laptop for presentations

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by larryfromtexas, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. larryfromtexas macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    Newbie question. My whole family uses Apple products, including two iMacs and my MacMini. I give presentations now and have suffered with Windows laptops on occasion. I would love to "keep everything Apple" and purchase a laptop to use at these presentations, likely with Keynote.

    I must add that, in general, I prefer desktop computers to work on. I'm not comfortable with the smaller keyboard and screens of laptops.

    My first idea was to seek advice about used laptops, Apple refurbished or just something off of eBay. A little scared of what I'll get, plus I want something old enough to be affordable and new enough not to be useless in a short while.

    My second idea, perhaps a better one, is to replace my aging MacMini (likely to be replaced in a year or so) with a NEW Apple laptop, and connect that to my Apple Thunderbolt display, and continue using a separate (full size) keyboard and track pad. The laptop just replaces the MacMini, but I can take it with me to use at the occasional presentation when needed.

    Is that the better plan? If you like the first idea, tell me the pitfalls to watch for with a used laptop, and maybe a model to look into.

    If the second idea appeals to you, I'm frankly a little unsure of the advantages or limitations of the Macbook, Macbook Pro or Macbook Air lines. If you know that my tricked out MacMini (with upgraded SSD drive) suits my normal needs well, perhaps that can guide your advice.

    Thanks!
     
  2. kohlson macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #2
    As a somewhat oversimplification, laptops and minis have the same computing capability. The difference is really price, but you get a display and keyboard with a laptop. Corporate America (aka PowerPointLand) long ago adopted both ppt and laptops. Some of us like external keyboards and bigger monitors, so we use those, too. Virtually any Mac laptop from 2013 on comes with SSD, and some, like MBA, earlier than that. I would stay away from 2011 MBP with a discrete GPU -- nothing but trouble. If you buy a laptop with a HDD the first thing to do is replace it with an SSD - roughly 500GB drives are now roughly $150 or less. You get two benefits from this -- shock proofing and faster performance.
     
  3. mwchris macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #3
    I am in a similar boat to some extent. I have a late 2013 15" rMBP maxed out that I use as my primary machine. I love it as it has the power to do video editing and other tasks when I need it and be portable at the same time. I typically plug it up to an external monitor and use a wireless mouse and keyboard. The problem is when I travel and do presentations, which is quite often. I love the screen size, but the size and weight adds up fast. I ultimately want the new rMB for travel and either keep my current machine as a desktop or buy an iMac or Mac mini. That said I am waiting for the next revision of the rMB. I refuse to buy the out dated technology that is the MBA, and the rMB has been out too long to justify purchasing it, plus I don't need a new machine.

    In any case, not knowing how you will use the machine it is difficult to recommend anything. For most people who want a good middle of the road machine that will be used at home/work with occasional travel they go with the 13" rMBP. If you are a road worrier that travels a lot then I would suggest the rMB. If, however, you need more power than the rMB, but you still want portability, then I would suggest the MBA.

    I'm sure if you give a bit more information about your primary uses for the machine and amount of portability needed folks may be able to advise you better.

    I hope this helps!
     
  4. David58117, Dec 31, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015

    David58117 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 24, 2013
    #4
    Sell the mac mini and get a 13" rMBP.

    Use it in clamshell mode (where you connect a bluetooth keyboard/trackpad (or mouse) to it, connect to monitor, close the lid and it essentially acts as a desktop).

    I had a 2012 15" I used like that for over a year, it worked perfectly.

    Edit -

    Although, I have the 12" rMB and absolutely love it. I've had them all, and it's my favorite apple laptop. It should do everything you need it for, and you can get the dongle and use it in clamshell mode, then take it with you for presentations (along with the dongle). It's fanless, and portability is simply amazing with it. Easily my favorite Apple laptop..
     
  5. IHelpId10t5 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 28, 2014
    #5
    Don't overlook the fact that you can present from an iPhone or iPad. Particularly using Keynote, you can develop your presentation at home and then present it using the iOS device. Assuming that you already have an iPhone, all you would need to give it a try would be to purchase the Lightning to VGA (or HDMI) adapter to hook up to most projectors. This obviously works best when you are speaking from a podium or at least near the hookup (because you will have a VGA or HDMI cable connected to your phone). If you plan to be cordless and center stage then this is not the option for you.
     
  6. larryfromtexas thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    #6
    Such good replies full of advice! I thank each of you, and wish you a Happy New Year!

    Please forgive me. When you you use hardware shorthand like rMB or MBA I'm left to guess. MBA must mean MacBook Air, and a P must indicate Pro, but could you help me with the little "r"?

    My presentations are on popular music history, and are thick with embedded videos and photos. On average they run about 2GB in size. I used a thumb drive to connect with a Windows laptop the last presentation but ran into many problems. I just think an Apple laptop would give me less grief.

    At home my computer use is quite pedestrian. Photo editing (Adobe Elements and Aperture), MS Office suite or the Apple equivalents for creating these presentation files, and the average web browsing, email, etc. Not a gamer. My Mac Mini is a mid 2011 model, 2.7 GHz, Dual-Core i7. I've maxed out the memory at 8GB. I later upgraded to a 120 GB SATA solid state drive, and have moved most of the big files to external drives. My 120 GB is just recently full, I'm afraid, but that was all I could afford at the time.

    Thanks for confirming what must be the simplest information… that I can leave the laptop clamshell closed and control the wake/sleep cycle with keyboard and trackpad, just like I do now. It seems more obvious to me now that this is what I need to do, as I was considering my Mac Mini would need replacing before long.

    Now the question is which model, and what configuration. I suspect budget (as always) will dictate my choices. I can say that portability (how light) is not a huge concern, as the vast majority of time it will be docked. In a similar vein, screen size is not too important since my 27" Thunderbolt display will serve as my display for 98% of what I do. I do have the external Apple DVD drive, as I don't think the laptops have disc drives any longer.

    mwchris, you mentioned wanting to avoid certain models as the technology is getting old, and customers are waiting for updates. Can any of you explained on this? I don't know that sort of research, and I always want to load up my new computers at the purchase date, to "buy" longevity, if you will.

    Hope this post has helped explain my computer use and needs. Thanks again!
     
  7. mwchris, Jan 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016

    mwchris macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #7
    Larry,
    I've noted the different shorthand below.

    MBA = Mac Book Air
    MBP = Mac Book Pro NONE Retina Screen
    rMB = Retina Mac Book
    rMBP = Retina Mac Book Pro

    Personally I would avoid the MBA and the MBP as the screen resolution is not going to be as good as the other two options. I have a maxed out 15" rMBP and love the screen. (At the time it was replacing a Mac Pro desktop.) That said said I have a 24" monitor it is connected to frequently and the computer is used in clamshell mode as a previous poster described. Where the retina shines is it not only looks amazing, but it makes a 15" seem larger because the resolution is much higher.

    For your situation I would consider the rMB or the 13" rMBP. They both start out at the same price (see here), but you get a little more bang for your buck for the 13" rMBP. Primarily you get a slightly larger screen, more powerful processor options, more ram and storage options, and if it matters you also get a device that still has a few ports available on the computer (SD Reader, USB 3.0, Headphone, Thunderbolt and HDMI). They only sacrifice you make is the weight. It will be almost twice as heavy as the rMB, but you said that wasn't a big issue.

    If I was buying based on your needs today I would buy THIS machine. i5 2.7gh processor with 256 gb SSD. It will do everything you described easily. If you need more storage the next machine up is $300 for a slightly better processor (most likely unnoticeable to the user) and a 512 gb SSD. If you need more storage I would consider one of THESE flush mount SD drives. (They won't be as fast as the internal drive, but they are plenty fast for most tasks.)

    You may also want to check the refurbished store from Apple. You can often find good deals there. Just read the specs closely and don't wait too long as things disappear quickly. This time of year there should be a fair amount with Christmas returns. You can also check your local store like Best Buy for open box items. Additionally, if you are a student you will get a slight discount. Last but not least, you may want to plan for Apple Care, but don't buy it form Apple. At the time when I bought mine I found the best deal from B & H Photo online. You have 30 days from the purchase of your computer to but it. Here is a link to the one if you buy the machine linked to above.

    I hope this helps! If you have any other questions, let me know!
     
  8. larryfromtexas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 31, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    #8
    Thanks mwchris. My knowledge acquisition has shot up with your generous help, and others. It all makes sense to me. The rMBP (13") you recommend is one that interests me most now, for all the reasons you listed and also that it seems to be "replacement proof" for a reasonable period.

    My Mac Mini has an i7 processor, and your recommended one has an i5. Is that any big deal? I could spring for the i7 for an additional $300 but you seemed to indicate the average user (likely me) might not notice the difference.
     
  9. LiveM, Jan 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016

    LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    #9
    I would consider using the remote feature in Keynote to control the presentation running on your Mac or an iOS device with the Apple Remote (Mac Mini), another iOS device or the Apple Watch.

    I Would also consider using Airplay from an iOS device or Mac to an Apple TV.

    My preference would be to avoid the bulk and inability to stand and move freely if your controller device is a Mac keyboard and trackpad. Better to walk around with an Apple Remote, iPod, iPhone or iPad.
     
  10. mwchris macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #10
    The processors in the 13" rMBP are both dual core whether you go with an i5 or an i7 and thus there are few if any benefits to pick the i7 over the i5. That said, the quad core i7 available in the 15" rMBP offers many more benefits, but it is a much more expensive upgrade than $200. You can read more about the difference between the two dual core processors HERE, but the short version is the benefits will be unnoticeable for any user. Save you money and/or spend it on something else.
     
  11. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

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    Zurich, Switzerland
  12. larryfromtexas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 31, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    #12
    It is a mid 2011 model.
     
  13. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Zurich, Switzerland
    #13
    You can compare performance here:
    https://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks
    Of course, those numbers are just hints.

    Your Mini is about as fast as a 12" Retina MacBook.
    I've got a 2012 i7 Mini, so I'll see what the 2nd generation 12" rMB does ;-)
     

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