Justifying an Air v. a Pro to my boss

BuddyAir

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 23, 2014
3
0
Hi All,
I am being an offered a MacBook Pro for work but really prefer the Air for two reasons 1. Mobility-the weight makes a significant difference in my daily bike commute and the travel I do for work. 2. Battery life-Because I switch offices, move around campus during teaching and meetings, I don't love to haul a cord with me everywhere I go. I have read the Air has a better battery life.

However, I don't know that either of these two things will convince my boss. I am in academia so it can't be about sales but can be about presentations or research. Any suggestions on additional reasons to argue for an Air vs. a Pro?
Thanks in advance.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,851
30,367
Boston
You've basically covered the advantage of the MBA.
Size and battery life.

Other then that, the MBP is a superior computer, in terms of screen, CPU and GPU.
 

yosemit

macrumors regular
Jul 19, 2013
167
0
The 13" MBP also has very decent battery life, 9 hours as quoted. Very likely, you don't need to take charger with you.

But for portability, the 11" MBA is the best (I have one and had 13" MBA before). There is a big difference in portability between the 11" and 13" MBAs, even though on paper the weight difference is only 0.6 lbs. They have the same performance.

You may argue that the MBAs are as powerful as 13" rMBP (it is true). The 13" rMBP has better GPU and can have 16GB memory (8GB maximum for MBAs), otherwise its performance is very close to MBAs. An i7 MBA is slightly faster than a base 13" rMBP for most jobs that don't use GPU acceleration. BTW 15" rMBP is different because it has a quad-core processor.

Hi All,
I am being an offered a MacBook Pro for work but really prefer the Air for two reasons 1. Mobility-the weight makes a significant difference in my daily bike commute and the travel I do for work. 2. Battery life-Because I switch offices, move around campus during teaching and meetings, I don't love to haul a cord with me everywhere I go. I have read the Air has a better battery life.

However, I don't know that either of these two things will convince my boss. I am in academia so it can't be about sales but can be about presentations or research. Any suggestions on additional reasons to argue for an Air vs. a Pro?
Thanks in advance.
 
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capathy21

macrumors 65816
Jun 16, 2014
1,365
534
Houston, Texas
Hi All,
I am being an offered a MacBook Pro for work but really prefer the Air for two reasons 1. Mobility-the weight makes a significant difference in my daily bike commute and the travel I do for work. 2. Battery life-Because I switch offices, move around campus during teaching and meetings, I don't love to haul a cord with me everywhere I go. I have read the Air has a better battery life.

However, I don't know that either of these two things will convince my boss. I am in academia so it can't be about sales but can be about presentations or research. Any suggestions on additional reasons to argue for an Air vs. a Pro?
Thanks in advance.
Are you being offered a retina MBP or a classic?
 

BuddyAir

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 23, 2014
3
0
Are you being offered a retina MBP or a classic?
To be honest, I don't know. I had requested an Air and they said all they could give me was a 13" MacBook Pro. I responded that I'd prefer an Air and the boss said I needed to justify it and that's where we left it.
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,682
2,103
I would try convince you on the pro.

You have stated the major differences in your post from an air point of view. I would however say the pro was a better computer and heres why.

The screen is awesome and much nicer to stare at for extended periods (you are in acedemia and text is so much nicer).

While it is half a pound heavier than the air it is actually slightly smaller in footprint making portability much of a muchness. (Half a pound weight will make no difference unless you are a nine year old girl)

Connectivity is better with HDMI and two thunderbolt 2 connections, making peripherals and docking a much neater solution.

The CPU is better for number crunching and the GPU sings for an iGPU making the Pro a better desktop replacement when needed.

The only thing the air has going for it is the battery life and you will get 9-10 hours out of the pro which should see you through the day on basic tasks, anything more intensive will hammer the battery on both machines and you'd need that cable anyway.

I would go with the rMBP (unless the it is the 2012 cMBP then it is not worth this discussion) over the air anytime. Can you take it on a trial and then exchange within 14 days if you don't like it???
 

capathy21

macrumors 65816
Jun 16, 2014
1,365
534
Houston, Texas
To be honest, I don't know. I had requested an Air and they said all they could give me was a 13" MacBook Pro. I responded that I'd prefer an Air and the boss said I needed to justify it and that's where we left it.
If it is the classic MBP, then I'd definitely fight hard for the Air. I would state that the battery life is essentially double that of the cMBP. Also, the weight difference is over 1.5 pounds which is significant especially when you are moving from location to location.

If it's a retina model, specifically Late 2013, then I think it would be easily as good for your situation as the Air would be. The half pound weight difference is hardly noticeable especially in a bag. The footprint of the 13 rMBP is actually smaller than the 13 Air so I find it a bit easier to transport over the 13 Air. The battery is around 9 hours vs 12 on the Air but most importantly, the retina display is phenomenal, and more than worth the extra half pound in weight.

Really, as long as you get either an Air or rMBP, you will be good. The cMBP while still good, would not be ideal for your situation as it is significantly heavier with significantly less battery life.
 

Panch0

macrumors 6502a
Feb 23, 2010
682
4
Virginia
classic MBP vs. Retina MBP Makes a big difference. The cMBA base config comes with an HDD. rMBP or MBA comes with SSD. That is a huge performance difference.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,602
1,185
Georgia
Beyond the weight, portability and battery life. I'd take a cost analysis approach.

It's base configuration is cheaper. So you could get the 1.7Ghz CPU upgrade and 8GB RAM upgrade. Which would place it right between the base cMBP and rMBP at $1249.

The 8GB RAM would likely give the computer a much longer useful life vs 4GB while the 1.7Ghz CPU would help ensure your CPU doesn't become a bottleneck before the RAM does. So from a short term cost perspective they are approximately the same. For long term cost it saves your work money.

This all assumes that your tasks aren't CPU intensive. If they are the Air costs more because of time you wait for numbers to crunch is time of no productivity.
 

mad3inch1na

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2013
662
6
To be honest, I don't know. I had requested an Air and they said all they could give me was a 13" MacBook Pro. I responded that I'd prefer an Air and the boss said I needed to justify it and that's where we left it.
If it is a rMBP your boss is offering you, take it and run. It is a much better computer than the MBA, and it is only 1/2 a pound heavier. Imagine putting a MBA and a can of coke in your bag. The rMBP weighs less than that. The only reason why you should get a MBA over the rMBP is if you don't have enough money for it.

The best argument for your boss though is that the MBA is cheaper (than both the cMBP and rMBP)!

Matt
 
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yosemit

macrumors regular
Jul 19, 2013
167
0
This all assumes that your tasks aren't CPU intensive. If they are the Air costs more because of time you wait for numbers to crunch is time of no productivity.
For that purpose, the OP better get the 1.7/3.3 GHz i7 instead of the 2.4/2.9 GHz i5 in the base rMBP.

But anyway, both are very good choice in most cases.
 

mad3inch1na

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2013
662
6
For that purpose, the OP better get the 1.7/3.3 GHz i7 instead of the 2.4/2.9 GHz i5 in the base rMBP.

But anyway, both are very good choice in most cases.
Those processors are just about a wash power wise, so technically that would not provide an argument one way or the other.
 

yosemit

macrumors regular
Jul 19, 2013
167
0
Macbook Air and 13" Macbook Pro Retina have almost the same CPU performance. They differ in portability, battery life, retina screen, GPU performance, and port connection.

Both have decent computing power. But if that's really a concern, one should get access to a server computer.

Those processors are just about a wash power wise, so technically that would not provide an argument one way or the other.
 
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jmoore5196

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2009
739
252
Midwest US
If it is a rMBP your boss is offering you, take it and run. It is a much better computer than the MBA, and it is only 1/2 a pound heavier. Imagine putting a MBA and a can of coke in your bag. The rMBP weighs less than that. The only reason why you should get a MBA over the rMBP is if you don't have enough money for it.
Matt, I have both an 11" MBA and a 13" rMBP. While the weight difference between the two 13" models is negligible, the real-world transport difference between the 11" MBA and the 13" rMBP is substantial. I travel frequently and usually pack the MBA just because the pound I save can go to something else.

From a performance perspective, the rMBP actually lags behind the high-end 11" MBA. I have a high-spec 13" - i7, 16GB and 512SSD - and my 11" is smoother and faster at most tasks when connected to my 27" ATD. I attribute the lag to the retina display; processor power is required (and used) to push all those pixels.

I'm not sure I'd call the rMBP "much better" in any sense. If I suddenly had to choose just one machine to use for an extended period of time, I'd choose the 11" MBA.
 

mad3inch1na

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2013
662
6
Matt, I have both an 11" MBA and a 13" rMBP. While the weight difference between the two 13" models is negligible, the real-world transport difference between the 11" MBA and the 13" rMBP is substantial. I travel frequently and usually pack the MBA just because the pound I save can go to something else.

From a performance perspective, the rMBP actually lags behind the high-end 11" MBA. I have a high-spec 13" - i7, 16GB and 512SSD - and my 11" is smoother and faster at most tasks when connected to my 27" ATD. I attribute the lag to the retina display; processor power is required (and used) to push all those pixels.

I'm not sure I'd call the rMBP "much better" in any sense. If I suddenly had to choose just one machine to use for an extended period of time, I'd choose the 11" MBA.
Well yeah, I didn't think we were discussing the 11" MBA vs the 13" rMBP. Those are very different computers. Do you run both your laptop screen and the 27" display at the same time? The rMBP would perform better than the 11" if the display was turned off while working on the 27" monitor. Between the 13" rMBP and the 13" MBA I think the rMBP is better in most aspects except price and battery life. The 11" MBA vs the 13" rMBP is based on what your needs are, so a better argument could be formed about getting one or the other.

Matt
 
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Saturn1217

macrumors 6502a
Apr 28, 2008
972
232
To be honest, I don't know. I had requested an Air and they said all they could give me was a 13" MacBook Pro. I responded that I'd prefer an Air and the boss said I needed to justify it and that's where we left it.
As a fellow academic it sounds to me like they were going to get you the old non-retina 13" Macbook Pro. Otherwise I don't see why they would challenge your preference for a cheaper computer.

If that is the case is there any option to offer to pay for the difference out of pocket? The MBA is a great computer for academia, especially if you travel often. The battery-life is game changing. I can choose to work away from my desk ALL day (10am-8pm) without even having to worry about battery life which is a huge help as I try to escape distractions at lab while writing my thesis. That would be my justification.
 

jmoore5196

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2009
739
252
Midwest US
Do you run both your laptop screen and the 27" display at the same time? The rMBP would perform better than the 11" if the display was turned off while working on the 27" monitor.
Sadly, that's not the case. I run both in clamshell mode when connected to the TBD. At the moment, I have the 11" MBA up and running to do some CC work because the lag in the rMBP is slight but noticeable.

I haven't done enough CC work on the rMBP sans ATD to judge whether the lag is appreciable or not. Every other aspect of the machine is fine; the lag is disconcerting.
 

mad3inch1na

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2013
662
6
Sadly, that's not the case. I run both in clamshell mode when connected to the TBD. At the moment, I have the 11" MBA up and running to do some CC work because the lag in the rMBP is slight but noticeable.

I haven't done enough CC work on the rMBP sans ATD to judge whether the lag is appreciable or not. Every other aspect of the machine is fine; the lag is disconcerting.
That is disconcerting. Nothing about the hardware would indicate the late 2013 rMBP would perform worse than the MBA. If you were running both displays at the same time then it would make sense. If you have the late 2013 rMBP, which it seems like you have, it should perform better than the MBA.
 

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
8,193
2,522
Sadly, that's not the case. I run both in clamshell mode when connected to the TBD. At the moment, I have the 11" MBA up and running to do some CC work because the lag in the rMBP is slight but noticeable.

I haven't done enough CC work on the rMBP sans ATD to judge whether the lag is appreciable or not. Every other aspect of the machine is fine; the lag is disconcerting.
The rMBP is substantially faster than the Airs are. I would spend time troubleshooting.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
110
Location Location Location
In terms of "Value for money", the 13" regular MBPs are the worst deal around.

Look at the hardware specs, and then look at the price. The 13" MBP (non-Retina) was released in mid-2012, and therefore, using VERY outdated hardware.


Tell him that you'd rather than the higher-end 11" MBA, because quite honestly, it's a better laptop in every way.

You wouldn't be losing any in terms of resolution, and you'd have a longer battery life.
Screen quality would be around the same.
Battery life on the 11" MBA is probably 2x as good.
There's a difference in connectivity, but the rest of the 11" MBA's specs make up for it.

Screen size? Sorry, but people are generally quite surprised at how usable the 11" MBA's screen is. The screen resolution is good/usable, and in terms of ppi, the 11" screen's pixel density is only slightly higher than the 13" MBP's screen, which means you won't need to squint to use the 11.6" screen. ;)

The 13" MBP is $600 too expensive for what it is, if not more. It's a sad little zit in Apple's product lineup. That, and Apple TV with its A5 processor. And some of those iPods........and perhaps several other things.


And if it helps: I have a PhD, I've written lots of reports on my 11" MBA, and I used to own a 13" and 15" MBP. Also, I commute to work by bike, and have been overseas to conferences with mine. It's the perfect device for travel, and I can even hold it in one hand like I would an iPad, while using the keyboard with the other. It's seriously portable!!

Trust me, get the 13" MBA if you have the opportunity. If not, then argue the case for the 11" MBA instead. Don't get the 13" MBP unless it's Retina.
 
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Mrbobb

macrumors 601
Aug 27, 2012
4,987
192
If u can get the Air cheaper, THAT would be a justification anybody would be happy with.

Having said that, is this a group buy? Your department maybe getting a batch at a discount and no subtitutions.

The other thing is, you may need the Pro with the extra ports for presentation. Have you spoken with IT yet?
 

jmoore5196

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2009
739
252
Midwest US
The rMBP is substantially faster than the Airs are. I would spend time troubleshooting.
No, the rMBP is not "substantially faster."

I own both: A 2013 11" MBA maxed out with i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD. It Geekbenches about 8200.

My 2014 13" rMBP has the 2.8GHz i7, 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. This machine will Geekbench around 8900. In real life, I don't think the speed difference is noticeable. Connected to the TBD in clamshell mode, the lag is discernible, especially when working on multitrack projects.

My previous MBP was a 2011 2.0GHz QC i7 with 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. I expected the faster SSD in the 13" to make up some ground despite the dual-core processor, but it doesn't seem to help much. The old machine Geekbenched at 10,000.

I bought the 13" thinking the 11" MBA wasn't capable as a desktop replacement. Now the MBA spends more time on my desktop than the rMBP. If I weren't tethered to a ATD, that might make a difference with respect to the lag; otherwise, there's nothing to troubleshoot.

My point is that expecting the 13" rMBP to crush the MBA with respect to performance is unrealistic. If I could only have one laptop to use all day long, I'd pick my 11" MBA and let the rMBP go. The impressive screen aside, there's just not enough difference between the two machines to justify picking the rMBP as the "power choice."
 

recoil80

macrumors 68030
Jul 16, 2014
2,540
2,104
To be honest, I don't know. I had requested an Air and they said all they could give me was a 13" MacBook Pro. I responded that I'd prefer an Air and the boss said I needed to justify it and that's where we left it.
I guess he means they already have a 13 MBP available, while they'd have to buy an Air for you, so he asked you to justify the purchase of a new laptop.
Ask him if the MBP is retina or not, if is a retina model take it, the battery life is good and is not too heavy. If he has an old MBP fight for the Air!
 

capathy21

macrumors 65816
Jun 16, 2014
1,365
534
Houston, Texas
The 13" MBP is $600 too expensive for what it is, if not more. It's a sad little zit in Apple's product lineup. That, and Apple TV with its A5 processor. And some of those iPods........and perhaps several other things.
While most(including myself) prefer the Air or retina models to the cMBP, saying it is essentially worthless is ridiculous.

For people that prefer older features such as OD, ethernet, etc. It's still better than anything else comparable on the market.