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Is Apple's 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro worth buying?

Fetching $1299, Apple's 13-inch entry-level MacBook Pro is in an interesting spot in Apple's portable Mac lineup. We evaluate whether or not the base model is still worth it or if users have a better choice out there.

As it stands, users have four distinct options when choosing an Apple laptop. At the low end, there is the $999 MacBook Air. It's followed by the $1299 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 14-inch and 16-inch models at $1999.

Both the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro run on Apple's M1 chip, begging the question of whether or not it makes sense to spring for the Pro.

Despite that $300 price difference, both machines have the same 8-core CPU, 8GB of memory, and 256GB of SSD storage. They each have two Thunderbolt ports, a 13-inch Retina display, and Touch ID.

Where they differ is that the MacBook Pro comes with an 8-core GPU by default, compared to the Air's 7-core GPU. If you choose the Pro, you also get a slightly brighter display, a Touch Bar, and longer battery life.

Personally, we don't think that is a ton of difference for the $300 price difference.

There are better options

For us, we'd recommend another option — buying the tier-up MacBook Air.

At $1249, the step-up MacBook Air is still $50 less than the MacBook Pro. But with that $250, you are upgrading to an 8-core GPU plus 512GB of SSD storage.

For many users, they underestimate the amount of internal storage they'll need. By going with the MacBook Air, you double that SSD while also upgrading the graphics at the same time.

You still lose the other benefits of the MacBook Pro, but we've found for most, the added storage is more essential than the longer battery and slightly brighter display.

That isn't to say opting for the MacBook Pro is a bad choice by any means, but it will be dependent on your personal workflow.

An even better choice is to hold out a bit longer. Apple is rumored to be launching a redesigned MacBook Air with an M2 processor soon that will surely be a big step up.

Where to buy

Nearly every MacBook Pro is currently discounted at Apple Authorized Reseller Adorama, with discounts of up to $300 off. To activate the MacBook Pro deals, you must shop through this activation link and enter promo code APINSIDER during checkout. Detailed step-by-step instructions can be found here.

You can also compare prices across each MacBook Pro line in our Mac Price Guide.