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MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Pro 2019: Which laptop should you go for?

Apple has recently given its MacBook Air range such an impressive update that it might now be a better buy than Apple’s MacBook Pro 13-inch model. This MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Pro 2019 face-off will give you a better look at the laptops’ differences to determine what’s best for you. 

So what’s new with the MacBook Air 2020? The most significant updates include a new bang-up-to-date processor and a move to a much-improved keyboard – both additions that the current 13-inch MacBook Pro could do with. 

The 16-inch MacBook Pro saw a significant update late 2019, but the smaller model was snubbed, retaining the controversial Butterfly keyboard and the ageing 8th Generation Intel Core processor. 

Is there any reason you should opt for the 13-inch MacBook Pro instead of the MacBook Air? Keep reading, and we’ll answer all of your questions. 

Related: MacBook Air 2020

MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Pro 2019 – Specs

In a hurry and just want the bare-bones specs? We’ve provided a comparison table below so you can see the differences between the two Apple laptops. 

As you can see, the laptops look very similar, despite their monikers suggesting otherwise. The most useful thing to know is that the MacBook Air provides more affordable processor configurations starting at £999 with an Intel Core i3. 

The MacBook Pro can be fitted with a high-end Intel Core i7 chip, but that will see the price soar to £1599. Although if you’re happy to settle for an Intel Core i5 processor, you can see that price drop to £1299. 

Of course, the price can fluctuate with various other component upgrades, as the RAM and SSD storage capacities are also configurable. 

MacBook Air 2020 MacBook Pro 2019 (13-inch)
Price From £999 From £1299
Display 13.3-inch, 2560×1600, 16:10 13.3-inch, 2560×1600, 16:9
Processor Up to 10th Gen Intel Core i5 Up to 8th Gen Intel Core i7
RAM Up to 16GB  Up to 16GB
GPU Intel Iris Plus Graphics Intel Iris Graphics 655
Storage Up to 2TB SSD Up to 2TB SSD
Dimensions 304 x 212 x 16.1 mm 304 x 212 x 14.9 mm
Weight 1.29kg 1.37 kg 
Colour options Gold, Space Grey and Silver Silver and Space Grey

MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Pro 2019 – Performance 

You’d expect the MacBook Pro to be more powerful than the Air, but that’s not necessarily the case. Both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro offer Intel Core i5 configurations, but the former has a more modern processor since its a 10th Generation chip opposed to the Pro’s 8th Generation. 

We haven’t been able to test the MacBook Air 2020 just yet, but generational jumps generally come with a performance increase. That said, we’ve found the processing power of 10th Generation Intel Ice Lake CPUs aren’t hugely different to its prior generation counterpart. 

The main benefit you get with Intel Core 10th Generation processors is the more powerful integrated graphics engine. The Intel Iris Plus Graphics should allow you to dabble with low-intensive games and creative applications, without compromising the ultra-portable design.

For a full detailed breakdown of the performance, you’ll need to wait until we get our hands on a review sample of the MacBook Air 2020. If you’re impatient though, the MacBook Pro’s i7 CPU will likely provide the most processing power, while the MacBook Air’s i3 CPU is best restricted to basic productivity tasks but has a far cheaper price point. 

Related: Intel Ice lake

MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Pro 2019 – Keyboard

The keyboard is arguably the most substantial upgrade for the MacBook Air 2020, as Apple ditched its controversial butterfly switches in favour of the new scissor alternatives.

These are the same switches that the 16-inch MacBook Pro were treated to. We were really impressed with the keyboard change when we reviewed Apple’s laptop, as we said in our review, “It really is a pleasure to type on and a massive improvement if you dislike the previous keyboard”. 

The most significant improvement here is that the scissor switches allow for 0.5mm more travel, so you get that satisfying press when you hit a key. It may sound like a minor tweak, but it does make a big difference to the typing experience.

Unfortunately, the scissor-switch keyboard is yet to trickle down to the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2019. We’re expecting that to change once the rumoured MacBook Pro 2020 arrives. For now, though? If you’re an essay-bashing student who will benefit more from a great keyboard than nippy processing speeds, then the MacBook Air 2020 is your best bet. 

Related: MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Air 2019

MacBook Pro 13 2019

MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Pro 2019 – Design and features 

The two Apple laptops look almost identical to each other, with the only noticeable variations being the different engraved monikers and the Pro’s inclusion of a Touch Bar.

The MacBook Air is unsurprisingly lighter than the Pro but only by eight grams at 1.29kg. The former is actually a teeny bit thicker than the Pro, but just by a millimetre. As long as portability is concerned, both options excel on equal footing. 

It’s worth mentioning the MacBook Air has an extra colour option over the Pro, adding Gold to the traditional Silver and Space Grey. Other than that, it’s tough to find any design advantage that the MacBook Air boasts.

Even the ports are the same, with both MacBooks featuring the new Thunderbolt 3 format for speedy data transfers and display output. 

Related: iPad Pro 2020

MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Pro 2019 – Verdict

There aren’t many differences here to settle the MacBook Air 2020 vs MacBook Pro 2019 face-off. The Air’s revamped keyboard and upgraded processor are its two most significant strengths, although we can’t get a firm idea of the performance advantage until review samples arrive. 

The cheaper price point is also a major pulling factor, making this the best option if you want to save as much money as possible. The MacBook Pro, meanwhile, costs more but offers a great deal more variety in terms of configurations.

We expect the MacBook Pro to retain the best performance, but only if you opt for the i7 Intel Core chip. And if you think the TouchBar will help improve productivity, then that should certainly come under consideration. 

So if you want an Apple laptop purely for basic productivity tasks and hammering out essays, go for the Air. If you want a 13-inch laptop that’s more powerful, then we suggest going for a high configuration of the MacBook Pro – just bear in mind the MacBook Pro 2020 is likely to launch this year, so it might be worth waiting a little longer. 

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