13” MBA or 13” MBP

dawnrazor

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 16, 2008
169
6
Auckland New Zealand
So my wife currently is using my old 2015 15” MBP, absolutely nothing wrong with it, it hums along and is overkill for her needs (email, word, pp, excel, browsing etc, no video editing or similar). The problem is that it’s perfect as a desk top but once it goes mobile it becomes a bit of a boat anchor to drag about... As someone who had one of the Titanium MBPs from back in the day I assured her it wasn’t very heavy in comparison! But anyway she wants something lighter so it just disappears in her bag and she is t too fussed to drop screen size down to 13” from 15”. Also if this becomes an issue we can pick up a monitor at a later stage...

So I’m thinking the new 13” MBA or a similar spec 13” MBP...

Ideally 16G RAM, 256Hard drive

They seem very close in price, obviously the MBP has a better screen tech, but I’m not sure if that will matter as she will be using it for straight business tasks rather then nothing video or photoshopped based...

If you HD a similar choice before you settled on you purchase please tell me what influenced your choice, right now I can see advantages for both, just looking to make the best decision for her...
 

revmacian

macrumors 65816
Oct 20, 2018
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USA
So my wife currently is using my old 2015 15” MBP, absolutely nothing wrong with it, it hums along and is overkill for her needs (email, word, pp, excel, browsing etc, no video editing or similar). The problem is that it’s perfect as a desk top but once it goes mobile it becomes a bit of a boat anchor to drag about... As someone who had one of the Titanium MBPs from back in the day I assured her it wasn’t very heavy in comparison! But anyway she wants something lighter so it just disappears in her bag and she is t too fussed to drop screen size down to 13” from 15”. Also if this becomes an issue we can pick up a monitor at a later stage...

So I’m thinking the new 13” MBA or a similar spec 13” MBP...

Ideally 16G RAM, 256Hard drive

They seem very close in price, obviously the MBP has a better screen tech, but I’m not sure if that will matter as she will be using it for straight business tasks rather then nothing video or photoshopped based...

If you HD a similar choice before you settled on you purchase please tell me what influenced your choice, right now I can see advantages for both, just looking to make the best decision for her...
My advice is to have her go into a store and use both machines and see which one works best for her needs. She is the one who is going to use the machine and it makes a huge difference to use the device before purchase to get a feel for what it can do. A webpage can only provide so much information and testing a device in person can provide extra information that cannot be gleaned from a webpage. Have her open several apps while having several tabs open in Safari. Also, have her hop on YouTube and view comparison videos and then some videos reviewing the devices separately. Nothing is as important as pre-purchase research and she is the only one who can determine which device will work best for her needs.

Additionally, don't overlook Apple's refurbished Mac webpage. I bought a 2017 refurbished MacBook Pro and have never been happier with a computer. It arrived in pristine condition and I still have a difficult time believing it is a refurbished device. My 2017 refurbished MBP was $3.00 cheaper after tax than a new 2018 MBA was before tax. There don't seem to be any 2018 MBA's, but there are plenty of MBP's.
 
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Howard2k

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Mar 10, 2016
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If she's looking for portability, cosmetics, and aesthetics, over specs, then the MBA is the winner. 16GB sounds like overkill, but won't hurt.
[doublepost=1548651398][/doublepost]
There don't seem to be any 2018 MBA's, but there are plenty of MBP's.

Good call on the refurbs too. I wouldn't hesitate, my MBPro is a refurb.
 

ascender

macrumors 68030
Dec 8, 2005
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Unless you need the quad core performance, the Air or 12" MB would seem to be the obvious options here. By the sound of what she does, either will be more than capable. Unless you really want the 16GB, an 8GB machine with the larger SSD will do the trick.
 
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auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
167
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UK
If the need is mobility (i.e. on battery), then the MBA is the better choice. For the use you describe, you won't need 16Gb.

I'd also check that you really need 256Gb; a network drive, portable drive, or cloud might suffice later, if and when needed. I'm using a whopping 23Gb on my MBA; fully loaded with all my apps and files and syn'd iCloud. I have the 8/128 MBA, and it's been fine to date.
 

dawnrazor

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 16, 2008
169
6
Auckland New Zealand
My advice is to have her go into a store and use both machines and see which one works best for her needs. She is the one who is going to use the machine and it makes a huge difference to use the device before purchase to get a feel for what it can do. A webpage can only provide so much information and testing a device in person can provide extra information that cannot be gleaned from a webpage. Have her open several apps while having several tabs open in Safari. Also, have her hop on YouTube and view comparison videos and then some videos reviewing the devices separately. Nothing is as important as pre-purchase research and she is the only one who can determine which device will work best for her needs.

Additionally, don't overlook Apple's refurbished Mac webpage. I bought a 2017 refurbished MacBook Pro and have never been happier with a computer. It arrived in pristine condition and I still have a difficult time believing it is a refurbished device. My 2017 refurbished MBP was $3.00 cheaper after tax than a new 2018 MBA was before tax. There don't seem to be any 2018 MBA's, but there are plenty of MBP's.
Oh I should have mentioned, she has tasked me with finding her a new laptop to replace her current one, she trusts me to make the right decision for her...

Seriously, once I narrow it down, I’ll present the best options, she doesn’t have time or the will to go through the whittling down process, just wants a choice between this or that... and if there isn’t much difference between an Air or a Pro in terms of weight or price then perhaps the Pro is the go...just not completely convinced

I’ll take a look at the refurbished page, I’m not based in the US (shock!) so the refurbished page here can be a bit sparse compared to the US site... but worth a look...
[doublepost=1548712474][/doublepost]M
Unless you need the quad core performance, the Air or 12" MB would seem to be the obvious options here. By the sound of what she does, either will be more than capable. Unless you really want the 16GB, an 8GB machine with the larger SSD will do the trick.
Your right the MacBook is probably a great option but it’s too small... 16GB is more about future proofing the computer more then anything else...
[doublepost=1548712559][/doublepost]
If the need is mobility (i.e. on battery), then the MBA is the better choice. For the use you describe, you won't need 16Gb.

I'd also check that you really need 256Gb; a network drive, portable drive, or cloud might suffice later, if and when needed. I'm using a whopping 23Gb on my MBA; fully loaded with all my apps and files and syn'd iCloud. I have the 8/128 MBA, and it's been fine to date.
This is. Very good point about the battery... that’s a big plus for the Air... and yes maybe she doesn’t need a massive hard drive, again it’s maore bout future proofing then anything else...
 
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revmacian

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Oh I should have mentioned, she has tasked me with finding her a new laptop to replace her current one, she trusts me to make the right decision for her...

Seriously, once I narrow it down, I’ll present the best options, she doesn’t have time or the will to go through the whittling down process, just wants a choice between this or that... and if there isn’t much difference between an Air or a Pro in terms of weight or price then perhaps the Pro is the go...just not completely convinced

I’ll take a look at the refurbished page, I’m not based in the US (shock!) so the refurbished page here can be a bit sparse compared to the US site... but worth a look...
Oh, wow, the whittling down process is the best part of the process for me.. other than the unboxing, of course. I'm guessing your wife isn't a computer geek like myself. I really need to avoid that particular assumption when talking to people.

Ah, forgive me, I had no idea that Apple maintained separate pages for the different countries. Learn something new everyday I suppose.

I really hope she decides on a machine that can be found on Apple's refurb page for your area. I was able to save $300.00 and there is absolutely nothing here to hint that this is a refurb machine.
 
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dawnrazor

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 16, 2008
169
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Auckland New Zealand
Oh, wow, the whittling down process is the best part of the process for me.. other than the unboxing, of course. I'm guessing your wife isn't a computer geek like myself. I really need to avoid that particular assumption when talking to people.

Ah, forgive me, I had no idea that Apple maintained separate pages for the different countries. Learn something new everyday I suppose.

I really hope she decides on a machine that can be found on Apple's refurb page for your area. I was able to save $300.00 and there is absolutely nothing here to hint that this is a refurb machine.
Well turns out there are a number of MBPs of various flavours on the NZ refurbished page, so thank you for reminding me about that as I always forget about it... I’ve no issue with getting one from there either, just need to establish the saving now, oh and they all seem to be 8gb ram with no option to upgrade, but that’s really a future proof thing... I’m going to need to make a chart here I think, there are a lot of options... cheers.
 
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revmacian

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Well turns out there are a number of MBPs of various flavours on the NZ refurbished page, so thank you for reminding me about that as I always forget about it... I’ve no issue with getting one from there either, just need to establish the saving now, oh and they all seem to be 8gb ram with no option to upgrade, but that’s really a future proof thing... I’m going to need to make a chart here I think, there are a lot of options... cheers.
Yeah, the refurbs are on a "take it as it is" type of thing, so no upgrading.

I don't feel that 16GB RAM is a big issue yet. I mean, unless your wife is running several pro-level apps and VM's all at the same time, then 8GB RAM should be fine. I moved to my refurb 2017 MBP (8GB RAM) from a 2014 Mac mini earlier this month. My Mac mini only had 4GB RAM and I really didn't see any issues at all with just web browsing, some videos and lots of office work. My MBP has 8GB RAM and I have zero swap use and very little compressed memory use.

I think that you'll likely need a new machine, due to aging hardware, long before 16GB RAM becomes a necessity on a notebook.
 
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dawnrazor

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 16, 2008
169
6
Auckland New Zealand
I think that you'll likely need a new machine, due to aging hardware, long before 16GB RAM becomes a necessity on a notebook.
Yeah that’s got me really thinking about this side of things, I’m probably over thinking the RAM or imposing my own needs when it comes to macs on to this purchase.... that changes a lot...

In that case it’ll come down to weight and price as much as anything... I think 256 hard drive will be fine, I don’t want to go smaller, she sometimes has a lot of audio files from interviews that she keeps on the computer so a decent bit of storage will be a good idea...

Wow I really need to stop a spread sheet together, I thought this would be easier...
 
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Fthree

macrumors 6502a
Mar 14, 2014
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So my wife currently is using my old 2015 15” MBP, absolutely nothing wrong with it, it hums along and is overkill for her needs (email, word, pp, excel, browsing etc, no video editing or similar). The problem is that it’s perfect as a desk top but once it goes mobile it becomes a bit of a boat anchor to drag about... As someone who had one of the Titanium MBPs from back in the day I assured her it wasn’t very heavy in comparison! But anyway she wants something lighter so it just disappears in her bag and she is t too fussed to drop screen size down to 13” from 15”. Also if this becomes an issue we can pick up a monitor at a later stage...

So I’m thinking the new 13” MBA or a similar spec 13” MBP...

Ideally 16G RAM, 256Hard drive

They seem very close in price, obviously the MBP has a better screen tech, but I’m not sure if that will matter as she will be using it for straight business tasks rather then nothing video or photoshopped based...

If you HD a similar choice before you settled on you purchase please tell me what influenced your choice, right now I can see advantages for both, just looking to make the best decision for her...
I too have the 15 2015 and it is definitely a beast but for sure a classic! No issues here with mine., However— I purchased a 2018 12.9 iPad Pro and am seriously in love with it.
 

revmacian

macrumors 65816
Oct 20, 2018
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USA
Yeah that’s got me really thinking about this side of things, I’m probably over thinking the RAM or imposing my own needs when it comes to macs on to this purchase.... that changes a lot...

In that case it’ll come down to weight and price as much as anything... I think 256 hard drive will be fine, I don’t want to go smaller, she sometimes has a lot of audio files from interviews that she keeps on the computer so a decent bit of storage will be a good idea...

Wow I really need to stop a spread sheet together, I thought this would be easier...
Yeah, sounds like 256GB storage should be your lower limit. I have 8GB RAM/256GB storage on my MBP and I think it's the best thing I've ever used.

Also of note is the screen. The 2018 MBA has a retina screen, as do the MBP's for a while, and the retina screen is a sheer joy to look at as opposed to the previous MacBook Air models. The screen was the one thing that kept me from considering the pre-2018 MBA machines.

Keep in mind when comparing specs, that the 2018 MBA has the T2 chip and this chip takes a lot of work off the CPU, so the machine is going to seem more powerful than the specs would suggest. The 2017 MBP with two TB ports lacks this chip while the Touch Bar models have it. Just saying that the specs alone may be a bit deceiving on some models.
 
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