May 18, 2022
5 reasons to buy a MacBook over a desktop Mac
A fancy new Mac Studio may be the attractive option, but a MacBook has benefits too.

Whether you’re making the jump into the Apple ecosystem or updating from an older machine, picking up a new Mac can be a great way to supercharge your productivity. How do you decide which type of Mac is right for you? With so many options to choose from, as well as different types of Macs, finding one that fits your setup and delivers everything you need can be tricky.

If you’re going to pick up a new Mac, then going with a MacBook can have some distinct advantages over Apple’s desktop options. Don’t get us wrong, all of these machines are perfectly capable of doing what you need them to do, but there are some places where Apple’s laptops shine brighter than the iMac and other desktop machines. As such, here are five great reasons to choose a MacBook over a desktop Mac the next time you upgrade.

Counterpoint: 5 reasons to choose a MacBook over a desktop Mac

Mobile workstation

It almost goes without saying that one of the biggest advantages to choosing a MacBook is portability. The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are extremely easy to pick up and transport and they are perfect for anyone who finds themselves traveling for work, or is just looking for a way to be able to move from a desk to a kitchen counter or even a couch. Apple does have desktops that are relatively light and easy to move–and apparently, using an iMac as a portable computer is a thing. You don’t have to be like that.

MacBooks come in multiple sizes. You can go with the 13-inch MacBook Air for ultimate portability; it’s Apple’s thinnest and lightest laptop. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is a tad thicker, but not by much, and if you grab a bigger 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro, you’ll have more of a load to bear, but you’ll also have a powerful pro-centric computer. But all of Apple’s laptops are extremely light, portable, and ready to get up and go.

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Desktop performance

When Apple featured Intel processors in all of its Macs, desktop Macs offered more processing power than a MacBook. Laptops have more limitations to work with due to the need to keep the device at workable temperatures, which meant the Intel processor could only go so fast.

The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros have displays with notches at the top, but they don’t get in the way of your work.


Freedom from the power outlet

It’s not just the ability to travel—sometimes you just want to work on your couch or on the porch. Since MacBooks have a built-in battery, you don’t have to be tethered to a power outlet, which is necessary with a desktop Mac. If it’s a beautiful day outside and you’re feeling inspired by it, you can take the MacBook with you. Even with a nice setup, you just can’t do that with a desktop Mac—well, you can, but you’ll need a really long extension cord or a portable power source.

A great thing about Apple’s updated M1 MacBooks is the improved battery life, and the M1 is much more power efficient that the old Intel processors that Apple used to use. The MacBook Air offers 15 hours of wireless web use, the 13-inch MacBook Pro offers 17 hours, the 14-inch MacBook Pro offers 17 hours, and even the crazy-fast 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Max offers 14 hours. That’s more than enough juice to get you through the day, without having to worry about lugging a charger around or even think about where the outlets are.

All Apple laptops can charge via its Thunderbolt/USB-C ports, but the 14- and 16-ich MacBook Pro also have MagSafe power adapters, a magnetically-connected plug.


A great typing experience

Typing is a big part of working on a computer, so having a good keyboard makes all the difference in the world. Response time, overall sound, and just the general size and layout of the keyboard included in the MacBook makes it easy to fall in love with working from your laptop, even if you’re used to the larger keyboards found connected to many desktop computers. Since every MacBook has a fantastic Magic Keyboard, your fingers won’t want to use any other keyboard.

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Apple finally got it right with the Magic Keyboard in its laptops. The Magic Trackpad is second to none.


The MacBook trackpad is the built-in device for moving the pointer, making selections, and other ways to interface with macOS. Apple set the standard for trackpads with its excellent feel, durability, and versatility. It’s the right size and the right feel, and you won’t find a better mouse or trackpad anywhere else.

MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

MSRP:$999 (256GB) | $1,249 (512GB)Best Prices Today:$802.12 at Amazon | $949.00 at Adorama | $949.99 at Costco

13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020)

MSRP:$1,299 (256GB) | $1,499 (512GB)Best Prices Today:$785.25 at Amazon | $1199.00 at B & H Photo | $1299.00 at Apple

Read our full 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020) review

14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

MSRP:$1,999 (8-Core CPU, 14-Core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD); $2,499 (10-Core CPU, 16-Core GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD)Best Prices Today:$1,521.68 at Amazon | $1999 at Apple | $1999 at B&H Photo and VideoRead our full 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021) review

16-inch MacBook Pro (2021)

MSRP:$2,499 (M1 Pro 10-Core CPU, 16-Core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD); $2,699 (M1 Pro 10-Core CPU, 16-Core GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD); $3,499 (M1 Max 10-Core CPU, 32-Core GPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD)Best Prices Today:$2249.00 at B & H Photo | $2,426.93 at Amazon | $2499 at Apple

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