For College: MBP15 vs MBA11

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Atk., Jul 29, 2011.

  1. Atk., Jul 29, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011

    Atk. macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2011
    I will be going into my freshman year of college this September and i was wondering what would be the better choice: MBA 11" i7 256GB or MBP 15" i5/i7 500GB.

    The uses of the notebook would be regular college stuff plus watching movies, light gaming, and maybe some film/photo editing.

    I really like the portability of the air but I am questioning myself if I would need such portability. Also the 5 hour battery turns me off.

    I was wondering if anyone thinks that the MBP15 is too heavy or big to carry around to class etc

    Maybe I could get the MBP then sell it when the spec on MBA are upgraded as to have better bettery life etc? Then again, I also heard there will be a new line of slim MBPs :S All very confusing. Just need some opinions, thanks!

    P.S another option could be MBA13 b/c then i will get the 7 hour battery with the portability
  2. PatrickCocoa macrumors 6502a

    Dec 2, 2008
    Random Thoughts

    <stream of consciousnesses on>I have an old MacBook 13" that I don't use much anymore. My daughter has a MacBook Pro 15" with anti-glare screen that she uses in college and likes very much. I had a fellow developer tell me that his new MacBook Air 11" was excellent for development work (which surprised me as I always seem to want more space when developing on my 21.5" iMac). I have an iPad and would be hesitant to use it for note taking or writing papers, but I've seen a few college students on MacRumors say that they use an iPad.<stream of consciousnesses off>
  3. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Essentially, between these two computers, it is a trade off between power and portability. The MBP offers more power, greater specifications, and is better value; on the other hand, the MBA offers portability, excellent screen resolution and the speed of the SSD drive.

    It really depends on what your needs are; I wanted portability and I'm not a gamer, nor am I into heavy graphics usage, so the MBA was an obvious choice for me.

    If you are into movies, gaming, photo editing etc. and you still want the portability, I'd suggest that you think about the new 13" MBA, rather than the 11"; since the upgrade, this is now a pretty impressive computer.

    Cheers and good luck with it.
  4. Atk. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2011

    Thanks! I've been going back and forth for a while now and in the past hour flip-flopping, I think MBA13 would be the best route to go. A lot of people also seem to dislike how small the MBA11 screen is. and also the 5 hour battery is really a killer.

    No more flip-flopping. MBA13 is optimal amiright
  5. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    IMO MBA 13" is the best for an all-around work machine that is very portable. I own one. If I were in college today, it would be the machine I purchase, not even a question.

    Best laptop I've ever owned, period.
  6. tdurden12 macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2011
    MBP if it is your only computer and you want to take movies and photos around with you.
    13 MBA if you don't mind having an external HD.
    I wouldn't use the 11MBA as my only machine, just too many compromises.
  7. sukion macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    2nd year into university, I bought the 15'' 2010 MBP instead of the 13'' because it was lacking the proper processor. Loved how it's a power house to get everything done but to be honest, the only downside is the size/weight. Carrying it for a good 2 hours alone in a messenger bag can get to you.

    I just bought the 11'' 2011 MBA for the purpose of using it at school and minor stuff on the side like a few movies and such. Sadly, I don't game on any of these computers cause I prefer gaming on a console. But like someone else said, definitely get the 13'' for "All around purposes".

    Either 2011 MBP or MBA models are a great investment. 11'' could be too small for you, and the 15'' weight can get to you especially if you're carrying around textbooks as well.

    PS. If I could, I would've sold my 15'' and "upgrade" to this years 13'' model and leave it at that without even buying the air. But regardless, I love both machines and they get the job done.
  8. Willo3G macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2010
    Im hitting college this year, for business in photography ect. Im looking for a Macbook but i cant decide between MBP or MBA. I will be using it at college and home for regular use. What you guys think i should get, im looking for 13 inch or 15 no bigger no less. MBA is preferable but is it good for editing? Thanks guys!
  9. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    I'm also going to University this September, and my choice of systems are a 27" iMac to do all the heavy lifting and games, and I just bought an 11" MBA for taking to school. I had the 13" 2010 model, and while it was definitely a portable computer, I wanted something even more portable.

    If it's going to be your only computer, I would definitely say 13". But if you have something else, then maybe the 11" will be nicer to just pick up and go.
  10. motox25 macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2008
    13" is the smallest I personally want to go on a laptop. iPad is alright for taking notes on in class, but I personally use my laptop instead in case I need to flip open some web pages to look something up which is much easier on a laptop.
  11. Titanium81 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2011
    I think the 15" MacBook Pro with High-Res Screen is the "Best" for portability and power that Apple currently has to offer.
  12. skier777 macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2010
    id get the 13" MBA, it will handle minor photo/film editing, is very portable and has plenty of battery power.

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