I have some thoughts on the Macbook Air vs Macbook Pro.

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This is definitely not a review, since the M1 Air has been out since November of 2020, and the M1 Macbook Pro has been out since November of 2021. If you want to see the specs, go read reviews on theVerge or something. I do, however, have some thoughts on these computers, having bought an M1 Air as soon as they launched in 2020 and having just replaced it with a 14″ Macbook Pro.

You can see the screen size difference here. It’s subtle, but useful in practice.

It’s kinda weird to compare these two physically. They’re both very similar and also totally different. The M1 Air has the “old” design with tapered edges and the classic wedge shape that the air had from it’s inception up until the M2 Air came out this year. That tapered wedge shape really does make the Air feel smaller than the slab-sided 14″ Pro, even though the Pro isn’t really that much bigger in any dimension.

The Pro is, however, a lot heavier. I definitely notice it in my bag more, it’s not what I would really call “heavy” though. Maybe I’m just old and remember when laptops were huge heavy bricks, so anything modern seems totally manageable.

Performance on the Air is great, to the point where most people really probably don’t need the Pro, and that probably includes me, but currently the M1 Pro is on sale for basically the exact same price as a similarly spec’ed Macbook Air, so why not?

Performance on the Pro is even better, especially for GPU intensive things where the Pro’s higher GPU core count is going to make a big difference. The Pro actually, you know, has a fan, so anything that puts a sustained load on the SoC is gonna be lots faster on the Pro.

The screen on the Pro is absolutely insane. If you watch any videos with lots of black it looks almost fake the blacks are so dark. This is due to the Pro’s Mini-LED screen vs the normal LCD in the air. In my opinion, the screen on the Pro is worth the upgrade alone. Especially at the same price. The screen on the Pro is also ever so slightly larger than the screen on the Air. The Pro has a 14.2″ screen while the Air has a 13.3″ screen. It’s not much on paper, but it makes having two apps open side by side more comfortable to a noticeable degree.

The keyboards seem comparable to me, they’re both great compared to the dark days of the butterfly switch Macs. Battery life is very good on both to the point that I no longer really even care.

Overall my initial impressions are really good on the M1 Macbook Pro. I’m sure it will meet my needs, and at it’s current $400 off, I can’t find any compelling reason to buy either the M1 Air or the M2 instead of just getting the better performing Macbook Pro with the better screen.