2017 MBP (w/o touch bar) or 2017 MBA?

Fas91

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 9, 2017
6
0
Hey everyone im a total Mac noob who is about to buy his first Macbook. I need it mainly for web development, not interested in gaming or video editing... I have always been a windows user but for development I have seen that Macs are much better.

So after doing some research and looking at my budget (still a student), i have two options:
2017 MBA for $1000 or 2017 MBP (w/o touch bar) for $1800.

I tried to find the 2015 MBP but Apple dont sell that anymore and its sold out in all retail stores (dont trust ebay). So do you guys think the MBP is worth an extra $800 for front-end-development or would the MBA be good enough for a couple of years until I can get a more powerful MBP?
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,396
6,965
The Retina display makes the MacBook Pro worth it, especially as it becomes more and more important to optimize websites for the high pixel density displays found on both mobile and desktop devices. Also better for avoiding eye strain.
[doublepost=1499641968][/doublepost]The MacBook Air's display is pretty badly outdated compared to the rest of the lineup at this point, as it is now 7-year-old technology. Cheaper to produce, but the quality noticeably suffers.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,841
2,397
SF Bay Area
I would go with the MBP because of the display as others have said. But since you are on a budget also look at the options you are ordering.

I assume to get to $1800 you are ordering the machine with 16 GB and 512 GB SSD. You really do not need that much memory for web development unless you are also running a lot of VMs or containers.

And don't forget the refurbished 2016 models are out there now, and the 2017 refurbished units will likely be available by fall. They are as good as new but usually at a 18% or more discount.
 

Patcell

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2016
427
176
Bergen County, NJ
Just to echo the previous posters... my vote goes MacBook Pro all the way.

The Air is really, terribly outdated at this point. I have a 2017 Pro and I was looking at my mom's MacBook Air and got genuinely frightened by how awful the TN panel is...

If you plan to keep the machine for any length of time, the Pro is very much worth the extra cost.

Happy shopping!
 

Fas91

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 9, 2017
6
0
I would go with the MBP because of the display as others have said. But since you are on a budget also look at the options you are ordering.

I assume to get to $1800 you are ordering the machine with 16 GB and 512 GB SSD. You really do not need that much memory for web development unless you are also running a lot of VMs or containers.

And don't forget the refurbished 2016 models are out there now, and the 2017 refurbished units will likely be available by fall. They are as good as new but usually at a 18% or more discount.
In Canada the base 2017 model is $1800 (8GB 128GB)...that's why im not sure if its worth it just for the screen. Is the display a big deal if i plan to use an external display about 80% of the time?
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,150
Many retailers still have the 2015 - IIRC Best Buy is one of them if they ship to your area. If value is the most important factor, I consider the MacBook Air impossible to beat provided you can find it on sale. If your only option is paying full price for the 2017 (AKA 2015 revision 2) MacBook Air, IMO you should go for the MacBook Pro. It has several major advancements that I am sure you are already aware of, with USB 3.1 gen 2 type-C arguably being the most significant (even more than the screen IMO, as I think the retina is nice but not mandatory for productivity.)

What hard drive size do you need?
 

Patcell

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2016
427
176
Bergen County, NJ
In Canada the base 2017 model is $1800 (8GB 128GB)...that's why im not sure if its worth it just for the screen. Is the display a big deal if i plan to use an external display about 80% of the time?
The price difference is a tough pill to swallow in that case... however, I still think the Pro is a better value. The Air is still running Intel Broadwell chips, which have been eclipsed by Skylake/ Kaby Lake. Not to mention the display.

I hate the term "future-proofing" but I do think the Pro will serve you much better for much longer. Even if your current needs would be met by the processing capabilities of the Air.
 

Sterkenburg

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2016
386
329
Pretty easy decision, imho. Even though you could technically satisfy all your needs with an Air, the MBP is easily worth the extra cost for the screen and USB 3.1 alone. I'd avoid the tiny 128GB drive at all costs though.

Look at refurbished units if you're on a tight budget. 2016 MBPs are available now and for your usage the difference with the 2017 models will be minimal.
 

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
1,914
1,491
Shanghai
Front end development, always get a 15". No way you need the extra power but you need the screen resolution.

You need retina, you need to make sure any graphics you're creating/images you're compressing look suitable @2x. The higher resolution makes it a lot easier to check for responsiveness, and not relying on browser extensions to mimic higher resolution screens. I love the 15" because it's one of the best (Most common) displays people are going to be using, so I make sure stuff looks good on it, then it's much easier to work backwards than it is to work forwards.

Mac wise for front-end development I wouldn't say it's better or worse than Windows, it's just a preference. Macs tend to do a lot more native rendering which Windows doesn't. So things like Fonts can look different on Windows and need to be adjusted in CSS. I develop in Chrome as it's the most common browser (Safari is mostly the same). There's not really any Mac specific Apps that can help, although on Windows they tend to have more options and often for free/lower price.

So yeah, wouldn't touch the MBA at all (It's 2015 model really), the screen is awful and you will require a decent monitor plugged in which negates the purpose of a laptop. The 15" is great, get whichever one you can as any is going to be sufficient although for school I would opt for the 2016+ design for the lightness and portability.
 

Saturn1217

macrumors 6502a
Apr 28, 2008
972
232
I'm doing web development with a Macbook Air. Performance and screen are fine. But you should get the Macbook Pro because the Macbook Air does not natively support more than one external monitor. I have a hacked solution to get 2 external monitors working with my 2013 13" MBA but it is kind of a fragile set up (updating to Sierra, which I still haven't done yet, might break it).

I personally find having as much screen space as possible very helpful for web dev. 2 monitors + the built in laptop screen is kind of my minimum. I am very much looking forward to getting a MBP simply for the native dual monitor support. Even if you aren't planning on using dual monitors now, it is nice to have that flexibility for the future.
 

Fas91

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 9, 2017
6
0
ok thanks everyone for the suggestions, so the most I can do with my budget right now is the base model 128 GB drive for the 2017 MBP...I wont be downloading any movies or games on it so it might not be that bad.
 

gngan

macrumors 68000
Jan 1, 2009
1,824
70
MacWorld
ok thanks everyone for the suggestions, so the most I can do with my budget right now is the base model 128 GB drive for the 2017 MBP...I wont be downloading any movies or games on it so it might not be that bad.
I had a 128gb with 1 TB in the DVD drive. Trust me... 128gb is not enough. I've upgrade from 128gb to 512gb now. Get a refurb 2016 MBP with 256gb or 512gb.
 

Fas91

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 9, 2017
6
0
I had a 128gb with 1 TB in the DVD drive. Trust me... 128gb is not enough. I've upgrade from 128gb to 512gb now. Get a refurb 2016 MBP with 256gb or 512gb.
Do u think extra space is more important than the 7th gen processor?
 

Sterkenburg

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2016
386
329
Do u think extra space is more important than the 7th gen processor?
Absolutely. Unless 4K 10-bit HEVC video hardware decoding is a concern, which is most certainly not the case according to your initial post. Do yourself a favor and get at least 256GB, you won't regret it!
 

Fas91

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 9, 2017
6
0
Is cloud storage, NAS, or an external wired hard drive a practical solution for you?
I dont mind using an external drive or cloud storage. Price is the same, would u take the 256GB 2016 model or 128GB 2017.
 
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ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,150
I dont mind using an external drive or cloud storage. Price is the same, would u take the 256GB 2016 model or 128GB 2017.
In that case, I would personally opt for the 2017 and a portable 500 GB external solid state drive, or wait for a few months to save a few more bucks to buy until a 2017 with a 256 SSD.
 

gngan

macrumors 68000
Jan 1, 2009
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MacWorld
Do you have large iTunes? iTunes library doesn't play nice with secondary hard drive. Not even my 1tb in DVD drive. I had to move everything back to the main drive. Other than that 128gb is stretching only with apps (biggest is photoshop and lightroom). Their library is already in the 1tb drive. You will also need to disable the time machine snapshot because your 128gb storage will be gone in no time.
 

maerz001

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2010
1,315
972
I dont mind using an external drive or cloud storage. Price is the same, would u take the 256GB 2016 model or 128GB 2017.
Refurbished 2016 model in that case. The speed bump to the 2017model is minimal