Air vs Pro? (Indecisive College Student)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Kdazed, Aug 22, 2015.

  1. Kdazed, Aug 22, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2015

    Kdazed macrumors newbie

    Kdazed

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2015
    #1
    Hey guys!

    With my 6-yr old Dell laptop slowly dying, I really want to replace it with an Apple laptop! The biggest struggle I have is to whether get the Air or the Pro . I will be going into my second year of College as a Marketing/Suppy Chain Management major.

    The main stuff I use my laptop for is:
    Web Browsing (I will have at most 7-10ish tabs while doing just for school but for like the other 80% of the time I would have 2 or 3 open with one of them being YouTube)
    Netflix, YouTube, Watching Movies
    Social Media (Facebook, Twitter etc.)
    Word/Excel (basically writing papers and creating spreadsheets)
    Mail
    Using Windows 10 via Bootcamp
    Possibly emulating DS games (???)

    At most, I would have like 4 basic applications open (such as Word, Browser with like 3 tabs open, IMessage and I guess maybe something else?) I also want this laptop to last me at least 4 years, with it hopefully not crashing every other hour after 3 years or so like my Dell laptop. With my needs and expectations, would 4 gb of Ram be sufficient? Or would 8 be better? I'm on a budget as a college student and although I could stretch for the 8 gb, I don't want to unless I absolutely must. I already know I want 256gb of memory, with my Dell PC I'm only using 60gb out of 500gb. This gives me room to make a Windows 10 partition. Do I really need a rMBP or would it not be worth it? I'm coming from a crappy 1366 x 768 or whatever resolution so both the MBA and rMBP would be an upgrade in screen display. So yeah that's about it. Thanks for everything and sorry if I sound stupid, I'm just a indecisive college student lol.
     
  2. MacBoook160 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #2
    You don't sound stupid at all. One question: does weight matter at all? That's part of the decision between Air and Pro, in my opinion.

    And if you're on a budget, I know there are student discounts available to you, but may I also suggest a refurbished model of whatever you decide upon if that comes out cheaper for you? I have a refurbed 2015 Air, and it's fantastic (also comes with AppleCare, just as a "new" model would).
     
  3. oldmacs macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Location:
    Australia
    #3
    The Air would be better for portability and battery, but you need 8GB of ram, especially with 10 tabs open and going into he future. The Pro is thicker, Heavier and has less battery life, but the screen is better, it is more powerful and it comes with 8GB of ram standard.
     
  4. Kdazed thread starter macrumors newbie

    Kdazed

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2015
    #4
    With my old laptop being around 7ish pounds, both the Air and Pro feel unbelievably light and the one pound difference between them is negligible to me. I was in fact actually looking at the refurbrished section lately, as of now they're apparently out of 8gb ram models (hence my concern of 4gb vs 8gb ram)
     
  5. MacBoook160 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #5
    There are many here who will tell you that 4gb will be enough for your needs, and as many as who will say that you must get 8gb, and I'm definitely NOT getting in the middle of that!

    As far as the refurb store goes, it does get updated regularly, so even if it's out now, it might not be tomorrow morning. The following site will automatically alert you if you set up specific parameters.

    https://www.refurb.me/us/notebook/macbook_pro_retina/

    However, I was so compulsive about checking the apple store directly that I saw the model I wanted even before the alert was sent to me!

    Weight did matter to me a lot, even though I was coming from a 4.5 lb laptop, and I knew I had to have 512 gb minimum hard drive. Both things might seem unimportant to other users, but they were important to me. Would your student savings be greater than those from refurb?
     
  6. 960design macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Location:
    Destin, FL
    #7
    13" MBA, 8-16GB RAM and you'll be golden. You don't need the extra weight of a pro. As already mentioned go for 8GB of RAM, my rule is 16GB on all my machines.

    I'd recommend forcing yourself to use Pages, Keynote, Numbers ( apple products ) as you can use them in the cloud on any machine. iCloud.com, log in with your AppleID and you'll have a free online version of the software to play with now.
     
  7. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #8
    If money is no object, and you want a 13" computer, then get the rMBP. It's marginally heavier and thicker, but it actually has a smaller footprint than the 13" MBA. It has a better screen and still has all-(work)day battery life.

    If you are focused on portability, then it's almost impossible to beat the size and weight of the 11" MBA.

    Your needs for the laptop are very modest in terms of computing power and 4GB will be just fine, and last you for several years. Also if you decide that you need 8GB, you can just sell the laptop and buy a different one and not lose much money in the process. The market for used Apple products is very active.

    But if you're still concerned about getting 4GB vs. 8GB, just buy from somewhere that has a generous return policy, like Best Buy or (especially) Apple, and just return it if you're running out of memory doing your regular stuff.
     
  8. AFEPPL macrumors 68030

    AFEPPL

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2014
    Location:
    England
    #9
    In the long run the rMBP will be the better machine - go for that.
    I wouldn't worry too much about storage, you can always use the cloud, usb drives or a NAS device.

    The RAM, while no one really knows what the future will bring for a small cost increase go large - you cant add it on later. Office student edition costs next to nothing, or you could always go the 365 route.
     
  9. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #10
    As many others before me have pointed out, the cost increase is not necessarily small. It's easy to find great deals on the 4GB models ($100+ off) but not the 8GB models, so the cost difference is often closer to $200 or more. That's getting to be a large percentage of the total purchase price.
     
  10. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #11
    Microsoft has very good cloud services as well, and familiarizing yourself with Office will probably be far better for your career in the long run!
     
  11. Boyd01, Aug 23, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015

    Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #12
    Sorry, I don't understand this part. There is no such thing as a 16gb MBA, 8gb is the max and it cannot be user upgraded. :)
     
  12. 960design macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Location:
    Destin, FL
    #13
    Yep you are correct, my MBA has 8G of RAM and my MBPr has 16GB and my MacMini has 16GB. I unsuccessfully attempted to show a range for my RAM decisions: max keeps its value better and can hold out for their three year life cycle in my shop.
     
  13. AFEPPL macrumors 68030

    AFEPPL

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2014
    Location:
    England
  14. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #15
    The OP isn't the one saying that he needs 16GB of RAM. I don't think he's said anything yet that would make one laptop decisively better than the other.
     
  15. Sumter macrumors regular

    Sumter

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    #16
    I don't know if OP has decided already, but I'd go for rMBP. I was in the same camp as OP, an indecisive college student between 13" MBA and 13" rMBP. I actually went for MBA first, and was fine with the selection for a while. Then I noticed, as I typed essays, that the screen quality seemed subpar... It's not poor by any means, but once I noticed, I couldn't stop. I kept comparing the screen quality from MBA to rMBP.

    As a college student I did not want to waste money unnecessarily. However, recently I got an eye surgery and my healing eyes could not handle MBA screen, but could handle iPad Air and iPhone 6 Plus's sharp display. I had to enlarge texts on MBA to read something every time...

    My other concern was battery life, but I realized that both of them lasted around 10 hours, MBA of course lasts longer but at that point I could not have cared less as I was never going to need 10+ hours of battery life.

    So I sold my MBA and got rMBP. I am highly satisfied with my decision... my eyes don't strain anymore to read things, colors are deeper and more vibrant. I also like the slightly smaller footprint of rMBP.

    To be honest, I'm a light user (essays, youtube, netflix, take notes, surfing the web; no games) so I don't notice any increase in performance. The screen difference is honestly a lot worth it for me though. I've been tempted to get rMBP but I couldn't justify it... until I got the eye surgery. It gave me enough reason to switch.

    Each to their own however, maybe you might like MBA more because of its weight, battery life, or cost. I would recommend upgrading to 8GB of RAM if you go for MBA though.
     
  16. DavidLynch macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    #17
    You asked if you'd be ok with 4GB or 8GB would be better. Both are true. Most of the usage you mentioned could be done comfortably on an iPad so you're going to have no trouble going with 4GB. Of course, 8GB would be better, but not necessary for you, especially if you're trying to save money. 8GB is going to future proof the MacBook a bit and give you the option of comfortably running Windows out of a VM instead of Bootcamp.

    4GB MBA, 8GB MBA, or rMBP would all be great choices, but based on the usage you mentioned, if you want to save money you're going to be perfectly happy with a base model MBA.

    Also, if you're looking at the MBA, I always reccomend checking the Apple refurb store for an upgraded 2013 or 2014 machine. You're getting almost the same specs as the 2015, applecare eligibility, a practically brand new computer, and a large discount.
     
  17. HoiPiet macrumors member

    HoiPiet

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    #18
    I can attest to the truth of this. I've been checking prices pretty regularly for about a month on dealnews, NY retailers and the Apple refurb store and the cost for going from 4 to 8 at least on the 13 inch is about $150. That's not quite $200 but a sixth or a seventh of the total price!

    I'm kind of amazed at the price of used MBAs. Maybe the 8 gig will have a little higher resale value.
     
  18. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #19
    I wouldn't expect so. Maybe on eBay, but on Craigslist I don't see that upgrades are valued too much. I've bought upgraded things and told the seller (honestly) that I didn't want the upgrades anyway and they have always come down in price.
     
  19. HoiPiet macrumors member

    HoiPiet

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    #20
    Craigslist is kind of its own world. People buy things for ridiculous prices at rummage sales too, but that doesn't mean it represents a market value.
     
  20. BarcelonaPaul Suspended

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2015
    #21
    Why not the new MacBook Retina. The Air looks so incredibly dated. That silver and the huge bezels, old screen and tinny speakers. I've never understood why so many like the Air. Just looks so old next to the others in the portfolio. Very 2010.
     
  21. GamerBoredom macrumors member

    GamerBoredom

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Location:
    Winterfell
    #22
    I worked for Apple for 5 years, used to get asked this all the time, and can say this is an easy choice, the Pro. You can find amazing deals from retailers for being a student.

    Although I love love love the air, the display and power make it obsolete for its time, in my opinion. For a few hundred more, you get a beautiful retina display and some extra punch. Since most everything is cloud based, storage isn't a concern for most. You will also love the power of the retinas when utilizing bootcamp or a VM on the OS X side. Emulators are amazing too, especially playing Pokemon red/blue!
     
  22. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #23
    Maybe it's because they think a computer is a tool to get a job done instead of a fashion statement? :p
     
  23. GamerBoredom macrumors member

    GamerBoredom

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Location:
    Winterfell
    #24
    Agreed! I love the portability and form factor, just prefer the power of the rMBPs. Well said!
     
  24. DavidLynch macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    #25
    Exactly my thought. If I were to buy a computer solely on good looks I'd absolutely go for the new rMB. My maxed out 11" MBA is the machine that best meets the criteria I'm looking for in a computer though. Maybe a couple generations down the road it will be the rMB.
     

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