Tech

Apple MacBook Pro 14-Inch (2021) vs. 16-Inch (2021) vs. 13-Inch (M1, 2020) vs. Air (M1, 2020) – Which One Should You Buy?

By Novak Bozovic / October 20, 2021

As you must have heard by now, Apple has introduced two new MacBook Pro models. The new notebooks are powered by the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, presenting the first iteration of the company’s M1 chip, still available in some computers. With that said, we’ll make it easier for you to decide which MacBook to buy by comparing the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) vs. 16-inch (2021) vs. 13-inch (M1, 2021) vs. Air (M1, 2020). Here's all you need to know.

MacBook Pro 14-Inch (2021) vs. 16-Inch (2021) vs. 13-Inch (2020) vs. Air (2020) - Specs & Features! 

The best way to compare the newly introduced MacBook Pros (powered by the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips) to the last year’s MacBook Pro and MacBook Air is to check their specs, side by side. So, you’ll want to take a very close look at the following table. 

  MacBook Pro 14-Inch (2021) MacBook Pro 16-Inch (2021) MacBook Pro 13-Inch (2020) MacBook Air (2020)
Chip M1 Pro / M1 Max M1 Pro / M1 Max M1 M1
CPU Cores Up to 10 cores Up to 10 cores 8 cores 8 cores
GPU Cores Up to 32 cores Up to 32 cores 8 cores 8 cores
RAM Up to 64GB Up to 64GB Up to 16GB Up to 16GB
Storage Up to 8TB Up to 8TB Up to 2TB Up to 2TB
Display Size 14.2-inch 16.2-inch 13.3-inch 13.3-inch
Display Type Liquid Retina XDR Liquid Retina XDR Retina Retina
Display Resolution 3024 x 1964 3456 x 2234 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1600
Display Brightness Up to 1000 nits Up to 1000 nits Up to 500 nits Up to 400 nits
120Hz ProMotion YES YES NO NO
FaceTime Camera 1080p 1080p 720p 720p
Audio 6 speakers 6 speaks 2 speakers 2 speakers
Touch Bar NO NO YES NO
Touch ID YES YES YES YES
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
USB-C Ports 3 3 2 2
HDMI Port 1 1 0 0
SDXC Port 1 1 0 0
Battery Up to 17 hours Up to 21 hours Up to 20 hours Up to 18 hours
Colors Gray, Silver Gray, Silver Gray, Silver Gray, Silver, Gold
Starting Price $1,999 $2,499 $1,299 $999

First of All, Should You Buy a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air? 

As you can see from the table above, the 2020 MacBook Air (M1) brings close to identical specs to the 2020 MacBook Pro (M1). They offer the same performance, but the MacBook Air has a lower brightness screen, a slightly different design, somewhat less powerful speakers, and its battery life is "limited" to 18 hours. 

With that said, your first decision should be to think about whether you should get the 2020 MacBook Air or the 2020 MacBook Pro. If you don’t care about a bright display or having the best possible speakers, the 2020 MacBook Air will make you very happy. However, if you can add $300 to your budget, don’t hesitate to get the 2020 MacBook Pro. 

Which MacBook Pro Should You Get in 2021? A 13-, 14-, or 16-Inch Model? 

So, if you’ve decided that perhaps a MacBook Pro is what you want, you have three models to choose from right now. The most affordable option is the 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro, priced at $1,299. As explained above, that model offers a nice step forward compared to the most affordable MacBook (the 2020 MacBook Air). 

However, if you want to future-proof your purchase and if your budget is flexible, make sure to pay attention to the 2020 MacBook Pro models, which come in two display sizes (14- and 16-inch). Both of those are highly configurable machines. Still, the main difference is in their display size and resolution, as well as their battery life. Everything else can be configured as per your needs. 

To take a deeper dive into whether it’s worth buying the new 2021 MacBook Pros, use the provided link. That’s where you’ll find a more direct comparison between the two Pro models.

So, which MacBook has captured your attention? What do you think about Apple’s current lineup of notebooks? Let us know via the comments section below. Thanks for reading!



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