MacBook Air or MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by james809, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. james809 macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2009
    I need some advice on choosing between the MacBook Air (2.13GHz) and the MacBook Pro (13.3", 2.53GHz).

    I love the MacBook Air's weight and size, but will it:
    1) Watch 720p avi files without lagging?
    2) Overheat and eventually crash? (The reason why I'm switching to Apple)
    3) Able to run Flash applications smoothly?

    The laptop will be both my home and travel computer.

    Thanks guys!
  2. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Absolutely on 720p and flash. The Air is meant to be used as a primary computer. Or not.

    Just make sure you get the right version. So it'll do those things, such as flash and video. Since you say 2.13 GHz, I assume that means you are looking at the $1,799 model.
  3. james809 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2009
    hmmmm okay but will the 2GB RAM be able to support firefox, safari, messenger on mac running and watching the video? as I usually watch stuff with my applications still running. And yes, the $1,799 model.
  4. Enigma2120 macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2008
    Yes, the 2.13GHz MacBook Air will smoothly run flash apps and 720p avi files. And I agree that the size and weight is attractive. But I would recommend the 13", 2.53GHz MBP. Though I guess it really depends on your needs and what you expect from a notebook. My main reasons for recommending the MacBook Pro are usability and performance.

    The 13" MBP comes standard with 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; upgradable to 8GB. The Air maxes out at 2GB. The MBP also has the new 7hour battery, the Air will on get 5hours. The MBP also has a faster, more powerful processor. You also have the ability to use larger and faster HDDs or larger SSD in the MBP whereas you're limited to a 128GB SSD with the 2.13GHz Air. Moreover, the MBP has two USB ports, a FireWire 800 port, SD card slot, Gigabit Ethernet port, Mini DisplayPort, and a SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD±RW); the Air only has one USB and a Mini DisplayPort, no internal optical drive. Also, the MBP is a few hundred dollars less than the 2.13GHz Air.

    I'm sure the Air will support smooth video playback while you have a (modest) number of applications open. But the MBP is a much more powerful machine. I have a 15" MBP with 4GB of RAM and also run countless applications simultaneously. I've yet to notice any lagging. The safe bet, in my opinion is to go with the MacBook Pro. It's cheaper, it's more powerful, it has an internal optical drive, and it's nearly as sleek and portable as the Air--if you're near an apple store, you should take a look at one in person, it's lighter and more portable than one imagines it would be.

    Also, you can purchase the base model of the MBP now and in a year or two, invest a little more money to upgrade the RAM, perhaps install a larger HDD/SSD as newer models are released. What I mean to say is, I feel the MBP will have a longer life; you won't feel as if you have an archaic obsolete machine in a few years.

    I do love the sleekness and portability of the Air, but for me, the performance just isn't there. With the addition of the 13" MBP to the Pro line, I feel Apple has really bridged the performance-portability gap.

    My best advice would be to take a trip to an apple store, or any computer retailer with both a MacBook Pro and an Air on Display. Take them for a test drive. And see which works best for you. Good luck and enjoy the new computer, whichever you finally decide upon.
  5. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    I think the MBA would serve you well.

    The MBPs are great but there is nothing quite like the form factor of the MBA the lightness and thinness of the machine really turn it into a laptop you can carry everywhere with you and not even really know its with you.

    It may not be as powerful as the MBP but the state of laptops these days at least with Core 2 Duo driven ones is that even the MBA is a powerful laptop and a more powerful laptop in most aspects than a MBP a few years ago.

    I actually prefer this laptop to my 17" Core Duo Macbook Pro simply because of form factor.

    I would say try em both out at the Apple Store and see where your heart leads you.
  6. RichardF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2006
    New York City

    I used to own a 17" MBP (the latest top of the line before Apple made the switch to Intel). While it was amazing to work on/ use, it was a pain to carry around.

    To the OP's question:

    I think we cannot really tell what you value most. To some the size/ weight will overcome other considerations when comparing the MBA to its closest tempting alternative: the 13" MBP.

    The 2.13GHz/ 128GB SSD MBA is apparently "good enough" when it comes to power, in particular if you don't need to have an optical drive and to have a bunch of external devices plugged-in often/ at all times.

    I know some would like the MBA to be even lighter (using Carbon Fiber) but I find it really light and that makes it a joy to use around the house and have it with you all the time when on and about.
  7. james809 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2009
    I've tried both, I love the weight and size of the MacBook Air but I tried running applications like Front Row and there was a really slight lag in the display set of the Air to the Pro (however they are using the lower end model for both). I'll think about what you all have adviced me thanks!
  8. DiamondGCoupe macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2007
    Videos lag on my Air after it gets hot which is usually ~30 minutes or so, and it does get very hot! If this is going to be your primary laptop, go with the Pro.
  9. colourfastt macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2009
    I have both a MBA and a MBP and I find myself using the Air MUCH more than the MacBook Pro. The form factor and weight being the deciding factors when I'm trying to decide which laptop to carry with me.
  10. kate-willbury macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2009
    lol are you kidding me? the macbook air is the biggest rip off on the entire mac line.
  11. EglMtn macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2008
    USB Considerations

    I have a first generation MBA and have really enjoyed it. I travel a lot and so the portability has been a big issue for me. However I have at times been very frustrated by the single USB port. When I have my broadband card plugged in, which is most of the time, I can not plug anything else in. It can be very frustrating. I know there are USB hubs out there but they require you to plug them in to power, and it's just more that I have to carry around. For that reason alone, I am considering switching to a MBP with the next update.
  12. james809 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2009
    When will be the most probable date for the next update of the Air+Pro (they should be together)? Cause if they update the Air with a 4GB RAM it should be good enough for me.

    And yes, I've heard about it overheating but I visited an Apple shop and the latest 1.86GHz model wasn't really hot when I felt it.
  13. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I would go with the "pro", if you can call it that.

    It has a much better battery life, and won't overhead like the air does.

    Also, it has double the USB ports, not like that's saying much though :p
  14. RichardF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2006
    New York City
    And a better iSight resolution.

    I used to *hate* the iSight on my Rev A. MBA.

    How about the 13" MacBook Pro 2.26GHz with 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM for $1,699?

    Interestingly, the 2.53GHz version with 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM is at $1,843.
    Quite a difference for just the CPU power difference.
  15. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    The ONLY reasons to buy the MBP over the MBA are...

    1. You absolutely NEED more CPU power than 2.13 GHz, DOUBTFUL.
    2. You absolutely NEED a FireWire Port.
    3. You absolutely NEED more than 13.3" of display space. Assume 15"/17" MBP.
    4. You absolutely NEED a dedicated graphics card.
    5. You absolutely NEED 4 GB RAM, probably most common issue. Those who NEED to run Windows virtually probably encounter this issue.

    Forget the "want more power" issue, as the MBA is quite a capable Mac for most Mac users. I would bet over 80% of the people who buy a 13.3" MBP don't need an MBP and would love an MBA if they gave it a try. They fall into the trap of wanting more power. It's an easy trap to fall into, but even the MBA is really capable and powerful. Compare it to the power of a PPC Mac Pro from three years ago, or to a 2.16 GHz MBP from two years ago. With the SSD it's faster than the average MBP with 4 GB RAM and 7200rpm HDD.

    I vote MBA unless you NEED something listed above.
  16. RichardF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2006
    New York City

    The current MBAs still use a 0.3MP (640x480) sensor for their iSight, right?
  17. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    OMG, seriously? LMAO. So the MBP's iSight is different... cheers. more power to you for knowing that.
  18. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    Let's not forget the battery in the Macbook pro. It is significantly better.

    Also, the Glass Trackpad is better than the Air's pad. I have owned both. The Pro is also built much better as there are no hardware defects like the Air (screen lines, hinge, trackpad scratch issue etc...), and the optical drive, more usb ports, and ethernet (this depends on if the user needs these things on the go). The 15/17 models can also have a Matte Screen if needed.

    Regardless, I highly recommend upgrading a Macbook Pro or Air to the SSD drives. The speed increase is completely worth it, unless of course you need the hard drive space (which is up to 500 gigs in the Pro).

    Now that the Macbook Pro's have taken the design queues from the Air and have a better trackpad, there is NO reason Apple should be charging what they do for the Air. It is highly overpriced. When it first came out it was revolutionary but things have changed since then. Yes the price has come down, but it should be cheaper than the cheapest Macbook Pro.

    Back when it was released, it had a MUCH better screen than the Macbooks and latter Aluminum Macbooks, the illuminated keyboard and multitouch trackpad. It was also the first to have the unibody construction and the chips probably cost some decent money since it was a project specifically restarted for Apple by Intel.

    It made sense that it sat in-between the Macbook and the Macbook Pro; however, now it should be the lowest priced model in the lineup as it had no advantages anymore and requires fewer/cheaper parts to make.
  19. Durious macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2008
    Calgary, Alberta
    It's relevant if you are an avid youtuber I'd think (Most common use these days for the cam's). But the cam quality in MBA at least Rev A was lacking. I don't know if the resolution is still the same on subsequent version's.
  20. RichardF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2006
    New York City

    I ask you a question and you respond with sarcasm?

    I don't understand where you are coming from. What's with the (juvenile) attitude?

    Agreed and that's also what I would like to know.

    Couldn't they just use the same sensor as in the MBPs?
  21. Barbie macrumors regular


    Jan 28, 2009
    apple haven't cracked how to fit the better MacBook Pro camera into the MacBook Air's really thin display bezel (the display is about 0.15 inches thin)

  22. gnr319 macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2009
    OP, I own the MBA you're thinking about getting and I use my girlfriend's high-end 13" MBP frequently. For the tasks you listed, I do not notice a difference between the two machines save for the fact that the MBA gets warmer than the Pro, but we're not talking about the heat on a Rev. A here. As a matter of physics, the smaller chassis will simply retain more heat.

    To me, when a person is stuck between an MBA and a 13" Pro, it's not helpful to compare the specs of both machines. Of course the MBAs specs are notches below the MBPs and performance-wise no one would argue the superiority of the latter.

    Instead, I suspect that when a person is debating between the two, it's largely a matter of aesthetics and form. They want reassurance that by opting for the more beautiful model, the extra money that contributes to a better-looking, more portable machine outweighs any performance decrease.

    I was in this position when I had to decide on a laptop this summer and I went with the Air because to me, a computer is more than a tool that I use to get things done. I use my computer on and off 12+ hours a day. It is in a way, the most useful and necessary of accessories. I reasoned that if I'm going to spend that much time with my computer, why not get something that is nicer to look at, better to hold and one that separates me from everyone else in Starbucks or Panera who has the 13" MBP?

    I will be the first to admit that form to me follows closely on the heels of function. I use my computer mostly for heavy-duty word-processing, internet, email, and organization. Functionally, both machines will execute those tasks flawlessly. So the deciding factor for me was the form and as you can suspect, the MBA is a no-brainer in that regard. After using an Air, the MBP 13" seems fat and clumsy; the MBPs unibody seems unrefined and block-like while the MBA's is elegant and more ornate. (And why is the MBP so damn heavy?) That was a little tongue-on-cheeck--the MBP is obviously a beautiful machine as well, but you get spoiled/snobby after using the Air if you know what I mean.

    The point is: as with other things in life--cars, shoes, clothes, etc.--we buy computers not only for what they can do but how they look. Some people can forsake appearance for better performance but I can't and I don't see anything wrong with that (the majority in this forum will lead you to believe otherwise).

    Hope this helps.
  23. caonimadebi macrumors regular

    May 7, 2009
    I really doubt the 13" MBP will outperform the SSD 2.13 MBA just in terms of the specs. What is a huge handicap for the MBA is its tendency to overheat. The 2.13Ghz MBA has no problem playing MOST HD videos, flash or not, for a few minutes. The stuttering video comes on immediately when the MBA overheats and the fan revs to 6200rpm. This tendency to overheat and stutter makes it impossible to watch high resolution video for an extended period of time. You can also forget about playing it on a large external display, it's no going to play smoothly. Even playing a .mkv standard definition video via VLC on an external 1920x1200 monitor, the fan revs up to 6200rpm immediately.
    I think the MBA will make a great primary computer if you put an ice pack under it.
  24. james809 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2009
    I do have a cooler pad (the one made by belkin) and I use it on my current computer as it crashes really often. So if I'm using my MBA at home i'll just use the pad, so I'm fine with it.
  25. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    First, I thought you were implying I had left out that the MBA has an inferior iSight to the MBA. I wasn't sarcastic but thought you were being.

    Secondly, I didn't call you juvenile or other names. Why don't you grow up and realize that not everything gets across in an Internet post when the writing isn't clear.

    I didn't name call but you did.. Grow up and realize your name calling is simply a reflection of yourself.

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