Which MacBook should you buy? Here’s how the 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro compares to the MacBook Air

After launching an updated MacBook Air with the new Magic Keyboard back in March, Apple released its new 13-inch MacBook Pro today with the same improved keyboard and a few other updates. Not sure which MacBook to pick up? Read on for a detailed MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air comparison to make the right decision.

The headline features of the new 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro are a doubling of the base storage (now 256GB) and the switch from the butterfly keys to the more reliable scissor switch Magic Keyboard. That means the whole MacBook lineup now features the tried and true Magic Keyboard. However, there are a few other hardware updates with the new MacBook Pro worth considering before making a decision.

While rumors suggested this update could have landed with a larger 14-inch screen size, that didn’t end up in the cards this time around but there are a number of small tweaks like up to 32GB of RAM and available 10th gen Intel quad-core processors (although it’s, unfortunately, the 8th-gen Intel chips for the lower-priced 13-inch 2020 MacBook Pro models).

2020 13-inch MacBook Pro keyboard


Same as the previous gen, compared to the MacBook Air, you’re getting the Touch Bar with the new 13-inch MacBook Pro and 4 USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports on the higher specced models compared to 2 on the Air.

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Strangely enough, with the lower-priced 13-inch MacBook Pro models, you’re stuck with 8th gen Intel chips which mean no support for 6K displays (e.g. Pro Display XDR). So if future-proofing is important to you, make sure to upgrade to a 10th-gen chip.

2020 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air I/O Comparison

2020 13-inch MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air comparison I/O specs


On the hardware side beyond the curious Intel chip situation, we’re looking at a base SSD storage of 256GB with capacities going up to 4TB now for the high-end 13-inch models, both great new options for both the base and specced up models.

You can also custom order the 13-inch MacBook Pro with up to 32GB of RAM.

As for the FaceTime camera, it’s still got the same low-res 720p one as the Air and 16-inch Pro. And no Wi-Fi 6 here.

As for the higher-end 10th-gen Intel processor choices, you naturally do get more powerful options than the 10th gen 1.2GHz in the latest MacBook Air. Just make sure to choose carefully there for your needs and avoid the 8th gen chip models if you want to hold on to your machine for a while or would like 6K display support.

2020 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air Hardware Comparison

MacBook Pro 2020 hardware comparison MacBook Air


For the 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro Retina display, the two main differentiators when compared to the MacBook Air are the 500 nits brightness (400 for Air) and P3 wide color support.

2020 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air Display Comparison

MacBook Pro comparison display specs MacBook Air

Battery Life

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro lands with up to 10 hours battery life for wireless web and movie playback. That’s 1-2 hours below the MacBook Air and 16-inch MacBook Pro.

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2020 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air Battery Life Comparison

MacBook Pro battery life


For dimensions, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is just slightly thicker and heavier than the previous version (thickness increase due to the Magic Keyboard).

MacBook Pro and MacBook Air Dimensions Comparison

MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 dimensions


Now that Apple’s entire MacBook lineup has been updated with the reliable Magic Keyboard, it’s a great time to upgrade your Mac.

Weighing the defining features of the 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro like the Touch Bar, up to 32GB of RAM, brighter screen with P3 wide color, and more powerful 10th gen Intel chip options should help you narrow down which MacBook is right for you.

You can order the new 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro on Apple.com and find the 16-inch MacBook Pro and 13-inch MacBook Air from Apple’s Amazon storefront and website.

What do you think? Are you sold on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro? Or has the new hardware made up your mind to go with the 2020 MacBook Air? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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