2020 MacBook Air review laptop inside manila envelope1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you consider yourself an Apple die-hard, you’re probably not interested in Windows laptops. To that end, you might be saving up for a shiny new MacBook as your next computer. There aren’t too many models to pick from, but there are quite a few specs to weigh out. Here’s our list of the best Apple laptops available right now.

See also: The best MacBook deals

Apple keeps things simple with just two lines of laptops: the lighter MacBook Air and the heavy-duty MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro comes in 13-inch and 16-inch versions as well, and we’ll touch on both configurations.

The best Apple laptops:

  1. 16-inch MacBook Pro
  2. 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1 Processor)
  3. 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Processor)
  4. MacBook Air (M1 Processor)
  5. 12-inch MacBook (Honorable Mention)

Editor’s note: We will regularly update this list of the best Apple laptops as new devices launch.

1. MacBook Pro (16-inch)

16 inch MacBook Pro Premiere Pro open

Apple has phased out the 15-inch MacBook Pro and replaced it with the 16-inch MacBook Pro, its most powerful laptop yet. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is a beast that can handle just about anything you can throw at it — for a hefty price. Apple’s most powerful laptop can be yours from $2,399 if you skip the optional improvements.

See also: Apple MacBook Pro long-term review

At the base price, you’ll get a 9th-generation Intel Core i7 chip and 512GB of storage, as well as the new (read old) Magic Keyboard with scissor switches. The Core i7 chip has a standard speed of 2.6GHz with turbo speeds of up to 4.5GHz for a little extra power. Apple includes 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage in the base model and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics card.

While the base specs are nothing to scoff at, it’s pretty easy — though not cheap — to kick the Apple powerhouse into overdrive. You can swap for an Intel Core i9 chip at 2.4GHz with eight cores of power. The RAM and storage go up to 64GB and 8TB respectively, which should be plenty for nearly any task. You can beef the graphics up to AMD Radeon 5500M and top the price off at $6,099.

No matter how you configure this monster, you’ll get four Thunderbolt 3 ports, Bluetooth 5.0, and a powerful 720p front-facing webcam. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is available in Silver and Space Gray. Of course, you may want to wait until Apple refreshes its beast with an M1 chip to replace the aging ninth-gen Intel silicon.

2. MacBook Pro (M1 Processor)

best laptops macbook pro m1

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is probably the best Apple laptop for most people, especially now that it’s bid Intel adieu. The design itself hasn’t changed much at all, though — you still get the Magic Keyboard, Retina display, and three classy finishes to choose from. 

See also: The best Apple MacBook accessories

This brand-new version of the MacBook Pro comes standard with 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. Both can be upgraded to 32GB and 4TB, respectively, and Intel Iris Plus graphics bring your work to life. Apple also boasts up to 20 hours of battery life thanks to its new chip and nearly three times faster processing and five times faster graphic performance.

Like the larger 16-inch model, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is available in both Silver and Space Gray. All configurations are equipped with the Touch Bar that some people love and others hate and the large Force Touch trackpad.

3. MacBook Pro (Intel Processor)

macbook pro 13 inch 8th gen

The Intel version is your best bet if you want the best budget-friendly Apple laptop with a Pro designation. It’s not quite as powerful as the blistering M1 option, but it does have the upgraded Magic Keyboard as well as the Touch Bar and Force Touch trackpad. Even better, the Intel edition of the MacBook Pro is on sale at many retailers to make way for the M1.

See also: The best laptops you can buy

As the most affordable MacBook Pro, this version ships with a base configuration including 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and the aforementioned 8th-gen Intel Core i5 chip. You can jump up to 16GB of RAM and 2TB of storage for an added cost, and an Intel Core i7 processor will top you off at $2,599.

If you don’t need the latest processing power but want a MacBook Pro, this is the best Apple laptop. It’s available in the same standard colors as the previous options, and Intel Iris Plus 645 graphics are great for streaming and light gaming on the Retina display.

4. MacBook Air (M1 Processor)

Apple MacBook Air M1 open showing colorful photos
Gary Sims / Android Authority

The MacBook Pro steals much of the thunder, but the Air is ready for action with the same M1 chip. Even though Apple just packed 10th-gen Intel hardware into each version of the Air, the new M1 chip is an entirely different beast.

See also: Apple MacBook Air (M1) review

The M1 MacBook Air relies on 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD to get the job done, along with the lovable Magic Keyboard. If you’re looking to splurge but don’t want to go for the Pro, you can boost both the storage and RAM, though there’s no alternative to the M1 chip for performance.

There are plenty of reasons to choose a MacBook Air — the slim wedge design, leaving the temperamental Touch Bar in the dust, and even the 100% recycled aluminum body. Apple’s new design is fanless as well, so you can work through tasks in blissful silence.

5. Honorable Mention: MacBook (12-inch)

macbook 12 inch core i5

Unfortunately, the 12-inch MacBook has gone the way of the dodo. It was a short-lived replacement for the MacBook Air that was manufactured from 2015 to 2019. If you want the absolute smallest Apple laptop around, the MacBook is still worth a look. It’s a small miracle that the machine is still available in 2021, but you can only grab the renewed/refurbished units at this point.

If you manage to find a base configuration Apple MacBook, you can expect 256GB of storage paired with 8GB of RAM and one single, lonely USB-C port. As you might have guessed, you won’t find brand-new Intel hardware either — the MacBook is rocking a 7th-gen processor. On the bright side, you can upgrade to 512GB of storage and choose from Silver, Space Gray, and Rose Gold finishes.