If you're thinking about switching from a PC to a Mac, consider Apple's MacBook laptops. Compact and elegantly designed, MacBooks up more and more at meetings where clunky Windows laptops used to predominate. Quality construction matters more in mobile devices like laptops, and Macs are among the best-built machines out there.

One unique feature of Apple laptops is the Multi-Touch glass trackpad. You can pinch an image to shrink it, for example, or swipe with two fingers to scroll or with four fingers to move windows out of the way so that you can see your desktop.

Apple builds their laptops into sturdy unibody aluminum cases and backlights the keyboards, so you can work during airplane movies, in a darkened presentation room, or in bed at night when someone else is trying to sleep.

All new Apple laptops include a built-in FaceTime video camera. It’s located on the lid, above the display, along with an omnidirectional microphone. Stereo speakers and a headphone jack are also provided. Coupled with easy, high-speed Internet connectivity and iChat and FaceTime communication software, these cameras let you videoconference from just about anywhere.

Speaking of the lid, it’s kept closed by a magnet; you find no mechanical catch to break. That’s not the only magnetic feature of Mac laptops: The power cord is magnetically attached, designed not to pull your laptop off the table if you trip over the cord.

Apple laptops come with a separate power supply that runs on 100–240 volts AC, 50 to 60 Hz, so they can be used anywhere in the world with an adapter or power cord for the wall outlets in the country you’re visiting. Apple power supplies meet U.S. EPA Energy Star requirements, reducing energy waste. An airplane power cord is available as an option.

All Apple laptops come with built-in AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi wireless, supporting the 802.11a, b, g, and n standards and Bluetooth 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate (EDR). So you can use your Apple laptop with any Wi-Fi hotspot and any Bluetooth device.

[Credit: Photo courtesy of Apple, Inc.]
Credit: Photo courtesy of Apple, Inc.

 MacBook Air (11-inch)MacBook Air (13-inch)MacBook Pro (13-inch)MacBook Pro (15-inch)MacBook Pro (17-inch)
Screen size (inches diagonal) 11.6 13.3 13.3 15.4 17
Resolution (pixels) 1336 x 768 1440 x 900 1440 x 900 1440 x 900 1920 x 1200
Finish Glossy Glossy Glossy Antiglare option Antiglare option
Weight 2.38 lbs. 2.96 lbs. 4.5 lbs. 5.6 lbs. 6.6 lbs.
  1.08 kg 1.35 kg 2.04 kg 2.54 kg 3 kg
Thickness 0.68 in. 0.68 in. 0.95 in. 0.95 in. 0.98 in.
  1.7 cm 1.7 cm 2.41 cm 2.41 cm 2.5 cm
CPU Dual-core Dual-core Dual-core i5 Quad-core i7 Quad-core i7
Speed (GHz) 1.4– 1.6 1.86–2.13 2.3–2.7 2.0–2.2 2.2–2.3
Maximum RAM 4GB 4GB 8GB 8GB 8GB
Graphics Integrated Integrated Integrated Integrated+ AMD Radeon HD 6490M (opt. 6750M) Integrated + AMD Radeon HD 6750M
Optical SuperDrive External option External option Yes Yes Yes
Video Port Thunderbolt Thunderbolt Thunderbolt Thunderbolt Thunderbolt
USB 2.0 ports 2 2 2 2 3
Ethernet port External option External option Gigabit Gigabit Gigabit
FireWire port None None 800 Mbps 800 Mbps 800 Mbps
Card slot None SD Card SDXC Card SDXC Card ExpressCard/34
Wi-Fi 802.11n 802.11n 802.11n 802.11n 802.11n
Bluetooth 2.1+EDR 2.1+EDR 2.1+EDR 2.1+EDR 2.1+EDR
FaceTime camera Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Microphone Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Headset jack in/out Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Audio line in jack No No No Yes Yes
Trackpad Multi-Touch Multi-Touch Multi-Touch Multi-Touch Multi-Touch
Keyboard backlight Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power adapter 45 watts 45 watts 60 watts 85 watts 85 watts