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Top laptops

Best MacBooks for 2019

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.

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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.

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

Which MacBook should I buy?

Apple MacBook 2017

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Apple's 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. This model has now been discontinued, so expect prices to start falling before availability drops off completely.

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (2017)

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This is the 'original' MacBook Air, with a design that's very similar to the very first MacBook Air that launched almost a decade ago. It still stands up today, and while its screen is low-resolution by modern standards, the benefits of having the silky-smooth macOS software on a laptop that's far cheaper than any other Apple MacBooks will likely win you over. This model has been discontinued, so look out for discounts before it disappears.

Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (2019)

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This is the new version of Apple's popular 13-inch laptop. The 2018 MacBook Air is now around £400 more expensive than the older model, which is also still on sale. It has fewer USB ports, but has a higher-resolution screen and is lighter than its predecessor, and has high-speed Thunderbolt/USB-C ports. But ultimately, price might be the key factor.

Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

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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.

Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro without touch bar (2017)

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This is the cheapest MacBook Pro, with fewer ports and a slightly less powerful set of specification options. Still, it has some advantages; the controversial Touch Bar is removed in favour of old-fashioned buttons, which many people will prefer. It won't be around for long, though, as every model in the 2019 MacBook Pro range has a Touch Bar

Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro

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This Apple is at the very top of the tree in terms of power, size and price. Putting the Pro moniker to good use, this six-core laptop is designed for the most power-hungry tasks such as video editing and computer-aided design. It will surely be overkill for anybody who dosen't do those tasks on a daily basis, though.

Recommendations and test scores correct as of April 2019. 

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. 

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 latest version of MacOS is called Mojave, which launched in September 2018. This update added 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.