These are the Best Macs right now: MacBook Air, M1 iMac, and more!

These are the Best Macs right now: MacBook Air, M1 iMac, and more!

Apple computers — Macs —are known for how durable and solid they are, from the inside out. The hardware is built with premium materials that take years to actually show their age. And they receive software updates for over half a decade nowadays. So when you buy a Mac you know you’re investing in an advanced, future-proof piece of tech.

However, one question crosses the mind of each and every one of us before buying a new device — which model should I go for? We’re here to help you make the right choice by highlighting what each Mac is fit for.

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Best overall: Apple MacBook Air M1 13″

Apple MacBook Air 13

The Apple MacBook Air M1 13″ wins as the best overall Mac. It’s a balance between affordable and powerful that merges the best of both worlds. The MacBook Air is one of the most popular notebooks worldwide. Loved by students and employees alike, this Mac displays significant might, while retaining a minimalistic, lightweight design. Just slide it into your backpack, and it’ll follow you wherever you go.

Over a decade ago, Steve Jobs pulled the first MacBook Air out of a manila envelope. It was introduced as and meant to be a slim device that packs a lot of power. And to this day, it remains one of the slimmest and most powerful devices in its category. This is especially true after the introduction of the Apple M1 chip.

The latest MacBook Air has a 13″ LED-backlit display, with a 2560 x 1600 native resolution at 227 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors. Its screen also supports True Tone, making the colors a bit warmer in certain lighting conditions.

The M1 chip has an always-on processor, an eight core CPU with four perform­ance cores and four efficiency cores, a seven core GPU, and a 16 core Neural Engine. This turns it into a beast when compared to similarly priced laptops. It’s so capable and power-efficient to the point that Apple actually removed the fans from its internals. The MacBook Air M1 simply doesn’t heat up with average use.

When it comes to battery life, it has a built-in 49.9-watt-hour lithium polymer battery. It lasts for up to 15 hours when browsing the web on a single charge, according to Apple. It comes with a 30W USB-C power adapter, so fully charging it takes around three hours only, when it’s completely drained.

The MacBook Air M1 includes two USB-C ports and — surprisingly — a 3.5mm headphone jack. So you’ll likely need to buy extra dongles or depend on cloud-based and other wireless solutions. Personally, I’m not bothered because my setup is completely wireless and my work is internet browser-based, for the most part at least. I only use one of the USB-C ports for charging it. The other Thunderbolt 3 port and headphone jack remain untouched.

This affordable notebook comes with 8GB of RAM, but it’s upgradable to 16GB — if you require the extra memory. The base model has 256GB of SSD storage and can be upgraded to 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB. So these configurations should be enough to fit the needs of an average user.

The Apple MacBook Air M1 comes with macOS 11 Big Sur pre-installed. It will receive the macOS 12 Monterey update later this fall, and you can always get your hands on it now if you’re willing to join the beta program. However, we don’t advise average users to run beta macOS versions on their daily drivers because apps they use may stop working as expected or completely break.

The MacBook Air M1 is only available in three colors — Gold, Silver, and Space Gray. So if you’re a fan of more vibrant colors, you will have to settle for a case or skin for your new laptop. The base model is priced at $999 in the US.

    Apple MacBook Air M1
    This MacBook Air is powered by the Apple M1 chip, the most powerful and efficient chip from the company to date.

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Best for creators who prefer M1: Apple MacBook Pro M1 13″

Apple MacBook Pro 13 M1 purple background

The Apple MacBook Pro has been one of the most powerful and loved laptops for a while now. It’s mighty, has a solid build, and supports a wide variety of professional editing tools, from both Apple and third-party developers. This laptop offers a minimalistic, premium design, unmatched by its rivals that come packing a similar power. It offers great durability and gets software updates for at least seven years usually. To sum up, we can safely say it’s a future-proof investment.

Powered by the Apple M1 chip, the latest MacBook Pro has a 13″ LED-backlit Retina display, with a 2560 x 1600 native resolution at 227 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors. Its screen also supports True Tone, making the colors a bit warmer in certain lighting conditions. Additionally, it comes with a Touch Bar, which remains a MacBook Pro exclusive.

When it comes to battery life, it has a built-in 58.2-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery. It lasts for up to 17 hours when browsing the web on a single charge, according to Apple. It comes with a 61W USB-C power adapter, so fully charging it shouldn’t take long, even when it’s completely drained.

The MacBook Pro M1 includes two USB-C ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. So you will likely need to buy extra dongles or depend on cloud-based and other wireless solutions. Personally, I’m not bothered by the lack of a port variety on newer Apple devices. My setup is completely wireless and my work is internet browser-based, for the most part at least. I only use one of the USB-C ports for charging my Mac. The other Thunderbolt 3 port and headphone jack remain untouched.

This powerhouse comes with 8GB of RAM, but it is upgradable to 16GB — if you require the extra memory. The base model has 256GB of SSD storage and can be upgraded to 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB. The M1 chip has an always-on processor, an eight core CPU with four perform­ance cores and four efficiency cores, an eight core GPU, and a 16 core Neural Engine. This turns it into an unstoppable beast when compared to similarly priced laptops. These configurations should be enough to fit your needs, no matter what you’re working on, and even surpass them.

The Apple MacBook Pro M1 comes with macOS 11 Big Sur pre-installed. It will receive the macOS 12 Monterey update later this fall, and you can always get your hands on it now if you’re willing to join the beta program. However, we don’t advise casual users to run beta macOS versions on their daily drivers because apps they use may stop working as expected or completely break.

What makes this laptop a great fit for users is its portability and durability. You can just slide it in your backpack and get going. It has more than enough power for an average person, so it’s more aimed at people who work in audio/video editing and other intensive tasks. The MacBook Pro M1 is only available in two colors — Silver and Space Gray. So if you’re a fan of more vibrant colors, you will have to settle for a case or skin for your new laptop. The base model is priced at $1,299 in the US.

    Apple MacBook Pro M1
    The Apple MacBook Pro M1 comes with a Touch Bar and is suitable for users working on audio and video editing.

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Best for creators who prefer Intel: Apple MacBook Pro Intel 16″

MacBook Pro 16 open and seen from above

The Apple MacBook Pro had been Intel-powered for the longest time. That was until Apple unveiled its M1 chip last year. Since then Apple has stopped selling the MacBook Air 13″ and MacBook Pro 13″ in Intel configurations. That leaves you with the Intel MacBook Pro 16″.

If for software compatibility reasons you’d rather use an Intel Mac, then this is your last MacBook choice that isn’t powered by the Apple M1 chip. Another reason could be screen size. The MacBook Pro 16″ is only offered in Intel configurations. So if you can’t have both the M1 chip and the 16″ display in one MacBook — for now. We say “for now” because Apple is expected to be releasing a new, redesigned MacBook Pro powered by the upgraded M1X chip later this year.

The new MacBook Pro is rumored to come in vibrant colors, similar to those of the latest iMac M1 24″. So go for the MacBook Pro Intel 16″ if you prefer the Intel processor over the Apple M1 one, or if you need a 16″ MacBook right now and you can’t wait for the upcoming Mac event.

This MacBook Pro has a 16″ LED-backlit Retina display, with a 3072 x 1920 native resolution at 226 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors. Its screen also supports True Tone, making the colors a bit warmer in certain lighting conditions. Additionally, it comes with a Touch Bar, which remains a MacBook Pro exclusive.

When it comes to battery life, it has a built-in 100-watt-hour lithium polymer battery. It lasts for up to 11 hours when browsing the web on a single charge, according to Apple, and comes with a 96W USB-C power adapter. The Intel-powered MacBook Pro clearly has a shorter battery life and isn’t as power-efficient as other M1 Macs.

This beast comes with 16GB of RAM, but it is upgradable to 32 or 64GB — if you require the extra memory. The base model has 1TB of SSD storage and can be upgraded to 2TB. The 8 core Intel Core i9 chip enables this Mac to do intensive tasks, but it’s not as powerful as Apple’s M1. It’s still a serious competition when compared to similarly priced laptops from different manufacturers. These configurations should be enough to fit your needs, no matter what you’re working on, and even surpass them.

Like every other recent Mac, it supports macOS 11 Big Sur. It will receive the macOS 12 Monterey update later this fall, and you can always get your hands on it now if you’re willing to join the beta program. However, we don’t advise users to run beta macOS versions on their daily drivers because apps they use may stop working as expected or completely break.

I wouldn’t personally buy this MacBook because not including the Apple M1 chip is an instant deal-breaker for me. However, if its pros outweigh the cons from your perspective, then this Mac is a solid powerhouse. It’s only available in two colors — Silver and Space Gray. So if you’re a fan of more vibrant colors, you will have to buy a case or skin. This model is priced at $2,799 in the US.

    Apple MacBook Pro Intel
    This MacBook Pro comes with bigger display, but it's powered by an Intel chip.

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Best desktop: Apple iMac M1 24″

iMac 2021 in green with a Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse.

The Apple iMac M1 is a new all-in-one (AiO) desktop Mac that recently got a complete redesign. It’s capable, comes in plenty of color options, and supports a wide variety of professional editing tools, from both Apple and third-party developers. This desktop offers a modern, premium design, unmatched by similar AiO computers. It offers great durability and gets software updates for at least seven years usually. To sum up, we can safely say it’s a future-proof investment that will sit on your desk for years to come.

Powered by the Apple M1 chip, the latest iMac has a 24″ 4.5K Retina display, with a 4480 x 2520 resolution at 218 pixels per inch with support for one billion colors. Its screen also supports True Tone, making the colors a bit warmer in certain lighting conditions. Additionally, it includes a 1080p FaceTime HD camera with M1 image signal processor, so you can attend virtual classes or work meetings with confidence.

When it comes to power, the iMac doesn’t include a battery. It has to be plugged in at all times, which makes sense because it’s a stationary desktop computer. However, if you live in an area where power outages are frequent, you may want to consider buying a MacBook instead.

The iMac M1 includes four USB-C ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and supports gigabit ethernet. So you will likely need to buy extra dongles or depend on cloud-based and other wireless solutions. Personally, I’m not bothered by the lack of a port variety on newer Apple devices. My setup is completely wireless and my work is internet browser-based, for the most part at least. If your occupation requires you to connect to different kinds of devices that don’t support USB-C, then you will have to buy extras separately.

This powerhouse comes with 8GB of RAM, but it’s upgradable to 16GB — if you require the extra memory. The base model has 256GB of SSD storage and can be upgraded to 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB. The M1 chip has an always-on processor, an eight core CPU with four perform­ance cores and four efficiency cores, an eight core GPU, and a 16 core Neural Engine. This turns it into a mighty machine in comparison to similar computers. These configurations should be more than enough to fit your needs, no matter what your occupation is, and even surpass them.

The iMac supports one external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz and has high-fidelity six-speaker system with force-cancelling woofers, wide stereo sound support, spatial audio when playing music or video with Dolby Atmos support, studio-quality three-mic array with high signal-to-noise ratio and directional beam-forming, in addition to Hey Siri support.

The Apple iMac M1 also comes with macOS 11 Big Sur pre-installed. It will receive the macOS 12 Monterey update later this fall, and you can always get your hands on it now if you’re willing to join the beta program. However, we don’t advise users to run beta macOS versions on their daily drivers because apps they use may stop working as expected or completely break.

This desktop computer would be a great fit for people who are studying or working remotely at all times, due to the fact it remains stationary. So if you attend classes or go to the office in person, you might want to look into buying a MacBook. It has more than enough power for an average user, so it’s more aimed at people who work in audio/video editing and other intensive tasks.

The iMac M1 is available in seven colors — Blue, Green, Pink, Silver, Yellow, Orange, Purple. So if you’re a fan of vibrant colors, you will love the various options you’ve got when choosing your new device. The base model is priced at $1,499 in the US, and it comes with a Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Magic Mouse.

    Apple iMac M1
    This iMac is a mighty desktop computer that comes in seven different color options. It is powered by the Apple M1 chip.

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Best desktop for creators: Apple iMac Intel 27″

27-inch iMac with white background

The Apple iMac Intel 27″ is the best desktop for creators who need the larger screen real estate. If you’re willing to sacrifice the 27″ for a 24″, then the previous iMac M1 is the better purchase. But if your priority is the bigger and clearer display, then this is the one you are looking for.

This iMac has a 27″ 5K Retina display, with a 5120 x 2880 resolution that supports one billion colors. Its screen also supports the True Tone technology, making the colors a bit warmer in certain lighting conditions. This turns this Mac into the ultimate desktop for someone working in photography or videography. The colors are vibrant, and the quality is high and crisp.

When it comes to power, this iMac, like every other iMac, doesn’t include a battery. It has to be plugged in at all times, which makes sense because it’s a stationary desktop computer. However, if you live in an area where power outages are frequent, you may want to consider buying a MacBook instead.

The Intel-powered iMac includes four USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, an SDXC card slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and supports gigabit ethernet. So you might need to buy extra dongles if these port options aren’t enough for you. This is the last iMac Apple still sells that follows the old design. The newer design of the iMac M1 includes fewer ports and port varieties. This is an advantage for this particular iMac model.

This bundle of strength comes with 8GB of RAM, but it’s upgradable to 16GB, 32GB, 64GB or 128GB — if you require the extra memory. This model has 512GB of SSD storage and can be upgraded to 1TB, 2TbB, 4TB, or 8TB. It’s powered by an eight core 10th-generation Intel Core i7, which can be configured to a 10 core 10th-generation Intel Core i9. This turns it into an unstoppable computer in comparison to similar devices. These configurations should be more than enough to fit your needs, no matter what your occupation is, and even surpass them.

Like every other recent Mac, it supports macOS 11 Big Sur. It will receive the macOS 12 Monterey update later this fall, and you can always get your hands on it now if you’re willing to join the beta program. However, we don’t advise users to run beta macOS versions on their daily drivers because apps they use may stop working as expected or completely break.

This desktop computer would be a great fit for people who are working remotely at all times, due to the fact it remains stationary. So if you go to the office in person, you might want to look into buying a MacBook. It has more than enough power for an average user, so it’s more aimed at people who work in advanced photo, video, and audio editing, and other intensive tasks.

The iMac Intel is available in one color — Silver. So if you’re a fan of vibrant colors, you may want to look into buying the iMac M1 24″, which comes in seven different colors. This model is priced at $2,299 in the US, and it comes with a Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Magic Mouse.

    Apple iMac Intel
    This iMac is a powerful desktop computer that offers an amazing display. It's powered by an Intel chip.

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Best for business owners: Apple Mac Pro Intel

apple Mac Pro

This one is for business owners and entrepreneurs. If you’re an average user, this one packs a bigger punch than what you need. The Apple Mac Pro — also known as The Cheese Grater™ — is a desktop computer aimed at professionals who require higher powers that other Macs can’t provide. You will more likely find it placed in corporate buildings, rather than homes.

When it comes to power, this Mac doesn’t include a battery. It has to be plugged in at all times, which makes sense because it’s a stationary desktop computer. This shouldn’t really matter because it wasn’t designed for portability. You can, however, include wheels with it for an extra $400 if you plan on pushing it around.

Like every other recent Mac, it supports macOS 11 Big Sur. It will receive the macOS 12 Monterey update later this fall, and you can always get your hands on it now if you’re willing to join the beta program. However, we don’t advise users, especially those depending on them for their businesses, to run beta macOS versions on their daily drivers because apps they use may stop working as expected or completely break.

This Mac doesn’t come with a display. It only ships with the exclusive Black-and-Silver Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard with Numeric Pad. While Apple sells a Pro Display XDR, it starts at a whopping $4,999, with an optional stand that costs $999 in the US. So you might want to buy a monitor from a third party. So what are Mac Pro internals like?

The Intel-powered iMac includes two USB-A ports, six USB-C ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, two 10GB ethernet ports, and a speaker. So you might need to buy extra dongles if these port options aren’t enough for you. When it comes to memory, storage, and processor, we will be listing the most powerful configurations. This is to express the extent of this device’s capability.

This epitome of advanced computing power supports up to 1.5TB of RAM, 8TB of SSD, a 28-Core Intel Xeon W, and an AMD Radeon Pro W6800X Duo. Again, this device is not aimed at regular individuals, let alone when it’s in its maxed out form. This is a computer created to run complex tasks and processes, and it comes in two forms — a tower or a rack.

If you max out the storage, memory, graphics, and processors, the Mac Pro costs over $50,000 in the US, and is available in Silver only. This is another reminder that this device, especially in its most powerful form, isn’t meant for casual use.

    Apple Mac Pro Intel
    This Mac is as capable as a desktop computer gets. It's aimed at business owners and corporations.

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Best on a budget: Apple Mac Mini M1

Apple Mac mini 2020 with M1

If you want to spend less than a thousand bucks on a Mac, then the Mac Mini M1 is here for the rescue! As its name suggests, it’s a small Mac, but don’t let its size fool you — it packs a notable punch.

When it comes to power, this Mac doesn’t include a battery. It has to be plugged in at all times, which makes sense because it’s a stationary desktop computer with a compact design. While it can easily be moved around itself, you would still need to pack its mouse, keyboard, screen, and other accessories.

The Mac Mini currently supports macOS 11 Big Sur, and it will be receiving macOS 12 Monterey when it’s released later this fall. You can get your hands on the beta right now, but we don’t advise users to do that on their daily drivers because apps could break or malfunction.

Expectedly, this Mac doesn’t come with a display, Magic Mouse, or Magic Keyboard. It only ships with a power cord. So you would have to buy all accessories separately. This isn’t surprising considering it’s the cheapest Mac out there. To lower the price tag, Apple had to sacrifice certain elements. It supports up to two displays simultaneously — one display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt and one display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0. It also has a built-in speaker.

The Mac Mini M1 includes two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and supports gigabit ethernet. So you might need to, but not necessarily, buy extra dongles or depend on cloud-based and other wireless solutions. It’s got a decent variety of ports, compared to some other Mac models, but it doesn’t match all users’ needs.

This tiny bundle of joy comes with 8GB of RAM, but it’s upgradeable to 16GB — if you require the extra memory. The base model has 256GB of SSD storage and can be upgraded to 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB. The M1 chip has an always-on processor, an eight core CPU with four perform­ance cores and four efficiency cores, an eight core GPU, and a 16 core Neural Engine. This turns it into a mighty machine in comparison to computers of similar sizes and prices. These configurations should be more than enough to fit your needs, no matter what your occupation is.

This Mac is perfect for someone on a limited budget. You get great computing and processing power at a relatively low price. You could always buy affordable or second-hand keyboards, mice, and screens. Ultimately the computer’s quality itself is what matters most.

The Apple Mac Mini M1 is available in Silver only. It’s priced at $699 for the base model in the US, and, as a reminder, it only ships with a power cord.

    Apple Mac Mini M1
    This Mac is a powerful yet compact computer that offers an amazing performance for a low price. It's powered by the Apple chip.

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Apple devices, and Macs in particular, are well-built and supported. When you invest in an Apple product, you know that you’re getting excellent support, exceptional qualities, and a future-proof device. Apple has made sure there’s a Mac suitable for every person, whether you’re a student, employee, or business owner. If you’re looking for power, you’ve got that. Looking for an affordable price? You’ve also got that. A balance between both? There’s a Mac that matches this criteria.

My personal favorite is the MacBook Air M1. It is my balance between power and affordability. It also adds portability, lightness, and minimalism to the blend. A MacBook Air will always remain my daily driver for the foreseeable future.

What kind of Mac are you looking for? Did our thorough guide help you decide what to buy next? Let us know in the comments section below.

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached via [email protected] or the provided social links.