While the M1 MacBook Air offers the best performance and value for most folks, the M1 MacBook Pro 13 packs a little extra juice. Its best-in-class Apple M1 processor broke our records in both benchmarks and real-world testing. Its power is on par with that of the flagship Intel Core i9 and AMD Ryzen 9 processors, but the base MacBook Pro 13 is actually quite affordable.
What's really impressive, however, is its battery power. The MacBook Pro 13 lasted fourteen hours in our Chrome-based battery test, which routinely chews through battery power faster than a video-based test. The longest-lasting Windows competitor, the HP Spectre 14t, lasted 9 hours before giving up.
The M1 MacBook Pro 13 ships with the same amount of ports and fans as the base Intel MacBook Pro 13: two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a single fan. However, unlike the last generation, the M1 MacBook Pro 13 rarely needs its single fan as its ultra-efficient processor stays cool even during exceptionally taxing tasks, like video editing.
If you’re interested in getting a new MacBook, there are only two reasons to turn away from the M1 MacBook Pro 13. Either you need an Intel-based Mac or discrete GPU (i.e. a MacBook Pro 16), or you’re considering the M1 MacBook Air 13. The MacBook Air 13 offers almost the same features for a more modest price tag. Upgrades over the Air include a Touch Bar, a bigger battery (the Air lasted one hour less than the Pro in our battery test), and a fan. For most people, the Air will be the better pick but it could be worth splurging on the Pro if you can afford it and you want a few extra features.
If you’re debating between an M1 MacBook and a premium Windows laptop, the M1 MacBooks win. They’re more powerful, have a significantly better battery life, and have a wonderful aesthetic and user experience. Unless you’re using Windows-only apps and features, we recommend the MacBook Pro 13 and MacBook Air.