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Old Dec 28, 2012, 11:31 AM   #1
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Need help deciding between MBA and cMBP

Iím sending out my last student loan payment at the end of January, so I thought Iíd treat myself to a new Macbook in early February. I haven't kept up with new mac models for a few years so I'm trying to do my research.

I need something for Web surfing, e-mail, media, and running office productivity software. It would be used as my home and work computer. So lightweight mobility is a plus.

Right now, I use a first generation Core duo MacBook Pro from 2006. It is my main computer. My only complaints about the machine are that the battery life is atrocious, and the heat that is generated by the CPU can get rather uncomfortable.

That said, Iím having difficulty choosing between a MBA or a non-retina display MBP.

Iím definitely leaning towards the MBA but there two things that bother me: the lack of a built in optical drive and no Ethernet port.

The thing is, Iím not necessarily sure how much I would miss these things. Iíve never used a computer without them, but at the same time I donít find myself using the optical drive that often anymore. I havenít burned a CD or DVD in years but I do occasionally watch DVDs while travelling. I also rarely use the Ethernet port.

So would you guys recommend the MacBook Air as a suitable replacement? How has the MBA worked out for you?

Also, how is the battery life and what is the situation with heat generated by the MBA, and MBP respectively?
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 11:58 AM   #2
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Congrats on getting out of debt! Paying those off is a big deal.

I've got a MacBook Air, and I love it.

I've only needed to use a disk with my Air once. I was able to use disk sharing on another computer to do so, which worked well. But having had it for years, it's only been an issue once. The optical drive is dying, and I don't miss it. If you have a lot of DVDs, you may want to rip them first. Of course, no Mac supports bluray. I keep all oh my media digitally, so it doesn't effect me.

I need an Ethernet cable to access most of my work network. I use the $30 Thunderbolt adapter and it works like a charm.

The 13Ē Air has the same resolution as the non-retina 15" Pro. Compared to the 13" Pro, the screen is noticeably crisper. The other big factor is the ssd: it's simply amazing. That said, I'm close to filling my 128 gb drive now and am regretting not getting the 256gb.

Battery life is, I'd say, about the same as the Pro. Which is to say, amazing. I only ever notice heat when abusing the Air with games, and the newer ones are better than mine for that. (I have the mid 2011 Air).

Whichever you get, you're going to love. Both is a huge upgrade from your current system. That said, I highly recommend the Air.
- Ethan
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 11:59 AM   #3
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Battery is fine. For Ethernet, just carry a short cable with the Thunderbolt adapter stuck on the end.

The optical drive situation is what it is. Only you will know how much you need it, and whether the external will be annoying.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 12:09 PM   #4
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Battery is good
I haven't used an Ethernet cable in 6 years
The only time I used the cd rom, is to watch old DVDs (haven't bought a new one in a while) and to install games (but you don't play)

The MBA is amazing. I got mine cheap off eBay, you could do the same to save $ or use the refurb store.

Best of luck buddy!
2007 iMac 24", 240GB SSD, 4GB ---- iPhone 4, 16GB
As a PC tech I promise your Mac will run faster, longer & safer than a PC
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 12:14 PM   #5
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Go for the Air, and try living without DVD/ethernet for a bit. In the worst case, you can pick up an external drive and the thunderbolt/ethernet adaptor.
The rising People, hot and out of breath,
Roared round the palace: "Liberty or death!"
"If death will do," the King said, "let me reign;
You'll have, I'm sure, no reason to complain."
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 02:28 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback guys! Very helpful

I just came back from the Apple Store and I'm definitely liking the 13" MBA. It feels incredibly light and the performance is quite impressive for such a small device. The screen brightness and resolution is a big step up from what I currently have.

I think I'll spring for the 8GB model, but I'm still undecided about the flash storage size. The jump to 256GB is a bit pricey. I figure if I go with 128GB, I could get an external HD for secondary storage if it was needed.

I'll still keep my old MPB as a backup, so I'll still have access to an optical drive.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 02:49 PM   #7
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I've had my 13 inch 8 GB 128 SSD MBA for a little while now

I used ethernet with my old laptop bc it was there but I don't need it. The wifi on the MBA is rather weak though if you are very far away from the router.

Battery life seems good so far, the estimated time shows about 7 hours (starts at 9 usually and then plummets to 7 once I start really using the laptop)

Haven't used optical in years so I didn't care about that.

When I first got it the screen res really threw me off. I came from a 15.4 inch 1366 x 768 res so when I used the MBA for the first time I was slightly put off by the small text. My eyes adjusted within a few days though, but for someone like my dad with poor eyesight I can see how this would frustrate him

This thing is really amazing. I had never owned a Mac before so when I unboxed it and booted it up it was a completely different computer experience.
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