Best MacBook in 2020: Apple laptop reviews and ratings

Best MacBook in 2020: Apple laptop reviews and ratings

The Best MacBook in 2020: Apple laptop reviews and ratings. The best MacBook for you is now better than ever thanks to recent improvements to Apple’s lineup of device. In the past few months, Apple release a new 13-inch MacBook Air and powerful 16-inch MacBook Pro with a more comfortable and reliable keyboard. And while the two versions of the 13-inch MacBook Pro haven’t been updated, they’re still the best MacBook for certain users. 

Based on our testing, the best MacBook for most shoppers is the $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro. Yes, it’s pricier than the $999 MacBook Air, but you get a faster processor and longer battery life. But there are still reasons to opt for the Air, especially the new MacBook Air 2020, which has an improved Magic Keyboard with scissor switches. If you need more power, you could go for the much more powerful (and expensive) 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Our MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro face-off will help you decide which system is right for you, and our Apple Warranty Check instructions will tell you when your AppleCare+ plan expires. You can also read our macOS Catalina review to learn more about the latest operating system version.

What is the best MacBook? 

Apple streamlined its laptop offerings in the past few years, so there are now only four models to choose from, two of which are almost identical. Each device has its pros and cons. We’ve been recommending the 13-inch MacBook Pro to most users because it offers the best price-to-performance ratio. However, now might be the worst time to buy the 13-inch MacBook Pro

Instead, you should set aside some cash for the 16-inch MacBook Pro or save on the newest MacBook Air 2020. Why? Because both models sport the new Magic Keyboard, a huge improvement over the unreliable and uncomfortable Butterfly keyboard that the 13-inch MacBook Pro still uses. Until Apple updates the smaller MacBook Pro (which could happen very soon), the other two options are probably your best bet. 

Before you buy one, you should be aware of their shortcomings. The 16-inch MacBook Pro doesn’t have very many except for the barrier to entry: its crazy-high price. The MacBook Air’s main limitation is performance, although the laptop should do fine for everyone but power users. 

Best MacBook in 2020: Apple laptop reviews and ratings

The best MacBook you can buy today

1. MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)
2. MacBook Air (2020)
3. MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch, 2019)
4. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) 

Best Apple Laptop for Most: 13-inch MacBook Pro (2019)
Apple’s entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro is the best MacBook for most people because of its fast performance and relatively affordable price. 

1. 13-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

The best Apple laptop for most users

CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB | Display: 13.3 inches, 2560 x 1600 pixels | Size: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3 pounds

Great battery life

Very fast performance

Bright and colorful display

Powerful speakers

Keyboard has shallow travel

The entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro is among the best MacBooks you can buy today. It packs a fast 8th-gen Core i5 processor and more than 10 hours of battery life in a fairly light 3-pound design. You also get a Touch ID sensor for unlocking your Mac with ease, a bright and sharp display and powerful speakers. 

Yes, we’d like to see more Thunderbolt ports than just two, but you’ll need to step up to the $1,799 configuration for that perk. 

See our full MacBook Pro 13-inch (2019) review

MacBook Air 2020
The MacBook Air 2020 has a lower starting price than its predecessor and offers improved performance.  (Image credit: Future)

2. MacBook Air (2020)

The most affordable MacBook

CPU: 10th Gen Y-Series Core i5 | GPU: Intel Iris Plus | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB | Display: 13.3 inches, 2560 x 1600 pixels | Size: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds

Today’s best Apple Macbook Air (2020) deals

Apple 13.3″ MacBook Air with…

Apple 13.3 MacBook Air 2020 -…

Sleek design

Great battery life

Magic Keyboard

Underwhelming performance

Limited ports

The new MacBook Air is top among the best MacBooks for those who don’t want to spend too much. This latest model not only starts at a lower $999 price as its predecessor but it now features the Magic Keyboard, which is a huge improvement in both reliability and comfort over the doomed Butterfly keyboard. 

On top of that, you get the latest Intel 10th Gen CPUs. Yes, they’re still Y-series, so don’t expect amazing performance, but they are a notch up from the previous model.  Another benefit of the new model is that it starts with 256GB of storage — no more measly 128GB. 

Everything else about the 2020 model is about what you’d expect from a MacBook Air. It’s a slim, sleek laptop that weighs just 2.8 pounds and comes in at 0.6 inches thick. Those numbers don’t break any records but they keep this notebook easy to carry around. Battery life is also great, at 9 hours and 31 minutes, and the speakers sound remarkably good. 

See our full Apple MacBook Air (2020) review

More Speed to Go: 13-inch MacBook Pro with 4 Thunderbolt Ports
Apple sells a higher-end version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, more ports and a bit more power, but those perks come at a price. 

3. MacBook Pro 13-inch with Touch Bar (2019)

CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB | Display: 13.3 inches, 2560 x 1600 pixels | Size: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3 pounds

Blazing-fast performance

Bright and colorful Retina display

Great speakers

Thick bezels

Battery life could be longer

This higher-end version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro gives you more power and more ports. It starts with a faster 2.4-GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, more powerful Iris 655 graphics and 256GB of storage, and Apple throws in four Thunderbolt 3 ports, so you can connect more peripherals at once.

 In our testing, this version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro lasted 8 hours and 51 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test. That’s above average but behind the cheaper entry-level 13-inch Pro. So you have to decide if more oomph but less endurance is worth the extra cost.

See our full MacBook Pro 13-inch with Touch Bar (2019) review

16-inch macbook pro
Apple’s latest product, the 16-inch MacBook Pro, is the best MacBook in year, but only power users without a budget should go with this one.  (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

16-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

The best MacBook for serious pros

CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M/5500M | RAM: 16GB/32GB/64GB | Storage: 512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB/8GB | Display: 16-inch, 3072 x 1920-resolution | Size: 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 4.3 pounds

Radically improved Magic Keyboard

Immersive 16-inch display with slimmer bezels

Powerful 6-speaker audio

Up to 8-core Core i9 CPU and 64GB RAM

No full-size USB port or SD card

With an improved keyboard, powerful speakers and a larger, more immersive display, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro — the latest member of the MacBook family — is an improvement over the now-discontinued 15-inch model in every way that matters. Yes, it’s larger and a bit heavier, but that hit to portability is forgotten once you get your eyes on the MacBook Pro’s gorgeous, 16-inch, 3072 x 1920-resolution display, which is flanked by thin bezels. 

Continuing the tradition of its predecessor, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is the most powerful of Apple’s laptops thanks to its 9th Gen Core i7 or Core i9 CPUs, up to 64GB of RAM, up to 8TB of storage (no, seriously) and AMD Radeon Pro 5500M graphics. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the best Apple laptop in years…if you can afford one. 

See our full 16-inch MacBook Pro review

How to choose the best MacBooks for you?

We have a separate guide on how to decide which MacBook is right for you. The TL;DR version is to consider how much power you need and what you are willing to spend. 

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro — arguably the best of the current MacBooks — has the scissor keyboard we’ve all been waiting for, but its starting price is steep. The MacBook Air, on the other hand, is the cheapest option but falls short on performance. If you just need something for basic everyday tasks, the Air will do just fine. 

For power users, the MacBook Pro 13-inch might be the best option. Just note, there are two versions of the smaller MacBook Pro: one with two Thunderbolt 3 ports and another with four. 

How we test MacBook laptops

We put MacBooks through extensive benchmark testing — both synthetic and real-world — before they end up in the hands of our reviewers. We evaluate everything from speed and battery life to display brightness, speaker volume and system heat.

We use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness and sRGB color gamut of a laptop’s display. For performance benchmarking, we run the laptop through a gauntlet of benchmarks, including Geekbench 4.3 and 5.0 and 3DMark professional graphics tests. 

To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 4.97GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics test is the Dirt 3 benchmark with medium settings and 1080p resolution. 

We also run heat tests by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and our battery test consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. We consider everything over the category average (8 hours and 36 minutes) to be a good result. Of course, these tests are complemented with hands-on testing from our reviewers.

Best MacBook in 2020: Apple laptop reviews and ratings

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