Base Model 13" Air for College Student?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by SpectreOne3, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. SpectreOne3 macrumors member

    Sep 2, 2012
    My wife is returning to school to pursue a graduate degree.

    Would the base model Air fit her needs? She needs to be able to use Office, access online class stuff, pretty basic needs.
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The MBS should be fine, though I'd think the rMBP would be a better option due to the superior screen
  3. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013

    Asking that question on Macrumors invites answers from tech geeks. Considering a new MBA may be released in less than 2 months (beginning of june), I would strongly recommend against getting a 2013 MBA right now, if not to get the new iteration, but at least to get a better price on the old model. This is only my opinion, and if she really needs it right now, I would get a rMBP for 150$ more. Just please, don't get a 2013 MBA, which hasn't had a major redesign since its conception in 2008, two months before a major redesign! Granted, there may not be a redesign, but it seems as if there will be.

    TL;DR: Wait until June, unless you can't.

  4. SpectreOne3 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 2, 2012

    I'm totally on board with the idea of waiting to see if a new release is coming out though in the grand scheme of things I can't imagine anything in the new (other than retina) that will differ enough from the current that will make a difference to her.

    Good info though, thanks!
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    My advice would be somewhat different. The OP asked whether the 'base model' 13" MBA would be sufficient for his wife's needs when she returns to college.

    I have to say that the current models of the MBA are completely unrecognisable (apart from external appearance) from the original design in 2008. They have been improved in term o memory, power, speed, battery life, beyond all recognition.

    My recommendation, for what it is worth, especially if finance may be an issue and time is not too pressing, is to wait for the update, whatever they appear, and then buy, not the base model from 2013, but a more enhanced model, with greater storage and more RAM - say a 256 HDD hard drive and 8 GB RAM.

    If new models are introduced, older models may experience a price drop, and you may be able to get a far better specification for the money you are prepared to spend today. In any case, the battery life alone in the 13" MBA is astounding - I easily get 10-12 hours a day from mine, and 8 GB RAM will give you a blazing fast computer. A larger memory - such as 256 SSD - will also make it more stable, a lot better and much faster.
  6. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    Based on rumors, apple may release a new laptop category in June. From a purely economic standpoint, if you get a 2013 MBA after the 2014 model releases, it will be cheaper.

    The MBA is a great computer. I had a 2010 MBA until a few months ago when I gave it to a family member, and I sometimes wish I could take it back. I'm sure your wife will love the 2013 model. Like I said, if she needs it right now, sure, go for it. If you can wait for two months, the new model will, in high probability, be a better computer. I understand that tech is always improving, so at some point you have to stop waiting and actually buy something. On a small scale, especially if you can wait, then why not hold out for a better product?

    That is just how I feel about tech. Of course, if you or your wife couldn't care less about the computer as long as it meets your needs, then the MBA will greatly exceed your expectations.

    You asked two questions. Should you get a 2013 MBA for a college student? I say no, or at least wait to see your options if it doesn't hurt. Will it fit her needs? Absolutely.
  7. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    There are no new CPU's coming out in June so I'd find it hard to believe that Apple is going to release a new Air.

    2013 was a pretty big upgrade: 12 hour battery, 802.11ac, PCIe-SSD, HD5000 graphics...

    Maybe a 12" model with the existing hardware? Maybe. Work the bugs out before they throw a new CPU and chipset in there.

    They're probably worried more about the phones right now.
  8. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Echoing others, yes it will work, but wait. (But I'm suggesting it for a different reason).

    First, despite all the grumbling, there's nothing wrong with the current design of the MacBook Air. The Air really is the best all-around computer out there for the average user. The screen is average for an Apple product, but it's still miles better than your run-of-the-mill PC laptop. It's a great balance between performance, size/ weight and style. The retina is a great machine, don't get me wrong. You can't lose either way, but for my money, I'd stick with the Air.

    Second, if the rumored 12" Retina Air is released, it will be a Revision A product. Historically, new products will have bugs that need to be worked out. Stick with what works, or your wife runs the risk of having those issues pop up during the middle of writing a paper or doing an assignment.

    Third, at the very worst, you get a better deal on the existing 2013 Air model. The price will drop, you buy a refurbished model, or you take advantage of the annual back-to-school sale and get a new 2014 Air model (if Apple does another spec bump.
  9. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009

    Your wife will be perfectly happy with a 2013 MBA. If I were in your shoes, however, I'd go for a 256GB SSD and (optionally) 8GB of RAM. The former because 128GB really isn't much, the latter for resale value and/or future-proofing.

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