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Which Mac to choose ? Comparison (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini...)

© Apple

Top 5 best Mac 2024:

  1. MacBook Air
  2. iMac
  3. MacBook Pro
  4. Mac mini
  5. Mac Studio

The format

If you have to choose a Mac, first know that there are two main families: portable Macs and desktop Macs. The first are obviously the most suitable for nomadic use, this mode of working becoming more widespread among teleworkers.

With this, be aware that weight or size are also different depending on the Mac you choose. The MacBook Pros are notably the largest of Apple's laptops, with the 16.2-inch model at the top of the list. Where the MacBook Air is a real featherweight, for its 14.2-inch version (the most recent).

As for desktop computers, the Mac mini looks like a large Apple TV but remains very compact, whereas the Mac Studio will be more difficult to transport. As for the Mac Pro, it's a tower so the format is obviously very imposing. The manufacturer does however offer casters, but given the price (more than 800 euros!) we will decide again. Some will then prefer the elongated format of the Mac Pro, in “rack”. But be careful, because, here, the price also changes depending on the inclination…

All desktop Macs are delivered without screen except the&# 8217;iMac. The latter is an all-in-one, appreciated by less tinkerers and limits the cabling between an external monitor and the central unit. More practical, therefore, but also more imposing in theory.

The size of the screen

This brings us to the question of screen size. Here's everything you can choose from today, at Apple:

  • 14.2 inch for MacBook Pro M3
  • 16.2 inch or 14.2 inch for MacBook Pro with M3 Pro chip or M3 Max
  • 15.3 inches for the larger MacBook Air
  • 13.6 inches for the MacBook Air M2
  • 13.3 inch for MacBook Air M1
  • 24 inch for iMac M3

If you choose a desktop Mac, you can connect the monitor of your choice to it. Please note, however, that for maximized compatibility and Continuity, you can choose one of the two external screens offered by Apple in stores:

  • 27 inches for Studio Display (5K definition)
  • 32 inches for Pro Display XDR (6K definition)

Which Mac to choose ? Comparison (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini...)

The Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR screen © Apple

The price

Some of the most expensive Macs can cost tens of thousands of dollars, compared to a few hundred for affordable ones. especially if they are offered second-hand. So remember to check the price carefully before checking out.

Please note, moreover, that each model is customizable according to the configuration of your choice. However, Apple, for example, offers options that are far too expensive for memory (SSD). So only choose the most important options, otherwise don't hesitate to opt for third-party accessories, especially when ports run out.


If you plan to use a Mac as a personal computer and without professional ambitions, you will probably only need minimal office automation and telecommunications tools. In this case, you don't need to dwell too much on the technical sheet. On the other hand, for fast work, we recommend that you take a look at the processor technical sheets. With this, remember to consult the volume of RAM offered. This is essential, because the higher it is, the more stable your Mac will be during its multitasking work sessions.

Which Mac to choose ? Comparison (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini...)

the Mac Studio © Apple

Watch for the release date

Older Macs will be supported for a shorter period of time. So consider buying a Mac that is not too old. As a reminder, Apple supports computers by sending major updates for five to seven years on average. Don't panic, however, because security updates and other patches that close vulnerabilities remain available for much longer, sometimes more than ten years after the release of Macs.

It is also important to check the release date to avoid buying a Mac that will be renewed with a better technical sheet in just a few weeks after your order. We know that Apple has a habit of releasing new generations of its ranges almost every year now. To see things more clearly, don't hesitate to take a look at the Buyer’s Guide, Mac section, edited by our colleagues at MacRumors. You will find a dedicated calendar which keeps you informed of the best time to buy a Mac model, depending on the pace of release from the Apple firm.

Pay attention to battery life

Of course, when you consult the technical sheet of a MacBook (name of the Apple laptop range), you must also consult the autonomy offered by model. This ranges from eighteen hours to twenty-two hours depending on the manufacturer. Please note, however, that these are measurements carried out internally, in the laboratory. The figures can therefore differ very widely from the results you will obtain at home, particularly with the brightness turned up to full brightness or the Bluetooth on permanently for example.

Which Mac to choose ? Comparison (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini...)

the Mac mini © Apple

Should we really focus on the number of shots?

Apple SoCs cannot be modified. It is therefore important to check the amount of RAM under the hood, because you cannot add modules like on old Macs. But for the sockets or even my storage capacity, we advise you not to focus on this limitation which also affects them.

Indeed, with regard to the plugs for example, these are certainly quite limited at the moment but there are now dedicated adapters which cost a few euros from third-party manufacturers. However, don't buy them from Apple: the price can be three times more expensive!

On models like the fifteen-inch MacBook Air ( only two USB-C ports), you will clearly need an additional USB station, for example. Note, moreover, that only MacBook Pros now have HDMI sockets and an SD card slot – on the laptop side.

Which Mac to choose ? Comparison (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini...)

l’iMac © Apple

MacBook Air, the wisest choice ?< /h3>

Not only is the MacBook Air the most affordable of all Apple's laptops, it's also the least expensive. However, it is a very complete model and today its performance is almost equal when compared to that of the most affordable MacBook Pro. There are two major collections of MacBook Air today. On the one hand, the smallest with a 13.6-inch display. And on the other hand, the largest with no less than 15.3 inches.

The most recent models are equipped with the M3 chip, which is the least efficient of its generation. However, the latter is the most recent offered by Apple for its proprietary chips. Moreover, know that in terms of performance, the MacBook Air generally does a little – or even a lot – worse than the MacBook Pro. But a MacBook Air, even with an M1 chip, remains an excellent ally for daily office work. Students will also appreciate it, but don't expect to carry out large-scale quantum calculations for research. For a digital nomad, however, the MacBook Air will do the job due to its very compact format even for the largest model.

The base price of the MacBook Air is 1,199 euros, today.

Which Mac to choose ? Comparison (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini...)

the MacBook Air © Apple

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro is the ultimate laptop from the Apple company. This model marketed by Apple notably offers a better screen than the MacBook Air, thanks to the ProMotion refresh rate of one hundred and twenty frames per second. Performance is therefore obviously more efficient, except perhaps sometimes with the small 14-inch model equipped with the M3 chip. MacBook Pros also now have more USB-C ports, an HDMI port and an SD card slot. Let us remember that previous generations no longer had the right to it.

When we choose the MacBook Pro today, it's also to take advantage of a larger screen. Thus, the largest model allows you to work with an imposing 16.2-inch panel – compared to 14.2 inches for the small MacBook Pro. Coming back to performance, know that while MacBook Airs are limited to thirty-two gigabytes of RAM, MacBook Pros can go up to one hundred and twenty-eight. Internal storage can also reach up to 8 TB compared to a maximum of 2 TB on the MacBook Air. On the other hand, prices start at 1,999 euros: an amount that clearly not everyone is able to pay.

Which Mac to choose ? Comparison (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini...)

the MacBook Pro © Apple

MacBook “simply”

MacBooks are other compact computers marketed by Apple in the 2010s. You can sometimes find them second-hand at certain resellers. However, even Apple's official partners no longer offer them. Additionally,

We recommend that you do not purchase a MacBook today because the penultimate model is not compatible with macOS Ventura. However, this is the latest version of the macOS operating system (the most advanced, therefore). We therefore assume that next year, even the most recent MacBook will not be entitled to the next major version of the operating system. Given the new features that are often announced for the occasion, it would be a shame to miss them. Let's also point out that after a little longer, Apple will also stop sending security updates!

The iconic iMac

The iMac is the ideal Apple computer for the office, as it is currently the only one with the “all-in-one” format ;. Understand that you have everything you need to use the computer right out of the box: wireless mouse and keyboard, but also screen and central processing unit. The latter is actually integrated behind the slab, but the latter is not too thick. In terms of performance, we simply regret that only the M3 chip is available. Neither M3 Pro nor M3 Max are in the game, unlike the MacBook Pros. Professionals are waiting for a second generation of the iMac Pro, which could arrive soon but has not yet seen the light of day. This model is much faster.

Otherwise, the iMac M3 remains a very good asset for a printer, a casual graphic designer or even a family. It’is perhaps the computer most suited to home use, because it can both broadcast films on its large 24-inch screen and allow parents to manage their files throughout the day with the integrated iWork suite. Please note, moreover, that the 4.5K definition is well beyond that offered by MacBooks today.

Choose between Mac Studio, Mac Pro and Mac mini

Apple offers three models of central processing units without a screen (so you have to invest in an external monitor yourself). What you need to remember is that the Mac mini is the least powerful, whereas the Mac Pro is a speed monster that absolutely outperforms all other Macs. However, some believe that its technical sheet is sometimes too close to that of the Mac Studio, but the latter is clearly above the level of the Mac mini.

The main differences between Mac Studio, Mac Pro and Mac mini are found on the side of the sockets installed on the edge and the power. If you need a setup with multiple monitors, also consider checking how many your desktop Mac supports. Finally, be aware that the order of magnitude for size is the same as for velocity: the Mac mini is the smallest, the Mac Studio is larger and the Mac Pro appears like a tower or a rack again more imposing.

Which Mac to choose for working ?

The MacBook Pro, as its name suggests, is dedicated to professionals. It’is therefore the computer par excellence for this type of audience.

Which Mac to choose for video editing or music  ?

Mac Studio, as its name also suggests, is dedicated to music creators or video editors.

Which Mac to choose in 2024 ?

This will depend on the period in which you wish to purchase the computer. If it's around spring or summer; wait until the Worldwide Developer Conference to see the new features announced by Apple. These will probably be better than those offered in the Apple Store at the time you inquire. The same goes for the weeks preceding September, since it is on this occasion that Tim Cook's company organizes its usual end-of-year keynote.

We can also think differently, because significant price reductions are to be noted with Macs precisely as the release of new models approaches. It's up to you to find the right balance between good value for money and major updates.

Which Mac to choose for photo editing?

For basic photo editing, a MacBook Air will do the trick… but perhaps the large version is the most suitable here. For professional work, however, the MacBook Pro will still do the trick. Please note, however, that all Macs today come with the Preview software, and that the iMac is also appreciated for its use of the Adobe suite. On the other hand, to read SD cards from a camera, then the latter will not be suitable without a dedicated hub: prefer a Mac Studio.

Which Mac to choose for a student ?

It's difficult to save money when you're a student. This is why the MacBook Air is perhaps the most suited to this often young audience today. Plus, the computer is very slim so it fits in just about anyone's backpack. Even for the 15-inch version.

Which Mac to choose for a graphic designer ?

The graphic designers most often choose the MacBook Pro.

Which Mac to choose for Photoshop ?

Photoshop will run faster on a powerful Mac like the MacBook Pro or Mac Pro, at least for the software's most demanding tasks. Its launch will be quite slow on MacBook Air or iMac.

Which Mac to choose used or reconditioned?

Find out information on the side of your device. Also check that it is not too old. As a reminder, it is generally after five to seven years that Apple no longer sends major macOS updates to its computers.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116