Update, 05/13/2022: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and are confident that these are still the best MacBooks you can get.
What to look for on your MacBook in 2022
Apple has completed the transition from Intel to Apple Silicon for the entire MacBook series. All modern MacBooks sold by Apple come with an Apple M1, M1 Pro or M1 Max chip. These Macs have a long battery life, run cool and quiet, and are still incredibly fast. They have excellent build quality, great support from Apple, and in general, they are just excellent laptops.
MacBooks run Apple’s MacOS instead of Windows. Many programs support Macs, including productivity basics such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. However, if you are thinking of switching from PC to Mac, it is worth checking that the software you need will work on your Mac before you get it. For example, most computer games only run on Windows, and even if you get a MacBook with a powerful graphics device, it won’t work on a Mac.
These Apple Silicon-based Macs can still run older software written for the Intel Mac. However, they will perform better when working with software optimized for the M1 Mac. By the end of 2021, many popular third-party programs, including Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, and Google Chrome, will have local support for Apple Silicon. You can even install iPhone and iPad apps on your M1 Mac!
If you have an Intel Mac, it will still perform well and will continue to work for years to come, but we do not recommend purchasing a processor architecture that is on the way out. You can still find Intel-based MacBooks left for sale in some third-party stores, but we recommend buying a modern MacBook with Apple Silicon.
The new Apple M1 chip architecture has many advantages over optimized software other than a large increase in performance. These include significantly improved power and thermal efficiency for longer battery life and a cooler circuit, faster integrated RAM, and integrated GPU cores ahead of any Intel-based graphics solution.
However, it is worth noting that Apple Silicon-based MacBooks do not support Boot Camp. You cannot install Windows on an M1 MacBook. (However, you can’t install Windows 11 on an Intel MacBook without a solution.) However, you can use Parallels or CodeWeavers Crossover for Mac to run the Windows application on the M1 Mac.
Now let’s move on to the best MacBooks you can get on the market.
- ✓ The M1 Pro chipset means monster performance
- ✓ The MagSafe connector can save your laptop
- ✓ Charging via Thunderbolt is still supported
- ✓ The HDMI port and SDXC ports are useful for professionals
- ✗ More expensive than the 13-inch MacBook Pro
- ✗ Maximum 32 GB of memory compared to 64 GB on M1 Max chips
- ✗ The M1 is less portable than the MacBook Air
The best portable Apple computer is a 14-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro chipset. It’s more expensive than the 13-inch MacBook Pro that worked with the M1 last year, but even if you put the processing power aside, it’s an improvement in every way.
First, ports. Apple is slowly regaining its position on the Thunderbolt, and has brought back the MagSafe connectors for power so that your laptop doesn’t fall off the table when someone goes over the power cord.
The company has also added an HDMI port and SD card slot for better size. Very malicious TouchBar and replaced it with more standard function keys, but you still get the TouchID sensor.
Compared to the 8-core CPU / GPU M1 in the 13-inch model, the M1 Pro chip in the 14-inch MacBook Pro has an 8-core CPU and a 14-core GPU. This model also starts with 16 GB of single memory, which means it is more durable than the smaller MacBook.
The 14-inch MacBook Pro also features a Liquid Retina XDR display. This display not only looks fantastic, but is especially useful when editing HDR video.
If you’re looking for a little more power, you can upgrade to a $ 200 10-core CPU, a 14-core GPU M1 Pro chip, or a $ 300 10-core CPU, a 16-core GPU M1 Pro for $ 300. Memory starts at 512 GB, but you can upgrade the SSD to 8 TB, but it will cost you more.
- ✓ Fast, efficient performance thanks to the M1 chip
- ✓ The smallest, lightest Apple notebook
- ✓ Beautiful Retina display
- ✓ Excellent 18-hour battery life
- ✗ Lack of cooling means that thermal adjustment occurs faster than on a MacBook Pro
- ✗ Only two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
The 13-inch MacBook Air with M1 chip starts at $ 999 for the base model, so if you’re looking for an entry-level MacBook, you can save on the best overall choice. The MacBook Air retains its iconic wedge-shaped form factor, but is now completely silent as there are no fans inside.
The M1 MacBook Air base has the same 8 CPU cores as the higher-end models, but only 7 GPU cores. If you don’t think you can use visually demanding programs like video editors or games, this is a great way to save money. If you don’t want to sacrifice graphics performance, you can opt for the MacBook Air’s 8-core GPU version for an additional $ 250 at the time of payment.
The lack of a fan means that the MacBook Pro will not run under load until the thermal regulation of the MacBook Air is activated. True, if you are looking for a budget laptop, you are most likely looking for only light performance and productivity. browse the internet, so this is not a big concern.
The MacBook Air still has excellent battery life, with Apple charging it in 18 hours on a single charge. The 13.3-inch Retina display covers the full P3 wide color gamut, although it’s not as bright as the MacBook Pro and doesn’t have a touchpad on the keyboard. Touch ID is available and allows you to log in using your fingerprint or allow changes and payments. It’s not the most accurate, but it’s a great addition to MacBooks.
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The best budget option
- ✓ The M1 chip is fast and efficient
- ✓ Perfect for most college-related tasks like word processing and internet browsing
- ✓ Battery life all day
- ✓ Perfect weight and thickness to carry around campus
- ✗ The lack of cooling makes the MacBook Air M1 less suitable for difficult tasks
- ✗ MacBook Pro can be better for video editing, music creation, 3D applications
The 13-inch MacBook Air with M1 chip is perfect for most students who use their computers to write articles, research assignments, and communicate with classmates and tutors.
It’s smaller and lighter than the comparable MacBook Pro at 0.2 pounds (which makes more difference than you might think) and still manages battery life all day. It’s nice to look at a screen with a high pixel density, clear text and colors.
Not to mention that the M1 is $ 300 cheaper than the MacBook Pro! You can also use the higher education discount in the Apple Store for a deeper discount.
Conversely, if you think you can use your computer for more advanced video or photo editing, you can limit your MacBook Air. Instead, the M1 MacBook Pro will provide you with an additional GPU core and better cooling so that you can run your computer under load for longer without being subjected to thermal penalties. Whether Pro is worth upgrading depends on your core and extracurricular activities, but if you need a little more processing power, you’ll want to switch to Pro.
Any MacBook can be made more useful and productive with the right accessories. If you want more space to view multiple documents or websites at the same time, a decent budget monitor can change the world. Something like the Dell S2721QS will provide 4K real estate for less than $ 300.
If you type a lot, you may want to invest in a mechanical keyboard. These peripherals have higher durability, are more comfortable to write on, and can make you a better typist.
Best for students
- ✓ The M1 Pro even has enough power for most games
- ✓ Upgrading to M1 Max is only $ 200
- ✓ Incredible battery life
- ✓ Native games and applications are fast
- ✗ macOS games are not as widespread as Windows games
- ✗ There is no Boot Camp to run Windows games
- ✗ Windows is much more expensive than gaming laptops
This is an exciting time to play games on Apple computers, and if you want to save energy and own an Apple, a 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip is the best choice for you.
The announcement of the M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets for MacBook Pro models caused a lot of noise. For every article claiming that new laptops have taken back the Pro, called the MacBook Pro, there was another article claiming that these models are still not for gaming.
The fact is that Apple no longer sells new Mac laptops with Intel chipsets. The future, as Apple sees it, is on its chips. On the one hand, this means that you will not be able to buy a new Intel MacBook Pro and install Windows, but on the other hand, it may lead developers to focus on games designed for Apple chipsets.
Developers have been developing games for Apple Silicon in the form of iPhone and iPad games for years. This means that even if your favorite big developer doesn’t ship a Mac game this year, we’re likely to start seeing more games using Apple’s M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, which makes it a valuable upgrade.
In terms of features, the 16-inch MacBook Pro, equipped with the M1 Pro, will handle everything you can throw at it with a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, plus 16 GB of RAM. The 512 GB SSD is priced at $ 2499, but you can upgrade from $ 200 to 1TB. If you are also a creative professional or are eager for all the power you can get, you may want to upgrade to the M1 Max version for another $ 200.
The best MacBook for gaming
MacBook Pro 16 inches (M1 Pro, 2021)
Equipped with the M1 Pro, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is one of the most powerful laptops you can buy right now. If you need an M1 Max chip, it is available as an upgrade option.