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Apple offers it in the same unibody aluminum chassis and with the same Space Gray and Silver color options that are intimately familiar to anyone who's walked the halls of a university or frequented a WeWork of late. It measures 0. You can do better, though: Thanks in part to narrower borders around its screen, the Dell XPS 13 is 0. The MacBook Air is also lighter, at 2. All three laptops have As sturdy and reassuring as the MacBook Pro's grey or silver aluminium expanses may be, they won't turn heads by themselves.


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Laptops with arguably more-innovative designs range from the leather-clad HP Spectre Folio to the astonishingly thin Acer Swift 7. Still, the MacBook Pro will end up turning heads in the end, thanks to the iconic half-eaten piece of fruit emblazoned in the middle of the display lid. To my eyes, this laptop exudes timeless, at-home-anywhere style in a way that the frequently revamped XPS 13 and the serpent-bedecked Blade Stealth do not.

Once you crack open the MacBook Pro's magnetic latch—easy to do, thanks to the generously sized cutout in the center of the laptop's front edge—the MacBook Pro's best physical features greet you: the Retina Display, and the ingenious, giant Force Touch trackpad.

So does its most polarizing one—Apple's "butterfly"-switch keyboard—but I'll touch on that later. The display is mostly the same as the one on the previous entry-level MacBook Pro. That means it uses an LED backlight to achieve a very bright maximum nits of luminance, and its aspect ratio results in a not-quite-4K native resolution of 2, by 1, pixels. The Retina Display has excellent contrast and can display more colors than many competing screens, thanks to its support for the P3 color gamut rather than the more common sRGB one.

The result is satisfyingly crisp text and supremely colorful images and graphics. New this year, the screen can also automatically adjust its color temperature to complement the room's ambient light. That means it will look slightly different in harshly lit environments than in a lamp-lit living room. You can toggle this so-called "True Tone" feature on or off in Apple's System Preferences app, and while I don't think it necessarily improves the display quality, its effect is certainly noticeable.

One of the only obvious improvements Apple could make to the MacBook Pro's display would be to add touch support. It's an easy addition, in hardware theory—most Windows competitors offer it—but the macOS operating system itself lacks touch support. So a touch screen would actually not be especially useful unless both aspects, hardware and OS, were upgraded in concert. Apple has long avoided adding touch capabilities to macOS, instead preferring to let its unique and controversial Touch Bar serve as an alternative touch-input method. The company appears to be doubling down on this strategy by adding this touch-enabled secondary display to the entry-level MacBook Pro.

We're not percent sold on this method of touch input, in part because its usefulness varies wildly depending on whether the app you're using supports it. Some apps, from bundled Apple ones like Safari to those in the Adobe Creative Suite, make extensive use of the Touch Bar, offering the ability to open bookmarked web pages or adjust the diameter of a paintbrush tool. Many other apps offer no Touch Bar support, however, which means that the thin screen simply serves, in its default state, as a glorified control for screen brightness and audio volume.

This is a noticeable weakness compared with full-screen touch control in Windows 10, which offers a more consistent experience across all apps thanks to the operating system's native touch support.

Now that the MacBook Pros, up and down the line, have the Touch Bar, however, the entry-level one is even more compelling for those who find it useful. Those who do not can simply ignore it.

MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air – Touch Bar and Touch ID

In addition to letting you log in to your macOS account without typing a password, it also serves as a means of authenticating Apple Pay transactions and App Store purchases. The fingerprint sign-in process worked well for me, never failing to recognize my registered print over several days of testing. The reader is especially useful because the MacBook Pro's webcam lacks IR sensors to let you sign in using face recognition, something that the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad Pro both offer. The webcam also lacks a physical privacy slider or hardware kill switch to thwart hackers, though it does offer decent video quality, free of annoying graininess even in indoor lighting conditions.

The touchpad is often one of the most overlooked components of a laptop. Clumsy, flimsy, inaccurate pads exasperated Microsoft so much that it came up with the Windows Precision Touchpad specification, which goes at least part of the way to solving the problem on laptops that support it. By contrast, every Apple laptop comes with a Force Touch trackpad that leaves even Precision Touchpads behind. It's by far the most accurate pad I've ever used. Not only do finger motions register with high accuracy, but the clicks are virtual, simulated by tiny under-pad vibrations called haptic feedback instead of a physical hinge under the pad or dedicated buttons.

This means you can click anywhere on the oversize pad and receive a uniform level of feedback, eliminating unnecessary finger movements. You can customize how strong the virtual clicks are, turn them off completely, and adjust other features like multitouch gestures in the System Preferences app. The only departure from factory settings I made was to turn on the ability to tap-to-click, which is far fewer steps than I usually need to make to get a laptop's touchpad to track to my liking.

Alas, the MacBook Pro's keyboard does not replicate the excellence of the trackpad. Apple has gotten flak for this style of keyboard from many quarters for several years now, but the design persists. The key switches travel an extremely short distance, which means that your fingers end up noisily tapping rather than typing. Read more about how this works.

Apple MacBook Air inch. The MacBook Air remains the Mac to get. It comes in gold, if that's your jam. On the inside is a 1. Having only two USB-C ports can feel limiting. You'll need to buy multi-port adapters like this one to plug stuff in and stay charged at the same time. There are a few things you might miss from higher-end MacBook Pros.

Those pricier machines get extra USB-C ports, and faster insides. The only high-end laptop Apple makes is the inch MacBook Pro. The latter option has the fastest internals and biggest, highest-resolution display of all the MacBooks, making it well suited to everything from 4K video editing to massive Lightroom batch exports. Its big screen is also a major boon to productivity, making side-by-side document editing and web browsing a cinch. Four Thunderbolt 3 ports mean you'll have plenty of ports for all your devices, too.

This small display above the keyboard is touch-sensitive and plays host to a row of customizable, interactive controls.

MacBook Air 2018 vs MacBook Pro 13" 2017 - Which One to Get?

It can be handy, at least in theory, but many apps have yet to truly take advantage of this skinny touch interface. Apple MacBook Pro Inch. It might be just right. Offering powerful quad-core processors and all-day battery life in a reasonably portable 3-pound package, the entry-level inch MacBook Pro will be the best of both worlds for many people.

You get the Touch Bar and a faster chip than the Air, but avoid the extra weight and bulk of the inch model.

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The entry level model sports a 1. Unlike previous generations of MacBook, there are eccentricities and problems with Apple's laptops that you should know about before you buy. Bland Touch Bar: When Apple debuted the Touch Bar in late , it touted the thin touchscreen strip above the keyboard as the next-generation of user input. Unfortunately, this hasn't panned out.


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There seems to be little interest from third-party software designers in doing anything innovative with the tiny display. Those Touch Bar-packing laptops have Touch ID, which lets you log in and access sensitive data with your fingerprint, but what's been swapped out for that is something you'll miss: a physical Esc key.

Palmy Trackpad: Apple's trackpads are among the best in the computer business, but with the newest MacBooks, these input devices have been blown up to unbelievable proportions and crammed right up against the bottom of the keyboard, right where you rest your palms while typing. A machine with a faster processor did not launch suggesting Apple scrapped it or is planning to launch it as an upgrade option at some point in time.

The chip is also designed to make sure software loaded when booting up your Mac hasn't been tampered with and is free from malware. In addition to these security features, the T2, which is a separate little chip in your MacBook Air, enables an always-on "Hey Siri" feature so it listens for the "Hey Siri" command and there's no longer a need to click on the Siri button to activate Siri.

Next to the function keys at the top of the keyboard, there's a sapphire crystal-covered Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Touch ID on the MacBook can be used instead of a password, unlocking the Mac when a finger is placed on the sensor. It also replaces a password for password protected apps, and it can be used to make Apple Pay purchases in Safari. Touch ID is powered by the T2 chip with a Secure Enclave that keeps your fingerprint data and personal information safe.

Compare Mac models

Apple's MacBook Air features the best battery life of any Mac notebook. There's a built-in The battery lasts for up to 12 hours when browsing the web and up to 13 hours when watching iTunes movies. The battery in the MacBook Air is easier to replace and does not require the entire top case to be replaced as is the case with the MacBook Pro. The speakers in the MacBook Air are 25 percent louder than the speakers in the old model with two times more bass for more dynamic range and fuller sound.

While write speeds are on par with the older machine and are even slightly better , read speeds have dropped 35 percent. While the MacBook Air could be configured with up to 1. There are two stock The MacBook Air can be purchased from the Apple online and retail stores. It is also available from third-party retailers. Apple began selling discounted refurbished models in October Though the MacBook Air was just refreshed in July with a True Tone display and keyboard updates, rumors from Apple's supply chain suggest another update is planned for , perhaps in October.

It's not clear what might be included in this update if the information is accurate. According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple may be planning to do away with the butterfly mechanism in its MacBook keyboards in the future, introducing a new design based on scissor switches.

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Kuo says the new keyboard could bring longer key travel and durability by using glass fiber to reinforce the keys' structure. The scissor keyboard will be thicker than the butterfly keyboard, but Kuo says that most users likely won't be able to tell the difference. Kuo believes the new keyboard will first be introduced in a MacBook Air update. Kuo believes the new scissor keyboard will be coming to the MacBook Air in Codenamed Ice Lake, the new 10th-generation chips are built on a nanometer process. The first machines with Ice Lake chips will be coming out in late Apple is said to be working on a range of MacBooks with 5G cellular connectivity, which could launch as early as next year.

The rumor comes from DigiTimes , a site that has a mixed track record when it comes to Apple info.

Which MacBook Should You Actually Buy?

The site says that Apple has finalized its integrated 5G MacBook design, and it has a 5G transceiver that's more efficient and faster than components used by rivals like Lenovo, Dell, and HP. Apple is said to be using a ceramic antenna board for the improved performance, which could drive up the cost of the 5G MacBook. MacRumors attracts a broad audience of both consumers and professionals interested in the latest technologies and products.

We also boast an active community focused on purchasing decisions and technical aspects of the iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Mac platforms.