Best Apple Laptops 2019
Editor's Note: Apple just revealed an improved version of its controversial Butterfly keyboard, and extended its keyboard service program for select models. Here's what you need to know.
The MacBook lineup is now a mix of new and older laptops, with a variety of sizes and specs. But which system is right for you?
Based on our testing, our top pick for most people is the new MacBook Air. It packs a vivid Retina Display, a slimmer design with thinner bezels, dual USB-C ports and a speedy SSD for $1,199.
Before you pick up the new Air, though, you should see how it stacks up to other top ultraportable laptops. See our face-off between the Dell XPS 13 2019 and MacBook Air.
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, as well as improved keyboards on current models.
The regular $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar is a fine option and offers long battery life, but it has an older 7th-gen Intel processor. We're no longer big fans of the 12-inch MacBook. It's highly portable, but its lone USB-C port and high $1,299 price give us pause.
Apple is also keeping the older MacBook Air around, so there's a $999 system in its lineup, but it's really showing its age now. The company is expected to release a new 16-inch MacBook Pro this year. Also, we've already started to track the rumors for the MacBook Pro in 2019.
Here are the best MacBooks for your money. And be sure to see our MacBook vs MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro face-off to see which system is right for you.
Best for Most People: MacBook Air with Retina Display (2018)
Slimmer, lighter and sporting thinner bezels than ever before, the new MacBook Air is the best overall Apple laptop. All those dollars get you a sharper Retina display, louder speakers and a Touch ID. This helps you log in, use Apple Pay and unlock third-party apps with your fingerprint. 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 a great all-around laptop. 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