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Which is the best Mac for students in 2016? Should you buy a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, MacBook, Mac mini or new iMac?

Martyn Casserly | March 28, 2016
If you're starting college or university in the coming year, you may well be thinking about buying a Mac to help with your studies.

Apple Education discount

If you're already at University, or have been offered your place, then you should ensure that you make use of Apple's educational discount. This scheme runs all year round and offers various price reductions for students or those working in education.

Which Mac should you get for university?

Last year the best all-round choice for students was the MacBook Air. It's light, fast, and at £749 for the entry model it offer good value for an excellent machine. If you're looking to save a few pounds then keep an eye on the Apple Refurb Store. MacBook Airs turn up with great frequency, and you can typically get £50-£100 off. Refurb models are fully checked and come with a one-year guarantee.

This year things have become somewhat more complicated. Our preferred Air model is the 13-inch (£849) as the extra screen size is a blessing during long study sessions. We always recommend upgrading the RAM in Airs to 8GB due to the fact that you can't do it later, and this brings the final price to £929.

Now, for only seventy pounds more you can buy the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, with the gorgeous screen that is well worth the extra spend. So, as is so often the case when buying tech, it really boils down to what you regard as the most important factors.

If you want a machine that you can throw in your backpack and carry all day, and you're focused on design over power, then the 12-inch MacBook is the easy option. If that screen is too small, well, then it's a hard choice. You could always plug it into a separate display to use when you are at your desk.

The 13-inch MacBook Air is a brilliant blend of power and portability, but we can't help thinking that your mind would drift back to the moment when you could have bought the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, and regret that you didn't.

So if you can afford it, get the 13-inch MacBook pro with Retina Display. Otherwise get the best MacBook Air you can afford. They're all great machines and either will see you happily through the whole of a university course.

Best Apple Mac accessories for students

If decide to buy a Mac mini, then we think getting an Apple Wireless keyboard and Apple Trackpad would be helpful for working on both devices.

Mac media solutions for students

Another good accessory to consider is the Apple TV. For £79 this enables you to connect your Mac wirelessly to a HDMI television so you can stream video, and music through your television. It's a great alternative to watching media on your Mac screen.


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