College: MBA + Imac or MBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ShadowedSight, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. ShadowedSight macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2011
    Hey guys, I've been saving up my money through out high school so when I go to college, I would be able to buy a Mac. I'm going for Photography and I originally was liking the idea of the top of the line MBP with the 1680x1050 screen. However, looking at pricing, I could get the aformentioned laptop, or a refurbished MBA and 27" Imac for roughly the same price.

    I see the benefit of only having one machine, however I do like the MBA air idea for simple note taking. Then when I would have to do photo edits, I could go back to the dorm and fire up the Imac.

    I'm really on the fence about this decision, so any help or thoughts from you guys would be greatly appreciated. For a photography major, MBP or MBA and Imac?
  2. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    If the price is the same, I personally would go for the MBA-iMac combo. Use dropbox or something similar to keep whatever documents you have synched, and you're good to go.
  3. iLucas macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2011

    Being a photography major, you will love the giant 27" screen of the iMac to edit your photos. The refurbished air will be great for note taking
  4. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I'd say just the MBP, and get a separate monitor as well if you want. Two computers would just end up being a pain to manage, plus it's often difficult to actually take notes in class on a computer. I find pen and paper just works best for that. Plus, I'm not sure what school you're going to, but just a 24" monitor would be a very tight fit on my desk. I have a 20", which is big enough, plus it doesn't take up too much space, but a 27" iMac wouldn't even be close to fitting.
  5. Teggy macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2006
    Assuming you will be walking to a lot of classes, I would make every effort to have a light computer that purpose. Lugging around a full-size laptop gets old very fast. If you can afford the combo, I'd definitely go for it.
  6. torbjoern macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2009
    The Black Lodge
    If I were you, I would go with the combo of MB Air + iMac, given that the price is the same.
  7. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    Definitely the iMac and Air combo. Syncing files is really easy (I sync files using DropBox perfectly happilly between my MacBook Air, Mac Pro and MacBook) - the 27" screen is fantastic (I have the same panel on my Mac Pro in my Cinema Display - and for everything but super-accurate print-color correction its fantastic - but if you were going to do that youd want an EIZO monitor or similar with the calibration built-in (And a MBP wouldnt be any better anyway). The 27" iMac also lets you get a lot more done (especially tedious gen-ed and background papers you have to write - having the large screen makes getting references etc much much easier).
  8. rcappo macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2010
    I would be on the fence too. :)

    I have a 17" MBP with SSD, and I like it a lot, and it is smaller (less weight) than the laptop I had back in college. :p I have carried this MBP all over the place through airports and other places. And I put it in a backpack for bike rides to the library.

    However, I have a 37" LCD monitor a home that I connect it to, and that is what I edit photos on.
  9. IngerMan macrumors 65816


    Feb 21, 2011
    Combo for the same price..... How could you beat that?
  10. Big D 51 macrumors 6502a

    Big D 51

    Jan 15, 2011
    Mobile, AL
  11. solowmodel macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2011
    Have done both, although not a photography major (far from actually).

    Would advise the MBA + iMac combo.
  12. atticus18244fsa macrumors 6502


    Jul 11, 2008
    Waterloo, ON
    Kinda Off Topic But:
    What exactly does a photography major do in College?
  13. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    I'm going with the minority here and suggesting the MBP and a LCD to connect when you are at your desk. Don't forget that no matter which one you get you'll need to spend some money on a backup system. I think the MBP, LCD, Keyboard and Mouse along with a backup system would be a smarter balance of your money. The Air is pretty limited, you won't be doing much photo editing on it unless you are very patient.

    Anyway, doesn't the college you'll be attending have computer labs full of iMacs and Mac Pros? Mine does and the students are required to use them in class. When they leave its a different story though.
  14. kuebby macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2007
    I'd definitely go with the iMac, but unless you're really planning on doing a lot of computing on the MBA I would consider an iPad instead, that's what I have and I love it. Having 2 computers can just be a pain because there's no good way to sync them, whereas the iPad has that functionality built in. That being said it's fine for doing a little note taking on but I wouldn't want to do any real computing/work on my iPad.
  15. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    The MBA and iMac makes the most sense if you're thinking rationally and logically. 1 laptop that can do everything you throw at it or a smaller, more portable laptop to have when you're out and a more powerful desktop when you're back home?

    Hell, I'd sell my blackbook and get the Air/iMac combo if I could. I'm a college student as well and as much as I love my blackbook, I would give anything to shave off a few pounds. The backpack gets quite heavy when you have that, a charger, books and supplies in it as well.
  16. IngerMan macrumors 65816


    Feb 21, 2011
    I have a iMac and a MBA. I use the cloud to access my work documents such as pdf, word, excel, and e drawings. As far as my iphoto and imovie, I keep the iMac as the main storage and downloader. I did find it too tedious and slow to share the iphoto library amongst both, I imagine it would be even worse for iMovie. So I use a usb to download photos and movies that I want to keep on the Air. In the end I think if you have 2 machines you need to prioritize one as the master machine. Sometimes I download pictures on the Air and edit. But as soon as I am done, I transfer those to the iMac because that is my master machine.
  17. Yumunum macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2011
    What if you just waited a bit for the BTS discount that apparently might include $200 off an iPad? Buy the computer you really want (for all uses) then get an iPad + Bluetooth keyboard for note taking. Way cheaper. Just my 2% of a dollar.
  18. macman312 macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia --> Cincinnati,OH

    How about a Ipad 32/64GB wifi+3G and the Imac

    The ipad is lighter for note taking +you can put your itunes on it rather than having 2 computers just note take on your ipad then put it on dropbox and open it on your imac
    The Imac 27" would be perfect for photo editing
  19. mgipe macrumors demi-god


    Oct 6, 2009
    I personally would go with the iMac and MBA combo. The processor and display of the iMac will do you well for photo processing, and the MBA is the ultimate portable for everything else.
  20. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    I personally have gone from a MBP and iPad combo to the iMac and MBA combo, and I like it much better. Dropbox is always a good way to keep things synced, and obviously sharing folders is there too. Once Lion comes out, sharing will get even easier with Airdrop, which I am actually really excited about.
  21. fkhan3 macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2010
    27" iMac for power and MBA for portability, you can't beat that!
  22. applewins macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2011
    I'd highly recommend going for the iMac + MBA, that's what I'm going to do this year. Of course, that's just possible if your budget allows you to spend that much money. But you can't beat the power of an iMac and the portability of a MBA, with this combination you'll be able to do everything. In addition, the MBA isn't that weak, video editing "on-the-go" is possible too.
    Keep in mind, that the MBA is going to be refreshed very soon, likely it will get Sandy-Bridge processors -> extra boost in speed.

    With the new iCloud-system becoming avaiable this fall, it will be no problem at all to keep these 2 devices synced. Even without iCloud it isn't that much work to use the new "airdrop"-function in OS X Lion -> you don't even have to use a USB-Stick.

    I can't recommend buying an iPad instead of a MBA (in addition to your iMac). You can't use the benefits of a whole OS on the iPad. Let's say you're going to do photo or video-editing on your device with a program that you've got from college -> you'll likely won't be able to install it on your iPad.
    Plus, The iWork and iMovie -Apps on the iPad are light-versions, with the MBA you get the whole version. Typing on an iPad for hours is not very handy too. On an MBA you are able to use USB-Sticks, if you have to copy stuff from your MBA to a friend in college. No chance with an iPad on that.

    If you don't have enough money for 2 devices I'd recommend buying a MBP. Keep in mind that a MBP has a DVD-Drive, a MBA doesn't (well, you can buy an external one, but why you don't buy a MBP in this case?). The MBP is heavy but if you're looking at processing speed, the MBP is almost up head to head with a base-model iMac.

    But if you have an iMac at home, don't go for the MBP, the MBA is just super-thin and works fine for taking notes, surfing, photos, videos, etc. It fit's in every school-bag, and it's even lighter than most books. It has a 16:9 display, a FULL-SIZED keyboard and a multitouch trackpad. With the upcoming ugrade do SB-processors it will hopefully get a huge boost in processing-speed and maybe the battery and storage are getting even better/higher.

    To sum up: Go for:
    iMac + MBA



    An iPhone or iPod could be helpful as well. I found a lot of nice Apps for highschool (like dictonaries for biology-tests or translators for French-tests). I think it's important, that you can takes photos in class and add them to your notes later on. I bought (with my iMac) a HP printer/scanner too - you'll need a printer and a scanner for 100%. Especially when you're going to work with a lot of books or papers you will need a scanner. With a scanner you are able to work with photoshop etc. too. A printer+copy+scan will cost you around 200 bucks if you order them with your Mac. I can highly recommend to buy one.

    Nevertheless, no Mac or iPhone is able to replace your brain :)

    Good luck in college !

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