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Be honest. The new MacBook Pro looks great, but you don’t need it

The new MacBook Pro looks incredible. Nearly every aspect of the device has been redesigned or updated, and in many ways, it’s a return of the pre-2016 MacBook Pro that we all loved.

But it starts at $2,000. And for most people, it’s a waste of money.

Lifestyle image of someone using the new Macbook Pro 2021.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

I understand the temptation. We all love the idea of owning the latest and greatest gadgets, especially on the Apple front. You want the slickest design and the most cutting-edge technology.

And between the Liquid Retina XDR screen, the extended port selection, and improved webcam, there are some quality-of-life benefits that almost everyone will appreciate.

I don’t want to downplay those features, but if you’re like me, you don’t actually need a MacBook Pro as much as you might pretend you do. I spend most of my time in a web browser, not in Blender or even Adobe Premiere Pro. I don’t usually even connect to more than one external monitor.

That’s where the MacBook Air comes into play, which is $1,000 cheaper than the new MacBook Pro. Thanks to the M1, the MacBook Air is a surprisingly powerful little laptop, especially if your workflow doesn’t involve heavy creative applications. And for the occasional dips into Photoshop or even Logic, the MacBook Air is surprisingly adequate at handling the workload — all while being completely fanless.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

This isn’t how things used to be. Before the M1, the MacBook Air was a sadly underpowered device. Even a Zoom call would get the low-wattage CPU all flustered. That couldn’t be different with the M1 MacBook Air. It remains so good that it even undercuts the 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 that Apple still sells.

The old 13-inch MacBook Pro was always one of Apple’s hottest sellers because it attracted the hobbyist or student audience. It didn’t actually have the performance to back up the “Pro” label — but it was an aspirational product that made the hobbyist or student feel like they were playing in the big leagues. This type of laptop is important — in fact, it’s key to Apple’s entire ethos.

The only thing that’s changed? That audience can now safely buy the much cheaper MacBook Air, and find everything they need in a laptop.

From the looks of it, Apple has finally made the MacBook Pro a true “Pro” laptop. And for most of people, that means it’s not for you.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Larsen
Senior Editor, Computing
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
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