15-inch MacBook Air vs. 14-inch MacBook Pro: Which one should you buy?

Apple recently launched its largest 15-inch MacBook Air with M2 chip at WWDC 2023. Calling it the best and the thinnest 15-inch laptop, the tech company states that the 2023 MacBook Air delivers incredible performance and extraordinary battery life in its thin and fanless design.

However, the new 15-inch M2 MacBook Air starts at a $1299 premium price, and it falls in the same price range as the 14-inch MacBook Pro (base model) if purchased with upgrades like more memory, and SSD storage.

If you are looking to buy a new MacBook or want to upgrade your older Mac but can not decide which one to opt for, then do not worry.

YouTubers did comprehensive performance and battery comparison tests of the 15-inch MacBook Air and 14-inch MacBook Pro to see which MacBook model is better.

15-inch MacBook Air vs. 14-inch MacBook Pro: Specs comparison

Design differences

The 15-inch MacBook Air is 2.78cm wider and 1.64cm taller than the 14-inch MacBook Pro, along with being thinner and weighing less. 

The 2023 MacBook Air features a larger trackpad and more real screen estate than the 14-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro.

Display differences

14-inch MacBook Pro15-inch MacBook Air
Display14.3-inch mini-LED display
3024×1964 resolution
120Hz refresh rate
1600 nits brightness
Thinner bezels than the 2023 MacBook Air
15.3-inch LCD display.
2880×1864 resolution
60Hz refresh rate
500 nits brightness
Thicker bezels than 14-inch MacBook Pro (2023)

Price differences

15-inch MacBook Air (2023)Price14-inch MacBook AirPrice
16GB Memory
512GB Storage
$1,699M2 Pro
16GB memory
512 storage
24GB Memory
512GB Storage
$1,899M2 Pro
16GB Memory
1TB storage
16GB Memory
1TBGB Storage
24GB Memory
1TB Storage
$2, 099

15-inch MacBook Air vs. 14-inch MacBook Pro: Performance comparisons

Test 1

YouTuber ZoneofTech compared the performance of the 15-inch MacBook Air against the 14-inch MacBook Pro and here are the results:

  • 14 MBP: 10-core CPU/16-core GPU/ 16GB RAM/ 512 storage
  • 15 MBA: 8-core CPU/ 10-core GPU/ 8GB RAM/ 256GB storage

Benchmark scores

Performance Tests14-inch MacBook Pro15-inch MacBook Pro
AJA disk speed testRead: 2829
Write: 2,966
Read: 1,384
Write: 1,458
Transfer speed
(17.91GB transferred from SSD)
20 seconds (35% faster)27 seconds
Cinebench scores
(multiple run average)
11, 648 (50% faster)7,761
Cinebench Temperatures
(multiple run average)
Sustained at 102 celsius
Throttled at 87 Celsius
Lightroom Import
(228 images from RAWs to JPEGs)
8 seconds (5x faster)38 seconds
Lightroom Paste
(Effects and filters on 227 images)
1 minute 5 seconds1 minute 15 seconds
Lightroom Export
(227 images in full resolution)
6 minutes 3 seconds
(3.2x faster)
19 minutes 11 seconds
Blender CPU7 minutes 21 seconds
(1.8x faster)
13 minutes 40 seconds
Blender GPU2 minutes 11 seconds5 minutes 14 seconds
Final Cut Pro video export speed13 minutes 10 seconds43 minutes
(max playable tracks)
122 tracks70 tracks

Gaming performance

The 14-inch MacBook Pro delivered double the frame rate of the 15-inch MacBook Air.

  • Shadow of the Tom Raider (not natively supported on Apple Silicon Macs)
    • 15 MBA: 14 fps
    • 14 MBP: 33 fps
  • World of Warcraft (Optimized for Apple Silicon Macs)
    • 15 MBA: 36.5 fps
    • 14 MBP: 71.5 fps

Battery life

The 2023 MacBook Air offers longer battery life with up to 15 hours of web browsing (wireless) in comparison to up to 12 hours of web browsing on the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2023).

However, with more power-consuming workflows like video editing and exporting others, 14-inch MacBook Pro (2023) gives better battery life.

Test 2

YouTuber MaxTech tested the 15-inch MacBook Air with an M2 chip, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD against the 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M2 Pro chip, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD. Here are the results.

Benchmark scores

Tests14-inch MacBook Pro15-inch MacBook Air
SSD speed test
(higher better)
Read: 3,477Read: 3,239
Cinebench 6 score
(higher better)
multi-core:12, 367
single-core: 2, 614
multi-core: 9,940
Geekbench 6 Metal GPU score
(higher better)
73, 31845, 503
Xcode Benchmark
(Lower better)
98 seconds122 seconds
Lightroom Classic –
Photo Editing
Video Editing
(Lower better)
15 seconds
11 minutes 9 seconds
1 minute 17 seconds
25 minutes and 35 seconds
4K HEVC export2 minutes 22 seconds2 minutes 21 seconds
ProRes RAW export1 minute 3 seconds1 minute 41 seconds
Web browsing speed389385

Gaming performance

Wild Life Extreme

  • 15 MBA: 41 fps with throttling
  • 14 MBP: 67 fps

Test 3

YouTuber Arthur Winer compared the 15-inch MacBook Air with M2 chip, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD and the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD.

He found the MBP was faster and more power efficient during heavier workflows like editing, exporting, and coding. Having said that, MBA also proved to be an efficient machine for heavy workflows but just not as good as MBP.

Conclusion: MacBook Air does not compare to the MacBook Pro’s performance but is a capable machine

Apple has widened the gap between the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lineup with the new 15-inch MacBook Air. The larger screen and improve power efficiency make it a great machine for everyday tasks like web browsing, video streaming, assignments, and even light photo and video editing.

The answer to which model should you buy comes down to your need and pocket.

  • If you think have extra dollars to spare and think that you will need a machine that a handle heavy workflows, then the 14-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro is the right choice for you.
  • But if you want a lighter machine with a larger screen, then opt for the 15-inch MacBook Air.
About the Author

Addicted to social media and in love with iPhone, started blogging as a hobby. And now it's my passion for every day is a new learning experience. Hopefully, manufacturers will continue to use innovative solutions and we will keep on letting you know about them.

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