New MacBook vs MacBook Air: What Buyers Need to Know

Apple’s New MacBook is finally available to the public, but instead of giving it the “Pro” or “Air” suffix, the company is simply just calling it the new “MacBook.” Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about buying a MacBook and can’t decide between a MacBook Air or the new MacBook.

While the all-new MacBook isn’t a MacBook Air replacement, it definitely has the MacBook Air feel to it, as Apple CEO Tim Cook says that it’s “the most extreme and efficient notebook we have ever created.”


The new MacBook weighs just two pounds and is only 13.1mm thin at its thickest point, which is 24% thinner than the 11-inch MacBook Air.

As rumors have been predicting, this new MacBook comes with a 12-inch display and is equipped with a Retina-quality resolution of 2304 x 1440, making this the first ultra-thin MacBook to sport a Retina display.

new MacBook


The new MacBook is also a bit more expensive than the MacBook Air, starting at $1,299, which could spark questions about which MacBook buyers should go with: the new MacBook or the MacBook Air. One is a bit lighter and thinner than the other, and the other is a bit more powerful. Here are some things you should know if you’re debating between the two.


Portability, Performance & Price

The three Ps: Portability, Performance & Price. These are the things that you’ll want to pay attention to when comparing the new MacBook and the MacBook Air.

As far as portability goes, the new MacBook is obviously thinner than the MacBook Air, making it not only one of the thinnest MacBooks available, but also one of the thinnest laptops ever. As aforementioned, it’s 24% thinner than the 11-inch MacBook Air. That’s a fairly big difference when looking at the numbers, but when comparing the two laptops side-by-side, the difference isn’t all that astronomical.

In other words, the MacBook Air is still an incredibly thin-and-light laptop that should be considered if you’re wanting something that’s extremely portable. Of course, the new MacBook works for that too, but performance is the kicker.



If you’re looking to buy a high-performance MacBook, you may want to skip the new MacBook model, as the performance isn’t on par with even today’s MacBook Air.

According to some early benchmarks, the new MacBook scored a 1924 and 2044 during two single-core tests, and a 4038 and 4475 for multi-core tests. The 2015 entry-level MacBook Air scored a 2881 during a single-core test and 5757 on multi-core. That should tell you right away that the new MacBook doesn’t quite stand up against the latest MacBook Air.

According to Primate Labs, this puts the new MacBook’s performance roughly on par with the 2011 MacBook Air and the 2010 MacBook Pro.

Obviously, this isn’t the best performance, and anyone looking to buy a new MacBook will probably want something a bit faster. Of course, the new MacBook is perfect for web browsing, email, and other basic tasks, but shelling out $1,299 for a casual computer may not be the best choice for most buyers.



Which brings us to price. The new MacBook starts at $1,299, while the entry-level 11-inch MacBook Air starts at only $899, which is a whopping $400 difference. The best part is, the $899 MacBook Air outperforms the new MacBook.

The entry-level 11-inch MacBook Air comes with a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, Intel HD 6000 graphics, and 128GB of flash storage, whereas the new MacBook only comes with a 1.1GHz Intel Core M processor, but also comes with 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of flash storage. The 8GB of RAM is great, but it can’t do much if the processor isn’t up there with it.

In the end, if you travel a lot and don’t need a lot of performance, the new MacBook is worth considering, but definitely don’t take the MacBook Air for granted. While it’s just a bit thicker and heavier, it’s still a very thin and light laptop, considering how much performance it packs in.