Depending on the major, how much time is spent dragging the laptop about campus, and how long it needs to operate on a single battery, different MacBook models will be suitable for different college students. We won’t disregard cost either because some Apple laptops can be pricey and, regrettably, none of them will cover your tuition.
With either M1 or M2 chipsets inside, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models are all great in terms of performance and battery life now that Apple’s MacBook series has fully made the switch to Apple Silicon. The biggest differences are in the top-end performance and design, which only really relevant to a select group of majors like engineering.
keeping up with your studies Apple hasn’t yet figured out how to make a MacBook a good gaming laptop, but they are undoubtedly among the finest college laptops overall. Check out our MacBook Black Friday bargains if you’re seeking to buy a new laptop right away because there are savings on almost all models and configurations.
MacBook Air M1
The ideal MacBook for the majority of college students is still the MacBook Air M1. The enhancements featured in the more modern Air aren’t necessary for the majority of students, and the M1 keeps its beginning price of less than $1,000 with reductions bringing it to $899 or less.
In our testing, the battery life was 14 hours and 41 minutes, outperforming every thin and light Windows notebook of a same price point in terms of performance. The MacBook Air M1 will outlast its successor on a single charge and is more than up to the challenge for any common computer chores.
So why not purchase the Pro instead of the MacBook Air? While the MacBook Air is more affordable and virtually fanless, the MacBook Pro provides greater sustained performance. And it goes without saying that Apple’s 13.3-inch model, which costs the least and weighs the least (2.8 pounds and 0.6 inches thick), is the most portable.
If you don’t mind the older style, the MacBook Air M1 is still one of the finest laptop deals even when it’s not on sale. Anybody looking to buy a new MacBook for college should give it serious consideration.
Macbook Air M2
There’s no disputing the appeal of the new design and processor within the Air M2, even though the majority of college students will be content with the MacBook Air M1. While it takes some getting used to, the other changes—including the addition of MagSafe charging, which frees up the two Thunderbolt 4 ports for other uses—are welcome.
The M2 provides you a respectable performance boost that essentially puts it on pace with the M1 Pro, and it still managed to complete our battery life test with a runtime of 14 hours and 6 minutes. It is still amazing that it accomplishes all of this while remaining cool and whisper-quiet without fans.
A new 1080p webcam, a quad-speaker setup, and a brighter display are also included on the list of improvements. The first feature will be especially appreciated by students who are utilizing the Air M2 in dimly lit environments, such as lecture halls, coffee shops, or a library nook.
If you need to upgrade significantly from the $1,199 base model, the price of the Air M2 is the main factor to take into account. You are paying more for the Air M2 model because, as I previously indicated, Apple uses the Air M1 as a gimmick to maintain the $999 price point. If your configuration costs more than $1,499, you might want to think about the 14-inch MacBook Pro base model, which is often available for $1,799.
The MacBook Pro 14-inch
The MacBook Pro 14 is a tempting device that MacBook lovers have been waiting years for because it mixes a little bit of the old with a lot of the modern. Although the performance will be greater than what the ordinary college student need, if you are majoring in an area like engineering, coding, or creative work, this is the best option for you.
The MacBook Pro 14 is lightweight and streamlined while yet delivering a complete HDMI and an SDXC card reader. And the M1 Pro or M1 Max CPUs can handily surpass most of the Intel and AMD competition. Add to this the more than 14 hours of battery life, rapid charging, a stunning display, a robust quad-speaker array and it’s easy to see how this laptop will win over a lot of college students.
awaiting the release of the other shoe? It is the cost. While the base model is currently available at roughly $1,799. you will quickly cross $2,500 for well-specced models and can land north of $3,000 in a fast for M1 Max variants. For college students who want this level of performance, it’s ultimately a good investment, but at the very least, carefully weigh your options before the cost sneaks up on you.
Macbook Pro 4. (13-inch, M2, 2022)
Although the MacBook Pro M2 is a great notebook, its brothers slightly eclipse it. More than many people anticipated, the internal upgrade with the M2 provided it a big performance bump, which keeps it far ahead of the Windows 11 competition at this price point and above.
Even though the design is a little outmoded, it’s hard to be too critical of the timeless style. Even while the larger MacBook Pros and updated Airs may appear more stylish, you might end up laughing when their owners are searching for a charger while you still have hours to go because the Pro lasted for an absolutely astonishing 18 hours and 20 minutes on our battery test. That was sufficient to place it at the top of our list of laptops with the longest battery life, a characteristic that will undoubtedly prove useful throughout your time in college.
The M2 does more than just increase endurance and speed. The webcam (unfortunately still 720p) is better than previously thanks to an enhanced image processing unit, and as it is powered by Apple’s ARM-based architecture, iPad and iPhone apps are also available for Mac. Yes, you can use your laptop to run all of your favorite iOS games and applications.
Before entering the hands of our reviewers, we subject MacBooks to comprehensive synthetic and real-world benchmark testing. We assess every aspect, including system heat, display brightness, speaker volume, and display speed.