MacBook Air vs Pro for College

by | Jan,30,2023 10:55:07am

Shopping for a new laptop is always an exciting experience. And this is even made more special when you are planning to use the laptop for a new chapter in your life such as entering college. But just like any major decision, there are several factors that should be considered. This is no small feat when you are selecting between a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. With both laptops hovering on the thousand-dollar mark, this is something that needs serious thinking.

MacBook Air for College

With the M1 chip, the MacBook Air is certainly no pushover. With its balance of price and performance, the MacBook Air has consistently been the best MacBook choice for college students. It has plenty of gas and more to spare for your everyday school-related tasks.




Basic specifications (base model)

  •       M1 chip 8-core CPU with 7-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine
  •       Display: 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 resolution with 400 nits of brightness
  •       Weight: 1.29 kg
  •       Memory: 8GB
  •       256GB SSD (up to 2TB)
  •       49.9-watt-hour (18 hours of watch time)

MacBook Air Upgrade Options

  •       Up to 16 GB of memory
  •       Up to 2TB of storage

Budget being a main concern for parents and students, the MacBook Air’s base price of $999 is an attractive offer. The standard model comes with an 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD. You could also bump the specs up by purchasing the $1,249 model and get an 8-core GPU with 512GB of SSD storage.

To make the deal sweeter, the standard MacBook Air can also be had for $899 through Apple education pricing. This is available to college students, and parents of current and newly accepted college students. Discounts are also available for teaching staff, faculty, and homeschool teachers of all grade levels.

Battery Life

The M1-powered MacBook Air offers significant performance over previous models. The improvements do not only come in terms of computing power but the new architecture also gives the MacBook Air better battery life. What does this mean? More time unplugged whether you are in the classroom or in the park studying.

The MacBook Air has a battery capacity of 49.9 watt-hours. This is good for 20 hours of video playback and 17 hours of web browsing. This is more than enough time for you to do your research and even squeeze in a movie or two.   


The MacBook Air just feels right. This 13-inch laptop is small and thin enough to fit in any student’s backpack. Light and portable, it can be carried across the campus all day. The MacBook Air has always been the lightest of all MacBook models and this is mainly because of how it is designed.

Students that would need MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is a perfect fit for students on the go. Its lightweight design and long battery life make it easy to carry from class to class and to extracurricular activities. Its portability also makes it a great choice for students who travel frequently or study abroad. The Mac OS provides an excellent user experience and its ecosystem of apps and services are highly beneficial for students in fields such as journalism, photography or field research. Additionally, the MacBook Air is a budget-friendly option for students who want to invest in a high-quality laptop. Keep in mind that these are just general examples and the specific needs of each student may vary.

MacBook Pro for College

Both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are more than decent laptops but the MacBook Pro is something you would want on your side when the going gets tough. With a stronger spec sheet, the MacBook Pro is any student’s dream.





Basic specifications MacBook Pro 14-inch (base model)

  •       M1 Pro chip 8-core CPU with 14-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine
  •       Display: 14.2-inch, 3024 x 1964 resolution with 1000 nits sustained full screen
  •       Weight: 1.6 kg
  •       Memory: 16GB
  •       512GB SSD (up to 2TB)
  •       70-watt-hour (17 hours of watch time)

MacBook Pro 14-inch Upgrade Options

  •       Up to 32 GB (M1 Pro) of memory
  •       Up to 8TB of storage

The MacBook Pro’s performance will easily exceed the average needs of any college student. This is ideal for students in engineering, design, coding, or any major that demands a laptop with above-average computing power. It is engineered to surpass its competitors in terms of sheer performance. The MacBook Pro is not only faster but also trumps the competition in terms of battery power. This means more unplugged time completing your assignments.   

For those who need that extra boost, upgrade options are also available for the MacBook Pro. This comes with better storage and more memory. 

The MacBook Pro is equipped with a fan which makes it possible for users to run at maximum performance a little bit further than the MacBook Air. The fan in the MacBook Pro does, however, inevitably make an “airplane sound” after using it for a long time, so you won’t be doing this in silence.

Students that would need Macbook Pro

The MacBook Pro is the go to laptop for students who crave power and versatility. It is perfect for fields such as engineering, architecture, computer science, and video editing. This powerful machine can handle any task with ease. Whether it’s heavy workloads like large data sets and complex simulations or creative projects, the MacBook Pro’s high-performance graphics processor and powerful software make it the go-to machine. Its spacious screen and ample storage capacity are perfect for large projects. The user-friendly and efficient features of Touch Bar, Touch ID, and Retina display make it a pleasure to use. High-end gaming and video rendering are a breeze, and it can handle multiple applications and programs with ease. With different models available, each with its own set of specifications and capabilities, it’s essential to choose the one that best fits your needs and preferences.

Apple’s education discount

MacBooks and almost any iPhone product come with a premium price but Apple has made it possible for some of its customers to be more affordable through its Apple education discount. So, if you’re a college student wanting to get your hands on a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro then you should check out this offer.

Who is qualified for an Apple education discount?

Sadly, not every person or student is qualified to get an Apple education discount outright. To qualify for a discount, you must provide proof like a school ID, receipt, or other documentation.

  •       Parents of students attending higher education
  •       Current students or those newly accepted into higher education
  •       Teaching staff, faculty, and staff at any grade level
  •       Students who don’t initially qualify (young children) may also avail of a discount by asking the school to make the purchase.

How much can you save with an Apple education discount?

The amount of discount depends on the type of device you will be purchasing. Apple sets a fixed amount for each of its products. The Apple education discount is only applicable to iPads, iMacs, Mac Mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro.

  •       MacBook Air M1 chip – $899
  •       MacBook Air M2 chip – $1,099
  •       MacBook Pro 13-inch M1 chip – $1,199
  •       MacBook Pro 14-inch M1 chip – $1,849
  •       MacBook Pro 16-inch M1 chip – $2,499

MacBook Air and MacBook Pro at Techable

Here at Techable, we also offer a wide collection of refurbished MacBook Air and MacBook Pros perfect for your college needs. These are fully inspected and even come with a 30-day return and 90-day guarantee. For the best deals, you can check our MacBook Air and MacBook Pro for college here    

Bottom Line – MacBook Air vs Pro for College

Whatever the choice, both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are exceptional devices. While the needs of each student may not be exactly the same, each laptop can cater to these needs. Budget, form, and processing power are three of the most important factors that come into play when making that decision. All these considered, it all depends on what works best for you as a student.

If you’re in a course that mostly requires writing papers, online research, and typical homework then the MacBook Air fits the bill perfectly. But for students looking for a powerful device that is capable of running the most computing-power-hungry applications then the MacBook Pro is what your college professor would recommend.

So what is the best laptop for college? The MacBook Air is our overall performer. It gives you the perfect balance between price and performance making it the perfect choice for college students.

Ronald Uy

Ronald, a tech writer at Techable for three years, merges his passion for technology with a creative edge. His articles blend technical insights with captivating storytelling, captivating readers with informative yet engaging content. Beyond his tech pursuits, Ronald channels his creativity into photography and digital art, making a multifaceted impact on both the tech industry and creative circles alike.


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