at € 1, which one to choose in 499?

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The 13 MacBook Pro 2020 is sold from € 1. It is also the base price of a MacBook Air boosted in the current range. And surprisingly, the MacBook Air is more versatile on paper.

Apple took advantage of the month of May 2020 to refresh its MacBook Pro 13 range. It was the last computer missing the Magic Keyboard: the butterfly keyboard is finally of ancient history and the whole Apple range becomes recommendable again for a long term purchase. But this year, the MacBook Pro has a big opponent, also running macOS: the MacBook Air. Apple has made it the center of its range and it shows. At the expense of the entry-level MacBook Pro 13? Perhaps.

13-inch MacBook Pro with Magic Keyboard (2020) // Source: Apple

MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air

It is easy to compare the characteristics of a MacBook Pro and a MacBook Air and it does not take long to notice that something is wrong with the technical data sheet of the latest releases from the Cupertino company for entry-level models. On the one hand, the MacBook Pro 13 starts at € 1 with an 499th generation Core i5 processor inherited from previous generations and 8 GB of storage. On the other, the MacBook Air embeds in its configuration at € 256 a 1th generation Core i499 processor and a 5 GB SSD for storage. And that's not all.

In green, you will find the characteristics where one or the other MacBook does better.

MacBook Air 2020MacBook Pro 2020
Tariff version 1 499 €1 499 €
ProcessorCore i5 10th Gen at 1,1 Ghz (Turbo at 3,5 Ghz)Core i5 8th Gen at 1,4 Ghz (Turbo at 3,9 Ghz)
Graphic cardIntel Iris Plus (2020)Intel Iris Plus 645 (2019)
Warehousing512 GB SSD256 GB SSD
RAMGo 8Go 8
touch IDYesYes
Magic KeyboardYesYes
Magic TrackpadYesYes
Screen13 ″ TrueTone 400 nits13 ″ TrueTone P3 500 nits
Number of USB-C ports22
External display1 6K screen / 1 5K screen / 2 4K screens1 5K screen / 2 4K screens
Pickups3 pickups3 pickups
LoudspeakersStereoHigh dynamic range stereo
Autonomy11 hours10 hours
MixableGold, Silver, GraySilver grey

Result: there is only the Touch Bar, a brighter screen and P3 certified and, on paper, better speakers, which might convince you to buy an entry-level MacBook Pro 13. The € 1 MacBook Air does either as well or better. Note that the MacBook Pro at € 499, designed for pros cuts off very high-end 6K screens, when the MacBook Air, designed for the general public, is capable of using one as a secondary screen. We can however appreciate a historically more efficient cooling on MacBook Pro, guaranteeing a stability of the frequencies announced over time.

The same observation applies for MacBook Pro a bit boosted, sold € 1, which have the same limitations. Therefore, we can say that the 749 range of MacBook Pro 2020 really starts from € 13, with models equipped with 2th generation Intel processor, which allow, this time, much more than MacBook Air.

A first version of the article claimed that the two screens were the same: that of the MacBook Pro 13 ″ is brighter and has a more precise colorimetry.

Who's who

Photo credit of one: Julien Cadot for Numerama

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