MacBook Air with i7 or 2016 Mackbook Pro no touchbar

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by hardflaco, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. hardflaco macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2016
    I am planning to buy a new Mac for my daughter to use in HighSchool / University and I am not sure if I should go with the MacBook Air with i7 and 512SSD or the 13" MacBook Pro without Touchbar and i5
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    For the screen alone, I'd say the 2016 MBP. Otherwise I'd get a 13" 2015 rMBP. The Air's screen and big ol' bezels just won't age well.
  3. infinitejest macrumors 6502


    May 1, 2016
    Orange County, CA
    Maxing out the Air doesn't make a lot of sense here - you'd be better off getting the Pro for the same price. The real question here, though, is does she really need the i7 processor (I doubt that) and 512GB?
    So, it really depends on what she is doing with it. Can you be a bit more specific?
  4. hardflaco thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2016
    Well, really use is mainly for internet browsing, Excel, Word and Powerpoint. Reason for i7 ? because is only 113 $ more, maybe on the hard drive with 256 is enough though.....
  5. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I'd consider the m5 MacBook.
  6. hardflaco thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2016
    I thought about it but keyboard is crapy......
  7. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    If she appreciates computers then the 2016 MBP. If she doesn't and just needs it to work then save the money, if that's even a concern. The 2016 is better in almost every way.
  8. infinitejest macrumors 6502


    May 1, 2016
    Orange County, CA
    She won't notice any difference by having an i7 processor doing these kind of tasks.

    The keyboard of the new Pro is very close to the keyboard of the rMB.

    I'd decide between these two: i5, 256GB Air for $1200 and the non-touchbar Pro for $1500 (the one you mentioned).
    For the $300 premium you get a better display, better processor, bigger trackpad, worse keyboard, no ports. Your choice...
  9. Wackery macrumors 6502a

    Feb 1, 2015
    the mac air. dont waste your money, if screen is so important, buy her a display. the screen is more than adequate
  10. tentales macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2010
    There's zero gain with an i7 for Office Apps and internet browsing. Heck an i3 or m processor would suffice.
    If it was me, I'd buy a refurb MB Air with 8/256 and save some money.

    Hang on, that is what I bought :)
    So, I might be biased. But seriously, i7 is overkill unless she plans on doing lots of video editing and rendering.

    Let her test the keyboard of the rMB at a store and see if she's ok with it. Great screen and lightweight might be of greater benefit for her to carry around. If keyboard is more important, well than go with the Air. The new MBPs have the same crappy keyboard, except a tad less crappy than the rMB.

    Also the Air (13") has an SD-card slot which I use to keep my iTunes library on with a cheap 128GB SD card and a flush-mount adapter. Refurbs are south of $1K and IMO are just as good as new.

    Then there's the "fashion-factor" component. The Air's looks are now considered dated, but hey. It's your money.
  11. asoksevil macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2010
    Taipei, Taiwan
    The MacBook can do everything she'll hope to do with no problem. I'll only take the MBA if it was a bargain.
  12. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    I owned a 2011 Macbook Air i5 4GB 256GB model from 2012 until 2016, it was great. Now I have a late 2013 15" Macbook Pro Retina. Here's my 2 cents. As everyone else has said, DO NOT buy the upgraded processor, it is such a waste. Photoshop, youtube, email, Microsoft Office, ALL will work exceptionally well on the base processor. Processor is a bottle neck that you will notice rendering movies, if she films and edits movies the upgraded processor will save maybe 10 percent on the encode time. So 9 minutes to encode a short movie versus 10 minutes. You can still do movies on the base model, it will just take a minute longer. RAM: 4GB worked well for me from 2012 to 2016, I used photoshop and oh my somehow I even managed to run a virtual machine in VMWare (known to use lots of RAM). 8 GB will be plenty for her basic needs. Display: for 4 years I had the Macbook Air and thought, I don't know why retina is a big deal, my screen is fine. I've had my retina MBP for a week now, OHHHH MYYYY, this is so incredibly wonderful!

    Get the retina, base model is fine, its newly refreshed, its fast it will be great for her.

    There have been sales lately on the $1499 Retina Macbook Pro on BHPhotovideo selling it for $1275 with no tax outside of NY and free shipping. Keep an eye out!
  13. capathy21 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    The only way I'd get her the Air was if you found a very good deal. There's no way in 2016 I would recommend spending north of 1,000 on the Air's display. It's not just that it's a lower resolution, it's the TN panel which provides terrible viewing angles and clarity.
    Your daughter will definitely appreciate the Retina display when working for hours at a time.

    Any base model retina machine will serve her well. I'd recommend a 2015 retina MacBook Pro. Or if you want to go big, get her the no touchbar 2016. Processor upgrades or anything over 256 storage will be a waste of money, regardless of the machine you choose.
  14. hinesmj macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2015
    New York
    2016 Pro w/o TB
  15. hardflaco thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2016
    Finally i bought a 13" Macbook Pro (no touchbar) with i5, 8G , and 512Gb SSD for my oldest daughter and a 13" Macbook Air with an i7, 8G and 512Gb SSD for the youngest one. Both are happy with their computers, but overall the MacBook Air seems to be much better than the Pro even with a lower screen resolution. Is fast, keyboard is much much better , battery last forever, all the ports are very usefull to have and overall seems much better built. And price was about $200 (Can) less than the Pro.
  16. bopajuice Suspended


    Mar 22, 2016
    Dark side of the moon
    Happy with my Air with the i5. I'd go with a larger hard drive though. Add some photos and music and it will fill up pretty quickly. Battery life is phenomenal. She could use it all day on campus without even needing to carry a charger. I get 10 hours plus with heavy use. I once took it on a business trip. Forgot the charger. Used it for two days typing reports, browsing the internet, doing research. Still had some juice left when I got home. That is a huge plus for me. Very impressive.

    Sorry missed you last post. Enjoy...
  17. Chicane-UK macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2008
    The Air still flies - it's an awesome machine. But the screen does really let it down now unfortunately.
  18. michaelsviews macrumors 65816

    Sep 25, 2007
    New England
    Macbook Air, can't see the need for an I7 and 256SSD should be fine, more space the more video's movies and all that. And I'm not sure where you are in the world but I believe in refurbished to save some money, but only if thats an option for you
  19. nordique, Feb 23, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017

    nordique macrumors 65816

    Oct 12, 2014
    Sure if 113$ isn't a big deal, but for the uses you just mentioned an i5 is way more than enough power and you'd be wasting that money imo

    Heck, an Intel core 2 duo from 2010 is even good enough for that stuff. I'm not even being hyperbolic or exaggerating; MS Office does not require a Broadwell generation i7 to run smooth.

    --- Post Merged, Feb 23, 2017 ---
    Yeah well said - OP, Apples refurbs are as good as new. No point in getting a brand new one at this point in time.
  20. Mike Richardson macrumors member

    Mike Richardson

    Apr 23, 2010
    The circle effect on my avatar is non-consensual
    Would anyone recommend the i7 upgrade for someone who generally abuses the machine? Usually not with videos, but I am constantly doing odd stuff that seems to put a good load on the CPU. Just got done compiling wine and it's 57,358 dependencies, for example. Emulator use is not uncommon for me - VirtualBox, older consoles, etc.

    I'm looking at this one: (have some alerts and stuff set for when it reappears)

    The Retina screen is nice, yes. But I also like it when one pixel really means one damned pixel. I have a TV if I want to watch videos, and an big ass old cheese grater Mac Pro with a dual monitor setup as well.
  21. nordique macrumors 65816

    Oct 12, 2014
    Honestly, an i5 (Broadwell in the current Air's...but heck even an older one would suffice) is more than suitable enough for the reasons you mentioned.

    But it sounds like you've already made up your mind so just go for the one you want.
  22. Pugly macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2016
    The i7 upgrade brings the MBA close to the the 13inch Pro in power. Which means... it's slightly more powerful. I have an i7 and use the MBA for music production and wanted the most power I could get, just in case I needed the power to do the projects. I haven't run into any issues with projects and I still have a ton of headroom. I have started to use very demanding plugins, which I can barely run... I don't think I would be able to run these with the i5. But I can always convert it to audio and work with it in a big project. So it's not that I need the power... it's just nice to have sometimes.

    An i5 will get the job done... an i7 gives you a bit of breathing room and wiggle room for extremely demanding tasks. If you ever set your computer to work rendering a project, and leave the computer running a while to get it done... you'll enjoy some benefit from the i7. If you really need the power, nothing is going to beat the quad core macs... so either iMac or 15" MBP. Buying a MBA or MBP 13" with any cpu is buying into the 'good enough' range.

    What makes the MBA i7 such a poor choice is that it ruin's the value. It's main appeal now is the $999 price and legacy ports. If you want something better, you might as well get the newer MBPs because of Apple's classic upgrade schemes. Since Apple has priced the rMB and new MBPs with a built in 256gb ssd upgrade, if you want that better ssd... just get the more expensive one.
  23. Mike Richardson macrumors member

    Mike Richardson

    Apr 23, 2010
    The circle effect on my avatar is non-consensual
    Of course, every traditional marker says that this is probably the worst time to buy a MacBook Air - that it's not been updated in 2 years and will most likely be discontinued instead of upgraded.

    But I'm sick and tired of becoming really efficient at using some combination of hardware and software, and then having that all get blown up, again and again and again. My laptop still has 10.9.5 on it, because I use it more. I bought a new SSD for the Mac Pro, and decided to plow ahead with Sierra full time on there (after having to disable many of the stupid fisher-price-esque "security" features). I finally have warmed up to that.

    It's just tiring. I like fast, but I'm just tired of bleeding edge, change for the sake of change. I do server administration - it's all RHEL or CentOS which are "enterprise Linux" where you install it and they patch the damn thing for 10 years. That's really nice stable longevity. No BS where your phone is a piece of swiss cheese if you don't bend over and take the new iOS 10 with whatever arbitrary crack-house inspired changes they have this week, changes that have only gotten worse since SJ died.

    Anyway, I made my rant, I'll bow out of here for another few years. Try not to drink **too much** of the kool aid folks.
  24. oldtime macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2007
    I've always believed it's best the get the most powerful computer you can afford, particularly if that's going to be your main computer for 4+ years. Your daughter may only need the laptop for light tasking now, but in 2 or 3 years, who knows?
  25. sracer macrumors G3


    Apr 9, 2010
    I'm of the opposite opinion... especially when it comes to Apple computers. Apple's pricing structure for upgraded tiers makes the lower tiers more cost effective unless one absolutely requires the greater capacity. Paying for capacity that one will rarely, if ever use, is a waste of money. Even when it comes to resale value, the higher capacity models tend to lose a greater percentage of their value compared to the lower models.

    I would heartily recommend the Macbook Air over the Macbook Pro. Though I don't think it is necessary to bump it up to an i7 and 512GB SSD, though of course if you can easily afford it go ahead. I'd recommend sticking with the i5 and 256GB SSD.

    From a physical standpoint, I don't think that the Macbook Pro will outlive the Macbook Air. Every one of the Macbook Pros that we've had in our household has failed "prematurely" due to some issue like GPU or another. In contrast, the Macbook Airs continue to soldier on.

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