Choosing out a brand new MacBook isn’t as straightforward because it was. Whereas Apple lastly dropped the 13-inch MacBook Professional that didn’t match the road’s fashionable design, it launched a brand new 14-inch MacBook Professional with an entry-level M3 processor. When you desire a bigger display screen or extra efficiency, you may be left contemplating two compelling choices: the 15-inch MacBook Air and the 14-inch MacBook Professional.
Having reviewed and used each laptops extensively, I’m right here to put all of it out for you. Right here’s the distinction between the 2 machines and find out how to simply decide which is best for you.
I promised you a simple solution to know which MacBook you should purchase, and it actually comes right down to answering only one query: what do you need to do together with your new MacBook? When you’re somebody who spends greater than half your day in entrance of Premiere, Remaining Reduce, Professional Instruments, or Lightroom, don’t fiddle with the 15-inch MacBook Air. It’s fanless, and it simply can’t energy by duties as quick as you’ll need it to. The MacBook Professional 14 with the M3 processor will probably be quicker, however whether or not it’s quick sufficient for artistic workflows stays to be seen. What I do know for certain is that the M3 Professional and M3 Max processors accessible within the MacBook Professional 14 will present the efficiency that demanding creators require — after which some.
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When you like to make use of a few of these functions every now and then however spend the vast majority of your time in a browser or in Phrase — the 15-inch MacBook Air is the higher possibility. It’s cheaper, thinner, and lighter, whereas nonetheless offering a high quality show, audio system, webcam, and keyboard.
My solely caveat is that in case you’re somebody who requires connecting two or extra shows together with your MacBook, the 15-inch MacBook Air possible isn’t an excellent possibility. The identical goes for the MacBook Professional 14 with the M3 (non-Professional and non-Max) CPU. Each solely assist one exterior monitor natively, and although you will get round that limitation, it’ll require some finagling.
When you don’t have a clear-cut reply from that alone, dive into the detailed comparability beneath for extra hands-on info from our personal testing.
|Apple MacBook Air 15||Apple MacBook Professional 14|
|Dimensions||13.40 inches x 9.35 inches by 0.45 inches||12.31 inches x 8.71 inches x 0.60 inches|
|Weight||3.3 kilos||3.5 kilos|
|Processor||Apple M2 (8 cores)||Apple M3 (8-core)
Apple M3 Professional (11-core, 12-core)
Apple M2 Max (14-core, 16-core)
|Graphics||10-core GPU||M3: 10-core
M3 Professional: 14-core, 18-core
M3 Max: 30-core, 40-core
|M3: 8GB to 24GB
M3 Professional: 18GB to 128GB
M3 Max: 36GB to 128GB
|Show||15.3-inch 16:10 Liquid Retina IPS 2880 x 1864||14.2-inch 16:10 Liquid Retina XDR 3024 x 1964|
|Ports||2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
|3 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
SD card reader
|Wi-fi||Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3||Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3|
|Working system||MacOS Monterey||MacOS Monterey|
|Battery||66.5 watt-hour||70 watt-hour|
Worth is a key distinguisher between these two laptops, and the 15-inch MacBook Air is cheaper. It begins at $1,299 and comes with an 8-core CPU/10-core GPU M2 processor. You additionally get 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD at that value. In fact, you may configure it as much as $2,400 with 24GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD.
The beginning value of the 14-inch MacBook Professional with the M3 processor is $1,599 with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The bottom M3 Professional mannequin stays at $1,999, however RAM is as much as 18GB (from 16GB) and the storage stays at 512GB. Apparently, in case you totally configure the MacBook Professional 14 M3 with 24GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD, you’ll spend $2,599. That’s simply $100 greater than the MacBook Air 15. With the bottom MacBook Professional 14 now solely $300 costlier, the choice turns into extra difficult.
However, the Macbook Professional 14 with the M3 Professional begins at $1,999 with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. Absolutely upgraded, the M3 Max model prices a whopping $6,899 with 128GB of RAM and an 8TB SSD. However in case you’re trying to spend that sort of cash, you’re an expert creator and the MacBook Air 15 gained’t suffice.
Remember the fact that the MacBook Professional 14 will get you a a lot better show and barely higher audio to go along with higher efficiency till the MacBook Air 15 will get the M3 processor. It’s difficult, however preserve all that in thoughts as we discover additional discover every facet of those laptops.
The MacBook Air 15-inch makes use of the identical design because the 13-inch MacBook Air. It’s not dissimilar to the 14-inch MacBook Professional, however the design deviates in a number of necessary methods. Crucial distinction is in dimension. An inch distinction in display screen dimension doesn’t sound like so much, however the 15-inch MacBook Air additionally has barely thicker bezels, including much more to the general footprint of the system. If you put these laptops aspect by aspect, the 15-inch MacBook Air takes up more room on the desk. The width is probably the most dramatic dimension, providing you with what appears like much more display screen actual property to work with. That basically is the first promoting level of the 15-inch MacBook Air, and must be the rationale you’re selecting it.
Thickness and weight are the opposite details of distinction when it comes to dimension. The MacBook Air 15-inch is simply 0.45 inches in comparison with the 0.6 inches of the MacBook Professional 14-inch. The MacBook Air actually is the thinnest 15-inch laptop computer you should purchase proper now — and it actually does look glossy subsequent to the MacBook Professional. The 2 laptops are nearer in weight, although the MacBook Air continues to be lighter at 3.3 kilos in comparison with the three.5 kilos of the MacBook Professional.
From a design perspective, the opposite variations embody the keyboard, which doesn’t have the killer black backdrop just like the MacBook Professional. It additionally doesn’t have the on-deck speaker grille cutouts.
Lastly, you additionally get some extra shade choices with the MacBook Air, together with Starlight, Midnight, Silver, and House Gray. The MacBook Professional is restricted to only Silver and House Gray.
The MacBook Air 15 has much less connectivity than the MacBook Professional 14, with simply two Thunderbolt 4 ports and an audio jack (just like the MacBook Air 13-inch). The MacBook Professional 14 M3 comes with simply two Thunderbolt 4 ports as nicely, nevertheless it provides in an HDMI port and a full-sized SD card reader. The M3 Professional and Max fashions include three Thunderbolt 4 ports. That makes the MacBook Professional 14 much more expandable. Each make the most of MagSafe 3 chargers, although, saving a Thunderbolt 4 port for exterior use. The Apple web site lists Wi-Fi 6 for the MacBook Air 15 somewhat than the newer Wi-Fi 6E that’s listed for the MacBook Professional 14, and each have Bluetooth 5.3 assist.
As a result of the MacBook Air makes use of the bottom M2 CPU, it’s restricted to only one exterior show with as much as 6K decision at 60Hz. Once more, that’s the identical with the MacBook Professional 14 M3. The MacBook Professional 14 with the M3 Professional and Max can deal with two exterior shows, one at 6K/60Hz over Thunderbolt 4 ports and one 6K/60Hz mixed with a 4K decision at 144Hz if the HDMI port is used for the second show. The quicker fashions can deal with additionally as much as 4 exterior shows, three at 6K/60Hz through Thunderbolt 4 and one at 4K/144Hz over HDMI. When you restrict it to 3 shows, the HDMI port can drive a monitor at as much as 4K/240Hz.
The MacBook Professional 14 Professional or Max is the laptop computer for you in case you want greater than only a single exterior show.
We haven’t benchmarked the bottom M3 processor but, however we’re certain it would present barely higher efficiency than the M2 within the 15-inch MacBook Air. Almost definitely, efficiency will probably be shut sufficient in most duties that use only a single CPU core that it gained’t sway your determination a technique or one other.
However in terms of functions that may profit from further CPU and GPU cores, there are some large variations when it comes to efficiency as a result of the MacBook Air is restricted to only the usual M2, with 8 CPU cores and 10 GPU cores.
The 14-inch MacBook Professional, alternatively, might be configured as much as the M3 Max with 16 CPU cores and 40 GPU cores. As you may see beneath, that provides an enormous enhance to video encoding and exporting. It must be famous, nevertheless, that the scores you’re seeing are for probably the most highly effective model of the 14-inch MacBook Professional. The $1,599 base configuration makes use of an 8-core CPU/10-core GPU M3 processor that gives you a lot much less to work with.
|MacBook Air 15 M2
|2606 / 10024||144||1596 / 8020||325|
|MacBook Professional 14 M3
(M3 Max 16/40)
|3174/ 21137||53||1881/ 22,028||889|
Each laptops have unimaginable battery life. It’s superb, however the further efficiency of the 14-inch MacBook Professional doesn’t imply it’s a must to surrender battery life. In keeping with our personal testing, the 2 machines are proper in line, offering as much as 18 hours of battery life. Clearly, you’re extra more likely to run heavier functions on the MacBook Professional 14-inch, which can extra shortly drain the battery.
However in case you’re new to Apple Silicon MacBooks, you’ll be shocked by how lengthy these laptops final.
One other MacBook Professional 14 benefit is its 14.2-inch mini-LED Liquid Retina show operating at 3024 x 1924 (254 PPI) decision, which gives superior sharpness, brightness, shade, and distinction in comparison with the usual IPS Liquid Retina show on the MacBook Air line. This consists of the MacBook Air 15, which has a 15.3-inch IPS Liquid Retina show at 2880 x 1864 (228 PPI).
Each shows ought to provide comparable colours, when it comes to each gamut and accuracy. However the Mini-LED panel on the MacBook Professional 14 will get a lot brighter, particularly for prime dynamic vary (HDR) content material the place it could method 1,600 nits. It additionally has extremely deep distinction offering inky blacks.
The MacBook Air 15’s show can be glorious, however the MacBook Professional 14 gives a really premium expertise, particularly with the addition of the 120Hz dynamic refresh fee.
|MacBook Air 15
|MacBook Professional 14
(DeltaE, decrease is healthier)
Each laptops have six-speaker sound techniques with force-canceling woofers. They assist the identical applied sciences as nicely, that means that you just’re more likely to get the identical glorious sound from each that’s among the many finest you will get in a contemporary laptop computer.
Whereas the 15-inch MacBook Air is surprisingly aggressive, the 14-inch MacBook Professional does provide extra bass, offering a extra sturdy sound profile. However actually, each sound superb.
With these two laptops, you may belief the branding distinction right here. Go away the MacBook Professional for the artistic professionals who depend upon the additional efficiency to get their work achieved. Everybody else will probably be delighted by the expertise of the 15-inch MacBook Air.
However in case you’re leaving this complete comparability nonetheless not sure about what path to go, let me provide yet one more bit of recommendation.
When you’re enticed in regards to the further efficiency of the 14-inch MacBook Professional however are bummed in regards to the value, I’d advocate having a look at costs for last-gen machines. There are refurbished variations floating round which might be as low-cost because the 15-inch MacBook Air however will present much better efficiency. These laptops are equivalent in virtually each solution to the current-gen MacBook Professionals, minus the enhance you get from M1 to M3.
Other than that, I’d advocate attending to an Apple Retailer to see the 2 machines aspect by aspect. The distinction in display screen dimension and total dimensions may show you how to get a greater concept of which you’d be extra snug with.