Macs have an addictive charm. Buying decisions based on specification and price rarely justify Apple products, but once you experience an iPhone or MacBook, it’s hard to turn back – most of us get hooked! Beautiful design and perhaps most importantly, technology that just works. This makes it hard to switch back to Windows.
MacBooks have become ever more appealing. A few years back, Macs were the domain of creative types, but in 2021 they offer everyone a great (premium) computing experience. If you own an iPhone or iPad, a MacBook has instant appeal – photo syncing, Facetime, Airdrop, ApplePay, shared passwords, menu familiarity – the list of joined-up technologies goes on.
Choose the right specification for you
The top-end MacBook costs over £5000. And yes, it’s very impressive, but few of us would truly benefit from this specification. This is a good thing! Few of us can afford such a laptop! If you’re thinking about video editing or any intensive software, do research on which hardware your software publisher recommends.
Alternatively, if you’re reading this to find the best MacBook for everyday computing and you want a laptop that works seamlessly with your iPhone, then read on…
Best Apple Laptop under £1000:
The lightweight MacBook Air is anything but an entry-level laptop. The Retina screen and quality backlit keyboard come in an all aluminium chassis that makes the laptop both robust and tactile. As you expect from Apple, the 13.3” screen is bright and crisp, perfect for everything from watching films to scrutinising spreadsheets. Plus, the keyboard is responsive and widely considered, good to use.
The well balanced, internal specification is clearly designed for portability ahead of processing power. This isn’t the right choice for Photoshop or Final Cut Pro, but it’s the perfect laptop for everyday home and work computing – it will partner your iPhone beautifully.
What About Storage?
The MacBook Air comes with 256GB of storage. Plenty, assuming you’re happy to use cloud storage for the majority of your files. Plus, it has 8GB of RAM which again, is better than good. This is assuming you don’t want to run numerous big programs at the same time. If you’re thinking that you want more storage or memory, it’s good to take this option ahead of purchase, as memory cannot be upgraded.
Connectivity is handled via two Thunderbolt ports. This can be limiting. As an example, if you’re using an external monitor, you will need to disconnect the power supply before you can charge your phone. The good news is that the battery will last beyond 10 hours between charges.
Are Macs more secure?
Mac security is widely regarded as superior to Windows. There are numerous reasons for this, but the simple truth (& what we care about) is that you’re less likely to get hacked on Mac. Plus, the MacBook Air also has a Touch ID, meaning you can easily and conveniently lock your laptop.
If you want an Apple laptop that’s light, quick & a joy to use, buy the MacBook Air.
DISPLAY: 13.3” 2560×1600 | WEIGHT: 1.3kg | DIMENSIONS: 304x212x4to16 | CPU: M1 | RAM: 8GB | STORAGE 256GB | Thunderbolt/USB 4 x2 | Stereo Speakers
MacBook Air | Verdict price £900 | See best price on Amazon
Best Apple Laptop under £2000:
MacBook Pro 13-inch
Choose the MacBook Pro 13” for power and portability. This laptop is a similar size to the MacBook Air, although slightly heavier. It’s the same great keyboard and ID Sensor with the added benefit of a Touch Bar. The screen matches the resolution of the Air, plus it’s even brighter. Although there are aesthetic differences, it’s what’s inside that justifies the extra cost.
It’s possible to buy a MacBook Pro for a few hundred pounds more than the Air, but if you’re thinking of spending more to run the latest creative packages from Adobe, then it may be worth making a bigger investment. Yes, the basic version will run most of today’s software, but over time each software release makes ever-bigger demands on the hardware. So if you’re serious about running Photoshop and alike, take a look at the 16″ Macbook below.
Cloud storage has numerous benefits, including easy access from any device. Alternatively, should you desire more physical memory, it’s quick, easy and comparatively cheap to add an external SSD. Connectivity is handled by four USB-C ports and an audio jack. This is a physically small and highly portable laptop meaning the screen is only 13.3”, but in reality, a bigger picture via an external display screen is the best option.
The MacBook Pro is small enough to go anywhere and powerful enough to create amazing work – fast. If you need power and are prepared to invest, the MacBook Pro is for you.
DISPLAY: 13.3” 2560×1600 | WEIGHT: 1.4kg | DIMENSIONS: 304x212x15 | CPU: 2.0Ghz | Quad-core Intel i5 | RAM: 8GB | STORAGE 512GB | USB-C x4 | Audio Jack
MacBook Pro 13-inch | Verdict price £1650 | Check best price on Amazon
MacBook Pro 16-inch
This laptop is amazing. If you want an all-powerful laptop with a big screen and are prepared to spend big, then take a good look at the 16-inch MacBook Pro – nothing comes close.
If you’re considering this laptop, it’s highly probable that you’re upgrading from a previous MacBook. As with any new model, there are performance improvements. The older your current MacBook, the bigger the improvement you’ll see. Plus, there’s a load of options meaning that you can choose your CPU, RAM and storage. Rather than attempt to second guess your current setup, it seems sensible to compare the latest version to the previous.
Time for an Upgrade?
Compared to the previous MacBook Pro, this version does lots of things better. The butterfly keyboard, which was disliked by many users has gone – the new one is generally considered superior. The screen is bigger, the speakers have been upgraded and the heat management has been improved – this is important. On the previous MacBook Pro, speed was often throttled in order to avoid the laptop overheating. Clearly, Apple has listened to its users and fixed this. Plus, everyone wants a battery that lasts longer – this MacBook Pro comes with the biggest battery allowable on a flight. Any bigger and you couldn’t take this laptop on an aeroplane!
The specification options are good, but as you’d expect, they come at a hefty price. It’s definitely worth checking out the upper end of the specification recommendation made by your software publisher and then adding some – this will make sure your new MacBook Pro is still good for the next software update and super quick for years to come.
DISPLAY: 16” 3072×1920 | WEIGHT: 2.0kg | DIMENSIONS: 358x246x16 | CPU: 2.6Ghz – 4.5GHz | Intel Core i7 | RAM: 16GB | STORAGE 512GB | USB-C x4 | Audio Jack
MacBook Pro 16-inch | Verdict price £2150 | Check the latest price on Amazon
What about used & refurbished MacBooks?
When Apple releases a new MacBook, there are sometimes discounts to be had on the outgoing model. However, discounts are usually small. The Verum search for cheap iPhones identified a few refurbished models that are great value. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to apply for MacBooks. You can pick one up on Amazon or eBay for a few hundred quid, but they’re usually dated, slow and not worth the money.
If you like the idea of spending less on a super light laptop, that does all the basics well, do consider the excellent Google Pixel Go. Or if you’re thinking it must be Mac, then you won’t be disappointed!
Perfect for everyday computing
MacBook Air | Verdict price £900
See price on Amazon
Power & portability
MacBook Pro 13-inch | Verdict price £1600
See price on Amazon
All-powerful laptop with a big screen
MacBook Pro 16-inch | Verdict price £2150
See price on Amazon
MacBooks are unquestionably expensive. That said, MacBooks do have a wonderful appeal. Most people who use Apple technology, stay with it – upgrading from one MacBook to the next. Plus, if you have an iPhone or iPad, the compatibility just works. If your budget allows, the MacBook is hard to beat.
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