There have been a lot of comparisons of the 2018 iPad Pro with Mac laptops. That seems strange since they are two entirely different beasts. What we haven’t seen as much of is the 2018 MacBook Air compared to other Mac laptops. There is so much confusion in the Mac lineup right now that the more obvious comparison is to something that is not even a laptop.
Apple Insider puts an end to all that, at least with regard to the MacBook Air and the similar MacBook Pro without Touch Bar.
“If you care about performance, especially graphics performance, and you sometimes use your MacBook outside, go for the MacBook Pro. If you absolutely must have the best battery life, then the MacBook Air is the obvious choice. It’s also the better option if you do a lot of typing every day, since it’s more comfortable and more reliable. To me, the front edge on the MacBook Pro isn’t bothersome and I love the larger trackpad.”
The cosmetic differences come down to the fact that the Air has that classic slope. While the Pro is squared off and very flat, like the new iPad Pro. It is only a quarter pound heavier. So that should not be a determining factor. Price should also probably not be a determining factor since they are just $100 apart. As for footprint, they are practically the same size.
The Pro has the clear advantage when it comes to performance. It definitely has $100 more performance. The Pro also outperforms in display technology. The color palette is greater, and the brightness is higher. It might be worth the $100 just for the brighter and more colorful display despite the fact that both are technically Retina. The Pro is more Retina than the Air. The speakers on the pro are also better. But music lovers will want to listen through headphones or an external speaker regardless.
The Air is not without its strengths. It does have Touch ID which is definitely a nice to have. It also has the T2 security chip which also handles “Hey Siri” functionality. With the Pro, you have to use a keyboard command.
Speaking of keyboards, here is where the real dealbreaker can come in. The third-generation butterfly switches on the Air are better than the second-generation keyboard on the Pro. It feels better to type on. The keys are quieter and provide more confident feedback. Long-form typists will likely prefer it.
Is that enough to tip the scales one way or the other? The MacBook Pro for just $100 more ticks off more of the check boxes. The extra power, faster charger, and better display give it the advantage. That said, if you are a fan of the Air’s styling and feel like the keyboard and Touch ID are most important to you, then you will be very happy with the 2018 MacBook Air.