Help Needed: 13 MBP vs. 13 MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by SC911MAC, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. SC911MAC macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2010
    Trying to decide which to buy. Here's my situation: I just started my own consulting company, so much of its use will be doing reports on iwork and word11. However, storage is not that big of a deal because I save everything on external drive. I'll mostly be using it going back and forth to work and in bed.

    One big reason I'm conflicted is because it seems that there is a perception that the 13MBP might be on its way out. (No one wants to spend the $ to see a new model unveiled this spring.)

    But the MBA apparently is having a few glitches itself:

    And for anyone who has ever tried to start their own business, I don't have to tell you how important reliability is. (If it breaks, I'm Effed.)

    Big thanks to whoever takes time to respond.
  2. Ach111es macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2010
    If you need to buy one of the two immediately, get the maxed out 13 MBA, as this has a better resolution, competent graphics, and is the latest and greatest.

    if you really need a CD drive or want more space and a backlit keyboard and a bit higher processor, go for the MBP.

    I suggest waiting for the upgrade to Sandy Bridge though if you currently have a functioning laptop.

    Since its consulting, I say go for the MBA as it looks pretty flashy and the portability will be fantastic.
  3. Darrenyo macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2010
    I've read and heard alot about people who went and bought the Macbook Air only to regret it and return it for a Macbook Pro 13".

    Best thing about a macbook pro is that the hard drives and memory are easy to upgrade to bigger and better.

    I wouldn't know to much about Mac's though as i would of a PC as i'm new to the whole Mac experience.
  4. RKpro macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2008
    If I wanted a 13" notebook today, I'd get the 13" MBA with 4GB RAM. It's performance is about the same as the 13" mbp in benchmarks, but in reality it will be much faster in day to day use because of ssd.
  5. reebzor macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    Depends if this will be your primary computer or not. I use a 13" MBP as a primary computer and I can't complain. I could not see myself using a MBA as a primary computer. It just lacks a bit of necessary functionality for it to be that efficient.

    If you have a desktop computer that isn't too bad, I'd suggest going for the Air. It is still a powerful machine and would be a great companion on the road.
  6. fsumom macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2010
    I agree with this. I just got my 13" MBP to use as my primary computer because my desktop is over 6 years old.
  7. miata, Nov 6, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010

    miata macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2010
    Silicon Valley, Earth
    If you get a MBP with an after-market SSD you will get all the performance of the MBA and then some. If you are storing a lot of stuff on external drives keep in mind that you will only be able to connect to them with USB 2 with the MBA. If all you have is a USB drive, then that does not matter, but if you are moving lots of data then a Firewire 800 external drive is the way to go.

    The only downside of going to the MBP is price and a 50% weight increase.

    If you main concern is reliability I would go with the MBP with SSD. That is is a well proven machine.

    Ohhps. One other important downside of going to the MBP is the lower resolution screen.
  8. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    For your use case I would definitely go with a fully loaded 13" MBA. I bought an 11.6" MBA for my wife and it is hard to believe how competent that machine is. When at home she hooks it up to an ACD and uses it with her Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad. For her it works great as a primary machine and she travels quite a bit so this is a perfect solution. But I think that if portability is not that big of a deal, the 13" MBA is simply superb. Yes, the MBP can be expanded with extra RAM and more HD space, but if you don't store a lot of media on your machine, the MBA is simply a much nicer machine. It will work in many instances better than an MBP (unless you put an SSD in it at extra cost) and offers better screen. I'm also looking at a new laptop and I'm sort of also considering a 13" MBP, but the 13" MBA seems like a much better choice at the moment.
  9. BENJMNS macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2005
    if mba, i'd only go for one with 4gb and 250.

    that's easily $600 diff for a similarly equipped mbp.

    the mbp (i got one for free) is disappointingly heavy.

    but i like that it's a tested machine v. the mba 13 which just came out. plus i'd rather wait for one with the edge to edge screen v. the border. thats nitpicking tho.

    tough choice, but if you really want mobility the mba is the way to go.
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    The 13" MBA doesn't have a backlit keyboard. I don't know how much you need it when using it in bed, but it does help me find certain keys at night.

    Oh it's definitely going to be upgraded, at least to the new screen.

    Personally, I'd get the 13" MBA. If you want the 13" MBP later, then sell the MBA (which will definitely retain a decent resale value) and buy the 13" MBP later.
  11. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    If it were me I would go for the Air. My 2 main reasons are the screen resolution (1440x900) and the SSD. Especially if you use external storage, then the 128GB ssd may work for you (Of course then you can't get the 2.13 processor, but you can still get the 4GB of RAM).
  12. SC911MAC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2010
    Thanks everybody for your input.

    I came into this leaning more towards the MBA, and nothing in the comments so far has led me to believe this would be a bad decision.
  13. LouieSamman macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2008
    Orlando, Florida
    I got the MBA. Better resolution, Flash Storage = faster boot up and opening of applications.

    Much less beach balls.

    Very thin and ideal to move around with.

    If you don't do much heavy applications than the MBA is perfect for you.

    I generally browse websites and use the MBA for taking notes for class and do essays and it's such a pleasant feeling for things to open up quickly for you so you can get down to work.
  14. pfjellman macrumors regular


    Mar 18, 2010
    MBA 13". you'll love it. plus they're so thin and cool and new and fast that when new MBPs come out next year, you'll be able to sell the MBA for a pretty penny if the MBP so tempts you.
  15. BENJMNS, Nov 6, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010

    BENJMNS macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2005
    so after i posted this i went to the apple store and picked up a maxed out mba.

    it is way lighter and runs cooler. i'm going to sell my pretty much 2 day old mbp. any takers? :D

    p.s. the fan's def louder on the mba than mbp.
  16. jetblk328i macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2010
    i would say buy the base 2.4 macbook pro then upgrade to a 40/60 gb ssd and your performance will be better than the air, both spec and feel wise.

    I would only get the air if i really need the portability, so if the 2 lbs less is very important to you, then maybe the air would be better. If not, stick with pro.
  17. magbarn, Nov 6, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010

    magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    I recently sold my MBP 13 (2010) for the MBA 13" fully loaded if that tells you what I wanted. The size/portability/AND HIGHER RES screen (I hate lo-res screens) was worth it for the slight cpu loss (from 2.4 to 2.13 Ghz, which is offset that the MBA has a 6mb cache cpu vs the 3mb cache in my MBP), loss of optical drive (which I never used), and backlit keyboard. My 2010 MBP 13 also would "beachball" all the time with my Intel 160GB G2 SSD (the nvidia SATA controller never wanted to play nice with Intel's SSD's. Your type of work does not sound like you're going to be moving GB's of data so USB 2.0 should be more than sufficient.
  18. jameskohn macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2006
    Exchanging Air for MBP

    I received my new MBA last week. It's a 13", 2.13, 4GB. It's a very cool computer, both literally and figuratively. But I'm leaning toward repalcacing it with a 13" MBP with an SSD.

    The Air performs nicely, but I do have some complaints. The display, while very bright, does not display colors nearly as well as a MBP, and the text is too small (I know I can zoom it up, but there's no way to do that globally without lowering the resolution). I was also disappointed to lose not only the backlit keyboard, but also the infra red for an apple remote. Having to remember an ethernet dongle is also bothering me. Just last week I visited a client and had to use his Ethernet cable. At the time I had my old MacBook Pro, so it was no issue at all. Now, with the MBA, it could be.

    Add the superior battery life, and the MBP just shapes up to be more computer in so many, arguably small, ways. All added up, it also shapes up as a significantly better value.
  19. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    Well, any computer can fail. The only way to prevent your business going down is to have a secondry machine. My 13" MBP is my main machine, and my secondry machine is an iBook G3 running OS9. And yes, I'll have to use it, as I'm about to send my beloved MBP in for repeir :(

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