Help with purchasing choice MBA vs PRO?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by plymman, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. plymman macrumors member

    May 9, 2010
    Hi all, I'm a convert to OSX after being a life long windows user and am looking for a laptop to replace my Win 7 netbook. I have a 27" i7 iMac to take care of all the hardcore work that I need and I have a first gen iPad that I use as my mobile device.

    I'm now starting my own business and need a laptop to take with me when I'm not working from home. I've been using the iPad up until now but I really need a decent keyboard and the ability to have multiple windows open.

    My question is do I go for the latest 13" MBA or the current 13" pro? I can't wait for the next release of the pro and the prices are pretty much the same so I'm looking for advice from owners, is the MBA really up there with the pro?
  2. Vanillian, Aug 29, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011

    Vanillian macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2011
    New York
    If the lack of an optical drive doesn't bother you, and the 128GB or 256GB SSD is enough for you then I don't see why not go for the Air.
  3. scarred macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2011
    Your choice is easy. If the iPad was something that almost worked for you, then the Macbook Air absolutely will do what you need it to do. The 11 is basically the same size. The only difference is the battery. The air needs to be recharged twice as much as the iPad.
  4. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    macbook air. i'd also say that syncing a bluetooth keyboard to the ipad opens up a whole new world of usability. you get to use the ipad as an ereader, you have twice as much battery life as the air, and it costs a lot less. personally, i haven't found multitasking to be necessary for most tasks.
  5. RobT macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2007
    Ohio, USA
    Vanillian has it right. If you are OK without the optical drive and you don't need huge, local storage, the MBA is the clear choice.
  6. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    I say if you Want a 13" screen, get the pro version, more bang for your buck, and it's just as portable as the air if all your doing is carrying it in a bag and setting it on a desk. If you need a computer on the field, go with the air, and the 11" specifically as it's only slight longer than the iPad, it's extremely mobile.
  7. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    I disagree!

    The screen resolution on the MBA 13" is higher than that on the MBP 13", plus it is SIGNIFICANTLY much more portable. I have the MBA and my girlfriend has the MBP (both 13"), and I can assure you the difference in weight is significant when we travel together.
  8. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    I meant its just as portable if all you do is put it in a bag and carry it from your house to your car, then from your car to your office, then back at the end of they day and only use it on a desk. If that is your routine, I don't how big a help it is having a pound and a half lighter computer and half inch thinner to carry around for all of 5-10min. A day. Now if youre carrying around your laptop more than that, get an air.

    Oh, and good point about the resolution, forgot about the pro being low res.
  9. SteveNYC macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2010
    I think Fernandez21 has a good point. Is the laptop going to be following you everywhere? If it does and portability is truly key, you might want to be looking at the 11" MBA. You can't get more portable than that. Are you THAT mobile?

    Also, are you likely to install Windows via BootCamp or Parallels/VMWare? In general, it runs well on any of the devices, but all of the MBAs are limited to 4GB. You can go to 8GB on a MBP for $40 these days and it does have the optical drive. Plus it has a lot more hard drive space and you can always move to an SSD when you want to. You also gain the FW800 port. If you live near a MicroCenter, you can pick up a brand new MBP 13" for $999.

    Don't get me wrong. I love the MBA. I own a 2010 MBP 13" and am seriously considering moving to the 13" MPA 1.7 256GB. The lower weight and the higher resolution of the MBA are really appealing. But as someone who does enterprise level purchasing, I often find that people ask the wrong questions, or, better yet, they don't give a full idea of intended usage.

    A detailed idea of how you intend to use it will help you get the most useful information from others.

    After all, ALL laptops are portable, right? ;-)

    Good luck with whatever decision you make. I doubt you'll be disappointed.
  10. accessoriesguy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
    the air, is lighter, faster, and has a newer processor chip set (although at a lower clock speed). The 13in pro is a joke, if you need power get the 15in pro. Having said that your best bet is the 13in air, as long as you don't need the power, the air is the way to go. plus the pro's will be updated soon, and the air just got revised, so it will last you a longer while before having to think about upgrading and save it's value longer.
  11. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    In my opinion, there are only 3 reasons to go with a 13" Pro over a 13" Air.

    1) You absolutely must have an ODD with you at all times.
    2) You NEED firewire
    3) You just don't have the extra $100 to buy the Air.

    For daily tasks, the user is going to notice the speed of the SSD more than they will the increase in CPU speed.

    Also, with respect to the additional drive space available in the Pro, I can't remember who said it, but there was a tech blogger who basically said that if the space in an 128/256GB SSD wasn't enough space for you, then chances are even 500GB (the Pro comes with 320 standard) wasn't going to be enough either. ***EDIT: SEE BELOW*** I'm content with a 128GB SSD and a slim external for movies/backup.

    Hard drive space is cheap, and the benefit of being able to carry around 1.5TB of storage in a 2.5" drive (for only $110) outweighs a lot of, if not all of, the negatives of having external storage.

    EDIT: It was Ben Brooks who made that argument. The whole piece is worth a read, but I'm only going to quote part of it below.

  12. Tanax macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Just go to your local Apple/Mac store and check them out for yourself.
    Personally I went with the MBP(this was back in 2009 though..), not because I was a heavy optical drive -user, nor did I need the firewire. I choose the MBP because it felt more sturdy. The MBA was simply too thin and it felt like I was gonna break it when I used it.

    Nah. I prefered - and still prefer - the MBP because it feels better.
    Now, if you're just gonna have it as a portable surfing computer then the Air might be better but if you're gonna do any type of work I would say the MBP is lots better.

    Unfortunately, the MBA have recieved an overhaul more recently than the MBP so it has better resolution. Quite frankly though it doesn't matter that much, the MBP is still an awesome machine.

    But like I said, check them out for yourself and make up your own mind. Only you can decide on which type of laptop you prefer -- the ultra thin or the more sturdy one with optical drive.
  13. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    This is good advice. Try them and pick the one that works for YOU. We chose the one that worked for us.
  14. rhinosrcool macrumors 65816


    Sep 5, 2009
    Like others have said, the 13" air has a higher resolution. This alone makes it a great choice. The screen seems so much bigger. Also, since it is higher resolution, you, in essence, do have a bigger screen.
  15. erasr macrumors 6502

    Sep 18, 2007
    Hmm, while I'd agree with the Air choice over Pro (I've just bought a 13" air to replace my 2010 MBP 13) I'd say there's a couple more reasons to buy a Pro over an Air if you had to named some:

    The ONLY reasons to get a Pro...
    - If you want better colours. I have my Air and Pro side by side, Pro is better for colours, fact. Air is better for resolution and whites.
    - I genuinely believe the build quality of the Pro is slightly better. Trackpad is also slightly more responsive.
    - You need Firewire
    - You need optical drive
    - You want to save money
    - You struggle with a higher resolution than the Pro's

    Overall though, I'd get the Air, unless you want to be left behind when they go an make all MacBooks ultra thin next year.
  16. arctic macrumors 6502a


    Jun 18, 2008
    Sorry dude but this is still speculation.
  17. vitzr macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    I have both 11" & 13"

    The 11" is way too small of a display for any kind of work.

    Based on your post I'd get the 13". It will be perfect for your needs.
  18. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    Fixed that for ya. There are optical drive choices for the Air, just not built in. :D
  19. plymman thread starter macrumors member

    May 9, 2010
    Thanks for your replies everyone, its been a great help. I am out and about at different places all the time so portability is a big factor, I went to an Apple store and tried the 11" but I use it for writing and I generally have at least two windows open at anytime, sometimes three or four when I'm proof reading and the 11" was just too small for me to work with multiple windows which was a great shame as it is so tiny.

    I bought the 13" MBA and couldn't be happier, I never use DVD's etc.. and I only need firewire on my desktop so taking all your posts into account the Air came out the clear winner.

    I AM SO IMPRESSED! It's by far the nicest laptop I have ever used, so fast, so responsive and with the App Store it was simple to get all my writing apps installed and configured in no time. Compared to the 11" it's considerably larger but the screen size and resolution more than makes up for any loss of portability. The Air's are expensive machines but given the size, weight and performance I think it offers excellent value and I couldn't be happier with my choice.

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