MacBook Air vs MacBook comparison

MacBook Air vs MacBook: Capacity     

This is one area where the entry level MacBook Air lets itself down in comparison to the MacBook. The £749 MacBook Air ships with 128GB storage, while the entry level MacBook ships with twice the storage, 256GB, although it costs £1,049.

For a better comparison, the £899 MacBook Air ships with 256GB, that’s £150 less.

If you are looking for the most storage possible, there is also the £1,299 MacBook with a 512GB SSD. To get that much storage in your MacBook Air you need to turn to the build to order options. To upgrade the 256GB MacBook Air to a 512GB drive costs an extra £240, bringing the price to £1,139. That’s £160 less than the 512GB MacBook.

Interestingly the storage in the 11in MacBook Air is not as good as the storage in the 13in MacBook Air. The 13-inch MacBook Air features a flash drive that is three times faster than the best the Windows world can deliver. Unfortunately, the 11-inch remains only 50 percent faster than Windows laptops.

BUYING ADVICE: Capacity   

If you want the most storage for the least amount of money, save £160 and upgrade your 11in MacBook Air to a 512GB drive. You could even opt for the 13in MacBook Air with 512GB storage and still save money – that machine would cost £60 less than the MacBook at £1,239.

MacBook Air vs MacBook: Ports      

The most obvious difference between the MacBook and MacBook Air is the lack of ports on the former. The MacBook (in)famously features only a USB-C port and a headphone port. There isn’t even a Magsafe port for charging as charging is done through the USB-C which also supports USB 3.1 Gen 1 (up to 5 Gbps), Native DisplayPort 1.2 video output, VGA output using USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter (sold separately) and HDMI video output using USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter (sold separately). The USB-C may support a lot of peripherals, with the necessary adaptor, but there is still only the one USB-C port available and for many that will not be enough.

As for the MacBook Air, the 11in model features two USB 3 ports (5Gbps), one Thunderbolt 2 port (up to 20 Gbps), and a MagSafe 2 power port. If you were to opt for the 13in MacBook Air you would also get a SDXD card slot for trasfering the photos taken on your camera.

Both Mac laptops offer 802.11ac WiFi networking and Bluetooth 4.0.

One thing that the MacBook features that the MacBook Air doesn’t is the Force Touch trackpad. This trackpad (which also features on the MacBook Pro) is sensitive to varying degrees of touch pressure: you can set it to respond to harder/deeper presses to activate different features. It also provides what is known as haptic or taptic feedback, a tangible, tactile response that in theory allows you to 'feel' what you are interacting with, which means that you feel like you are pressing the trackpad in when actually the pad isn’t moving at all.