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Dilemma: Space black vs silver M3 Macbook Pro?

My thoughts on choosing between Space Black and Silver for the M3 MacBook Pro: aesthetics, upkeep, psychology, and more.
James Birkenau



November 26, 2023


I’ve been pondering between Space Black and Silver for my new MacBook I considered different things, from how each hue would impact my day-to-day use (e.g. silver being more reflective) to the potential resale value down the road. Both options have their distinct advantages and trade-offs which required some serious thought. Ultimately, the choice told me more about my personal bias towards practicality and classic design than I expected.


First Impressions and Aesthetic Appeal

Close-up of the space black macbook pro with light reflections revealing subtle textures

When it comes to selecting the perfect hue for a MacBook Pro, the decision often boils down to Space Black and Silver, especially when considering the current offerings equipped with the Pro and Max chips. Each color comes with its unique charm and set of considerations. Here’s a rundown of my initial thoughts on both:

Space Black:

  • It’s undeniably sleek and modern. The darker shade complements the MacBook Pro’s design beautifully, giving it a premium and sophisticated look.

  • In darker environments, it blends in more, which can be a plus when you’re immersed in your work or enjoying a movie.

  • Concerns have been raised about it being a fingerprint magnet. Despite Apple’s effort to mitigate this with special coatings, it can still be a bit bothersome.


  • Classic Apple aesthetic that never really goes out of style. It feels like an extension of Apple’s design legacy.

  • The lighter shade is less obtrusive to the eyes, particularly under bright lighting, which can be advantageous for some users.

  • Dust and fingerprints are less visible, which makes it relatively low maintenance from an aesthetic point of view.

Personally, after toggling between these options, I lean towards the Space Black. It’s got a certain allure that just stands out — it feels bold without being over the top. The way it camouflages fingerprints is debatable, but you can’t deny its elegance. The Silver, though less likely to show smudges and dust, somehow doesn’t have the same impact, despite its timeless appeal.

Of course, seeing these colors in various lighting conditions can alter your perception. Space Black can seem almost too dark in certain scenarios, nearly resembling Space Gray, while Silver shines brighter, reflecting more light which can become a visual irritant for some.

There’s also the aspect of the Apple logo. On the Space Black model, it’s far less prominent, which can either be a positive or a negative depending on how much you want the logo to stand out. On the other hand, Silver showcases the logo with a bit more clarity, which has been iconic for Apple products.

The inner chatter about potential chips revealing raw aluminum underneath or how each color matches with other devices and accessories does come into play, but that’s a story for a different part of the brain and another part of our article.

Ultimately, the choice between Space Black and Silver isn’t clear-cut. It often hinges on personal preference and how you value the aesthetics against practical concerns like visibility of fingerprints and maintenance. Each color has its own merits and drawbacks that could sway your decision one way or another.

Durability and Maintenance

Silver macbook pro with visible dust particles against a dark background

When deciding between the Space Black and Silver MacBook Pro, the list of practical considerations is unexpectedly important. For someone with a focus on durability and maintenance, it’s not just about the initial wow factor. Here are a few key points to contemplate:

  • Maintenance: Silver is known for its resilience against the appearance of fingerprints and smudges. It’s low-maintenance, and the occasional wipe with a microfiber cloth keeps it looking pristine.

  • Durability: The anodized coating on Space Black models can chip over time, revealing the raw aluminum underneath, which can be a downside for those who prefer their device to maintain a consistent aesthetic over its lifetime.

  • Heat Absorption: Lighter colors reflect more sunlight, meaning the Silver option might stay cooler under direct sunlight compared to its Space Black counterpart, which is an important aspect to consider for those who like to work outdoors.

Now, Space Black may look sleek when unboxed, but it’s not immune to the reality of daily wear. I’ve noticed that despite Apple’s best efforts, Space Black does show fingerprints more than Silver. However, I find this to be a minor inconvenience, as a routine cleaning—something I do with any device regardless of color—keeps it looking sharp.

The Silver model harks back to the classic Apple look, which some might find reassuring. It’s familiar and, from a maintenance standpoint, a safe choice. In well-lit environments, though, Silver devices can be a bit too reflective, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to focus on the screen.

For those worried about the durability of the colored finish, it’s fair to note that the Space Black’s anodizing can wear down over time, especially with heavy use. However, my experience with previous space gray models has been positive, showing little wear in the areas where my palms rest—it suggests that Apple has indeed made progress in the durability of its darker finishes.

Both colors have their merits when it comes to keeping them clean. It largely comes down to the individual’s tolerance level for visible fingerprints and their commitment to regular cleaning. To alleviate some concerns, Apple could consider including their cleaning cloth with every Space Black purchase—although that’s more of a wish than a current reality.

Ultimately, the decision isn’t clear-cut. Both colors require care, and both can show wear over time. For me, it seems like a trade-off between the timeless appeal of Silver and the bold statement of Space Black. Whichever color you choose, a consistent maintenance routine will be the key to preserving your MacBook Pro’s aesthetic.

Color Psychology and Productivity

Neutral-toned desk setup featuring the space black macbook pro centered with various office supplies

When choosing between Space Black and Silver for a MacBook Pro, the decision isn’t just about the aesthetics – it taps into the realm of color psychology and its subtle influence on our productivity. Here’s how the two hues stack up:

Space Black:

  • Pro: Offers a sleek, modern appearance; can reduce visual distractions by blending the entire device into the display when used in dark environments.

  • Con: Shows fingerprints and smudges more readily; could potentially encourage prolonged screen time without breaks due to its immersive quality.


  • Pro: Classic Apple look that’s timeless and considered by some to be less distracting during the day due to its less reflective nature.

  • Con: The bright finish may be more prone to visible dust and potentially more distracting in well-lit areas.

From personal experience, the Space Black beckons with its chic and understated allure. It feels both contemporary and discreet, allowing me to dive into my work without the device itself clamoring for attention. On the flip side, maintaining that pristine look requires regular cleaning, as it’s a magnet for my ‘greasy Italian hands’, as I jokingly refer to them.

Meanwhile, Silver, somewhat resistant to the daily onslaught of fingerprints, has a cool, professional vibe that I’ve always associated with Apple’s design heritage. It may show dust more, but it’s nothing a soft cloth can’t handle. Sitting in a cafe, the silver doesn’t scream ‘latest and greatest’, which in some situations could be an advantage, considering theft or just not wanting to draw attention.

Although Space Black might be the new kid on the block, the older sibling, Silver, exudes a kind of confidence that only comes from a proven track record. Silver doesn’t clash with my home decor or other devices and feels ‘very Apple’ in spirit. It’s an ode to the brand’s history, dating back to the early PowerBooks and iMacs.

Let’s not forget, both colors can affect mood and concentration. A study by the University of Texas found that bland gray, beige, and white offices induced feelings of sadness and depression, especially in women. While no specific studies are pinpointing the exact effect of Space Black or Silver MacBook Pros, it’s fair to speculate that these color options could similarly influence our work mindset.

In the end, it’s a tug-of-war between tradition and trend, between blending-in and standing out. Each has its merits and it’s in the weight of these considerations that my preference teeters, always precariously, on the edge of reason and emotion. As such, the journey towards picking a color becomes more introspective — deciphering not just what looks good, but what feels right.

Matching with Other Devices and Accessories

Collection of apple devices including airpods iphone and ipad in both space black and silver

When it comes to matching devices and accessories, choosing the color of your MacBook Pro is more than a mere cosmetic decision; it’s about creating a coherent and personalized tech ecosystem. With the Space Black and Silver options, each color offers its unique advantages and potential drawbacks. Here’s a quick rundown:

Space Black:

  • Pros:

  • It looks sleek and modern, blending well with a variety of accessories.

  • Matches perfectly with other Apple devices, particularly the iPhone Pro models that come in darker hues.

  • Cons:

  • Shows fingerprints and smudges more prominently, requiring more frequent cleaning.

  • Limited color-matching options for third-party accessories, which often come in their own standard black shades that might not match perfectly.


  • Pros:

  • Classic and timeless, it’s less likely to clash with other devices.

  • Generally shows less fingerprints and is more forgiving with slight mismatches in shade.

  • Cons:

  • Can feel too safe or traditional for those looking for a standout piece.

  • In a sea of silver laptops, it might lack a distinct identity.

Personally, my preference leans towards the Space Black. It’s the new kid on the block and feels in tune with my other devices, like the iPhone in dark modes—there’s something satisfying about a uniform color palette. However, the allure of the Silver is undeniable, radiating a sort of tech-nostalgia harking back to classic Apple designs.

Now, I do find mixing accessories often sparks a debate. A clear protective case or sleeve should maintain the integrity of your chosen color. However, upon locking onto the Space Black, one does realize the challenges in finding matching peripherals. A third-party black mouse or keyboard may not be the same shade, which can be a little unnerving for the detail-oriented.

Conversely, complimentary colors like metallic gray or even bold reds and blues can contrast nicely with the Space Black, giving an edgy look. Silver, so forgiving and versatile, welcomes a broader spectrum of colors, from soft pastels to vibrant neons, without a visual clash.

I’ve observed from my Space Black that minor scratches or dents seem to be less noticeable, especially under low light. In retrospect, while Silver doesn’t show fingerprints as much, I find that it does make scuffs more visible in direct sunlight.

Ultimately, it’s a balance. Space Black could make your setup feel more modern, more ‘now’. Silver, on the other hand, offers a classic, tried-and-true aesthetic that fits in anywhere. And while you may gravitate towards the stealthy allure of Space Black, remember the practicality of Silver. Neither choice is wrong; it’s just a matter of which compromise you’re more comfortable with.

Resale Value and Cosmetic Longevity

Two macbook pros one in space black and one in silver side by side with visible wear and tear on the darker model

When contemplating the resale value and cosmetic longevity of a MacBook Pro, color choice becomes more than a personal preference; it’s a calculated decision. Let’s unpack this with a markdown list focusing on Space Black versus Silver.

Resale Value & Cosmetic Longevity:

Space Black:

  • Pros:

  • Unique and distinct; stands out in the sea of traditional silver laptops.

  • Can be more appealing to a niche market upon resale who may seek this specific color.

  • Demonstrates less noticeable scratches due to its deep color, potentially maintaining a fresher look longer.

  • Cons:

  • Fingerprints and smudges are more visible, requiring regular cleaning to maintain its pristine appearance.

  • The anodized coating can show signs of wear over time, especially on high-contact areas like the palm rest.

  • Potentially less mass appeal compared to the classic silver, which could impact resale value.


  • Pros:

  • Timeless color that’s been synonymous with Apple’s design language, leading to steady demand.

  • Surface wear and minor scratches are less noticeable, maintaining its look over time.

  • Appeals to a broader audience, potentially making it easier to sell when the time comes.

  • Cons:

  • So common that it may not stand out to buyers looking for something unique.

  • Dust and particulates can be more visible against the silver finish.

Personally, my preference leans towards Silver primarily for its classic appeal and likely better mass appeal at the point of resale. Silver MacBooks are ubiquitous, and this familiarity can be a comforting factor for potential buyers. Moreover, while Space Black can be striking in initial presentation, its propensity for showing fingerprints might deter those who prioritize cleanliness and a consistently sleek look.

However, it’s crucial to understand the market. Some buyers love the distinctive look of Space Black and may be willing to pay a premium for it. If kept in excellent condition, the novelty factor of Space Black could play in your favor, providing an edge in the second-hand market.

From the perspective of cosmetic longevity, Silver holds up admirably with the added benefit of hiding wear and tear a bit better. The lighter shade does a good job of disguising minor blemishes, which can accumulate over years of use.

At the end of the day, picking a color that suits your personal taste and usage habits is vital. If you’re meticulous with your devices, Space Black’s potential downsides may not be an issue, and its bold look can serve you well. On the other hand, if you prefer a more low-maintenance option, Silver is the tried-and-true path. Remember, whichever color you choose, proper care and maintenance can significantly increase the longevity and resale value of your MacBook Pro.

Personal Preference and the Final Decision

A person standing at a crossroads signposted with space black and silver pointing in opposite directions

Choosing between Space Black and Silver for the MacBook Pro with Pro and Max chips seems like a trivial choice at first glance, yet it’s surprisingly nuanced with several factors playing into the final decision. Here’s a rundown of the factors that tipped the scales for me:

  • Space Black is compelling for its modern and sleek aesthetics; it’s decisively more contemporary and seems to blend the screen and the chassis together, offering a seamless experience especially in low-light environments.

  • Silver, on the other hand, is undeniably the classic Apple look. It’s bright, professional and doesn’t show fingerprints or dust as much, which makes for a cleaner appearance over time without the need for continuous wiping.

After considerable deliberation, my personal preference has edged towards Silver for a few reasons:

  1. Durability: Silver’s natural aluminum finish is more forgiving. Scrapes and nicks, although not desirable, are less conspicuous than on the Space Black’s anodized coating which, when chipped, can reveal the raw aluminum underneath in a stark contrast.
  2. Maintenance: I quite like a pristine looking device and Silver requires less maintenance in this respect. Despite the advancements in coatings, Space Black still seems more prone to fingerprints—something Apple store models have made evident, even if the difference isn’t as drastic as one might imagine.
  3. Less Distracting: This is context-dependent, but in my case, the MacBook Pro is also a creative workstation. The Silver variant offers a neutral frame that’s less likely to clash with my surroundings and allows me more visual focus on the designing or editing tasks at hand.

Having said that, the Space Black does have its draws. Its allure isn’t just in its color; it’s different, less common, and it stands out. If making a statement or matching your setup to other ‘blacker’ tech is important to you, then Space Black could be the right choice. Plus, the dark chassis really allows the display to pop, which can be a boon for video consumption.

Ultimately, MacBook Pro color choice boils down to personal preference. Both options have their merits—the Space Black’s modern flair versus the Silver’s timeless elegance. For me, the deciding factor was striking a balance between aesthetics and practicality.

It’s worth noting that no option is inherently superior; rather, it comes down to which compromises you’re willing to make and what appeals to you visually and functionally. Whether you embrace the boldness of Space Black or the understated class of Silver, you’re getting a machine that’s a powerhouse in performance. That’s something both color options have in common, and it’s the most important factor to celebrate.