Friday, June 18, 2021

Best Cheap MacBook Deals for March 2021 | Digital Trends


Many of us have happy memories of using the classic Macintosh computers in all their beige-tinted glory, but when you think of a Mac today, a 21st-century laptop is probably what pops into your head. MacBooks could be the single most popular laptop make out there — even if Windows brands combined are more common overall — but every Apple lover knows that these aren’t the cheapest computers on the market. If you’re on the hunt for laptop deals and have your heart set on a Mac, though, then don’t stop reading. We’ve scooped up all of this week’s best cheap MacBook deals right here.

If you love everything with an Apple logo and are hungry for more savings, then also check out these iPhone deals and iPad deals.

The best MacBook deals

  • MacBook 12-inch (2017, Amazon Renewed)$645
  • MacBook Air 13-inch (2017, Amazon Renewed)$579
  • MacBook Air 13-inch (2020)$879, was $999
  • MacBook Pro 16-inch (2019)$2,199, was $2,399
  • MacBook Pro 13-inch no Touch Bar (2017, Amazon Renewed)$680
  • MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020, Intel Core CPU)$1,099, was $1,299
  • MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020, M1 CPU)$1,150 at checkout, was $1,299
  • MacBook Pro 15-inch (2018, Amazon Renewed)$1,300

MacBook deals

In July 2019, Apple stopped selling the 12-inch MacBook on its website and in its stores, but you can still get it from third-party resellers. There are plenty of reasons to opt for it, too. Compared to the Air, not only is the MacBook’s screen smaller, but the device is also extremely thin and light. It hasn’t been updated since 2017, but it has the modern Mac look, including the large trackpad, butterfly-style keyboard, Retina display, and simplified port selection. Aside from a headphone jack, the laptop comes with just a single Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port. That means you can’t plug in a wired mouse and power at the same time, for example, unless you have an adapter.

The most recent version from 2017 received a bump to dual-core, seventh-generation Kaby Lake Intel processors. Like the MacBook Air, we found it to be fast enough to get through a normal day of productivity and web browsing. We’d recommend one of the newer MacBook Airs to most people, but for those who want the absolute smallest, most portable MacBook, this is your best option.

Amazon is currently selling the professionally Renewed and warranty-backed 2017 12-inch MacBook for as low as $645, which gets you an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. If you want a new unit, you can grab this one with a 512GB SSD on sale for $1,312 and save $288.

MacBook Air deals

Before 2018, the MacBook Air hadn’t received a serious update for many years. The iconic silver look may have been revolutionary in 2012, but its thick bezels and lower-resolution screen had become outdated over the years. There have thankfully been a couple of revisions since then, but we can still recommend this reasonably recent 2017 model to people who have basic everyday needs and don’t want to shell out for a Pro. Its Intel Core processor and 8GB RAM will ensure it won’t feel too long in the tooth in 2020, even if it isn’t sporting the upgrades of the newer units. It’s also the cheapest way into the MacBook ecosystem, and that alone makes it worth your consideration.

If you’re in the market for a slightly older model and are willing to buy refurbished (in like-new condition and backed by a warranty since it’s Amazon Renewed) so you can save some cash, the 2017 MacBook Air below is going for just $579 at the moment — a steal at this price.

In the middle of 2019, Apple gave the MacBook Air a complete makeover, bringing it up to speed with the rest of its MacBooks. These  2019 and 2020 revisions have a new look — thinner bezels, a smaller chassis, higher-resolution display, USB-C, as well as new color options like gold and space gray. The new MacBook Air also has some of the mainstays of modern Apple laptops such as the low-travel keyboard, oversized trackpad, and Touch ID fingerprint scanner.

The Air saw some hardware updates in 2020 too, including the addition of the newer 10th-gen Intel Core CPUs as well as the introduction of Apple’s own new M1 processor. We found it more than capable of handling day-to-day tasks, just don’t expect to be editing 4K video on it. It has the best battery life of all the MacBooks, and also comes with the lowest starting price of around $1,000 right now.

If you’re in the market for one of the newer MacBook Airs from 2020, then you can currently can enjoy a modest but welcome discount off the usual price that knocks it down to as low as $879 for the gold model. This deal gets you a 10th-gen Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD — great specs for an everyday laptop. If you want to give the new M1 CPU a spin, though, the late 2020 MacBook Air with M1 chip is available for $969-$999, which might be a worthwhile upgrade depending on your budget.

MacBook Pro (16-inch) deals

It had been rumored for months, but there was still a sense of excitement when Apple finally unveiled the 16-inch MacBook Pro in mid-November 2019. Many of the rumored features — the higher-resolution display, the new keyboard, and the Navi graphics — proved to be correct.

That means this is the biggest upgrade to the MacBook Pro line since it was redesigned in 2016. It takes features that had become standard in the MacBook Pro 15, like the Touch Bar and USB-C ports, and adds all-new features. For example, you can give it an 8TB SSD, the largest SSD available in any laptop, or if you need a huge amount of memory, there’s a 64GB RAM option. If you’re a pro and need power, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is the one to get.

The deals have started already. Amazon is offering $200 off a new 16-inch MacBook Pro, bringing its price down to $2,199. You get a 9th-generation 6-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics card. Want some boosted specs? The Core i9 MacBook Pro with 1TB of storage and a Radeon Pro 5500M GPU is on sale for $2,499, saving you $300.

MacBook Pro (13-inch) deals

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With its more powerful specs, the MacBook Pro represents the top of the MacBook lineup. These are laptops for people who want to run heavy applications such as Photoshop or Lightroom — or even just for people who want to multitask like nobody’s business. However, there are several important distinctions you should be aware of, even concerning the 13-inch models.

Apple has now added the Touch Bar to all of its recent MacBook Pro models. The Touch Bar is a slim OLED touchscreen that takes the place of the function keys and is purpose-built for navigating MacOS and its software — but it’s admittedly not for everyone, so if you’d prefer a MacBook Pro without it, then you’ll have to opt for a last-gen model from 2017 or earlier.

Right now, you can score has this refurbished 13-inch non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro in renewed condition from 2017. For $680, you get an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, a 256GB SSD, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. It’s a great deal if you want to save yourself some cash by going without the Touch Bar.

Apple updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro in 2019 to come with the latest-generation Intel processors, with slight speed bumps to both the base clock and Turbo Boost speeds. With the MacBook Pro 16 on the market now, prices of last-gen and smaller-sized MacBook Pro models have been slashed.

You can now save hundreds on the 13-inch MacBook Pro complete with Touch Bar from early 2020 by buying this nicely specced unit at a discount that brings its price down to $1,099. That gives you a quad-core Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256B SSD. The new 2020 MacBook Pro with M1 chips were recently released and we’ll be posting any worthy discounts for those as they appear, but if you want a deal, then buying this still-excellent Intel Core model is the surest way to save right now.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro was given a couple refreshes for 2020. Although innovative, Apple isn’t exactly a company known for re-inventing the wheel — it typically sticks to a good design once it’s found it — and the first 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro update wasn’t an exception to this rule, featuring a very similar overall aesthetic to previous models (outdated bezels and all) with some modest hardware updates under the hood. One major noteworthy upgrade is the new Magic Keyboard, which is fantastic. It’s comfortable, it’s quiet, and it even has a proper escape key this time around. The second update, however, added Apple’s fantastic new M1 CPU to the lineup.

This model packs that eight-core M1 CPU along with 8GB of RAM and a snappy 256GB SSD, pairing what are pretty much ideal specs for an everyday laptop with the sort of quality you’d typically associate with the Pro line. You can grab the new 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro for just $1,150 at checkout right now, which is the best price we’ve seen yet for this new model. If you’re willing to save an extra $50 by opting for a like-new refurbished model directly from Apple, then you can grab that one from the Apple Store for $1,099 while it’s still in stock.

MacBook Pro (15-inch) deals

MacBook Pro 15

Now that the 16-inch MacBook Pro has started to edge out its 15-inch sibling, we’re seeing some deals appearing for the MacBook Pro 15 as retailers sell off their stock. That’s great news because this is still an excellent laptop to get if you want a good helping of power and portability. The 15-inch MacBook Pro not only has the fastest processors, but it also includes discrete graphics. You can pair up an eight-core Core i9 processor and an AMD Vega 20 GPU, which should handily push through high-resolution video renders and graphics modeling with ease. All versions of the 15-inch MacBook Pro also come with the Touch Bar and four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports.

In May 2019, it was updated with new processors and a tweaked keyboard. The 2019 model now comes with ninth-generation processors up to the whopping eight-core Core i9 for some serious power (the first time eight-core chips have been brought to the 15-inch Pro). And the deals have been rolling in for the latest version, including the corker we’ve found below.

The price of the 15-inch MacBook Pro normally makes it a tough sell, so a good deal is always welcome. However, Amazon has one of the last remaining 2018 units available in Renewed (like new) condition for a considerable discount off its original MSRP, bringing it down to $1,300. What do you get with this configuration? A beefy Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, a 256GB SSD, and a Radeon Pro 555X discrete graphics card. It might be a last-gen model, but it’s one of the most powerful picks on our list.

Looking for more tech deals? Find laptop deals, iPad deals, Chromebook deals, and much more on our curated deals page.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

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