MacBook Pro/w Retina display (2013) vs MacBook Air (2014)

Price and Verdict

The MacBook Airs are the cheaper devices as they are designed for portable use, while the Pros are designed for performance.

MacBook Air - Prices start at 749 for the entry-level 11in model, rising to 1,349 if you want the maximum specs available - 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 8GB of RAM and 512GB SSD.

The 13in Air starts at 849. The maximum specification is identical to the 11in except for the screen size and costs 1,449.00.

MacBook Pro w/Retina Display - As expected the MacBook Pros are more expensive because they have faster processors, more RAM/storage as well as more pixels inside the screen.

Prices for the 13in start at 1,099. This will buy you a 2.4GHz dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The maximum specification costs 2,239 and includes a 2.8GHz dual-core i7 chip, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.

The 15in is the most expensive device in this comparison. It starts at 1,699 for a 2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD.

If you want to max out the device with an Nvidia GeForce GT 750M discrete graphics card, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD and a 2.6GHz quad-core processor, you'll need to fork out 2,799. This is the option when you want a desktop replacement.

Winner - MacBook Air - The Airs are the cheaper device but make sure they can fulfill your needs before ruling out spending more on the Pros.

So which MacBook is best?

The devices drew when it came to software and managed to win an equal number of categories:

The Air triumphed in the areas of battery life, repairability and pricing.

Meanwhile, the Pro with Retina Display offered the better display performance and ports.

The MacBook Air is cheaper and has longer battery life, so it's ideal for users who want a machine for basic content creation and multimedia.

The Pro series is the more powerful and versatile machine. We also feel the higher specifications on offer give it a longer life-cycle. The 13in Pro, in particular, has a good balance between battery life, performance and portability. If we were to recommend a MacBook, it would be this one.

Overall winner - MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.