Finding a deal on a MacBook isn’t easy. They’re high-end machines, and Apple keeps a pretty tight watch on how it’s priced around the internet. On top of that, there’s a large selection of models, including the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and 12-inch MacBook, as well as different sizes and configurations, to consider. Throw in the confusing way these products are often labeled on retailers’ websites, as well as the countless used and refurbished models available — and you’ve got a thorough mess.
Fortunately for you, we’ve hunted down the best cheap MacBook deals for May 2019 that are in stock right now from various retailers. Before we break down each option, here are the quick links you’ll need.
The best MacBook deals
- MacBook Air 13-inch (2017 refurbished) — $600 from Amazon
- MacBook Air (2017) — $875 from Rakuten
- — $950 from Amazon
- MacBook 12-inch (2017) — $1,299 from B&H
- MacBook Pro 13-inch non-Touch Bar (2017) — $1,299 from B&H
- MacBook Pro 13-inch with Touch Bar (2018) — $1,411 from Amazon
- MacBook Pro 15-inch with Touch Bar (2018)— $2,199 from Amazon
MacBook Air deals
Before 2018, the MacBook Air hadn’t received a serious update for many years. The iconic silver look may have been revolutionary in 2012, but its thick bezels and lower-resolution screen had become outdated over the years. Even though Apple still sells this version, we only recommend it to people with fairly low computing needs. The 5th-gen Intel processor and DDR3 RAM in the 2017 model will make any kind of significant multitasking or heavy software extremely difficult. Still, it is technically the cheapest way into the Mac ecosystem, and that’ll be enough to attract some buyers.
The 2017 MacBook Air deal listed below sells for $900, which is a hundred bucks off what Apple sells it for.
Fortunately, toward the end of 2018, Apple finally gave the MacBook Air a complete makeover, bringing it up to speed with the rest of its MacBooks. This new version has a new look — thinner bezels, a smaller chassis, higher-resolution display, only USB-C, and a few more color options like gold and space gray. It also has some of the mainstays of modern Apple laptops such as the low-travel keyboard, oversized trackpad, and Touch ID fingerprint scanner.
While this is still one of the slower options for MacBooks, the 2018 Air does have completely updated specs, which now include an 8th-gen Core i5 dual-core processor. We found it more than capable of handing day-to-day tasks, just don’t expect to be editing 4K video on it. It has the best battery life of all the MacBooks, and also comes with the lowest starting price of $1,200. Since its launch, we’ve seen the price dip occasionally down to around $1,000, which is where it currently stands. That’s a great deal for such a new Apple product.
The 2018 MacBook Air deal featured below is $119 off Apple’s price for the base model, which includes 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.
The MacBook Air might sound like the lightest option, but the 12-inch MacBook is actually the most portable. Not only is the screen smaller, the device is also extremely thin and light. It hasn’t been updated since 2017, but it has the modern Mac look, including the large trackpad, butterfly-style keyboard, Retina display, and simplified port selection. Aside from a headphone jack, the laptop comes with just a single Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port. That means you can’t plug in a wired mouse and power at the same time, for example.
The most recent version from 2017 receiveda bump to 7th-gen Kaby Lake Intel processors. These are dual-core, meaning you won’t get the kind of multitasking performance you’ll see in the higher-end MacBook Pro models. But like the MacBook Air, we found it to be fast enough to get through a normal day of productivity and web browsing. We’d recommend the 2018 MacBook Air to most people, but for those who want the absolute smallest, most portable MacBook, this is your best option.
Outside of refurbished models, the best deal you can find on a new MacBook is $1,199, which is a hundred bucks off the Apple price.
MacBook Pro (13-inch) deals
With its more powerful specs, the MacBook Pro represents the top of the MacBook lineup. These are laptops for people want to run heavy applications like Photoshop or Lightroom — or even just for people who want to multitask like nobody’s business. However, there are a number of important distinctions you should be aware of, even with regard to the 13-inch models.
There are two basic variations: Touch Bar and non-Touch Bar. The long-awaited Touch Bar is a slim OLED touchscreen that takes the place of the function keys and is purpose-built for navigating MacOS and its software. Regardless of what you think of the feature, Apple uses it in the “high-end” configuration, meaning if you want a more powerful MacBook Pro, you’ll have to pay extra for the Touch Bar too. If you want a non-Touch Bar version, you’ll have to resort to a base configuration 2017 model since it wasn’t updated in 2018. Those come with 7th-gen Intel processors, meaning if you opt for the Core i5 version, it’s only a dual-core processor.
Outside of refurbished models, the best 2017 MacBook Pro deal we found for the non-Touch Bar configuration puts it at $1,400, which is $150 off Apple’s website price.
The 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro is the same as the previous version, except that it has updated 8th-gen Intel processors. These are the newest processors from Intel, which provide quad-core processing to both the Core i5 and Core i7 models. Those four cores provide some extra power if you’re a creative looking to run music production, programming, or video editing-software.
All models also come with the Touch Bar, unfortunately, which adds on some extra cost to the price tag. The best deal we could find is for $1,600, which is just over a $100 off the Apple price for a model with a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.
MacBook Pro (15-inch) deals
Here, we come to the cream of the crop. The 15-inch MacBook Pro not only has the fastest processors, it also includes discrete graphics. You can pair up a six-core Core i9 processor and an AMD Vega 20 GPU, which should handily push through high-resolution video renders and graphics modeling with ease. All versions of the 15-inch MacBook Pro also come with the Touch Bar and four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports.
These new components were included in the 2018 update, which also brought a new version of the butterfly-switch keyboard that hopefully won’t break as easily. The best deal we could find on the 15-inch MacBook Pro was $2,240. That’s $559 off the Apple price. It comes with a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a Radeon Pro 555X graphics card.
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