imac ou macbook

Buying an iMac or a MacBook: Which is right for you?

Updated on August 25, 2023

Published Aug 18, 2023 - Are you tempted by an Apple computer, but hesitating between an iMac, a Mac Pro or a MacBook? Not sure you know the difference? This guide will help you choose!

iMac, MacBook or Mac Pro: what's the difference?

The Mac is a computer from the American manufacturer Apple. When you buy one, you have a choice of models. You can opt for a laptop or a powerful desktop computer. Unlike other manufacturers, Apple has a special feature. Apple develops not only the hardware, but also the software. The result? A high-performance system that runs optimally on their hardware. This can be seen from the fact that there are very few crashes and the system is stable even with powerful applications, which is an absolute advantage for everyday work.

If you want to buy an Apple Mac, it's important to know your own system requirements and needs:

  • With the MacBook, you're opting for a laptop.

  • The iMac is a classic desktop computer.

  • Alternatively, you can turn to the Mac Pro.

What are the differences? What are the advantages and disadvantages? This article should enlighten you.

A few words about Mac Pros: these high-performance computers have been designed to run highly demanding applications without jerking, waiting time or other restrictions. However, these models are very expensive. So it's a good idea to know before you buy what tasks you intend to perform and how much power you need.

MacBook: Apple's laptop computer

MacBook is the name of Apple's laptop computer. You can choose between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. The differences are in laptop size, performance, equipment and price.

MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is Apple's well-equipped laptop, designed for basic applications. The screen size of the MacBook Air 2020 is 13 inches. The device is very thin and pleasantly light, making it ideal for the home office, for working comfortably on the sofa, but also for travel. The latest version of the MacBook Air is equipped with the M1 chip developed by Apple for its own computers. Not only does this chip deliver high performance, it also runs silently, as it requires no fan. Please note: in the same year, a MacBook Air was launched, which still has an Intel processor.

Security is assured by Touch-ID. At the touch of a finger, you can unlock the MacBook Air, make Internet payments and share passwords. This makes working relaxed and enjoyable. USB-C ports are at your disposal. They let you connect a wide range of devices. Via WLAN and Bluetooth, you're wirelessly connected to the Internet and other compatible devices. What colors are available for the MacBook Air? At the time of purchase, you can choose between three different colors: silver, gold and space grey.

At Back Market, you'll find not only the latest Apple models, but also older models that still work perfectly today and deliver the power you need.

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro is Apple's top-of-the-range laptop. Compared to the MacBook Air, you can choose between two different screen sizes (13 and 15 inches) and two different processors, depending on whether you opt for the mid-2020 or late 2020 and 2021 model. The former is equipped with an Intel processor and the latter with Apple's M1 chip.

For the MacBook 2021, you can also choose between the M1 and the M1 Max: the only difference is the extremely high performance of the M1 Max. As a normal user, you probably won't notice the difference. Either way, you can make use of an SD memory card slot, three USB-C/Thunderbolt interfaces and an HDMI port. Of course, WLAN and Bluetooth are also included, as is a fingerprint sensor.

Even for the MacBook Pro, you don't have to choose the latest model, as you also have the option of buying older MacBook Pros in refurbished versions. One of the most popular MacBook Pro models on our platform is the MacBook 2019.

So as not to confuse you completely, here's a quick look at the four latest MacBook Pro models:

MacBook Pro 14.2" (end 2021)

MacBook Pro 14.2" (end 2021)

MacBook Pro 13.3" (end 2020)

MacBook Pro 13.3" (mid-2020)


M1 Pro

M1 Max


Intel i5 and i7







3× Thunderbolt 4, 1× HDMI, 1× 3.5 mm jack, 1× SDXC card reader, 1× MagSafe 3

3× Thunderbolt 4, 1× HDMI, 1× 3.5 mm jack, 1× SDXC card reader, 1× MagSafe 3

2× Thunderbolt/USB 4, 1× 3.5 mm jack

2× Thunderbolt/USB 4, 1× 3.5 mm jack


1080p FaceTime HD

1080p FaceTime HD

720p FaceTime HD

720p FaceTime HD

iMac: Apple's desktop computer

Apple calls its desktop computer iMac. You can choose between different colors: in addition to the classic gray, you'll find blue, red, green or yellow for the latest model of the year 2021.

All iMac components are located behind the screen. The flat structure not only looks elegant, you can also easily move the PC from one place to another. A keyboard and mouse are included. Their design matches the color of the case. If you wish, you can replace the mouse with a touchpad, or use both components in parallel. For added security, a fingerprint sensor is integrated into the keyboard. You can choose between different memory sizes for hard disk and RAM. The processor used on the latest iMac 2020 model is the M1 developed by Apple.

What are the advantages of the Mac Pro?

The Mac Pro is a desktop computer with a classic tower design. It comes with a matching display, which impresses with its sharpness and high refresh rate. In terms of performance, the Mac Pro is one of the fastest computers on the market. Since 2021, the Mac Pro has also been available with the M1 chip. Bear in mind, however, that you'll need to purchase an additional monitor, keyboard and mouse, and that these are not included in delivery.

You can choose RAM up to 1.5TB and processors with up to 28 cores. The Mac Pro is a high-performance PC for demanding applications in film production, graphics, design, rendering and video editing. You can get a refurbished iMac Pro from $1,300 at Back Market.

For completeness, we mustn't forget the Mac mini: a small desktop computer, which from 2022 will be positioned as one of the four current Macintosh desktops, between the all-in-one iMac for the general public and the professional Mac Studio and Mac Pro.

What are the pros and cons of MacBook Pro vs iMac?

You're spoilt for choice, so we've briefly summarized the pros and cons. Of course, this only reflects an opinion and, depending on the equipment, you can even turn the most well-equipped MacBook Pro into an extremely powerful computer.

MacBook Pro Pros: Handy and practical for travel, well finished and fast on the move. Disadvantages: The price is quite high for the latest MacBook Pro with the M1 chip, and graphics performance is rather average compared with the other two options. Most of the time, there are only two Thunderbird ports, which is insufficient if you want to connect a display, adapter and charger.

iMac Pros: The new 2021 range looks great and brings a very large and powerful screen. With the M1 chip, all processes run smoothly and quickly. Disadvantages: The design has one major drawback, as it's not height-adjustable. Unfortunately, it's also difficult to retrofit, so make sure you buy the right equipment.

Mac Pro Advantages: quieter and faster than its competitors and offers more connectors. Disadvantages: The latest Mac Pro equipped with the M1 chip is very expensive.

The essentials

In summary, all new M1 models, whether MacBook Pro, iMac or Mac Pro, are relatively expensive to buy. One idea would be to opt for an older model and buy it refurbished. These have been inspected by experts, so you can enjoy like-new quality.

  • If you're often on the move, it's best to opt for a MacBook Pro or a cheaper variant, like the MacBook Air 2017 for example. Several years later, the device is still at the top when compared with other laptops.

  • For anyone with a fixed workstation who needs a bigger screen, an iMac is well worth buying - whether it's the latest version or an earlier one, iMacs convince with their elegant design and performance.

  • For all those whose priority is performance, we recommend buying a Mac Pro and adding equipment according to use. This way, you're 100% flexible, and can, for example, equip yourself with non-Apple products if that suits you better.

We hope this article has helped you decide. It's not an easy choice, but if you're clear about what you need and what your budget is, you'll quickly find what you're looking for.

Miguel G.

Written by Miguel G.Sr. Tech Copywriter (US)

Miguel is always looking for new ways to provide unique perspective on popular tech and has taken his writing to the refurbished industry to promote sustainability. Outside of creating content, you might find him travelling the globe, coaching a fitness class, or cheering on his favorite sports teams (Go Dolphins!)

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