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The 3 Best Apple Laptops And MacBooks of 2024 Reviews

Updated
Best Apple Laptops

Founded in 1976, Apple is one of the world's largest consumer electronics manufacturers, with instantly recognizable products like the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and MacBook. Apple has a small laptop lineup compared to other brands like Dell, HP, Lenovo, and ASUS, as they only make premium productivity-focused laptops. However, MacBooks are consistently among the most well-built and premium laptops. Since Apple started making laptops with their in-house SoC, the M1, MacBooks are among the best for performance and battery life.

Updates

Best Apple Laptops


  1. Best Apple Laptop

    The best Apple laptop we've tested is the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2023). This late 2023 model comes only nine months after its M2 predecessor, sporting Apple's new M3 SoCs. The M3 Pro/Max chips bring even better performance and can easily handle the most challenging tasks like video editing and 3D graphics. There are also new features, including hardware-accelerated ray tracing, AV1 decoding, and increased memory support up to 128GB. Also new is the addition of a base M3 configuration, which can be a great option if you don't need a lot of processing power but still want the 'Pro' features like the Mini LED display and up-firing speakers. There are some downsides with the base M3 model, though, as it has one fewer USB-C port and only supports a single external monitor.

    Except for a new Space Black color, nothing else has changed design-wise. You still get an exceptionally well-built device with a comfortable keyboard, an industry-leading haptic touchpad, and great-sounding speakers. The display is still a 120Hz Mini LED display with full DCI P3 coverage; it just gets slightly brighter to combat glare. Battery life has improved, lasting over 15 hours of light use, which is enough to get you through a full day, maybe even two, depending on your workload. If you need more screen space and don't mind a larger, more costly device, the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (M3, 2023) is also an excellent choice. It's identical to its 14-inch sibling but with better-sounding speakers.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Apple Laptop

    If you're looking for the best MacBook for light, general productivity tasks, get the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022). This premium ultraportable feels incredibly well built, and it's very easy to carry around, thanks to its thin and light design. It provides a great user experience, sporting Apple's vibrant Retina display, spacious keyboard, haptic touchpad, and full-sounding speakers. Performance is excellent; Apple's M2 chip easily handles tasks like web browsing, text processing, video playback, and even some light video editing. Its limited port selection is its main drawback, as it only has two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports with support for one external display.

    As you may have heard, Apple has released new M3 models with slightly better performance, Wi-Fi 6E, and support for two external displays, although the latter only works with the laptop's lid closed. If you don't need these upgrades, the good news is that Apple still sells the M2 model as a more budget-friendly option, giving it a $100 USD price cut. The Apple MacBook Air 15 (2023) is also a good choice if you want a larger display and don't mind paying more. It's essentially the same laptop with a larger 15.3-inch display and better-sounding speakers. There's an M3 version of the 15-inch, but unlike its smaller sibling, Apple has discontinued the M2 model. We'll have full reviews of the new M3 MacBook Airs soon.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Apple Laptop

    For those on a tight budget, get the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020), the first MacBook equipped with Apple silicon. Apple has discontinued this model with the release of the M3 MacBook Airs, and as such, many retailers—most notably Walmart and Bestbuy—are selling their remaining stock of the base model (8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage) for less than $700 USD, making it an incredible value. Regarding firmware support, Apple continues to update a product's software years after its discontinuation, so you don't have to worry about missing out on newer macOS features and security patches.

    As for the device itself, the M1 MacBook Air feels just as well built and premium as the other MacBooks on our list. It has a sturdy all-aluminum chassis, a great keyboard, a gigantic haptic touchpad, and industry-leading speakers. Apple's M1 SoC still feels fast and snappy, and even over three years after its release, it's still among the most power-efficient chips on the market, resulting in exceptionally long battery life. Its webcam is a downgrade from the current MacBooks but is still excellent considering its 720p resolution. Overall, this is a great option for anyone wanting a budget-friendly MacBook, though you'll want to hurry before stock runs out.

    See our review

Compared To Other Brands


  • Exceptional build quality.
    Apple laptops, even entry-level devices like the MacBook Air, usually feel exceptionally well-built.
  • High-quality speakers.
    Apple MacBooks typically have excellent speakers, among the best on the market. They usually sound clear, well-balanced, and full.
  • Large haptic touchpad.
    Apple MacBooks have arguably the best touchpads on the market. They're usually large and smooth and use haptic feedback to simulate clicks, allowing you to click anywhere on the touchpad.
  • Distinct lineup.
    Apple usually has a small but distinct lineup, making it less confusing for consumers.
  • Bright, colorful, and well-calibrated displays.
    Apple MacBooks usually have a high-quality display with full DCI P3 coverage and outstanding factory calibration.
  • Apple ecosystem.
    MacBooks have deep integration with other Apple products, like the iPhone and iPad, adding various features like Continuity Camera, AirDrop, and Sidecar.
  • Excellent customer support.
    Apple's customer service is among the best in the world. It usually has a physical store in most large cities, making it easy to bring in a device for repair or replacement.
  • MacBooks are usually expensive.
    MacBooks tend to be expensive because Apple only makes premium products. Their high price tags are also partly due to Apple's incredible after-purchase customer support.
  • Not ideal for gaming.
    Apple MacBooks aren't ideal for gaming as there aren't many games optimized for macOS running on Apple silicon. Also, while MacBook displays typically perform well in color reproduction, they usually have a slow response time, resulting in visible ghosting.
  • No 2-in-1 or touchscreen option.
    Apple doesn't make any 2-in-1 convertibles or laptops with a touchscreen.
  • Poor serviceability.
    Apple laptops usually have soldered memory and storage, making it impossible to upgrade later on.

Apple vs Dell

Dell and Apple are very different in their approach to laptops, as Dell makes a significantly larger number of models for various uses and price segments. In contrast, Apple only makes premium productivity laptops. Dell's high-end productivity laptops are often compared to Apple laptops in build quality and user experience. However, unlike Apple, which uses their in-house ARM-based SoC, Dell still uses x86 chips from Intel in their laptops.

Apple vs Microsoft

Microsoft and Apple are very similar in some ways but also very different. Both companies only make productivity laptops and control the hardware and software, as they also created the operating system. However, Microsoft tends to have more budget models and experiments with other form factors like 2-in-1 tablets, while Apple only makes clamshell laptops without touch input. Both companies are among the best when it comes to build quality.

Apple vs Lenovo

Apple and Lenovo are very different. Like many other laptop manufacturers, Lenovo produces many laptops, including mobile workstations, ultraportable, gaming laptops, 2-in-1s, and Chromebooks. In contrast, Apple only makes a few models a year and focuses exclusively on productivity laptops. Lenovo also makes a lot of budget models, whereas Apple only makes premium models. Lenovo tends to experiment more with newer form factors and features, like a secondary e-ink display, ultrawide laptops, and dual-screen laptops. See our recommendations for the best Lenovo laptops here.

Apple is one of the best laptop makers in the world. MacBooks usually feel premium and exceptionally well-built, and they have among the best performance and battery life. As Apple also makes the operating system, MacBooks also have a level of integration with other Apple products that's hard to find on devices from other manufacturers. However, MacBooks are generally expensive and aren't as ideal for gaming.

Lineup

Currently, Apple has five laptops in its lineup:

  • Apple MacBook Pro 16 (M3 Pro/M3 Max, late 2023)
  • Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3/M3 Pro/M3 Max, late 2023)
  • Apple MacBook Air 15 (M3, 2024)
  • Apple MacBook Air 13 (M3, 2024)
  • Apple MacBook Air 13 (M2, 2022)

Recent Updates

  1. Mar 26, 2024: Minor text edits to provide more information regarding the new M3 MacBook Airs and the discontinued M1 MacBook Air.

  2. Feb 28, 2024: We've confirmed the pricing and stock availability for all picks but haven't changed our lineup of recommendations.

  3. Feb 07, 2024: Replaced the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M2, 2023) with the M3 model since the M2 is discontinued.

  4. Dec 12, 2023: Verified that all picks are valid and available. No change in recommendations.

  5. Nov 13, 2023: Small text changes to include information about the new M3 MacBook Pros. No change in recommendations.

Conclusion

If you're looking for a productivity laptop, Apple MacBooks are among the best available options, whether you're already in the Apple ecosystem or not. They feel incredibly well-built, have long battery life, and provide a premium user experience. However, if you want more versatility, like a 2-in-1 convertible or a laptop with wider game compatibility, you're better off with a Chromebook or a Windows device.

Test Results