Base 13" 2012 mbp v base 13" 2012 air?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Danando1993, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. Danando1993 macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2010
    Buying a laptop for university and its come down to a base model 2012 13 inch macbook air or macbook pro.

    mbr: i5, 2.5GHz, 4GB, 500GB, superdrive
    mba: i5, 1.8GHz, 4GB, 128GB flash

    Both are £1000 but ill be using student discount to get some money off, my question is for the same price which is the better laptop?

    It would be used for basic stuff email, world, basic internet surfing, itunes, some photo editing maybe with photoshop (could they handle photoshop?).

    The fact the air is lighter and more portable doesn't bother me I just want the better laptop for my money.

  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    It really comes down to what you value more - portability vs. limited future upgradeability for the MBP (vs. almost none for the MBA). For your uses either one will be perfectly fine performance-wise.
  3. Danando1993 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2010
    I don't mind not being able to upgrade, I just want to know which is the best overall performer. Is the better processor in the mbp a bigger advantage over the SSD in the air? will I even notice the SSD?

    just simple questions and answers which will show which of them is better for their price.

    Thanks for the reply :eek:
  4. logicpro7 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2006
    London UK
    13" mbp... Its easily upgradable.

    It is £859 in the Apple Uk Edu store with 3 year warranty and a free £70 iTunes card. Go through Quidco and also get another £30 cashback.

    Sell the iTunes card for £50, sell the 500gb HDD and use the cashback to pay for a Samsung 830 256gb ssd. And in the future you can put 16gb memory in there too. :)
  5. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011

    This comparison will show you that the 13" MBP and MBA are very similar and the difference comes down to processor speed. Sure, the MBA has a SSD, but each of the base models use the same GPU that shares memory with the system. Because of this, I would recommend the MBP.

    And yes, there is more expandability with the MBP and chances for modification in the future. This would make the money you spend go father especially when it comes to making sure you can continue to use a computer even past its perceived life expectancy. I would always go with the MBP over the MBA.
  6. Glockron macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2012
    For you, the MBA anyday

    I was in this position just a month ago. I went for the Air and regret nothing.

    I'd definately go for the Air. Yes - it is less upgradable, but it is still the superior machine in my opinion.

    I feel - and again this is opinion - that the 13" Pro is an obsolete machine compared to the Air. It offers very few benefits - the major being the upgradability.

    Other than that, the Pro can only offer a slightly faster CPU, and added I/O in the form of Ethernet and an optical drive.

    The Air, on the other hand, boasts a better display (higher resolution, and without the glossy black bezel). It has much faster drive speeds leading to near instant app-launches, and significantly faster boot times - which you will find yourself appreciating very often.

    The 2012 13" Air is a remarkable machine. It is fast enough for everything I do - which involves web development, and light photoshop like you said.

    Even the i5 model has a CPU which supports HyperThreading, and thus has four virtual cores.

    It is also worth noting that the Air has the exact same graphics card as the 13" Pro.

    Design is a matter of taste, but I like the silver bezel and tapered design of the Air. The tapered design is nice for typing (which you do a lot of in uni) as the keyboard is at a slant. Typing is unnatural on the 13" Pro.

    All in all - unless you plan to do video editing or professional photoshop (which you wouldn't do on a 13" anyway) - get the Air.

    Final addition : The SSD on the Air is in fact upgradeable.

    EDIT: I saw you asked if the SSD is noticeable. YES. Much more so than the processor difference. Apps launch almost instantly, and boots are very quick. Everything just seems swift. Plus - SSD Macs can sleep for longer and use PowerNap in Mountain Lion
  7. Danando1993 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2010
    Thanks for all the replies there really helping, it comes down to being able to upgrade, having an SSD or having a better processor and I really have no idea which of them I want or would be best for me :confused:
  8. logicpro7 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2006
    London UK
    I use the 13" for pro audio and video with no problems.
  9. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    You've missed two important specs:
    1280 x 800
    1440 x 900

    That is quite a big step up - 1440x900 is the same resolution as the 15" Pro.

    I'm assuming (maybe incorrectly?) this is the first time you have been to University? You will appreciate the weight difference if you have to carry it anywhere. Thinner also means that if you are carrying it in a bag you can get more of your other stuff in.

    A 13" Pro with the Samsung 830 SSD upgrade discussed above and 16GB RAM will put the Air to the sword - no doubt about that. But you can never upgrade the Pro to increase the resolution of the screen, nor can you remove the glossy glass from in front of the panel, nor can you make it thinner or lighter.

    At the end of the day it is about picking the best overall computer. Between the two in 9/10 cases it will be the Air. This is what the Verge say:
    Finally - if you can I would wait (normally term starts in mid/late September?). Wait and see what the Retina Pro brings and how it is priced.
  10. Liquinn Suspended

    Apr 10, 2011
    Yeah but with the Pro, you can always upgrade the RAM down the road/post purchase.
  11. Tubamajuba macrumors 68020

    Jun 8, 2011
    Done with MacRumors, the trolls have won
    I'm going to try to not repeat what the other posters have already pointed out, but I'm pretty sure you can already figure that you won't regret either purchase.

    One thing to point out is that the MBP has a built-in optical drive, while the MBA will require an external drive (sold separately). If that's not an issue, you might want to consider the Air.

    I personally own the 2012 13" MBP and it is by far the best computer I have ever owned. The screen resolution took a little getting used to (my prior laptop was a 17" with a 1600x900 screen) but it's not an issue at all now. The color reproduction on the MBP's screen is superior than the MBA's screen, for what it's worth to you. I love knowing that I can easily upgrade the RAM, replace the hard drive with a solid state drive, take out the optical drive and add yet another hard drive or solid state drive, etc. Future upgradability is a big deal for me, and that is why I chose the MBP.

    So to reiterate- both machines are great choices. You'll be happy with either one!
  12. Danando1993 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2010
    To be honest im favouring the mbp slightly more now as the fact that some upgrades could be made in the future are a bonus though I don't know how likely it is ill be upgrading it.

    I do know that they both have different resolutions and that a 13 inch retina pro could be released but im pretty sure that would be too expensive for my university budget :p

    Still torn between the two though, I doubt ill see much of a difference in performance in the two so I its a win win situation with whatever I buy its just pulling the trigger and choosing is what im struggling with.

    Really appreciate all the helpful replies :D
  13. macrominnie macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2010

    They are both nice machines.

    I compared both literally side by side in an Apple store. When I ran routine stuff ( safari, pages, quicktime, itunes), I was very surprised at how much zippier the MBP 13" was. And this was with the 500 GB HD in the MBP. Looking at the specs, I would have expected little difference for simple uses, or even advantage to the MBA due to the SSD.

    Swapping in an SSD would make the base 13" MBP faster yet.

    Counterpoint: The MBA 13" screen is notably better, especially if you don't the regular option of using an external monitor at home. It's more than the resolution. The MBA screen is less "glossy", closer to the matte screens, for those who prefer it. To my eyes, the 2012 MBA 13" screen looked better in the store lighting than the glossy 15" RETINA MBP screen.

    My very slight general preference would be the MBP, for my situation. But look at the screens side by side. If you go for the MBA, go for the 8 GB RAM if you can get it. That will give more leeway if your performance demands go up.

Share This Page