Written by Lisanne

Compare MacBook Air 13 inches to MacBook 12 inches

In the category of easy-to-carry laptops, Apple has interesting options that seem very similar at first glance with the MacBook Air (13 inches) and MacBook (12 inches). But after listing some pros and cons, they seem to be quite different. MacBook Air 13 inches is the winner when it comes to processing power and connectors. The MacBook 12 inches fares better when it comes to screen quality and size.

Apple MacBook Air 13,3 inches (2017)

  • The processor is fast enough to switch between different tasks smoothly.
  • MacBook Air has enough different connectors.
  • Suitable for up to 12 hours of consecutive internet use (without charging).
  • With a resolution of 1440x900, the HD display is less sharp than the screen of comparable MacBooks.

Apple MacBook 12 inches (2017)

  • Thanks to its compact size, you can easily take your MacBook 12 inches with you on the go.
  • On the sharp 2304x1440 Retina display, you can watch movies and view photos down to the smallest detail.
  • Suitable for up to 10 hours of internet use (without charging).
  • Because the MacBook 12 inches has only 1 USB-C port, you can't charge something and transfer files or connect an extra screen at the same time, for example

In short

Apple MacBook Air 13 inches Apple MacBook 12 inches
Screen resolution Relatively low resolution 1440x900 pixels Recommended for movies and series 2304x1440 pixels (Retina)
Dimensions Thin and lightweight 1.7 cm, 1.35 kg Very thin and lightweight 1.31 cm, 0.92 kg
Processor Relatively fast processor 1.8 GHz i5 or 2.2 GHz i7 Average processor 1.2GHz m3, 1.3GHz i5 or 1.4GHz i7
Ports Sufficiently different 3x USB-A, 1x Thunderbolt 2, 1x SD card reader Little 1x USB-C
Battery life Very long (full day) Up to 12 hours Long Up to 10 hours


MacBook Air 13 inches: More grams for more laptop

MacBook Air is far from fat, but thicker than its opponent on this page. You can still take the Air in your bag easily with its 1.35 kilos and 1.7 centimeters. And: the MacBook Air is a full inch larger than a MacBook, so you do get more laptop for that weight.

MacBook 12 inches: 920 gram only

You'd almost confuse it with your iPad; that's how compact your MacBook is when you fold it. It only weights 920 grams and has a 'thickness' of 1.31 centimeters. You won't find them much slimmer than the MacBook, which makes the newest addition to the Apple family a very pleasant travel companion.


MacBook Air 13 inches: Air means computing power

I regularly have about twenty websites open while listening to music, download a series, and check my email. Do you do many things at the same time? You're better off with a MacBook Air. The heart of the Air is an i5 or i7 processor and they are simply more powerful than the processors in the MacBook 12 inches.

MacBook 12 inches: Efficient and cool

MacBook has an Intel Core m3, i5, or i7 processor. A big benefit of m3 processors is that they don't have to be actively cooled and are energy-efficient. The downside is that an m-processor delivers about 30 percent less power compared to 'normal' i-processors. when using the Internet, it's not a big cons, but when I open and use many programs at the same time, I do notice the difference.


MacBook Air 13 inches: Connect away

If you have a MacBook Air, you don't have to worry about connectors. I can connect my mouse or iPhone via the two USB 3.0 ports. I can connect a second screen via Thunderbolt, and my earbuds can go into the headphone jack. Also useful: the SD card reader, so you can put your SD card directly in my Air.

MacBook 12 inches: 1 for everything

A USB-C port and a headphone jack. That's all. For me, that's not enough. A reason not to buy a MacBook, even. What if I want to connect my iPhone and a second screen? I can't - unless I buy a separate hub (also called 'dock').


MacBook Air 13 inches: Unrivaled

In its class, the battery life of MacBook Air is unrivaled. In benchmarks that continuously surf the web, Air's battery lasts for more than 12 hours. There are several benchmarks of course, but the Air will always last 2 or 3 hours longer than the MacBook.

MacBook 12 inches: No socket? No problem

If I bring a laptop along all day, I think it's important that I don't have to look for a socket every few hours. With the MacBook, that's not necessary. Tests have shown that the MacBook has a battery life of about 9 hours when it's used to browse the Internet.


The MacBook Air 13 inches is the winner when it comes to processing power and connectors. The MacBook 12 inches fares better when it comes to screen quality and dimensions. It's up to you to decide which of these points is most important to you when you're looking for a new laptop.

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