avatarby Alex MullisJuly 18, 20160 comments

Huawei MateDock Macbook 1
This is the age old question that a lot of people face when thinking about picking up a shiny new computer. The decision is mostly based on your budget and what you want out of your computer. There are many options in models and configurations available that it may be a hard decision. Remember that Apple has an option for almost everyone though, so let’s dive in.

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MacBook Air

MacBookAir1

Via Apple

Originally announced in 2008 as the notebook that can fit in a manila envelope, Apple kick started the ultrabook trend. Now in 2016, the Air is getting a little dated. The latest refresh of the model was back in March 2015, but the specifications are not that bad and you can get the Air for a pretty good price. The MacBook Air comes in 11 inch 1366×768 and 13 inch 1440×900 flavors starting at $899 and $999 respectively. A quick spec rundown is below:

The storage options are a little limited with only 128 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB being available, but the good news is that the storage is lightning fast being PCIe based flash memory, which means that the Air’s storage is more than likely MUCH faster (possibly up to 33x) than what you currently have.

With 4GB and 8 GB of LPDDR3 RAM and dual core i5 and i7 processors available, this computer is not made for intensive tasks, but rather casual photo editing and daily web browsing and the like. These low power processors do not use much power however, enabling 9 hours and 12 hours of battery life, with the bigger model offering the better battery life.

Connectivity is the standard Apple fashion: 2 USB 3 ports, Thunderbolt 2 ports, one SDXC card reader, a MagSafe 2 port and 3.5 mm headphone/mic jack.

Verdict: This is not the highest end MacBook available, which decent specs and price to match. But if you are on a budget and you absolutely have to have a MacBook, this is your best bet, just do not expect too much from it. This is perfect for the casual user and college students that do not require a lot of horsepower. Buy it here.
MacBook Air - Amazon

MacBook

MacBook 2

This is the classic MacBook that Apple has brought back from the dead with a completely new design and aesthetic along with four color options. It looks as if Apple is going to put this in the Air’s place and discontinue said product. What the MacBook does offer for the extra money is an overall better package. The new MacBook is just as thin as the MacBook Air but with a 12” 2304×1440 display, 8 GB of slightly faster LPDDR3 RAM and 256 GB and 512 GB PCIe storage. The MacBook starts at $1299 and $1599 for the base and upgraded models.

On the processor side, the MacBook has three options all from the Intel Broadwell generation: 1.1GHz m3, 1.2GHz m5 and 1.3GHz m7. The “m” series from Intel is new to the Broadwell generation, but these processors should be similar in performance to i3 and i5 Haswell low power CPUs while consuming a lot less power, which is good for battery life.

As far as connectivity, well, this is a mixed bag. The MacBook has just one USB 3.1 Type-C connector. That’s it. Having used USB Type-C for a little while now, I think it is very versatile and a welcome update to the USB Type-A standard. Having just one makes it hard for power users to be able to do what they want. For the everyday user, this probably will not make a huge difference, unless you need to charge the device, as the port is used for charging too.

Verdict: For mobile computing that does not require the highest performance, the MacBook is a great fit. This or the MacBook Pro 13 inch (more on this later) would be perfect for college students that need a notebook that can easily fit in their backpack and has enough juice to last all day. The MacBook is great for someone who likes the appeal of the Air but has a bigger budget and wants better performance. Buy it here and check out our first impressions on the MacBook here.
MacBook 12 - Amazon

MacBook Pro

MacBookPro1

Via Apple

This is where the no compromise OS X performance powerhouses come in. Starting with the 13 inch MacBook Pro, you can expect a 2560×1600 13.3 inch display with 8 or 16 GB of RAM, 128 to 1024 GB PCIe storage with either a dual core Intel i5 or i7 powering everything. Even with all of this power, Apple claims the MacBook Pro 13 inch can get 10 hours of battery life. The 13 inch starts at $1299 to $1799 depending on the model. Next up is the even more impressive 15 inch.

The 15 inch model is where someone who needs the most power they can get with OS X in a notebook. The 15 inch model includes a 15.4 inch 2880×1800 display and comes with a full quad core i7 standard, varying speeds and cache levels can be added for extra cost as well.

8GB of 1600 mhz DDR3L RAM is standard, and with the upgraded model, 16GB of RAM and an AMD Radeon R9 370x GPU is included with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory. The storage options start at 256 GB and go in powers of 2 to 1024 GB. The 15 inch starts at $1999 to $2499 depending on the model.

Both offer the same connectivity options. There are 2 USB 3 ports, 2 Thunderbolt 2 ports, one SDXC card reader, 3.5 mm headset/mic jack and MagSafe port.

Verdict: I personally own a 15 inch MacBook Pro with a discrete GPU and if you are the type of person that needs to be able to do anything from programming to full blown 3D game development, look no further, there is no better option. Just be prepared to pay a lot to have the privilege of owning the best Apple makes. The 13 inch isn’t quite as capable, but is still more powerful than anything else Apple offers sans the 15 inch model of course. Buy it here.
MacBook Pro - Amazon

Wrap Up

Apple makes arguably some of the nicest notebooks you can buy, with a few different options and very different price points. Depending on your needs it can be very hard to choose what is right for you but Apple more than likely has a Mac for you.

The Macbook Air is more than likely being phased out, but its price is very attractive. The standard MacBook is great for someone who wants a lightweight ultrabook with decent specs in a unique color. The MacBook Pro lines are called Pro for a reason, and if you need as much power as can be thrown at you, then that is the way to go.

So many options, so little time, let us know in the comments what MacBook you are leaning towards! Also keep in mind if you are a student you get some great discounts at the Apple Store, check it out!

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