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Which MacBook should I buy?

By Tom Morgan

Which MacBook is right for you? What's the difference between the MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro? Our expert Apple laptop guide can help.

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Apple laptops aren't cheap, so it's important that you consider your MacBook options carefully before parting with your cash.

We thoroughly test every Apple MacBook on the market to see which models are worthy of a Best Buy title. Only the laptops with dazzling displays, solid speakers and brilliant battery life are good enough.

We take a look at the key differences between the MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro ranges, so you can be confident that you're buying the right Mac for you.

Which MacBooks impressed our experts? See if any joined our Best Buy laptops.

Which MacBook should I buy?

Apple MacBook Air 13

Apple MacBook Air 13
Today's best price £799.00
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Reviewed Nov 2016
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The MacBook Air 13 has a larger display than the Air 11, but does a bigger screen make for a better laptop?

We sent this MacBook to our test lab to see what it’s like to use and whether it'll last you a full day between charges.

Apple MacBook Air 11

Apple MacBook Air 11
Today's best price £749.00
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Reviewed Apr 2015
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The smallest in the family, the MacBook Air 11 has now been discontinued by the Apple Store. You can still find them, but are they still worth tracking down if you don't want to pay for a newer model?

We tested the MacBook Air 11 to see how battery life shapes up, also taking a close look at the laptop's key built-in features and overall design.

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
Typical price £1,749.00
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Reviewed Mar 2017
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This MacBook Pro is the first Apple laptop to feature the unique Touch Bar, but is the eye-watering £1,749 price justified?

Take a look at our MacBook Pro first look review for more on what to expect.

Apple MacBook Pro without Touch Bar

Apple MacBook Pro without Touch Bar
Typical price £1,449.00
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Reviewed Dec 2016
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It's one of the most expensive MacBook models that money can buy, so how did this MacBook Pro cope in our test lab?

See if this MacBook did enough to earn the Best Buy title in our full MacBook Pro review.

Apple MacBook

Apple MacBook
Today's best price £949.00
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Reviewed Nov 2016
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With its simply named MacBook, Apple has made an extremely light and portable laptop that you can use anywhere, any time.

But is Apple's latest MacBook worth its hefty price tag? We sent it to our test lab to find out.

MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro?

Apple's latest MacBook (with no Air or Pro in the name) model features a 12-inch high quality 'Retina' screen. It introduced a new rose-gold option to the range, available with an M3 or M5 chip. It's lightweight at around 1kg, although the MacBook Air range is cheaper. To see what we thought of the newest MacBook, head over to our MacBook review.

Apple's MacBook Air laptops are all about portability. They're thinner and lighter than the MacBook Pro laptops, but not the 12-inch MacBook, which is the thinnest of the range. The Air models are still ideal if you like to work on the move. Apple's cheapest option is the 13-inch MacBook Air. It has a fast core i5 processor, 4GB of Ram and 128GB of storage. Head over to our MacBook Air 13 review to see how this laptop coped in our test lab.

If you've got a big budget, you might have your eyes on a MacBook Pro. These are the most expensive Apple laptops around, and the newest model has a unique Touch Bar. This feature lives right above the keyboard, and it's a mini touchscreen that will display changing information, depending on what you're doing. If you're editing home videos in Final Cut, for example, the Touch Bar will turn into a mini timeline that lets you quickly navigate through your clips. If you're interested in the top-of-the-range model, see our MacBook Pro with Touch Bar review.

See our full collection of MacBook reviews to see how else these models differ.

Mac vs PCs

Windows remains the most popular operating system in the world, so clearly Microsoft is doing something right. There are hundreds of models to consider, from budget-priced notebooks to premium touchscreen laptops running the latest version of Windows 10. Microsoft's computers let you run popular software like Microsoft Office, although they're more often targeted virus creators. You're less likely to end up with a virus if you decide to go for a Mac.

MacBooks run smoothly and can keep viruses at bay, but they aren't cheap.

Apple's MacOS boasts a clean, modern-looking interface. Laptops from Apple come pre-loaded with software including iTunes and video editing apps. However, unless you're buying a used model or taking advantage of a generous sale, you'll have to set aside lots of money for a new Apple laptop. Officially, the cheapest MacBook is the 13-inch Air model, at £959, though the older 11-inch Air can still be tracked down for a bit less.

Explore more differences between Microsoft and Apple computers with our full Mac vs PC advice guide.

What do I need to know about MacOS?

MacOS Sierra is the latest version of Apple's operating system, and it adds a host of clever features to Apple's laptops. With Sierra installed, you'll be able to access your documents across your Mac, iPad and iPhone. Save files to your desktop, download the iCloud mobile app and you'll see that content pop up on your iPhone. This latest addition is great if you need quick access to files on your computer.

Siri is also a big talking point - literally. The voice assistant, which was previously only available on iPad and iPhone, is now found on Apple's MacBook family. You can speak at your computer's built-in microphone and have Siri run web searches, check your schedule, save reminders and more.

Sierra now offers Touch ID fingerprint login on the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Apple Watch pairing and updates to many of the standard apps. Out of the box, Apple laptops arrive with several apps pre-installed. The full list includes the likes of Pages (for documents), Final Cut (for video editing) and Garageband (a free music-making tool).

MacOS Sierra runs on MacBook Pro (2010 and later), MacBook Air (2010 and later) and MacBook.

Need more help picking the perfect laptop for you? See our full laptop reviews.

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