MacBook Air 15 inch Screen Size

Today I rushed to the Apple Store to see whether I might want to trade in my now defunct 16 inch MacBook Pro M1 laptop for the MacBook Air. When I put the 15 inch MacBook Air next to the 16 inch MacBook Pro, I was shocked by how much larger the screen of the 16 inch laptop looked to me. It seemed crisper too, but I could be mistaken about that.

I set about to see how much larger the MacBook Pro screen is in terms of area. To find the dimensions of the screens with a Google search is a huge pain because Apple only reports the diagonal dimensions of the screens along with the dimensions of the of the laptop. They are probably following industry standards.

So I asked Bard: “In terms of area how much larger is the display of the MacBook Pro 16 inch m1 computer than the display of the MacBook Air 15 inch computer?”

…and was told the screen dimensions of both laptops in squared inches. Also, Bard calculated that the display of the 16 inch MacBook Pro is 25.1% larger than the display of the 15 inch MacBook Air.

I wonder if people fully appreciate how much larger the 16 inch screen is when compared to the 15 inch screen, unless they see them side by side. I haven’t seen a single YouTube review of the 15 inch MacBook Air that compares the screens side-by-side.

Needless to say, I’m keeping my MacBook Pro 16 inch laptop, which is superior to the new MacBook Pro 15 inch laptop in every way except for weight and single core CPU performance. And cheaper to replace, if I had to.


Here are the numbers from the three tech specs pages. You’re right: one inch makes a significant difference. I don’t think many people know that the 14" has more pixels than the 15" Air, either. That said, I wouldn’t steer many people away from the 15 if coming from a 13" Air or Pro or a PC laptop.

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You are correct on this point. PPI for the pro models is ~254. It’s ~224 for the Air models. I think the PPI was bumped up that smidgeon when the 16” Intel MBP came out so that perfect pixel dividing could be used but Apple could bump up the default scaled resolution from that which has been used since 2009 or earlier (1440x900 on the 15” to 1680x1050 on 15” (I don’t know what the 16” version of that is, but you get the idea)).

Something isn’t correct here. See attached image. Should only be 12%.


Appreciate you doing the legwork on this. I have a 15" MBA in front of me, had a 16" MBP previously, and couldn’t fathom how they were 25% apart.


It’s probably helpful to keep in mind that LLMs construct sentences; they can’t actually do math.


You are right. If I get Bard to give the calculations, it provides the code snippet (directly copied) as “Area = 13.3 inches * 9.4 inches = 2705.52 square inches”. An order of magnitude error. Bard does warn “Use code with caution”. Even the dimensions are wrong for the 16 inch screen.

I’m sorry to have wasted everyone’s time. A 12% difference in screen size isn’t all that much.


You’re going to see a difference in the XDR screen of a pro next to an air regardless of size. However, once you don’t have them next to each other it’s not as noticeable.

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ChatGPT does the math better. It used the same insight as Cornchip’s to use the DPI of 254. (I’m not saying that it is as smart as Cornchip.)

Calculate the area of the MacBook 16 inch M1 laptop from it’s screen dimensions. Assume a resolution of 3,456 x 2,234 with 254 dpi.


To calculate the area of the MacBook 16-inch M1 laptop, we need to use the screen dimensions and the pixel density (dpi). Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Convert the screen resolution from pixels to inches. Divide the width and height of the screen by the dpi (dots per inch) to get the physical dimensions in inches.

Width in inches = 3456 pixels / 254 dpi = 13.622 inches Height in inches = 2234 pixels / 254 dpi = 8.803 inches

  1. Calculate the area of the screen by multiplying the width and height:

Area = Width × Height = 13.622 inches × 8.803 inches = 119.999446 square inches

Therefore, the area of the MacBook 16-inch M1 laptop screen is approximately 120 square inches.

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So I’m guessing that the MBA 15” will have the same 1680x1050 scaled display as the 13”? Or will it be different?

MacBook Air 13- and 15-inch with M2 - Tech Specs - Apple

15-inch MBA spec is 2880-by-1864 native resolution at 224 pixels per inch, which sounds like 1440 x 932 retina (pixel-doubled). Not even Everymac lists the alternate resolutions:

Do not rely on anything whatever “AI” client is giving you as output. After getting an answer the next step is checking the answer. Really. :flushed:

Apple’s product pages are just THE resource for any question. We all know about Apple’s reality distortion field and I have been a victim of it several times in the past, but when it comes to Tech Specs, Apple really does a very good job to keep you posted on the specs (as @karlnyhus already has pointed out above).

I am a happy Macbook Air M1 owner. If I was in the market for a new laptop the MacBook Air 15 would be my choice right now. :slight_smile:

A very nice machine at an affordable price point! :slight_smile:

Does Apple really do double pixel on the laptops? For my 16" it seems to be the case, as per fact-sheet on Apple website the 16" has a 3456 x 2234 display and the resolution in system settings shows 1728 x 1117. My 13" work Macbook Pro has a 2560 x 1600 (again as per Apples website for my model) but the system settings shows a 1440 x 900 resolution - hence not double pixels.

So if the 15" has a 2880 x 1864 display and Apple uses double pixel, the 15" would only have the same displayed resolution as my 13" Macbook Pro?

Sorry for all those numbers :upside_down_face:

Some some years back, Apple became really good at displaying a variety of resolutions on their laptop screens. And at that point, they changed the default MacBook Air resolution to 1440 x 900. That scaled resolution worked for people with young eyes. But you still can go into the Display system settings and select from other available resolutions. Experiment and go with what works best for you. Being an older guy, I always set my laptops to pixel-doubled values for the absolutely sharpest text.

For the 13“ real double pixel would mean a 1280 x 800 resolution which I find barely usable (while being really nice and sharp :blush:)

I happened to be at the Apple Store today and was able to compare both laptops side by side - the 16“ inch Macbook Pro and the 15“ MacBook Air.

Besides the obvious with overall size I was surprised that the Macbook Air didn’t feel thaaat much lighter, but thinner and smaller which was nice.

But as for the display, it was quite interesting for me as well. I learned that the standard pixel resolution is almost identical with 1710 x 1107 on the Macbook Air and 1728 x 1117 on the MacBook Pro.

And while that’s the double pixel for the Macbook Pro it’s a interpolated (is that the correct English word?) resolution for the Macbook Air and in my opinion it showed - the Macbook Air seemed noticeably less sharp. What was even more noticeable was the difference in color and brightness. True, the Macbook Pro has an XDR display so no surprise, but also the contrast was visibly better on the Macbook Pro given its mini LED display.

I tried to take two pictures where one can see the differences (not sure how anyone would do any color sensitive work (without calibration)). I tried to equal the setting with True Tone off, Auto brightness off and highest brightness and I tested two Macbook Air to that one MacBook Pro with same subjective results. Given the machines are brand new, long usage in the Apple Store should be an issue here I guess.

Overall the screen size does not seem to differ so much given the similarities in resolution, but the display quality breaks it for me (besides the keyboard quality) … but in the end we are talking more than double the prize for the Macbook Pro :smirk:


It’s good to know that if you pay more, you get better quality!

I’ll have to stop into an Apple Store. Now I’m curious how the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Airs look next to each other.


That almost looks as if the Air has TrueTone enabled while the Pro doesn’t? If that’s not the case then that’s quite a big difference!

Ah, so the “more space” is 1710 x 1107 for the MBA 15”? That’s what I wanted to know. I guess I’ll have to see if my eyes can handle it when I get to visit an Apple Store.

Ah sorry if I wasn’t quite clear/precise; let’s try again :blush:

Standard resolution:
Macbook Air: 1710 x 1107
MacBook Pro: 1728 x 1117

More space option:
MacBook Air: 1920 x 1243
Macbook Pro: 2056 x 1329

The difference between the standard resolution and the more space option in my opinion feels bigger on the MacBook Pro.

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