Buyer's Guide for MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro: A comparison of over 30 differences

Buyer's Guide for MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro: A comparison of over 30 differences

After introducing the M3 processor to the MacBook Air recently, how do the new versions stack up against the most recent MacBook Pro models from Apple?

The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are very different devices even though they now have a similar appearance. Should you spend more money on the more expensive 14- or 16-inch MacBook Pro models, which cost at least ₹70,000 more, or consider buying the 13- or 15-inch MacBook Air, which starts at ₹99,900, to save money? The question of which of these two well-known Apple silicon machines is better for you can be answered with the help of our guide.

 M2: Display 13.6 inch
M3: Display 15.3 or 13.6 inch
Display: 16.2 inch or 14.2 inch
 Retina Liquid LCD display
Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display
 Refresh Rate 60Hz
Refresh Rate Up to 120Hz
Brightness 500 nits
 Up to 1,600 nits of peak brightness and 1,000 nits of continuous (full-screen) brightness
 Chip: M2 or M3
Chip: M3, M3 Pro, M3 Max
 M2: An improved 5nm node (N5P) built on the iPhone 13's A15 Bionic chip (2021)
M3: A17 Pro processor from iPhone 15 Pro based on 3nm node (N3B) (2023)
Based on the A17 Pro chip from the iPhone 15 Pro, the 3nm node (N3B) (2023)
M2: CPU clock speed of 3.49 GHz
M3: CPU clock speed of 4.05 GHz
2.45 GHz Processor frequency
Four performance cores and four efficiency cores in an eight-core CPU
M3: A four efficiency and four performance cores in an eight-core CPU
Six performance cores and six efficiency cores make up the M3 Pro's 12-core CPU.
With 12 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, the M3 Max CPU has up to 16 cores.
GPU with up to 10 cores
 M3: GPU with 10 cores
Up to 18 cores of GPU in M3 Pro
M3 Max: GPU with up to 40 cores
00 GB/s memory bandwidth
M3: Memory bandwidth of 100 GB/s
M3 Pro: Memory bandwidth of 150 GB/s
M3 Max: Memory bandwidth of 300 GB/s or 400 GB/s
Unified memory of 8GB, 16GB, or 24GB
 M3: Unified Memory (8GB, 16GB, or 24GB).
Memory Type: M3 Pro: 18GB or 36GB unified
M3 Max: unified memory of 36GB, 48GB, 64GB, 96GB, and 128GB
Only M3 models
A fresh GPU architecture
Hardware-enabled mesh shading, dynamic caching, and ray tracing
Help with AV1 decoding
A fresh GPU architecture
Hardware-enabled mesh shading, dynamic caching, and ray tracing
Help with AV1 decoding
M2: Neural Processor
M3: 15% quicker neural network
15% quicker Neural Engine
 Cooling passively
Cooling actively
M2: Six Wi-Fi
M3: Wireless 6E
Wi-Fi 6E
Two USB 4 / Thunderbolt ports
 M3: Has two USB-C (Thunderbolt / USB 4) connections
Three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports on the M3 Pro or M3 Max
 Support for multichannel audio output via an HDMI 2.1 port
Slot for SDXC cards
 Four speakers in a 13-inch sound system
15-inch sound system with six speakers and force-cancelling woofers
Six-speaker high-fidelity sound system featuring force-cancelling woofer
Three-mic array with beamforming that is directed
 Studio-caliber three-mic array including directed beamforming and a high signal-to-noise ratio
M2: One external display is supported
M3: Supports two external screens in its closed state.
 M3: Supports two external screens in its closed state.
M3 Pro: Allows for two external screens to be used
Support for up to four external screens with M3 Max 
52.6 watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, 13-inch
15-Inch: Lithium-polymer battery with 66.5 watt hours
 70 watt-hour lithium-polymer battery in M3 14-inch
M3 Pro or M3 Max 14-inch: lithium-polymer battery with a capacity of 72.4 Wh.
100 watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, 16 inches 
18-hour runtime for the battery
 M3 14-Inch: Battery life of 22 hours
18 hours of battery life for the 14-inch M3 Pro or M3 Max
16-Inch: Battery life of 22 hours
USB-C Power Adapter: 30W, 35W, or 67W
 Power Adapter for USB-C: 67W, 96W, or 140W
The color choices are Silver, Space Gray, Starlight, or Midnight.
 M3: Space Gray or Silver color choices
Silver or Space Black color options for the M3 Pro or M3 Max



With a flat top and rounded bottom borders, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro have similar overall designs, however there are a few little differences between them. For instance, the bezels on the MacBook Pro are substantially thinner despite the fact that both Mac Books include displays with a "notch" at the top to accommodate the integrated webcam. The premium MacBook Pro's keyboard area is likewise all black.

If you're searching for a certain aesthetic with one of these finishes, you'll need to acquire the MacBook Air. The M3 version of the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air both come in Silver and Space Gray, but the MacBook Air also comes in Starlight and Midnight color options. Only the MacBook Pro with the M3 Pro and M3 Max processors comes in Space Black.

1.13 cm
1.15 cm
1.55 cm
1.68 cm
30.41 cm
34.04 cm
31.26 cm
35.57 cm 
21.5 cm
23.76 cm
22.12 cm
 24.81 cm
 1.24 kg
 1.51 kg
1.61 kg
2.15 kg

Another significant distinction between the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air is their dimensions. The differences between the 14-inch MacBook Pro and the 13-inch MacBook Air should not be minimized, despite the fact that the 16-inch MacBook Pro is noticeably heavier and bulkier than the 15-inch MacBook Air. Although the 14-inch MacBook Pro has a larger display than the MacBook Air, if you prefer to travel light, it is considerably less portable due to its slightly larger footprint, increased thickness, and 0.8 pounds of more weight.

Nevertheless, the 14-inch MacBook Pro strikes a very nice mix between performance and mobility, so its size and weight shouldn't stop you if you require its additional features. The portability and display area of the 15-inch MacBook Air are likewise well-balanced, but those who are concerned about its size are better off with the 13-inch variant.

Connectivity and Ports:

One of the two computers' main differences is the ports that can be chosen. The MacBook Pro M3 model adds an SDXC card slot and an HDMI 2.1 port, while the MacBook Air just has two Thunderbolt connections. Together with its HDMI 2.1 port, SDXC card slot, and Thunderbolt 4 ports, the MacBook Pro can have three Thunderbolt 4 ports when equipped with the M3 Pro or M3 Max. Both devices have a 3.5mm headphone connector that can accommodate headphones with a high impedance.

In terms of physical connectivity, the MacBook Pro is overall far more flexible, providing professionals who use SDXC cards from digital cameras with helpful capabilities or even just more USB peripherals.

Size of Display:

The 13.6-inch display on the smaller MacBook Air is somewhat smaller than that of the 14.2-inch MacBook Pro and noticeably smaller than that of the 16.2-inch MacBook Pro. It should be sufficient for the majority of users because 13.6 inches is still larger than the largest iPad Pro model, which measures 12.9 inches, as well as all of the earlier MacBook Air and smaller MacBook Pro models. To put it simply, individuals who require high-end skills can have somewhat more screen real estate with the 14.2-inch MacBook Pro.

The displays on the 15.3-inch MacBook Air and 16.2-inch MacBook Pro will perform better than those on a desktop computer because they offer significantly greater screen real estate for arranging numerous windows and using software designed for business use.

Display Technology:

Both devices' display technology differ greatly from one another. The MacBook Air, like the majority of Mac Books made in the last several years, has an LCD panel; nevertheless, Apple refers to it as a Liquid Retina display because of its rounded corners and thin bezels. Apple's more sophisticated mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR technology, which offers deeper blacks, wider dynamic range, and enhanced color accuracy, is featured in the MacBook Pro models that measure 14 and 16 inches.

When displaying HDR video, the brightness of the XDR display can increase significantly, peaking at 1,600 nits. Pro Motion screens, which allow for a refresh rate variation of up to 120Hz, are also featured in the MacBook Pro versions that measure 14 and 16 inches. There is no variable refresh rate display on the MacBook Air.

Investing in the top MacBook Pro models will pay off when it comes to watching and editing HDR content and high-framerate videos, like sports. For the majority of users, the MacBook Air's display is more than enough, and some might not even notice a significant difference. Simply said, the MacBook Pro offers a little superior experience because to its deeper blacks and smoother on-screen animation.


Customers of the MacBook Pro can select among the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips, but those purchasing the MacBook Air are limited to the M2 or M3 chip. Scaled-up variants of the M3 processor with more CPU and GPU cores are the M3 Pro and M3 Max.

See the ‌M2‌, M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max's Geek bench 5 Benchmark scores below: 

Single Core
Multi Core
Metal (Graphics)

Up to eight more cores for CPUs and up to 30 extra cores for GPUs are available with the M3 Pro and M3 Max. In single-core operations, the M2 processor included in the entry-level MacBook Air is marginally less powerful than the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max. However, when it comes to multi-core and graphics tasks, the M3 chips—especially the Pro and Max versions—are significantly superior.

It's also important to keep in mind that the MacBook Air lacks a fan and is passively cooled, which may limit its maximum performance when compared to the MacBook Pro, which has a huge fan to actively cool the system and force the chips harder.

The M2 MacBook Air is limited to supporting one external display. Due to the M3's limitations, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models equipped with this chip can only support two external displays while the lid is closed, compared to four external displays for M3 Pro and M3 Max models.

Storage and Memory:

For the vast majority of users, the ‌MacBook Air‌ with up to 24GB of unified memory and up to 2TB of storage should be more than sufficient. The MacBook Pro can be configured with substantially more RAM and storage than the highest-spec MacBook Air, for individuals who require even more.

Additionally, the MacBook Pro's M3 Pro and M3 Max chips offer up to 150GB/s and 400GB/s of memory bandwidth, respectively. This is a significant increase above the 100GB/s of memory bandwidth offered by the M2 and M3 versions.

Additionally, buyers need to be aware that the lowest 256GB MacBook Air models use SSDs that are up to 50% slower than those found in configurations with greater capacity. This is due to the fact that base versions only have one SSD module, but models with more storage have two SSD chips, which greatly boosts the machine's storage speed overall.

Microphones and Speakers:

For such a compact, thin computer, the 13-inch MacBook Air boasts a surprisingly full and balanced four-speaker system. With six speakers and force-cancelling woofers for noticeably larger and deeper sound, the 15-inch MacBook Air and all MacBook Pro models take things to the next level. Additionally, Apple calls the MacBook Pro's speaker system "high-fidelity," which might be quite helpful for anyone who work in professional audio production or just enjoy loud music.

For tasks like video conferencing and voice notes, the directional beamforming three-mic array on the MacBook Air is ideal. A high signal-to-noise ratio, directed beamforming, and a three-mic array described by Apple as "studio-quality" are features of the MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro has some amazing microphones that can be used for production tasks like podcasting, even if they are not as good as a dedicated microphone.

Life of Battery:

The 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M3 Pro or M3 Max CPU and the 16-inch MacBook Pro have longer battery lives than the MacBook Air, which has an 18-hour battery life, which is four hours less than both.

Last Words:

All things considered, the MacBook Air is the greatest choice for non-business travelers, providing a superb mix of functionality and portability. When compared to the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air is substantially more cheap, with a starting price of ₹99,900. You may save at least ₹10,000 on the price by using an education discount or a deal from our Apple Deals Roundup. For most average users, however, the extra ₹60,000 for the MacBook Pro is probably not worth it; in fact, many would probably prefer the MacBook Air's lighter weight and smaller shape, as well as its wider range of color options.

Professionals seeking greater performance, more memory and storage, extra ports, larger and more accurate displays, and higher price points may consider the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with the M3 Pro and M3 Max CPUs. The high-end MacBook Pro versions are obviously meant for professionals and creatives who depend heavily on their computers' capabilities rather than for general customers. Because of this, you should only choose these high-end devices if you are a professional or power user who can take advantage of its sophisticated features. Because of its wide display, the 16-inch MacBook Pro in particular might make a superb desktop replacement computer.

On the other hand, the M3 MacBook Pro might be worth the extra money if you are thinking about getting the ₹1,34,900 15-inch MacBook Air. Better speakers and microphones, an HDMI connector, an SDXC card slot, an enhanced Liquid Retina XDR display with Pro Motion, four more hours of battery life, and more are all included in the M3 MacBook Pro, which costs only ₹20,000 more. It is actually only a ₹10,000 difference between the two computers if you set the 15-inch MacBook Air with 512GB of storage to match the M3 MacBook Pro. Therefore, in this case, purchasing the more powerful machine is nearly always worthwhile, unless maximizing screen size is your top concern.

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