MacBook Air vs MacBook comparison

The USB-C port on the MacBook can be used for charging


BUYING ADVICE: Ports  

If you have a laptop right now and you use all the ports all the time then you may not be able to cope with only one port on the MacBook. However, if your concern is that you won’t be able to use your external mouse or plug in a hard drive while charging your Mac you may be worrying unnecessarily. We also think it is likely that adaptors will be available that will extend the port so that you can plug in more than one thing at a time. The question is whether the tradeoff in ports is enough to justify the smaller, thinner design of the MacBook. And whether you really like the Force Touch trackpad.


MacBook Air vs MacBook: Price 

This the big difference between the MacBook Air and the MacBook. The entry level MacBook price starts at £1,049 while the entry level MacBook Air is £300 cheaper at £749. The difference in price might be acceptable if the MacBook was more powerful, but you are not paying that extra £300 for a more powerful machine. What you get for the £300 is a better display and a smaller and lighter laptop. While we think the display on the MacBook Air would benefit from improvement, we think £300 is a high price to pay for what is essentially a better screen.  And at the end of the day you could just plug your MacBook Air into an external display which would likely cost you less than £300 (and you’d have the necessary port to do so).


BUYING ADVICE: Price

If you are looking for a cheap Mac option then the MacBook is simply not for you right now. It is one of the most expensive Mac laptops as well as being the least powerful. This is a laptop for those who are looking for a status symbol to write their emails and presentations on. If money is no object and you have a penchant for gold then by all means buy a MacBook, but if you just want the cheapest Mac laptop the 11in MacBook Air is a better deal.  


MacBook Air vs MacBook: Build to order options   

One last thing to mention: Currently there are no build to order options for the MacBook – although it is rumoured that by the time it launches there will be a 1.3GHz processor option at the time of purchase.

There are build to order options on the MacBook Air, which gives you a lot more flexibility to design the Mac that best suits your needs. For example, as we mentioned earlier, you can add 8GB RAM to your MacBook Air for an extra £80, 512GB flash storage will cost you an extra £240, and you can upgrade your processor to a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7 chip for £130. With these updates the best build to order 11in MacBook Air would cost £1,349. Sure that’s more than the MacBook, but it would be a far better specced machine, and not a whole lot heavier.


BUYING ADVICE: Build to order options

For now we’d recommend that if it’s a light laptop you are after you stick with the MacBook Air, upgrading it at point of sale to include the extra RAM and if you can afford it, the faster processor.


OUR VERDICT

For now it’s clear that the MacBook Air offers the better deal in terms of specs, presuming that you are looking for a light laptop – if weight isn’t an issue then there are even better options in the MacBook Pro range.

The MacBook is, for now at least, priced higher than many would think a lower specced machine should be. But the price does not reflect the specs of the MacBook, the price reflects the new technologies that have gone into the first generation of this newly resurrected Mac. Like the MacBook Air, which when it launched cost a lot more than the other Mac laptops, but eventually came down in price to be the entry-level Mac it is today, the MacBook price will come down over time. Eventually it may even replace the MacBook Air.

There will, no doubt, be some people who can’t wait to own the MacBook, just as there were some who rushed out to buy that first generation MacBook Air. If you are one of them then we are sure you will enjoy the new machine. But if you’d prefer to wait for the next generation nobody will blame you.