Apple’s new 15-inch MacBook Air may be the Mac you’ve been waiting for, but there are some trade-offs to consider before buying one. The 15-inch MacBook Air combines just about everything people love about the 13-inch MacBook Air with a larger display. In this guide, we’ll help you decide if the 15-inch MacBook Air is right for you.
Until now, those who wanted a MacBook with a large display had to go with the MacBook Pro, even if they didn’t need all the computing power and other advanced features. Apple’s finally offered a solution to this problem by offering the 15-inch MacBook Air for just 60% of the price of the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Here are a few reasons to buy the 15-inch MacBook Air and a few not to:
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15-inch MacBook Air Display Size
The 15-inch MacBook Air display is the star of the show here and the number one reason to buy it. The new MacBook Air’s display measures 15.3 inches diagonally, which is a huge boost over the 13.6-inch display found on the smaller MacBook Air. That may not sound like a big difference at first glance, but there’s a big difference in the total area of the display. The 15-inch MacBook Air’s display isn’t as large as the 16-inch MacBook Pro’s, obviously, but it’s close enough for most users.
Thinner Than the MacBook Pro
The 15-inch MacBook Air measures just 11.5 mm at its thinnest point. That’s significantly thinner than the MacBook Pro, which measures in with a height of 16.5mm. That means the MacBook Air will be easier to handle and slide into thinner bags.
Lighter Than the MacBook Pro
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is more powerful than the 15-inch MacBook Air, but it’s a chore to lug the MacBook Pro around compared to the MacBook Air. The 15-inch MacBook Air weighs only 3.3 pounds, while the 16-inch MacBook Pro weighs a hefty 4.7 pounds.
15-inch MacBook Air Price
The MacBook Air 15-inch starts at $1,299, which is a whopping $700 less than the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which starts at $1,999. Most people simply don’t need as much horsepower as the 16-inch MacBook Pro offers.
It is $200 more than the smaller MacBook Air 13-inch. If a bigger screen is your priority, that premium is well worth it.
15-inch MacBook Air is Fanless, Silent
The 15-inch MacBook Air is completely silent since it doesn’t have fans like the MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pros with M1 or M2 processors are generally quiet. When the fans do kick on, they can annoy some users as they whine. As you can see in the above illustration, the fans draw in cool air and exhaust hot air through vents near the MacBook Pro’s display hinge.
Only 256GB of Storage
The $1,299 version of the 15-inch MacBook Air only comes with 256GB of storage. That’s simply not enough room for many users, especially if you planning on editing videos, downloading movies, or keeping a lot of your files on your MacBook rather than iCloud. It’s important to remember that it’s impossible to upgrade the 15-inch MacBook Air’s storage down the line. You should strongly consider the 512GB or 1TB options when buying this computer.
Only 8GB of Memory
The basic $1,299 version of the 15-inch MacBook Air only comes with 8GB of memory. That’s enough for some users, but you should strongly consider a model with 16GB if you plan on using stretching the limits of your Mac. As with storage, memory is not upgradeable, and you may be able to get more years out of your MacBook Air by spending more now.
One thing to be aware of when buying a MacBook Air is that there aren’t as many ports as on MacBook Pro models. You won’t find an SDXC slot for camera cards or an HDMI port on the 15-inch MacBook Air. The 15-inch MacBook Air has just a MagSafe connector for charging and a pair of Thunderbolt ports.
MacBook Air in Four Colors
The 15-inch MacBook Air is available in four colors, while the 16-inch MacBook Pro is only available in two. MacBook Pro models are offered in Space Grey and Silver. MacBook Air models are offered in those colors, plus Starlight (Gold) and Midnight (Black). Computer color choice is surprisingly important to many people, and it’s a shame that Apple doesn’t offer equal color choice across its MacBook lineup.
MacBook Air Might Be Too Big
Apple sent out the above image as part of the product’s announcement, and it really illustrates just how big it is overall. Yes, the latest MacBook is thin and light, but don’t expect it to fit on a cafe table comfortably.
Long Battery Life
Apple’s managed to squeeze 18 hours of battery life into the 15-inch MacBook Air. That’s a little short of the 16-inch MacBook Pro’s rating of 22 hours but still more than sufficient to get you through a day of computing. It’s important to note that Apple’s ratings are based on playing back videos in the Apple TV app. Obviously, that doesn’t mirror most people’s day-to-day usage, so your mileage will vary. Regardless, it’s impressive that Apple’s packed that kind of battery performance into a slim and relatively affordable package.
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