13" MBP or MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jmxp69, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. jmxp69 macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2008
    Ok guys, I sold my netbook today and I'm going to replace it with a 13" MBP or a MBA. I have a 17" UMBP that I use as my primary machine. The reason I want a small Macbook is to carry around and to take to class. The small MB will be used almost entirely for browsing the web, and editing word docs. I may put some music on it, but my 17" is the workhorse and it'll hold all of my media. The 17" is awesome at home, but I don't like carrying it around. It's too heavy, and I really don't want to ding it or leave it in a classroom unattended during breaks.

    I won't be playing any games, editing pictures, or anything else requiring real horsepower. In fact, the Atom based netbook was perfect for my uses except for that fact it was XP and not OSX and I really just can't stand Windows anymore. I want it out of my life.

    My wife has the 13" UBMB in my sig, so I'm very familiar with that chassis.

    What do ya'll recommend?
  2. dennis123123 macrumors member

    Aug 30, 2009
    Anything but the macbook air tbh! It is at best a very expensive novelty.

    The 13" MBP is a fraction of the price but will completely outperform it in every way except the slight increase in thickness and weight. It is only the thickness that is slightly reduced, the other dimensions are the same.

    Of course if you are already carrying lots around and really need minimum weight as the top priority it may suit you well.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Why would you want to spend more $$ on a slower computer w/o an optical drive. With the MBP, you get more ports, more CPU, larger HDs and an optical port.

    While the thinness of the MBA is fascinating, that doesn't mean I'm willing to spend extra $$ for it and get a slower computer to boot.
  4. jmxp69 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2008
    I can get a MBA for $1099 or a 13" MBP for $999 (refurb). So I think fraction of the price is a little over-exaggerated.

    I don't care about the optical drive. I have the 17" optical drive if I need to install anything from disc, and if that were the case, I'd likely just create a dmg and install from flash. I tend to dmg all of my discs and store on a fileserver anyway.

    The primary use of the smaller machine will be traveling and editing word docs. Like I said in my previous post, the Atom based netbook I had was just fine in terms of speed.

    Now that I think about it, my netbook has an advertised 7 hour battery (more like 5), but long battery life matters too.
  5. electroshock macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    For the OP's type of use, the MBA would be a great fit, generally speaking. Doesn't need a lot of oomph to handle web surfing and word processing tasks, nor all sorts of connectors. Has a USB port so easy enough to plug in a USB flash drive, external HD (USB bus-powered), USB CDROM drive, whatever that's needed.

    I don't recall how long the MBA battery runtime is these days but wasn't it 5 hours? If that's doable for the OP, then no reason why the MBA wouldn't be a good fit.

    If the battery life is a sticking point, then the 7 hour 13" MBP may be a better fit, albeit with extra weight.
  6. reptiledude4 macrumors member


    Apr 1, 2009
    Get the 1.86 ssd MBA. It's $1349 refurb on Apple.
  7. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    I would highly recommend the MacBook Air for your purposes. The MacBook Pro weighs 50% more than the MacBook Air, that's a huge difference and you can definitely feel it. I have access to both the 13" MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, when I'm using the computer on the road I go for the MacBook Air every time.

    This is because it is just so light that it feels like you can take it anywhere. I take my MacBook Air with me to every class and sometimes I even have to check to make sure that it is still in my backpack. Just get one of those slip cases and you'll be fine, I've yet to get any scratches or dings and I stick the Air in the same pocket as my books.

    The slowness of the MacBook Air is exaggerated, you probably wouldn't even notice a difference for basic tasks like you'll be doing.
  8. vant macrumors 65816

    Jul 1, 2009
    The MBA has an annoying non-glass trackpad, lower battery life, slower (noticeable despite comments), and a silver bezel. It's also more expensive.

    TBH, I think the MBA is going to be changed dramatically next refresh. Either discontinued or some tablet replacement.
  9. jfyrfytr25 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2008
    I have used a macbook air it is a great machine. same with the 13" MBP.

    I think either would do a fine job, but if your main thing is to take with you everywhere, i would buy the air. the reason is because even though the MBP 13" is only 1.5lbs heavier, it is a noticeable difference. you are more likely to say "ah, I dont really feel like carry the computer today" with the MBP.

    the MBA is so light that you just dont mind bringing it anywhere.
    it is more than powerful enough to do any of the things you are looking to do.

    just one suggestion, IF you go with the air BUY THE SSD model.

    the difference between the HDD and the SSD is HUGE!!!!

    the SSD will bring the machine from a sluggish notebook that is ok to use to a very peppy machine that, in terms of speed, feels more like a MBP. plus the SSD makes the MBA a blast to use.
  10. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Feb 9, 2005
    The good side of the grass.
    I like the MBA trackpad and think the silver bezel in a not so glassy display works just fine. Some prefer the MBA display/silver much more than the mirrored black of the MBP.
  11. jfyrfytr25 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2008

    so every trackpad created prior to the "glass-pad" is annoying to point of unusable? i dont know how we managed to live before Apple made that trackpad.

    have you ever owned or even played with (for an extended period, not just in the store) a MBA? If you have, I dont think you would be saying it is much slower. in fact a 2.13MHz with the SSD drive can boot, shutdown, open programs, and load web pages quicker than a standard MBP.

    and just because it has an imminent refresh does not mean that the current form factor can not meet his needs NOW.
  12. reallynotnick macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2005
    It makes more sense to have a MBA when you already have a powerful workhorse.
    I decided to go with the MBP because it was my only computer and I needed/wanted the extra power and storage of the 13in MBP. Otherwise I love the form factor of the MBA and would be even more likely to carry my computer around if it was as light as the Air.
  13. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I really think this is a great way of looking at it. The only downside I see is the battery. I get "more powerful", "more ports", "more etc", but the Air is really a fantastic computer.
  14. nateharr macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2009
    I'd also seriously recommend the Macbook Air.

    You already have a powerful machine, you need something similar to a netbook with OSX and that'd be the MBA. It'll be nice and light for all your classwork needs.
  15. vant macrumors 65816

    Jul 1, 2009
    Did I say the trackpad was unusable? I simply said it was annoying. Once you are used to the glass trackpads, going back to the old trackpads is bothersome.

    The OP is not considering a 2.13GHz. His price range seems to be around the $1k area. He would have to spend at least $1350 on a refurb 1.86GHz w/ SSD before he gets a decent MBA.

    Most people do have some sort buyer's remorse. Whether it's a car, laptop, phone, etc. Not too many people like using their new machine for a couple of months only to find out it has been replaced.

    And fyi, I had an MBA rev A w/ SSD before I sold it on CL after getting my MBP13.
  16. PCMacUser macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    Either machine would be fine. Although the MBA definitely says "STEAL ME" more than the MBP... and easily fits up a t-shirt without being noticed.
  17. g3funk macrumors member


    Oct 2, 2008
    I was in your same spot. I had a 17inch unibody but was thinking of something much more portable. I ended up doing the 13inch MBP instead of the air due I wanted to upgrade to an Intel based SSD and eventually I will dump 8 gigs of ram into it. I believe I can keep it going as a quick and portable machine for much longer then the Air and that alone was the selling point for myself. Just my 02 from your same situation.
  18. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Feb 9, 2005
    The good side of the grass.
    "A's" don't count. Invalid input,.:p
  19. jedivulcan macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    I have a 13" uMBP to compliment my slightly older 15" SR MBP. I went with the 13" MBP because it reminded me oh the 12" Pb I used to have. You lose functionality and expandability with the Macbook Air.
  20. jfyrfytr25 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2008
    I never knew so many people based their purchase decisions on the likely hood of the product being stolen until i came here. you are not the first person i have heard this from. this baffles me.

    I have never once wanted to buy something and then say,"you know, i am not going to buy that because people are going to want to steal it."

    Must be awful to always think that way. i know the world is bad but you have to live in it with some disregard for the bad stuff or it will consume your mind. you will always be waiting for the next bad thing to happen rather than enjoying the good that is the present.

    I just buy what i want and if i am real worried about it walking off, I add it to my homeowners and enjoy my machine.
  21. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    the 13" mbp will last you longer and it's only 4.5 lbs..that's pretty light
  22. PCMacUser macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    It was just a passing comment, not a life philosophy! :eek:

    But having said that, I'm not about to leave luxury items lying around unlocked and unattended. That's just foolish, isn't it?
  23. Swiss Apple macrumors member

    Swiss Apple

    Jul 25, 2009
    This must be the twentieth thread on MBA v MBP. When I had a similar question back in July, I think I used the search function.

    BTW: I chose the MBP
  24. VideoShooter macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2004
    1. Sell the MBP 17.
    2. Buy the high end MBP 13 refurb.
    3. Buy a optibay from MCE and ditch your optical drive, take your boot HD and throw it in the optibay.
    4. Buy a 256GB SSD, make it your boot drive.
    5. Buy a 30 inch dell monitor.

    Result: 13 inch MPB that's faster than your 17 (due to the SSD). Is super portable and when you need a "workhorse" at home - you've got 30 inches to work with.

    Plus, I bet you saved a few bucks.

    Oh and the reason I mention this is because I'm about three weeks away from doing it myself.
  25. Jobsian macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    If you're really insisting on having two laptops, then make this one a Macbook Air.

    Either 1.86 or 2.13 GHz with an SSD. Trust me dude.

    Satisfaction rates of MBA owners is almost always through the roof. !.5lbs is not heavy, but at times when it matters, on a bike, trying to lift it outstretched first thing in the morning, carrying it in a bag, that difference in weight between the MBA and the 13" MBP assumes the weight of Andromeda.

    Plus you'll look like the Emperor of Electronics. It looks good, and if anyone tries to convince you that that doesn't matter, tell them to pull the other one.

    The MBP will edit videos better, play games better and push higher numbers on benchmarks, but the MBA will make you happier.

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