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MacBook Vs. MacBook Pro – Which Should You Buy?

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Decisions, decisions. When it comes time to buy a new computer, it can be tough to make a decision. There’s the processor speed, longevity of the product and, most importantly, the price. So how do you choose between a MacBook and a MacBook Pro? Here’s how we break it down.

Size & Weight

It used to be that if you wanted a 13-inch laptop, the only option you had was the MacBook, but now there’s a 13-inch MacBook Pro on the market, and it’s currently not giving you a lot more value for your dollar, comparatively. For this, you need to ask yourself how you’re going to use the laptop. Is it always going to be in your bag, ready for work at any time, or is it more of a desktop buddy that you take on the road occasionally? If you do a lot of traveling or taking the laptop out and about, a 13- or 15-inch model is really the way to go. The MacBook runs about 4.7 pounds, while the 13-inch MBP is 4.5. Bump it up to a 15-incher and you’re at 5.5 lbs, both of which are easily totable if need be.

Storage space

Consider your usage for this model, once again. Do you want to use it for organizing your photo collection, or just to write out a word doc for school? The more storage you have onboard, the more you’re able to do with the computer. Currently, the MacBook maxes out at 250 gb (although there are 320 and 500 gb options available which raises the price to MBP levels), while the MBP is available with up to 500 gb. If you need the storage, go with the MacBook Pro. Otherwise, the MacBook may be your best option.

Speed & Usage

There’s a reason it’s called the MacBook Pro, and that’s because the people who own one generally work it pretty hard. The casual laptop user who only surfs the net and sends a few e-mails can use the MacBook with no problems at all. But if you’re a designer who uses Photoshop and InDesign on a daily basis, the MacBook Pro is easily the choice to make.


At $999, the MacBook is a hell of a deal. It’s got a 2.26 processor, 250 gb of storage and a small form factor. And if that’s what you have the cash to spend for, then it’s a great machine. If your budget allows though, consider stepping up to the MacBook Pro and some of the higher-end features that they have. The dual video processors is an excellent thing to have for graphics-intensive programs, and the aluminum case feels sturdier and stronger than the white MacBook does.


The MacBook is an excellent computer at a great price, packing lots of features into a sub-$1000 price tag. Ultimately, if you have only a certain amount of cash you can spend, or you’re a student on a budget and you want a great computer at a good price, this is the way to go. but if you have more than $1500 for a laptop, spring for the MacBook Pro. It’s compact, light, powerful, and has amazing graphics at pretty good pricing. It gets a little steep at the 17-inch level, but for that machine you’ll want to be a designer or video editor who needs every bit of processor speed available and all the monitor real estate you can get.

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

10 thoughts on “MacBook Vs. MacBook Pro – Which Should You Buy?

  1. MacBook vs. MacBook Pro
    1.08” .95” height
    13” 12.78” width
    9.12” 8.94” depth
    4.7 4.5 pounds weight
    polycarbonate aluminum unibody cases
    4 GB 8 GB max RAM 2 GB standard both
    – Backlit keyboard
    – FireWire 800 port
    – SD card slot
    250GB 160 GB hard drive 5400 rpm either way
    included +$50 for for 250 GB hard drive upgrade
    $999 $1199

    2.26 GHz either way, 7 hour battery each way, superdrive each way

    4 GB RAM upgrade is $100 either way
    MacBook Pro is $250 more for similar configuration
    so smaller case, lighter weight, more RAM upgrade options, backlit keyboard, FireWire, SD card slot. Is all that worth 25% more? Could be. I think the backlit keyboard is worth something, the FireWire is clearly valuable, particularly for FireWire target disk mode migration or troubleshooting. The mobile photographer or HD video cam with SD cards can take advantage of the built-in high speed card reader. 4GB of RAM should do for most folks but the option to go to 8 GB is valuable. The smaller case and lighter weight are nice but the differences are not significant. The cache of the looks of the MacBook Pro versus the MacBook may sway some buyers. Despite the published specs, the screen on the MacBook Pro looks better to me than a MacBook in the local Apple store. If I had to buy two for my family (if I had one) then the price difference, being doubled, would surely sway the decision.

  2. Poor review. Why would you want to compare a macbook with a 15inch MBP, obviously the MBP15 will win in every aspect. Compare it with a MBP13 if you want. A macbook with all the equivalent upgrade is still cheaper than an entry level MBP13 and not to mention the higher end one. I dun see why would a firewire port or a SD card slot cost that much of a difference. The SD card slot can be offset by a multi-card reader which most people with a DSLR will prefer. The firewire unless you have a videocam if not it would be under-use. I know the MBP can be upgrade to 8gb ram but if you need that kind of processor power, the MBP13 should never be a choice in the first place.

  3. Maven,
    That’s a pretty short-sighted idea of what FW can be used for. People in music can use the consistently high bandwidth FW provides, as can people who rely on external HDs. USB 2.0 is OK for smaller transfers and has a higher peak data rate, but when you’re dealing with data bandwidth it’s a no-brainer between the two.
    I agree Apple did a poor job distinguishing the MB from the MBP, but there is a difference – especially in the aforementioned FW and the display. The display on the MB has 60% of the color gamut of the MBP. It’s still leaps and bounds better than the old displays, but nowhere near as amazing as its more expensive counterpart. The aluminum definitely feels a lot sturdier, too, and you don’t get that yellowing issue that seems to plague the polycarb bodies.
    I think the backlit keyboard is asinine. I can’t think of the last time I had to look down at the keyboard where a backlight would have come in handy. I can touch type, and anyone who’s spent some time learning how doesn’t really have much need for the backlight, either.

  4. Hi all,
    I bought a macbook last december… today I find a big difference between macbook and macbookPro… My macbook don’t run 64bit kernel version. It’s run 32bit mode only

    uname -a
    Darwin xxx.local 10.2.0 Darwin Kernel Version 10.2.0: Tue Nov 3 10:37:10 PST 2009; root:xnu-1486.2.11~1/RELEASE_I386 i386

    Apple didn’t permit to switch to 64bit mode

  5. 3 words mmmmmmmaaaaaaaaaccccccccc bbbbbbbbbbooooooooooooooooooooookkkkkkkkkk ppppppprrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrooooooooooo

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