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Best Mac 2022: The top rated Apple laptops and computers

If you’ve got your heart set on an Apple computer, the chances are you’ll be needing one of the best Macs to make that dream a reality.

The thing is, Apple makes a wide variety of different computers, so knowing what you’d like is going to be a little fiddly.

This is where we’ve decided to step in as our team of experts has tested a lot of Macs, focusing on key things such as how well a computer is built, as well as how well it performs in real world and synthetic benchmarks, and, if it’s a laptop, how long the battery will last. The best options are found below.

To get these real-world testing results, our team of experts uses each Mac as their main device for at least a week, utilising both real-world experience and a series of industry-standard benchmarks and specialist equipment such as colorimeters to gain accurate and comparable results.

We’ve also made sure to pick a good range of Macs, ranging from the light MacBook Air laptop right up to a fully fleged iMac, so whatever you’re looking for, you’ll be sure to find a Mac that suits you.

If you can’t find a Mac you like at the moment, we’d recommend bookmarking this list as we’ll be updating it frequently as more of them pass through the Trusted Labs. It’s also worth checking out our Best LaptopBest UltrabookBest Student Laptop and Best Budget Laptop pages for a more general look if you haven’t got your heart entirely set on going for macOS.

Best Mac at a glance

How we test

Learn more about how we test Macs

Every Mac we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life. 

These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real world checks, such as how well it runs the most frequently used apps. 

We also make sure to use every Mac we review as our primary device for at least a week to ensure our review is as accurate as possible.

MacBook Air (M1)

Best value Mac
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Pros

  • It’s so fast thanks to M1
  • Exceptional battery life
  • Strong app support
  • Great keyboard

Cons

  • Poor webcam
  • Same design as before
  • Poorly positioned (and only two) USB ports

If it’s a great value Mac you’re after, look no further than the MacBook Air M1.

The headline feature here is the M1 chip that we found to outperform the competition at this price during testing, with it breezing through basic productivity tasks, as well as rendering 4K HDR video content with multiple apps running in the background. Even as the most ‘value’ Mac on our list, it still packs quite the punch.

This specific MacBook Air is a fanless machine, meaning it should also be extra quiet, and we found that even under load the laptop didn’t make any noise, which is a testament to how good the thermal performance of these M1 chips is. As well as being quiet, we also found the M1 MacBook Air to be a sleek machine, although its slender frame does mean there isn’t much room in the way of ports – you only get a pair of USB-C options, as well as a headphone jack.

Compared to its predecessor, the display has been updated to now support the DCI-P3 colour gamut, which we found to offer a more colourful image, as well as one that also remains sharp and bright enough for day-to-day and more creative applications, especially thanks to its sharp 2560×1600 resolution.

During testing, the battery life also proved to be great, with a total of 11 hours of go-juice before you’ll need to charge the MacBook Air up again.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: MacBook Air (M1)

iMac (2021, 24-inch)

Best value desktop Mac
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Pros

  • Fantastic design
  • Excellent webcam, speakers and microphones
  • Bright and sharp screen

Cons

  • No SD card slot
  • Can’t adjust the height

Keeping in the theme of more ‘value’ type Macs, if it’s a desktop one you’re after, the iMac (2021, 24 inch) should serve you rather well indeed.

It’s on the design front where the new iMac has received its biggest refresh in a decade, with a shedload of colours on offer, ranging from the green our sample came in, to pink, orange and silver. The new iMac is a computer that’s designed to fit into your home as more of a decoration than a PC.

The port selection has also been modernised with a host of USB-Cs, but not much else – you’ll be out of luck for native HDMI out or even an SD card reader; it would appear that Apple values these more as ‘Pro’ offerings, but, there’s nothing a USB-C dongle can’t fix.

The 24-inch screen size on offer here is a great middle ground between the smaller and now outgoing 21.5-inch Mac screens of old and the larger 27-inch option that will fit better in larger rooms. As well as offering a good size, the actual panel here is also fantastic. While it may not be Mini LED or feature XDR like some of the higher-end MacBooks or Apple’s standalone displays, it features a 4.5K display with some brilliant colour accuracy that makes it ideal for both day-to-day work and more intense workloads.

Inside, this new iMac packs in Apple’s own M1 chip just like the MacBook Air above which offers some impressive performance. In essence, it’s one of the most powerful systems money can buy today, with some excellent performance in our benchmarks that beat off Windows-powered counterparts. macOS Big Sur also proved to be smooth and simple to use, while the SSDs read and write speeds were especially impressive, and given that by the point of review, Apple’s silicon had been around for a few months, there’s also a great selection of support apps on M1 hardware.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: iMac 2021 (24-inch) Review

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)

Best Mac for content creation
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Pros

  • Stunning display
  • Amazing performance
  • The ports and MagSafe are back

Cons

  • RAM upgrades are expensive

The Apple MacBook Pro (2021) is a proper powerhouse laptop for content creation and sits atop the tree for Macs for this purpose.

During testing, we found it to offer excellent levels of power thanks to either the choice of Apple’s revitalised M1 lineup of processors, with this MacBook Pro coming with either the M1 Pro or the beefier M1 Max. Both offer some rather large performance gains compared to the original M1 Macs, which were already rather powerful themselves, it must be noted.

As well as offering gains under the hood, the 2021 MacBook Pro also comes with quite the uprated display, considering Apple has jumped to Mini LED backlights. This led to an incredibly vibrant panel, with a measured peak brightness of 1600 nits, as well as an immense HDR performance, making it ideal for creating content. In addition, the resolution on offer, while just being shy of 4K, was able to offer up some sharp and detailed images. If that wasn’t enough, the display here also supports ProMotion, giving it the powers of 120Hz refresh rate for some especially smooth output.

The MacBook Pro 16-inch also provides a boxier frame with the same industrial charm as other MacBooks, alongside the return of new ports including HDMI out, an SD card reader, and MagSafe power delivery. We also found the scissor keyboard to feel responsive, with a good level of travel and well-sized keys making typing a joy. The largest change to the chassis though is that there isn’t a Touch Bar on this MacBook Pro, and in its place is a conventional row of function keys.

We also found the battery life of the 2021 MacBook Pro to be impressive, with the larger 16-inch model lasting for 21 hours during testing, which matches Apple’s claims. This helped it to get through a working day with juice to spare, and we didn’t have to reach for the charging lead once. For a more intense set of tasks such as video editing and content creation, you may need to reach for their cable, though.

ReviewerMax Parker
Full reviewApple MacBook Pro 2021 review

Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022)

Best mid-range Mac
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Pros

  • Fantastic performance
  • Sleek, updated design
  • Excellent keyboard and trackpad
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Expensive starting price and upgrades
  • More colours would have been nice
  • The M1 version remains an excellent buy for less

The newest Mac on our list, the Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022) is one of the best mid-range Mac out there we’ve tested.

Inside, this 2022 Air features Apple’s all-new M2 chip which can be thought of as more of a refinement to the preceding M1, as opposed to a re-engineering. Performance is incrementally better than the M1 chip, and therefore the M2 is more than powerful enough to handle intense tasks such as 4K video editing with ease. We found that 8GB of RAM on the standard model was more than enough, although you can upgrade to 16GB for some extra headroom, which will cost you an extra £200/$200. This is also a fanless MacBook, which means it’s silent all the time, but may fall down during sustained loads due to the lack of active cooling.

In terms of its display, the MacBookAir M2 has a larger display with thinner bezels – the total screen size sits at 13.6 inches, which is the largest available on a MacBook Air today. While it isn’t Mini LED like on the Pro, the IPS LCD is still more than capable for day-to-day working.

The MacBook Air M2 has a boxy design that’s in keeping with the current MacBook Pros and a frame that’s thinner than the previous MacBook Air. To be precise, this new 2022 iteration is 1.13cm thick, which actually makes it thinner than an iPad with a Magic Keyboard attached, and a weight of 1.24kg also makes it immensely portable. There’s also the addition of MagSafe to the party for charging, although you don’t get an SD card reader and HDMI out, as you do on the MacBook Pro.

It must be said, the battery life with this M2-powered MacBook Air is great, with our testing showing it to last for 14 hours during a video loop test, which offers a 2 hour boost compared to the previous model. In addition, for a working day in the real world, we found it to last comfortably with 20% juice still left in the tank

ReviewerMax Parker
Full reviewApple MacBook Air M2 (2022)

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FAQs

What is the most powerful Mac in 2022?

The most powerful Mac in 2022 is arguably the MacBook Pro 2021, thanks to its choice of either M1 Pro or M1 Max chips that we found to blitz the competition in our benchmarks.

Is M2 better than M1?

In short, yes. Our tests found the performance difference to be incremental, but there is a positive different between M1 and M2 that may be worth the upgrade if you’ve got the cash to spare.

Is it better to get an iMac or a MacBook Pro?

This depends on personal preference and also what you need a Mac for. If you want a powerful desktop Mac, then the iMac will be best, while if you’re going to be on the move a lot, a MacBook Pro is going to be better (as well as also being more powerful in its 2021 iteration).

Trusted Reviews test data

Cinebench R23
Geekbench 5 single core
Geekbench 5 multi core
CrystalDiskMark Read speed
CrystalMarkDisk Write Speed
Brightness
Black level
Contrast
White Visual Colour Temperature
Battery Life

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