MacBook Air M2 vs. MacBook Pro M1: Why the Pro Might Be a Better Choice

Spoiler: I Opted for the 14-inch MacBook Pro for Superior Performance and Value.

by Oscar
Apple Macbook Pro 14inch M1 2021 Laptop

Recently, I purchased a MacBook and conducted research to determine the best model for my needs. In this article, I’ll explain why the 14-inch MacBook Pro M1 (2021) is a better choice 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 certainly more portable, being lighter (1.26kg vs 1.6kg) and thinner (11.3mm vs 15.5mm) than the M1 Pro.

It also boasts a longer battery life for general use (email, web browsing, watching videos, etc.), offering about 2 more hours on light usage. However, the M1 Pro remains a strong contender, providing 9 to 10 hours on a full charge, even when blogging, watching YouTube, or editing images and videos.

The M2 Air also delivers a marginally faster web browsing experience and improved single-core performance with its newer M2 processor.

Additionally, there are more color options available. I was intrigued by the “midnight” color, but concerned about potential scratches and fingerprints.

As the laptop is thinner, the wrist support is more comfortable for typing on the M2 Air compared to the slightly thicker M1 Pro.

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

If you’re considering the M2 Air, I recommend upgrading to 512GB Storage with 16GB RAM for enhanced performance and future-proofing. The base model features a single 256GB SSD with half the writing speed of the 512GB upgrade (still very fast for ordinary users). However, these upgrades only leave you $250 away from the Pro model, which offers numerous additional benefits listed below!

The base model of the 14-inch MacBook Pro uses the M1 processor, has 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. Online tests have shown that the M1 Pro outperforms the Dell XPS13 9310 when running Windows on Parallel (virtual machine)!

Firstly, the 14-inch Pro delivers superior performance for multi-core tasks, video editing, photo editing, and gaming. It has a built-in cooling fan that maintains peak performance for extended tasks, and the fan is virtually silent. The M2 Air is fanless and tends to get warmer when running processor-intensive tasks, potentially limiting performance due to overheating and thermal throttling.

The 14″ Pro features a larger, brighter, and smoother mini-LED screen with up to a 120FPS refresh rate and significantly better HDR content performance. In contrast, the Air uses an IPS LCD display and runs at 60FPS.

The Pro also offers superior audio quality, thanks to its enhanced speakers and louder maximum volume. The sound quality is arguably the best I’ve heard on a laptop, comparable to a set of Bluetooth speakers.

Additionally, the 14-inch Pro includes more ports (extra USB port, SD card reader, headphone port, and HDMI output), potentially saving you $30-50 on a dongle if you require these connectors.

Finally, the Pro supports multiple external monitors without additional hardware, while the M2 Air only accommodates a single external monitor.

If you are looking for the best value Macbook, and don’t care about the best performance, I’d recommend the M1 Air, here is why: Why the M1 MacBook Air is Still a Must-Buy in 2023 and Why People are avoiding the M2?

Where to Buy?

Occasionally, you can find discounts of up to 10% on Amazon. I saved £164 (nearly $200) on my 14″ Pro M1. Check prices here:

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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.

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?

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.

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

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.

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.

Oscar 21st August 2022 - 9:49 am

yea just a typo