What is the Best Mac for UX Design?

There are a lot of options available when looking for a new Mac that you’re going to use for UI and UX design work. You can get a laptop, a desktop computer, or even a tablet.
Which Mac do I need for UX design?

You could get a new Mac, purchase a used one, or rent your new Mac. There used to be a time where it was easy to get your new Apple device. With the increasing number of options, it can be difficult to have your pick. Especially when you want to use your Mac for UX design.

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As a UX or UI designer, it is a good choice to go for a UX design laptop. You will be on the road a lot, doing user research and usability testing, so being able to bring your work with you is a great idea. That’s why a laptop is a good choice.

The only question that remains is…which one? Which Macbook is best for UX design?

Should I get a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air?

Laptops by Apple are called Macbooks. When selecting a laptop you want to use for design work, you have two options.

  • Macbook Pro. This is a top-of-the-line laptop. One of the best in the world. It is expensive but very powerful, making it an ideal laptop for visual or graphic designers, video designers and motion graphic designers, and UI and UX designers.
  • Macbook Air. Still a great laptop, but more focussed on being lightweight while being on the road. This means that the laptop is a lot cheaper than a Macbook Pro, but also less powerful. This means that the Macbook Air is not very well suited for designers that need to have a powerful Mac, like video and visual designers.

That is the main difference. The Macbook Air is smaller, lighter, and cheaper. The Macbook Pro is stronger and bigger, but that comes at a cost. We did our research, asking about 100 UX designers that have been using a Mac of their own.

“About 70% of UX designers that use a Mac say they prefer the Macbook Pro.”

Most of the UX designers we asked (70%) preferred the Macbook Pro. Advocates of the Macbook Air stated that the use of a second monitor takes away the issue of the smaller screen.

What to consider when buying a Mac

Our advice would be to get yourself a Macbook Pro. It has great performance, the screen is bigger, and you will be set for years. Keep in mind that you get at least 8GB of RAM, a solid-state drive, and the bigger screen.

The Macbook Pro is the best Mac for UI and UX design

Yes, it is expensive. However, if you look at it for the long term, you will see lower costs on a year-to-year basis since you will not have to replace your Macbook Pro for at least 5 years.

You can get a Macbook Pro that follows our recommended specs on Amazon.

Cheaper Macbook alternatives

If getting a 15 or 16″ Macbook Pro is beyond your budget you can get one of the following alternatives. These are still great Macs you can use for almost any UI or UX design job.

  • Get a Macbook Air with extra options, like more RAM, a solid-state drive, and the biggest screen. It is more than a $1000 cheaper than the Macbook Pro we suggested earlier.
  • Get last year’s Macbook Pro on Amazon. You can still get the Macbook Pro, but a lot cheaper since there has been a Macbook refresh by Apple since then.
  • Combine a 13″ Macbook Pro with a second monitor. The bigger Macbook Pro is way more expensive mostly because of the bigger screen. You can get the smaller one but add a great monitor by LG to it.

Should I buy an Apple Silicon Mac

Apple has released its first three Macs that are equipped with Apple’s new M1 chip. These Apple Silicon Macs take a big step performance-wise, while keeping the power consumption low.

However, there’s a slight problem as well. Not all software is currently supported on Apple Silicon. Keep this in mind when you’re going to buy your new Mac. Check out our post on everything you need to know about Apple Silicon Macs to find out more.

Further reading

Now that you’ve got yourself a new Mac to use as a UI and UX designer, it is time to complete your workspace. Maybe get yourself a nice laptop stand that will help you work those long hours or figure out if you want to use Sketch or Figma as your vector-based UI design tool.

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