Best MacBook and Macs Apple desktops and laptops 2021

Best MacBook and Macs Apple desktops and laptops
RyDesk

Best MacBook and Macs Apple desktops and laptops 2021

The best Macbooks and Macs manage the almost impossible, combining gorgeous yet minimal design with bleeding-edge tech and the kind of durability that will give you years of solid use. There’s a reason that Apple fans expect more out of their machines than Windows fans expect of theirs. And, while pricing on Apple computers has come down a little, they’re still pricier than other computers on the market. But, they’re worth the cost.It’s more than just that elegant design and great performance that set the best MacBooks and Macs apart. With these machines, hardware and software are seamlessly integrated, especially with the newest OS macOS 11 Big Sur, which you can download now, and the spectacular M1 chip. There are still some arguments to be made for the best Windows PCs and Chromebooks, but there’s nothing quite like using an Apple product.With all the jumps in technology that Apple has been making with its machines, it’s never been a better time to transition to one of the best Mac devices available. Take a look at our choices for the best MacBooks and Macs on the market, such as the bleeding edge Macbook Pro 16-inch (M1, 2020), the striking MacBook Pro 16-inch, and the powerful Mac Pro. And, the brand new iMac (M1, 2021) keeps up with Apple’s winning streak, making it onto this list.If you’re new to macOS, let us show you how to use the Mac AppStore.

MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

1. MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

The best Apple laptop

CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU | Graphics: Integrated 7-core – 8-core GPU | RAM: 8GB – 16GB unified memory | Screen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 Retina display | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

macOS Big Sur is fast and responsive
Battery life is great
Silent in use
The fanless design could impact performance

Apple topped last year off with a bang, rolling out their much-talked-about M1 silicon chip that’s so far been a real game-changer. And, the first laptop to receive it is the company’s thinnest and lightest, putting it on the list of the most exciting Apple laptops of recent years. With this new chip, the MacBook Air is better than ever, touting excellent performance alongside its brilliant battery life – without raising the price to keep it (fairly) affordable still. This is the best MacBook for pretty much everyone.

Read the full review: MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

iMac (24-inch, 2021)

(Image credit: Apple)

2. iMac (24-inch, 2021)

The iMac gets a welcome redesign

CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU | Graphics: Integrated 7-core – 8-core GPU | RAM: 8GB – 16GB unified memory | Screen: 24-inch 4.5K Retina display | Storage: up to 2TB

Excellent screen
Striking new design
Fantastic webcam
Lack of ports remains
Mac mini may offer better value for some

If you think that the new iMacs couldn’t possibly be as good as they look, you’d be wrong. They are not just an improvement over their 21.5-inch predecessor externally, touting a fresh new face that comes in several different colors. They also come with fresh new specs, rocking Apple’s new M1 chip that makes it much more powerful than the previous Intel iMacs. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that the new iMac (24-inch, 2021) is the best all-in-one PC we’ve ever tested, and has certainly earned its place in our best Macs list. You’ll also be happy to know that you’re getting great value here, as you’re getting the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse included – in matching colors, we might add.

Read the full review: iMac (24-inch, 2021)

MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

The MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) is truly the best MacBook for content creators, designers, and other creative professionals. (Image credit: Apple)

3. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

Best MacBook for creatives

CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – Radeon Pro 5500M | RAM: 16GB – 64GB | Screen: 16-inch Retina display with True Tone | Storage: 512GB – 8TB SSD

Stunning 16-inch screen
New and improved keyboard
Expensive
Limited to four Thunderbolt 3 ports

While we are sad that Apple has retired the 15-inch MacBook Pro, we’re more than happy to see the MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) hit the shelves. As thin, light, and sleek as ever, this doesn’t feel like a 16-inch behemoth. If you’re worried that this was going to be bulky and awkward to use, don’t be. Yet, despite its svelte frame, you’re still getting that extra real estate on that stunning display, as well as the latest and greatest components behind it. Apple then rounds those out with amazing (and loud) speakers and a much, much better keyboard. This is truly the best MacBook for content creators, designers, and other creative professionals.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

4. MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)

Apple’s little MacBook Pro gets a big refresh

CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU | Graphics: Integrated 8-core GPU | RAM: 8GB – 16GB unified memory | Screen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 LED-backlit Retina display | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56 cm

Huge battery life
Great performance
Can run iOS apps
Still lacks ports

The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) may not have gotten a massive design overhaul, but what it lacks in that department, it makes up for big-time in performance and battery life. Thanks to Apple’s groundbreaking M1 chip, the new MacBook Pro 13-inch delivers excellent performance and exceptional battery life. Its performance is so impressive, in fact, that it can easily handle 4K – and even 8K – videos. If you’re looking for a powerful laptop that keeps things small and lightweight, this is the best MacBook money can buy.

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

Mac mini (M1, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

5. Mac mini (M1, 2020)

Small, but with big ambitions

CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU | Graphics: Integrated 8-core GPU | RAM: 8GB – 64GB unified memory | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD | Dimensions (W x D x H): 19.7 x 19.7 x 3.6 cm

Same lovely design
Very good performance
New M1 hardware has potential
Can’t use eGPUs

One of Apple’s biggest surprises of the year is the update to its smallest Mac. The brand-new Mac mini now touts Apple’s M1 chip, while keeping things the same in its much-loved design. It’s more powerful than ever – with more than decent video editing performance, even at 8K, and can now run iOS apps and games, thanks to this new chip, but it still keeps its title as the cheapest Mac ever – terrific news for budget-minded Apple fans.

Read the full review: Mac mini (M1, 2020)

iMac (27-inch, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

6. iMac (27-inch, 2020)

A formidable upgrade

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300 – Radeon Pro 5700 XT | RAM: 8GB – 128GB 2666MHz DDR4 | Screen: 27-inch (diagonal) 5120 x 2880 Retina 5K display | Storage: 256GB – 8TB SSD

Improved internals
Can be configured to be very powerful
Design is getting old
Just two Thunderbolt ports

Even though the iMac 27-inch’s last update was only last year, Apple couldn’t help but step up in the upgrades department with its 2020 follow-up. Specs-wise, this model sports some massive improvements while also upgrading its webcam and microphones for a felicitous update. More people are working from home these days, and this seems like the best all-in-one PC to invest in without being forced to make some considerable space in your existing area. Sure, its overall design hasn’t seen so much as a tweak, making it look a bit tired, but if power is at the top of your list, this one’s the best Mac for you.

Read the full review: iMac (27-inch, 2020)

iMac Pro

iMac Pro can handle any workload you can possibly throw at it. (Image credit: Apple)

7. iMac Pro

Raw power

CPU: 8 to 18-core Intel Xeon W | Graphics: Radeon Pro Vega 56 – Radeon Pro Vega 64 | RAM: 32GB – 256GB DDR4 ECC | Screen: 27-inch 5K (5,120 x 2,880) Retina display (P3 wide color) | Storage: 1TB – 4TB PCIe 3.0 SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 65 x 20.3 x 51.6cm

Most powerful Mac you can buy
Gorgeous, color-accurate display
Very expensive

Professionals and creatives need something that can handle any workload they can possibly throw at it. If you’re one such user, the iMac Pro isn’t just one of the best Macs for you; it’s the only Mac to consider. Not only does it have a vibrant 27-inch 5K display with a P3 wide color gamut, but it also boasts the most powerful hardware Apple could get its hands on. It’s extremely expensive though, so it’s really only meant for folks who have deep pockets and need that unbridled power to get through their daily workloads.

Read the full review: iMac Pro

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

8. MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)

Worth the upgrade at the highest configuration

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – 10th-generation Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 | RAM: up to 32GB | Screen: 13-inch Retina display with True Tone | Storage: 256GB – 4TB SSD | Dimensions (W x D x H): 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches

Improved specs (on some models)
Larger capacity SSD for starting model
The new keyboard is great
The entry-level model still has 8th gen Intel CPU
You still only get Thunderbolt 3 ports

The MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)’s entry-level model may miss out on some of the lineup’s new toys. However, going for the higher-end configurations will get you new (and powerful) Intel processors and improved RAM speeds for better performance, all packed into the 13-inch incredibly svelte body. Apple rounds it all out with that incredible Magic Keyboard from the new 16-inch, finally getting rid of that problematic keyboard. Even if you don’t go for the 10th-generation Intel Core configurations, you might still appreciate the fact that all models come with more storage capacity for the same price as their predecessors.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)

Apple Mac mini (2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

9. Apple Mac mini (Intel, 2020)

Same size, more storage space

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i3 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 8GB – 64GB 2666MHz DDR4 | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD | Dimensions (W x D x H): 19.7 x 19.7 x 3.6cm

More storage
More RAM options
Aging processor
Older integrated graphics

Apple is changing up a bit, giving its updated Macs more storage than their predecessors as well as the option for even more RAM. It’s the case with the newly-updated Mac mini (2020). Sadly, this isn’t quite the generational upgrade we were hoping for. It’s the same Mac mini with the same processor and integrated graphics that are both, unfortunately, aging at this point. Though, both are still pretty potent for the Mac mini’s target audience. Combined with more storage space, this is certainly an appealing option for many Apple fans.

MacBook (2017)

If you’re looking for a MacBook that’s easy to take with you wherever you go, you will love the MacBook (2017). (Image credit: Apple)

10. MacBook (2017)

Small and stylish

CPU: Dual-core Intel Core m3 – Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12-inch Retina (2,304 x 1,440) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 512GB PCIe SSD | Dimensions (W x D x H): 11.04 x 7.74 x 0.14~0.52in

Incredibly portable
Long battery life
Too expensive

While Apple has officially taken the MacBook out of its MacBook lineup, many third parties still carry it. And because the 12-inch MacBook has found its niche as an ultraportable and lightweight laptop, it’s still deserving of a spot on our best Macs list… that is, until stock runs out. It’s low on ports, but that’s hardly a surprise in a laptop this thin. It can support basically everything under the sun with its Thunderbolt 3 port, anyway. It’s not as powerful as the MacBook Pro, but if you’re looking for a MacBook that’s easy to take with you wherever you go, look no further.

Read the full review: Apple MacBook (2017)

Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article.

What to look for in the best Macs and MacBooks

Whether it’s the new 16-inch MacBook Pro that just came out or the Mac Pro 2019 that’s also just released, it’s not hard to see why the best Mac and MacBooks are the weapons of choice of creative professionals.

And, even if you don’t go for the newest releases, there are already a few excellent options to choose from, especially with Apple recently giving its MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and 15-inch MacBook Pro that much-needed update.

The best part is that the best Mac and MacBooks come in different shapes, sizes and price so that whether you want the cheapest MacBook you could find, a professional workhorse that breezes through all your extensive workloads like a pro, or an all-in-one that saves you space, there’s a Mac on the market for you.

With the best MacBooks, you’ll often be taking them out and about, so it’s always a good idea to get them insured against theft or accidental damage. Even if you have a Mac, it’s a good idea to get it insured. These are expensive items, after all. If you’re in the UK, then you can shop around and compare contents insurance to keep your gadgets, including Macs and MacBooks, protected.

  • Want more choices? Check out our list of the best laptops in 2021
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