The New MacBook Air Makes the 12-inch MacBook Redundant

Apple's Retina-display MacBook Air satisfies years of pent-up demand, but it also makes it harder — extremely difficult, even — to recommend the 12-inch Apple MacBook

Let's start where most consumers will, with Apple's pricing. While the $1,199 MacBook Air is frustratingly expensive, it makes the $1,299 MacBook look overpriced.

MORE: Apple Unveils New MacBook Air with Retina Display for $1,199

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 MacBookMacBook Air
Starting Price$1,299$1,199
Display12-inch, 2304 x 1440 pixels13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 pixels
CPUs7th Gen Intel Core m38th Gen Intel Core i5
Battery Life9:29 (tested)10:00 (claimed)
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 615Intel HD Graphics 617
Storage256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1.5TB
Ports1x USB Type-C, Headphone Jack2x Thunderbolt 3, Headphone Jack
Weight (pounds)2 pounds2.8 pounds
Thickness (inches)0.5 inches0.6 inches
Touch IDNoYes

For starters, the MacBook Air gives you a bigger Retina screen, with its 13.3-inch, 2560-by-1600 panel eclipsing the MacBook's 12-inch 2304-by-1440-pixel display. 

Next, the MacBook Air is a lot faster, as it sports 8th Gen Intel Core i5 CPUs, which will blow the MacBook's 7th Gen Intel Core m3 processor out of the water. 

You also get a larger internal battery, with the 2018 MacBook Air featuring a 50.3-watt-hour battery, while the MacBook's is a 41.4-watt-hour battery. We look forward to testing its real-world endurance on the Laptop Mag Battery Test. 

Next up, the MacBook Air touts some of Apple's biggest advancements, including the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and the T2 chip for enhanced security, Hello Siri and improved storage performance. 

Another victory comes in the MacBook Air's port selection. The 2017 MacBook offers a measly single USB Type-C port, which makes it far more limited than the dual Type-C port equipped MacBook Air.

The MacBook's USB Type-C port is also worse, even though it looks just like the inputs on the MacBook Air's. The difference is the MacBook Air features Thunderbolt 3 ports, which are faster, and support external graphics and displays that the MacBook doesn't.

The only areas where the MacBook wins are in portability and storage. The 0.5-inch thick MacBook isn't that much thinner than the 0.6-inch MacBook Air, and its 2-pound weight is under a pound less than the 2.75-pound MacBook Air. 

The 12-inch MacBook starts with 256GB of storage, while the MacBook Air starts at 128GB and you need to spend another $200 to move to 256GB — which would bring the price to $1399. That's $100 more than the entry-level MacBook. 

The bottom line is that the 12-inch MacBook now seems redundant, unless you want to travel really, really light and are willing to put up with slower performance.