MacBook Air vs MacBook comparison

MacBook Air vs MacBook: Design, Dimensions and weight

The MacBook comes in Silver, Gold and Space Grey, just like the iPhone. Judging by the popularity of the gold iPhone, for some the fact that the MacBook comes in Gold will be reason enough to buy it. However, if you’d prefer a more muted colour the silver or grey options may appeal. Alternatively, the MacBook Air comes in the traditional aluminium. 

While the MacBook might sound like it should be bigger, with its 12in display, however, length wise it is smaller by almost 2cm. You may notice that the width of the 11in Air is slightly less, but it’s only 45mm different, less than half a cm, and unlikely to make a big difference to how easily you can fit the Mac laptop in your bag.

The 12in MacBook measures 28.05cm by 19.65cm, and is 0.35-1.31cm thick.

The 11in MacBook Air measures 30cm by 19.2cm, and is 0.3-1.7cm thick.

At its thinnest point the MacBook Air is also very slightly slimmer, but given the fact that the MacBook starts of thinner than the MacBook Air, to most people the latter will feel like the thinnest Mac.

The MacBook is also lighter than the 11in MacBook Air at 0.92kg, rather than 1.08kg. That’s 160g difference, about the weight of a large Apple (as in the fruit!)

BUYING ADVICE: Design, Dimensions and weight

If it’s the lightest and smallest Mac you are looking for the MacBook wins over the 11in MacBook Air, and still gives you a bigger screen. It’s also lighter than the MacBook Air.

When it comes to design, only the MacBook offers you a selection of colour choices and that may be a big part of the buying decision for some. If you aren’t keen on gold then there is the choice of Space Grey or Silver – but if it’s Silver you are going for, perhaps the Air will fulfil your needs.

It may seem an obvious choice at this point, but there are a number of other factors involved in the decision, including the specs of the machine, the ports and other features on offer, read on to find out more.

There is also the significant difference in price, with the MacBook Air starting at £749 and the MacBook starting at £1,049, that’s a staggering £300 more, does the MacBook justify its higher price? That’s the question we aim to answer below.  

MacBook Air vs MacBook: Specs comparison 

The 11in MacBook Air actually shares the specs of it’s bigger sibling the 13in MacBook Air, so in that case you aren’t opting for a lower powered Mac in order to get a smaller computer.

The 11in model offers a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (capable of Turbo Boost to 2.7GHz) and comes with 4GB RAM and an Intel HD Graphics 6000 graphics card. The cheapest MacBook Air ships with 128GB flash storage, while the other 11in model offers 256GB flash storage for an additional £150.

The 12in MacBook ships in two configurations. One features a 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor, which can Turbo Boost up to 2.4GHz, the other costs £250 more and offers a 1.2 dual-core Intel Core M processor, which can Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz. Both MacBooks offer 8GB RAM and Intel HD Graphics 5300.

The MacBook Air (above) is bigger and heavier than the MacBook, but only very slightly

BUYING ADVICE: Specs comparison

On the face of it the MacBook Air offers the best specs, with a faster processor, not just clock speed, but a Core i5 as opposed to a Core M. However, the MacBook ships with 8GB RAM as standard while the MacBook Air only offers 4GB, unless you upgrade to 8GB RAM (which costs an extra £80). The final big difference is the fact that the MacBook ships with a 256GB flash drive, while the entry-level MacBook Air offers only 128GB.

So to compare like for like you could purchase a 11in MacBook Air with 256GB storage and upgrade to 8GB RAM, an option that would cost you £979. Or you could purchase a similarly speced MacBook (although with a slower processor) for  £1,049. That’s £70 difference.