From MBA to MBP, a review

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kinkster, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. kinkster macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 15, 2008
    #1
    I made this for gdgt.com, and thought i'd post it here too.


    Anyone who is reading this review has probably already a couple others, and knows about the basic features of the new 13 inch Macbook Pro. So I'm going to focus on comparing this to the Macbook Air for anyone who is unsure of which to purchase. I owned both the original MBA and the newest one as my primary computer, and have have been using the 13" MBP for a month or so, also as my sole machine.

    Screen- Both have high quality displays, with great viewing angles and a wide range of colors. The MBP's seems to be a bit more vivid. But the big difference between the two is the MBA has a matte screen and the MBP's is "glossy." This makes colors pop and allows the very nice edge-to-edge glass, but some users have complained about it being too reflective outdoors or when there's a light behind it. Personally I haven't had any trouble with this, partly because like most people I don't use it outside and partly because your eye seems to easily focus on the right "level," filtering out the reflections. Still, it could be a deal breaker to some, who can look not only at the MBA but the 15 and 17 inch MBPs which can be outfitted with matte screens for an extra $50.

    Performance- For general tasks like web browsing and listening to music, and even slightly more intense tasks, you won't notice much difference. But the MBP still has a bit of an edge out of the box, and also allows you to upgrade the RAM and hard drive.

    Battery Life- Both laptops use Apple's new battery technology but the MBP still lasts significantly, simply because it's larger. My battery life on the MBA was never bad, but on the MBP it's exceptional, usually around 4 or 5 hours with full brightness/wifi/iTunes/keyboard backlight.

    Ports- Another obvious advantage that the MBP has. It comes in handy quite often to have more than one USB port, and not having to lift up a little door just to plug something in is convenient.


    Other differences:
    Trackpad- The MBP gets the glass trackpad, not a huge advantage but generally considered a bit nicer than the Air's.
    Durability- The Air has a weak screen hinge. If you use it for more than a year, it's pretty likely you'll run into at least a little wobble which can be quite annoying. The Air also suffers from a manufacturing problem which makes "lines" across the screen. Some people can hardly notice them, others have to take back multiple machines before getting one they're happy with.
    Optical Drive- It's not something I used often, but enough for me to get the external drive since I used it as my only machine. It's nice to have it built in now, and saves $60 too(usual price one eBay)

    And the big one, size and weight- This is now the MBA's single selling point. While it use to provide a nice alternative to the white book because of it's superior screen and build quality, the Air no longer has those advantages. I don't think the pound and a half makes a huge difference. It's the difference between an ultralight laptop and a light laptop, the MBP really isn't difficult to lug around at all. That said I do miss the MBA a bit and probably would more if I was a frequent traveller etc..

    The MBA's niche market has gotten a bit smaller, and I would encourage anyone whose thinking of buying to look carefully at a what they could get with the MBP. The MBA is still however a great option for those who just need a secondary laptop and/or can sacrifice functionality(and $300) for portability.
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    I feel like you're stating the obvious and in my opinion, in some ways, the MB Air and the MB are apples and oranges.
     
  3. jmann macrumors 604

    jmann

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    #3
    I would take the MBP any day over the MBA, because I have no reason for the air.
     
  4. Nocturnal22 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 23, 2009
    #4
    there should be no review and no contest... MBP Is better than MBA Period.
     
  5. jmann macrumors 604

    jmann

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    #5
    They are better at different things, they have a different "niche" that they were made for. I don't think the air was meant to be used as a primary computer, but a lot of people use it as one.
     
  6. GeekGirl* macrumors 65816

    GeekGirl*

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    Feb 26, 2009
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    Buffalo, NY
    #6
    I am doing the same as you my new MBP arrives Monday, I do love the Air but it leaves me wanting more.
    I have had all 3 revs. and still not that satisfied so going to a 15 " pro is my next step.
    Great review and I think for most being able to upgrade the ram is a big issue, al least it is for me the Air was great while it lasted my next toy will be the Tablet.
    The air is a fun mac, but doing any real work on it is not for me.
     
  7. kinkster thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 15, 2008
    #7

    Yeah allot of it's obvious but I think it might be nice for some people to have it summarized.


    They are quite a bit different but there's still quite a few people who are unsure of which to get.
     
  8. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    Jun 27, 2006
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    Seattle, WA
    #8
    I would take a MacBook Air over a MacBook Pro any day. I have both and use the MacBook Air 95% of the time, the only time I really use my MacBook Pro is when I get back from a shoot and am editing photos. But that's only because my external hard drives are FireWire and have more storage than my two USB external hard drives. I was really surprised by your statement that the pound and a half didn't make much of a difference. I've used both and the weight difference is big, it is immediately noticeable and I much prefer the MacBook Air's size and weight. Oh and you might want to edit your review, the MacBook Air does have a glossy screen (One of the only negatives about the computer).
     
  9. Dr_Maybe macrumors 6502

    Dr_Maybe

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    #9
    You are wrong. MBA is better at portability.

    Mac Pro is better than MBP no contest.... except at being portable.
     
  10. Nocturnal22 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 23, 2009
    #10
    by what like 1/2 an inch the 13 inch MBP is just as portable as the MBA... and we are talking about notebooks so that Mac Pro Reference is kinda irrelevant...
     
  11. dudeitsjay macrumors regular

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    Mar 26, 2009
    #11
    I have/had the mba rev b, mbp13 2.53, and umbp 17'' 2.8.

    I'd get the 13 over the mba anyday. mba is just too unjustifiable, as its not even that light and not too much thinner than the 13. The main gripe i have with the mba is the charging time which is literally 1:1. 4 hr battery life? Go knock yourself out to 4 hours of charging first, and not even in the sense where the first 30 min fills you up to 75%. no... 1:1... 2ndly, if you don't get the overpriced SSD option, you're stuck with an ipod harddrive that skips at anything over 150kbps, and so much for multi-tasking in certain aspects. So, gluck using that screen to watch movies on its full native res without some skipping going on--even on hulu and netflix...

    I can understand mba owners with the ssd giving a good argument for the mba, but if they even tried the hdd version for week, they'd think again. It's not that much lighter, and the difference you feel is you not going to the gym lol. Otherwise, beautiful machinery. Then again, all of them are ;)
     
  12. GeekGirl* macrumors 65816

    GeekGirl*

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    #12
    I have a SSD and it still nothing to brag about, I would take the MBP over the MBA anytime.
     
  13. macbook123 macrumors 68000

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    Feb 11, 2006
    #13
    I agree. Thanks for the post.
     
  14. blairh macrumors 68030

    blairh

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    Dec 11, 2007
    #14
    the glass trackpad on the mbp imo is a huge advantage over the mba's trackpad. much smoother and fingers glide easier on it.
     
  15. macintosh.apple macrumors 6502

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    May 26, 2008
    #15
    I hate to burst your bubble, but the macbook air also has a glossy screen, its just not ultraglossy like the macbook pro's.
     

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