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Updated: 13 May 2022

Best MacBooks for 2022

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

Whatever your budget, our lab tests reveal which models are worth your money and which aren't. See our expert pick of the best laptops for 2022.

Which MacBook should I buy? MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro

There are now four distinct models in the MacBook line-up. The MacBook Air is the cheapest, and there are three Pro models to choose from. The 13-inch model is the cheapest, lightest and smallest, and also uses the same Apple M1 processor as the MacBook Air, albeit with a cooling fan so it can perform faster for longer. 

There are also two higher-end Pro models, coming in 14- and 16-inch screen sizes. They are both similar when it comes to specifications, and include more than the two or four USB-C ports found on the Air and 13-inch Pro. You get an HDMI, SD card and the useful MagSafe charging port. In addition, the controversial Touch Bar touchscreen has been dropped for these two higher-end models.

The MacBook Air is the cheapest and lightest of the lot, and could be ideal for students who want a Mac but don't wan t while the 13-inch Pro sits comfortably in the mid-tier. The 14- and 16-inch models are very expensive, so will have to perform exceptionally well to justify a purchase from buyers who simply want a good laptop but don't need the raw power these machines offer. 

Below you can see our summary of the specs and promises of these top-tier laptops, or if you join Which? you’ll be able to access the full reviews to see how they fared.

  • Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020)

    Apple

    MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020)

    £1129.97View retailers

    The MacBook Pro and Air received the same treatment for their late 2020 models, with the familiar Intel Core processor choices replaced with just one chip, called the Apple M1. The processor has eight cores (four fast and four slow) and Apple's own graphics hardware. The battery is larger than that found on the MacBook Air, and there is also a cooling fan, which should keep the processor running cooler when it's working very hard on tasks like editing videos. Read our full review to see how it fared.

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  • Apple MacBook Air (2020)

    Apple

    MacBook Air (2020)

    £889.00View retailers

    The 2020 MacBook Air is the cheapest way to get yourself an Apple laptop. It's the lightest of the bunch, but still has many of the same attractive features as the higher-spec models including an Apple M1 processor, high-resolution screen and all-metal body. It's also the lightest in the range. Read our full review to see if it's wort buying.

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  • Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)

    Apple

    MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)

    £1735.00View retailers

    The 14-inch MacBook Pro uses a more powerful processor than the one found in the 13-inch model, and it also features a larger, higher-resolution screen, a redesigned keyboard, a new webcam and more wired connections including HDMI and an SD card reader. You pay a lot for these extra features, so read our full review to see whether it should be on your shortlist.

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  • Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)

    Apple

    MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)

    £2129.00View retailers

    The most expensive MacBook in the range has a large screen and a higher-spec M1 Pro processor than its smaller, 14-inch sibling. It can also be upgraded to the most powerful M1 Max processor. This laptop is undoubtedly for those who want to make use of its performance and high-spec screen, such as video editors and those working with 3D modelling. Read our full review to see how it fared.

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

Mac vs Windows vs Chromebooks

MacOS, Windows 10 and ChromeOS all have their own strengths and weaknesses. MacOS is buttery smooth and is the go-to operating system for many creative industries, but it also requires you to shell out a huge amount of money on a premium Apple device. 

Windows, meanwhile is available on a huge range of devices from ultra-budget to super-premium and, for many, is still the operating system they know best. But it's not without its downsides: Windows 10 updates are still a major sticking point for many people, and the fact that Windows 10 doesn't run particularly smoothly on very cheap laptops.

That's where ChromeOS comes in. This operating system is little more than a fancy web browser, with web apps that work best when connected to the internet. There's a range of budget devices available, and a few premium options as well. There's no faffing with huge updates and since everything is in a browser, there shouldn't be any problems with programs crashing either. 

See how MacOS stacks up against its rivals in our Mac vs Windows and Chromebook advice guide.