Air vs Pro Questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by calichica, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. calichica macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2011
    I am contemplating buying a Mac (I have been a PC user all my life) and am having a hard time deciding between two models. I have more or less narrowed it down to either a refurbished 2010 13¨ MacBook Pro, OR a refurbished current model 11¨ MacBook Air (which I would buy after the new models come out).

    I am a light laptop user-- I use my current Dell for email, web browsing, listening to music with iTunes, videocam chatting, and watching movies. Whichever model I choose, I hope for it to be my primary computer for the next 5 or so years.

    I think that the Air would satisfy most of my needs, BUT my primary concern is the lack of optical drive. The DVD drive on my Dell broke recently, and I find myself missing it. I don't own a TV or DVD player nor do I want to, so I watch movies on my laptop. I don't watch a ton-- maybe one every couple of weeks, but it's still nice to have. I also use CDs to upload music to iTunes.

    I know I could buy an external optical drive, but I'm wondering if it maybe doesn't make sense to buy a laptop lacking the drive for the same price as a MBP, then have to go out and buy an external drive. I am also sort of concerned about the lack of disk space-- I currently only use about 20 gigs on my Dell, but I could see it expanding beyond 64G in the next few yrs.

    I like the air for its looks/size, and portability. I am not a student so won't need to take it everywhere, but I do like to carry my laptop both around the house and to friend's houses, etc. I carried my current 4.2 lb Dell around college and it didn't bother me too much, but it does hurt my shoulders to put in a bag.

    So, I'd be sacrificing the optical drive but gaining in weight/size. What do you guys think? Does anyone have the Air as their primary mac and really miss the dvd drive?

    One more question: I am looking at a refurbished 2010 MBP on Apple's website that's a good deal. How often do these models come up on the refurb page and how much are they generally sold for? If I wait a month to try and buy one, is there a chance they could permanently run out/stop selling them as refurbs?
    Also, how much is the current generation Air likely to be discounted by when the new version comes out in July?

    Thanks all!
  2. soco macrumors 68030


    Dec 14, 2009
    Yardley, PA
    I think if you can get yourself away from physical media, you'll be fine.

    Just "buy the movies from iTunes" from now on. And as for what you already own, rip it on a desktop and plop the files on an external HDD. Maybe even one of the sexy ThunderBolt drives coming in our near future.
  3. calichica thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2011
    Oh, I forgot to add that although I don't run high-powered programs, I do like to multi-task on my laptop. Would the Air be significantly faster for this than the MBP?
  4. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    significantly slower you mean?

    the pro has a much faster processor. Although i love my air it wont be my main computer for the next 5 years. Go with the pro.
  5. calichica thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2011
    Ah, sorry, I really know nothing about Macs! :/ I thought that the Air was faster at booting up applications/waking up from sleep mode for some reason... maybe I misunderstood.

    Also, what do you mean by ¨buy movies from iTunes¨? I assume download them in some way ... ? How easy is this to do? I'm not very tech-savvy, but if the switch to non-physical media is really that easy, that would take care of my main concern.
  6. Mikhailov macrumors regular

    May 3, 2010
    The Airs have a solid state drive, which make them much faster for every day tasks. You also get instant wake from sleep, and (from the videos I've seen - I don't have an Air yet) a very quick start up time.

    Buying movies off iTunes is as easy as a click. You can simply go shopping on the iTunes store (a preinstalled program) and anything you buy is an instant download. It does take up space on the Hard Drive, though.

    Are you planning on keeping your Dell? If so, you can always burn/rip the movies/music there and transfer them to either the Mac or an external hard drive (very recommended you do the latter), but from what I read, it sounds like the Pro would meet your needs better, and it will last you 5 years. It is a little on the heavy side, though, which is why I'm making the switch.
  7. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    You are right about the Air being faster than the Pro for starting up and launching apps. the CPU is only an issue when you are doing processor intensive tasks like converting video. You can get a Pro with an SSD drive (at higher cost from apple or by installing it yourself), and the differences will decrease.

    Buying movies and music form iTunes:
    Open iTunes
    go to Store / iTunes Store in the left hand navigation panel
    click on a movie, song, Album, TV Show, TV Season
    Click "Buy this..."
    It will start downloading and will be available in you library in a few minutes.

    Be aware that video files (especially HD) are very large. You would want some sort of external storage if you plan to buy a large library. It may be more effective to RENT from iTunes instead, as the file will go away when it expires and you won't fill your drive. iCloud may change this eventually - at launch it won't...
  8. calichica thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2011
    My concern with buying movies off iTunes is spending money on them. I'd rather use a DVD drive to watch Netflix or something like that, though I guess I could always use Netflix 'watch it now' feature.

    If I don't make the decision quite yet, is the Apple refurb store likely to have refurbished 2010 13¨ MacBook Pros for at least another couple months? I just started watching the refurb page so I have no idea how quickly models are sold/replaced.

    I plan on keeping my Dell just long enough to transfer over my data. It's six years old so even if I wanted to keep it I doubt it would survive much longer!

    Thanks for the advice so far!
  9. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Seems like you want to spend the least amount of money and get the best system to last you for the next 5+ years. Good luck to you on that. Apple changes their software OS every 2 years. At some point you will be phased out and not allowed to upgrade. Don't know when, but it will happen. If that is no concern with you, then the rest is all good. For your needs, I would go MBP since MBA is slower cpu. If you add a SSD inside a MBP, the result would be just as fast on boot ups. If not faster.
  10. xkmxkmxlmx macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2011
    Don't forget you can also buy an external superdrive or DVD rom for when you really need it. They are fairly portable as well, and you can leave it behind for when you are sure you won't need it (like when you bring it to your buddy's house). You can get one from anywhere from $40-$100 depending on where you buy it or what brand you get.
  11. islanders macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2006
    Charleston, SC
    You will be able to upgrade the OS for long time. I have a 2001 that was supported up to Tiger and still works fine. Keep in mind the G3 was before there was an OSX, before USB 2, and was the first wireless with Airport.

    I got a 2010 MBP and have no concerns about it being supported.
  12. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    Well what i meant with the MBA not being "fast" is that yes it turns on apps very fast but for multitasking, as you mentioned, it can be straining on the CPU which is not the best.

    also i dont know if im misunderstanding but netflix does not need a CD drive to function. Its just a website.

    I still stand by my comment about getting the mbp because itll certainly last 5 years while the current MBA (2010) is already outdated on the processor side. The 2011 model coming out soon may be more suitable for you.
  13. xkmxkmxlmx macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2011
    Pretty sure he is saying he doesn't want to pay for individual releases and uses Netflix DVD rental service so he needs a DVD drive to play those movies. Not just the streaming only stuff.
  14. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    ...part of your question was: "How long will the current generation of MBA last of the refurb sight"
    No one know's for sure. But the first generation iPad is still availible. One thing with refurbs is you cant always get exactly what you want. (IE. You may want a 11" macbook air with a 128gb hard drive and 4gb of ram , but they just have one with 128 gb hard drive and 2gb of ram)
    You also wanted to know how long things lasted on the refurb store.
    Again no one knows for sure but, some products sell faster then others. So if you see what you want, I would get it ASAP.
    Hope I helped
  15. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    It somewhat is; this is due to the SSD; of course you can always get a Pro and just have an SSD instead of a HDD. That would give you the "best" of both worlds.

    Personally I have a MacBook myself. I have not used the CD/DVD drive in years and probably will never have a use for it. The result? I'm planning on selling this and getting a new Air when it comes out.

    I'm a student so portability, weight, functionality, and battery life are KEY for me, moreso that I'm living off campus this upcoming semester. I thought about getting a Pro and would love that; with a student discount the price is around 1200 with tax. I'm assuming the new Airs will be cheaper. I have an external HDD so size isn't a concern (don't have much time to watch HD movies anyway; and I always delete them after I watch).

    If you don't know or are unsure about it, you could always just buy an external drive and an external dvd drive. You could get both for around 100 bucks now a days and probably lower if you decide to get them in the future "when" you need them.

    The speed and portability of the Air is really something else; with the new processors they really are going to be a "game changer" for the "average" consumer who is looking for something like this.

    It's basically a motorcycle. Benefits? Size, portability, stability, low maintenance. Negatives? Low storage (cheap external HDD? Solved), low processing power (only if you're into serious editing).
  16. calichica thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2011
    So I dropped by a department store today to check out the Macs they had... and the Air is SO tiny! It doesn't really look like a real computer ... haha.

    I'm still torn. It doesn't look like something I could use as a primary computer, but it seems plenty of people who are light users (like me) do use it for that. The screen (I was looking at the 11") was also almost too small for me. My current laptop is 12" so I didn't think it would be a big difference, but it was. For the people who own the 11" Air, do you get used to the tiny screen? Is it a problem to have multiple applications open at the same time and switch back and forth easily b/c of the size?

    Surprisingly, when I actually had my hands on them, I liked the white MacBook. It felt more like a real laptop than the Air. I don't know I liked it better than the Pro I tried out -- maybe I am just used to them because a lot of my friends have them.

    Thanks everyone! This is very informative but makes it hard to choose as everyone has such a different opinion ...
  17. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603


    Mar 22, 2010
    Id get the Air. You can buy a USB External OD for 30 bucks.
  18. Wormald macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2011
    Re: The optical drive - you could pick up a £20 ($25-30) external DVD writer, which is a third of the price of the Superdrive Apple pimps with the Air.
  19. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Well since you don't have a MB right now, I'm assuming you don't know about expose or spaces.


    Spaces is basically virtual desktops; it allows you to have multiple desktops that you can pan or slide to at any point in time. Think sliding homescreens with iPhone or Android.

    Right now I have the bottom corner to move all windows to the side to see the desktop, top left brings all of my applications (in that space) into view (this allows you to have multiple programs up at once and easily see what you have and what you want) and top right brings me into spaces. From spaces you can go back to top left and show all open applications on the computer. It's very nice and once you get the hang of it you don't have to go hunting for that application you left open.
  20. Ach111es macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2010
    Pretty solid analogy!

    Unfortunately the MBA doesn't share a few key features: lower price (than car). Other than that its spot on. Speed is better, but strength (horses and torque) is lower. It gets a little less range (life) because it's slimmer

    The new ones should address the power issue though with the ULV iSeries
  21. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    I'm definitely excited; and yea, I love using analogies (specifically car ones because there are so many options and everyone's familiar with them) to explain the differences of... well basically everything.

    As soon as I sell this MB Ill be reading news sites daily to jump on the new Airs as soon as they come out.
  22. Monkeychemist macrumors member


    Jun 27, 2011
    you wouldn't have to keep it with you at all times. Just unload things you don't use all the time/backups on the external and leave it at home. Then you mba is ultra portable and if it runs short on space you've got the solution in your room
  23. islanders macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2006
    Charleston, SC
    With the MacBooks rumored to also be updated that might be something to consider. I know I will if it has the same screen as the Air and more ports, etc.

    I just got a MBP 2010 rufurb with anteglare screen. Everything is great except the antiglare screen.. I could work around the 5400 rpm harddrive but can't live with the antiglare.. oh well.. on to something else..

  24. calichica thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2011
    So after seeing the 11¨ in person and how tiny it really is, I can't imagine using it as a primary computer. Now I am thinking the MBA 13¨might be better for me. The only thing that gives me pause is the lack of optical drive, but I suppose I can buy an external one.

    How much is the current 13¨ 128gb model likely to drop by once the new model is released? Any estimates?
  25. bigp9998 macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2007
    I would not recommend anyone using an 11" computer as a primary machine. The screen is just too small. However, I do think that optical drives are on their way out and that an MBA is the better choice.

    So I would suggest either going with the 13" MBA or else getting an external monitor to connect the 11" when you are home.

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