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Battle of the MacBooks: MacBook (2015) vs MacBook Pro 13-inch (2015)

spec showdown 2015 macbook vs pro 13 macbookprovsmacbook2015header
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Apple constantly challenges itself by seemingly competing with its own products, and the introduction of the new MacBook for 2015 is no different. It boasts a completely new design, keyboard and touchpad, and the cutting edge Intel Core M processor. Because of the price point, and the fact that the 13-inch MacBook Pro also saw new features added today, it’s worth comparing the two machines. If you’re in the market for a new Mac laptop, we’ve got the two computers side by side so you know which is a better choice for you.

Apple MacBook – 2015

MacBook2015-table
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch – 2015

MacbookPro13inch-table
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Size 11.04 x 7.74 x .14-.52 in 12.35 x 8.62 x .71 in
Weight 2.03 lbs 3.48 lbs
Screen 12-inch IPS Retina display 13.3-inch IPS Retina display
Resolution 2304×1440 pixels 2560×1600 pixels
OS Mac OS X Yosemite Mac OS X Yosemite
Storage 256, 512 GB SSD 128, 256, 512 GB, 1 TB SSD
SD Card Slot No Yes, SDXC compatible
Processor Intel Core M – 1.1 GHz Intel Core i5 – 2.7 GHz
RAM 8 GB 1600MHz DDR3 8, 16 GB 1866MHz DDR3
Connectivity 802.11ac, a/b/g/n 802.11ac, a/b/g/n
Camera 480p FaceTime camera 720p FaceTime camera
Bluetooth Version 4.0 Version 4.0
Battery 39.7 Wh lithium-polymer 74.9 Wh lithium-polymer
Charger 29W USB-C 60W Magsafe
Starting Price $1299.00 $1299.00
DT Review Hands-on review coming soon! Hands-on review coming soon!

Power

When it comes to power and performance the MacBook Pro is the clear winner, but that isn’t as bad as it sounds. The new MacBook is not intended to take on the high speeds and graphical performance of the MacBook Pro line.

The MacBook’s Intel Core M processor has a number of noticeable benefits in the new system. Incredible power efficiency allows the new Macbook to run for the same amount of time as the Pro on a battery with only about half the capacity. It also requires far less cooling than the Core i5 processor, meaning it can operate without a fan at all, for a silent, lightweight machine.

The Intel Core i5 has been a standard processor for laptops and desktops for a few years now, and although it’s been a stable and functional option since then, it’s starting to show its age. In this case though, you’re opting for a performance bonus over the new Core M, at the cost of added fans and cooling, as well as a bit more weight to carry all the battery power you need.

Winner: MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display

Design

The ultraportable MacBook packs a brand new keyboard, trackpad, and impressively small logic board into a computer that’s only .52 inches thick. The singular port on the new MacBook might be a problem for some users, but it will depend on how Apple decides to handle multiple necessary connections at the same time.

In terms of weight, there’s about a one and a half pound difference between the two laptops. If we weren’t dealing with very low weights already, that wouldn’t make much of a difference at all. In fact, both computers are very competitive for their weight class, especially when you consider the added necessities of a more powerful processor and graphics in the MacBook Pro.

The dimensions on the new MacBook are certainly impressive, coming in at just .52 inches at its thickest, with a stripped-down bezel and almost no space between the keyboard and edges of the machine. The brand new keyboard, which is not only much slimmer, but also more responsive, and with better backlighting, is certainly a factor too. Inside, terraced batteries take advantage of every inch of space inside the tiny chassis, keeping the system especially portable and easy to use.

Winner: MacBook (2015)

Price

Both the new MacBook for 2015 and the updated 13.3-inch MacBook Pro carry the same starting price, so choosing one over the other isn’t as simple as setting a budget and picking the computer that comes in under what you’re looking to spend. However, as you begin to spend more on the system, you start to get a bit more bang for your buck with the MacBook Pro.

The performance options in the new MacBook start to cap out around $1700, anymore than that and you’re just paying for extra software or an external monitor. You can continue to spend almost $3000 on the MacBook Pro, but at that price point you get a 3.1 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB SSD, with some space for Final Cut or AppleCare on top. That’s a pretty impressive computer, especially for the size.

Winner: MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display

Conclusion

While both systems are impressive, the MacBook Pro was already one of our favorite laptops before this round of updates. The new MacBook carries a lot of technological upgrades and design changes that will definitely have your friends in awe of your new laptop. That being said, with both laptops at the same price point, the MacBook Pro with a 13-inch Retina display is almost certainly the better choice. If you think that extra quarter-inch thickness, and 1.5 pounds of weight is going to break your back, the new MacBook is a great looking machine with decent performance, and a silent design.

Winner: MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina display

Editors' Recommendations

Brad Bourque
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad Bourque is a native Portlander, devout nerd, and craft beer enthusiast. He studied creative writing at Willamette…
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