Another MBP vs. MBA thread

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by zulfonwali, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. zulfonwali macrumors newbie

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    Jul 4, 2011
    #1
    Hi all,
    I know you are probably super sick of this topic by now, but I'm wondering if you'd oblige me for just one more go at it. :eek:
    I'm an incoming grad student & managed to finagle a free ride while keeping my job, so while I'm no millionaire I'm not a starving artist either. I'm not a gamer or a video editor or anything like that, but I'm going into a social science program and will probably be using excel and SPSS for mac (I hear that exists, right?). I use netflix instant but I'm terrible at returning the DVDs, so at this point I'm not expecting the optical drive thing to be much of a deciding issue.
    So, given these stats: would you go MBA 11" or MBP 13"? Seems silly to trade portability/design for power, and my understanding is that if I go for an MBP it'll cost a bit less, so I'm thinking I could make up for the loss of portability by buying a kindle. But those MBAs are so gosh darn pretty, and besides, it's pretty much impossible for me to get any work done in my house and I'm going to be living pretty far off campus, so I do expect I'm going to want to carry it around a lot. Based on this info, what would you recommend?
    If I do go for the MBA, I'd want to get the smallest version but have it be somewhat souped up... however, it looks like I'd be able to afford one but not two upgrades (e.g. more RAM or more flash storage, but not more of both). Assuming the refresh doesn't come with 4GB RAM standard, which of the upgrades would you recommend?
    Thanks to all!
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    Is 13" MBA too expensive? Personally, I find 11" screen to be too small to be used as a main computer, even though the resolution is similar to 13" MBP's. The limited storage can also be a big issue for main computer. If it's going to be your main computer and 13" MBA isn't an option, then I would go with the MBP but definitely wait for the MBA update.
     
  3. zulfonwali thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 4, 2011
    #3
    Hi! Thanks for your quick reply. Yeah, the $ issue is what makes the 13" MBA out out of my league. Once you add Office for Mac and apple care, it starts getting too pricey... (well, one could argue that it's already too pricey, but i suppose that's a topic for a different thread :p).
    As for storage, if I went for the air my plan would be to put all my music, photos, etc. on an external hard drive, and also put them on the web on some sort of free cloud service, so I could listen to my music on the move if I wanted to. It seems possible, but also a lot of work... thoughts?
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    Have you found a free, good cloud service then? It might be an option but do the research beforehand so you won't have to regret. If you can fit all in 128GB, then it shouldn't be an issue though.

    IMO external HD setup isn't very convenient so I would go with MBP if the storage is too limited for your needs.
     
  5. Duke15 macrumors 6502

    Duke15

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    #5
    I dont know of any free cloud services, is there any?
     
  6. zulfonwali thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
  7. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #7
    Firstly, I'd recommend the MBA (for sheer portability, as a student; besides, it's a great computer, I have one; and, as you have asked, I'd advise increased SSD).

    Moreover, if you are set on the MBA, there is one further thing you might consider, and it is this: according to all of the savants on these forums, an update of the MBA is due out soon. As funds are an issue, I'd suggest that you wait until the update appears, and then buy the best possible version "maxed out" of the superceded MBA model - in my experience, the price drop should be considerable. I did that with my first Mac, a MBP, three years ago and made a saving of over €400 at the time.

    Good luck with your studies.

    Cheers
     
  8. neteng101 macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Get the MBP 13" if your budget is that tight - get the MBA 13" if you can afford to spend the extra.
     
  9. FX4568 macrumors 6502

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    Sep 6, 2010
    #9
    flip a coin and when in the air, you will know what you want :p

    anyways, the pro isnt as heavy as we think. I mean i love my MBA but its not like the MBP weighs like a textbook. They are both good machines.
    The air is sexy, i love it. 1440x900 really does make a difference and makes up for the backlit. 320m is a little better than current i5 SB processor 3000 HD in the MBP but its nothing much. Also, SDDs make a big difference. But pro has 4GB basic.
    If you are on a budget constraint, go for the pro. 1049 dollars for the baseline is just plain amazing
     
  10. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #10
    I'm a grad student. i have the mbp 13" / 8GB RAM upgrade. I love it. If you are buying today, this is the obvious choice. Tomorrow, the refreshed mba might be better.

    You might also want to consider your workflow.
    1) I usually only bring an ipad, notebook, and pen/pencil to campus each day.
    2) I take notes by hand in the notebook (I remember better this way, and I tend to take better notes) during seminars
    2) In-between seminars, I read on the iPad (I digitize books, journal articles, notes, etc.) while taking handwritten notes.
    3) When I get home, I scan everything in using ScanSnap, and I upload the notes to Evernote.

    Because everything is digitized, I can search it instantly. This is a huge benefit when composing essays. However, this requires a hard drive that will hold it all, and the mba drive is pretty tight (I have over 500GB of digitized stuff that is growing every day).

    The MBP 13" isn't heavy and I still carry it around a lot (I do my best work in coffee shops). However, if I didn't need the memory, I would certainly consider the 11" MBA refresh (I worked through most of graduate school on 10" netbooks, so 11" is more than enough screen space). Because the tiny gain in portability isn't so important to me, I would find it a little difficult to pay more money for the 13" MBA.

    As for cloud services, Sugarsync, Evernote, and Dropbox all have free plans up to a certain amount. Personally, I recommend using Sugarsync for backup. I bought the 60GB plan to hold my most important digitized stuff (irreplaceable digitized items, essays, current work, etc.). It is relatively inexpensive. I also use an external hard drive for Time Machine backups. Basically, even in a worst case scenario, I ought to only lose a few minutes of work.

    I also purchased the premium Evernote plan. It is only 5 dollars a month, and if you get in the habit of storing everything in there it can be a wonderful tool. If your amount of digitized materials is not too large (1GB upload per month), you can upload it there and search it. In that case, an MBA would be more than sufficient. You wouldn't need to worry about storing stuff on your hard drive.
     
  11. zulfonwali thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 4, 2011
    #11
    Wow, thanks for all the great advice! Palpatine, I doubt I'll ever be as organized as you, but I looked at some of those sites you suggested and they seem great. Evernote in particular seems like it would come in handy for searching notes and the like. And Scepticalscribe, I hadn't considered getting a refurbished maxed out version, but it does seem like a great idea -- the late 2010 versions of the Air got very positive reactions, after all. Do you think it's likely that a maxed out version of one of those would be better than the baseline of the new air? Ah well, I guess it's all just speculation until they actually hit the stores...
    By the way, have any of you used Psonar for music storage? (cloud.psonar.com/) It seems like a potential solution for accessing a lot of music on the go without clogging up disk space, but I'm not really sure.
     
  12. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    #12
    Glad I could give you some ideas. Evernote is truly wonderful. It's not perfect, but it is pretty close to it. You may also want to consider VoodooPad if you are interested in creating a personal wiki.

    As for streaming music, Sugarsync does this. Another reason to use it for your backup :)
     
  13. zulfonwali thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 4, 2011
    #13
    Wow, that's fantastic! Seems like a combo of evernote and sugarsync with the air could be a good way to go, provided I stay organized. I don't know so much about computers, though, and as I haven't started yet it's hard for me to figure out if the sugarsync and evernote plans you recommended would be enough to obviate clogging the hard drive. do you mostly use your mbp for gradschool, or are you in need of a bigger hard drive for other reasons?
     
  14. zulfonwali thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 4, 2011
    #14
    Oh wait, I see now that sugarsync posts stats re: how many songs etc. it can hold...though it's unclear if it's all of those things at once (e.g. 6,000 documents AND 10,000 photos AND 10,000 songs) or not.
     
  15. PharmDoc macrumors 6502

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    Oct 10, 2010
    #15
    Hi Everybody

    With all this being said, has anybody here regretted buying a air vs a pro or vice versa, and if you did, why? I'm waiting for the new airs to be released as the wife wants something really light and portable. I was looking at the 13 MBP myself. Thanks.
     
  16. Nostromo macrumors 65816

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    #16
    The display of the current MBP 13" looks much better than the display of the current MBA 13".

    The thinness of the MBA display is probably a reason. Yes, the resolution of the MBA is higher, but it's not all about resolution.

    What I'm curious about is the processing power of the new 13" MBA. Will this be enough to run serious video editing applications like FCP X?

    Will it get FireWire800 and/or Thunderbolt? I'd say yes to Thunderbolt, would wish FireWire800 (but am not too optimistic about it).
     
  17. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #17
    It is not that I have regretted any particular purchase, but that I realised that for what I do on a computer, I prefer certain features over others.

    In April 2008, as a belated birthday present, when I "switched" to Apple, I bought a 15" MBP which was easily the nicest and best computer I have had. I remember looking at the MBA with interest, (Rev A) but it was too low spec, and expensive at the time; early reviews were mixed, and some teething problems had to be sorted out. But I did like the form factor and the weight - or lack, there of - was stunning.

    I was sent abroad for over two years in September 2008 - to a Windows only environment so my MBP stayed put. However, I watched the various upgrades and revisions to the MBA with interest, and had decided by early 2010 to add a Rev C to my MBP.

    Anyway, I bought the Rev C in September 2010, around a month before the revolutionary new models were released and have been very happy with it. So happy, in fact, that I realised I was hardly using my MBP and thus didn't need it; the MBA had become my main computer and I use it daily for everything.

    This doesn't mean I didn't like the MBP; I loved it, it was just, that - for what I do - I didn't need it. There was no real regret - just regret that I didn't need two computers.

    Re the MBA, the plusses are the weight (I travel a lot and weight is an issue), the stunning form factor, the excellent screen resolution, the speed of the SSD (lightning fast when compared to the MBP); minuses are power (but I'm not a gamer, and any video I watch tends to be current affairs, documentaries or news programmes, not a problem in the west, where internet connections are very good, but a problem in some of the places where I have worked), and limited battery life (but I understand that this has been remedied in the 2010 models).

    Hope this is of some assistance.

    Cheers
     
  18. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

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    #18
    Bold statement on the displays. I disagree ad the MBA is much better. Most reviews agree with me. But to each is own.
     
  19. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    #19
    sugarsync and evernote are extremely easy to use, they have good track records over the last few years, there is plenty on the internet about how to make the most of them (especially evernote), and you can start out with the free plans.

    the numbers offered by sugarsync don't mean a whole lot, because file sizes vary, and i think they just offer it as a guideline. the idea is to get a plan that fits the amount of data you want to sync. start with the free plan, give it a try, and after you have synced some of your stuff you will have a good idea of what you need if you want to go to the paid version (i have the 60gb plan).

    as for evernote, that is interesting because you get a 1GB upload a month and the amount is CUMULATIVE. this means that at the end of four years of college, if you have made sure within each monthly cycle to max out your uploads, you can have as much as 48GB on the evernote servers (1x12x4). i take notes by hand, scan them, and upload them to evernote. i usually have tons of room leftover, so i also upload articles, handouts, scans of important papers, etc. to use up my space. naturally, the longer you use it the more you can move off your hdd and put on the cloud. remember to keep a backup of the information in an external hdd just in case, though.

    mostly for gradschool. i accumulate massive amounts of data every day.
     
  20. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    #20
    regarding regrets, i think it is win-win situation for me. i am glad i moved to apple from windows, and i am sure i would be happy with either model.the 13" models aren't so far apart on size/weight (in my opinion). they are both reasonably priced (in my opinion) as well.
     
  21. PharmDoc macrumors 6502

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    #21

    Yes it is. Thank you! I had never even considered the air until about a few days ago when my brother in law was presenting a slide show on his. I guess my main concern about the air has always been processing power and storage. I'm not going to do any video editing but I want to run parallels. I guess that can be put to rest as I read this and other MBA threads. Now the wait continues for the new one to be released.
     
  22. PharmDoc macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Yea you are right. No regrets with Apple !:) I think I will stick with the new air and possibly get a MBP next year if a revision is released. I don't know how apple can make the exterior look any better on the MBPs so it will be interesting to see what happens then.
     
  23. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    #23
    The Mbps are beautiful, and I don't know what apple could change either. If you buy an MBA now, I doubt you'll need an mbp later. Their capabilities overlap so much, I'd say ( unless you have unlimited funds) one or the other would be best.
     
  24. PharmDoc, Jul 7, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011

    PharmDoc macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Yea, I'm sure that one would suffice...but that's the problem with Apple... their products often tempt you so that want them, even if you don't need them.

    Maybe I'll start a "Should I sell my MBA so I can buy the new MBP thread?" in a few months. LOL
     

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