Macbook Pro vs. Air

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dsmill, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. dsmill macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    #1
    I am in the market for a new computer. I have a 8 yr old Dell and it is slow and way out of date. I am switching over to Apple because I don't want another Windows PC and for the fact it will link up with my Iphone and Ipad with great ease. I am leaning toward a 13"Pro. Is the air better or just a glorified Ipad? I do know the Pro is faster and has more memory than the Air. What are you opinions?
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #2
    Retina MacBook Pro. Definitely.

    The MacBook Air offers the following over the rMBP:

    - Better battery life
    - Thinner
    - Lighter

    The rMBP offers the following over the MBA:

    - Better display
    - Better CPU
    - Better GPU
    - More RAM as standard
    - Faster RAM
    - Faster SSD
    - More ports (inc. HDMI & 2x Thunderbolt 2)
    - New 'Force Touch' trackpad

    IMO you get a lot more for your money with the rMBP.
     
  3. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

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    May 19, 2009
    Location:
    Midwest US
    #3
    The choice really depends on your usage. I've had at least one of every iteration of the MacBook Air since it was introduced, but I favor the 15" MacBook Pro because the dual-core processor of the current 13" MBP struggles, at times, to drive both the display and high-end creative software. There's no arguing that the MacBook Air is a bit dated, but to say that you "get a lot for your money" with the MacBook Pro is disingenuous. You get a lot more for a little extra going to the quad-core 15" version, which is a genuine beast and will handle anything you throw at it. Similarly, I've used my MacBook Air for everything I do without a hiccup.
     
  4. maxsix Suspended

    maxsix

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    Jun 28, 2015
    Location:
    Western Hemisphere
    #4
    I own both.

    Two completely different laptops, for very different use cases.

    Yes they both do the same basic tasks, but that's where it ends.
     
  5. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    Denmark
    #5
    If you've been living with an 8 year old PC, I guess the Macbook Air would be an enormous step up.

    What are you usage needs? The Macbook Air is not a slow computer by any means.
     
  6. TLeviT macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    #6
    I have a Mid 2014 MBA 4gb RAM 256SSD .. this thing is a workhorse. I work on servers, spreadsheets, office apps open all the time, ect.... although there are times i wish it had more RAM, but thats not often. Only thing i wish i had was more Thunderbolt ports and a retina screen. Other than that this thing rocks!
     
  7. dsmill thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 11, 2013
    #7
    Thanks for all of the advice. I am using this as my home computer and to connect to my office from time to time while I am at home. I will be using office o it as well.
     
  8. bingeciren macrumors 6502a

    bingeciren

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    #8
    For home computer use, rMBP is much better because it will give you more connectivity and better performance. However, for carrying around and travel, Air is the undisputed winner.

    In my case, I use a Mac Mini Server at home, connected to a 27" Cinema Display, for centralized backups, printer share, file share, media server, App Store Cache server, movie and picture editing. Then, I use my Air either while sitting on the couch or traveling to do practically everything else. I use BitTorent Sync to sync my downloads and documents folders on both Macs so that what I do on one machine is instantly reflected on the other. This is a very nice and flexible setup perhaps you can consider it in the future.
     
  9. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #9
    I think overall the MPB gives you a better display, faster CPU and a superior GPU - I'd get that over the Air.
     
  10. AFEPPL macrumors 68030

    AFEPPL

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    Sep 30, 2014
    Location:
    England
    #10
    Another vote for the rMBP, much better device.
    If you want concerned around mobility i'd also take the rMB over the MBA.
     
  11. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #11
    I could be wrong, but IMO the only real advantage to a MacBook Air over a MacBook Pro is cost. Yes, the Air weighs a bit less, but the MBP is by no means heavy. And I get great battery life on my MBP, although YMMV.
     
  12. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #12
    Pretty much, but you need to be careful with that, and make sure you don't buy an expensive MBA.

    if you do go for a Macbook Air, do not load it to the hilt with upgrades.

    Because if you do, the price is basically the same as a retina macbook pro of similar/superior spec.

    And the Air's screen truly is horrible in 2016. Not just because it is low res, but because the viewing angle is bad without getting colour shifting.


    If you desperately need the lighter weight well... sure.... maybe load up an 11" air, but really...
     
  13. estabya macrumors 6502

    estabya

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2014
    #13
    I went from a 2013 i7 MBA to a 2014 i5 rMBP and never looked back. The Air was nice, but the little bit of extra weight and slight drop in battery life was more than made up for by the screen alone. Throw in the extra connectivity and performance and the Pro is by far the superior option.

    If you are looking at both 13" models, the Air will get what you need done, but I would only recommend going with the Air if that's what your budget dictates. If you travel a lot with it (which it doesn't sound like you do), the 11" MBA or Macbook would be your best bet.
     
  14. dsmill thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 11, 2013
    #14
    I think I am leaning more toward the Pro over the Air.
     
  15. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    Jul 29, 2011
    #15
    The entry level 13" Air (4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, $999 - maybe go as far as another $100 for the 8GB) is a cracking little computer and will meet many people's needs for browsing, wordprocessing, email, social networking and holiday snaps and still give a good account of itself for more advanced applications. It's comfortably out of iPad territory power-wise and it should blow your 8-year-old Dell out of the water (mainly because of the SSD).

    Once you start looking at the more expensive Air options, however, I think that's the time to switch to the 13" MB Pro. As others have said, although the entry price is higher you do get more bangs per buck. Also, although its chunkier than the Air, its not that heavy and the difference in size is less than you'd expect (the Air's tapered shape makes it look smaller than it is).
     
  16. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #16
    If the MBA had at least an IPS screen I'd give them a 2nd look. The TN screen on a $1000 laptop in 2016 is ridiculous. I know many here aren't bothered by it, but for me it's like looking through a screen door on a low res screen. I also prefer the better key travel on the rMBP vs MBA. The only thing I miss about my 2013 MBA is it's better battery life, but the rMBP is no slouch either. The weight difference isn't that noticeable in a computer bag.
     
  17. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #17
    I'm actually facing this exact choice, since my boss just gave me the go-ahead to purchase a laptop.

    Right now it seems to me that, with the Retina MacBook Pro, it's hard to make an argument for the Air anymore (and I loved my old Air, don't get me wrong). The weight difference between the 13" models is only a half pound! In the pre-Retina days, the Air would cut a pound and a half off the Pro... which was a significant difference.

    That said, I decided to wait a few weeks to see what (if anything) new comes out of the March Apple event. It's possible they might do something to make the Air more compelling; but also any new iterations mean I can probably pick up a beefier one-generation-back computer for the amount my boss has approved.
     
  18. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

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    May 19, 2009
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    Midwest US
    #18
    I actually think the choice is pretty simple: 11" or 13" MBA if you need portability or battery longevity, 15" MBP if you don't. While the 15" is something of an arm-bender, it's also a very capable machine ... in sharp contrast to it's smaller brother.

    I'm at the age where I'm willing to trade off failing eyesight for a couple of pounds of extra weight; unless something very unique is forthcoming, I'm going to make my 15" MBP substitute for my 11" MBA.

    That said, a 15" MBA with improved display would certainly tick all my boxes!
     
  19. AFEPPL macrumors 68030

    AFEPPL

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    Sep 30, 2014
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    England
    #19
    The 13 rMBP is not a compromise on either battery or performance, it's the perfect balance and light weight to boot too... :)
     
  20. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

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    #20
    Try running Adobe Audition CC on an i7 example and tell me your results! I've used at least one of every iteration of Apple portable since the PowerBook 100; I turned around and sold my 13" rMBP because I could not handle the processor lag.

    I'd say it's 'perfect' only if you don't throw those sorts of demands on the processor. Tragically, I do.
     
  21. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a

    zachlegomaniac

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    #21
    I was in the same boat a couple of years ago and went with the 13" rMBP. glad I did. A trip to the store comparing the two was what decided it for me. Hope that is helpful.
     
  22. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

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    May 19, 2009
    Location:
    Midwest US
    #22
    Again, it's a question of tradeoffs.

    I have a 2013 11" MBA with 1.7GHz i7, 8GB RAM and 512GB Flash. I can run Adobe CC apps on it without a hiccup, even though it was slower than the 2.8GHz i7 13" MBP I bought. The same apps bogged down on the MBP. My conclusion: The processing power required to drive the MBP retina display left too little 'oomph' to run high-end creative apps.

    If you're happy to make those tradeoffs, I can't fault your decision. I'd rather trade off the excellent display for a lighter machine, longer battery and, most importantly, a processor that doesn't stumble when processing mission-critical audio.

    All that to say that the 13" rMBP is hardly the 'perfect' machine AFEPPL and others have deemed it to be.
     
  23. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #23
    Apps like pro Adobe apps scream for a quad core cpu. It bugs me that in 2016, Apple/Intel still haven't found a way to shoehorn a quad in a rMBP 13. It's the main reason I still lug around my rMBP 15. Unfortunately, I also have to carry thunderbolt SSD's for editing 4K videos as my 512gb SSD is seriously cramped. Back to the OP, I don't think a user who's been chugging along with a 8 year old laptop is going to maxing out a rMBP 13 anytime soon.
     
  24. AFEPPL macrumors 68030

    AFEPPL

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    Sep 30, 2014
    Location:
    England
    #24
    That's your opinion, many other have don't share it...
    the MBA is the ginger haired step child of the mac, personally I'm hoping apple cancel it and focus on the better offering list the rMBP and rMP.

    I have no performance issues with any of the 3 rMBPs i have.
    I couldn't say the same about a MBA.
     
  25. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Midwest US
    #25
    You can't say the same because you don't own one!
     

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