13" Pro vs. 13" Air, 2011 models?

xTRIGGER092x

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 21, 2011
205
0
So, I'm looking to buy a new laptop and I think I'm gonna get a refurb, seeing as I've heard nothing but good things about the quality of them. But I'm torn between two models:

Macbook Pro 13", Early 2011 - http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC700LL/A#overview

Macbook Air 13", Mid-2011 - http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC965LL/A

I'm not much of a power user; I've usually got lots of tabs open for internet browsing, and some Photoshop/iMovie editing once in a while, and a little bit of Counter-Strike: Source on the side, but that's nothing too strenuous. So, I'm pretty confident that these two models will fit my needs just fine. But which one is the better buy? I can get this older Pro model for $929 and get a larger HDD (though I don't use much storage, my iMac only has about 85GB used), optical drive, and the ability to upgrade for long-term use, but with a lower resolution and added bulk. On the other hand, there's the Air. It's light, extremely fast with the SSD (though would the speed be much different compared to the Pro?), and has a higher res. than the Pro, but less storage, no optical drive, and it's $170 more. So, which one would you recommend as the best machine?
 

saberahul

macrumors 68040
Nov 6, 2008
3,616
88
USA
So, I'm looking to buy a new laptop and I think I'm gonna get a refurb, seeing as I've heard nothing but good things about the quality of them. But I'm torn between two models:

Macbook Pro 13", Early 2011 - http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC700LL/A#overview

Macbook Air 13", Mid-2011 - http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC965LL/A

I'm not much of a power user; I've usually got lots of tabs open for internet browsing, and some Photoshop/iMovie editing once in a while, and a little bit of Counter-Strike: Source on the side, but that's nothing too strenuous. So, I'm pretty confident that these two models will fit my needs just fine. But which one is the better buy? I can get this older Pro model for $929 and get a larger HDD (though I don't use much storage, my iMac only has about 85GB used), optical drive, and the ability to upgrade for long-term use, but with a lower resolution and added bulk. On the other hand, there's the Air. It's light, extremely fast with the SSD (though would the speed be much different compared to the Pro?), and has a higher res. than the Pro, but less storage, no optical drive, and it's $170 more. So, which one would you recommend as the best machine?
Do you travel a lot? If so, get the Air. I would have purchased the Air as I carry my laptop to a lot of places; however, I decided to purchase the Pro as my usage is processor demanding and many of the applications I run would not work very well on the Air (such as Maya).
 

dickdaney

macrumors regular
Dec 10, 2009
153
1
If you don't need the hard drive space, get the air. If you need the hard drive space, get the pro

My iTunes library was 67GB when I bought my pro. I couldn't see shelling out $1600 for an Air with the 256GB SSD.
 

Aviboy97

macrumors regular
Feb 3, 2011
156
0
Pennsylvania
Boy, that's a tough one....

I have a MBP 2011 13", same one you are looking to buy refurbished. I also was also torn between a MBA and a MBP. I chose the MBP because of the storage space and optical drive. At the time, I thought I really needed the optical drive, and to be honest, I only used it once. I purchased my MBP new in June.

I bring my MBP to work a lot, and it is rather easy to carry. Its pretty light and I don't regret my decision.
 

thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
just saw a high-res antiglare 15'' early 2011 model for $1489 in the refurb store. That's an awesome deal ;)


As for the above, go with the Air. Higher screen res, and SSD wins over everything else... unless you need storage, then go with the Pro. The SSD will mitigate the need for more ram in the near future.
 

joshuaginter

macrumors regular
May 19, 2011
152
0
Canada
I had the choice between the 13" Air and the 13" Pro very recently. I decided to go with the 13" Pro. Yes, the screen of the Air is superb compared to the Pro. But what I couldn't get over when deciding was the fact that the inside of the Pro is upgradeable.

I am a student, therefore I felt I wanted to get something that I could upgrade in the future rather than shelling out enough to buy an entirely new machine. With the Pro, you can upgrade RAM, swap a SSD into the HDD bay and throw the HDD into the optical drive bay, all while having a faster processor.

As some of the above posters mentioned, it depends on if you travel a lot and need a light and ultraportable computer. The added two pounds isn't THAT large of a difference and the footprint of the machines are the same. If you go refurbished 13" Pro, you can take the money you save over the Air and use it to put the SSD into the Pro. Same (if not faster) speed with SSD, more storage, same battery life, faster processor, same RAM, but poorer screen.

Overall, this is why I decided to go with the 13" Pro.

Cheers and good luck with your decision.
 

akhbhaat

macrumors regular
Sep 30, 2010
127
0
One thing that often goes unmentioned in threads like this is that the 13" MBP actually has significantly better battery life (up to an hour or maybe more) than either MBA during normal real world usage. The reason for this is simple: it has 21.3% more battery capacity but only marginally greater power requirements.

Apple naturally claims 7 hours for both, but third party benchmarks (like this one: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4528/the-2011-macbook-air-11-13inch-review/13) show otherwise.
 

Naimfan

Suspended
Jan 15, 2003
4,669
1,997
Get the Pro.

Faster, longer battery life, higher quality screen, expandable, less expensive.

You can't upgrade RAM in the Air, and Lion runs noticeably better/faster with 8 GB than with 4.
 

KohPhiPhi

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2011
763
194
If you're not a power user, I believe MBA 13" is superior to MBP 13": it has a higher screen resolution, SSD vs HDD, much lighter, runs cooler too, etc.
 

BreakGuy

macrumors 6502a
Nov 23, 2009
818
0
NZ, South Pacific
Get the Pro.

Faster, longer battery life, higher quality screen, expandable, less expensive.

You can't upgrade RAM in the Air, and Lion runs noticeably better/faster with 8 GB than with 4.
In regards to the screen, the 13" Air has a higher resolution than the 13" Pro.
 

Naimfan

Suspended
Jan 15, 2003
4,669
1,997
In regards to the screen, the 13" Air has a higher resolution than the 13" Pro.
The Air uses an inferior panel to the Pro, the Pro has substantially better color accuracy than the Air, making the Pro easier to look at and use for extended periods.

Look at them side by side; the Air looks gray and washed out in comparison.
 

BreakGuy

macrumors 6502a
Nov 23, 2009
818
0
NZ, South Pacific
The Air uses an inferior panel to the Pro, the Pro has substantially better color accuracy than the Air, making the Pro easier to look at and use for extended periods.

Look at them side by side; the Air looks gray and washed out in comparison.
I wasn't disputing the fact that the Pro has a better screen than the Air. I was simply stating that the Air has a higher resolution which the OP may want to take into consideration. :)