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Best MacBook 2020: Which Apple laptop should you buy?

Apple's premium macOS laptops have long been the go-to for many creators and students. We pick out the best MacBook options for you.

What is the best MacBook?

Prior to the last six months, MacBooks have had quite a rocky road but recent tinkering has seen some big issues fixed – for both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Here’s our best MacBook 2020 list compiled from our expert reviews.

While some of the big improvements for Apple’s laptops have come to fruition on the new MacBook Air 2020 and MacBook Pro 2020, they’ll be absent from this list until we thoroughly review those models. Look out for both reviews in the future.

Until then, Apple still has a good selection of premium laptops you can choose beyond those most recent ones – which you can pick up from third-party retailers – as well as one cracking new model we gave a great review.

One kind of Apple laptop absent from this list is the MacBook 12-inch. Apple doesn’t currently sell the old form-factor, setting it aside over recent years, but rumours of a pivot to ARM-powered laptops could see it return.

While Apple has plenty of excitement on the horizon, let’s dive into our current top MacBooks list and make sure you bookmark this page so you can head back as it will be updated with any new additions.

  • Best overall MacBook: MacBook Pro 16-inch (2019)
  • Best MacBook for students: MacBook Air (2018)
  • Best MacBook for on-the-go creators: MacBook Pro 13-inch (2018)

Related: Best Laptops 2020

MacBook Pro 16

1. MacBook Pro 16-inch (2019)

The powerhouse Apple laptop

Pros:

  • Incredibly powerful
  • Bigger display still looks stunning
  • Scissor keyboard a huge improvement
  • More stylish smaller bezel

Cons: 

  • Very expensive
  • Stingy port offering
  • Lack of Wi-Fi 6

The 16-inch Pro was a breath of fresh air for many. Apple was finally moving its laptop line forward, getting over a tough slump.

The headline features were the revitalised keyboard, adding the new scissor-switch style Magic Keyboard, and the more modern display. With this model, Apple has managed to shave down the bezels and cram a stunning 16-inch display into its, traditionally, 15-inch form-factor.

Aside from good looks, the larger model is also the most powerful Apple laptop you can buy, making it a powerhouse workstation for creators.

Apple MacBook Air 2018

2. MacBook Air (2018)

The best Apple laptop for students

Pros:

  • A classic design
  • Lightweight, premium-feel body
  • Retina Display screen
  • Pro features for a lower price

Cons: 

  • Only has two USB-C ports
  • Outdated processor

Since the death of the MacBook, the Air has become the default option for students wanting an Apple laptop. Even when it had competition from its smaller sibling, the Air was a popular choice.

For 2018, Apple refreshed the design of the Air – making a tried and tested look have a more contemporary feel. If you’re a fan of macOS and want a super portable device that can devour lecture note-taking and browser tasks, the Air remains your best option.

The 2018 Air has now been usurped by the 2020 model, which adds more power and an improved keyboard, but if you are wanting a cheaper option then the older model is still available.

The 13-inch 2018 MacBook Pro open, with the default High Sierra image set as the background.

3. MacBook Pro 13-inch (2018)

Power teams up with portability

Pros:

  • Best-in-class Retina Display
  • High-quality build and design
  • Thunderbolt 3 ports

Cons: 

  • Cramped and uncomfortable keyboard
  • Touchpad depresses awkwardly
  • Lack of port options
  • Outdated processor

The 13-inch has been a goldilocks machine for many creators and Apple laptop fans who’ve wanted a machine more capable than the Air, but not quite as hefty as the larger 15-inch/16-inch model.

The 2018 model showcases the same familiar design, from the gorgeous display to the premium build quality, while also coming with the horsepower you need to complete professional creative tasks.

Like the Air, this 2018 model was also recently replaced with a new 2020 design. The 2020 version comes with the new-and-improved Magic Keyboard, a bit plus for some. However, you have to stump up for the more expensive model to get Intel’s latest 10th Gen graphics, so there’s definitely value to be had considering the 2018 edition – especially if you weren’t so down on the butterfly keyboard.

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