In our review of the MacBook Pro M1, we found it to be even more capable than the excellent MacBook Air, mostly because it’s equipped with a fan to keep things cool. The Air just relies on a heatsink, which tends to slow the system down during sustained workloads, like lengthy video rendering. The MacBook Pro, meanwhile, was just as zippy while running universal apps built for the M1 chip, and it managed to emulate Intel software well too.
Some professionals may feel limited by the system’s two USB-C ports, as well as the fact that it only supports one external display. Additionally, since it’s built on Apple’s new ARM-based architecture, there’s no support for external GPUs. If you’re a more demanding user, you may be better off with one of the existing Intel-based MacBook Pros.
When it comes to everyday performance, the M1-equipped MacBook Pro and Air also performed similarly. So you may be better off snagging the Air with the same specs for $1,250 from Apple. You’ll also get the benefit of a slightly lighter machine, and one that’s completely silent with fan or other moving parts. Both the Air and Pro also come equipped with Apple’s Retina Display (though the Pro’s is slightly brighter), and the company’s excellent revamped keyboards, which offer a decent amount of travel for comfortable typing.