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Top laptops

Best MacBooks for 2018

By Tom Morgan

Article 4 of 4

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.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

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-inch (2017)

Typical price £900.00
Which? score %
Reviewed Jul 2017
Ease of use:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Performance:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Battery:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen quality:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Portability:
Member exclusive4 out of 5
Processor:
Intel Core i5
Ram (GB):
8
Screen size (inches):
13
Weight (kg):
1.368

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, 8GB of Ram and 128GB of storage. Head over to our Apple MacBook Air 2017 review to see how this laptop coped in our test lab.

Apple MacBook 2017

Typical price £1,249.00
Which? score %
Reviewed Jun 2017
Ease of use:
Member exclusive4 out of 5
Performance:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Battery:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen quality:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Portability:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Processor:
Intel Core i5
Ram (GB):
8
Screen size (inches):
12
Weight (kg):
0.92

Apple's latest MacBook (with no Air or Pro in the name) model features a 12-inch high quality 'Retina' screen, and available with an Intel Core m3 or Core i5 processor. 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 Apple MacBook 2017 review.

Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2018)

Typical price £1,749.00
Which? score %
Reviewed Sep 2018
Ease of use:
Member exclusive4 out of 5
Performance:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Battery:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Screen quality:
Member exclusive5 out of 5
Portability:
Member exclusive4 out of 5
Processor:
Intel Core i5-8259U
Ram (GB):
8
Screen size (inches):
13.3
Weight (kg):
1.357

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 latest 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 review of the Apple MacBook Pro 2018 with Touch Bar.

Prices, recommendations and test scores correct as of October 2018. 

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

Mac vs Windows vs Chromebooks

MacsOS, 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. 

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

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.

What do I need to know about MacOS?

MacOS is extra useful for people who own iPads and iPhones, with a host of clever features that lets you share and work on files seamlessly on all your devices. You can also make and receive calls on your computer; no need to reach for the phone any more. There's also the Siri voice assistant that'll let you ask questions, set reminders and issue other commands with just your voice.

The next version of MacOS will be called Mojave, which launched in September 2018. This new update adds a host of new features, better file organisation on the desktop, allowing you to stack files and programs on top of each other. There's also the ability to turn programs from blinding white to a more peaceful dark grey, which will be particularly useful to people who work late at night. 

If you have a house chock-full of smart-home devices that work with Apple HomeKit, you'll be able to see them all in one place with the new Home app for MacOS Mojave. Apple has also added some new privacy features to the Safari web browser to make it harder for websites to track your every move as you surf across the web. 

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

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