Going for a 13-inch Pro over a maxed out Air. Here's why...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AlBDamned, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    I'm due to get my company MacBook Pro 15" upgraded next month, and since the new Airs came out, and all the reviews and benchmarks came out afterwards, plus having visited the Apple store to see them for real, it's been a hard decision as to whether to go for a maxed out 13" MacBook Air, or the faster 13-inch MacBook Pro.

    We're done with the 15-inch machines, they're just too big and heavy to carry everywhere as we do, so it really came down to these two.

    Ultimately, I'm going with the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Sure, the weight of the Air is awesome, but the lack of ports concerns me (firewire, ethernet), as does the slower processor, and soldered RAM. There's also a slight aesthetic consideration, I quite like the Pro's form factor, black bezel and substantial feel.

    But, of course, the big thing is performance, and with the Air seemingly being close to the base level 2.4GHz, 13-inch Pro in some benchmarks, and beating it in a a few, I've settled on what I think will be the best of both worlds: a 13-inch, 2.66GHz 4GB Pro, fitted with a third party 256GB SSD (probably OWC Mercury Extreme).

    In total, it's about A$100 more than the maxed out Air, but I think it will be a damn fine piece of kit for the next two years and I can also upgrade the RAM to 8GB and drop in a higher capacity SSD as and when they drop in price (as they will do). I think the longevity of the machine is worth it over the extreme portablity offered by the Air. What do you guys think?
  2. Doc750 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2010
  3. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Ethernet is not a big issue. Dongles are $29.

    I guess for me it comes down to what your users' needs are.

    Will they benefit from the minimal extra processing power?


    How important is portability to your users?

    Answer those, and the big question then answers itself.

    Even with the SSDs in the MBPs, I am not seeing a big difference in performance, but if your users are really taxing the processor, then yeah, they'll appreciate the MBP. If they are travelling a lot with the MBP, not so much.

    FWIW, the MBA feels just as solid as the MBP, something that I couldn't say about previous versions of the Air.
  4. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    The 13" MBA will give them the same desktop real estate they're used to on the 15"... 1440x900 resolution. The 13" MBP is going to limit what they can get on the screen with just 1280x800.
  5. rhinosrcool macrumors 65816


    Sep 5, 2009
    Good point. For the next 13" mbp refresh, it will probably get the higher resolution screen. When that is...well?
  6. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    According to buyer's guide, it's soon.

    According to me, next year when Sandy Bridge is there.

    If there will be an update soon, I'm speculating a small CPU bump to 2.53 and 2.8 ghz with a 410m integrated GPU ( custom made ).
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I think it's a good idea.

    That, and I hate dongles. ;) The fewer you need to carry around, the better. Ethernet is really nice to have in many situations.
  8. Boston007 macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2010
    Depending on where you are - TAX

    I'm trading in my old Mac laptop to Promax, free shipping + no tax
  9. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    I agree with you on the concept of dongles.

    On the other hand, as I consider the MBP or MBA question for my personal system, I can't remember the last time I used hardwire Ethernet. It's been at least many months, if not well over a year. Same for an optical drive; I've needed it once in the last few months and in that instance I could easily have copied the contents to a flash drive or read the CD over the network from another system. Ethernet and Optical are wasted space and weight in my usage. (and I understand that can be different for other people)
  10. Blu101 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2010
    It is for business/work. Ethernet plug is a big plus, along with one less thing to carry around (dongle).

    Will they benefit from the back lighted keyboard?

    The 13" MBP isn't as portable as the Air, but it is very portable compared to other laptops in general, one of the lightest and thinnest in its class.

    huh...it gives the MBP the same speed "feel" you get with the Air due to its flash memory. Unless you think that's no longer a big deal :rolleyes:

    The Air and its solid state memory and no optical drive aproach will be the future of computing, but the 13" MBP may still be your best bet right now, ensuring you have everything you need until everyone else catches up (upgrades their equipment) to this type of functionality. Talking companies here, not personal use at home, where one can easily and quickly adapt to such a change. Companies can take years, they have budgets and existing inventories that still work. In a couple of years, you can get whatever version Air is out and you won't need an Ethernet and optical drive so much anymore.
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Well then an MBA is better than a MBP, in your case.

    In my case, I need to have ethernet. It's partly because I bring my own 15" MBP to work (at a hospital) on occasion, but it's also because I have been in so many situations while travelling and staying in hotels, where I need an ethernet port to connect to the internet for free. This is both at hostels, and at proper hotels (mostly in Japan). And as for "borrowing movies" from friends, they'll often lend me tv shows and such that are burned onto a DVD (or were purchased on DVD, such as Mad Men). I know flash drives could be used, but unless I gave my friend my own flash drive beforehand, he/she would need to give me their flash drive with the movie on it. The alternative is just to burn it on DVD for me, which is usually what happens.

    I'm sure I could still sell my mid-2010 15" 2.4 GHz MBP with HR screen (matte) for quite a bit of money and buy a brand new 13" MBA and still be happy with it. However, I'll wait for the rest of the world to catch up, and surpass me, on the technology front before I dive into the optical drive-less, ethernet-less world. That way I can ensure my shizz still works with everyone elses shizz. Perhaps it's different in the US, but I don't think I even know anyone who owns an SSD. :eek: My friends would still go for cheap-ish options when it comes to laptops, so I doubt they'd opt for an SSD.
  12. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    Sounds like a MBP is definitely the best bet for your situation and needs.

    I don't know anyone with an SSD either. In either a MBA or MBP, I could get along okay in the 128 but the 256GB SSD would put my mind at ease; trouble is that's a $300 pacifier. :) With a MBP, it's be easy to do a 128GB SSD and HDD combo using an Optibay type solution. With the MBA, I'd use external storage for the occasional need for more space.

    I've not pulled the trigger on an SSD upgrade to my current system (non-Mac) just because the technology's been a moving target on price/capability. I've just not felt a strong need to do the upgrade; but a lot of that is also probably simply from not knowing what I'm missing. :D

    The OP's choice seems good for his/her situation as well.

    It's a pretty neat landscape out there for someone who remembers when the Apple ][ was a current model... :cool:
  13. AlBDamned thread starter macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    Agreed on this, I'll already be carrying round the display port > vga adapter, and display port > DVI adapter for my cinema display, 3g card, power adapter etc. Please, no more $45 attachments to lose (that's how much those stupid things are here!). Although, the times I have used an ethernet cable of late are limited, ditto the optical drive. A colleague has gone for the MBA so we'll have an external superdrive in the office.

    It is a trade off - extreme portability for a little more horsepower and the option to upgrade down the track, but I think the Pro is worth it. I will probs check back again in the Apple store this weekend, before putting my required spec on our shopping list.
  14. jdaniel macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
    Lviv, Ukraine
    i went from the highest end 15" early 2010 to the lowest end 13" because I just hated having to lug it around when I travel. Its VERY nice to have it be bed for movies and such you have a much bigger screen to open windows in etc, sound is better but in the end even the simple act of moving your mac from bed to desk is so much easier with the 13 you can do it with one hand, and if you arent doing anything too taking there not much of a diff. I do notice it does beachball a bit more than the 15" I gotta check whats running in the background.

    I looked at the mba and t be honest it just too barebones, till dvds die off and people r selling/using media solely on SD cards, theres still going to be a need for a DVD drive. Plus like one poster said ethernet never hurts, u never know what you might need it for, setting up routers, hotels, a need for a faster connection etc etc.
  15. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Indeed. :)
  16. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    //beastly multitasking.

    You're missing alot; but you also don't have to go through the early adopter nonsense that some of us had to go through x.x.

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