MacBook, Air, or Pro? Which Apple Laptop You Should Choose – Yahoo Tech

What to buy: If size and weight are your key criteria, then your best option is without a doubt the new MacBook. Not only is it lightweight; it’s incredibly slim. You will forget that you’ve got it in your bag.

Screen

The new MacBook is the only Apple laptop available in just one screen size, 12 inches. That puts it right between the 11-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Air. The MacBook Pro is available in 13-inch and 15-inch models.

But screen size isn’t everything. The new MacBook comes with a high-resolution Retina display, meaning that the MacBook has a sharper, better-looking screen than either model of MacBook Air, both of which which have lower-resolution panels.

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The MacBook Pro is available with or without a Retina display. If screen sharpness is important to you, the extra cash for the Retina is worth it.

What to buy: Apple’s Retina display is absolutely gorgeous at any size. But the MacBook’s 12-inch screen is on the small side. If you want a display that’s relatively large and looks great, you’ll want to go with either the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display or the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

Performance

One way Apple was able to make the MacBook so thin was by using one of Intel’s new Core M processors. The chip uses less power than the Core i processors found in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, which means that it also produces less heat. Which means no fans. Which means smaller.

The Core M processor also sips power compared with a Core i chip, so the MacBook should run longer than the MacBook Air.

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The downside is that the Core M processor isn’t particularly powerful. In fact, running processor-intensive apps such as photo and video editors next to the Core i-powered MacBook Air, the MacBook looks as though it’s standing still.

That’s not something you generally want in a $1,300 laptop.

But the MacBook isn’t meant to be a performance machine. This is a supersmall laptop designed for people on the go who want something they can use for basic word processing, Web browsing, and video streaming.

It goes without saying that the high-powered MacBook Pro easily tops the MacBook.

What to buy: The MacBook’s Core M processor is fine for Web browsing and streaming movies, but if you need your laptop to do heavy lifting, you’ll want the Core i-powered MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.

Battery life

Inside, the MacBook is mostly battery. Apple developed special layered batteries to fill the laptop’s superslim body. 

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As a result, the MacBook gets an impressive 9 hours of battery life. That’s about the same amount of time that Apple says its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro last on a charge.

What to buy: This round has to be a tie, as the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro each last about the same amount of time.

Ports

Here’s where things get interesting. The MacBook is one of the first computers to come with the new USB Type-C port. The port to end all ports, USB Type-C not only can transfer data but also can carry video and audio, as well as be used to power your laptop.

What’s more, USB Type-C is seriously small, so smartphone makers will eventually be using the port with their handsets. That means you’ll be able to use the same cable to power your laptop that you use to charge your smartphone. Oh, and USB Type-C is reversible. You can use either end of the cable and turn it any way you want; it will work.

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That’s all well and good, but a USB Type-C is all the MacBook has. Yes, a single port. Want to charge your computer and sync your iPhone at the same time? You’ll need to get a $79 adapter.

The MacBook Air has two USB 3 ports, an SD card slot, and a Thunderbolt port, while the MacBook Pro has two USB 3 ports, an SD card slot, and two Thunderbolt ports. 

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What to buy: If you’re the kind of person who does everything wirelessly, the MacBook is the laptop for you.

But if you need ports to connect your iPhone, printer, external mouse, or anything else you can think of while keeping your laptop charged, go with the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.

Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+.