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Best Apple MacBook to Buy in 2024

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Since Apple started the transition over to Apple Silicon in 2020, with the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, the company has put out some really impressive laptops. Gone are the days of “Macs are too expensive.” When you compare them to similarly specced Windows laptops, they are generally cheaper, or about the same price. A lot of the time, Macs now outperform most Windows laptops while being more efficient.

Apple’s MacBook lineup is actually one of the less convoluted lineups it has right now. When you look at iPhone and iPad, there’s quite a bit of confusion on what model you should buy – particularly on iPad. But with the MacBooks, you basically have two options. Do you want Pro or Air? And then the other option is, big or smaller? But that only narrows down the model that you’re picking up here. There are plenty of other upgrades available for the processor, unified memory, storage and more.

The company uses “unified memory” in place of RAM in its spec sheet, because the memory included in Apple Silicon is being shared by the CPU and the GPU. So it’s not all being used by the CPU, and then the graphics card gets its own memory like with a lot of Windows machines. This makes the memory faster and allows the GPU to use additional memory when it is needed.

Now without further ado, let’s go over the Best MacBooks that you can buy in 2023.

Best Overall MacBook: Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2)

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There are three words to describe the MacBook Air M2: thin, light, powerful

The Apple MacBook 13-inch with M2 is a really impressive laptop, all things considered. This thin and light laptop starts at $1,099, and comes with the Apple M2 chipset, along with 8GB of unified memory and 256GB of storage. You can configure it up to 24GB of unified memory however.

This has actually been my laptop of choice over the last six months. I absolutely love it, because it is pretty light, it has incredible battery life, and it’s also very powerful. It does come in a few colors, and while I do really like the Midnight blue color, it is a fingerprint magnet. So if you are interested in picking up the MacBook Air in this color, I’d recommend getting a skin from Dbrand to at least protect the outside from fingerprints. There’s not much you’ll be able to do about the inside of the laptop, like the keyboard and trackpad.

Speaking of the trackpad, it’s still huge. In fact, it’s about the size of some smartphones. That’s pretty large. Apple has always had the best trackpads, while Windows PCs have caught up a bit, the trackpad on a MacBook is still the best. Gestures work really well, and the extra space here for the trackpad really help. I actually have no problem using this without a mouse, because the trackpad is almost better.

Apple has decided to include Touch ID into the keyboard here. Which is great to have, but I would really like to see them add Face ID into the cameras that are in the notch on the MacBook Air. There’s a notch there that doesn’t need to be there for a 1080p webcam, in my opinion. But that notch pretty much goes away, and you really don’t notice it. This is because it is really only taking over space in the menu bar, so think of it as taking up dead screen space anyway. And even watching videos in full screen, it doesn’t interfere since this is a 16:10 aspect ratio display.

Finally, the best part about this laptop is definitely the battery. Apple claims that you can get up to 18 hours of playback from the Apple TV app on this laptop. And that might be true, but that’s not how most of us use our laptops. I’ve used this to get through a full day of work, which includes using Chrome, some Zoom calls, and plenty of YouTube watching, and I still had about 40% left. That might not quite be the 18 hours Apple touts, but it does get you through a full day and then some.

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Best for Pro users: Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3 Pro)

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The Apple MacBook Pro 14 has a brilliant mini-LED display, incredible speed, and battery life

This is the newest MacBook from Apple, and the third-generation of this new redesign from the company. It has a more rounded profile, with has that brilliant mini-LED display, which is one of the big reasons to buy this over any other laptop. Apple sells the MacBook Pro 14 in a regular M3 configuration that starts at $1599, but we’d recommend stepping up to the M3 Pro model. The reason for this is, at $400 more, you’re getting more than double the unified RAM, a more powerful CPU and GPU, as well as the option for the new Space Black color.

Apple offers the MacBook Pro 14 with the M3 Pro chip that can get you up to a 12-core CPU and up to a 18-core GPU. It also offers up to 36GB of RAM in that configuration. Which is pretty nuts for a laptop, but here we are. The MacBook Pro 14 also comes in Space Black or Silver. The Space Black is really more like a “space dark grayer”, as it’s not completely black. So don’t expect it to be as black as that 2006 MacBook that Apple released.

Apple has also said that they’ve changed the anodized coating on the MacBook Pro 14 (and 16) with the M3 series so that the new Space Black color won’t show fingerprints as much. But that’s only on the cover, apparently. The inside will still show quite a few fingerprints. Luckily, that’s not the only color that Apple offers the MacBook Pro 14 (and 16) in. So you can get it in silver as well.

Perhaps my favorite feature of this MacBook is the display. This is a 14.2-inch mini-LED backlit display, which Apple is calling it “Liquid Retina XDR”. Despite the marketing name, this is a beautiful display, with a peak brightness of 1,600 nits for HDR, and a sustained brightness of 1,000 nits. This makes it a great laptop to use outdoors. Of course we can’t forget that it also has ProMotion, giving you 120Hz adaptive here. Which makes the whole thing so much smoother. Whether you’re a creator, or just enjoy watching content on your laptop, this display makes it worthwhile.

The speakers on this laptop are insanely good. And it does have Dolby Atmos support. Making this an absolutely incredible experience for watching content. But what about making content? After all, we are saying that this is the best laptop for creators? Well, there are studio microphones in this laptop. I’ve used them in the older MacBook Pro M1 Pro version and was completely blown away by how good they are. Since then, they’ve only gotten better as you might expect.  You don’t need your external microphone anymore, the MacBook Pro 14 will take care of this for you.

Apple has also included a number of ports on this MacBook Pro 14, surprisingly. A couple of years ago, Apple backtracked and pretty much undid everything they did in the previous years. That included getting rid of the butterfly keyboard, and bringing back the ports. On the MacBook Pro 14, you get the MagSafe port for charging, as well as three USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports. These can all be used to charge your MacBook Pro 14 as well. In addition to that, there is a HDMI and a SD card slot available. That’s really the two main ports that you need as a “Pro”.

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Best for Video Editors & Creators: Apple MacBook Pro 16 (M3 Max)

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The MacBook Pro 16 is more powerful than some desktops, and can still last a full workday on a single charge

Perhaps the most impressive feat of the MacBook Pro 16 is just how powerful it is. Now in this particular configuration, we are talking about the M3 Max chipset, which brings the starting price here to $3,299. That’s pretty pricey, and sure you could build your own PC for that price with similar performance. But it won’t be portable, and it also won’t have that stunning Liquid Retina XDR display on-board.

This configuration of the MacBook Pro 16 includes the M3 Max chipset which you can get with up to 16 CPU cores and up to 40 GPU cores. Making that a pretty incredible laptop for playing games, and even doing some video editing. Which is one of the main reasons why we have this listed as the best for creators. On top of that, you can get this with up to 128GB of unified memory. Now yes, that is a lot of memory, but remember this is shared memory between the CPU, GPU and the Neural Engine, so the more memory the better. You can also get up to 8TB of storage, which is huge for a creator. With that said, the full maxxed out price here is $7,299. Not cheap, but look at those specs.

Like the MacBook Pro 14, the 16-inch has all of the same design aspects. This includes that stunning Liquid Retina XDR display, that is now a couple of inches larger at 16.2-inches. It also has the same 1600 nits of peak brightness for HDR. This is a really good display to be editing videos for YouTube, TikTok, or even Instagram on. Because of how good the display looks and how accurate the colors are.

It also comes in the Space Black and Silver colors. The Space Black is really more of just a darker gray from the Space Gray that it was available in previously. But one thing that Apple has really stressed here is that the Space Black color does have a different anodized coating compared to the MacBook Air 13’s midnight color, that will help keep fingerprints from staying visible. Now the only downside there is that this is only on the cover, and not on the keyboard, and trackpad part of the laptop. Where you will really notice the fingerprints, unfortunately. If that’s something that worries you, we’d recommend getting the silver version. Which still looks good, and is kind of a throwback to older MacBooks.

Similar to other MacBooks on this list, the MacBook Pro 16-inch does come with a huge trackpad. Which is even larger here, since the laptop itself is even larger. It’s more like a track island. This really comes in handy if you don’t use a mouse, or use the gestures quite a bit, like myself. I use the gestures a ton on my MacBook Pro, which is why I have the Apple Trackpad next to my keyboard on my desk. The gestures are just so good and work so well.

Finally, with the MacBook Pro 16, we can’t forget about audio. The speakers on this laptop are insanely good. And it does have Dolby Atmos support. Making this an absolutely incredible experience for watching content. But what about making content? After all, we are saying that this is the best laptop for creators? Well, there are studio microphones in this laptop. I’ve used them in the smaller 14-inch model and was completely blown away by how good they are. You don’t need your external microphone anymore, the MacBook Pro 16 will take care of this for you.

As you might expect, this is a pretty heavy laptop from Apple. It weighs in at 4.8 pounds, which is still pretty light compared to some other gaming laptops on the market today. And surprisingly, the M3 Pro model is a tad lighter at 4.7 pounds. This is a big laptop, and it’s really meant to be something you move around very infrequently. Basically giving you the option to move it around, but knowing that you won’t do it all that often.

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Best Large Screen MacBook: Apple MacBook Air 15 (M2)

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For $1,299, you’re getting perhaps one of the best 15-inch laptop experiences on the market today

Apple announced the 15-inch MacBook Air at WWDC in June of 2023. There was plenty of speculation about Apple doing this, and they finally did it. Making their best-selling laptop available in a larger size. It was on everyone’s wishlist for many years, so it’s good to see that it’s finally here, and it’s really impressive.

It’s basically the same experience as the regular MacBook Air, but now with a larger display. It’s a 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display. It is also a bit heavier as you might expect, weighing in at 3.3 pounds. That is still fairly light for a 15-inch laptop, however, and you likely won’t be going around saying that this is too heavy. It’s still very portable, and it’s great to be able to pull a 15-inch laptop out of your backpack that will get you through an 8-hour workday on a single charge.

Apple is actually not offering a lot of upgrades here on the M2 Apple MacBook Air 15-inch. There’s only one version of the M2 chipset that you can get, which comes with an 8-core CPU and a 10-core GPU. It does come with 8GB of unified memory, which can be upgraded to 16GB or 24 GB. And it does have 256GB of SSD storage at this price, but that can also be upgraded to 2TB of storage. With the right upgrades, you can really make this a pretty powerful laptop.

But, with some of these upgrades, you might be wondering why you would buy this over a MacBook Pro 14 or 16. One is the size. The MacBook Air 15 sits right in between them and is lighter than both. Even with upgrades to unified memory and storage, it’s still cheaper to get the Air than a Pro in some circumstances.

The MacBook Air 15 does come in a few colors, and while I do really like the Midnight blue color, it is a fingerprint magnet. So if you are interested in picking up the MacBook Air in this color, I’d recommend getting a skin from Dbrand to at least protect the outside from fingerprints. There’s not much you’ll be able to do about the inside of the laptop, like the keyboard and trackpad.

Speaking of the trackpad, it’s still huge. In fact, it’s about the size of some smartphones. That’s pretty large. Apple has always had the best trackpads; while Windows PCs have caught up a bit, the trackpad on a MacBook is still the best. Gestures work really well, and the extra space here for the trackpad really helps. I actually have no problem using this without a mouse because the trackpad is almost better.

This is Apple’s best-selling laptop right now, and it’s really not hard to see why.

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Honorable Mention: Apple iMac (M3)

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Now as an honorable mention on this list, we have the new iMac with M3. This is the first time the iMac was updated since the M1, so it was sorely needed, but the only real update is the new chipset. Surprisingly, Apple did not give anyone the option to upgrade to the M3 Pro or M3 Max, as is available in the Mac Mini. Maybe that will be coming later on down the road?

The iMac is a really great computer and is right up there with the MacBook Air as one of Apple’s most popular computers. It’s only available in a 24-inch size right now, which might turn some people off. But you can plug in an external monitor to this desktop for more space.

Much like the MacBook Air 15-inch, there are not a lot of upgrades available here. It comes with the M3 processor, which is an 8-core CPU and an 8-core GPU. But you can upgrade to a 10-core GPU which will also double your Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports to four. It comes with 8GB of unified memory which can be upgraded to 24GB, and it also comes with 256GB of SSD, which can be upgraded to 2TB.

Finally, the iMac M3 comes in seven colors. However, on the cheaper, $1,299 model, that’s only four colors: Blue, green, pink, and silver. On the higher-end (8-core CPU/10-core GPU) iMac, you get the addition of yellow, orange and purple colors. This is a really good computer to put in a computer room, maybe have at a receptionist’s desk in the office, or elsewhere. It is somewhat portable since it is so thin and light, but you won’t be moving it all that often.

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