Best MacBook in 2022: Which Apple laptop is best? (2022)

Best MacBook in 2022: Which Apple laptop is best? (1)

The best MacBook for each person will differ, but there's a great option for virtually anyone in Apple's laptop lineup in 2022. The introduction of its ARM-based M1 chip in 2020 kicked off a new era for Apple laptops. Apple's in-house SoC has brought massive performance and battery life improvements to the entire MacBook range.

Now joined by the M1 Pro, M1 Max and M2, Apple has you covered regardless of your needs. The M2 MacBook AIr and Pro aren't likely to see any deals yet, but if you are in the market for any of the rest of Apple's laptops keep an eye on the best Amazon Prime Day MacBook deals for likely the lowest prices we'll see until Black Friday this fall.

While you still aren't going to want to pick an Apple laptop for your gaming laptop, they are an outstanding choice for virtually any other use case, including as college laptops or business laptops.

What is the best MacBook?

Transforming its once underpowered laptop to one of the fastest thin-and-lights on the market, the MacBook Air with M1 is the best Mac for most people. It turbocharges that familiar design with record-setting performance and all-day battery life. Along with speed and endurance boosts, the M1 chip brings iOS and iPadOS apps to Mac for the first time ever. While the M1 model is sticking around at its $999 price point, the redesigned MacBook Air M2 gives slightly more performance-hungry portable MacBook fans another option.

If you need sustained high-level performance, you might want to opt for the MacBook Pro M2 13-inch with two Thunderbolt 4 ports. While the MacBook Air is fanless, the MacBook Pro has a traditional cooling system to run demanding programs for hours without worrying about overheating. Most people will be fine with the Air, but power users should consider stepping up to the Pro.

Best MacBook in 2022: Which Apple laptop is best? (2)

The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are powered by the M1 Pro or M1 Max processor. Either option is overkill for most users, but they feature other tantalizing upgrades. These laptops walk back some of the controversial decisions Apple made with the MacBook Pro in 2016 with the return of an SD card slot, HDMI, MagSafe charging and still boast three Thunderbolt 4 ports. The gorgeous 120Hz displays are the best Apple has ever offered in its laptops. Starting at $1,999 you are paying a premium for Apple's top-tier laptops, but if you need all this power or hate some of the hardware changes they are worth it.

Our advice? If you do basic productivity work even with a smattering of more taxing software, stick to the M1 or M2 Air and use the savings to upgrade your storage or RAM. Unless you need the extra screen real estate or frequently are using demanding software for video work, 3D modeling, animation or engineering tasks, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are beyond what most people need.

Best MacBook in 2022: Which Apple laptop is best? (3)

1. MacBook Air (M1, Late 2020)

The best MacBook for most people

Specifications

CPU: M1

GPU: M1 (integrated)

RAM: 8GB/16GB

Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB

Display: 13.3 inches, 2560 x 1600 pixels

Size: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches

Weight: 2.8 pounds

Reasons to buy

+

Breathtaking performance

+

Outstanding battery life

+

Slim unibody aluminum chassis

+

Great speakers and Magic keyboard

(Video) Which MacBook Should You Buy in 2022 (Avoid These Ones!)

Reasons to avoid

-

Few ports

The MacBook Air M1 remains the best MacBook for most people. What about the MacBook Air M2? It's a fantastic laptop that we'll cover next on this list, but the reality is that for the majority of users the upgrades aren't necessary and the M1 model maintains that sub-$1,000 starting price and is often discounted to $900 or less.

The performance still outclasses every comparably priced thin-and-light Windows laptop and it manages to deliver 14 hours and 41 minutes of battery life in our testing. For any typical computing tasks, the MacBook Air M1 is more than equal to the challenge and will outlast its successor on a single charge.

So why buy the MacBook Air instead of the Pro? While the Pro has better-sustained performance, the MacBook Air is cheaper and is pin-drop silent because it doesn't have a fan. And, of course, Apple's least expensive 13.3-inch model is the most portable, coming in at only 0.6 inches thick and 2.8 pounds.

As long as you don't mind the older design, the MacBook Air M1 remains one of the best laptop deals even when it's not discounted and should draw strong consideration from anyone considering a new MacBook.

See our full MacBook Air with M1 (2020) review

Best MacBook in 2022: Which Apple laptop is best? (4)

2. MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

The latest Apple laptop design for under $1,500

Reasons to buy

+

Elegant redesign

+

Good performance

(Video) 2022 ULTIMATE MacBook BUYING GUIDE!

+

Bright, colorful screen

+

Comfortable keyboard

+

Excellent battery life

Reasons to avoid

-

SSD somewhat slower than M1 Air

While most will be happy with the MacBook Air M1, there's no denying the appeal of the new design and of course chip inside the MacBook Air M2. The notch in the display isn't my favorite design choice, but the rest of the changes are great with the addition of MagSafe charging freeing up those two Thunderbolt 4 ports for other purposes.

You also get a nice performance bump and it still delivered 14 hours and 6 minutes in our battery life test, placing it easily ahead of the Windows competition and ridiculously so when factoring in performance. The fact that it does all this while staying whisper quiet and cool without fans remains astounding.

The list of upgrades also includes a brighter display, a quad-speaker array and the new 1080p webcam. That first will be particularly welcome to those that are using the Air M2 on the go and may be faced with less than optimal lighting conditions.

The biggest consideration with the Air M2 is the price if you need to upgrade much from the $1,199 base model. As I mentioned the Air M1 stuck around at $999, so you are paying a premium for the M2 model. If you find yourself cresting the $1,499 mark for your configuration then you may want to consider the base 14-inch MacBook Pro, which I cover later in this list and can now be regularly found for $1,799.

See our full MacBook Air M2 review

Best MacBook in 2022: Which Apple laptop is best? (5)

3. MacBook Pro (13-inch, M2, 2022)

The best Apple laptop for battery-life

Specifications

CPU: Apple M2 (8-core)

GPU: Apple M2 GPU (10-core)

RAM: 8GB/16GB/24GB

Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB

Display: 13.3 inches, 2560 x 1600 pixels

Size: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches

Weight: 3.1 pounds

Reasons to buy

+

Stellar overall and gaming performance

+

Excellent battery life

+

Lightning-fast SSD

(Video) The MacBooks to Buy Right Now in 2022

+

Great webcam

+

Comfortable keyboard

Reasons to avoid

-

Stagnant design

-

Not enough ports

The MacBook Pro M2 may not get the fancy redesign of the new MacBook Air, but the internal upgrade gives it a more significant performance boost than many expected, which keeps it well ahead of the Windows 11 competition at this price point and well beyond.

And despite cramming so much power into such a slim and sleek chassis, the Pro lasted for an almost unbelievable 18 hours and 20 minutes on our battery test, which simulates real-world testing. That was enough to land it atop our list of laptops with the best battery life.

The M2 does more than improve speeds and endurance. With a yet again improved image processing unit, the webcam (sadly, still 720p) is better than before and since it runs on Apple's ARM-based architecture, iPad and iPhone apps are available on Mac. Yep, you can run all your favorite iOS games and apps on your laptop.

Everything else about the MacBook Pro should feel familiar. This is the same design Apple has used for years and the Magic Keyboard is a pleasure to type on (and reliable, too!).We're disappointed to see the TouchBar back, but it does have its fans and the notch-less screen will absolutely be a welcome sight for some buyers.

See our fullApple MacBook Pro (13-inch, M2, 2022) review.

Best MacBook in 2022: Which Apple laptop is best? (6)

4. MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021)

The best MacBook for serious pros

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1 Pro/Apple M1 Max

GPU: Apple M1 Pro (Integrated)

RAM: 16GB/32GB/64GB

Storage: 512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB/8GB

Display: 16-inch, 3072 x 1920-resolution

Size: 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.6 inches

Weight: 4.3 pounds

Reasons to buy

+

Sleek, elegant design

+

Plenty of ports

+

Excellent performance

(Video) GOOD AND BAD! M2 MacBook Air vs M1 MacBook Air

+

Stellar battery life

+

Stunning display

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive entry point

-

No USB-A port

The MacBook Pro 14 combines a little bit of old with a whole lot of new for a tantalizing product that MacBook fans have been waiting years for — especially content creators and consumers. Gamers? You may want to stick to Windows for now.

The notebook’s design is lightweight and sleek with plenty of room for a full HDMI and an SDXC card reader. And the M1 Pro chip brings even more power, battling some of Intel and AMD's heavyweights and winning handily. Plus, it’s serving up over 14 hours of battery life with a formidable quick charge, a show-stopping display, a super comfortable keyboard and an excellent audio system.

What's the catch? As per usual with Apple it's the price tag, $2,899 is a lot to swallow, even with trade-ins and payment plans. And that $1,999 starting price isn’t much better. It would have been nice if Apple would have offered a lower-end option, maybe one with last year’s M1 chip packed into the new hardware. But for everything the MacBook Pro 14 is bringing, it’s a worthwhile investment.

If you are willing to spend even more you can uncork the power of the M1 Max chip or opt for the larger-screened 16-inch MacBook Pro starting at $2,499 (opens in new tab). With the exception of the display size and the battery, there is no difference in the hardware options between the two this year. If battery life is your biggest concern the 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro will outlast anything in its class with remotely similar performance. For those that need every last bit of processing power they can get their hands on the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max is basically unbeatable right now.

See our full 14-inch MacBook Pro review

Best MacBook in 2022: Which Apple laptop is best? (7)

How to choose the best MacBooks for you?

For us, the MacBook Air is an easy choice. It comes in at $999 yet sports similar performance and endurance to the MacBook Pro thanks to its M1 processor. It's also the most portable of the bunch, and the improved 13.3-inch display is great for watching TV shows or movies.

If you want a bit more endurance and better performance over longer periods, get the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1. It lasts for a remarkable 16 hours and 32 minutes on a charge and scored benchmark numbers that blow away the competition.

Those two options should cover at least 90% of users. However, if you need either a larger screen or vastly more power for professional apps then the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro with either the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip are outstanding, if expensive, options.

Best MacBook in 2022: Which Apple laptop is best? (8)

How we test MacBook laptops

We put MacBooks through extensive benchmark testing — both synthetic and real-world — before they end up in the hands of our reviewers. We evaluate everything from speed and battery life to display brightness, speaker volume and system heat.

We use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness and DCI-P3 color gamut of a laptop's display. For performance benchmarking, we run the laptop through a gauntlet of benchmarks, including Geekbench 5.4 and 3DMark professional graphics tests.

To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 25GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics tests include Assasin's Creed Valhalla, Far Cry New Dawn, Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm and Shadow of the Tomb Raider with 1080p or higher resolution when the display supports it.

We also run heat tests by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and our battery test consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. We consider everything over roughly 10 hours to be a good result. Of course, these tests are complemented with hands-on testing from our reviewers.

Best MacBook in 2022: Which Apple laptop is best? (9)

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.

FAQs

Best MacBook in 2022: Which Apple laptop is best? ›

The M2 MacBook Air (2022) is the best MacBook for most people. It has a portable design, it is lightweight and easy to carry about.

What is the latest Apple laptop 2022? ›

Apple in June 2022 announced a completely redesigned MacBook Air based on the its new M2 chip, priced starting at $1,199 and launched on July 15, 2022. The previous M1-based MacBook Air from late 2020 continues to be available starting at $999.

What is the most powerful MacBook right now? ›

M1 Ultra: The M1 Ultra is the most powerful M1 out of all four chips, but it's currently only available for the Mac Studio—Apple's latest desktop computer. The M1 Ultra is basically two M1 Max chips connected with custom technology called UltraFusion.

Is Mac Pro better than Mac Air? ›

If a low price is the most important to you then the M1 MacBook Air is the best option, but you just need to weigh up whether getting twice as much storage is more valuable to you than the MacBook Pro's better battery life, extra graphics core and fan.

What MacBook Pro should I avoid? ›

Avoid the 2018 and 2019 versions of the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pros made between 2016 and 2019, and any 15-inch MacBook Pro (the 16-inch replaced the 15-inch model in late 2019).

Is MacBook Air or Pro better for students? ›

The MacBook Air is undoubtedly the best value Mac laptop you can get, so if that's what is important to you it's the one to buy. It's also fractionally lighter than the MacBook Pro. As with the MacBook Pro, there are no USB-A ports on the MacBook Air, just two USB-C and a headphone jack.

Should I buy a MacBook now or wait? ›

A new 13-inch MacBook Pro is expected to potentially arrive later this year, so prospective customers should now hold off on buying the entry-level MacBook Pro‌ until the updated model arrives. Apple last refreshed the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro in November 2020 when it debuted in the first M1 Macs.

Which MacBook is best for students? ›

The MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is the best MacBook for students. It has enough power to face almost any academic challenge you come up against.

Which laptops are the best? ›

The best laptops you can buy today
  1. Dell XPS 13 OLED (2021) The best overall laptop you can buy. ...
  2. Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, M2) The best MacBook on the market. ...
  3. Acer Swift 3 (Late 2021) Best cheap laptop. ...
  4. MacBook Air M2. ...
  5. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. ...
  6. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen) ...
  7. HP Envy 13 (2021) ...
  8. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio.
Jul 25, 2022

What is Apple's fastest computer? ›

Unprecedented Performance and Power Efficiency

M1 Ultra features an extraordinarily powerful 20-core CPU with 16 high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. It delivers 90 percent higher multi-threaded performance than the fastest available 16-core PC desktop chip in the same power envelope.

Which MacBook is best for office work? ›

Best Mac laptop for business
  • 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) The best MacBook for business overall. ...
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020) Still a powerful choice. ...
  • MacBook Air (M1, 2020) One of the first Apple silicon models. ...
  • Apple iMac (27-inch, 2019) ...
  • Mac mini 2018. ...
  • Mac Pro. ...
  • MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) ...
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro.
Dec 15, 2021

What is the difference between a MacBook and a MacBook Air? ›

Both the 11-inch and 13-inch Macbook Air models are outfitted with lower-resolution screens, with the 13-inch model offering a resolution of 1440-by-900. The MacBook's is a lot sharper. Its 12-inch display is a Retina screen with a resolution of 2304-by-1440.

What MacBook is the cheapest? ›

US pricing for Apple's MacBooks

The new M2 MacBook Air starts at $1,199, and the previous M1 MacBook Air starts at $999. The 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,299, the 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999 and the 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,499.

How long should a MacBook Pro last? ›

We'd say five to eight years, but beware that you probably won't be able to replace any faulty parts in a Mac when more than five years has passed since Apple last sold it. Before you buy a new Mac, read our article about the best time to buy a Mac or MacBook.

What should I look for when buying a MacBook? ›

If you have screen problems, walk away from the deal.
  1. Check the keyboard (especially on late-model MacBook Pros) ...
  2. Check drive, ports, and camera. ...
  3. Check drive status. ...
  4. Check the health condition of the battery. ...
  5. Run Apple Diagnostics or Apple Hardware Test.
Jan 18, 2022

What is a MacBook Pro used for? ›

The Mac Pro is ideal for professionals who work with applications that use as many processing cores as possible—video-editing applications, image-editing software, 3D programs, audio editing, software developers, and the like.

What is the price of Apple MacBook Pro? ›

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 price in India starts from ₹ 130,990. The lowest price of Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 is ₹ 130,990 at Amazon on 30th July 2022.

How long do MacBook Airs last? ›

According to experts, a MacBook Air will last 7 years on average before needing to replace it. If you're using your Macbook Air for animation, photo editing, or gaming it will likely last a year or two less due to its RAM and storage limitations.

Is 256GB enough? ›

But going with 256GB is a massive mistake that will cause you untold headaches in the long run. Put simply: 256GB is NOT enough storage – not if you plan on actually using the MacBook daily. Pay the additional $200 and get 512GB of storage. The main reason why 256GB is not enough storage for a MacBook is simple.

Is the new MacBook Air worth it 2022? ›

MacBook Air 2022: reasons to skip

As good as the MacBook Air looks on paper, it's pricey. It starts at $1,199, which is $200 more than the MacBook Air M1. Yes, Apple is keeping the previous Air around as its entry-level model, but this is the most expensive Air yet at a time when the economy is on shaky ground.

How much will the MacBook Air 2022 cost? ›

MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

Right! This is going to be on the shorter side, as as of today, there is only one MacBook Air 2022 price on offer, and that is the $1,199/£1,249 that you will find over at Apple's online store. That's for the entry level laptop that comes with a 8-Core GPU, 8GB RAM and 256G storage.

Is the new MacBook Air M1 worth it? ›

But the M1 MacBook Air is now more affordable than it ever was and is an all-around better laptop for casual computer users. You can even run iPad apps if you wish. Anyone who requires consistently high performance from graphics, video, audio, or gaming apps should not consider a new MacBook Air.

Which MacBook is best for students? ›

The MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is the best MacBook for students. It has enough power to face almost any academic challenge you come up against.

Is MacBook Air or Pro better for students? ›

The MacBook Air is undoubtedly the best value Mac laptop you can get, so if that's what is important to you it's the one to buy. It's also fractionally lighter than the MacBook Pro. As with the MacBook Pro, there are no USB-A ports on the MacBook Air, just two USB-C and a headphone jack.

What type of MacBook is best for college? ›

We think the best MacBook for most students is the M1 MacBook Air (2020). It's older and a touch slower than the newer M2 version, but it still flies along – and it's the most affordable option on this list by far. Our pick for the best premium MacBook for students is the M2 MacBook Air (2022).

Is MacBook Air good for students? ›

If you're looking for your next campus laptop for study and play, the MacBook Air might be the perfect choice. Every student needs a laptop; for most, there's no replacement for a MacBook Air. Ever since it was released, the MacBook Air has been the go-to choice for students across the world.

Which MacBook is best for office work? ›

Best Mac laptop for business
  • 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) The best MacBook for business overall. ...
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020) Still a powerful choice. ...
  • MacBook Air (M1, 2020) One of the first Apple silicon models. ...
  • Apple iMac (27-inch, 2019) ...
  • Mac mini 2018. ...
  • Mac Pro. ...
  • MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) ...
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro.
Dec 15, 2021

Is 8gb RAM enough? ›

RAM on phones and tablets

So although you reasonably only need 4 GB of RAM on your Android or iPhone, the standard for newly released smartphones is 8 GB. And unless you're really tech savvy, you can't upgrade your phone's RAM.

Which is the cheapest Apple laptop? ›

  • Apple MacBook MLHC2HN/A. Rs. 1,11,999 Buy.
  • Apple MacBook MLHA2HN. Rs. 91,990 Buy.
  • Apple MacBook Pro MD101HN/A. Rs. 53,799.

How long do MacBook Airs last? ›

According to experts, a MacBook Air will last 7 years on average before needing to replace it. If you're using your Macbook Air for animation, photo editing, or gaming it will likely last a year or two less due to its RAM and storage limitations.

Is 256GB enough? ›

But going with 256GB is a massive mistake that will cause you untold headaches in the long run. Put simply: 256GB is NOT enough storage – not if you plan on actually using the MacBook daily. Pay the additional $200 and get 512GB of storage. The main reason why 256GB is not enough storage for a MacBook is simple.

What is the price of Apple MacBook Air? ›

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) price in India starts from ₹ 112,990. The lowest price of Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is ₹ 112,990 at Amazon on 2nd August 2022.

Which MacBook is best for college 2022? ›

10 Best Macbooks for College in 2022
  • Top 10 Best Macbooks for College.
  • #1 Apple MacBook Pro 13” for College.
  • #2 Apple Macbook Air 13” for College.
  • #3 Apple Macbook Pro M1 13” for College.
  • #4 Apple Macbook Air M1 13” for College.
  • #5 Apple Macbook Pro 16” for College.
  • #6 Apple Macbook Air i5 13” for College.

Is MacBook Air Touch screen? ›

For all their innovations, one feature has been conspicuously missing from every MacBook of the last few years. The lack of a touch screen is frequently used as Mac-bashing ammunition by PC users (who have enjoyed them on Surface models for some time), but Apple has steadfastly refused to implement the tech.

Is MacBook Air M1 best laptop? ›

TechRadar Verdict. The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is easily one of the most exciting Apple laptops of recent years. Its M1 chip is a real game-changer, and the ability to run both legacy apps, M1-optimized apps and iOS apps is very impressive. Battery life is also great, and performance is excellent as well.

Which laptop is best for education? ›

The best student laptops available now
  • Acer Chromebook 314. ...
  • Acer Swift 3 (2021) ...
  • Microsoft Surface Go 3. ...
  • Dell XPS 17 (2021) ...
  • Dell G15. ...
  • MacBook Pro 14-inch (M1, 2021) ...
  • Acer Aspire 5. The best cheap Windows laptop for students. ...
  • Asus Vivobook S14. The best laptop for students on creative courses.
Jul 5, 2022

Is MacBook touch screen? ›

Why MacBooks Don't Have A Touchscreen - YouTube

Videos

1. Best MacBook to Buy in 2022 / MacBook Buying Guide
(Arthur Winer)
2. M2 MacBook Air vs 14" MacBook Pro - Which One to Get?
(ZONEofTECH)
3. STOP WASTING MONEY?! M2 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Pro
(Tech Gear Talk)
4. M2 MacBook Air vs M2 MacBook Pro - How to Choose RIGHT!
(Max Tech)
5. DON'T BUY the M2 MacBook Pro! What Apple DIDN'T Tell You..
(Max Tech)
6. Please, buy THIS instead of M2 MacBook Air & Pro in 2022...
(Arthur Winer)

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