Mac Buying Guide 2021

Are you wondering what Mac you should buy? We’ve got the guide for you, as we give our best recommendations on which Apple computer is right based on your circumstances and demands.

With a wide range of choices, Apple gives you the option to choose your perfect product. Whether it is an affordable iMac or a professional Mac Pro, there’s something for everyone! You may pick from three notebook classes: MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, as well as four desktops: iMac, iMac Pro, Mac mini, and Mac Pro.

MacBook Air

Until Cupertino introduced the most recent version of the MacBook, which is no longer available, the MacBook Air had been Apple’s thinnest and lightest laptop. It is still the cheapest and most popular among consumers. Apple revised its Air model for the second time in 2020 last November. For the first time, it included Apple’s processors: the M1 chip.

M1 Macbook Air

The difference between these two MacBook Air models is that the M1 with an 8-core CPU and a 7-core GPU has 256GB of storage, whereas the M1 with an 8-core CPU and an 8-core GPU has 512GB. In the United States, Apple was able to keep costs lower because of higher production volumes. With every new model in 2020, the base price was lowered in some countries. The MacBook Air is still a fantastic value for money despite having an M1 chip upgrade that is surprisingly quick.

MacBook Air Specs

The MacBook Air is available in two distinct styles. The following are the details for each:

MacBook Air 

  • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU
  • Neural Engine 16-core
  • 256GB storage 8GB
  • unified memory (16GB option available)

MacBook Air 

  • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU
  • Neural Engine 16-core
  • 512GB storage 8GB
  • unified memory (16GB option available)

You can also personalize your MacBook Air to meet your demands, whether it’s a faster processor, 16GB RAM, or a 1TB or 2TB SSD.

The MacBook Air features a Retina display with a 2K resolution, improved keyboard and Force Touch trackpad. The keyboard has a Touch ID button so you can log in and shop online using your finger.

The MacBook Air is not Apple’s most powerful laptop, but it will be determined by how important you think it is. The MacBook Air will serve you well for basic daily activities. You can even modify short films and photographs on your iPhone if necessary.

The MacBook Air lasts 18 hours of video playback and 15 hours of regular usage, which should enough for a full workday.

This laptop has only one USB Type-C port, two Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C ports, and a jack port. It also lacks an optic disc drive.

Who should buy the MacBook Air?

The MacBook Air is the ideal laptop for anybody who requires access to it at all times, whether they’re using it in school, on the train to work or in a business meeting.

The fact it’s so thin makes it a good option for those who want to use it at home but don’t want their computer taking up too much space. You always have the option of connecting it to a monitor or television if you need a larger screen.

Is it a good time to buy a MacBook Air?

Apple completely updated the MacBook Air in November 2020, bringing the company’s first Mac chip, the M1. It’s a good time to buy as long as you don’t mind trying fairly new technology.

We consider that it is a good moment. While Intel-powered MacBook Airs won’t suddenly become obsolete in the coming years, we think they will eventually.

MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro 2018

Apple updated the 13 “MacBook Pro in November 2020, when it made its two entry models one of the first to have M1 processors (Instead of Intel.) The mid-range 13 “Pro is from May 2020 and comes with 10th Gen Intel processors. The new Magic Keyboard is available on all 13 “MacBook Pro” models, and the Touch Bar is only available on the higher-end Pro models.

MacBook Pro Specifications

There are four distinct MacBook versions, each of which is available in 13 inch or 15-inch variants. Furthermore, there are two additional 16-inch MacBook Pros.

Both of the low-end models (13″) have the M1 CPU and GPU 8 cores, whereas the midrange versions include Intel 4core processors 2.0GHz (10th generation).

Models 13 “2.0 GHz have 16GB RAM and may be expanded up to 32GB, while the M1 models are equipped with 8GB and can be upgraded up to 16GB.

Here are the range specs:

MacBook Pro 

  • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU 16-core
  • Neural Engine
  • 256GB storage 8GB
  • unified memory (16GB option available)

MacBook Pro 

  • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU 16-core
  • Neural Engine
  • 512GB storage 8GB
  • unified memory (16GB option available)

MacBook Pro 

  • Intel 4-core 2.0 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.8 GHz
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics
  • Storage 512 GB
  • RAM LPDDR4X 16 GB at 3733 MHz

MacBook Pro 

  • Intel de 2.0 GHz 4-core with Turbo Boost up to 3.8 GHz
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics
  • Storage 1 TB
  • RAM LPDDR4X 16 GB at 3733 MHz

The MacBook Pro does not include a USB-A port or an SD card slot. The two input types feature two USB 4 / Thunderbolt 3 ports, while the rest have four USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 connections.

Who should buy the MacBook Pro?

The MacBook Pro is a great choice for creative professionals and anybody looking for a powerful yet portable Mac. The laptop’s battery will last long enough to get you through the day.

Depending on your requirements, you might select between the 13 and 16-inch models. Consider how much you’ll need to transport it with you and how often you’ll use it. Obviously, the bigger and heavier the 16-inch model is.

Is it a good time to buy a MacBook Pro?

The 16 “versions were introduced in November 2019, so we’ll have to wait and see whether Apple upgrades them in 2021 with the new M1 chips.

If you’re looking for a laptop with top-of-the-line features, the 13″ MacBook Pro is a fantastic buy right now. If you’re buying an entry-level model, be prepared to deal with an early version of this new technology.

Mac mini

Apple MAC MINI 2020

The Mac mini is Apple’s most inexpensive desktop computer, having debuted in 2005. Although the price has risen in recent years, it is still true that the Mac mini is Apple’s cheapest computer. The latest upgrade added some new features to the previous edition, giving it greater functionality and value. The most recent upgrade was in November 2020, when Apple introduced the first version with the M1 chip (yes, the Mac min with Intel is still on sale).

Mac mini Specifications

The Mac mini is available in three different models. On the one hand, the two most inexpensive Mac minis feature the M1 chip, but there’s also a 3.0 GHz 6-core Intel Core processor equipped Mac mini.

These are the specifications of each one:

Mac mini 

  • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU 16-core
  • Neural Engine
  • 256GB storage 8GB
  • unified memory (16GB option available)

Mac mini 

  • Apple M1 chip with CPU 8-core and 8-core GPU 16-core
  • Neural Engine
  • 512GB storage 8GB
  • unified memory (16GB option available)

Mac mini 

  • 3.0 GHz 6-core Intel Core i5
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • Storage 512GB8GB
  • RAM2666MHz DDR4

Who should buy the Mac mini?

Mac mini is a great solution for everyone looking for a computer to surf the web, send and receive e-mails, and use office programs. They’ll be able to do minor video editing as well.

The Mac mini is also popular among individuals who utilize it in their living room connected to a TV. It’s also frequently employed by software engineers since it’s a cheap piece of equipment that they can use with an existing keyboard and screen.

Is it a good time to buy a Mac mini?

In November 2020, the current Mac mini was updated, and it included the M1 processor for the first time. The truth is that we do not expect this model with an Intel CPU to be upgraded for a long period of time.

24″ iMac

24-inch iMac 2021

The iMac has gone from being bulky to have a slim, sleek design that takes into account the fact that its screen also houses all of the computer’s internal components. In April 2021, Apple introduced one of the most substantial design changes in recent years. The new size is 24″ instead of 21.5″, and it now has six brand-new colors (in addition to silver).

IMac specifications

In addition to their screen size, the two standard iMac models also contain other unique features. The 24-inch includes Apple’s M1 chip with an 8-core CPU and 7 or 8 core GPU options for you to choose from.

All these models are customizable. The user can choose, for example, if he wants more or less storage or one or another RAM configuration. You can choose a 256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB SSD (also 2 TB in the most premium model) and an 8 GB or 16 GB RAM.

In one of the iMacs currently being sold, you will find two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports (DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3, USB 4, USB 3.1 and others with adapters). In the more premium models, we have two additional USB 3 ports.

This is the complete range:

24″ iMac 

  • M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU
  • Neural Engine 16-core
  • 256 storage GB (configurable with 512 GB or 1 TB)
  • 8 GB unified memory (16 GB option available)

24″ iMac 

  • M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 16-core8-core GPU
  • Neural Engine
  • 256GB storage (configurable with 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB)
  • 8GB unified memory (16GB option available)

Who should buy the iMac?

The iMac is a desktop computer, perfect for those who do not need to travel with their work. Although the 24-inch iMac was more designed for general use -maybe at home or in an office-, now they’re closer to potential users of larger monitors like the 27-inch model, which are meant mainly towards professional fields that really require large screens.

Is it a good time to buy an iMac?

Those who want to have the latest technology in their iMac now have the possibility to buy the best iMac ever made by Apple, especially since they have just been updated.

It is also the first iMac with Apple Silicon processors, which has already proven to offer spectacular performance.

27″ iMac

27-inch-iMac

The 27″ iMac is a great option for those looking to upgrade from the 21.5″, with much faster 10th generation processors and better graphics cards. However, it has been overtaken by the 24″ model, which comes with a 4K screen rather than 5K like its bigger brother.

While the 27″ Apple iMac has a sleek, professional design similar to its 21.5 and 24-inch counterparts, it can be upgraded with more RAM thanks to an easy-access back panel that is different from both of them.

iMac 27″ iMac Specifications

Apple last updated the 27″ iMac lineup in August 2020, when it introduced the new 10th-generation Intel processors.

27 “iMacs also offer i5 processors, but you can buy one with an i7 for a little more (it’s even available with i9). They are all at least 6-core processors, so they’re very powerful. You can customize it up to 10 cores.”

Here’s the full range:

27 “iMac 

  • 6-core i5 processor 3.1GHz ( 4.5GHz Turbo Boost)
  • Radeon Pro 5300 with 4GB GDDR6 memory 256GB
  • storage
  • Memory 8GB (up128GB available)

iMac 27″

  • i5 Processor 8-core 3.3 GHz (4.8 GHz Turbo Boost)
  • Radeon 5300 Pro GDDR6 4 GB memory
  • storage 512GB 8GB
  • memory (up to 128GB available)

27 “iMac 

  • 8-core i7 processor 3.8GHz (5.0GHz Turbo Boost)
  • Radeon Pro 5500 XT with GDDR6 memory 8GB 512GB
  • storage 8GB
  • memory (up to 128GB available)

Who should buy the 27 “iMac?

The largest iMac is designed for professionals who need a powerful computer. Whether you choose the 27″ model or another, we’re confident that you will not hesitate to make your choice because it comes with an incredible screen and power under the hood.

If you’re a graphic designer or someone who works on video editing images, this iMac is ideal for that purpose. It’s also great if you just want to play some games too! The 16″ MacBook Pro might do the trick but it doesn’t have as nice of a screen in comparison with its bigger brother.

The iMac Pro is even faster, but it’s also a lot more expensive. Apple will also discontinue it.

Is it a good time to buy a 27″ iMac?

Now is the perfect time to buy an iMac, especially if you want one with upgraded features like a smart-touch display or M1 chip. That said, there’s no telling when Apple will update them again; it may take until 2021 for these models to get new updates.

iMac Pro

iMac-Pro-Desktop

 

The iMac Pro is undoubtedly the most powerful Mac in history, and it’s also stunning. Many applauded that Apple decided to give it the space grey color—although what’s most attractive about this computer is its unmatched performance.

iMac Pro Specifications

Entry-level iMac Pro has a 3.2GHz Octa-Core Intel Xeon W processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz, 1TB SSD, 32GB 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory, a Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics, and an 8 GB HBM2 memory.

The 27-inch Retina 5K display has a resolution of 5120 x 2880, 500 nits brightness, and comes with the 1080P FaceTime HD camera. It includes various microphones and speakers for your convenience (5/11).

It comes with four USB 3 ports, four Thunderbolt 3 / USB Type-C ports, an SDXC card slot, and aport 3.5mmjack headphones. It supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and Gigabit Ethernet.

All these features are customizable. You can choose processors with up to 18 cores and a RAM of up to 128 GB and a memory flash of up to 4 TB. All of this will drive up the price of the iMac Pro.

Who should buy the iMac Pro?

The iMac Pro is for creatives and other professionals who need to use an extremely powerful Mac, whether it is to edit photos and videos; create 3D animations; produce music; develop software or virtual reality.

Before the arrival of this computer, users used to trust iMacs instead of Mac Pros – which caused several problems with their last update. It is not surprising then that Apple decided to give them a computer with a “Pro” screen.

Is it a good time to buy an iMac Pro?

The 2020 iMac Pro is certainly not a complete redo, but the updates make it worth waiting for. We recommend holding off until more information comes out about its price and specs before you buy one.

Mac Pro

Pro-Mac

Apple’s 2013 Mac Pro update left many of its users in the cold, and they can’t seem to catch up with them ever since. Despite being great value for money, Apple did not focus much on it after that year because it caused too many problems among customers who bought one back then.

Mac Pro Specifications

There are currently two Mac Pro models available on Apple’s website: a tower model and a rack model. Both have a 3.5 GHz core Intel Xeon W processor.

The new MacBook Pro models also have 32 GB of RAM and the same graphics card: The Raden Pro 580X with 8GB GDDR5 memory. It has a 256GB flash memory drive for storage space.

Paying a little extra one can have more powerful specifications, either by switching to a processor with more cores, a RAM of up to 1.5 TB, an SSD of up to 8 TB or a different GPU.

In terms of ports on offer, Mac Pro includes two USB 3 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two 10Gb Ethernet ports, and four additional Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Who should buy the Mac Pro?

The Mac Pro is designed for those professionals who have very demanding workflows, although you should be aware that this machine does not meet their needs.

One of the complaints from Mac Pro users is that it can be very difficult to update. While Apple does not present an updated version, typical Mac Pro users will find that they are much better off with the iMac-Pro, iMac or 15″ MacBook Pro.

Is it a good time to buy a Mac Pro?

The Mac Pro is a premium product. However, if you want this model of Apple computer, now’s the time to buy! We don’t think that it will get an update in 2018, but there are sure signs of one coming within two years due to ARM chips being implemented into its architecture.

 

Photo by Manthan Gajjar on Unsplash

Categories Mac
About S. Santos

I am a tech columnist and blogger by trade, but I'm also an avid tennis player. In my spare time, I enjoy reviewing gadgets and gizmos from the world of tech. A lot has changed in the field since I started out as a writer back in 2009, so it's always exciting to keep up with all that's new. To me, there's nothing quite like getting my hands on a brand-new gadget or piece of software for the first time -- it's like Christmas morning every day!

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