Is MacBook Air Or Pro Better For College?

Even though we may be in difficult times, it is becoming increasingly exciting to search for a new MacBook for college. Apple has been hard at work on the latest M1 chips.

The news about ultra-portable ultrabooks, also known as Apple Silicon chip or M1, has brought new life to the performance and battery life ratio.

It is ideal for college students because Apple Silicon chips are able to maximize performance while consuming very little power.

This article will give you in-depth information on Apple’s M1 chips, and the reasons why it is the best processor for choosing a MacBook to use in college.

Because this is the question I get asked most, I decided to write about it. This email was one example of this:

Hello, dear friend!
I can’t decide what to buy for my girlfriend as a gift: MBP or MBA 256 GB. Although my girlfriend needs nothing but a browser, easy photo editing, office work, and movie watching. I want my computer to last longer and given the trends in application development, it may be more profitable to take on more power, as the power consumption of applications increases every year. What do you think?

Scroll to the bottom to find out what the guy bought.

Which MacBook is the Best for College Students?

The MacBook Air (M1, 2020), is the most popular choice for students due to its portability and long battery life. It runs on Apple’s M1 chip which allows it to compete with AMD and Intel’s fastest chips with virtually no compromises.

The MacBook Air (M1) is capable of handling any task, and will effortlessly navigate through all tasks with ease.

It’s lightweight at 2.8 lbs and can withstand 18 hours of continuous academic work.

It can handle all students’ average needs like word processing and web research.

We can recommend different MacBooks depending on what you need as a college student.

The MacBook Air (M1) is, in general, undoubtedly, the best MacBook for college students. However, it’s also a great choice for multimedia arts students, student programmers, and those who want a more balanced performance.

There are many configurations that might be the best for you.

Difference between MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

The primary difference between Apple’s MacBook Pro and MacBook Air is that the MacBook Pro has an active cooling system, while the MacBook Pro has a fan to cool its CPU.

Because it doesn’t have a fan, the MacBook Air is lighter than the MacBook Pro.

Instead, it uses MacBook’s Aluminum Apple UniBody chassis technology. This dissipates heat and keeps the CPU cool, even when it is under heavy load.

Apple’s low-powered silicon chips (M1) make this possible. The MacBook Air can handle heavy tasks with minimal heat, making fans obsolete.

The MacBook Pro is able to maintain its peak performance while performing heavy tasks without CPU heat.

What are Apple’s M1 Chips?

Let’s start with the basics: What is all the fuss over Apple’s M1 MacBooks.

Apple’s new ARM-based SoC chip is now available. Also known as the Apple Silicon M1 Chips (M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max), it has been shown to be more efficient with lower power consumption than other Intel-based Mac devices.

Apple optimized the M1 chips to work in macOS. This allows every software program to run smoothly in macOS.

This is a significant advantage for laptop users as it means a longer battery life and no compromise on computing performance.

Which MacBook is the Best for You?

MacBook Air (M1) is, of course, the best choice for college students.

It can run multiple processes at once, so you won’t have to worry about power consumption, especially when you are working on a project or conference call.

Apple has also removed the Butterfly keyboard from its previous MacBook models. This means that typing on the Magic Keyboard can give you a new sense of joy when using a MacBook.

The MacBook Air (M1) might not be able to handle more complex tasks like 3D rendering or video editing. There is no one-size-fits all MacBook.

Although it is true that it is the best option for most college students it will not be suitable for all fields of study.

Apple offers a variety of MacBook configurations and versions that will satisfy different needs.

Apple MacBooks can be used in a variety of situations, from screen size to graphics requirements.

This section will discuss different configurations and specifications that are best for college students.

Best for Most College Students: 13-inch MacBook Air

Is MacBook Air Or Pro Better For College?
MacBook Air 13″

MacBook Air M1 base model specifications:

  • Processor and Graphics: Apple M1 chip, 8-core CPU with an integrated 7-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine
  • Memory: 8GB (up to 16GB)
  • Storage: 256GB SSD (up to 2TB)
  • Battery: 49.9-watt-hour li-polymer battery (18 hours of watch time)
  • Display: 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 native resolution IPS display with 400 nits of brightness
  • Weight: 1.29 kg

Reliable all-rounder

Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air with an M1 chip is unbeatable, as we have discussed.

Its base model is more than sufficient to meet your daily requirements.

The base model is a good investment as it can be supported for at least five years before being unsupported by future macOS versions.

Maximum portability

The M1 MacBook Air’s portability makes it an exceptional device. This small, lightweight, and portable device can be carried almost anywhere. A 13-inch device will fit in almost any backpack and is the best option for college students.


Its main selling point is its portability. This means it will always have limited ports.

As with previous MacBook Air models, the 13-inch MacBook Air (M1,2020) will force you to live the dongle lifestyle.

Only 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB4 ports are available on the M1 MacBook Air, and only one headphone jack.

This can be seen in Apple’s use USB-C Thunderbolt ports for charging, data transfer, and connecting to external displays. It will encourage more manufacturers to adopt a universal approach to cable connections.

However, devices falling under these categories are still moving closer to this universal approach. Devices that use USB Type-A can still be used by anyone, even full-sized or mini-HDMI, and Displayport ports.

Further aggravating your frustration is the absence of an SD Card reader. However, to be fair, there are only so many ports that can fit in a device measuring.63 inches.

Best for Power User Students: 16-inch MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro 16″

16-inch MacBook Pro base model specifications:

  • Processor and Graphics: Choose from newest M1 Pro and M1 Max
  • Dedicated GPU: Choose between 16, 24 and 32-core GPU
  • Memory: 32GB (up to 64GB)
  • Storage 1 TB SSD (up to 8TB)
  • Battery: 100-watt-hour li-polymer battery (14 hours of watch time)
  • Display: 16-inch, 3456-by-2234 native resolution at 254 pixels per inch with 1000 nits of brightness
  • Weight: 2.1 – 2.2 kg (4.7 – 4.8 lbs)

Main Features

Graphic processing capabilities are essential for multimedia arts students and other university majors.

These students require a larger screen that is brighter and more visible without sacrificing color accuracy or screen real estate.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the ideal choice for students who plan to primarily do video or photo editing on their Macs.

The MacBook Pro 16′ has two CPU configurations, M1 Pro or M1 Max. M1 Pro can run up to 2.5x faster than the first-generation M1 and M1 Max up to 4x faster than M1.

Power Multitasker

This MacBook is capable of graphic-intensive tasks like heavy photo and video editing.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro has a dedicated GPU which can handle all of the graphics processes. This ensures that simultaneous tasks run smoothly and don’t overload your CPU.

You can edit videos in 4K and large numbers of RAW photos. The touch bar can be added to the design of this device.

Large Screen Size

A 16-inch screen size makes it possible to show more content. The bright, large screen with thin bezels and a native resolution of 3456 x 23434 (almost 4K), can make the project timeline interactive and more user-friendly for video editing.

You can save time by having large chunks of information already displayed on your screen.

This design functionality is beneficial for graphic design students.

Great Color Accuracy

The 16-inch MacBook Pro has a 100% sRGB display and 91% Adobe RGB. It offers excellent color accuracy due to its wide color gamut.

The large screen makes it perfect for photo editing and illustration. This allows you to have great control over the color of your projects.


The 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 is too large for portability due to its size. Although it might be possible to fit it in a large backpack, it is the largest of our three MacBooks best for college students.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 weighs in at 2kg, making it heavy to carry around. It is partly due to the large battery that it has.

It has a larger battery pack that lasts 100 watts, but it has the longest battery life. This is because it uses a larger screen to provide power for its wake time.

This MacBook also has the highest power consumption of all three MacBooks.

Best for Money For College Students: 13-inch MacBook Pro

macbook pro 13
MacBook Pro 13″

13-inch MacBook Pro M1 base model specifications:

  • Processor and Graphics: Apple M1 Chip, 8-Core CPU with an integrated 8-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine
  • Memory: 8GB (up to 16GB)
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD (up to 2 TB)
  • Battery: 58.2-watt-hour li-polymer battery (20hrs of watch time)
  • Display: 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 native resolution IPS display, with 500 nits of brightness)
  • Weight: 1.4 kg

The All-Rounder Budget

The 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 can do it all.

It looks almost identical to the M1 MacBook Air at first glance.

This is only for students who want to spend more money on additional power but not for their budget.

Students who want the power and portability of the MacBook Air but still need the extra punch of the 16-inch MacBook Pro are best suited for this model.

Difference between the 16-inch MacBook Pro and the 14-inch MacBook Pro

The 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 is also a great option, as it’s much less expensive.

These two options are completely different. A 14-inch MacBook Pro can have 64GB RAM, 8TB storage and M1 Pro or M1 Max CPU. There are tons of expansion slots, compared to the two USB-C ports on an old MBP 13.

The 16-inch MBP is the same as the 14” but has a larger screen. If you ask me, I see no point in Waste You shouldn’t spend more than 16″ on a laptop if you plan to use it with a second monitor. Apple used to place larger CPUs into bigger laptops. But that is no longer the case.

Differentiation from the 13-inch MacBook Air, M1, 2020

The MacBook Pro M1 is different from the 13-inch MacBook Air M1, 2020. It has a CPU fan, or active cooling system. This allows it to run at a higher temperature and be more stable.

Technically, the MacBook Air is “fanless,” which means that the 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 can provide better performance and less throttling.

The MacBook Pro 13-inch has better speakers, longer battery life, and a touchbar that the MacBook Air doesn’t have.

Who is the 13-inch MacBook Pro really meant for?

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is designed for students who are interested in technology.

It can be used by graphic designers on a limited budget as it has a wide color range for projects that require high color accuracy.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 is the perfect laptop for those who want to keep their MacBook portable and have more processing power, as well as a longer battery life.


It has the same drawbacks as the M1 MacBook Air. You will need to use dongles when you require full-sized cables for your peripherals. It only has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and one headphone socket.

Best Portable Powerful MacBook: 14-inch MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro 14″

This is the latest addition to the MacBook Pro range.

The difference between MacBook Air 13” and MBP 13′ was minimal. Now, the 14′” laptop has been completely redesigned. It’s the best Apple laptop yet.

It’s as if Apple has finally returned to its roots. The new MagSafe charger, HDMI, SDXC slot and a 1080p camera were all returned. There are also three USB-C ports. Even more similar to the 2015 model, it even has three USB-C ports.

However, it is very expensive. The base model starts at $2000 and is twice as expensive as the base MacBook Air.

Ok, which MacBook is best for me?

  • A 1 3-inch MacBook Air is the best choice for college students who use their computer primarily to do word processing and research.
  • 14-inch MacBook Pro is the best choice for students of animation, multimedia arts, and graphic design.
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro is the best choice for students who are either a developer or an illustrator.

How to save on MacBook

There are multiple ways to save on new and used MacBooks, and I wrote a lengthy post describing my favorite money-saving tips.

Best Time to Buy a MacBook

Here, I want to mention two of my favorite tricks.

Education pricing

Apple loves students and offers special discounts to them. You can save as much as $100 with educational pricing. It takes less than 5 minutes to order a MacBook.

What if the student has not yet been to college and doesn’t have an email address with extension? All retailers offering student discounts require this.

What if you wish to surprise a college student but don’t have the funds?

The good news is that Apple doesn’t require you to prove your eligibility for educational pricing. All those tips were covered in my blog post so I won’t repeat them here.

Best purchase

Best Buy has the best MacBook deals I have seen online. Occasionally, I see similar sales on B&H Photo, but even then Best Buy beats them.|I occasionally see similar sales at B&H Photo but even then, Best Buy is the best.} Waiting for deals that occur every 2-3 weeks, usually on weekends, is the key to getting great deals. Last weekend, for example, the store offered $200 off the latest MacBook Air.

Be aware that you must verify the model number of Apple products before shopping on non-Apple websites.

Two deals were available on MBA at Best Buy, for example. Which one should you buy?

Two prices for MacBook Air

Two prices for MacBook Air

In the above picture, you can see that $899 MBA model is MVFH2LL/A while $849 is MRE82LL/A.

You can see that the 2019 model which starts with MVF was released, while the 2018 model which begins with MRE was launched in 2018. We now know that the store sells both a 2018 and a 2019 model for $849, respectively.

Last Thoughts

The final decision on the best MacBook for college is based on how you use it.

It is usually determined by what program you are enrolled in and what your computer is used for. The MacBook Air is the best MacBook because it has more than enough power and flexibility. If you don’t have any demanding tasks that require high processing power, this is the machine to start looking at.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 is next in line. It can deliver more peak performance for mixed use of light-to-medium-process loads, while still maintaining its portability.

The 14-inch MacBook is the best option for maximum performance. It can run as many computing processes as you need, including machine learning and digital content creation.

If you are looking for something more powerful, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is for you. It can be your companion and will take you anywhere you need.

It may be more difficult to choose the MacBook that you want, at this time when Apple’s Silicon Chips are gradually being rolled out to newer MacBooks.

For those interested in the final decision of my reader, he chose to use MBP. His decision was based on two factors: his girlfriend loved Touch Bar and he wanted the most power possible.

My MacBook Air is my favorite. It runs very fast and doesn’t make fan noise, which can be annoying when using MBP.

Check out other posts: