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Best cheap MacBook deals in January 2020

Best MacBook deals

Apple's MacBooks are among the best laptops in the industry. But let's be real: They're crazy expensive. Fortunately, there are plenty of cheap MacBook deals to help soften the blow of Apple's pricey laptops. 

Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H Photo are our go-to retailers for cheap MacBook deals. On any given day of the week, you're bound to find more than a handful of MacBook deals at either retailer's website. 

So whether you're looking for a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, you've come to the right place. Below we're rounding up the best MacBook deals you can get right now. Plus, we're breaking down the differences, so that you buy the right MacBook for your needs. 

Not looking for MacBook deals? Make sure to check out our guide to the best Apple deals for discounts on all Apple devices. 

Best MacBook deals right now

Apple MacBook Air

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Best cheap MacBook Air deals

Apple's dual-core, entry-level machine

Screen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 Retina LCD | CPU: 1.6GHz dual-core Core i5-8210Y | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Video: Intel UHD Graphics 617 | Weight: 2.7 lbs. | Feats: Touch ID | Ports: Thunderbolt 3 (two)

Retina, hi-res screen
Strong audio
Underwhelming performance for the price
Shallow keyboard 

Priced at $1,099, the 2019 MacBook Air is Apple's new entry-level laptop. The base model features a 13.3-inch Retina Display, Touch ID, 1.6GHz Core i5-8210Y CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. That's pretty paltry for the price of admission, but fortunately cheap MacBook Air deals are somewhat easy to find. 

Amazon and Best Buy usually have the base MacBook Air on sale at $899 or $999. (The cheapest MacBook Air price we've seen has been $799 back during the holidays). Meanwhile, the 256GB model is frequently on sale for $1,099, which is the cheapest it's ever been. We recommend opting for the 256GB model, as you get more storage for the price. 

In terms of performance, sister site LaptopMag reviewed the Apple MacBook Air 2019 and found that its Core i5-8210Y dual-core CPU offers just enough punch for everyday tasks. They streamed a 1080p video on YouTube while keeping a dozen browser tabs open and didn't experience any lag whatsoever. 

Apple MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Best cheap 13-inch MacBook Pro deals (base model)

Upgrade to quad-core power

Screen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 Retina LCD | CPU: 1.4GHz quad-core Core i5 or 1.7GHz Core i7 | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Video: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 | Weight: 2.7 lbs. | Feats: Touch ID, Touch Bar, True Tone LCD | Ports: Thunderbolt 3 (two)

Noticeably faster than MacBook Air
Slightly improved keyboard
Thick bezels
Pricey for what you get

The 13.3-inch MacBook Pro comes in various configurations. The base model ($1,299 from Apple) sports a 1.4GHz Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. It can be configured with up to a 1.7GHz Core i7 CPU. However, keep in mind that it has just two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

In our review of the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 2019 , we found it offered much better performance than the 2019 MacBook Air. That's due to the fact that it uses a Core i5-8257U quad-core CPU (or Core i7-8557U if you opt for the faster CPU), instead of a dual-core Y-series Intel processor. 

How does that translate that into every day use? Well, in our video-editing test — in which we transcode a 4K clip to 1080p — it took the MacBook Pro just 14 minutes and 42 seconds, compared to 36 minutes on the Air.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro also sports Apple's 4th-gen Butterfly keyboard, which is quieter and slightly more comfortable. More important, Apple has added a new material to the mechanism to prevent reliability issues, such as accidental double presses or keys not registering.

Apple MacBook Pro 2019

(Image credit: Future)

Best cheap 13-inch MacBook Pro deals (upgraded model)

Even faster quad-core performance

Screen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 Retina LCD | CPU: 2.4GHz quad-core Core i5 or 2.8GHz Core i7 | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Video: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 | Weight: 2.7 lbs. | Feats: Touch ID, Touch Bar, True Tone LCD | Ports: Thunderbolt 3 (four)

Faster performance
Four Thunderbolt ports
Thick bezels
Still pricey for what you get

The upgraded 13-inch MacBook Pro sports a faster Core i5-8279U quad-core CPU and comes with 256GB of storage space. It also offers four Thunderbolt 3 ports instead of just two. This "base" model costs $1,799 from Apple. Otherwise, it looks identical to the cheaper 13-inch MacBook Pros. 

However, it offers even better performance than its weaker counterparts. In our MacBook Pro 13-inch review, we didn't see any lag even as we jumped between 17 tabs in Chrome while also running Skype, Slack, and Pixelmator.

As far as cheap MacBook Pro deals, we've seen this model drop as low as $1,499. (A price we saw over the holidays). You can normally find it for $100 to $200 off. 

Apple MacBook Pro 16

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Best cheap 16-inch MacBook Pro deals

Apple's top-of-the-line MacBook Pro

Screen: 16-inch 3072 x 1920 Retina LCD | CPU: 2.6GHz six-core Core i7 or 2.3GHz eight-core Core i7 | Storage: 512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB/8TB | RAM: 16GB/32GB/64GB | Video: Radeon Pro 5300M to Radeon Pro 5500M | Weight: 4.3 lbs. | Feats: Touch ID, Touch Bar, True Tone LCD, Dolby Atmos | Ports: Thunderbolt 3 (four)

Radically improved Magic Keyboard
Immersive 16-inch display w/ slim bezels
No 4K option 
Still expensive

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro is a beast of a machine. The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399 for the standard model with a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, AMD Radeon 5300M GPU, and 512GB SSD. This model replaces the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which started at the same price. The $2,799 model steps you up to the faster Core i9 CPU, faster Radeon Pro 5500M graphics, and 1TB SSD.

The first thing you'll notice about the 16-inch MacBook Pro — aside from its large display — is its new Magic Keyboard. Apple finally ditched the controversial Butterfly keyboard on this laptop for a scissor mechanism, and it added a new keycap structure that's more concave and a rubber dome underneath for support. The result is a much-improved keyboard that delivers a better 1mm of travel (compared to less than 0.8mm before). 

Performance-wise, this MacBook Pro lives up to its name. It took the laptop only 8 minutes to transcode a 6.5GB 4K video to 1080p, which is the same amount of time the Dell XPS 15 took. 

Although its very pricey, 16-inch MacBook Pro deals aren't that hard to find. In fact, the deals started trickling in just after the laptop hit the market. The cheapest 16-inch MacBook Pro price we've seen has been $209 off the base model, which lowered its cost to $2,189. This deal has stuck around since the holidays and you can usually find it at Amazon

Macbook Air

(Image credit: Future)

Best cheap MacBook Air deals (2017)

Apple's cheapest MacBook

Screen: 13.3-inch 1440 x 900 LCD | CPU: 1.8GHz dual-core Core i5-5350U | Storage: 128GB | RAM: 8GB | Video: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | Weight: 2.9 lbs. | Ports: USB 3 (two), Thunderbolt 2, SDXC slot

Excellent keyboard
Cheapest Mac you'll find
Non-Retina screen
Uses dated Core i5-5350U CPU

Apple no longer sells this model, but Amazon and Best Buy still offer the 2017 MacBook Air. You may be thinking — why do you want a 3-year old Mac that uses a super-dated 5th-gen Intel processor. Well, the truth is — the 2017 MacBook Air has aged very well. 

For starters, it's the last Mac laptop with a keyboard we like and recommend. It offers a pleasant typing experience, unlike the shallow keys found on Apple's current MacBooks. It also boasts two USB ports, a Thunderbolt 2 port, and even a SDXC card slot. In terms of battery life, you'll get about 10.5 hours from a single charge. 

The drawbacks are the non-Retina screen and the dated design. Otherwise, this is still an excellent machine for basic, everyday tasks. In our tests, we were able to stream a 1080p YouTube video while browsing through 12 Safari tabs without missing a beat. 

In terms of deals, this model hit an all-time price low of $649 on Black Friday — a price we're not likely to see till Amazon Prime Day 2020. However, you can frequently find it on sale for about $699 or $749. We wouldn't pay any more for it.