Air 13 or Pro 15

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by d414, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. d414 macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2011
    I'm coming from a 16" hp laptop, and am trying to decide between a 13" air when they are refreshed and a 15" pro. Both would probably be the base model (assuming the new air comes with 4gb ram) and my only computer.

    I know these two machines are very different, but here is my reasoning:

    Coming from a 16" 1920x1080p display, the 13" pro at 800p just doesn't seem like it would offer enough screen real estate. If I went with the 15", it wouldn't be the high res (too expensive), so I realize that the 13 air and 15" pro are both the same resolution. Do you think it's an easy enough transition from a 16" screen to a 13"? The pixel density is about the same on both, so I'm already used to small text.

    I think the power of the air would be plenty for me, especially once they get the sandy bridge processor. I'm only planning on using it for browsing, iTunes, word, stuff like that. The most intensive thing I do right now is minecraft, haha. No photo or video editing. The main reason I want the pro is for the bigger screen, but I don't mind the extra power since it will give me room to grow, in case I ever need to start doing more intensive work.

    I really like the idea of having an ssd with the air, but I can live without it. I probably wouldn't be able to afford buying one aftermarket if I got the pro.

    If I got the air ($1260 from amazon), I would most likely buy an external moniter and an apple mouse and keyboard to use when I am at my desk. If you consider $200 for the monitor and $150 for the mouse and keyboard, that puts the air at about $1600.
    I would buy the base line pro from somewhere like B&H, cause they have them for about $1650 I believe.
    So the prices on the two are very similar. However, with the air, once I upgraded to a new computer, I would get to keep the monitor, mouse, and keyboard and would likely use them again.

    I don't need too much portability, as I would mostly just be using my computer around the house and occasionally bringing it to school and on vacations. Both have the same battery life, so that isn't a factor.
    I do like the Air's thinness for aesthetic value, but I don't necessarily need it.

    Sorry for such a long post :p
  2. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816


    Oct 18, 2008
    Your girlfriends place
    It sounds like either of them would fit your needs. Since the portability of the air is a lesser factor and you're worried about the screens, get the Pro. I carried a 15" around for work everyday for 2 years. It wasn't horrible on the shoulder but it gets real old fast (IMHO).

    If there's a local store, go play with them and see how you feel about the screens.

  3. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Since, as you say, that portability doesn't matter to you, while screen size does, and power may be a factor, go for the MBP 15".

    For what it is worth, I have had both, and, while I really liked my MBP, I love the form factor, SSD, and sheer portability of the MBA. But then, portability matters to me.

    In any case, you can always sell and replace what you buy now in a year's time. Given, that the entire forum seems to be somewhat rigid with suppressed anticipation re the imminent updates, you would be wise to wait a few weeks and see what the future brings when the planned updates are unveiled.

  4. awer25 macrumors 65816


    Apr 30, 2011
    I also had an HP with a 1080p screen and had to go 15" hi-res - the 13" was just too small. If you go 15", get the hi-res screen. If you're buying a $1600 computer, $100 isn't too much (it's like 6% of the price, and it's what you'll be looking at all day).

    Even with the refresh, the 15" is a LOT more powerful than the Air will be with the low-voltage CPUs. I do understand that you don't necessarily need it, but you're saying the price is the same in the end.

    The Pro is upgradable, so when the prices of SSDs come down, at lease you COULD add one. The Air has everything soldered down. For example it's only $50 to get 8GB RAM for the Pro. On the Air you have to pay Apple for it.

    I don't understand why you'd only buy a mouse+keyboard with the Air but not the Pro. They have the same build-in keyboard and trackpad. If you need to go external on one, you will with the other too. Get the 15" hi-res and drop the expensive keyboard/mouse/monitor (or get a $15 logitech one since it's only for home use)

    The Air is "more" portable, but the 15" is plenty portable itself.

    I say get the 15" hi-res. You can't upgrade those components later (CPU/screen). The only benefit for the Air is that it's a bit cheaper, but you want to spend a ton on extras anyway.
  5. Nostromo macrumors 65816


    Dec 26, 2009
    Deep Space
    I wouldn't rule out the 13" MBP.

    The "screen real estate" (your words) is the same, just the resolution is less. (and it will have more processing power than the MBA).

    Go to the Apple store and see if the lesser resolution is bothering you.

    Resolution and image quality are different. Many like the MBP screen better.

    With the savings you could get a nice 24" screen by NEC - the 2490 for $636 at B&H.

    You decision. Just make sure you physically check out your options before you discard them.

    Good luck, and enjoy your new computer.
  6. d414 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2011
    I would if it was only $100 more, but the only way I know of to get the 2.0ghz 15" with high res is BTO from Apple, which means I have to pay $1900 + tax = $2050, so it's actually $400 more for the high res.

    Well because if I got an external monitor for the air, I think it would be kind of weird using the air's keyboard and trackpad, but then looking over to the side at another screen to see what I'm doing. I've never used an external display before, so maybe this isn't as awkward as it seems?
  7. tombubi macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2011
    Like what you say, you dont need the portability. So why not go for pro which gives you more power. You never know that one day you may need to start some intensive work on your computer.
  8. Junkie2 macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Airs are a waste IMO unless you are seriously in need of a super thin, lightweight computer. I've got a macbook pro 15' and its not even that difficult to carry around - just slip it in its case and place it into my backpack. Done deal. Plus it's fantastic for being my workhorse when i run some pretty cpu intense programs.

    +1 vote for macbook pro
  9. Deedolito macrumors regular


    Aug 19, 2010
    Using a MBA mostly as a desktop seems kind of weird to me. :)

    I know Apple will add a lot more power to the refreshed MBA - but I just remembered how crappy the first MBA was power wise (don't have to mention the battery life...).

    Get the MBP 15 - it's a beauty, powerful, a REAL working machine. Got one with SSD... if the **** hits the fan I even use it instead of my iMac...more throughput....

    Definitely go for the high-res screen :cool:
  10. Frosties macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
    One thing to throw into the mix here is Lion's fullscreen mode. With that many will change their behavior and use full screen mode thus negating a bigger screen for word processing, itunes, safari and other lighter work. If you take this into account then a smaller 13" screen would be sufficient for many.

    I myself have the 15" MBP with the high res matte screen and love it but the MBA is a nice machine. Never downplay portability it's a big plus. I can see the use just moving through the house and not just taking it outside.
  11. Mac32 Suspended

    Nov 20, 2010
    If you only are going to have one machine, you should definately go for 15' MBP. There is a huge difference working with a 15' screen vs. a 15' screen over longer periods of time. Personally although the MBA 13' seems portable, it is noticably bigger and heavier than the 11' model - now that is truly portable.
    Buy a 11' MBA, and also an external screen. That way you can have it both way. For light use, the new MBA (and previous model) will work very well.
  12. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    I did the same move and just got myself a mbp 15 after waiting two months for the MBA. I made a good decision and live it. It's portable and has way more power.
  13. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    you mean physical size? Because aren't the 15" MBP and 13" airs the same resolution now?
  14. maxxed macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2009
    I have a HR 15"MBP. Wife has the 13 MBA.

    The keyboard on the MBA is better, keys are bigger and more well spaced. If you are a touch typist (ie can watch tv and type) then the air is a better machine.

    Having said that the HR screen on the 15" is excellent and screen real estate is a huge deal for me. I would never get a 15" std screen unit.

Share This Page