Apple announced two new laptop models in early June 2022. One is from the MacBook Air line and the other from the MacBook Pro line, and both feature the new M2 chip. With similar performances, since both use the same chip, the new Macs have some differences that can be crucial for the consumer to choose between them. In terms of price, the laptops also differ: while the MacBook Pro with M2 starts at $1,299, the MacBook Air with M2 can be found starting at $1,199.
Apple started shipping the new MacBook Pro with M2 to customers last Friday (24), while the new MacBook Air with M2 is scheduled to start selling in July of this year. Check out the details of the devices’ specifications, as well as their comparisons, below.
MacBook Air with M2 vs MacBook Pro with M2
|MacBook Air with M2
|MacBook Pro with M2
|2560 x 1664
|2560 x 1600
|Apple M2 Chip
|Apple M2 Chip
|8 GB, 16 GB or 24 GB
|8 GB, 16 GB or 24 GB
|256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB or 2 TB SSD
|256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB or 2 TB SSD
|interfaces and ports
|Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C (two ports), headphone jack (3.5mm) and MagSafe
|Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C (two ports), and headphone jack (3.5mm)
|52.6 Wh lithium polymer
|58.2 Wh lithium polymer
|Dimensions and weight
|1,13 cm x 30,41 cm x 21,5 cm, 1,24 kg
|1,56 cm x 30,41 cm x 21,24 cm, 1,4 kg
|silver, stellar, space gray or midnight
|silver or space gray
Both devices feature aluminum casings and the Apple symbol behind the screen. The new Macs also feature Touch ID, a biometric sensor that identifies the user and can be used to unlock the device. With the feature, it is also possible to make purchases using Apple Pay (the manufacturer’s payment service) and open protected documents.
However, there is one big difference in the keyboard of the MacBook Pro with M2: on it, Apple has inserted the Touch Bar. It is a small touchscreen that promises to make the user’s use easier with customizable shortcuts – with functionality that varies according to the application open at the time. The Touch Bar replaces the F1 to F12 buttons, which are only present on the MacBook Air with M2.
When closing both laptops, the difference in thickness catches the eye. The MacBook Air is considerably thinner at 1.13 cm, compared to the 1.56 cm thickness of the MacBook Pro. The cover of the MacBook Air is also straighter, while that of the MacBook Pro is slightly rounded.
In addition to being the slimmer model, MacBook Air also has more color options available. Consumers can choose from midnight, star, space gray, and silver variations, while the MacBook Pro’s options are limited to the latter two.
Finally, on the connectivity front, both feature two Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 compatibility. The MacBook Air with M2 has an additional MagSafe power cable port, while the MacBook Pro’s charging is done exclusively through one of the Thunderbolt ports. It is also through this port that external displays can be connected.
The highlight between the difference in the screens of both devices is the presence of a cutout on the display of the MacBook Air, where the Full HD resolution FaceTime HD camera is located. With this feature, the MacBook Air display has thinner edges compared to the MacBook Pro. Without the notch, it also has an HD FaceTime HD camera, but with HD resolution, and is located on its edge.
In addition, there is a slight difference between the size and type of the display of the two devices: the MacBook Air has a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display with a resolution of 2560 x 1664, while the MacBook Pro has a 13.3-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600. Apple promises that both deliver 500 nits of brightness, have a wide color gamut (P3), and use True Tone technology – which, according to the manufacturer, makes the images look more natural.
Both devices use the M2, Apple Silicon’s new ARM-based chip. This is a type of “System on a Chip” (SoC), i.e. it combines several traditional computer components into a single processor, such as CPU (central processing), GPU (graphics processing), and unified memory, among others. Thus, this type of chip promises low power consumption and high performance.
Although both laptops have the same M2 chip, the cheaper version of the MacBook Air has a GPU with only eight cores. There is the option, however, to switch to the M2 with a ten-core GPU, which is found in all versions of the MacBook Pro, for an additional fee.
In common, both devices have an 8-core CPU with 4 performance and 4 efficiency cores, 16-core Neural Engine, and 100 GB/s memory bandwidth. You can choose between 8 GB (standard), 16 GB, or 24 GB of RAM for an additional fee.
Because it focuses on portability, MacBook Air does not require the use of fans. MacBook Pro, on the other hand, is focused on high performance and professional use and has an active cooling system, which promises to control the temperature of the chip even with intensive use of the CPU and GPU for consecutive hours. This feature is an advantage of the MacBook Pro for those who need a notebook for more demanding tasks such as video editing.
Both MacBook Air and MacBook Pro use SSD storage, which ensures higher performance and overall system speed. The basic version of both devices uses a 256 GB SSD. However, there are versions with 512 GB SSD, 1 TB, and 2 TB – all come with additional fees.
MacBook Pro has more autonomy when unplugged. The manufacturer promises up to 20 hours of battery life when playing video on the Apple TV app and up to 17 hours of wireless network navigation. On the MacBook Air, the battery life is up to 18 hours playing video on Apple TV and up to 15 hours surfing wirelessly.
The basic version of the MacBook Air comes with a 30 W USB-C power adapter to recharge the battery. For an additional fee, you can swap it out for a 35W dual-port USB-C adapter or a 67W USB-C adapter that supports fast charging. Apple waives this fee on the M2 versions of the MacBook Air with a ten-core GPU and SSD from 512 GB. On the MacBook Pro, the only option is the 67 W USB-C adapter.
Price and versions
The basic version of the MacBook Air – with an M2 chip, eight-core GPU and eight-core CPU, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD, and 30 W USB-C plug adapter – comes at $1,199 on Apple’s website. It is possible to make some upgrades, such as exchanging the chip for the M2 with a ten-core GPU for $1,000 more, changing the plug adapter for an additional fee, as well as making RAM and SSD improvements.
The basic version of the MacBook Pro, with an M2 chip with a ten-core GPU and eight-core CPU, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD, and 67 W USB-C plug adapter costs $1,299 on the manufacturer’s website.
For the RAM and SSD upgrades of the two devices, the prices are the same. 16 GB RAM comes out for an additional fee and 24 GB RAM comes with an additional fee. For storage, the upgrade to a 512 GB SSD, 1 TB, and 2 TB all comes with an additional fee.
When you buy one of these devices on Apple’s website, you can also add some software. Final Cut, which is a video editor, while Logic Pro, which is used for music productions, also comes with additional fees.
For those who need a Windows laptop or want to save money on the purchase of a new computer, there are some alternatives. One of them is the XPS 13, Dell’s premium laptop that competes with the MacBook Air. This option is part of the Intel Evo platform and has the 11th generation Intel Core i7 processor and Intel Xe integrated video card.
There is no expandability of configurations, unlike the MacBook Air, but its only version has more RAM (16 GB) and more storage (1 TB SSD) compared to the most basic version of Apple’s notebook. Also noteworthy is the display, which is a touchscreen (a feature not found in either of the two MacBooks with M2) and has a higher resolution of 3840 x 2400. Dell’s option is also cheaper: $999, on the manufacturer’s official website.
For those who want a notebook with a feature similar to the Touch Bar of the MacBook Pro with M2, an option is the ZenBook Duo 14, from Asus. In addition to its 14″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) main display, it has an additional touchscreen display, called ScreenPad Plus, with 12.65″ and 1920 x 515 resolution. It has an 11th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 512 GB SSD, and two RAM options: 8 GB or 16 GB. The ZenBook Duo 14 costs $1,159 on Amazon.
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