View Full Version : MBA or MBP + iPad
Mar 10, 2011, 07:19 PM
Essentially, I'm in a situation where I can finally upgrade from my first gen MacBook (2006 Core Duo).
I'm having an issue deciding which one would best suit my needs really. I'm tempted by getting a 15" as a semi-desktop replacement laptop and then later buying an iPad (Using the proceeds of my old laptop and some other money). I'm currently a law student but I'll be graduating this year and probably moving into full-time employment. My needs are very general, web browsing, email, skype etc etc. However, the problem with the MBA is storage. Right now I've got a 320 GB hard drive and fit my iTunes library (~100 Gigs), iPhoto library and everything else on there.
Essentially the issue is about not being able to have all the storage anymore (I'd almost certainly go for the 64 GB) - how have people been able to deal with this? I've already got a portable 250 GB hard drive, so could easily use this for iTunes but I don't know how convenient that would be. I'd also be using this to connect to my 23" display to watch video (XviD, 576p, 720p), but I'm assuming it would have no problem with that.
Overall I think the MacBook Pro would be the easier solution, but the sheer portability of the MBA keeps me coming back.
What are your thoughts?
Mar 10, 2011, 07:49 PM
If I were in your shoes, I would probably spring for the MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air is might sexy, sleek, light and portable, but it'll inevitably become tiresome if you have to take out an external hard drive to see any of your photos or watch any of your movies or play any of your songs. For the sake of keeping everything together and easily accessible, I'd go with the MacBook Pro. However, if you anticipate yourself being highly portable and not needing your iPhoto library all the time, then you might want to go with the MacBook Air.
And either machine will be able to drive your external display, so that's a non-issue. Also keep in mind that the specs for the MacBook Air are puny compared to those of the new MacBook Pros. Additionally, the MacBook Air isn't really that user upgradeable, as everything is pretty much soldered onto the logic board. If you want to upgrade the RAM or HD of your machine in the future, then go with the MacBook Pro.
Mar 10, 2011, 08:29 PM
I'm confused. You say the issue with the Air is storage but you also say you'd go for the 64 GB drive. How about you just go for a bigger drive in the air? The high-end 13" with 256 GB is still going to end up being cheaper than a MBP and ipad combo.
Mar 11, 2011, 12:43 AM
If a MacBook is your main computer and you do a lot of work on it, definitely go for the Pro. The Air is great secondary computer, not a primary one.
Mar 11, 2011, 03:43 AM
How about getting a NAS? Either build one off an old computer or buy a new one, both ways you can have your iTunes library and all your other files there. You can also use a FTP service to access your files over the internet. Combine this with Dropbox or the new, coming MobileMe and your storage problem is solved.
That said, maybe MBA 11" is not the optimal primary computer since it may let you down at times when you need great power, but if you don't have the needs for power at any times, why not?
I've just decided to sell my MBP 13" and ordered a MBA 11" base model which I will combine with an iMac in the summer. I also use an old PC on FreeNAS as NAS and BitTorrent-server. Im trying to get more mobile, and live more in the cloud. :)
Mar 11, 2011, 06:32 AM
On the issue of pricing - it's more the fact that I don't want to start with a relatively cheap (Apple-wise) product and then add on extras to make it as expensive as an MBP. I've had a play with the MBA 11" several times and it's incredibly portable so probably the one I'd spring for. I could at a push, go for the 128 GB version of that, but even then, though's not going to be enough to be my main machine (iTunes as I said takes up 100 GB, iPhoto I don't know but I've recently purchased a Sony NEX 3 and started dealing with RAW 14 MP images which aren't exactly small, Movies/TV Shows are a different issue - they sit on desktop external hard drives already).
As I said, the issue is primarily with storage - not power. I do do stuff to would definitely make use of the greater power (Mostly recording with Logic but I also do video editing with iMovie), but much more occasionally.
I mean ideally I'd quite like a setup of an MBA with an iMac but the money simply isn't there right now (and I don't know when it will be because of the graduate job market) so I'm trying to find a good compromise.
Mar 11, 2011, 10:23 AM
There are a lot of solutions to storage problems. If none of them suits you, go for the MBP.
If you find a possible solution to your storage problem, MBA is a nice computer.
Mar 15, 2011, 08:47 AM
I bought the iPad when I already have the Macbook Pro.
Now I have purchased a Macbook Air and I don't think I will upgrade to iPad 2 (http://docgadget.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-i-dont-need-ipad-2.html).
I have been using my iPad less and less since the Macbook Air is sufficient for all my needs.