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Best MacBooks: The 8 Apple Laptops We Recommend

The best MacBook for everyone will vary, but Apple’s 2022 laptop lineup has an excellent option for virtually everyone. Apple’s introduction of the ARM-based M1 chip in 2020 marked the beginning of a new era for laptops. The entire MacBook lineup has received significant performance and battery life enhancements thanks to Apple’s custom SoC. 

With the addition of the M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M2 models, Apple has a solution for every need. The M2 MacBook Air and Pro are unlikely to see any deals until Black Friday in the fall, but if you’re in the market for any of Apple’s other laptops, keep an eye on the best Amazon Prime Day MacBook deals for the likely lowest prices we’ll see until then. 

Apple laptops are an excellent option for all other use cases, including college and business laptops, but not gaming laptops. 

What is the best MacBook?  

The MacBook Air with M1 is the best Mac for most users due to its transformation from an underpowered laptop to one of the market’s quickest thin-and-lights. This familiar design is turbocharged with record-setting performance and all-day battery life. In addition to speed and endurance enhancements, the M1 chip brings iOS and iPad OS applications to the Mac for the first time. While the M1 model remains at its $999 price point, the redesigned MacBook Air M2 provides portable MacBook fans with a slightly more powerful alternative. 

The 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 with two Thunderbolt 4 ports is a viable option if you require sustained high-level performance. While the MacBook Air lacks a fan, the MacBook Pro has a traditional cooling system that allows it to run intensive programs for hours without overheating. Most individuals will be satisfied with the Air, but power users should consider the Pro. 

The M1 Pro and M1 Max processors power the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros. Both options are overkill for most users, but they offer enticing enhancements. With the return of an SD card slot, HDMI, and MagSafe charging, as well as the retention of three Thunderbolt 4 ports, these laptops undo some of the contentious decisions Apple made with the 2016 MacBook Pro. The 120Hz displays are Apple’s most stunning displays ever included in a laptop. Apple’s top-tier laptops cost a premium, beginning at $1,999, but if you need all this power or dislike some of the hardware changes, they are worth it. 

Our advice? Stick with the M1 or M2 Air if you perform basic productivity tasks with a smattering of more demanding software and use the savings to upgrade your storage or RAM. The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are oversized for the needs of most users unless they require additional screen space or frequently use software for video editing, 3D modeling, animation, or engineering. 

How we evaluate MacBook laptops 

Before placing MacBooks in the hands of our reviewers, we subject them to extensive synthetic and real-world benchmark testing. We evaluate speed, battery life, display brightness, speaker volume, and system heat. 

We measure the brightness and DCI-P3 color gamut of a laptop’s display with a Klein K10 colorimeter. We put the laptop through a gauntlet of performance benchmarks, including the Geekbench 5.4 and 3DMark professional graphics tests. 

To determine the laptop’s real-world performance, we converted a 4K video to 1080p resolution and copied a 25GB multimedia file. Assasin’s Creed Valhalla, Far Cry New Dawn, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider with 1080p or higher resolution when the display supports it comprises our real-world graphics tests. 

In addition, we conduct heat tests by playing a 15-minute video in full-screen mode, and our battery test consists of continuous Wi-Fi web browsing at 150 nits of brightness. We consider anything that exceeds approximately 10 hours a success. Our reviewers’ hands-on testing supplements these tests. 

How do you choose the best MacBooks? 

The MacBook Air is an easy choice for us. It costs $999, yet its performance and durability are comparable to the MacBook Pro due to its M1 processor. It is also the most portable of the group, and the 13.3-inch display is ideal for watching movies and television shows. 

Choose the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 if you desire more durability and improved performance over extended periods. It holds a charge for a remarkable 16 hours and 32 minutes and scored benchmark numbers that obliterate the competition. 

These two choices should accommodate at least 90 percent of users. The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros with the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip are exceptional, albeit pricey, options for users who require a more prominent display or significantly more processing power for professional applications. 

8 Apple Laptops Reviews

We’ve compiled a list of the best portable air conditioners currently available, followed by a buyer’s guide to help you determine precisely what you’re looking for in a portable air conditioner or fan. Keep scrolling to discover our top-recommended summer cooling products that are certain to meet your needs! 

1. Best Overall: MacBook Air (M1, Late 2020)

The MacBook Air M1 remains the most popular model among consumers. What is the Apple MacBook Air M2? It’s a great laptop we’ll discuss next on this list, but the upgrades aren’t necessary for most users, so the M1 model retains its sub-$1,000 starting price and is frequently discounted to $900 or less.  Our testing lasted 14 hours and 41 minutes on a single charge, outperforming every thin-and-light Windows laptop with a comparable price point. The MacBook Air M1 is more than capable of handling typical computing tasks and will outlast its successor on a single charge.  So why choose the MacBook Air over the Pro? While the Pro has superior sustained performance, the MacBook Air is less expensive and virtually silent due to the absence of a fan. Moreover, Apple’s cheapest 13.3-inch model is the most portable, measuring 0.6 inches thick and weighing 2.8 pounds.  If you don’t mind the older design, the MacBook Air M1 remains one of the best laptops deals even when it’s not on sale, and anyone considering a new MacBook should give it serious thought. 
Specifications 
  • CPU: M1 
  • GPU: M1 (integrated) 
  • RAM: 8GB/16GB 
  • Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB 
  • Display: 13.3 inches, 2560 x 1600 pixels 
  • Size: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches 
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds 
PROS
  • Breathtaking performance
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Slim unibody aluminum chassis
  • Great speakers and Magic keyboard
CONS
  • Few ports

2. Runner-Up: MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

While most will be satisfied with the MacBook Air M1, there is no denying the appeal of the MacBook Air M2’s new design and, of course, chip. The notch in the display is not my preferred design choice, but the rest of the changes are excellent, especially the addition of MagSafe charging, which frees up two Thunderbolt 4 ports for other uses.  It still delivered 14 hours and six minutes of battery life in our test, placing it quickly ahead of the Windows competition and ridiculously so when performance is considered. It is astounding that all of this is accomplished while remaining whisper quiet and cool without the use of fans.  In addition to a brighter display, a quad-speaker array, and a new 1080p webcam, the list of improvements includes a more colorful display, a quad-speaker collection, and a new web. Those who use the Air M2 on the go and may be confronted with less-than-ideal lighting conditions will particularly appreciate this feature.  If you need to upgrade significantly from the $1,199 base model, the Air M2’s price will be the most critical factor. As previously stated, the Air M1 remained at $999, so you are paying more for the M2 model. If your configuration costs more than $1,499, you may want to consider the base 14-inch MacBook Pro, which I discuss later in this list and is now regularly available for $1,799. 
Specifications 
  • CPU: M2 
  • GPU: M2 (Integrated) 
  • RAM: 8GB/16GB/24GB 
  • Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB 
  • Display: 13.6-inches, 2560 x 1600 pixels 
  • Size: 11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches 
  • Weight: 2.7 pounds 
PROS
  • Elegant redesign
  • Good performance
  • Bright, colorful screen
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Excellent battery life
CONS
  • SSD somewhat slower than M1 Air

3. Best for battery-life: Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, M2, 2022)

The MacBook Pro M2 may not receive the sleek redesign of the new MacBook Air. Still, the internal upgrade provides a more significant performance boost than many anticipated, keeping it well ahead of Windows 11 competition at this price point and beyond.  The Pro lasted an almost unbelievable 18 and 20 minutes on our battery test, which simulates real-world usage. This allowed it to top our list of laptops with the most extended battery life.  The M2 improves both speed and endurance. With a once again improved image processing unit, the webcam (unfortunately still 720p) is better than before. Because it runs on Apple’s ARM architecture, iPad and iPhone applications are accessible on Mac. Yes, you can run iOS games and applications on your laptop.  The remainder of the MacBook Pro should be familiar. This is the same design Apple has utilized for years, and the Magic Keyboard is a joy to type on (and reliable!). The TouchBar’s return disappoints us, but it has fans, and some buyers will welcome the lack of a notch on display. 
Specifications 
  • CPU: Apple M2 (8-core) 
  • GPU: Apple M2 GPU (10-core) 
  • RAM: 8GB/16GB/24GB 
  • Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB 
  • Display: 13.3 inches, 2560 x 1600 pixels 
  • Size: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches 
  • Weight: 3.1 pounds 
PROS
  • Stellar overall and gaming performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Lightning-fast SSD
  • Great webcam
  • Comfortable keyboard
CONS
  • Stagnant design
  • Not enough ports

4. Best for serious pros: MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)

The MacBook Pro 14 combines a little bit of the old with a lot of the new to create a compelling product that MacBook fans, especially content creators and consumers, have been waiting years for. Gamers? You may want to use Windows for the time being.  The notebook’s design is slim and lightweight, with ample space for a full HDMI port and an SDXC card reader. And the M1 Pro chip provides even more power, defeating Intel and AMD’s heavyweights with ease. In addition, it has a battery life of over 14 hours, a formidable quick charge, an eye-catching display, a super comfortable keyboard, and an excellent audio system.  Why is there a catch? Even with trade-ins and payment plans, $2,899 is a lot to pay for an Apple product, as is customary. And the starting price of $1,999 is not much better. It would have been preferable if Apple had provided a less expensive option, perhaps with the M1 chip from the previous year integrated into the new hardware. Nevertheless, the MacBook Pro 14 is a worthwhile investment, given its features.  If you are willing to spend even more, you can unleash the power of the M1 Max chip or choose the 16-inch MacBook Pro starting at $2,499 with a larger screen. This year, the only differences in hardware options between the two are the display size and the battery capacity. If battery life is your primary concern, the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro will outlast any other device in its class with comparable performance. For those who require every bit of processing power available, the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max is virtually unbeatable now. 
Specifications 
  • CPU: Apple M1 Pro/Apple M1 Max 
  • GPU: Apple M1 Pro (Integrated) 
  • RAM: 16GB/32GB/64GB 
  • Storage: 512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB/8GB 
  • Display: 16-inch, 3072 x 1920-resolution 
  • Size: 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.6 inches 
  • Weight: 4.3 pounds 
PROS
  • Sleek, elegant design
  • Plenty of ports
  • Excellent performance
  • Stellar battery life
  • Stunning display
CONS
  • Expensive entry point
  • No USB-A port

5. Best for editing video: 16-inch MacBook Pro

Need it all? Then you may be interested in the ferocious 16-inch MacBook Pro, which features M1 Pro or M1 Max chips that deliver astounding performance. This model is an improvement over the previous Intel-based model, as it features thinner bezels that allow for larger mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR displays. Once you get past the notch, the display’s contrast, smoothness, and 120Hz refresh rate will impress you.  In addition, you receive the return of the ports that professionals require. In addition to the safety-focused MagSafe 3 charging port, there is an HDMI-out port for connecting to displays and an SD card reader for connecting memory cards for actual cameras. Oh, and don’t assume that MagSafe will eliminate USB-C charging: the MacBook Pro’s trio of Thunderbolt 4/USB4 ports also require power. In addition, you have a 1080p webcam, three improved microphones, and an excellent six-point speaker system. 
Specifications 
  • Display: 16.2 inches; 3456×2244 pixels 
  • CPU: M1 Pro (10-core CPU) | M1 Max (10-core CPU) 
  • GPU: 16-core to 32-core integrated GPU 
  • RAM: 16GB to 64GB 
  • Storage: 512GB – 8TB 
  • Weight: 4.7 pounds (M1 Pro) | 4.8 pounds (M1 Max) 
PROS
  • Beautiful Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Incredible performance trounces competition
  • Outstanding battery life
CONS
  • Display still isn't 4K
  • Expensive with M1 Max

6. 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1

The MacBook Pro with M1 takes everything we appreciate about the MacBook Air with M1 and amplifies it. Our battery test, for example, lasted a whopping 16 hours and 32 minutes, nearly 2 hours longer than the M1 Air (14:41).  The MacBook Pro’s 434.8-nit display is brighter than the Air’s 365.8-nit display. And on the Handbrake video transcoding test converted a 4K movie to 1080p in 7 minutes and 44 seconds, which is faster than the MacBook Air’s 9 minutes and 15 seconds.  Other advantages include: 
  • Dolby Atmos sound. 
  • Enhanced webcam video quality (thanks to the M1’s new signal-processing chip). 
  • A sharp 2560×1600 Retina display. 
  • Support for iOS and iPadOS applications. 
And don’t forget the Magic Keyboard, which makes typing a pleasure.  Even though Apple has added 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros powered by M1 Pro and M1 Max, this 13-inch model remains available. 
Specifications 
  • Display: 13.3 inches, 2560 x 1600-pixel 
  • CPU: Apple M1 8-core CPU 
  • GPU: Apple M1 8-core GPU 
  • RAM: 8GB to 16GB 
  • Storage: 256GB to 2TB SSD 
  • Weight: 3.0 pounds 
PROS
  • Stellar overall and gaming performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Lightning-fast SSD
CONS
  • Not enough ports
  • Thick bezels

7. Apple MacBook Pro (M2, 2022)

As with its predecessor, the position of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 is awkward. Aside from the new M2 chip (also found in the new MacBook Air), there are no significant upgrades. The same 13.3-inch display, 720p webcam, and two Thunderbolt ports are included. The only difference is that the audio jack now supports high-impedance headphones, resulting in slightly improved sound quality.  In contrast to the Air, it has a fan, allowing the processor to become slightly warmer and produce more power over a more extended period. This is useful if you perform professional-level tasks, such as video editing, but cannot afford the premium Apple charges for its larger Pro models. In addition to a slightly longer battery life and a Touch Bar at the top of the keyboard, the Pro has additional advantages over the Air. Apple no longer sells any other MacBooks with the Touch Bar. The entire unit is slightly heavier (3 pounds versus 2.7 pounds) but has the exact dimensions as the Air and is still relatively thin.  It also shares the same M2 chipset as the Air, which features an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU, giving it a boost in graphics performance due to the inclusion of two additional cores. It generally performed well during testing. On busier workdays, when I had approximately 20 tabs open in Google Chrome and a few apps running in the background, it felt a bit sluggish; there was a delay when switching between windows and tabs, and the rainbow wheel appeared a few times.  While editing a stream of 4K Pro Res files in creative applications such as Final Cut Pro, I encountered some stuttering; it struggled most with minor color adjustments and built-in effects. On the other hand, editing photos with Pixelmator and Adobe Photoshop was considerably more manageable. The MacBook Pro hiccupped slightly when I added rotation, adjusted sliders, and made minor color adjustments, but it powered through multiple layers and effects without activating the fans.  However, considering how little has changed since the 2020 model, it is difficult to recommend the new MacBook Pro based on its specifications alone, especially since the M2 alone is not worth the upgrade. It is not entirely unusable for intensive tasks, but it is likely insufficient for heavy-duty workloads. If you wish to save money and do not require additional processing power, we recommend purchasing the M1 MacBook Pro from a third-party vendor. 
Specifications 
  • Display: 13.3 Inches 
  • CPU: 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores 
  • GPU: Apple 10-core GPU 
  • RAM: 8 GB 
  • Storage: 256GB or 512GB SSD 
  • Weight: 3.0 pounds (1.4 kg) 
PROS
  • Good performance and battery life.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Increased memory option.
CONS
  • Expensive
  • 720p webcam.
  • No MagSafe.
  • Includes Touch Bar.
  • Can't support more than one external display.

8. Apple 15.4" MacBook Pro Retina Display

The MacBook Pro with Retina display, released in late 2013, is the third model in the series. The Retina notebooks debuted in June 2012 and received a minor update in February. The new 15-inch MacBook Pros with Retina display released at the end of 2013 are identical to their predecessors.  They have the same slim, lightweight design, various connectivity ports, and, most importantly, the same stunning Retina display. It has a native resolution of 2880×1800, more significant than 5.1 million pixels.  So, what has altered? The two new 15-inch Retina Pros released in late 2013 have adopted the latest Haswell processors. They are equipped with quad-core Intel Core i7 processors with Turbo Boost, which redistributes underutilized resources and temporarily boosts performance above the clock speed. Hyper-Threading permits the execution of two threads per core, resulting in a total of eight virtual cores.  Multiple awards have been bestowed upon the Retina MacBook Pros and have been extensively imitated. If you don’t want Mac OS, many lightweight, thin Windows notebooks are available.  The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is ideal for professionals who require the additional screen space afforded by a 15-inch notebook, particularly if they will be carrying it frequently. By eliminating the optical drive and replacing the hard drive with solid-state storage, Apple could reduce the thickness to 1.8 centimeters and the weight to 2.02 kilograms.  Its excellent Retina display is also ideal for graphic design and video editing. Apple was forced to omit FireWire ports from the Retina line as a result of the casing’s reduction. Will we miss FireWire now that we have two Thunderbolt ports (using the new Thunderbolt 2 protocol), two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and an SDXC card slot? If you still have FireWire peripherals, you can use them with a Thunderbolt port by purchasing a first-party adapter for $25. 
Specifications 
  • Brilliant Retina display with True Tone technology 
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID 
  • Radeon Pro 555X or 560X graphics with 4GB of video memory 
  • Ultrafast SSD 
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630 
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports 
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life 
PROS
  • Fast Haswell processors
  • Fantastic Retina screen
  • Thunderbolt 2 ports
  • Good range of bundled apps
CONS
  • No integrated optical drive
  • No matte screen options
  • No discrete graphics in this model
  • Expensive
  • Almost impossible to user upgrade

What MacBook should I purchase?

My TL; DR recommendation is as follows. 

  • Choose the MacBook Air if you need a MacBook for everyday work, schoolwork, web browsing, movies, and light creativity. This MacBook is sufficient for most individuals. 
  • The new design and camera are fantastic, as is the larger display, but the $999 M1 version of the MacBook Air is still excellent if you don’t want to spend an additional $200 on the M2 model. 
  • The 13-inch MacBook Pro remains difficult to market. The price exceeds the Air’s, but the performance and Apple M2 chip are identical. It is also the last Touch Bar holdout. 
  • Creative professionals have anticipated the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Video editors and creative professionals with whom I’ve spoken have flocked to it, typically with the most advanced M1 Max chip. 
  • The 14-inch MacBook Pro can perform nearly the same functions as the 16-inch model but in a smaller package. It is either a mainstream premium laptop splurge or a work tool for creative types who require a more portable device. 

FAQs

M1 is the lowest-tier chip in the lineup. It has a CPU with up to eight cores and a GPU with up to eight cores, and it supports up to 16 GB of unified memory (RAM) for an additional cost. It is significantly faster than any previous Intel-powered MacBook Pro and the most practical option for most users. 

There has been a recent race to the top regarding RAM in smartphones and tablets. Even though you may only require 4 GB of RAM on your Android or iPhone, 8 GB is the norm for newly released smartphones. And unless you are highly tech-savvy, you cannot upgrade the RAM on your phone. 

Apple MacBooks are an excellent option for students. The lineup, from the $1,100 MacBook Air to the incredibly powerful 16-inch MacBook, is exceedingly capable of completing any academic assignment. The operating system, macOS, is one of the most compelling reasons for students to choose a Mac. 

Click and hold the full-screen icon in the window’s upper-left corner. The button causes the window to shrink, allowing you to drag it to the left or right side of the screen. To use both windows side by side, release the button and then click a window on the opposite side of the screen. 

On a Mac, it is simple to play single-player and multiplayer games. If you do not already have one, a Game Center account is created when you sign in with your Apple ID. You can search the Mac App Store for the newest or most popular Game Center-compatible games. 

The ports are where the significant distinctions emerge. The MacBook Air and the Apple M2-powered MacBook Pro each have only two Thunderbolt ports, whereas the M1 Pro/Max models include three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, an SD card slot, and more. 

Conclusion

You’ve come to the correct place if you’re looking for the most excellent MacBook. Although there are many models to choose from, we’ve done extensive research and testing to compile our ranking of the top Apple laptops now available. You can find the ideal MacBook for you right here, regardless of your needs or price range. Remember when you’re shopping that the specifications shown don’t have to be the ones you get; all the MacBooks below may be customized and modified better to fit your needs in terms of power and price. 

Why Trust Us?

Best Top Reviews Online was founded in 2018 to provide our readers with thorough, unbiased, and independent advice on what to buy. We now have millions of monthly users from all over the world and evaluate over 1,000 products per year.

The article above was written by the BestTopReviewsOnline team, which includes many of the US’s most knowledgeable technical experts. Our team includes well-known writers with extensive experience in mobile phones, computing, technology, photography, and other fields.

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