Advice on Apple products for university (laptop+tablet)

Erko

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 12, 2011
73
0
Estonia
Im going to university this fall and since I now have enough funds I have decided to buy some nice gadgets for myself that will also help me in university. For some time I have been eyeballing Apple products, beacause of interest in OS X and experience with my iPod Touch, which has been quite pleasant.
Before I start, my current budget is roughly around 1000€. I may be able to add 200-300 more if needed. Also I plan on getting a part-time job, so I may have more cash to spend in the coming months.
What I will be learning is a mix of mechanical and electronical engineering and will also include programming, so my main concern is an able laptop that is enough for tasks related with these subjects(most likely CAD + programming). I also want to use the computer to record some music.
At the end I want to end up with both a tablet(iPad) for entertainment and reading documents/spreadsheets/PDFs/presentations and a laptop(Macbook) for more serious work and, although the laptop is more important. I do plan on taking notes on either of these devices. I also have a 4 year old PC desktop that is mediocrely powerful(3GHZ C2D E8400, 4GB RAM, Ati 3870 graphics) if need some more oomph(although the i5 Macbooks are more powerful in terms of processor speeds).
For now, I have narrowed my choice down to these two options:

1) Buying a new/slightly used 2012 13" Macbook Pro/Air at first and the iPad later.
Pros:
Computer is blazing fast and future proof
If I don't like OS X I can always swap it for a new PC laptop with no money loss
Warranty
Cons:
No tablet
If Apple launces a 13" Retina this fall I will feel a bit disappointed(although it might be too much for my budget anyways)

2) Buying a new/slightly used iPad 3 and a used 13" Macbook Pro/Air and swapping the laptop for a new model when I have enough funds
Pros:
I get both gadgets
Although slower than the new models, C2D Pros should still be powerful enough for my use
Since I have been eyeballing the alleged 13" Retina MBP, I can get it when it has matured a bit
Cons:
Inevitable loss of money when I change laptops(not a big deal, but still... :))
No high speed connections like USB3/thunderbolt
If Apple launces a new iPad this fall, buying one now will feel somewhat painful
If I get a older Air it might not be enough for my needs(especially CAD)


So what do you think? Which option I should go for? I do plan on switching to a SSD and upgrading the RAM when I get a Pro.
 

Ardash

macrumors newbie
May 6, 2012
15
0
I have a macbook pro 13 inch. The machine has been my bread and butter and have loved using the machine. I recently got my hands on a macbook air 11 inch and while I love the portability of the machine I personally think 13 inches is the sweet spot.

For school you cannot beat the 13 inch macbook air. I would get the 128GB version and throw 8GB of RAM in it from apple.

As for the iPad, there is no doubt that they are awesome, but as far as productivity goes a laptop makes much more sense. I have the ipad and find that more often than not it is used for causal web browsing and serves mainly as an entertainment device. This has been my experience.

It depends though. If you do any type of gaming or in you want to store lots of files (music, video, or photos) it would be wise to consider a 13 inch macbook pro.

Those are my thoughts.
 

Erko

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 12, 2011
73
0
Estonia
As for the iPad, there is no doubt that they are awesome, but as far as productivity goes a laptop makes much more sense. I have the ipad and find that more often than not it is used for causal web browsing and serves mainly as an entertainment device. This has been my experience.
Although it is much wiser to take only the laptop, I still consider the iPad as well beacause at least in high school we lots of material in digital format, like documents, PDFs and presentations and I think that it would be much nicer to study them from the iPad which is perfect for that. Also I take that it would be perfect for watching TV serials and videos off YouTube.

As for the laptop Im leaning towards the Air, especially when I get a new model as it is light and I already have a bigger computer and an external drive for all my files. The only drawback is the lack of ports, especially Firewire. Although I dont use it at all, it seems really important as I want to dabble into audio recording and some interfaces need it, although I might just be overreacting. :D
 

rockyroad55

macrumors 601
Jul 14, 2010
4,152
59
Phila, PA
I don't think the iPad is necessary at all. There's probably nothing you can do in your major with the iPad except for casual browsing and the occasional game/movie. Even if you wanted to type notes out, the MBP will still be able to fit on desks and typing on a physical keyboard may be much faster than the iPad's. I'd recommend using the money saved from the iPad to get maybe a SSD upgrade or some software for your classes.

The iPad is a consumption device. In your case, engineering, you will be creating more than consuming.
 

Erko

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 12, 2011
73
0
Estonia
you know you can get student discount? so factor that in.
Well basicly I could get 100€ off from an Apple laptop, but since Europe has "fair" pricing, it would still cost 1179€ after the discount(1279 for the Air 'cos I would get 8GB RAM). Another option would be a almost new 2012 13" Pro from a forum, these go for ~1060€, but I'm still torn between an Air and a Pro and there arent any new Airs for sale right now(could get a 2011 model but I'd rather pay a bit more for USB3, 8GB RAM and hd 4000 graphics).
I cant decide if I want slightly more power, slightly better/more beautiful screen, more ports and upgradeability or better portability, less glare, better resolution and possibly better future support.
 

LeeM

macrumors 6502a
Jan 1, 2012
603
0
get a 2012 mbp. will cost less than the same spec air. get an ipad later from refurb
 

ryannel2003

macrumors 68000
Jan 30, 2005
1,771
319
Greenville, NC
After losing my 13" MBP earlier this year I also faced a dilemma when school started back up on what computer to get. I thought about getting another Pro but with the 13" Air being lighter with a better screen resolution and having the SSD I went with that option. I've had it for 2 days now and I gotta tell you I don't miss my Pro at all. When you think about it the weight difference it doesn't seem like a lot... until you hold one. It's amazing how much lighter the Air feels than the Pro did (and I never complained about it's weight either!). I don't miss my optical drive and the SSD space is fine for me since I don't have a lot of data. Either laptop is a great choice, but I'm really enjoying my Air.
 

Erko

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 12, 2011
73
0
Estonia
Found a high end 13" 2012 Pro thats been used for 2 months that goes for 1000(retail 1500-1600), what do you think, should I try and grab it?

Been recetly thinking if I should try to go for a laptop with a quad-core processor, even if that means staying with windows. There are some pretty good deals on Asus computers that have the same specs as the 15" Pro, but go for 1000 new(they look ugly though :rolleyes:). Downside would be portability(2.7kg is too much to haul aroud daily I recon)
 

iAppl3Fan

macrumors 6502a
Sep 8, 2011
789
19
Found a high end 13" 2012 Pro thats been used for 2 months that goes for 1000(retail 1500-1600), what do you think, should I try and grab it?

Been recetly thinking if I should try to go for a laptop with a quad-core processor, even if that means staying with windows. There are some pretty good deals on Asus computers that have the same specs as the 15" Pro, but go for 1000 new(they look ugly though :rolleyes:). Downside would be portability(2.7kg is too much to haul aroud daily I recon)
I would go for an Air but that 2012 MBP 13 sounds like a good deal so go for it!
 

Bauer24

macrumors regular
May 18, 2009
137
0
Vancouver, BC
Found a high end 13" 2012 Pro thats been used for 2 months that goes for 1000(retail 1500-1600), what do you think, should I try and grab it?

Been recetly thinking if I should try to go for a laptop with a quad-core processor, even if that means staying with windows. There are some pretty good deals on Asus computers that have the same specs as the 15" Pro, but go for 1000 new(they look ugly though :rolleyes:). Downside would be portability(2.7kg is too much to haul aroud daily I recon)
Do you need the optical drive? You say you want to upgrade the RAM and put in an SSD when you get the Pro. That will cost at least a couple hundred dollars more plus the 13" Pro cost. If you don't need the optical drive, you should go with the Air. It has a higher resolution than the 13" Pro and it comes standard with the SSD (a very fast one on the 2011 and 2012 models). This way you won't have to worry about putting in a SSD later.

I strongly recommend you get a 13" Air. You can get used mid-2011 13" Airs with 1.8 Ghz i7 CPU, 4 GB RAM, 256GB SSD for around $1000-1100. With the i7, it should be plenty power for your tasks.
 

Bilalo

macrumors 6502
Aug 17, 2012
402
2
Oxford, England
As long as you aren't a hardcore gamer, I suggest 13" macbook air with 8 gb ram, everything maxed out with 256 ssd. Also I suggest an Ipad as I have one, its more compatible with longer battery , I use it for movies, all sorts of entertainement and I use splashtop streamer which gives me 100% control of my laptop from anywhere in the world, so if you could afford it get both. An Iphone is also like an ipad just smaller :p MBA is all you need, just cant be a hardcore gamer on it with full graphics but u will be able to play diablo and so on.
Hope this helps.