Advice on buying my first MacBook

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by keilinger, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. keilinger, Jun 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012

    keilinger macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2012
    I'm a college student without a working knowledge of how to analyze computer specs. Basically, I tend to multitask a lot on the Internet (bad habit, but probably won't be successfully breaking it anytime soon). I have approx. 8gb of music and a small, but growing cache of Word documents, including several sheets of numerical data on Excel. It should be able to handle Skype easily and if the built-in camera is good, all the better. My main priority is that my next laptop last me at least 5 years (hopefully, 7). Obviously, my needs are pretty basic-- I just want a reliable 13" laptop with minimal freezing.

    So, my questions are:
    - Will I notice a difference in performance between the new MBP and the new MBA?
    - Given the education discount and $100 gift card, would it be better for me to purchase from Apple directly or from Amazon? (Can the gift card be sold?)
    - The MBA's lack of an optical drive is a ding for me, and I don't generally lug around my laptop. Are there any other key differences between the MBP and MBA, in terms of functioning, that I should consider before making my final decision?
    - Is there a difference in the durability of the chassis of the MBP and MBA?

    Thanks for reading my slew of questions-- I'd appreciate any helpful input!
  2. lazer155 macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2010
    I can't answer the performance question in detail as I haven't personally used either laptop yet (planning on getting the pro though). But based on specs and prior generation experiences with the MBA and MBP neither would be noticeably faster in day to day use. It would only be with heavy video editing or heavy gaming that you would start to see the difference. However since you want a laptop that will last around 5 years, I would recommend the MBP because it is faster and more powerful to begin with so it will take longer to be completely outdated and in need to replacement. That's just my opinion though.

    I would buy from apple due to them giving the education discount and 100 gift card. You can sell the gift card if you want. If you add up the cost of amazon vs apple, it winds up being cheaper from apple since you get that education discount and gift card.

    There aren't any other major key differences between the two that relate to what you would be doing (web surfing ect.). As I mentioned, the differences that do exist only really matter if you plan on doing more heavy usage which doesn't seem to be the what you intend to do.

    Both are sturdy. The MBA is a little thinner but is still plenty strong enough to not break in regular use like the MBP.

    In the end, I would recommend you get the MBP because it will stay up to date longer and last closer to 5 years.
  3. keilinger thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2012
    Thanks, lazer. The MBP staying up to date longer is a good point. I just realized the MBP is cheaper anyway, so that's a major plus. In terms of buying from Amazon vs. 3rd party online source (Amazon, for instance), I'm thinking there's probably more variability in Amazon's prices, I might get it cheaper there if the price goes low enough. The card's great, but unless I can sell it, it's not worth more than $40 to me.
  4. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    The base 13" MBP and 13" Air should be the same price.

    One major difference is that the 13" MBP has a 1280x800 display and the 13" Air has a 1440x900 display.

    You could also check out a refurbished 2011 15" Macbook Pro. I think there's one available in the US refurb store for about $1350.

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