iMac or MacBook Air?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by brandnewsteven, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. brandnewsteven, Jun 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012

    brandnewsteven macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2007
    Hey guys!

    I am just hunting for some advice and second hand opinions here. I am looking to upgrade my MacBook Pro (mid 2009) to a new machine (in September). It will either be an iMac or a MacBook Air. However I am not sure which one to get. I should let you know, I am a student. I own an iPad 2 and an iPhone 4S. I was firstly thinking about portability but the university library has heaps of computers. Plus I have my iPad if I need to do any research. But then a laptop is always handy to have. Perhaps I could get the MBA and an external monitor?

    If you were in my shoes and looking to upgrade, what would you do?

    Ps. I forgot to mention, I use my computer solely for Internet browsing, word processing and watching films.
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Well if you need portability, then the MBP or MBA. If you don't need portability then the iMac. One potential issue will be when will the iMac be upgraded to ivy bridge. If I was in your shoes, I'd opt for a MacBook Pro :)
  3. borostef macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2012
    Zagreb, Croatia
    The two can't be really compared, it depends what do you need...
    iMac is much more powerful, much, much more powerful... So, if you need
    CPU and GPU power for your work iMac is the way to go.
    If you need a portable machine for web surfing and some light work, than Air
    should do the trick.
  4. brandnewsteven thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2007
    I think it does come down to a question of portability. But I do have my iPad. I am terrible at making decisions. When you say MacBook Pro, do you mean the legacy or the Retina? (are there specific reasons why you recommend the MacBook Pro over the MacBook Air?)
  5. Cdaddy112 macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2011
    I have had an 11" macbook air, an iPad 2, iPhone 4S, and iMac. For me the perfect combination was the 4S and the iMac, the 4S works for me away from the house, handling all my emails, light browsing, plenty of apps and of course a phone. When I get home nothing beats an iMac (personal opinion). I have tried various combinations of all the devices- iPad and a prepaid phone, mac air and iPhone, and all devices together was just overkill.
  6. ChevyHD macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2012
    For portability obviously the air. Power the iMac is your choice. I got tired of waiting so I went for the new Macbook Pro Legacy and a thunderbolt display. I get the portability of the macbook along with the nice big screen and options to have a nice desktop workstation at home. Good luck on your choice!
  7. oscolivar1, Jun 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012

    oscolivar1 macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2012
    For a whole year of school i used my ipad 1 to remote control my 2011 21.5 Imac ...apps called splashtop remote desktop. Had a zaggmate keyboard paired with it, and had my IMAC with me at all times. But i had a chance to buy a 2011 macbook air, so i now use splashtop on the air to control the imac.

    To answer your question, i'd buy an imac.
  8. Caliber26 macrumors 68000


    Sep 25, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    iMac + iPad + iPhone = the perfect balance of OS X & iOS.

    Just my $.02 :)
  9. Jacobwilson99 macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2012
    I'd go with a retina pro.
    If you watch a lot of movies, the screen would be pretty nice. You may want the non-retina for the optical drive if you use DVDs. Also, the MBA is only a little lighter, but you gain way more power than you'd need in the retina. An iMac, I think, might be more power than you need. But the screen is nice as well.

    I think the retina would have a great screen for you, great speed, portability, and an investment to last you after college.

  10. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Well, mobile CPUs have gone a long way. The current MBA is almost as powerful per-core as the i7 iMac. You will only notice a substantial difference in multithreaded environments such as video encoding and similar. The benefits of the iMac are the more powerful GPU and the bigger screen, the MBA has much faster SSD. If you are not doing anything demanding (like video editing), the MBA will be sufficient...
  11. iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    Yes .. same here .. in the end, what I really "need" is one powerful computer for real works and fun (top specced iMac) and one super portable computer, which also works as messaging device, and phone (yeah .. an iPhone).

    Any other Apple products out there are just in between and not best at anything. iPad is not something you can put out of your pocket anywhere, more so Macbook Air or Pro, yet they don't have enough power (CPU/GPU/RAM/storage) to be compared to a desktop. I also have had some of those and they just ended up collecting dust.

    In the end, there will only one extra powerful and one extra portable to compensate all computing needs.
  12. Lancer macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2002
    I would hope the Ivy Bridge iMac comes before September, rumor is it could come in July with Mountain Lion.

    Personally the only reason to get MBP or MBA is portability and for a student that might be more important. But if you go for the iMac hang on to the box as you'll need it when moving.
  13. brandnewsteven thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2007
    I am being swayed towards to iMac. I don't really know why. I think having a larger screen and a little more power just makes me want to buy one. I will be traveling after university though so maybe something more portable might be better here. But throughout next year I can save and get myself a Air after I graduate...

  14. AR999, Jun 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012

    AR999 macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Looks, ones a laptop, the others a desktop, it should be remarkably obvious what one you need without having to ask people, they are completely different machines.

    Lets be honest here, you get excited by apple products and just like talking about them.
  15. brandnewsteven thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2007
    I assume you fell out of the wrong side of the bed this morning. So, I say to you, it should be remarkably obvious that I like talking about such products on a dedicated forum, should it not? Is there something wrong with asking for some advice? Or shall we continue to play spot the obvious?
  16. AR999 macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    No, theres nothing wrong with asking for advice, but whats remarkably obvious to me is your not really here for advice, I mean are you seriously asking us if we think you should get an air or an imac? Thats just plain stupid, instead I feel you just want people to know your buying a mac product soon under the pretence of "advice".
  17. brandnewsteven thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2007
    Well, I am. I am asking if people were me, what would they do. I am seeking their reasons and justification to gain a greater understanding to make a more well rounded and informed decision. Perhaps you need to reevaluate your idea of what constitutes as "plain stupid". You can feel what the hell you want about why I made this thread, but the truth is plain and simple - I don't use this forum as a soap box to voice the fact I am going to purchase a computer. I solely wanted people's opinions. Now, you ought to take yourself and your high horse elsewhere. Thank you.
  18. Jacobwilson99 macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2012
    You should go into an Apple store. Pull up a movie, or even a large application on the MBA or MBP.
    Test out what you normally do with a computer. I think you'll find the power is more than enough for your needs, and the push for an iMac with just "a little more" power will be unnecessary for you.

    I just graduated college and went through the same process (iMac+iPad-power and portability vs. MacBook pro), and after testing out two different Adobe applications (photoshop and Lightroom) on the MacBook Pro Retina, even that had more power than I needed. Photoshop opened in 4 seconds on the retina pro. And photoshop is a big application. For me, an iMac was overkill. Sexy, but overkill.

    If all you're doing is watching movies, surfing the web, and writing papers, the MBA will be more than enough. The MBPR will be even more + a nice screen for movies. And iMac would be luxury, but without portability.
  19. brandnewsteven thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2007
    Thanks. I appreciate the advice!
  20. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    I can sort of see why you're here. Just understand that the question you asked is similar to "I need to get from point A to point B. Should I get a Vespa or an Escalade?"

    The MBA and the iMac serve very different purposes and audiences. For your stated purpose, the MBA is more than sufficient. I personally enjoy the iMac+iPad combo, but I stress my iMac pretty heavily with games. For what you're doing I wonder if you wouldn't be satisfied with an Apple TV and use screen mirroring from your iPad while at home...

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