MacBook Air vs. Pro (both with M2): Is the Pro still worth it?

Apple, as expected, launched at the opening of WWDC22 the new MacBook Airwhich was completely renewed visually and gained the long-awaited M2 chip — opening the door to the second generation of Apple Silicon.

What few people expected was that the new Apple processor would also debut in another machine that has long been known to us: the 13 inch MacBook Prowhich many people thought would be retired with the arrival of the 14″ and 16″ MacBooks Pro last year — but it wasn’t.

As a result, Apple’s smallest Pro laptop is currently the most outdated in visual terms. But how does it fare in this and other factors compared to the entry-level MacBook Air? That’s what we’re going to see in this comparison!

appearance and dimensions

In aesthetic terms, the look of the two computers is quite different. If before the MacBook Air followed practically the same visual guidelines as the 13″ Pro — of course, a little thinner —, the visual shower that Apple gave to its entry-level computer promoted a huge discrepancy between them.

Let’s start with the colors: while the Pro only has the traditional space gray and silver colors, the Air is now sold in a beautiful new shade of blue (called midnight), stellar and the existing space gray and silver.

But the changes are far from being limited to the color issue, as the MacBook Air now has the notch that became famous on iPhones, which ends up increasing the usable area of ​​the screen and makes it have fewer edges than its professional “colleague”.

Another point of difference that we should note is in relation to the keyboard, which in the Pro model has the controversial Touch Bar in place of the function keys. These, in turn, are larger on the MacBook Air, having been the same “height” as the others.

MacBook Air with M2 seen from above, with its Magic Keyboard

Both have Touch ID, but in the Air the sensor gains more prominence on the button.

When we talk about dimensions, the Air is 1.13cm high by 30.41cm wide and 21.5cm deep, weighing 1.24kg. The Pro is 1.56cm high, 30.41cm wide and 21.24cm deep, weighing 1.4kg.

Screen

With the presence of the aforementioned notch, the new MacBook Air became larger in terms of usable area than the Pro – which, in previous generations, had displays of the same size.

While the MacBook Air now has a 13.6″ Retina Liquid LCD display, the Pro retains the previous dimensions, with a 13.3″ backlit Retina Liquid LCD display with IPS technology.

MacBook Air with M2 chip from the front

As for resolutions, the new Air has 2560×1664 pixels, while on the Pro it is 2560×1600 pixels. That’s 500 nits of brightness on both computers, which brought them to the same level for the first time. Both also support Wide Color Tone (P3) and True Tone technology.

Processing

This is where the two computers are most similar. Both are equipped with the M2 chip, which is 18% faster than the M1 in terms of CPU.1 and 35% faster on GPUtwo 35% compared to models with M1.

Both have 8 processing cores (4 performance and 4 efficiency) plus up to 10 graphics cores, 16 Neural Engine and 100GB/s bandwidth.

But how is the price difference between them justified and what makes the Pro superior? Well, it mainly happens due to the fact that one has active cooling and the other passive.

To continue making the Air an extremely light and portable computer, Apple doesn’t put any fans on it – which provides absolute silence, but can also end up making it heat up more in heavier tasks (something difficult to happen).

On the other hand, precisely because it has fans, the 13″ MacBook Pro may demand more from the M2 processor, letting it perform certain tasks without worrying about overheating problems and “lasting” longer before reducing its processing power. .

connectivity

Another point to highlight among computers is that, although there has been no radical change in relation to them, the Air comes out ahead when it comes to connectivity.

Apple, as expected, kept the strategy of putting as few ports as possible on both — unlike what happened last year, with the 14″ and 16″ MacBooks Pro.

However, it has brought back the MagSafe charging port for the Air, which gives the user an extra USB-C port when the computer is being recharged. The Pro, in turn, only has the two USB-C ports, as well as the P2 output for headphones (also present on the Air, now with advanced compatibility for high-impedance headphones).

Camera

There was also an important advance of the MacBook Air when it comes to its camera. While the Pro model has a FaceTime HD of 720p, the redesigned Air has (finally) a 1080p component, which will be a nice increase over the previous model.

Drums

This is one of the few areas where the Pro takes advantage of having a 58.2W battery, which provides up to 17 hours of wireless web browsing and up to 20 hours of movie playback on the TV app. Meanwhile, the MacBook Air has a 52.6W battery and can survive up to 15 hours of wireless web browsing and up to 18 hours of movies.

On the other hand, the new Air’s MagSafe port offers fast charging when used with the 67W adapter. In half an hour plugged in, it goes to 50% battery.

memory and storage

Some things remain the same on both computers, such as memory and storage options. The MacBook Air and Pro are sold in 8GB, 16GB and 24GB unified memory configurations, while SSD storage comes in 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB options.

Conclusion

With such small differences in terms of processing and many points where the Air proves to be superior, it’s more than visible that the 13″ Pro doesn’t make as much sense these days — and it’s only available to fill a (not so necessary) financial gap. ) between the Air and the 14″ and 16″ Pro, as well as probably as a marketing strategy on Apple’s part to sell a cheaper “Pro” laptop.

It remains to be seen if Apple intends to keep it in line for a long time or if it simply wants to “get rid” of the Touch Bar stored stocks in its warehouses. 😅

MacBook Air MacBook Pro 13″

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