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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 a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.