I just bought the MacBook Pro 2020 over the MacBook Air — here's why

MacBook Pro 2020
(Image credit: Apple)

The MacBook Pro 2020 (13-inch) couldn’t have arrived at a better time; at least, not at a better time for me. Less than a month ago, my 2015 MacBook Pro lost a battle to a spilled St. Germaine and soda.

I didn’t fret, even with the knowledge that finding an open repair shop during a pandemic would be pretty much impossible. That’s because rumors of a new MacBook Pro launching soon provided a silver (or Space Grey) lining to the situation. 

That’s right. I knew I would buy whatever laptop Apple planned to reveal this month. Even if it didn’t sport a 14-inch display or offer a webcam boost, so long as the MacBook Pro 2020 had the Magic Keyboard, Apple already had my money.

Perhaps such blind loyalty isn’t something I should be proud of, but there’s something to be said for how well and for how long my now-broken computer served me.

My first-ever MacBook Pro gave me five great years of writing, streaming and Adobe suite-ing. It got me through college, where I edited a 60-page student magazine and ran a resume-making business. When I got locked out of the media labs at midnight, I could work on short video projects back in my dorm, then watch YouTube videos online before I went to bed. 

I wanted another do-it-all computer I could rely on for another five years. Or even longer. I might not be an active gamer or graphic designer right now, but having a machine that’s versatile enough for whatever project, hobby or job I want to take up in my mid- or late twenties is important to me. 

Why not the MacBook Air or 16-inch Pro?

I decided not to pick the newly-released and ready-to-ship MacBook Air. Though my colleague Henry T. Casey gave it 4 stars in his MacBook Air 2020 review, he suggested I try to wait. The performance fared fine for casual use, but the Air struggled with multi-tasking and didn’t “wow” on benchmarks. I don’t need “wow,” but I do need powerful and all-purpose. 

So why not the 16-inch MacBook Pro that launched in December, you might ask? Have you seen the size of that thing? I’ve never gravitated towards a 15-inch computer in my life. I wouldn’t know how to pack it for travel, nor would it fit in any backpack I currently own. And of all that beastly computer’s bells and whistles, the 16-inch MacBook Pro review raved most over the Magic Keyboard, which I’ll get on my 13-inch MacBook Pro anyway. If only it were waterproof, too.

The 16-inch model’s starting $2,399 cost deterred me, too. While I’m of the belief excellent and long-lasting technology can justify a high price tag, I paid half of that ($1,199) for my 2015 MacBook Pro. 

Why I got the $1,799 model

Now, I know Apple can be cute about its configurations. The new MacBook Pro may start at $1,299, but that entry-level model packs last year's processor. Only the two top tier versions, priced at $1,799 and $1,999, offer Intel’s 10-gen chip. Still, the 16-inch model makes that sound cheap.

But $1,799, which is how much I just spent for my new laptop, definitely isn’t cheap. Second to tickets to see Beyonce at Coachella, I’ve never spent that much in one sitting. But I’m getting a lot for my money: the newest processor, a 512GB SSD, 16GB of fast 3733 MHz RAM, and four Thunderbolt 3 ports. And, hopefully, another 5-plus years of reliable performance. 

That said, I probably wouldn’t have upgraded to this new 13-inch MacBook if my 5-year-old one hadn’t met its untimely demise. I know I could have squeezed at least another spin around of the Sun out if it, but some things just aren’t meant to be. Especially not laptops and alcohol.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef. 

  • TimmyP67867y
    Lol what a total waste of money.
  • sweetken
    TimmyP67867y said:
    Lol what a total waste of money.
    MaC bAd
  • cupcakewalk
    Your MBPro certainly could have lasted longer. My main macOS machine is a 2009 running El Capitan. It's in solid shape with max RAM and a middle-of-the-road SSD. I briefly had a 16" 2019, but it did not go well, especially Adobe's 32-bit installers in Catalina. I returned it within the return window. I'll wait for 2020 and see what the upgrades are for the newest 16".
  • mcray
    I also just bought a new MacBook Pro to replace my old machine — a bottom-of-the-line MBP from 2009. That machine is still running working well, even though I once spilled a glass of red wine into the keyboard. It was out of warranty at the time, but for some reason Apple decided to replace the motherboard and screen for free. I don't know why. Anyway, there are a couple programs I use that aren't supported by El Capitan, so it's time to retire it. I bought the low-end configuration again, which I expect will get me through the next ten years as well as the last one did.
  • costanza
    FAKE NEWS. You could've had Louis Rossman or someone just as competent repair your old reliable mac for a couple hundred bucks. Just be honest...you WANTED the new mac, so you bought it.
  • mickrussom
    Done with Apple - the support keeping terrorist data encrypted, force only fake-news / lame stream news on Apple news and with MacOS Catalina they have banned all third party code from running along with all 32-bit code.

    Apple has lost its way and their devices are only "granted" or "leased" to a user now. Banning third party KEXTs is out of control draconian / authoritarian.

    I have 5 macbook pros in the household plus an iphone x and a 6th gen ipad.

    After about 2013 and especially after the butterfly keyboard debacle apple started with soldered RAM and SSD and hard to replace batteries and impossible to replace keyboards that die on minuscule amounts of water, screen delaminations / coating issues Apple has horrible costs/pricing and horrible quality. Also most of their cool solutions are far below what is needed to get multi-core performance and MacOS and the firmware cheat users out of performance by under-sizing the cooling solution.

    Apple has taken me, a good customer, and kicked me hard enough in the balls to know when i'm not longer wanted.
  • JeloRoc
    admin said:
    The MacBook Pro 2020 (13-inch) couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Here's why I picked it over the MacBook Air.

    I just bought the MacBook Pro 2020 over the MacBook Air — here's why : Read more

    Don't throw out that MacBook just yet. I spilled liquid on my 2012 MacBook Air and it wouldn't turn on for months then one day out of the blue it turned on like nothing ever happened, that was 3 years ago and I'm still using it.