Whether you’re making the jump into the Apple ecosystem or updating from an older machine, picking up a new Mac can be a great way to supercharge your productivity. How do you decide which type of Mac is right for you? With so many options to choose from, as well as different types of Macs, finding one that fits your setup and delivers everything you need can be tricky.
If you’re going to pick up a new Mac, then going with a MacBook can have some distinct advantages over Apple’s desktop options. Don’t get us wrong, all of these machines are perfectly capable of doing what you need them to do, but there are some places where Apple’s laptops shine brighter than the iMac and other desktop machines. As such, here are five great reasons to choose a MacBook over a desktop Mac the next time you upgrade.
It almost goes without saying that one of the biggest advantages to choosing a MacBook is portability. The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are extremely easy to pick up and transport and they are perfect for anyone who finds themselves traveling for work, or is just looking for a way to be able to move from a desk to a kitchen counter or even a couch. Apple does have desktops that are relatively light and easy to move–and apparently, using an iMac as a portablecomputer is a thing. You don’t have to be like that.
MacBooks come in multiple sizes. You can go with the 13-inch MacBook Air for ultimate portability; it’s Apple’s thinnest and lightest laptop. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is a tad thicker, but not by much, and if you grab a bigger 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro, you’ll have more of a load to bear, but you’ll also have a powerful pro-centric computer. But all of Apple’s laptops are extremely light, portable, and ready to get up and go.
When Apple featured Intel processors in all of its Macs, desktop Macs offered more processing power than a MacBook. Laptops have more limitations to work with due to the need to keep the device at workable temperatures, which meant the Intel processor could only go so fast.
But now Macs feature the M1 family of chips, and it’s a lot easier to figure out the performance differences because now, a desktop and laptop Mac that use the same M1-series processor have the same processing speed. For example, the M1-based MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac mini all have the same CPU—MacBooks are no longer slower than desktop Macs and you can truly take the performance of a desktop Mac anywhere you go.
When we say using an M1 series MacBook is like taking one of the most powerful desktop computers in the world and putting it on your lap, it’s not an exaggeration. Apple’s M1-series MacBooks outclass most of the Intel-based desktops the company has ever released. M1 MacBooks are so powerful now, that a MacBook can serve as your main computer. Even if you need more power than the M1 offers, the newer MacBook Pros with the M1 Pro and M1 Max deliver unprecedented performance that’s faster than any desktop Mac except the top-of-the-line Mac Studio.
Apple has always made fantastic displays, but the latest MacBooks take them to the next level with crisp visuals and colors that pop, especially on the new MacBook Pros. Together with the power of the M1 chip, professionals–or really anyone in general–can enjoy creating new content like photos and artwork with a fantastic screen that doesn’t compromise. And it’s not too bad for watching movies either.
On the other hand, the iMac is the only desktop Mac that comes with a display, and though it is a very good one, it doesn’t compare to the MacBook Pro’s Liquid Retina XDR display. And if you want to hook up an external display, you can do that too, with the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro allowing a second display and the MacBook Pros letting you connect three.
Freedom from the power outlet
It’s not just the ability to travel—sometimes you just want to work on your couch or on the porch. Since MacBooks have a built-in battery, you don’t have to be tethered to a power outlet, which is necessary with a desktop Mac. If it’s a beautiful day outside and you’re feeling inspired by it, you can take the MacBook with you. Even with a nice setup, you just can’t do that with a desktop Mac—well, you can, but you’ll need a really long extension cord or a portable power source.
A great thing about Apple’s updated M1 MacBooks is the improved battery life, and the M1 is much more power efficient than the old Intel processors that Apple used to use. The MacBook Air offers 15 hours of wireless web use, the 13-inch MacBook Pro offers 17 hours, the 14-inch MacBook Pro offers 17 hours, and even the crazy-fast 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Max offers 14 hours. That’s more than enough juice to get you through the day, without having to worry about lugging a charger around or even think about where the outlets are.
A great typing experience
Typing is a big part of working on a computer, so having a good keyboard makes all the difference in the world. Response time, overall sound, and just the general size and layout of the keyboard included in the MacBook makes it easy to fall in love with working from your laptop, even if you’re used to the larger keyboards found connected to many desktop computers. Since every MacBook has a fantastic Magic Keyboard, your fingers won’t want to use any other keyboard.
The MacBook trackpad is the built-in device for moving the pointer, making selections, and other ways to interface with macOS. Apple set the standard for trackpads with its excellent feel, durability, and versatility. It’s the right size and the right feel, and you won’t find a better mouse or trackpad anywhere else.
MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
Price When Reviewed:
$999 (256GB) | $1,249 (512GB)