Current MBP 16" owner but considering returning it for a MBA 2019 base model

clorean

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 25, 2019
7
1
Was hoping to try and get some perspective please.

Like the title says I bought the new MBP 16" and I honestly love the thing very much but I keep coming back to the price and what I currently use it for. I am now considering returning it and getting the current 2019 base MBA.

For a little insight I currently use the laptop for browsing the web and watching YouTube.

I do also like to use airplay heavily. I have an ATV+ and will stream video from any site that will allow airplay. I even will use AP to stream movies with VLC.

As of now I don't do much else, even go a few days between uses sometimes.

I like the thought of going back to school and learning how to do coding but that most likely will never happen.

So with that said my main use for the time being is media consumption.

That seems like a huge waste of money and processing power.

My main fear is that since there is such a spec difference in the two machines that if I did get the MBA I would end up hating it due to the specs.

Has anyone here went from a MBP to a MBA?

Will it handle things such as VLC streaming and 10-20 tabs in safari open?

Anything I should watch out for?

Thanks for indulging this nonsense and look forward to hearing back.
 

AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
11,655
8,505
Austin, TX
I think you're fine for the MBA based on your use case. The Safari tabs should be fine. I wouldn't do the same thing with Chrome, though. Media consumption is the most MacBook Air use case.
 

auxbuss

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2014
201
157
UK
Many of us have Airs and MBPs. For everything but heavy-lifting, the two are equivalent. Multiple tabs in a browser is not heavy-lifting – unless all the tabs are mining Bitcoin or whatever [and even then, the fans will soon start whirring on the MBP]. For me, VLC works better on the MBA; it stays much cooler and uses less battery. (It's also much more portable and more comfortable to sit with on you lap/splayed out in the couch/sitting in the garden/etc.)

The MBA handles media consumption trivially. Is the MBP more powerful? Of course it is. Will that impact you? It depends on your needs.
 

BootLoxes

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2019
276
180
Id keep the 16" for the larger screen and better speakers. Much better for your media consumption
 

clorean

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 25, 2019
7
1
Id keep the 16" for the larger screen and better speakers. Much better for your media consumption
Apologies I don't think I explained the media consumption part right. I rarely use the MBP speakers or screen for watching anything. I have a 75" TV and Apple TV so nearly all the watching is done with AirPlay to the TV. That means any video site that will allow for safari to AirPlay and using the extended desktop mode with Catalina to Airplay a movie with VLC.

When I do watch something on the laptop itself I use my AirPods so the speakers are rarely used on the laptop.

---

I am more worried that if I need to install a more demanding app that the MBA won't be able to handle it. I don't mean 4k video editing or anything extreme. Just more demanding... No idea if I am even explaining that right.

Anyway thanks for your advice.
 

4sallypat

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2016
422
394
So Calif
I'd say either will do you fine.
Here's my take on the MBP/MBA:

For work in the field use, I use a 2012, 2015 or 2017 MBA more for the lightweight portability and easy to access network while working in the field. It's great for using web media (YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video) coupled with my unlimited data WiFi work hotspot.
For work at my desk, I use a 15" rMBP i7 along with an external 27" Cinema display.
At work I get 1GBps data which makes it very easy to stream multiple videos...

At home, I use a 2015 rMB 12" which I use for in the house or bed or travel on the road - it's the ultimate super thin & lightweight laptop. Unfortunately the 12" retina Macbook has been discontinued much to my dismay.
Home desktop I now use the latest: 16" MBP with 27" TB LED Display.
In the garage is my Xserve used for backups and local media sharing.
At home I get 200Mbps data shared with others and don't feel it slow when streaming to many devices including 2 ATVs.
 

fbm3334

macrumors newbie
Jan 6, 2020
7
3
I personally went the other way (2018 MBA > 2019 16" MBP base) due to requiring more power for the tasks I do (VMs, CAD etc). However, for simple media consumption and browsing etc, I would say there is not much of a difference day to day - the most limiting thing doing those sort of tasks is the screen size for me, as well as the worse speakers on the Air when watching video (if you are using an Apple TV, this will not matter).

In terms of specs on the Air, the most limiting thing would be the RAM when having multiple Safari tabs open, but I often had many tabs open on the Air and it never really slowed down too much or crashed.

Also, if you are planning on learning to code, most simple programming tasks will run absolutely fine on the Air (I used it when learning C/C++, and it handled it perfectly).

Have you considered a base spec 13" Pro (2 TB3)? You won't save as much money, but it has a better screen and speakers than the Air, as well as a quad core processor in case you need to do any heavy lifting. I would personally say it is better value than the Air, but at the cost of being slightly less portable.
 

clorean

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 25, 2019
7
1
Well. If you can afford to spend so much money on that 16” MBP, rather just keep it.
I suppose I can afford it. I did put it on an interest free CC so I have some time to pay it off. I do like the MBP a lot but I keep thinking about what I could do with the 1400~ or so in savings. On the other hand I worry if I did swap out I would find myself wanting the 16" back. Another driving point is I like the thought of the MBA being 1.55 lbs lighter than the MBP and even though I most likely won't take it out of the house it sounds nice.

I was thinking that if I did go the MBA route then it would be easier to justify upgrading every year like I do with the phone since they run about the same price for the most part.

Maybe I will just pick out up from Costco today and play with them both and see if I can get by well enough with the MBA or not.

I do appreciate all the help.
 

tdhurst

macrumors 601
Dec 27, 2003
4,131
241
Phoenix, AZ
Was hoping to try and get some perspective please.

Like the title says I bought the new MBP 16" and I honestly love the thing very much but I keep coming back to the price and what I currently use it for. I am now considering returning it and getting the current 2019 base MBA.

For a little insight I currently use the laptop for browsing the web and watching YouTube.

I do also like to use airplay heavily. I have an ATV+ and will stream video from any site that will allow airplay. I even will use AP to stream movies with VLC.

As of now I don't do much else, even go a few days between uses sometimes.

I like the thought of going back to school and learning how to do coding but that most likely will never happen.

So with that said my main use for the time being is media consumption.

That seems like a huge waste of money and processing power.

My main fear is that since there is such a spec difference in the two machines that if I did get the MBA I would end up hating it due to the specs.

Has anyone here went from a MBP to a MBA?

Will it handle things such as VLC streaming and 10-20 tabs in safari open?

Anything I should watch out for?

Thanks for indulging this nonsense and look forward to hearing back.
There is nothing you're doing that requires anything more than a base model MBA.
If you wanted, you could upgrade RAM and SSD (I did), but my wife has the base model doing about the same you are and loves it.
The 16" MBP was definitely overkill for your usage.
 

Nacho98

Suspended
Jul 11, 2019
729
647
I'm similar to OP in that I have a completely overkill 16" also, but I'm not planning on returning it (i7/32/512/8GB 5500M). The ultimate $3k facebook machine! But no for real, my uses are basic, but my 16" is my home hub for photos and music, and I plan to keep it for 6-8 years. I also won the quality control lottery with it, so I'd have been foolish to give it up during the return window. It's basically a desktop replacement, rarely if ever to leave the house. I just unplug it here and there to keep the battery good.

I also am thinking about buying an Air for around the house and coffee shops, but the idea for me is to replace my iPad mini 5 - it's just not a computer substitute even for casual use, and with discounts on the Air, a nice Apple gift card I have, and selling my iPad mini 5, I can get one pretty cheap.

What I really wanted was a 12" Macbook, and I went through 3 of them brand new from Costco the last couple weeks, but each one had quality control issues, so that product just isn't for me I guess and I'm back to shopping Airs.

I think for your uses, the Air is fine, but the screen space of the 16" is great - I just did my taxes the other night (via paper forms oldskool style), and being able to put two PDFs side by side on the 16" was great and didn't feel limiting.

What about owning both the 16" and an Air?
 

clorean

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 25, 2019
7
1
What about owning both the 16" and an Air?
I don’t want both. I am currently struggling to justify the MBP16. I like the idea of a lighter machine and by FAR cheaper price. Hate the idea of loosing the screen size and that massively huge track pad however.

first world problems and all lol. 😆
 

Nacho98

Suspended
Jul 11, 2019
729
647
I don’t want both. I am currently struggling to justify the MBP16. I like the idea of a lighter machine and by FAR cheaper price. Hate the idea of loosing the screen size and that massively huge track pad however.

first world problems and all lol. 😆
Well, long term the 16" will be cheaper if you just hold it for many years vs. having to upgrade the Air more frequently.
 

clorean

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 25, 2019
7
1
Well, long term the 16" will be cheaper if you just hold it for many years vs. having to upgrade the Air more frequently.
I agree but money burns holes in my pocket. I find it safer to spend it lol.
Really though I just don’t know what I want ultimately. Just reaching out to fellow humans to talk it out. The 12 year old kid doesn’t seem to much help when I asked him.

Does anyone happen to know how the resale value is for MBP? Am I expected to take a huge loss when I sale or nah?
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,499
9,007
Prescott Valley, AZ
I don’t want both. I am currently struggling to justify the MBP16. I like the idea of a lighter machine and by FAR cheaper price. Hate the idea of loosing the screen size and that massively huge track pad however.

first world problems and all lol. 😆
You had some initial reasons for getting the MBP16 in the first place. Are those reasons no longer valid?
 

revmacian

macrumors 68000
Oct 20, 2018
1,688
1,387
USA
I have the 2019 base model MBA (8GB RAM, 128GB SSD) and I use it for office work (Numbers, Pages, Keynote, Calendar, Email, Reminders, Notes), watching YouTube videos, web browsing and occasional video editing in iMovie.. yes, this tiny MBA runs iMovie quite well. This thing is a dream, IMHO.. the only issue I have (and a minor issue at that) is that it drops some frames when editing a video in iMovie. Otherwise this machine is perfect.

I do recommend that you get an MBA with at least 256GB SSD.. Catalina takes up ~20GB of storage and you should leave about 10% of the SSD empty so the system can perform wear leveling efficiently. The 8GB RAM seems fine for running 8 apps simultaneously with ~5 Safari tabs open. It is plenty fast and quite light to carry.
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,499
9,007
Prescott Valley, AZ
the reason was that I am a new Mac user and wanted the latest and greatest.
You're still a new Mac user and the MBP16 is still the latest and greatest. :D

A question that might be helpful to ask yourself is if you will be one of those people who feels like they're "missing out" if they don't have the latest and greatest. There are people like that in all tech communities but when it comes to Apple products, there's a stronger pull. (one that Apple actively cultivates)

6 months ago I bought a brand new 2017 i7 13" MBA (8GB/128GB) for $799. It was an upgrade to my 2014 11" MBA. This new MBA is a beast of a machine and appreciate it even more than the 11" MBA. But for most on this forum, that machine is an "insult to them that Apple would still sell such a device".

Consider what YOU would be comfortable with and enjoy.
 

clorean

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 25, 2019
7
1
Thanks for all the advice, I happened to stop by Costco today and noticed they had $200 off on the 16" I bought so they were able to refund me the $200 difference :)

So now I feel kinda happy. Not getting that MBA savings but hey it is something nice that I didn't plan on.

Thanks all again :)

I might actually use this as a reason to force myself to learn some coding. I use to do some LUA scripting and HTML/JAVA as a kid. I actually loved scripting and seeing things work.
 
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The Game 161

macrumors Core
Dec 15, 2010
20,210
10,184
UK
funny as Im so tempted by the 16 inch pro but can't justify for the cost when the air cost me 1k..basically two MacBook airs for the price of the pro...my air does the job I wanted. think I just want the 16 due to the added screen size but still 13.3 inch display is still more than big enough for the tasks I use it for.
 

jinnyman

macrumors 6502
Sep 2, 2011
455
440
Lincolnshire, IL
I get your frustration. You probably don't need 16" or that price level.
For media consumption, I'd say 13" MBP with 1.4 is your best choice, but they will soon come up with an updated version with a scissor keyboard.

I'd say you should wait if you haven't made the decision, but now that you have 16" I'd say you should try to use 16" until a new one comes out. You will probably lose money by selling 16" as a secondhand, so why not use it until you have an alternative?
 

revmacian

macrumors 68000
Oct 20, 2018
1,688
1,387
USA
Thanks for all the advice, I happened to stop by Costco today and noticed they had $200 off on the 16" I bought so they were able to refund me the $200 difference :)

So now I feel kinda happy. Not getting that MBA savings but hey it is something nice that I didn't plan on.

Thanks all again :)

I might actually use this as a reason to force myself to learn some coding. I use to do some LUA scripting and HTML/JAVA as a kid. I actually loved scripting and seeing things work.
Nice that they refunded you some cash. You can indeed get into coding.. or video creation.. or music creation.. or lots of things. The point is you have a powerful machine that will be able to handle the heavy lifting that the MBA struggles with.
 

lewchenko

macrumors regular
Jun 8, 2004
182
152
One way to look at it is from the same perspective as the annual iPhone purchase (for some). Plenty of people buy the latest high end iPhone (11 Pro or max) rather than the standard 11 and do so because they want the latest and greatest. They treat themselves because they can afford it despite the standard 11 being capable of every single use case.

and why not have the best? Every time you use it , the 16” MBP will feel extra special. Treat yourself -you only live once and life is short !

Nice you got $200 diff back too.