Battle of the world’s best 13-inch notebooks: Apple’s MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro

“If you are in the market for a new laptop you might be wondering whether to opt for the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. Now that the entry-level MacBook Pro costs only £150 more than the MacBook Air the decision isn’t as obvious as you might think,” Karen Haslam writes for Macworld UK.

“The MacBook Air is still the lightest, but the MacBook Pro is catching up and this means you no longer need to sacrifice power for portability,” Haslam writes. “The MacBook Air might be the cheapest option, but for just £150 more you can get a lot more power and features from the MacBook Pro with Retina display.”

Haslam writes, “If it’s the maximum battery life you need then there is still a significant difference between the MacBook Air [12 hours] and MacBook Pro [9 hours], it’s how important those extra hours are to you that matters.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
The Register reviews Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display: ‘Very much at the top of its class’ – November 6, 2013
Apple’s new MacBook Pro 15 with 4-channel PCIe offers blazing SSD performance – November 4, 2013
Apple unveils new MacBook Pro with Retina display featuring latest processors, faster graphics and longer battery life – October 22, 2013

Computerworld reviews Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air: ‘Mind. Blown.’ – July 22, 2013
PC Magazine reviews Apple’s new 11-inch MacBook Air: Excellent; highly recommended – July 17, 2013
With new 13-inch MacBook Air, Apple just made the perfect notebook even better – July 1, 2013
Wired reviews Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air: ‘The best gets better; buy it now’ – June 27, 2013
Ars Technica reviews Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air: Big boosts to storage, GPU, and battery performance – June 27, 2013
AnandTech reviews Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air: Really quite awesome – June 24, 2013
TIME Magazine reviews Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air: Pushes battery life to new, productivity-changing heights – June 19, 2013
ZDNet reviews Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air: The new standard for laptops, a stunning achievement – June 14, 2013
PC Magazine reviews Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air: Astonishing, astounding; Editors’ Choice – June 14, 2013
Engadget reviews Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Air: Stunning 12+ hour battery life – June 13, 2013
Hands-on with Apple’s new MacBook Air: True all-day battery life – June 13, 2013
Why the MacBook Air didn’t get a Retina display – June 12, 2013
Apple brings all day battery life to MacBook Air – June 10, 2013


  1. Even better, go for the non-retina 13″ MBP. They’re selling it really cheap now. I saw an offer priced at $1699-1799 for the standard configuration at an online store. I forget where.

    Anyway, if you can get your hands on a cheap 13″ MBP you can open the bottom cover and get at its innards and swap out the HDD for a 480GB SSD and increase RAM to 16GB for very little cost. The retina stuff is for the birds. A normal MBP screen looks nice enough as it is. Don’t need to pay over the odds for a retina screen. It’s a marketing gimmick.

    1. That’s what I did with the i7 version, only I replaced the optical drive with a 500GB SSD and kept the HD for backup. It’s a real pocket rocket. The lighter weight of the 13″ Retina is tempting, though.

      1. I think you get better performance by putting the SSD in the normal drive slot, and move the HDD to the optical bay. At least in some MacBooks, the optical drive connection is slower than the normal drive bay. You want your SSD on the fastest connection.

  2. I just bought macbook pro 13″ for a good deal1250 with the i7 and 8GB. Planning to upgrade to 16BG and samsung SSD 850 Pro 512GB for about 500ish. the air is nice for checking email and surfing but if you need to do vidoe/programming/ etc.. any heavy tasks then 13″ macbook pro.

  3. Retina is the deciding factor. I think the only people who benefit from retina Macs are those doing photography or video editing. For anyone else, retina is more of a drawback. It consumes more energy and leaves users with a jarring mix of pixelated and not pixelated content because most website are not made to for large Retina displays and won’t be for years.

  4. I have tried them all, with SSDs and without. Airs, 13 MBP and w/Retina. The best of the all is a HP Envy (/s no fricken way!)
    The best is by far the 15″ Retina Macbook Pro. Its screen real estate is the best, especially kicked up one notch (1680 x 1050 the old 15″ high res setting). It is an amazing performer with two 27″ Thunderbolt displays. The colors are amazing. I have a 17″ MBP and looking at [what was my favorite screen] it now is just sad and unbearable. It is sitting next the the 15rMBP collecting dust! The weight is not the issue. The ram and the hard drive is not the issue. The aesthetic to your eyes is THE issue. No other laptop can beat this experience (from a Mac perspective)!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.