So, you are about to start college and are looking to buy a new Mac to complete your studies. When buying a laptop, the product you choose depends on your budget and what you need for your specific studies. Before making any decision, it is best to check with your school to find out their system requirements for your major. This will help you not only decide on your Mac, but also what technical specifications you may need.
What is the best Mac to buy for college? Let’s check out our options…
Best Mac for Most College Students: M1 MacBook Air
The M1 MacBook Air debuted in 2020 and is still the best Mac for most college students. While the new M2 MacBook Air has just appeared, many students don’t need it. However, if you have the extra cash and want a newer product – go for it! This is the most affordable MacBook ever offered, starting at $899 with a student discount. My favorite part of the M1 MacBook Air is its ergonomic design. The bottom half is comfortable on your wrists, making you feel like you’re in a dream to type.
The power of the M1 chip makes your laptop capable of doing just about anything you might need for school. You can comfortably write papers, play games, edit photos, multitask, and more. Battery life is also one of the best things about a laptop. Check out my colleague Filipe’s article to learn more about why the M1 MacBook Air continues to be a great choice.
Also keep in mind that some M1 MacBook Air in the past had trouble cracking the screen on their own. However, it’s not incredibly popular and is something AppleCare+ covers.
While the M1 MacBook Air is fun, for some students, they may be more suited to using another Mac model.
M2 MacBook Pro for students who need more power
The M2 MacBook Pro 13-inch has the same design as the M1 model but has a more updated processor inside. It also has a Touch Bar that some people love and some people hate. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is just as powerful as the MacBook Air, however, the Pro has fans inside to help the hardware maintain its performance if it gets stressed. If there’s any idea that the Air might outlast the power of the Air, I always suggest spending more on the Pro just in case. This is a popular laptop preferred by students in creative studies such as graphic design, film, or other art-related disciplines.
The M2 MacBook Pro isn’t the computer most people need, however, and it’s for people who need a bit more power than the Air but not as much as the discerning professional.
2021 MacBook Pro (14 or 16 inch) is a beast
Some of the advantages of the 2021 MacBook Pros are that they come with more than just USB-C ports. Plus, its Liquid Retina XDR display is the most beautiful screen on a MacBook ever. Web browsing and gaming are better than ever with this being the first in the Mac lineup to offer ProMotion, giving you an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz.
You have two sizes to choose from; 14 inches or 16 inches. There are two slides to decide on; – M1 Pro and M1 Max. While this laptop is a beast, it should only be purchased if you really need the power or have extra cash to spend. Students studying subjects such as engineering, computer science, and computer-aided design (CAD) can take advantage of the power of 2021 MacBook Pros.
If you’re debating whether to get a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air, check out my colleague Michael’s guide on the subject:
The M1 iMac is great for online students
If you are an online student or spend a lot of time working at your desk, you may want to consider the M1 iMac. I’m pleased with the beautiful 24″ 4.5K retina display, and the 1080p FaceTime HD camera is hard to beat. In addition, the stunning colors will add a great touch to your workspace. It’s a thin device, making it easy to move around your house if needed.
It’s also a great option for those who might use an iPad as their laptop and are looking for a more stable device for their work. Personally, I use the M1 iMac for school, and I like the big screen because I can split the screen without needing a second screen.
Best Mac Accessories for College:
Apple Education Discount
Apple offers a year-round education discount to students in higher education, their parents, teachers, and staff at all levels. The discount offers $50 off the iPad Air and 11-inch iPad Pro and $100 off the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. For Macs, the discount will vary but starts at $100. You’ll also get 10% off accessories like an iPad keyboard, Apple Pencil, or mouse. Plus, buying AppleCare+ in full will save you 20%. You can get the discount either online or in the store.
Each year in the summer, Apple will hold a special education promotion in store and online. This year the offer runs until September 26th and offers gift cards in place of AirPods as before. On the purchase of a specific iPad, students will win a $100 Apple Gift Card. For Macs, students will receive a $150 Apple Gift Card. This offer is accompanied by a tuition discount throughout the year.
Which Mac do you think is best for college?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments and share your experiences with others!
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