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If you’re just going back to school, college or university or have already started, here we’ve looked at the best MacBooks for students of 2022.

These are the best back-to-school deals for Macs you’ll find anywhere with some real bargains to be found for university, college and school students.

The good news for students is that MacBooks have never been cheaper and Apple’s release of the latest Apple Silicon M1 and M2 MacBooks offer some of the best value for money Macs that have ever hot the market.

Apple rarely runs promotions (although it sometime offers Apple vouchers with Mac purchases to spend on Apple accessories) so often the cheapest Mac deals are to be found on Amazon.

Not all Apple products are available on Amazon however such as the amazing Mac Studio but most MacBooks are including the latest M1 and M2 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

Since most students are looking for the lightweight portability of a MacBook over a desktop machine like the Mac Mini or Mac Studio, this means lot of deals to choose from.

All of the following MacBooks have plenty of ports too to connect external displays or external drives including the fastest SSD drives and Thunderbolt drives.

Unlike with the iPhone, Apple has also kept the standard 3.5 headphone jack on the latest generation of Apple Silicon MacBooks so you can still use most headphones or microphones with them without the need for a 3.5mm to Thunderbolt conversion adapter.

So whether you need a MacBook for taking notes in lectures or seminars, watching back lectures, video editing courses, graphic design courses, video conferencing with teachers or students or writing your assignments on, you’ll find the best Mac for you here.

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With this in mind, here then are the best MacBooks for students of 2022.

1. 2021 14 Inch M1 MacBook Pro

2021 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, Apple M1 Pro chip with 8‑core CPU and 14‑core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) - Space Gray (Renewed)
  • Apple M1 Pro or M1 Max chip for a massive leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
  • Up to 10-core CPU delivers up to 3.7x faster performance to fly through pro workflows quicker than ever
  • 16-core Neural Engine for up to 11x faster machine learning performance - Up to 17 hour battery life
  • Up to 32-core GPU with up to 13x faster performance for graphics-intensive apps and games
  • 1080p FaceTime HD camera with advanced image signal processor for sharper video calls

The 2021 M1 MacBook Pro is the best Mac for students thanks to a combination of power, customization and value for a machine this powerful.

The M1 MacBook Pro is still the most powerful MacBook ever released boasting the new revolutionary Apple Silicon M1 chip with a choice of M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

Although there’s now a 13 inch M2 MacBook Pro available, it’s still not as powerful as a maxed out 14 inch MacBook Pro since there’s still no M2 Pro or M2 Max chip available.

The 14 inch screen model hits the sweet spot between the 13 inch and 16 inch models and can handle even the most demanding 8K video editing and rendering and pretty much any graphic design app you throw at it.

Compared to the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro also has a ProMotion display which is especially designed to handle frame rates of fast moving footage often required by video editors.

If you’re studying any kind of creative art such as graphic design or video editing, then the 16 inch model with an M1 Max processor and 64GB of RAM is definitely worth stretching to with a stunning 3456 x 2234 native resolution display.

You can even upgrade the storage to 1TB which is probably a good idea for anyone studying digital arts

If you’re a fan of the Touch Bar, then you’ll need the 13 inch model but if you can live without it then the increased screen estate in the 14 and 16 inch models is definitely worth it.

The 1080p webcam deliver stunning quality images and video for web conferencing and remote meetings, although you now get the same quality iSight camera in the M2 MacBook Air.

To really max it out, you’ll need to upgrade the chip to either the M1 Max or M1 Pro which can also support more than one external monitor compared the the base M1 version with an HDMI port for good measure.

For photographers and video editors, there’s also an added SDXC card reader to slot memory cards into and instantly transfer footage to your hard drive.

You can also read our full review of the 2021 MacBook Pro for a more in-depth look at what it can do.

Buy on Amazon

Pros:

  • Customizable with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips
  • SDXC card reader slot
  • M1 Pro and M1 Max support multiple external monitors
  • Powerful yet portable

Cons:

  • Base M1 chip version only supports one external display
  • More expensive than the MacBook Air
  • 16 inch model a bit bulky to carry around regularly

2. 2022 13 Inch M2 MacBook Air

Sale
2022 Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, 1080p FaceTime HD Camera. Works with iPhone and iPad; Midnight
  • STRIKINGLY THIN DESIGN — The redesigned MacBook Air is more portable than ever and weighs just 2.7 pounds. It’s the incredibly capable laptop that lets you work, play or create just about anything — anywhere.
  • SUPERCHARGED BY M2 — Get more done faster with a next-generation 8-core CPU, up to 10-core GPU and up to 24GB of unified memory.
  • UP TO 18 HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE — Go all day and into the night, thanks to the power-efficient performance of the Apple M2 chip.
  • BIG, BEAUTIFUL DISPLAY — The 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display features over 500 nits of brightness, P3 wide color and support for 1 billion colors for vibrant images and incredible detail.
  • ADVANCED CAMERA AND AUDIO — Look sharp and sound great with a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, three-mic array and four-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio.

The 13 inch M2 MacBook Air is one of the best MacBook for students on a budget thanks to a combination of incredible processing power, portability and value for money.

Released in July 2022, the M2 MacBook Air has Apple’s latest M2 chip which is even faster than the Apple Silicon M1 chip first released in the 2020 M1 MacBook Air.

With a slimmer design, more processing power, more battery power and a much better 1080p webcam, the M2 MacBook Air is definitely an upgrade on the 2020 M1 Model.

Unlike the MacBook Pro models, the 2022 M2 MacBook Air is completely silent as it has no cooling fans but it can still handle everything from 4K video editing to music production.

The main downside compared to the MacBook Pro is that it is less powerful and the lack of fans means it will struggle processing and rendering 8K video or heavy duty graphic design software.

For photographers or video editors, there’s also no SDXC card reader to instantly transfer photos and video although you can still do this via a Thunderbolt/USB-C cable easily.

For those that want to connect an external monitor, bear in mind that there’s also no HDMI port in the MacBook Air although likewise, you can connect them via USB-C/Thunderbolt too.

However, note that officially, you can only connect one external monitor to the M2 MacBook Air.

Although there are workarounds to this, if external displays are important for you, consider getting an M1 or M2 MacBook Pro instead with at least an M1 Pro or Max chip inside.

Normally it costs around 25% more than the base 2020 model at $1,299 compared to $999 for 2022 M1 MacBook Air but you can currently get it on offer at Amazon with 12% off at $1,149 which is definitely a good deal.

Buy on Amazon

Pros:

  • The most powerful MacBook Air on the market
  • Incredibly light and portable
  • Excellent value for money
  • Silent

Cons:

  • Only supports one external display
  • No HDMI port

3. 2020 M1 13 Inch MacBook Air

Sale
2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray
  • Apple-designed M1 chip for a giant leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
  • Get more done with up to 20 hours of battery life, the longest ever in a Mac
  • 8-core CPU delivers up to 2.8x faster performance to fly through workflows quicker than ever
  • 8-core GPU with up to 5x faster graphics for graphics-intensive apps and games
  • 16-core Neural Engine for advanced machine learning

If you really can’t stretch to the M2 MacBook Air then then the 13 inch 2020 M1 MacBook Air is the cheapest MacBook on the market.

It’s still the second most powerful MacBook Air ever released with the incredible Apple Silicon M1 chip inside which delivers amazingly fast performance compared to the older MacBook Air’s with Intel chips.

The M1 MacBook Air might be Apple’s base model MacBook but it can still handle 4K video editing, music production, graphic design and comes with a generous 8GB of RAM in the base model which can be increased to 16GB.

Unlike the M1 MacBook Pro, there’s also no fan inside the M1 MacBook Air which means it’s ideal for quiet areas like libraries and study rooms.

It’s also got up to 15 hours of battery life which is a few hours less than the M2 MacBook Air but more than enough to get you through the day on a full charge with heavy use.

There’s slightly less port connectivity than the 2022 M2 MacBook Air and the screen resolution isn’t quite as good but they’re hardly big drawbacks for most students.

Note that because they’ve already been on the market a few years, you can get even cheaper refurbished 2020 M1 MacBook Airs for less than $1000.

Buy on Amazon

Pros:

  • Powerful M1 chip inside
  • Incredibly light and portable
  • The cheapest Apple MacBook on the market
  • Silent

Cons:

  • Only supports one external display
  • No HDMI port
  • Shorter battery life than the M2 MacBook Air
  • Lower resolution screen than the M2

4. 2022 13 Inch M2 MacBook Pro

2022 Apple MacBook Pro Laptop with M2 chip: 13-inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB ​​​​​​​SSD ​​​​​​​Storage, Touch Bar, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera. Works with iPhone and iPad; Space Gray
  • SUPERCHARGED BY M2 — The 13-inch MacBook Pro laptop is a portable powerhouse. Get more done faster with a next-generation 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU and up to 24GB of unified memory.
  • UP TO 20 HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE — Go all day and into the night, thanks to the power-efficient performance of the Apple M2 chip.
  • SUSTAINED PERFORMANCE — Thanks to its active cooling system, the 13-inch MacBook Pro can sustain pro levels of performance, so you can run CPU- and GPU-intensive tasks for hours on end.
  • BRILLIANT DISPLAY — The 13.3-inch Retina display features 500 nits of brightness and P3 wide colour for vibrant images and incredible detail.
  • HD CAMERA AND STUDIO-QUALITY MICS — Look sharp and sound great with a FaceTime HD camera and three-mic array.

The 2022 13 inch MacBook Pro is the the latest MacBook on the market although unlike the M1 MacBook Pro, there is no 14 inch or 16 inch version available yet.

The M2 chip means it’s around 25% faster than the 13 inch MacBook Pro although the build, design, and port connectivity are exactly the same.

However, you actually may find it better to get the M2 MacBook Air than the current M2 MacBook Pro as there aren’t many advantages other than that.

Surprisingly, you don’t get MagSafe charging with the M2 MacBook Pro (you do with the M2 MacBook Air though) and it also has a slightly smaller 13.3 inch screen compared to 13.6 inch on the M2 MacBook Air.

The 13 inch 2022 M2 MacBook Pro only has a 720p camera too compared to 1080p on the M2 MacBook Air.

There is however a cooling fan on the 2022 M2 MacBook Pro for more intensive graphic design and video editing work and it also includes the Touch Bar.

It also includes an SDXC card reader slot and has around 2 hours longer battery life than the M2 MacBook Air if you work off battery power a lot.

It’s likely that Apple will release an 14 inch and 16 inch M2 MacBook Pro later this year with M2 Pro and M2 Max chip but until then, you may be better off going with the M2 MacBook Air for now.

Buy on Amazon

Pros:

  • Around 25% faster than the MacBook Pro M1 chip
  • SDXC card reader slot
  • Long battery life
  • Powerful yet portable

Cons:

  • Base M2 chip only supports one external display
  • More expensive than the MacBook Air for not much more spec
  • No MagSafe charging

5. 2021 16 Inch M1 MacBook Pro

Sale
2021 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, Apple M1 Pro chip with 10‑core CPU and 16‑core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) - Space Gray
  • Apple M1 Pro or M1 Max chip for a massive leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
  • Up to 10-core CPU delivers up to 2x faster performance to fly through pro workflows quicker than ever
  • Up to 32-core GPU with up to 4x faster performance for graphics-intensive apps and games
  • 16-core Neural Engine for up to 5x faster machine learning performance
  • Longer battery life, up to 21 hours

Because there’s still no 14 or 16 inch M2 MacBook Pro  and therefore no M2 Pro or M2 Max chip, the 16 inch M1 MacBook Pro is still the most powerful MacBook for students available in 2022.

With a generous 16 inch screen which is comfortable enough for lengthy periods of video editing, music production and graphic design, the biggest M1 MacBook Pro is an awesome machine.

You can customize the RAM on the 16 inch M1 MacBook Pro to 64GB, add an even more powerful M1 Pro or M1 Max chip and to top it off, max it out with a whopping 8TB of SSD hard drive space.

The only Apple Silicon Mac which out performs it is the Mac Studio if you maxed it out with the top of the range M1 Ultra chip.

Of course, the bigger 16 inch model is a bit heavier to carry around so it’s not as portable as the 14 or 13 inch versions but the screen estate payoff is worth it.

It can also work off the battery for an amazing 21 hours in optimum conditions which is easily the most powerful battery ever released by Apple on a MacBook.

If money is no object and you’re looking for the most powerful MacBook on the market that can handle pretty much anything, the 16 inch M1 MacBook Pro is your answer.

Buy on Amazon

Pros:

  • The most powerful MacBook on the market
  • SDXC card reader slot
  • Up to 21 hours battery life
  • Up to 8TB of hard drive space
  • Supports multiple external displays with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips

Cons:

  • Base M1 chip only supports one external display
  • The heaviest MacBook to carry around
  • Price

Best Macs For College Compared

If after these reviews, you’re still not sure which Mac to go for, here’s a side-by-side comparison of the best Macs for students to help you decide.

2021 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, Apple M1 Pro chip with 8‑core CPU and 14‑core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) - Space Gray (Renewed)
2022 Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, 1080p FaceTime HD Camera. Works with iPhone and iPad; Midnight
2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray
2022 Apple MacBook Pro Laptop with M2 chip: 13-inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB ​​​​​​​SSD ​​​​​​​Storage, Touch Bar, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera. Works with iPhone and iPad; Space Gray
2021 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, Apple M1 Pro chip with 10‑core CPU and 16‑core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) - Space Gray
2021 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, Apple M1 Pro chip with 8‑core CPU and 14‑core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) - Space Gray (Renewed)
2022 Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, 1080p FaceTime HD Camera. Works with iPhone and iPad; Midnight
2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray
2022 Apple MacBook Pro Laptop with M2 chip: 13-inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB ​​​​​​​SSD ​​​​​​​Storage, Touch Bar, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera. Works with iPhone and iPad; Space Gray
2021 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, Apple M1 Pro chip with 10‑core CPU and 16‑core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) - Space Gray
Screen Size
14.2 inches
13.6 inches
13.3 inches
13.3 inches
16.2 inches
Resolution
3024 x 1964 pixels
2560 x 1664 pixels
2560 x 1600 pixels
2560 x 1600 pixels
3456 x 2234 pixels
Processor
Up to M1 Pro 10-core or M1 Max 10-core
Up to M2 8-core
M1 8-core
Up to M2 8-core
Up to M1 Pro 10-core or M1 Max 10-core
RAM
16GB / 32GB / 64GB
8GB / 16GB / 24GB
8GB / 16GB
8GB / 16GB / 32GB
16GB / 32GB / 64GB
Storage
512GB / 1TB / 2TB / 4TB / 8TB
256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB
256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB
256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB
512GB / 1TB / 2TB / 4TB / 8TB
Connectivity
3 x Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports (USB-C), 1 x HDMI, SDXC card slot, 3.5 mm headphone jack
2 x Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports (USB-C), 3.5 mm headphone jack
2 x Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports (USB-C), 3.5 mm headphone jack
2 x Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports (USB-C), 3.5 mm headphone jack
3 x Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports (USB-C), 1 x HDMI, SDXC card slot, 3.5 mm headphone jack
Webcam
1080p
1080p
720p
720p
1080p
Dimensions
312.6 mm x 221.2 mm x 15.5 mm
304.1 mm x 215 mm x 11.3 mm
304.1 mm x 212.4 mm x 16.1 mm
304.1 mm x 212.4 mm x 15.6 mm
355.7 mm x 248.1 mm x 16.8 mm
Weight
1.6kg
1.24 kg
1.29 kg
1.4kg
2.1 kg
$1,599.00
$1,049.00
$822.11
$1,249.00
$2,199.00
-
2021 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, Apple M1 Pro chip with 8‑core CPU and 14‑core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) - Space Gray (Renewed)
2021 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, Apple M1 Pro chip with 8‑core CPU and 14‑core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) - Space Gray (Renewed)
Screen Size
14.2 inches
Resolution
3024 x 1964 pixels
Processor
Up to M1 Pro 10-core or M1 Max 10-core
RAM
16GB / 32GB / 64GB
Storage
512GB / 1TB / 2TB / 4TB / 8TB
Connectivity
3 x Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports (USB-C), 1 x HDMI, SDXC card slot, 3.5 mm headphone jack
Webcam
1080p
Dimensions
312.6 mm x 221.2 mm x 15.5 mm
Weight
1.6kg
$1,599.00
-
2022 Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, 1080p FaceTime HD Camera. Works with iPhone and iPad; Midnight
2022 Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, 1080p FaceTime HD Camera. Works with iPhone and iPad; Midnight
Screen Size
13.6 inches
Resolution
2560 x 1664 pixels
Processor
Up to M2 8-core
RAM
8GB / 16GB / 24GB
Storage
256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB
Connectivity
2 x Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports (USB-C), 3.5 mm headphone jack
Webcam
1080p
Dimensions
304.1 mm x 215 mm x 11.3 mm
Weight
1.24 kg
$1,049.00
2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray
2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray
Screen Size
13.3 inches
Resolution
2560 x 1600 pixels
Processor
M1 8-core
RAM
8GB / 16GB
Storage
256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB
Connectivity
2 x Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports (USB-C), 3.5 mm headphone jack
Webcam
720p
Dimensions
304.1 mm x 212.4 mm x 16.1 mm
Weight
1.29 kg
$822.11
2022 Apple MacBook Pro Laptop with M2 chip: 13-inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB ​​​​​​​SSD ​​​​​​​Storage, Touch Bar, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera. Works with iPhone and iPad; Space Gray
2022 Apple MacBook Pro Laptop with M2 chip: 13-inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB ​​​​​​​SSD ​​​​​​​Storage, Touch Bar, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera. Works with iPhone and iPad; Space Gray
Screen Size
13.3 inches
Resolution
2560 x 1600 pixels
Processor
Up to M2 8-core
RAM
8GB / 16GB / 32GB
Storage
256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB
Connectivity
2 x Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports (USB-C), 3.5 mm headphone jack
Webcam
720p
Dimensions
304.1 mm x 212.4 mm x 15.6 mm
Weight
1.4kg
$1,249.00
2021 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, Apple M1 Pro chip with 10‑core CPU and 16‑core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) - Space Gray
2021 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, Apple M1 Pro chip with 10‑core CPU and 16‑core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) - Space Gray
Screen Size
16.2 inches
Resolution
3456 x 2234 pixels
Processor
Up to M1 Pro 10-core or M1 Max 10-core
RAM
16GB / 32GB / 64GB
Storage
512GB / 1TB / 2TB / 4TB / 8TB
Connectivity
3 x Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports (USB-C), 1 x HDMI, SDXC card slot, 3.5 mm headphone jack
Webcam
1080p
Dimensions
355.7 mm x 248.1 mm x 16.8 mm
Weight
2.1 kg
$2,199.00

Can You Run Windows On These Macs?

There are some programs, applications and games that are Windows only and in those cases, some students have no choice than to either buy a PC laptop or install Windows on their Mac.

You can install Windows on M1 & M2 Macs but it’s important to understand that they can only run the Windows for ARM version of Windows which isn’t compatible with all Windows programs.

If you need to run the standard x86 version of Windows, then you’ll need an Intel Mac but Apple does not sell them from new anymore although you can still buy Intel Macs from Amazon.

Are MacBooks Worth It For Students?

The relatively higher cost of Macs compared to PC laptops means many students may wonder whether its worth buying a MacBook.

If you’re studying any kind of video editing or graphic design then a MacBook is definitely worth it if you’re a student. Almost all professionals in creative industries use Macs and much of your course will be based around using Macs.

Even if you’re not studying anything creative, MacBooks are reliable and far less prone to viruses and slow downs than PC laptops.

A Mac should also last you many years compared to a PC laptop and is a good investment over the long term. The average MacBook Air for example lasts around 7 years and many users will get far more than this out of it.

If there are any problems with your Mac, you’ll also find that AppleCare is very quick and efficient at repairing your MacBook or even replacing it. Students can also get up to 20% off AppleCare plans depending on region.

Does Apple Offer Student Discounts?

Apple does offer education discounts depending on the region although some of it is in the form of Apple gift cards to spend on accessories.

Apple also offers student discounts on Apple Music subscriptions and receive Apple TV+ free as part of the student Apple Music offer.

You’ll need to verify yourself via UNiDAYS to access the Apple student store.

apple education discount

About The Author

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