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M1 MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro, which should you buy? – 9to5Mac

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Apple’s M1 MacBooks are officially here and bring some major performance gains. At first glance, the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro seem quite similar with the same CPU/GPU, same ports, same FaceTime camera, and more. However, let’s take a closer look at the M1 MacBook Air vs Pro to see what differentiates the two to help you decide which to buy.

Initial reactions to Apple unveiling the new M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro around the web included confusion about what the point was in continuing to offer both since they appear so similar. While it is impressive and somewhat confusing that the $999 base M1 MacBook Air has the same CPU/GPU and neural engine as the $1,299 and higher M1 MacBook Pro, there are some notable differences that are worth considering before making a decision.

While the M1 MacBooks provide much-improved performance across the board (speed and battery life being two big aspects), there are a few areas where they’re less capable or at least not improved compared to the Intel predecessors. In the charts below, we’ve highlighted differences between the M1 MacBook Air and Pro in bold.

M1 MacBook Air vs Pro hardware comparison

M1 MacBook Air vs Pro image of M1 chip

You’re getting the phenomenal M1 chip with both machines with 4 high-efficiency cores and 4 high-performance cores for the CPU. But interestingly enough, it’s actually a 7-core GPU on the base MacBook Air models instead of the 8-core on the higher end Air configurations and all the MacBook Pro models. My colleague Ben Lovejoy wrote an explainer on what’s happening with that.

Beyond the slight GPU difference, you’re getting active cooling with the MacBook Pro. That’s notable as it allows the notebook to sustain high performance under sustained loads for longer.

M1 MacBook Air vs Pro comparison hardware specs

Maybe more minor in the big picture, but the M1 MacBook Pro features high dynamic range with its stereo speakers and the mics are “studio-quality.”

It’s great to see Wi-Fi 6 support on both models! However, it’s a real bummer to see the 720p FaceTime camera stick around. Apple says it’s improved the image quality with a new image signal processor. But reviews say the quality is still bad.

If you have questions or qualms about RAM being limited to just 16GB, be sure to check out my colleague Stephen Hall pushing the base M1 MacBook Air to the limit, showcasing super impressive performance. If you’re not a power user, 8GB RAM with these machines could likely be more than enough.

Bottom line: You’re going to see awesome performance for everyday computing with both computers but if you lean toward heavier workflows for longer periods of time, the active cooling on the MacBook Pro may be enough to make your decision.

M1 MacBook Air vs Pro display comparison

If screen brightness is important to you, chalk up another point for the MacBook Pro with its 500 nits brightness vs. 400 on the MacBook Air. Otherwise, you’re getting the same great Retina display on both notebooks.

M1 MacBook Air vs Pro display comparison

M1 MacBook Air vs Pro I/O comparison

The only difference between the two with the rest of the I/O not covered above is the Touch Bar coming on the MacBook Pro and dedicated row of function keys (new ones too for dictation, spotlight, more) on the MacBook Air.

However, the specs below also reveal a few downsides compared to older Intel MacBooks. First, you’re getting a maximum of 2 USB-C (USB4)/Thunderbolt ports on all the M1 models. The higher-end Intel 13-inch MacBook Pro offered 4 (2 on each side).

The second downgrade is external display support. These M1 MacBooks support a maximum of 1 external display up to 6K at 60Hz. The previous-gen Intel MacBooks could run up to 2 4K displays at 60Hz in addition to working with up to 1 6K display at 60Hz.

M1 MacBook Air vs Pro I/O comparison

Size, weight, and finish comparison

Everything here is identical to the previous Intel MacBooks except for the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro shaving 0.1 ounce to go from its predecessors 3.1 pounds.

If the gold color is appealing, keep in mind it’s only available with the MacBook Air.

Battery life comparison

M1 MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro
M1 13-inch MacBook Pro battery life rating from Apple

Real-life use is showing massive battery life gains for the M1 MacBooks compared to the old Intel models. However, keep in mind you probably won’t see exactly the Apple ratings of up to 15-20 hours without compromises like turning down display brightness for light workflows.

But in any case, the power efficiency and battery life improvements are big!

Pricing comparison

Across the different configurations, when looking at the same storage and RAM, it’s a $300 difference between the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

For now, the stocked models are the 256GB/8GB RAM and 512GB/8GB RAM configurations. Models with 16GB RAM will see longer shipping times as they are custom orders.

M1 MacBook Air vs Pro price comparison

M1 MacBook Air vs Pro wrap-up

Hopefully, you’ve got clarity now on which M1 MacBook is right for you. If you value longer battery life, active cooling for extended heavy workloads, a slightly brighter screen, and/or like the Touch Bar, the MacBook Pro is the way to go and offers a lot of value starting at $1,299. If those things aren’t important to you, the MacBook Air is the choice starting at a really reasonable $999 for everything you’re getting.

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Qualcomm to launch a new 7-series Snapdragon chipset in Q1 2021 – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com

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Qualcomm introduced its new flagship chipset called Snapdragon 888 earlier this week. We expected an upper-midrange platform to take the stage as well, but the San Diego company had nothing more to share about a new 700 series top dog.

According to one leakster on Weibo, the new chipset will be introduced in Q1 2021 and will start shipping almost immediately.

The new 7-series chipset by Qualcomm is expected to be the main competitor to the 5nm Exynos 1080 with integrated 5G modem and the MT6893 platform by Mediatek – a 6nm upper-midranger that is yet to be announced.

So far we know virtually nothing about the new Snapdragon 7xx aside from its model number SM7350 and the codename Cedros, named after an island off the coast of Mexico (and relatively close to San Diego, Qualcomm’s HQ).

A prototype of this platform scored over 530,000 on AnTuTu, meaning it would be performing way better than the SD765G but will still be a step behind the last year’s flagship SD865 that easily reached over 600,000 on the same benchmarking platform.

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Verizon's Galaxy S20 family (sans S20 FE) now receiving Android 11 with One UI 3.0 update – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com

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Mere hours ago, Samsung officially announced its Android 11 update timeline, with the first devices slated to get it being the Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra. Little did we know at the time that the company would be pushing out the first updates later today, but it is now happening.

Verizon’s S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra are now in the process of receiving the One UI 3.0 update based on Android 11, through build G98xUSQU1CTKH, where “x” is different based on which phone you have.

As usual, the rollout is expected to be staged and take at least a few days, if not weeks, to reach all devices out there. Now that the ball’s rolling, and surprisingly with Verizon as the update launch carrier, perhaps other carriers will get in on the action soon enough, in the US.

The Android 11 update should spread to many more regions of the world for the S20 family before the end of the year, as Samsung already announced. It’s unclear what will happen to the S20 FE, because weirdly enough it wasn’t on Samsung’s list.

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Verizon’s Galaxy S20 models are the first to get Android 11 and One UI 3.0 – The Verge

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Verizon revealed this morning that Samsung’s Galaxy S20 lineup will be the first Samsung phones to receive Android 11 and Samsung’s One UI 3.0 in the US, and now the software has already started trickling out to customers, according to Droid Life. One UI 3.0 has been in public beta for the last two months, but this marks the official release of the final software.

One UI 3.0 has the messaging, notifications and security features of Android 11, along with some add-ons specific to One UI. Samsung has added easier ways to access widgets, take screenshots, and double-tap the screen to put your phone to sleep, to name a few, but if you want a more exhaustive list of all of the One UI 3.0 changes, you can check out this roundup at Android Police.

Outside the US, the international launch of One UI 3.0 also seems to be spinning up as well. Android Police says that Samsung sent a full schedule of release dates to users in Egypt, with the flagship S20 line receiving Android 11 and One UI 3.0 some time in December, though after the US. According to the schedule, the next phones to receive the update will be the Note 20, Z Fold, Note 10, and S10 phones in January 2021. The update will take some time to hit every Samsung phone that supports it you’re using a Galaxy A10, A20 or A30S, don’t expect to see it before August.

When we reviewed Android 11 in September, we appreciated all its added features for managing the complexity of modern Android phones, but noted the possibility for fragmentation, as Google and Samsung’s takes on Android have started to diverge yet again. Samsung was known for taking a long time to release updates, like when it took five whole months to send out Android Pie. But that’s changed over the years as it’s gotten better at managing its timeline. Last year’s Android 10 update took three months to hit the first phones, and that’s what we’re seeing with Android 11 this year too.

Issues like fragmentation are important because Samsung is the largest smartphone vendor globally, and the largest producer of Android phones in the US. That means the widespread adoption of new features largely relies on the company choosing to include them in new versions of One UI. From our early preview, it seems like the most important bits of Android 11 have made it into One UI 3.0; but when it comes to Google’s other Android projects, Samsung might not have as much to gain.

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