MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air,Mac Mini, iMac, or iPad?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kstey33, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. kstey33 macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2010
    Hey guys!

    I'm trying to make a decision as to what computer I should buy. Before reading on, please understand that I'm a bit simple when it comes to technical lingo. I won't understand the difference between 1.88 GHZ and processors and different memory and storage types - so please dumb down the technical stuff for me in your responses :D.

    I'll start with saying that I'm a relatively broke college student with a little bit of loan refunds to live off of, and just enough to buy a new computer. Also, what ever I buy, I'll have for the next 5 years minimum.

    I'm trying to figure out what mac product will best suit my needs as a student, as well as when I step out into the professional world; considering the changes that will come with technology during that time.

    Currently, I'm using a 17" Dell Inspiron 9300 with an upgraded NVidea graphics card, and upgraded ram. I use it to study, write papers, research, surf the web, pay bills, organize and file school work, budget, check email, play an occasional game, watch an occasional movie, and, although rarely, sometimes work with photoshop, video editing programs, and do web design. I bought this computer in 2005 for about $1400. It still functions perfectly, its fast, and does everything I need it to, except for media things like photoshop and video editing - its a little lacking here. I'm also a musician and don't know much about garage band, but its intriguing.

    Anyways, I'm trying to figure out what the best investment is for me. So far, it seems like the only significant upgrade for the MBA is its size and weight (less than 2lbs of difference - who cares). Is it cheaper? Would it be a problem to not have a disc drive, or are there simple ways around that? I would prefer to have at least a 13" computer because 11" is too small. Photoshop and video editing are things I do on extremely rare occasions, if ever. But if the need to use them ever came up, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a computer that can efficiently run those programs. When it comes to doing papers, research, or working with media programs, I don't much feel the need to go to a coffee shop to do so - so would it be better to get an iMac or a Mac Mini?

    Or, based on my needs with a computer, and working with media programs being more of a rarely indulged hobby than a necessity, would it be better to hang tight with my PC and just use it as I have been, and pick up an iPad? I like the versatility of iPads because of all the apps, it could help with organization, get games, and do a ton of other things. Will the iPad eventually be able to do things like photoshop and video editing? Or, do I pick up a Mac Mini and an iPad? Then I would spend about what I would on a MBP or MBA and get the best of both worlds, right?

    Lastly, I'm in no rush to buy these things - would it be smart to wait for newer versions of the iPad or MBA? Should I wait until January or June of 2011? Please consider my thoughts, I hope they're organized enough to follow. Ask me more questions if need be, I greatly appreciate your help!!! Have an awesome day :D
  2. AAPLaday, Nov 9, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010

    AAPLaday Guest


    Aug 6, 2008
    Manchester UK
    If you don't need portability then i would go for the iMac. You get much better value for money with desktops than you do laptops. I would stay away from the Air if you want value. It is a great machine but it is designed with portability in mind. For a similar price you can get a much better specced iMac.

    I would only get a mini if you already have a keyboard, mouse and a display. What is your budget for this purchase?
  3. Peter.Howard macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2010
    Whichever system you decide to buy make sure you factor AppleCare warranty into the price for peace of mind in case something goes wrong.
  4. jmdMac macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    +1 for iMac if you don't need the portability. There are really nice, and i think one of the best values Apple has to offer. I don;t even have one, but was able to use one this past summer. Do it.
  5. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2008
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    If you are broke and your Dell still works, why not wait?
  6. kstey33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2010
    I have a 22" Hanns-G monitor, a nice logitec mouse, and a keyboard, as well as some external speakers with a sub. I'd like to spend less than $1,100. There are two different Mac Mini's available, and four iMacs. How are the specs? Would the higher end Mac Mini be better than the low end iMac? Thanks for your input!
  7. arcite macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2009
    Cairo, trapped in a pyramid with my iphone
    YES, what he said. New Macbooks are around the corner, not to mention after christmas sales.
  8. scotty118, Nov 9, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010

    scotty118 macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2010
    Manchester, UK

    Im real lucky to use a 27" iMac at work and its amazing - great to sit in front of it all day.

    But I'd wait for the macbooks and see what happens there.

    If you are a student, can you get discount? I work in higher education and there is a discount scheme -- look at the Educational Store and see if your institution is listed -- it can make a difference in what you end up with

    good luck

  9. srexy macrumors 6502a

    Nov 19, 2006
    Do you need portability? If so you can rule out the iMac and narrow it down to a Mini/iPad or 13" Macbook Pro. I'd be torn between those 2.
  10. tigress666 macrumors 68040

    Apr 14, 2010
    Washington State
    On a budget and you have a monitor I would say a mini would be a great idea for the things you need (I am guessing the mini has the same capabilities as my macbook pro 13" but cheaper since it's not a laptop and my MBP is capable of all that you listed you wanted it to do).

    Now, I think my MBP 13" would be good for you if you really need portability (but if that isn't important if you are on a tight budget you may want to just give that up). I'd go with that if you really think you need more of a laptop cause it will be cheaper than the 13" MBA and it really isn't that much bigger (and for watching movies you get a DVD drive with it rather than having pay extra for an external one). Plus you get more RAM and ability to replace the hard drive easily with a bigger one (and you aren't limited to what type of hard drive so you can buy a cheap one if yours dies or you need more room. Plus you can easily upgrade the RAM later as well). For something you want to keep for a while, I'd go with it if for nothing else more ability to expand later on.

    And honestly, in my opinion honestly the MBP is a better value than the 13" MBA overall. Sure, you get a little more portability in the MBA and I suppose a better monitor, but the monitor is still pretty nice on mine imho and the MBP 13" is still very portable. To me the trade offs (not even including price here) are not worth it for the 13" MBA.

    The 11" MBA is cheaper but you mentioned you really want at least a 13" screen so I guess that is up to you if you would be willing to make that compromise.

    The one thing I would immediately cross off your list though is the iPad. It sounds like you do have a need for at least a basic full powered computer and the ipad is more something just for consuming. I'd hate to have to write a paper on that thing. Even if you bought a keyboard for it you'd have to find some way of propping it up or having to look down when you type. It won't run any full versions of software, only mobile versions made for it (if the software even makes one for it). Much more comfortable to write a paper with a monitor sitting in front of you vertically than laying horizontally on the table. Plus it wouldn't be able to do some of the extras you mention and you'd pretty much be constrained to watching itune rentals for movie watching with no DVD drive (and is there any way to even attach an external DVD drive? Plus once again you'd have to prop it up). I see the ipad as something people who already have a computer or like my parents who just mostly are using the computer to browse the internet.
  11. fsumom macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2010
    Well, I didn't necessarily need portability, but chose the Macbook Pro 13" over an imac anyways. So far I love it. It's nice not having to sit at a desk to use a computer. If you don't need one just yet, I'd probably wait until you do. My desktop is over 6 years old and, although it still works, it's annoyingly slow and freezes often. So I decided it was time for my first laptop ;). I chose it over the Macbook Air because for more Ram, optical drive and ethernet port. Plus, it was cheaper than the 13" Air.
  12. trigonometry macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2010
    South Carolina
    13" MacBook Pro. It offers the best compromise between all the computers Apple sells. Overtime you can upgrade it super easy and keep the machine relevant. Also, it has great resale value so you might not have to wait five years to purchase a new one.

    Another thing to keep in mind. If you wait until Apple updates the MacBooks next spring you can get the older models at a nice discount. I don't know if you can add a student discount on top of that but I'd check it out. That way you have a choice between the newest model or a cheaper current gen. model. It's only four or five months before the next refresh.
  13. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    +1 for getting a 13" MBP. I love my 15", and I've played on a 13". Great machines!

    I would wait for them to upgrade it to a faster i3 processor. A Core 2 Duo probably won't last 5 years like you need it to.
  14. AAPLaday Guest


    Aug 6, 2008
    Manchester UK
    The low end iMac is more powerful then the high end mini but the price is $1199. On apples refurbished page though i see one going for $1,019.00. You would be fine with a mini as they certainly are no slouch. But the iMac is more powerful and has better processor.

    Here is a link to an engadget review of the base iMac. Link

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