there are two M2 chip configurations available, with one offering two additional GPU cores. A better GPU allows for more efficient graphic processing, resulting in faster and smoother 4K video editing.

During the previous summer in 2023, Apple revealed a 15-inch M2 MacBook Air, which was later replaced by the M3 Macbook Air M3 version. Despite its brief availability, the 15-inch Air remains a solid choice for those seeking modern features. However, it is no longer sold as new by Apple. 

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