2018 MacBook Air or 2015 15 inch mid-2015 Refurbished MacBook Pro?

2018 MacBook Air or 2015 15 inch mid-2015 Refurbished MacBook Pro?


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macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 10, 2007
1,060
12
I’m debating between a new 2018 MacBook Air 16gb 256gb or 2015 15 inch mid-2015 2.2ghz i7 256gb Refurbished MacBook Pro from Apple. My primary uses for it would be light web browsing, emails, viewing and editing some photos (not heavy). I’d do 16gb of RAM either way. I currently have a 13 inch 2016 MacBook Pro which I hate for several reasons including the Touch Bar, the screen which gets dirty, the awful keyboard and horrible battery life. I’m leaning toward the MacBook Air for the longer battery life which is important to me, but I know the 2015 15 inch Pro is the gold standard and they’re built to last. I vastly prefer the keyboard on that. I’d buy AppleCare+ on either. Given my use case, which would you go for and why?
 

auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
167
135
UK
My primary uses for it would be light web browsing, emails, viewing and editing some photos (not heavy).
Base MBA. You really don't need 16Gb for this usage.

That aside, they're completely different machines. The MBA is lighter and has better batter life. So, if portability away from a power connection is important, it's the better choice. I have both 15" MBP and new MBA; I like both but for completely different reasons.
 
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macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 10, 2007
1,060
12
Base MBA. You really don't need 16Gb for this usage.

That aside, they're completely different machines. The MBA is lighter and has better batter life. So, if portability away from a power connection is important, it's the better choice. I have both 15" MBP and new MBA; I like both but for completely different reasons.
Thanks for your input. What's your battery life like in terms of hours on the new MBA and what's your use case?
 

nartycrem

macrumors newbie
Nov 7, 2018
23
21
I’m debating between a new 2018 MacBook Air 16gb 256gb or 2015 15 inch mid-2015 2.2ghz i7 256gb Refurbished MacBook Pro from Apple. My primary uses for it would be light web browsing, emails, viewing and editing some photos (not heavy). I’d do 16gb of RAM either way. I currently have a 13 inch 2016 MacBook Pro which I hate for several reasons including the Touch Bar, the screen which gets dirty, the awful keyboard and horrible battery life. I’m leaning toward the MacBook Air for the longer battery life which is important to me, but I know the 2015 15 inch Pro is the gold standard and they’re built to last. I vastly prefer the keyboard on that. I’d buy AppleCare+ on either. Given my use case, which would you go for and why?
I think I'd go for the MBA (8 gb, not 16 gb). It doesn't sound like you need the 16 gb because the MBA can handle light photo editing in Photoshop and Lightroom, from my experience editing photos occasionally on an 8 gb/ 256 ssd. I'm coming from an 2018 MBP 15 inch and I hate the keyboard, Touch Bar, battery life, and how huge it is. It stays home now for video editing; I take my MBA to school and use it for everything else. The butterfly switches on the MBA 2018 feel different from the MBP for some reason, even though they are both 3rd gen switches... it's more clacky. I still prefer the old keyboard, but the 2018 MBA keyboard is usable. The MBP felt muted for some reason, like I was typing on a sheet of paper. I also prefer the trackpad on the MBA. More solid feeling...I can't explain why.

I'm getting about 10-12 hours from the battery. 5-10 Safari tabs, 5-7 PDFs open, PowerPoint, Word, OneNote, and a Windows 10 Virtual machine every now and then to run statistical programs. I use it at 50% brightness or below (my eyes are sensitive to light), though, so that's probably why I get the battery life I get.
 
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macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 10, 2007
1,060
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I think I'd go for the MBA (8 gb, not 16 gb). It doesn't sound like you need the 16 gb because the MBA can handle light photo editing in Photoshop and Lightroom, from my experience editing photos occasionally on an 8 gb/ 256 ssd. I'm coming from an 2018 MBP 15 inch and I hate the keyboard, Touch Bar, battery life, and how huge it is. It stays home now for video editing; I take my MBA to school and use it for everything else. The butterfly switches on the MBA 2018 feel different from the MBP for some reason, even though they are both 3rd gen switches... it's more clacky. I still prefer the old keyboard, but the 2018 MBA keyboard is usable. The MBP felt muted for some reason, like I was typing on a sheet of paper. I also prefer the trackpad on the MBA. More solid feeling...I can't explain why.

I'm getting about 10-12 hours from the battery. 5-10 Safari tabs, 5-7 PDFs open, PowerPoint, Word, OneNote, and a Windows 10 Virtual machine every now and then to run statistical programs. I use it at 50% brightness or below (my eyes are sensitive to light), though, so that's probably why I get the battery life I get.
Thanks for your input, that's great to hear! I really hate the Touch Bar on the 2016 13" MBP and the 3-4 hours of battery life I've gotten ever since I bought it. That's promising to hear that you love the new MBA. I love almost everything about it other than the price lol. Did you opt for the 8 or 16gb? And would you mind sharing a screenshot of your Activity Monitor > Energy tab of the 2018 MBA while it's unplugged so I can see? Thanks!
 

nartycrem

macrumors newbie
Nov 7, 2018
23
21
Thanks for your input, that's great to hear! I really hate the Touch Bar on the 2016 13" MBP and the 3-4 hours of battery life I've gotten ever since I bought it. That's promising to hear that you love the new MBA. I love almost everything about it other than the price lol. Did you opt for the 8 or 16gb? And would you mind sharing a screenshot of your Activity Monitor > Energy tab of the 2018 MBA while it's unplugged so I can see? Thanks!
I went for 8 gb. Yes, I hate the 3-4 hour battery on my 15 in MBP (that's with high performance graphics turned off and Safari, not Chrome). Loving the battery life on the MBA. You'll get some people who say they only get 6-7 hours; not sure how they are using their MBA, but that hasn't been my experience. I attached a screenshot below; the "time on battery" includes 3 hours where it was just sitting in my backpack on standby.

Edit: Do you have a Microcenter near you? They have the 8 gb / 256 ssd for $200 off.
 

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auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
167
135
UK
Thanks for your input. What's your battery life like in terms of hours on the new MBA and what's your use case?
I bought it as my spare machine – the old spare died last summer – for my MBP. I've ended up using it most of the time. So it goes. I got the 8/128 for -15%, which I believe is about the right price. i.e. ~1,000 rather than 1,200.

Mostly, I'm using it for writing (and rewatching Game of Thrones in prep for later this year :) ). So, concurrently, I usually have loaded: Scrivener; Dictionary; Safari; Spotify; Aeon Timeline; Scapple; various ebooks; Preview. Also, randomly: MindNode; Quiver; AirMail; iTerm. Login apps: Moon and Popclip. I use bluetooth n/c headphones most of the time.

Working: I usually get between ten and fourteen hours. Video: I get approx. 10% per hour. (Dark theme, display ~75% or less (auto on))
 

Photography

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 10, 2007
1,060
12
True, but I'm always wary of buying stuff like this off of eBay. I would go through Swappa if it wasn't available on the Apple refurb site.
Why? eBay has pretty good buyer protection and will refund you if it's not as advertised
 

o10786757

macrumors newbie
Feb 2, 2019
1
1
I’m debating between a new 2018 MacBook Air 16gb 256gb or 2015 15 inch mid-2015 2.2ghz i7 256gb Refurbished MacBook Pro from Apple.
Wow, there was a 2015 refurb on Apples site? I was just searching for one.
I have a mid 2012 Macbook Air and honestly it still works fine. The only reason for me to upgrade is the screen is inferior to most modern devices. For that reason I'd vote the 2015 Macbook Pro which is Retina. But here's the breakdown of pros and cons for the Macbook Pro

Pro:
Magsafe charging
Useful(USB-A ports
SD card reader
Retina screen

Cons:
1/2 pound heavier (the 13 inch.. I think the 15 inch is maybe 1.5 lbs heavier)
Battery life reportedly worse

Now those cons are definately troubling, but at the same time I don't want to give up a single thing in the pro column and there are 4.
Its absurd how Apple crippled its modern machines by removing Magsafe, USB-A (the USB that is actually used), and SD card readers (so many photographers such as myself are (were?) Mac users. Apple is discouraging me from upgrading to a nice Retina screen by crippling the new machines by removing the above. Magsafe charging is freaking awesome. USB-C is another proprietary cable as far as you ask me, since I own not a single device that requires it (I have one expensive camera strobe that has both USB-A and USB-C ports).

If you value battery life, why do you want the i7 CPU? Stick with i5. My CPU in my 2012 machine is never taxed. And as far as being "built to last" my MBA is lasting quite well. Is the Pro more robust? Perhaps, but I don't think that sways me either way.
 
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AlexJoda

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2015
758
579
For me the 2018 MBA is an underpowered and overpriced notebook that is prone to a very expensive failure (the keyboard) that can hit you sometime in the future (at worst after the warranty had run out). The 2015 MBP is the last one of the "golden" MBPs that is really worth its money.

I choose a 2017 MBA that is also rock solid with the good keyboard before butterfly, has nearly the same CPU/GPU performance, battery life and weight as the 2018 MBA, has still all the nice ports including MagSafe and SD-Cards and cost at the moment about half the money compared the 2018 MBA (with my configuration). The display is definitely not as good as the 2018 display but even that is a bad compromise because it is not very bright and the anti-glare coating rubs off very easy.

Because of the money saved I can switch to a new MBA with a really powerful ARM CPU/Apple GPU as soon as Apple releases it without loosing too much. Hopefully they fix the keyboard in the meantime, reduce the weight to bring it on par with the competition and also give it a better display...
 
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ADGrant

macrumors member
Mar 26, 2018
48
24
I would get the 2015 MBP unless the size and weight are an issue. Better keyboard, better port selection, CPU is probably faster and the cooling system is definitely better.
 
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macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 10, 2007
1,060
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Thanks y'all. I went with a 2015 15" MBP on eBay with a few years of AppleCare+ left and it is in amazing condition. I'm very happy I went with it.
 
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AlexJoda

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2015
758
579
Thanks y'all. I went with a 2015 15" MBP on eBay with a few years of AppleCare+ left and it is in amazing condition. I'm very happy I went with it.
Good decision! If you prefer a big display and desktop computing power over portability and battery life (like my daughters 2017 Air) this is the way to go. Still using my 2012 non Retina MBP which is the last upgradable (RAM, Disk, Battery) MBP with all ports (even Ethernet). The 2012 MBP is still double as fast with the CPU (Quad Core i7) and GPU (discrete nVidia) as the 2018 MBA!

The 2015 ist the other „golden“ MBP which sets the standard for years. If my 2012 breaks for some reason this is the one to get....
 
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lambertjohn

macrumors 65816
Jun 17, 2012
1,041
1,017
Well the 2015 MBP is no longer available on Apple’s refurb site so I guess someone bought it, so by default looks like 2018 MBA wins!
They pop up all the time and get sold almost immediately. Be patient; another one will come up for sale soon enough. But you've got to grab it fast before someone else does.
 
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