Best Apple Laptops 2018

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Apple has finally refreshed its MacBook lineup for 2018, with a variety of options for both professionals and casual users. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and 15-inch MacBook Pro offer speedy 8th-generation Core processors, the fastest SSDs we've ever tested and souped-up graphics. You also get a True Tone display for more natural-looking colors and Hey, Siri support.

Apple has also finally released a new MacBook Air, which packs a vivid Retina Display, an even slimmer design with thinner bezels, dual USB-C ports and speedy 8th Gen processors starting at $1,199.

The 12-inch MacBook is still a very good ultraportable at $1,299, so long as you can live with its lone USB-C port.  If you need a bigger screen, the regular $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar is a fine option and offers more battery life than the 12-inch MacBook.

Here are the best MacBooks for your money.

Best for Most People: MacBook Air with Retina Display (2018)

Slimmer, lighter and sporting thinner bezels than ever before, the MacBook Air may be pricey, but it's pretty slick too. All those dollars get you a Retina-grade high-res screen, the kind we've been begging Apple to add to the Air for years. Even better the Air's speakers are stronger than ever before, with enough volume to make a Bluetooth speaker blush. The Air also includes a Touch ID sensor lets you log in, use Apple Pay and unlock third-party apps with your fingerprints. While the Air's Y-series Core i5 CPU isn't as fast as we'd like, its SSD speeds are super-fast, with rates that shattered our expectations. At $1,199, we wish it were cheaper, but it's the MacBook we'll recommend to most folks.

Quick Specs: CPU: 8th Gen Y-Series Core i5| RAM: 8GB, 16GB | Display: 13.3 inches (2560 x 1600 pixels) | SSD: 256GB, 512GB, 1.5TB | Ports: Two Thunderbold 3, headphone | Weight: 2.75 pounds

Bang for Your Buck: 13-inch MacBook Pro (2017)

The regular 13-inch MacBook Pro from 2017 is still the best all-around laptop in Apple's lineup right. That's because you get a fairly fast 7th-generation Core i5 processor, a bright and colorful 13-inch display and two Thunderbolt 3 ports for a reasonable price of $1,299. You'll miss out on the Touch Bar and quieter keyboard of the newer model, but this system lasted a very good 9 hours and 50 minutes on our battery test. The speedier new 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro lasted only 8.5 hours on our test.

Quick Specs: CPU: 2.3-GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 | RAM: 8GB | Display: 13 inches (2560 x 1600 pixels) | SSD: 128GB | Ports: Two Thunderbolt 3 | Weight: 3.02 pounds

Speed to Go: 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2018)

Thanks to its 8th generation quad-core Core i5 processor, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is an absolute beast. In fact, its SSD is the fastest we've ever tested in a laptop. We tested the configuration with a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, but you should get plenty of pep from the starting $1,799 configuration. Other highlights include four Thunderbolt 4 ports, a new True Tone display and Hey Siri support for calling up Apple's assistant without lifting a finger.

Quick Specs: CPU: 2.3-GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 | RAM: 8GB | Display: 13 inches (2560 x 1600 pixels) | SSD: 256GB | Ports: Four Thunderbolt 3 | Weight: 3.02 pounds

For Serious Pros: 15-inch MacBook Pro (2018)

Whether you're a video editor, a programmer, a photo editor or some other pro with a demanding workload, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro should be able to handle it with ease. You can opt for up to a 6-core Core i9 processor that plowed through our benchmarks, including our demanding 4K video editing test. The 15-inch MacBook Pro also packs a graphics punch, with up to a AMD Radeon 560X GPU. Last but not least, the 15-inch Pro can last nearly all day on a charge, as the system turned in a great battery life test result of 10 hours and 20 minutes.

Quick Specs: CPU: 2.2-GHz six-core Intel Core i7 | RAM: 16GB | Display: 15 inches (2880 x 1800 pixels) | SSD: 256GB | Ports: Four Thunderbolt 3 | Weight: 4.02 pounds

For Frequent Travelers: 12-inch MacBook

At 2.03 pounds and just 0.52 inches thick, the 12-inch MacBook is so slight and thin that you'll barely notice that it's in your bag, But this is a design that you'll want to show off. Apple offers this ultraportable in four colors, including Rose Gold, Space Gray, Gold and Silver. The starting configuration offers decent performance with its Core m3 processor, but if possible we'd step to to the Core i5 CPU. You'll also get 8GB of RAM and a 256GB standard along with a sharp Retina Display, but there's only one USB-C port and it doesn't support Thunderbolt 3 for the fastest speeds. 

Quick Specs: CPU: 1.2-GHz Intel Core m3| RAM: 8GB | Display: 12 inches (2304 x 1440 pixels) | SSD: 256GB | Ports: 1 USB-C | Weight: 2.03 pounds

Most Affordable: MacBook Air (2017)

It might seem silly for Apple to keep the old MacBook Air around at this point, but it does have some advantages over its newer brethren. For starters, it offers a keyboard with more travel, and you get full-size USBs ports and an SD Card slot. The MacBook Air also boasts epic battery life, as it lasted 10 hours and 26 minutes on our battery test. You just have to be prepared to make some sacrifices to get a MacBook this cheap. The Air packs an older 5th-generation Intel Core processor and a low-res display. Unless you're on an ultra-tight budget, you should spring for the new 2018 MacBook Air with Retina Display.

Quick Specs: CPU: 1.8-GHz Intel Core i5| RAM: 8GB | Display: 13 inches (1440 x 900 pixels) | SSD: 128GB | Ports: Two USB 3, Thunderbolt 2, SD Card | Weight: 2.96 pounds

Author Bio
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief on
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