MacBooks are considered to be the best of the best when it comes to the laptops, but it depends on who you ask. Even if you choose the best MacBook, the choice might be perfect for some people, while it might be horrible for others.
When it comes to MacBook laptop computers, it’s important to know their advantages, but also your needs.
Therefore, in this post, we review some of the latest MacBook models and rank them by their performance, versatility, and compactness.
Lineup At A Glance
Best MacBooks For Students In 2021
Apple MacBook Pro 2020 – Best Overall
If you’re looking to get the best performance for a fair price, this machine can get everything a student needs to be done on a laptop.
The Apple MacBook Pro 2020 comes with a powerful Core i3 processor and 8GB of RAM to ensure smooth powerful computing experience, multitasking is never a problem in this device. So students can take advantage of its computing speed to be more efficient and productive.
It boasts a 9 hours battery life which students really need, especially when on campus or to a place where an outlet may be scarce. 9-hour battery life is more than enough to do a lot of things.
Regardless of a cheaper price, the Apple MacBook still comes with a retina display and cutting edge Magic Keyboard for great typing experience. While the 256GB SSD ensures you have room for every file you need to save.
So if you plan to buy a MacBook for school, this machine is perfect in terms of specs and price!
Hardware Specifications for Apple MacBook Pro 2020
CPU: Intel Core i3| Graphics: Intel Iris Plus| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 13-Inch Retina with True Tone display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: macOS| Battery Life: up to 9 hours | Weight: 6.14 lbs
Apple MacBook Air 2017 – Old But Capable
If you are looking for a machine that could suffice your daily school computing needs, look no more. The Apple MacBook Air 2017 can rock everything you throw at it and it comes with a best value price.
The Apple MacBook Air 2017 is a better alternative to its newest predecessor the MacBook Air 2018 and 2019, it has no Retina display and Touch ID but still a fairly capable machine. The processor is still strong enough to get you through most of your tasks without hassle.
The 12 hours battery life is the greatest deal you can get with this machine, you can do whatever you want without the worry of getting out of juice. Especially students need that long battery life for writing papers in the coffee shop!
It may be a little older but still very capable, so if you don’t mind the date and focus on battery and power, this one’s for you.
Hardware Specifications for Apple MacBook Air 2017
CPU: Intel Core i5| Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 13.3-Inch LED-backlit 1440×900 display| Storage: 128GB SSD| Operating System: macOS| Battery Life: up to 12 hours | Weight: 2.96 lbs
Apple MacBook Pro 2019 – Future Proof Choice
For students who may be taking a course that involves photo editing, graphic design, or music production. The Apple MacBook Pro 2019 model can do that and much more!
This portable 16-inch powerful machine can be your lifetime academic career partner, it is powered by Intel Core i7 and 16GB of RAM to ensure your multitasking needs won’t get laggy or for you to have smooth computing power. While the 512GB storage is more than enough to store your academic file or you can opt to choose the 1TB option if you need more storage for a little price mark upgrade.
So, if you want power and a bigger screen this MacBook is the best for you! It can be your lifelong academic year buddy.
Hardware Specifications for Apple MacBook Pro 2019
CPU: Intel Core i7| Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics| RAM: 16GB RAM | Screen: 16-Inch Retina with True Tone display| Storage: 512GB SSD| Operating System: macOS| Battery Life: up to 11 hours | Weight: 8.23 lbs
13-inch MacBook Pro 2019 – Best Alternative
If the 16-inch MacBook Pro 2019 model is overpowered for your study needs, the best alternative is the 13-inch Macbook Pro 2019 and it’s much cheaper.
It may lack the bigger screen and discrete GPU, but it is powered by recent Intel Quad-Core Core i5 processors so you still have enough power to take on fairly demanding tasks. It could still be used in graphic designing and other editing applications and it won’t budge.
You can choose from 256GB or 512Gb storage if you opt to have bigger storage you may need to add some cash along with it.
But don’t worry it still has a Retina display, a Touch ID, and Intel Iris Graphics 655 so you can do some visually related tasks without straining your eyes.
It also comes with a pretty solid battery life that could last for up to 10 hours straight use! As a student, you should always consider battery life as a crucial criterion.
Portability and power? Both offered by this machine. This is a great laptop for students who need that both.
Hardware Specifications for Apple MacBook Pro 2019
CPU: Intel Core i5| Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics 655| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 13-Inch Retina with True Tone display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: macOS| Battery Life: up to 10 hours | Weight: 5.49 lbs
12-inch MacBook 2017 – Every Day Productivity
Gearing up towards school? Don’t forget to have your productivity laptop that is cheap and capable. The 12-inch MacBook may be older but it is more than capable of doing your everyday computing needs as a student.
It comes with a Retina display and a refined keyboard to suit your typing needs, especially for students who always face articles and essays. The Retina display helps you not strain your eyes too much.
Inside a very thin and lightweight machine is a powerful Intel Core m3 processor and 8GB of RAM to handle multitasking and a fair computing needs.
You can choose between 256GB or the 512GB variant depending on your storage preference and needs, it also comes with an amazing battery life that could last for up to 10 hours. Pretty convenient for students who always move around while working on something.
For students who value portability and battery power, this MacBook is definitely your best partner in your academic career.
Hardware Specifications for 12-inch MacBook 2017
CPU: Intel Core m3| Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 12-Inch Retina with True Tone display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: macOS| Battery Life: up to 10 hours | Weight: 3.4 lbs
Apple MacBook Air 2018 – Bang For The Buck
Apple introduces the newer MacBook Air 2019 and 2020 so you’ll definitely have a great deal with its 2018 model, the price would drop but the machine is still powerful enough for any course a student might want to take.
This 13.3-inch MacBook model has everything you expect from a MacBook, a retina display, Touch ID, and HD webcam so you won’t really need to buy the expensive latest model.
It boasts a powerful Intel Core i5 processor and Intel UHD 617 graphics card, it could chew any tasks you throw at it with ease. You can choose from 128GB or 256GG SSD storage depending on your storage needs. It might be obvious but this older model can do what the latest models can do.
So if you want to have a great laptop for a great deal, consider the MacBook Air 2018 model. It would surely suffice your computing needs.
Hardware Specifications for Apple MacBook Air 2018
CPU: Intel Core i5| Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 617| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 12-Inch Retina with True Tone display| Storage: 128GB SSD| Operating System: macOS| Battery Life: up to 8 hours | Weight: 4.34 lbs
MacBook Air MJVM2LL – Best Budget MacBook
This laptop may seem so old but yet it could be your partner in school or if you’re homeschooling, this laptop is totally capable of finishing every task a student needs.
It is not a powerhouse laptop but it is more powerful than similarly priced non-Apple laptops in the market. It comes with a Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM which is more than enough for students who don’t take up an engineering course.
If you use it for writing and other fair computing needs, it is definitely more than capable and the price is very cheap so it won’t hurt your pocket or your parent’s pocket.
The storage is pretty small which is 128GB but if you incorporate cloud storage then you can still use the full potential of this device, this cheap laptop can handle low-level editing or even Photoshop with its Intel HD 6000 graphics card.
It doesn’t come with a Retina display but the visual is still good for entertainment and such, for a cheap price this MacBook is definitely worth it.
Hardware Specifications for Apple MacBook MJVM2LL
CPU: Intel Core i5| Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000| RAM: 4GB RAM | Screen: 11.6-Inch 1366×768 display| Storage: 128GB SSD| Operating System: macOS| Battery Life: up to 9 hours | Weight: 2.3 lbs
Apple MacBook Air 2016 – Best Battery Life
MacBook Air 2017 and 2018 are too expensive? How about you go for a much cheaper alternative without too much sacrifice in power.
The MacBook Air 2016 comes with a powerful Core i5 processor and a 4GB of RAM to take on demanding tasks and multitasking, so you really don’t have to worry about getting left behind. This model may be older but more than capable of doing your computing needs in school.
The 13.3-inch laptop is perfect for everyday use, it is so portable that you can bring it literally everywhere, the storage is 128GB which makes sure the boot is faster and you have storage for files in school. We recommend using cloud-based storage because 128GB may not be enough for large files and could clutter your laptop.
The amazing battery life is what truly needs by every student, you could go for hours without worrying about getting battery drained, it could last for up to 12 hours so it is enough for a day in school.
Powerful laptop and amazing battery life for less than $700? Yes, the Apple MacBook Air 2016 got that for you.
Hardware Specifications for Apple MacBook Air 2016
CPU: Intel Core i5| Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5000| RAM: 4GB RAM | Screen: 13.3-Inch 1440×900 display| Storage: 128GB SSD| Operating System: macOS| Battery Life: up to 12 hours | Weight: 2.96 lbs
Picking The Best MacBoook For Students In 2021
How To Choose A Macbook For College Students?
Choosing your Mac as a college student depends on what you are going to study and your budget as well. On this list we’ve listed some powerful MacBook as well as the cheap ones to help you decide.
If you take a course related to designing, the best component you must look into a MacBook is the CPU, the size of RAM, display type and color accuray for you are dealing with visuals.
For programming related courses, a bigger screen and great display is ideal for you need to look at the code in the screen for long hours, portability in case you like to move around while coding and of course a lot of battery power in case you need to code in an outlet scarce environment.
But if you only need a MacBook to write essays and papers, any version of MacBook could suffice your computing needs, no need to go for powerful specs as you would only need very little power to run word processing applications and knowing Apple’s MacBooks they are powerful enough to even surpass that.
How To Get Discounts For Macbook As A Student?
Macs are expensive, there is no denying that but Macs are very fast and durable laptops worthy of investment, you can buy a $400 worth laptop but won’t perform as smooth as Macs.
Good thing, you don’t have to pay for the full price! If you are a registered student or still at school, Apple got some discount for you. You can find the whole detail in the Apple Education Store. Who doesn’t love discounts? All you need is a proof that you are indeed a student in order to have access .
Or you could go for refurbished MacBooks, they have lower prices. On our roundup we included refurbished items, they are pretty capable and much cheaper at the same time so you might want to take a look at it.
Attributes that differentiate MacBook laptops
From the outside, MacBook laptops might look the same. The stylish and sleek design might fool someone who doesn’t know much about them.
However, at a better look, you’ll notice how MacBooks differentiate in all aspects. After all, you can notice how each MacBook model has its purpose, and it either suits you or it doesn’t.
Here are some attributes that you should watch out for.
- Size and weight
- Cooling method
- Keyboard mechanism
- Retina screen VS LED screen
After looking and comparing the specifications of MacBook laptops, it’s fairly simple to notice the difference. We’d recommend you to especially pay attention to the ports.
Apple uses their own patented ports that might not work the best for some of the external devices you own, yet you’d have to search for a solution such as external converting gadgets.
Difference between Apple batteries
If you were wondering, the battery that’s powering MacBook Pro definitely isn’t the same one you’ll find in the MacBook Air.
The higher the specifications are in a MacBook laptop, the better battery it will require. However, that doesn’t mean that lower-end MacBook models have a bad battery. Here’s a useful information page where you can find more about the batteries.
Each model has the suitable battery to handle the needs and offers optimized performance. MacBook Air battery might seem to last a bit longer than the battery from a MacBook Pro.
However, the MacBook Pro can handle the most demanding tasks for a longer period of time on its battery while MacBook Air will be able to handle the lighter tasks for the same amount of it.
Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about the battery so much as the Apple does its best and their batteries are well-known for their long-lasting quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Macbook Air vs Macbook Pro For College
MacBook Pro is more expensive than MacBook Air, so in terms of what is good for college use. It really depends on everyone, in terms of usage, price and course you’re taking. If you need a powerful machine then the MacBook Pro series is the viable option.
While MacBook Air is cheaper it doesn’t mean it is lacking in power, In fact the newest models of MacBook Air can compete to MacBook Pro for it is fitted with latest processor and better RAM it also comes with Apple’s magic keyboard.
Is There Any Downside In Using MacOS For College?
There are cases that schools mostly use Windows OS powered devices, and it’s bad news for macOS users. There are also applications that only run on Windows OS and other students find it hard to accept to switch to Windows laptops when they already invested money in buying a Mac laptop.
Other than that, macOS is a great operating system, much faster than windows. If your University uses macOS powered devices then you don’t have to worry about anything.
MacBook laptops are pricey, but they’re a great investment. Therefore, the decision can seem tough at the first.
But as you learn more about the MacBook laptops, you’ll notice the difference between laptops and their intended use.
That’s what you will notice in the reviews of these MacBook laptops we did in this post. Hopefully, it’ll help you to understand which MacBook laptop is the right one for your needs.
If you are unsure which MacBook model or year to go for, or even if you should purchase MacBook for your needs – this article will benefit you the most to find the best MacBook for your needs.