2011 Air vs Late 2011 Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ugahairydawgs, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68030


    Jun 10, 2010
    Posted this over on the MBA board, but wanted to get the input of those over on this side too...


    Trying to decide between the 2011 13" 1.7 i5/128GB Air and the late 2011 13" 2.4 i5 500GB Pro.

    Did some searches online and haven't really been able to find much in the way of direct comparisons between the two (only the 2011 Air vs the early 2011 Pro). Not looking for anyone to make the decision for me, just trying to make sure I have everything covered.

    Came up with a pros list for each and it currently looks like this:

    Air Positives
    • Higher resolution
    • Flash storage
    • Lighter

    Pro Positives
    • Faster clock on the CPU
    • Upgradable RAM
    • More internal storage

    Am I missing anything obvious there? I know the optical drive isn't listed for the Pro, but I'm not entirely sure I really care about that. Are the processors on the two apples to apples, with clock speed being the only difference? I want this laptop to last me several years and I worry about the Air's processor and the fact that you can't upgrade the RAM in terms of its ability to keep up with OS updates and the increasing size of apps.
  2. JasonR macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2008
    The most important thing to know is what you will be using it for.

    On a separate note, it's a shame that they haven't upgraded the 13" Pro's screen yet (or the 15" standard screen, for that matter).
  3. Risasi macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2011
    Personally, in my mind it's no contest. I would rather have the 13" MBP, slap a small SSD (I have 120GB) in, move the HDD to the optibay. You have minimum $100 to work with. I find many who choose the MBA never buy the base model.
    The only advantage the MBA has in that contest is weight and a higher res screen.

    Now 11" MBA + 22" monitor vs. 13" MBP is a harder decision for me...
  4. ugahairydawgs thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 10, 2010
    Agreed. The fact that the MBP has been refreshed twice since the MBA got the higher res screen and it is still getting fewer dots makes zero sense.
  5. edk99 macrumors 6502a

    May 27, 2009
    Pro Positives
    • Longer battery life
    • Super Drive

    Maybe wait a month or two to see what the new Air and Pro look like and decide then.
  6. mikethebigo macrumors 68000

    May 25, 2009
    The Air's screen may have a higher resolution but its color gamut and quality are quite sub-par compared to the MBP. The Air's screen was almost giving me headaches with long term use while the Pro's screen is very nice to use. Just another thing to consider.
  7. jevel, Apr 4, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012

    jevel macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2003
    CPUs are not apples to apples. The MBA CPU is the low voltage version, the MBP CPU is the "normal" mobile CPU.


    Apple does not list CPU models, but I guess the closest models are 2640M for the MBP and 2637M for the MBA.

    If you look the up here, you'll see that the MBP CPU is roughly 25 % faster than the MBA version:

    Intel Core i7-2637M @ 1.70GHz 3286
    Intel Core i7-2640M @ 2.80GHz 4064

    The exact CPUs you are looking at are probably the 2557M vs. the 2430M.

    Intel Core i5-2557M @ 1.70GHz 2625
    Intel Core i5-2430M @ 2.40GHz 3461

    The differences here are roughly 30 %.

    I agree with JasonR here. You need to identify your needs for us to give you any useable advice.

  8. ugahairydawgs thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 10, 2010
    Are they using a different screen technology in the Air vs Pro?

    Thanks for the data. I'm a pretty light user on my personal computer. Mostly just browsing, iTunes, iPhoto, light document and spreadsheet work. I'll break out Handbrake every now and again (usually when I get a new DVD) to do some encoding. Up until now I've been using my 2010 Mac Mini with the 2.4 C2D. Takes a while, but nothing too terrible.
  9. JasonR macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2008
    I would say you would be fine with the Air if you had an external superdrive. Something else to consider that the pro has.

    My honest opinion is that I think the MBA 13" is largely a better PC for MOST TASKS than the 13" MBP. However, I believe the MBP 15" is a huge jump up from the air.

    For your tasks either would work well. I would get the Air, but I don't do a lot of DVD ripping. :D

    Edit: Also consider Hard Drive space. Love SSDs...but if you need a lot of storage a standard HDD is your best bet.
  10. ugahairydawgs thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 10, 2010
    That's kind of how I'm leaning too. I have the 2010 mini that I use as a media server that I can share the superdrive if need be. Only software I really load from a physical disc anymore though is Turbo Tax. As far as storage goes, I have a Drobo hooked up to my media server to house my media collection, so the internal space on the MBA isn't as big a concern as it could be.

    Thanks for the input.
  11. shardey macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2010
    The macbook Air doesn't have upgradeable ram, it also wouldn't allow you to run dual hard drives, if needed.

    Keep in mind that clock speed is almost irrelevant in today's standard as the newer the architecture and smaller the fabrication process, the faster and more efficient the CPU is clock per clock.
  12. anupash macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2012
    Aachen, Germany
    Macbook Pro 13" has a glossy screen which for me is pretty terrible compared to the anti-glare screen of Macbook Air.
  13. leo.andres.21 macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2008
    Centre of the Attention
    Actually the air also has a glossy screen, it's just a little bit less reflective than the pro. It uses the silver bezels also to reduce weight compare to a glass screen
  14. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2008
    The MBA has a more aggressive turbo than the MBP. At max turbo clocks they are fairly similar and I know that in real world usage it is hard to pick the MBP out as being faster at CPU intensive tasks without some kind of benchmarking.

    The MBA does have an SSD as standard but the MBP can be upgraded to one anyway. SSDs are a expensive so the MBA has the initial advantage but I think the standard 2.5" drive bay on the MBP is worth something.
  15. iKIKO macrumors regular


    Jul 30, 2011
    i used an air 11 for a couple months, and gave it to my father, i just bought a 15 pro and MAN! the machine is a beast!! i cant go back to the air now, i upgraded the pro to 8g ram. im absolutely happier with the pro than air. it handles anything i throw at it :D
  16. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    The MBA 11" display gave me a headache in fifteen minutes and eyestrain that lasted for 8+ hours after I used it for 1.5 hours. Fail.
  17. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    I prefer 16x10 screens. 1280x800 isn't so bad, as it is 16x10. For the 13" air i think that is 16x10 also, but the 11" isn't...

    I'd go for the pro. You have so many more upgrade options - either SSD or spinning disk. Up to 16gb or more of RAM. Faster CPU. 1440x900 is still "crap" by my standards anyway (well, not really a lot better than 1280x800), so i'd be using either one with an external display unless on the road anyway.

    I'd personally only buy an air if i had an iMac (or Pro) at home as well.
  18. iLukeJoseph macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2011
    I would go for the Air any day over the 13" pro. I bought my wife a 13" Air and it is freaking an amazing machine.

    I own a late 2011 15" MBP, and would never get an Air over that. But I did have a 13" Pro for a week (doing a repair for a friend). And it is just dated.
  19. Old Smuggler macrumors 6502a

    Old Smuggler

    Sep 8, 2006
    I would get the MBA and save some of your money for some accessories or gasoline the 11 is a very capable machine and is easy to travel with
  20. jacob-07 macrumors regular

    May 14, 2011
    If I can do it again, I would get an air over my mbp
  21. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    I added the excellent Power Support anti-glare film to my 13" MBP. When I compared it to my 15" MBP with a matte display I could not see a difference. For only $35 it was well worth the expense. There are less expensive anti-glare film out there but many introduce color shifts and artifacts; the Power Support film doesn't have those problems.

    Aside from the display problem I wouldn't spend that much money on a Mac that has a RAM limit of 4GB. I really like the lower weight and I was ready to buy an 11" MBA for its portability. But a 13" MBP isn't much heavier and its pluses outweigh the MBA advantages.
  22. JasonR macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2008
    I still say go for the Pro....but in regards to the MBA screen...

    I like it and don't see a need for an anti-glare thingy-ma-jig. I HATE the Glossy displays on the Macbook Pro's with a passion. I have a MBP 15" with the hi-res anti-glare display and love it. So for me to like the Macbook Air's screen says a lot.

    Glossy displays can have their place...such as an office environment where they aren't moved around much. I have a 27" ACD and love it, and I also liked my 27" iMac. But they were always in a room where I controlled the lighting and glare. With a notebook you don't always have that option. :D
  23. ugahairydawgs thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 10, 2010
  24. Medic278 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2012
    New York
    I think I responded to your other thread too. I would take my MBP over my MBA any day of the week. The MBP in opinion is just a better machine. I have the late 2011 13" MBP with the i7 processor and 750GB HDD and 8GB of RAM and I love it. My MBA is the 11" has a 128GB SSD and 4 GB. The reason why I love my MBP is because it in my opinion just as quick as my MBA has an optical and the components are user upgradeable. The biggest draw back with the MBA is that the RAM is soldered right to the board so it cannot be upgraded and Apple charges an insane amount to upgrade RAM. Further 128GB just isn't enough space and I am forever transferring files off my MBA to my MBP or iMac to keep space free. While the MBA is a fine machine the MBP will do everything the MBA can and more which in my opinion makes the MBP the winner. I don't rally think that the MBP is too heavy to carry and is only a little heavier than a MBA. With my MBA I need an external optical drive and external HDD to really get the most out of it, hence why I would take my MBP any day of the week. Get a MBP you'll be much happier. If I could do it all over again I wouldn't have bought the MBA.
  25. jacob-07 macrumors regular

    May 14, 2011
    Mainly because of the portability, I often carry my mbp with me to school and it feels like I'm carrying an extra textbook.

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