Best laptop for a college student

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by NickPhamUK, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. NickPhamUK macrumors 6502


    May 6, 2013
    Business student here, and I'll need a notebook which will last for 3-4 years during my studies. I've narrowed down my choices to MBA 13", rMBP 13" and rMBP 15". I'm more inclined towards rMBP 13". Reasons are:
    1. MBA is great with 12h battery life, portability and price, but the non-inclusion of a retina display (or at least 1080p) puts me off. If next year Apple releases retina display on MBA then I might feel crappy. Not future-proof.
    2. rMBP 15" is the strongest laptop of the three, but the price is a bit too high. I have enough budget to cover it, but I have a feeling that the quad core chip and HD 5200 might be a little too overkill for me. My usage is mild with some casual gaming here and there, pages + itunes + safari + iphoto + imovie will cover most of my needs. Also, the 15" screen, whilst being great when watching films, is a tad large (not too sure if I'll feel comfortable in class, when carrying or when travelling).

    What do you think? In addition, do you think I should get an iPad instead (and get an iMac at home?
  2. Romulus macrumors regular

    Nov 10, 2006
    It sounds to me like you have your answer already... 13 rMBP is a great choice for everybody, especially if you wait for the Haswell cpu. For business school, the MBA is probably all you will need and provides a little bit more mobility. As far as iPad - not the best thing for spreadsheets and taking notes - doable, but not the best.

    Ooh - the choices... and it's all your choice - to be honest, can't really go wrong with any of those choices. The work hasn't really changed in 5 years, and remember, your predecessors did the same work on a C2D Macbook... you will be way ahead...
  3. jahall05 macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2013
    I am a business student and I chose the cMBP. Do you need the retina display? If so, then the rMBP is perfect for you.

    Here is why I chose the cMBP:

    It is big enough to serve my needs and I like the idea of popping the bottom cover off and replacing the RAM, HDD, and Battery.

    If you do not care about these features then the rMBP is perfect, otherwise, save the money and get the cMBP!
  4. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    It's amazing how after all these years, those of us not using retina displays have managed to get anything done on our macs, avoid professional mental therapy and, get on with our lives. (Hard to believe, I know! :eek:)

    As a student, you are a perfect candidate for the MBA. It was made for you. The form factor and battery life make me wish I was a student again. (walking 150 miles every day uphill in blizzards carrying stone tablets and chisels was rough!)

    As a biz student though, I'd max it out w/8GB Ram to run MS-Windows virtually.

    As far as "future-proofing" goes... the software you get with that MBA today, will run exactly the same 4 years from now. And Universities are notorious for using old legacy-ware, as are a lot of businesses.

    Uh... nix the "pages" app for university.

    The 15" is a beast on a small desk. If you sit at the front of the class everyone behind you will feel like they're at an old-time Drive-In theatre.

    Take the savings from getting the MBA and apply it to anything you want.
  5. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    Regardless of what Mac you get, get MS Office. In B-School and later on everything will be Word and Excel. Check with your bookstore to see if they sell it at a discount. You could even get through for a couple months with OpenOffice until they likely release Office for Mac 2014. The 2011 version is decent but getting outdated. You could even get 365 university (4 years instead of 1) and change to 2014 when it's released.

    As far as which Mac to get, either the 13" Air or the 13" retina. As you said the 15" is overkill for business. I would lean toward the 13" retina.

    I don't have an iPad, but I could see how they would be good for business students to get used to. My dad is a CPA and got one from his company.

    Do consider that you don't /need/ retina. I'm a senior and have gotten through with a 2009 MBP with a C2D. Up until recently I had 2gb RAM. It is possible to function in college without the latest and greatest ;)
  6. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Unless you really need a Mac, don't get one. Business students usually get by on cheaper Windows PC. No, this is not a sarcasm post.

    Try Lenovo. Buy an iPad with the $$ you save from not buying a Mac.
  7. iPoopeh macrumors regular


    Aug 7, 2010
    If you are willing to wait until October, the rMBP 13'' shall have improved battery life if you're concerned about that. ^ ^

    I recommend using Microsoft Word for Mac instead of Pages. :) Usually Universities give you a copy for free, check out their IT section and see. As for the size of the 15'', it's not too big, and feels comfortable in class (On the lap, when surfing the net and taking notes in Word), and this is coming from a girl that doesn't go to the gym! ^ ^ You should be fine if you wanted some more screen real estate.

    Well would you use your iPad to take notes & complete homework? I tried going to school for a week without a laptop and try to do everything from my iPod. I didn't complete anything while I was at college, I had to come home and work from my iMac. It's more of a pain (and waste of gas) & a hassle. It's better to have some kind of laptop with you to work with.
  8. scbond macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2010
    Nottingham, UK
    I agree with this. While a Mac would suit just fine, the sorts of jobs you'd be looking at after your degree would mainly be using Windows. I doubt you'd be running software that suits a Mac better. That said, if you really want a Mac for personal preference then go for it.
  9. NickPhamUK, Aug 31, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013

    NickPhamUK thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 6, 2013
    Thanks everyone for your opinions!

    I realised that recently there've been lots of Law students asking here what Mac to get and people are ok with them using Mac. But are not ok with me :confused:.

    Someone commented that I should get cheaper Windows PC, which makes sense because the idea of saving cost should always be in a business student mind. :rolleyes:. However:

    1. As far as I can tell admission tutors didn't specifically say in email that I have to buy a Windows PC :(

    2. There is a big Apple shop inside our campus... So tempting... I'll get some discount as a student as well... :eek:

    3. I owned a MBP 2008 and MBA 2011. So apparently I'm an avid Mac user. If I were to switch back to Windows my choice would be Sony Vaio (like those Vaio Duo and Pro). Design and build quality is my first priority when checking out a machine :p

    4. Which results in the fact that I don't like business class laptops such as Lenovo Thinkpad and HP Elitebook (how ironic, isn't it?). I'm all in for consumer laptops with beautiful, eye-catching designs... :(

    5. I searched "best laptops for business" (and everyone knows that Windows still dominates business) and to my surpise MacBook Pro with Retina and MacBook Air are always in the list. Which makes me think that Office for Mac will suffice (and if one really needs to install Windows-only apps, then bootcamp. Bam!)

    6. I know this might sound stupid but American films like to feature Macs being used in offices so why isn't Mac allowed for a business student like me :mad:.

    Enough ranting, maybe I'll take MacBook Air to save cost (isn't that supposed to be a business student's first thought :rolleyes:?)
  10. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Not true. Some people prefer the Mac OS and everything else that comes with buying a Mac. I could easily get by with Windows. But I am not willing to do that. Not in a million years.

    If someone can afford it, then they should get what they prefer.
  11. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    Don't let anyone tell you that you HAVE to buy Windows. For the longest time businesses used Windows exclusively because you couldn't add Macs to a network with Windows. Now it doesn't matter as much. iPads have become very popular with business people who travel.

    If OS X is what you're used to, then stick with it. My experience is that your peers will need to replace their machines in 2-3 years when you will almost definitely be able to get an Apple to last until graduation. All you really need is Office for Mac. If you ever have up run a Windows program there's boot camp or parallels or there should be plenty of Windows machines on campus you can use.

    Definitely take advantage of the shop on campus. They should be running some good hardware and software deals. Don't trust them for repairs if they offer them though. Always use a real Apple Store or a highly reliable authorized service provider.
  12. NickPhamUK thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 6, 2013
    Thank you for understanding my situation. As far as I'm concerned, more and more businesses are running Macs. It's not an exclusive game for Windows now. My high school library and many small/medium enterprises I know use only iMacs.

    There's nothing Windows can do that Mac can't, except for gaming on OSX. There are some good titles on OSX though, and you can still use Wine. For better fps and experience, I would fire up bootcamp. Or if I were that into gaming, I would buy an Alienware/Sager/Asus G75. Not a cheap Windows PC.

    Many people say "save cost", but I'm not too sure why Macs are expensive. Sure, they are expensive compared to cheap Windows counterpart, but you pay for the quality. I owned both MBP 2008, MBA 2011, Acer from 2007; my dad has a Vaio and my mum a Thinkpad. Macbook lasts ages. And you don't need to bother about viruses. I've never had to repair my MBP 2008 even once. The build quality is top notch.

    And in terms of price, many people should recognise that the game is changing. Macbook Air is the cheapest (and the best) ultrabook now.
  13. jav6454, Aug 31, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013

    jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    You are apparently diluted into the whole "Windows Blows" ordeal. Get over yourself.

    Windows does some things very nicely, and business applications are one of those things. Remember, Office and Windows started out for office and business usage, not creative usage as Apple did.

    My statement stands, save on the laptop, get the iPad.

    While that may hold true, not all software runs on a Mac. Proprietary software of many business is still (and for a long time) Windows-only. General usage software is of course evolving to encompass all platforms.

    True you pay for quality, but in the education world, save on what you can. In your case it makes little sense for a business student to get a Mac. Save now, get the Mac later (when you are employed and making big bucks). Now, some college students do get Macs, but it is mostly rich kids or kids whose majors require Macs almost exclusively (or have as a requirement a Mac).

    Me as an engineering student I regretted and at the same time glorified my decision to buy a Mac. Sure it has lasted me since Late 2008 when I bought it, but I became cash strapped for two months while I recovered the cash I blew (I didn't buy it on credit) on it.

    I would highly recommend iPad + PC deal. If you really want a Mac, then wait and save up more and get the 15" Retina.
  14. Spacial macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2013
    If Apple interests you, either the 13" or 15" MacBook Pro models with retina display are a good choice. I've been enjoying the 15" I have for the wide variety of work I use it for. The reliability and usefulness has been as good as any other laptop I've had to date.
  15. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    You're joking, right? There are reasons I prefer a Mac (one being creative usage like you mentioned). I would be wasting money if I bought a cheap Windows machine under 1000 bucks.

    Are you trying to come in here and tell anyone what they do and do not need? Trust me, I know that I'd be severely unhappy with Windows. There's no need for you to try to tell people that they wouldn't be.
  16. offgray macrumors member

    Aug 23, 2013
    Well.. The guy was asking for some advice.

    But OP: get what you want to get. You want a Mac? Go get a Mac.
    I'd say go get the MBA considering your needs.
  17. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2008
    Ultimately what matters is what OS you feel the most comfortable using, and in which you can get your work done more quickly and efficiently. It sounds like Mac is what you want, so stick with that. Use VMWare Fusion or Bootcamp if you run into any Windows-only situations (which are becoming increasingly rare these days), and as a student you can get a Windows license for a big discount (sometimes even free).

    As for the machine itself, probably a 13" rMBP. I've heard that HiDPI screens are very nice for spreadsheets. But I would suggest going to an Apple store and check out the models on display. Whichever one you like should be fine. It's hard to go wrong with any Mac.

Share This Page