Don’t buy the MacBook Air M2, get the MacBook Pro M1 instead

If performance is more important to you, then the 14-inch MacBook Pro is better value!

by Oscar
Apple Macbook Pro 14inch M1 2021 Laptop

I just bought a MacBook and have done some research on which model is best for me. In this article I will explain why the 14-inch MacBook Pro M1 (2021) is a better purchase than the latest 13.3-inch MacBook Air M2 (2022).

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Advantages of the MacBook Air M2 over the 14″ Pro M1

The newer M2 Air is more portable for sure, it’s lighter (1.26kg vs 1.6kg) and thinner (11.3mm vs 15.5mm) than the M1 Pro.

It also has longer battery life for general use (email, web browsing, watching videos etc), you could probably get 2 more hours on them on light use. But the M1 Pro is still very capable in that regard, I can generally get 9 to 10 hours on a full charge (mostly blogging, watching youtube, but also doing a little image and video editing).

The M2 Air also offers ever so slightly faster web browsing experience and better single core performance on the newer M2 processor.

And there are more colour options. I was quite excited about the “midnight” colour, but also worried it might get scratches and finger prints easily.

As the laptop is thinner, the wrist support dig into your wrist less and so it feels more comfortable for typing than the slightly thicker M1 Pro.

Why the 14″ MacBook Pro is Better than the Air M2?

If you really want to get the M2 Air, I’d recommend upgrading to 512GB Storage with 16GB RAM for better performance and future-proof. The base model uses a single 256GB SSD which only offers half the writing speed as the 512GB upgrade (it’s still very fast for ordinary users). But all the upgrades put you only $250 away from the Pro model which gives you all these additional benefits listed below!

The base model of the Macbook Pro 14″ uses the M1 processor, has 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Tests online found the M1 Pro is faster than the Dell XPS13 9310 when running Windows on Parallel (virtual machine)!

First of all, the 14-inch Pro offers much superior performance on multi-core tasks, video editing, photo editing and gaming in general. It has a cooling fan built-in which should sustain top performance longer for extensive tasks, and the fan is almost silent. The M2 Air is fanless, and it does get warmer than the Pro when running processing intensive tasks. Performance can therefore be limited due to overheating and thermal throttling.

The 14″ Pro has a bigger, brighter and smoother mini-LED screen with up to 120FPS refresh rate and much better HDR content performance. The Air is still using IPS LCD display and only runs 60FPS.

The audio quality is noticeably better on the Pro too thanks to the better speakers, and maximum volume is also louder. It’s probably the best sound quality i’ve heard on a laptop, almost like coming from a set of Bluetooth speakers.

There are more ports on the 14-inch Pro (extra USB port, SD card reader, headphone port and HDMI output), it can potentially save you $30-50 on a dongle if you ever need these connectors.

Finally it allows multiple external monitors without additional hardware, the M2 Air only supports one single external monitor.

Where to Buy?

You can sometimes get up to 10% discount on Amazon, I saved £164 (nearly $200) buying my 14″ Pro M1 there. Check prices here: https://amzn.to/3CgxOTr (affiliate link)

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7 comments

Neil 3rd January 2023 - 12:23 pm

Hi Oscar,

Thanks for article as usual great information! I had a query how long do you think Gyroflow would take to render a 5min 4k 30FPS video?

My Macbook Pro 2015 I7 16gb 512GB SSD took 15 hours haha, my DELL G5 Ryzen 7 on the other hand took 2mins :)

I was looking at the PRO 1 myself as it has more GPU which is beneficial for Gyroflow.

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Mary 7th December 2022 - 11:24 pm

Really helpful article. Thanks a lot. But which one do you recommend between MacBook pro m1 and MacBook pro M2?

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Liam 1st November 2022 - 6:48 pm

Having used both, disagree about the audio on the Pro. Only good for music; everything else is WAY too bassy.

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Sunit Joshi 5th January 2023 - 5:04 pm

What’s your take on the machines then? Is M2 16/512 a good buy if weight and light pro work is

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Pete Sahat 5th October 2022 - 5:12 am

So I find it very difficult to trust someone in terms of technology, if he suggests me to buy an Apple product.

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Stefan 21st August 2022 - 1:22 am

As an interested Windows user I’m now more confused than before. First you make clear that the older one is the “14-inch Macbook Pro M1 (2021)” and the newer/latest one is the “13.3-inch Macbook Air M2 (2022)”.

Than you mixed up a few descriptions. E.g.: “The 14″ Pro has a bigger, brighter and smoother mini-LED screen with up to 120FPS refresh rate and much better HDR content performance. The M1 Air is still using IPS LCD display and only runs 60FPS.”
Isn’t the 14″ the M1? Thats pretty confusing.

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Oscar 21st August 2022 - 9:49 am

yea just a typo

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