What Are the Differences Between MacBook Pro & MacBook?


Apple currently produces three laptops in the MacBook line: the MacBook, the thin and light MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro is a higher-performance model with a correspondingly higher price tag. They are advertised as "mobile studios" and sold with features that are more likely to appeal to power users.

Display Options

  • The MacBook has a 13.3 inch display as its only display option. The MacBook Pro has three options: a 13.3-inch, a 15.4-inch and a 17-inch model. All of these display options feature a glossy widescreen, but Apple also sells anti-glare screens with the 15-inch and 17-inch models. These two models also have an AMD Radeon HD 6490M graphics card, which enables them to more easily run graphics-heavy games and media players.

Performance Differences

  • A regular MacBook hosts a 2.4-GHz dual-core processor and either 2 or 4GB of memory. MacBook Pro customers can select between several different processors from 2.3- or 2.7-GHz dual cores to 2.3-GHz quad cores. For the 13-inch MacBook Pro, users have the option between the 2.3- and 2.7-GHz models. According to an image processing test by CNET, the 2.7-GHz MacBook Pro enjoys a 15 percent speed advantage over the 2.3-GHz model and an 88 percent advantage over an ordinary MacBook. By default, a MacBook Pro contains 4GB of RAM, which can be upgraded to 8GB.

Customization Options

  • The MacBook Pro offers many customization options, especially for its higher-end models. For example, MacBook Pro buyers can choose between SATA hard drives and solid state drives. Solid state drives are more expensive per gigabyte, but they conserve power and are more durable than ordinary magnetic hard drives. In addition, MacBook Pro computers have more storage space on average. Both MacBooks and MacBook Pros offer a variety of supplemental software for creating documents and viewing media.

Price Ranges

  • The MacBook starts at $999, customization options extra. It costs $100 to double the allocation of memory to 4GB, and $50 to upgrade the hard drive from 250GB to 320GB. The MacBook Pro covers a wide variety of price ranges, with the 13-inch model starting at $1,199, the 15-inch model starting at $1,799, and the 17-inch model starting at $2,499. An enhanced processor or a higher-resolution screen can add several hundred dollars to these price tags.

Battery Life

  • Although the faster processors of the MacBook Pro have the potential to burn more power, these computers are equipped with stronger batteries to prolong the overall battery life. According to tests done by CNET, a 13-inch MacBook Pro has a slightly better battery life than its corresponding MacBook when playing video. The MacBook Pro with the 2.7-GHz processor also slightly outperforms its 2.3-GHz counterpart.


  • Photo Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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