Macbook or iPad for student?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by east1999, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. east1999 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    #1
    Hi,

    I just can't decide if I should get a Macbook or an iPad right now. My PC's screen just broke and I will need a new laptop right away. It will have to last 4 years or more!

    Here's the deal though. I can get an iPad for a very low price at eBay and hang around with my PC hooking it up to an external monitor. I won't be able to take any laptop to school in the meantime.

    People I know that have the iPad say they get more focused doing things. I need to get away from random browsing and read more, etc. Of course everyone mentions videos but I already have my mom's netbook for that kinda experience. I'd mostly read papers, books, and would like to read some comics too, while checking my facebook every now and then. I could get a cheaper Sony Vaio to go with it or wait and see if this year's MBA tops this year's MBP and, if it does, sell the iPad and buy a Mac (I seriously have just that inch over a grand).

    Just to give you an example from last weekend's family trip, it'd replace a full bag of laptop + books and comics!

    On the other hand, others have said the iPad is a piece of s### for college work and I'd spend my dough in a harder to resell toy. I also don't really appreciate having to hold it all the time and I wonder if it's ever that practical. Most IT guys profiled in The Setup blog say they haven't used theirs. So I could start transitioning to Mac right now and go for a MacBook instead. For price reasons, I'm sticking with the 13" Pro in clamshell mode. Though it looks on par with the MBA right now, the 200$ gap is significant (goodbye new Xbox!) and I would rather go for future proof.

    I'm always surprised to see how small the MBP really is, so I have no qualms with it fitting my backpack. I'm used to carrying a 15" so I think I'd be better off. Still, if I'm going to be dragging this thing around for a few years, isn't the MBA more appropriate?

    BTW, my uses are:

    -Lots of tabs open all the time, lots of flash video.
    -Some games from indiegames.com
    -Skype!!
    -720p video editing
    -Vector art for amateur webdesign (Illustrator)

    I'll be majoring in communication science. Thanks!!
     
  2. eawmp1, Apr 25, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011

    eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

    Joined:
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    FL
    #2
    You don't need an iPad, you need a laptop. And between the Air and a 13" MBP, go Pro.
     
  3. Legion93 macrumors 6502a

    Legion93

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    Death Star, Rishi Maze
    #3
    I think the MBA 13" is very portable and powerful on the go, especially for students and commuters. If you want performance of an 13" MBP, go for a fully-upgraded MBA, which means getting 2.13gHz processor, 4GB RAM and 256GB SSD, just like I did. You won't be disappointed.
     
  4. dawnraid macrumors regular

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    Nov 9, 2007
    #4
    get a mbp. ipad is far to limited. mba not as future proof.
     
  5. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #5
    Id get the MBA personally. As a student, my 11" Air is invaluable (I tote it around all day, and the "Air"s lack of weight easily compensates for the "future-proofing" of a MBP. Both will easily do studenty things for 4 years. If your going to be doing anything "heavy" however (Video Editing, Major Development etc) Id go for the MBP.
     
  6. Harker macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    #6
    This settles it really. I personally think the iPad should be great for students, but your needs specify Flash, and the iPad doesn't support Flash.

    Currently it has no Skype app either (though it can run the iPhone Skype app).
     
  7. east1999 thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 1, 2011
    #7
    I'm really sorry for saying this, but here's who got the MBA in this thread. Someone who maxed it out, and someone who appears to have a lot of Mac products. I just don't have that kind of money, sorry! I also doubt the 11" could be anyone's main machine. As for the ultimate 13", I wonder what the 400$ difference could buy.
     
  8. 87am macrumors regular

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    Feb 27, 2011
    #8
    The 11 inch is more then capable as a students computer. Just don't get an iPad, you will regret it.
     
  9. Legion93 macrumors 6502a

    Legion93

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    #9
    For $400 you could buy a Windows OS Netbook.
     
  10. east1999 thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 1, 2011
    #10
    My mom's got one, and it sucks. No one can really write on those things. The webcam is horrible. They're noiseless, I'll give you that.
     
  11. Legion93 macrumors 6502a

    Legion93

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    #11
    They have incredible battery life, equally unmatched.
     
  12. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    United Kingdom
    #12
    NB: I only have a lot of Mac Products because I spent over 5 years saving up for them (Just an aside). The 11" could easily be most students main machine. Case in point: Out of the 12 people I live with at Uni, 1 exchanged his SONY VAIO i5 for a 11" MBA and is much happier (Less Issues, It can easily do everything a student needs, and it also hooks up to his 22" TV with no issues at all). No other machines at all - any heavy lifting (CAD Programs, Mathematica etc) are all easy enough to use on the University Cluster via SSH (And also faster than any other way of using them) - For writing Papers, Writeups and Reports all you need is a 133Mhz CPU, a keyboard and a Printer :rolleyes: (Yes, I may have a Mac Pro, Yes I have lots of powerful apps, but I do most of my typing on my PowerBook 1400/133 under Mac OS 8.6 in AppleWorks 5.0, and guess what, it can keep up with my typing just fine - no Core 2 Duo is ever going to struggle). My MBA handles everything I throw at it, and that includes Final Cut Pro 7 editing 1080p, even Motion 4 and Mathematica 8 are perfectly fine for most of what I do - It should also be noted that most university machines are slower than a Core 2 Duo (Especially Lecturers machines... since you know, they upgrade when their forced in general - one of my maths lecturers is still quite happy with his Pentium II), so I dont see the Power as being an issue - the only thing the MBA 11" could struggle with is trying to do Powerful CGI/Autocad on it locally, but if you want to do that you should be looking at the 15/17" MacBook Pros anyway.
     
  13. east1999 thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 1, 2011
    #13
    Well, thanks for that. I do consider an MBA, just not the 11". Too small, barely any space for media files. As for the 13", it looks like it's going to be upgraded very soon!! I'm afraid they'll switch to SB and get noisy and hot too.
     
  14. Legion93 macrumors 6502a

    Legion93

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    #14
    You say the 11" MBA is too small for your needs and you consider an iPad over a MB which has 9.7" Screen? Sounds a bit confusing.
     
  15. Big D 51 macrumors 6502a

    Big D 51

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    Mobile, AL
    #15
    Definitely a Macbook. Your choice between a Pro or Air. My vote is Air though.
     
  16. Nightarchaon macrumors 65816

    Nightarchaon

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    Sep 1, 2010
    #16
    Try something radical , retro, and cool..

    It's called Pen and Paper. :eek:

    Worked for me at university.
     
  17. east1999 thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 1, 2011
    #17
    OK, so it sounds like no one here likes the iPad! To be fair, I said I'd use it with a laptop, not as my main machine. But anyway.

    How do you guys get along with only 128 gigs on your Airs??
     
  18. Legion93 macrumors 6502a

    Legion93

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    #18
    I have 256GB storage on my MBA. You have to be aware that it's not all about how much storage you need, if you have 128GB, if you fill up the hard drive over 70%, the performance of the SSD will degrade over time. I'm not sure how well you are familiar with solid state drives and OS issues with OS X. TRIM is not yet available on a mac (although there is a hack and don't know if it really works) so therefore the more storage you have, the better performance you will gain. Since all SSDs degrade over time, even if by 10MB read/write speeds, on benchmarks it is clearly visible.

    Not to worry, mist times in real world tests most people don't notice the degrade of performance with SSDs, however if you're uploading files and rendering videos you'll notice the difference at least a very little. I'm just saying that the storage space left "free" on an SSD, the better performance you will gain, especially on Mac OS X where there is no TRIM feature, unlike in Windows OS. I would advise you to get 256GB storage so that there is extra flash storage for over-provisioning of the unused storage.

    If you do get 128GB storage, make sure not to fill it up to it's noses (leave about 30% free for optimal performance), just try not to fill 90% of the drive otherwise you may experience occasional freezing and slower boot times.
     
  19. east1999 thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 1, 2011
    #19
    Well, that doesn't sound good at all! 128 gigs minus 30% is even worse than my current laptop. I'd have to delete half of my media library. I also don't have the money to get the 256 SSD.
     
  20. solowmodel macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    #20
    I'd recommend the MBP 13 on almost all accounts bar one: the screen resolution, and that is quite a big downer (at least for me) :(

    On all other accounts, the MBP sounds great for you needs; portable, powerful, upgradeable etc.
     
  21. Detrias macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    #21
    Once u go MBA u dont go back, as for storage since you are a college student just carry the essential with you and the rest well external hdds, cloud services like dropbox are quite handy also. If u go with the 13 inch u also can get an sd card
     
  22. east1999 thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
  23. mattspeed3 macrumors newbie

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    Mar 27, 2009
    #23
    Not anymore. Those days are long gone.
     
  24. Young Spade macrumors 68020

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    Mar 31, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
    #24
    Yea, you should definitely get the MBP. The MBA is great if you are using it for its intended purposes. The fact that it has a slower processor (1.4 dual core) and limited space really hinder the overall experience you're going to have. Of course, it depends on what you're going to do with the computer, if you aren't doing any editing or the like then the MBA should be just fine.

    Yes, the MBP will add a few more pounds and bulk to your bag, however, it has higher specs and with the things that you're trying to do, the MBP will be better at performing the tasks you want it to do.
     

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