MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro – get the best deal

 Apple MacBook ProIf you need a cheap, small, light MacBook that will run all day on its battery, the 11-inch model costs just US $899 (UK £749) and is a bargain and there is nothing to compare. It is a different story with the 13-inch model though and there is an alternative to consider.

There are two 13-inch MacBook Airs and one the only difference between them is the size of the storage. The cheaper one, US $999 (UK £849), has just 128GB of solid state storage. These days a 128GB disk is tiny and there is even an iPod (the classic) that has more storage space and iPads have 128GB of storage.

A MacBook Air with 128GB of storage is very limiting and many people will quickly run out of storage space – some movies, music and photos, and the disk is full. The only option is to buy an external disk drive, which costs more, isn’t portable, and requires cables.

For this reason, the more expensive 13-inch MacBook Air is the better choice as it has a 256GB SSD for storage. It still isn’t a lot, but it is enough for most people. However, this pushes the price up to US $1,199 (UK £999) and for exactly the same money there is an alternative which is even better.

For US $1,199 (UK £999) you can have either a 13-inch MacBook Air or a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Which is best? Take a look at the two options on the Apple website:

MacBook Air Macbook Pro

The advantages of the MacBook Air include the physical dimensions, and it is thin and light. This makes it easier to carry around than the MacBook Pro. It has an SSD, which is faster than a traditional mechanical disk drive in the MacBook Pro. The graphics is Intel HD Graphics 5000 and the screen resolution is 1440 x 900 pixels, which is better than the Intel HD Graphics 4000 and 1280 x 800 pixels in the MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro also has advantages over the MacBook Air and it has a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 that can turbo up to 3.1GHz, whereas the MacBook Air is clocked at 1.4GHz with 2.7GHz turbo speed. That should make the processor in the MacBook Pro better for heavy duty tasks. The storage in the MacBook Pro is twice the size at 500GB and this is ideal for people with large media libraries.

What’s the best MacBook for $1,199?

This is such a difficult choice and it is hard to pick one over the other. I have small media libraries and could live with the 256GB in the MacBook Air, so the better graphics and faster storage are mighty tempting and it is probably the one I would go for if I was buying a MacBook today. The 500GB disk and 2.5-3.1GHz CPU in the MacBook Pro could be a deal breaker for some though.

The end of the MacBook Pro

This could be the last opportunity to buy a MacBook Pro with this specification. If you go to the Store on the website, initially only the Retina display models are shown. Only when you click the Buy button does the option to buy the standard-screen MacBook Pro appear. It is almost, but not quite hidden in the store. It wouldn’t surprise me if it disappears altogether before the end of the year.

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