MacBook for students
Whether you’re still in high school or the middle of college, a laptop is an essential piece of equipment for every student. Apple makes some of the best laptops in the world with its MacBook lineup. Whether it’s the powerful MacBook Pro or hyper-portable MacBook Air, Apple’s laptops will power you through any task you’ll meet. The MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is the best MacBook for students. It has enough power to face almost any academic challenge you come up against. Depending on your situation, there are other MacBooks to consider, as you can see below.
Best overall: MacBook Air (M2, 2022)
Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central
In mid-2020, Cupertino announced Apple silicon, starting with impressive M1 processor. Now, the 2022 MacBook Air, which we got a first look at, is the first to house the second-gen M2 processor. The 2022 MacBook Air is the best MacBook for student, along with our favorite Mac for all users, because it packs a punch for anyone on a smaller budget, starting with its battery life — up to 18 hours between charges, depending on what you’re doing.
At 2.7 pounds, the MacBook Air is the lightest Mac on the market despite having the same screen size as the smallest MacBook Pro model. Along with being less weighty, the MacBook Air also contains the same essential internals, including Apple’s all-new M2 SoC. The laptop also features a backlit Magic Keyboard and a Touch ID sensor.
No doubt, the MacBook Air is appealing. However, it comes with drawbacks, including fewer Thunderbolt 3 ports, less display brightness, and more inferior speakers than most MacBook Pro models. It also offers two hours less battery life between charges than the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022). None of the disadvantages should stop you from buying it, however.
- Same screen size as 13-inch MacBook Pro
- Up to 18 hours of wireless web battery between charges
- Relatively low price
- Apple M2!
- Only two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
- Lower display brightness than other models
Best for power users: 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021)
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the computer to get if you need the most power possible. You can configure it with several options, whether you need that M1 Max processor, 64GB Unified Memory, or 8TB of storage. This model comes in both 14-inch and 16-inch configurations, and our team reviewed the 14-inch MacBook Pro in 2021, finding it to be the best MacBook on the market at the time… if you want to spend a ton of money, that is.
Even at its base configuration, a ten-core M1 Max with 32GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, and a 32-core GPU, the 16-inch model will handle any task a student can set to it besides the most computationally intense workflows. If you want a no-doubt-about-it machine, get this MacBook Pro.
- Configurable up to 8TB of storage
- Myriad of expansion options
- Bigger display
- More expensive
- May be overkill for most
Best alternative: 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022)
The 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) is a great middle-ground. It packs an M2 processor, excellent graphics, more ports, and a long battery life. In some ways, it’s not quite as impressive as its big brothers, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models that came out in 2021, but it does pack the newer M2 processor.
When comparing the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) with the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), three factors stand out. First, the Pro model offers a Touch Bar while the Air only has Touch ID. Second, the former offers up to two more battery life hours. The Pro model also offers more screen brightness and better speakers. For these extras, you’ll pay at least $200 extra.
- Comes with potential extras
- Great battery life
- Touch Bar included
- Slightly better display than MacBook Air
- Do you need the extras?
- Touch Bar might not be for you
- Price can rise quickly as you add components
Whether you need a computer for high school or college, the most recent MacBook Air is the best MacBook for students this year. Whether you’re writing papers, putting together a Powerpoint, or even editing some images for a photography class, the MacBook Air will be a reliable performer in your academic pursuits.
The Retina display on the MacBook Air is beautiful and vibrant. The built-in Touch ID sensor makes everything from authorizing operating system tasks to paying for things online with Apple Pay more convenient and secure.
With the addition of Apple silicon, the MacBook Air is even better by offering much more power and battery life than before. Did we mention the great price?
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Joseph Keller is the managing editor at iMore. An Apple user for more than a decade and a half, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. Penn State (go Nittany Lions) graduate here, also a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe
Jaclyn Kilani is a content writer at iMore. She’s a longtime Apple addict with a flair for creating (written works, design, photos; you name it!) on her devices. When she’s not churning out new things, Jaclyn loves exploring the world, playing with her children, and good old-fashioned baking. You can read more about her expat lifestyle at MorningPapaya.com.
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