College student looking for advice

MrJSmi

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 25, 2012
5
0
So, this being my first post - glad to find a site and place that is all about Apple/Mac.

Now to my situation...
I'm a finishing college student. Won't be more than a year and I'll be out of college. My degree is in communications and I'll hopefully be getting a job that requires me to do some traveling. With that being said, I already own a black MacBook late-2008 that is 2 OS behind so it lacks the little extra perks but nothing to much that I'm hurting.
I have been looking at the MBA a lot over the past year. I know the quick pros are: slim, quick start up (thanks to the SSD), etc. and the cons being: small storage amount, lacking power of the MBP, the need of an ext. drive, etc. ***If anyone would like to add to the pros or cons, please feel free too***

My idea for the uses of the MBA are watching a movie on trips, quick emailing, FB/Twitter/forums, basic organization. All these uses sound reasonable for the MBA but what which MBA would be best appropriate for it with cost being a factor? What about the wait for a refresh? Should I look toward new and better models?
 

roofz

macrumors regular
Jan 23, 2012
154
0
Southern California
Given what you have said your intentions are, the MBA sounds perfect for you.

You don't need a supercomputer for the tasks you mentioned (surfing the net, watching movies, notes/organization), and it seems like portability is important for you (traveling).

It appears that the primary drawback you have regarding the MBA is the lack of a CD drive. We're in 2012, you can just download the movies to your SSD or stream on netflix (many airlines offer complimentary wifi nowadays :D).

The choice is yours!
 

Jaro65

macrumors 68040
Mar 27, 2009
3,712
592
Seattle, WA
An i5-based MBA 13 (or potentially even MBA 11, though you would need to play with it in the store first) sounds ideal for you. The 2011 MBAs are wonderful machines and for your use case you wouldn't even be using them to their full capacity. Having said that, the upcoming update (Apr-Jun) is going to make these machines even better, as it is most likely going to increase their battery life (which you may appreciate for travel) and also improve their graphics performance (which you may not care about, unless you're into games, though its still nice). So there. These are really fantastic machines as they are, and they're only going to get better in the next few months. Do you need to wait? Only you know answer to that question. :)
 

MrJSmi

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 25, 2012
5
0
I didn't even think about the fact I would have no optical drive. That does somewhat play against me.
The weight of the MBA isn't as much of a deal breaker as the capabilities. I like to keep all my windows open for any use, even if that means adding a small amount of weight to carry in my pack. The slim look was just more appeasing to my eyes.
Those that use the MBA, what do you use when discs are part of the equation? Do you suffer without or buy another product to get what you want? Adding an EDD is already a extra I'll have to carry around. So what else is there to add?
 

boy-better-know

macrumors 65816
Jun 30, 2010
1,343
121
England
So, this being my first post - glad to find a site and place that is all about Apple/Mac.

Now to my situation...
I'm a finishing college student. Won't be more than a year and I'll be out of college. My degree is in communications and I'll hopefully be getting a job that requires me to do some traveling. With that being said, I already own a black MacBook late-2008 that is 2 OS behind so it lacks the little extra perks but nothing to much that I'm hurting.
I have been looking at the MBA a lot over the past year. I know the quick pros are: slim, quick start up (thanks to the SSD), etc. and the cons being: small storage amount, lacking power of the MBP, the need of an ext. drive, etc. ***If anyone would like to add to the pros or cons, please feel free too***

My idea for the uses of the MBA are watching a movie on trips, quick emailing, FB/Twitter/forums, basic organization. All these uses sound reasonable for the MBA but what which MBA would be best appropriate for it with cost being a factor? What about the wait for a refresh? Should I look toward new and better models?
Sounds to me like you want an iPad. However, if you do want a computer for those things, I would suggest you save a bit of money and go for the 11" base. They're tiny, so good for travelling and can accommodate your listed needs easily.
 

EthanMiller

macrumors member
Aug 15, 2011
73
3
Another response to the CD/DVD drive issue - if you're black MacBook has one, you can use Drive Sharing to get at it from the Air, wirelessly.
 

KPOM

macrumors Pentium
Oct 23, 2010
15,041
3,446
The lack of an optical disk drive has never been an issue for me. I purchased the external version in 2008 when I bought the first MacBook Air, and I have used it less and less. It stays on the shelf about 99% of the time, and I never take it with me when I travel.

On the whole, any current MacBook Air should be able to handle the tasks you describe. It just comes down to preference between the 13" and 11" model. I prefer the 11" for the portability, but the 13" does have a very nice screen (1440x900) and it has the built-in SD card slot. The i5 used in the 13" is also faster than the i5 used in the 11" (it's nearly as fast as the i7 used in both lines).

A refurbished model may be a good option. You can get a refurbished 13" i7 with 256GB SSD for $1439 from Apple online. That would give you plenty of storage for quite a bit less than even the education discount. Alternatively, a refurbished base 13" model goes for $1099, leaving you more money to purchase an external drive when necessary.
 

Tomorrow

macrumors 604
Mar 2, 2008
7,154
1,322
Always a day away
...I'll hopefully be getting a job that requires me to do some traveling.
If you get a job that requires you to travel, your employer will likely provide you with a laptop. I own a personal laptop, but I don't take it with me on business trips.

To each his own, to be sure - but I wouldn't let my needs for business dictate my personal laptop (or desktop, for that matter), since they'll provide me with what I need. If you're looking to get a personal laptop simply because YOU want one (not because you need it for work), then just get whatever will make you happy and don't worry about work. :cool:
 

KPOM

macrumors Pentium
Oct 23, 2010
15,041
3,446
If you get a job that requires you to travel, your employer will likely provide you with a laptop. I own a personal laptop, but I don't take it with me on business trips.
It depends. Some employers are adopting a "bring your own device" policy. In any case, occasionally I'll take my MacBook Air with me on business trips. It's small enough to fit inside the document pocket of the case for my Windows notebook. I like to keep things separate, in general.
 
Last edited:

Boe11

macrumors 6502a
Sep 12, 2010
516
23
The MBA was pretty much made for you, the way it sounds. However, if you need a disk drive (are you installing number munchers or what?!), you'd probably be just as pleased with a 13" MBP.

best of luck
 

Jaro65

macrumors 68040
Mar 27, 2009
3,712
592
Seattle, WA
I didn't even think about the fact I would have no optical drive. That does somewhat play against me.
The weight of the MBA isn't as much of a deal breaker as the capabilities. I like to keep all my windows open for any use, even if that means adding a small amount of weight to carry in my pack. The slim look was just more appeasing to my eyes.
Those that use the MBA, what do you use when discs are part of the equation? Do you suffer without or buy another product to get what you want? Adding an EDD is already a extra I'll have to carry around. So what else is there to add?
It is easy to buy an external optical drive and there is one designed by Apple specifically for MBA. As you're perhaps aware, Apple is moving away from optical drives and it is only matter of time before they're dropped from MBAs as well (SJ: "MBA is the future.") The Mac App Store is in part built to assist in that transition. I use numerous Mac and Windows programs and I'm yet to come across one that would require me to have a built-in optical disc drive (after installation). You also refer to keeping your "windows open" but you're only going to get a higher resolution screen by moving to a 15" MBP with a hi-res screen. That is a bit of different machine from mobility perspective as compared to either of MBAs.
 

MrJSmi

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 25, 2012
5
0
The i5 used in the 13" is also faster than the i5 used in the 11" (it's nearly as fast as the i7 used in both lines).

A refurbished model may be a good option. You can get a refurbished 13" i7 with 256GB SSD for $1439 from Apple online. That would give you plenty of storage for quite a bit less than even the education discount. Alternatively, a refurbished base 13" model goes for $1099, leaving you more money to purchase an external drive when necessary.
First and foremost, KPOM and others, this info is much appreciated.
To comment, I didn't even think of the refurb'd which would help me in my budget considering I still have a working MBook that I can base off of. Work wise, I enjoy my life seperate from my work. My intentions with this MBA (be it that I travel) are to have a quick and easy, yet very updated, way to communicate and enjoy what Apple has given to the world. Haha truthfully it would be a more personal computer rather than a business laptop.
The idea of the sharing between my to laptop might not happen because my Mbook is 2 OS behind today's and I don't want to pay for 2 OS just to have what's available now. Otherwise, the info you guys are sharing is very helpful. It's just between the MBA or the iMac. Decisions, decisions, decisions...
 
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