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Which Apple MacBook should you buy on Prime Day?

Prime Day is the perfect time to look for a great MacBook deal. Apple’s laptops rarely get discounts, making their Prime Day deals the ideal way to score yourself some money off.

If you are in the market for one this year, though, you might be asking whether you should buy a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro. The latter is $300 more than the former, but which is the best MacBook to buy if you’re shopping the Prime Day Macbook deals?

MacBook Air or MacBook Pro?

This year, the decision is actually a bit easier than it used to be. That is because both models now come with Apple’s own M1 chip inside, so you no longer get a weaker laptop if you choose the MacBook Air. The M1 is an incredible chip, and it pulls way ahead of what Apple laptops used to be capable of, making both machines tempting prospects for Prime Day 2021.

Interestingly, the MacBook Air actually outperformed the MacBook Pro in some areas when we reviewed it. Most of our benchmark results saw the two devices neck and neck, but it just goes to show that you will not be missing out on performance if you get the MacBook Air these Prime Day sales.

Because they are so similar in terms of power, when Prime Day deals roll around you should look out for other factors when picking between the two. One of the major differences is that the MacBook Air is completely fanless, meaning it is totally silent even when you are pushing it as hard as you can. For its part, the MacBook Pro has a very quiet fan, but silent trumps quiet every time in our book.

Battery life and price

Macbook Air M1
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

On the other hand, battery life is one area where the MacBook Pro pulls ahead. Our MacBook Pro review saw it achieve 16 hours of light web browsing and 21 hours of video playback. The MacBook Air scored slightly lower at 15.5 hours and 18.5 hours in each test. But let’s get some perspective here: Both devices offer amazing battery life for a laptop. Whichever one you choose, you will get a machine that outlasts almost every other laptop on the market.

Aside from that, the only major differences are that the MacBook Air has a more wedge-shaped design, while the MacBook Pro comes with the Touch Bar. We have not been overly impressed with the Touch Bar, and it probably is not worth shelling out extra on Prime Day by getting a MacBook Pro just for that one feature. Also note that the MacBook Pro has a more color-accurate display, but unless this is absolutely essential to your work, the MacBook Air’s display will be more than good enough. For the cost, it is excellent.

Speaking of price, the MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 while the MacBook Air is $999. Considering you get identical performance in utter silence from the MacBook Air, and at a cheaper price too, the MacBook Air is our winner here. You might not see a huge discount on Prime Day — probably around $50 to $100 — but any price cut for a machine this good is worth considering.

Should you get an older Intel MacBook?

At this point, no. Apple’s M1 MacBooks perform so much better, all for the same price, so there is no need to get a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro with an Intel processor.

There are only a couple of exceptions to this rule. First off, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is still based on the Intel platform, and it’s still the most powerful MacBook you can buy. If you can find it at a deep discount and you need it immediately, it’s not a bad choice. Just know that Apple is rumored to update that laptop to its M-series processor sometime this year.

Lastly, you might see much deeper discounts for very old MacBooks during Prime Day. It can be tempting, but most of them are not worth your time. In particular, you’ll want to avoid the pre-M1 MacBook Air, as it suffered from slow performance. You’ll also want to stay away from the pre-2020 MacBook Pro, as it used the unreliable butterfly keyboard that was later replaced.

Today’s best MacBook deals

If you can’t wait until Prime Day, there are several fantastic MacBook deals you can shop right now. We’ve rounded up the best below.

Full discount at checkout
Released in late 2020, the new Apple M1 MacBook Air has better battery life and performance and is more secure than the older MacBook Air models with Intel processors. more
Free AirPods

MacBook Air and MacBook Pro - Education Pricing

Exclusive discounts for students & teachers
Students and teachers with a valid .edu email address can enjoy exclusive pricing on the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro directly from the Apple Store. more
Packing the latest M1 CPU, this 13-inch MacBook Pro is an incredibly capable machine that will handle your work and daily needs for years to come. more
Need a ton of storage in a portable package? Look at this 13-inch MacBook Pro: You'll get all the space you need with a 1TB SSD and a solid workhorse of a quad-core, eighth-gen, Core i5 processor. more
Frequent video conferences? The Apple 15" MacBook Pro comes with a built-in FaceTime HD camera and omnidirectional mic to enhance the quality of your virtual meetings. more
With top-notch ease of use, this MacBook Air is ideal as a starter Mac. Its thin and light design is great for traveling, too. more

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