MB/MBA/MBP... which laptop would be best?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Convoy, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. Convoy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    #1
    I have a 24" Aluminum iMac. Around Christmas, I bought an eeePC as a companion, thinking it would suffice as a computer to travel with me as I do business. The eee is great when you need to access the internet, but the screen is a little small for me to do real work.

    I need a laptop for basic surfing, word processing, spreadsheet work, light photoshop, illustrator, and desktop publishing.

    I bounce back and forth between the apartment I share with my girlfriend and my parents' house. I'm doing some rehab work on the house with my dad. I need access to all my files in both places (I have .mac, so I'll be taking advantage of back to my mac). I also travel about once a month from March-October.

    Which apple laptop would work best? The Macbook seems to be easily upgraded, and a good marriage of cost and performance. I like the new trackpads on the MBP and MBA, though. The MBP seems to be more computer than I need. The MBA fills the void I was looking for with the eee; it's an ultraportable, but is it underpowered? I'm not sure.

    Or, should I just sell the iMac, buy a mini and MBP, and be done with it?

    I'm going to Fry's to play with the machines this weekend; I thought I'd ask here for advice so I could make an informed choice.

    Thanks for your help. :)
     
  2. ascender macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    #2
    I'm in the exact same position as you, with a 24" iMac on the desk and am looking for a laptop. In fact today I came close to buying one, but there was no stock locally.

    While the MBA would be ideal for me in terms of its size and weight, I think the cost & lack of upgradability rule it out for me. Not to mention its poor performance. But I can see how that sort of laptop would be the future for people who have a desktop and are looking for a laptop to use for the web, word processing etc.

    So then I was looking at the MBP. Mainly because I've always wanted one and I still think they're a stunning piece of kit. Also, the higher res screen is a major attraction as I know that's one thing I occasionally miss on my wife's Macbook.

    But then I look at the top-end Macbooks. And I'm surprised just how high-spec they are now so long as you discount the shared graphics card which won't be a problem for what I'm looking to do.

    Of course, then I think, "but the MBP is only £300 more".

    So I've no idea what to buy tbh!
     
  3. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #3
    If money is no object, I'd say the air. With a powerful imac at home, and traveling so much, the air would be perfect. I don't think you can say it's "underpowered" for the uses you describe. It's many times more powerful than the eee, and you only mentioned the screen size as problematic there.

    I don't see any benefit whatsoever to the mini+MBP setup, as opposed to the imac and either a macbook or an air. You already have the imac, and the macbook or the air are both better for a lot of travel than the MBP.
     
  4. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #4
    I would suggest a MacBook. It has a faster processor and larger storage compared to the MBA.
     
  5. Analbarbiturate macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Location:
    Land of the Lost
    #5
    I say the 15" MBP. It has enough power for your uses and it's small enough to carry anywhere with no problems.

    To me a MB seems more geared to kids and college students than a business professional. No offense to any one.
     
  6. Convoy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    #6
    I've rarely upgraded my notebooks. I've had a Pismo G3, the first G4 powerbook, and the last gen G4iBook. Outside of increasing the RAM in the Pismo and Powerbook, I haven't touched them. I tend to flip laptops every couple years. I think the 2 Gigs would be good.

    You're right. The person who tried using the eee shouldn't use "underpowered" and MBA in the same sentence. ;)

    The MBA is in the upper range of what I'd be willing to spend. Part of me would be fine with an MBA, I think. I'm familiar with the MB, so I don't need to play with one in-store; both parents have macbooks, and I installed the RAM and new hard drives for them.

    The more I think about it, I agree with you.
     
  7. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    #7
    Then get a 17" MBP, 2.6Ghz, 320Gb hard drive, 512mb graphic card, high resolution.

    I know it performance is good because it next to my Macbook Air.

    To the OP, an Air is just fine.
     
  8. seany916 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 26, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
  9. jfull15 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #9
    macbook air.
    you'll love the portability and really does everything you need it for.
     
  10. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #10
    Standard answer to this question: If you're deciding between an MB, an MBA, and an MBP, you obviously don't need the MBP's power, nor the MBA's form factor, and would be better off getting the MB unless you've got an extra thousand to throw away.
     
  11. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    The good side of the grass.
    #11
    If one tends to keep laptops as long as you, the Air has one interesting attribute: the screen. It is hands down the brightest I've seen in any Apple laptop. I too have held on to some "legacy" laptops and while working great, the screens just seem to lose their brightness.

    The Air is also not nearly as underpowered as some would lead you to believe. I have a 2GHz CD MPB and it's every bit as fast in most tasks and some faster.

    The build seems to be the best of the three as an added bonus.
     
  12. jfull15 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #12
    i agree, macbook air is a great choice.
     
  13. sleepingworker macrumors 6502a

    sleepingworker

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    Manhattan, NY
    #13
    I would buy the MBA for your needs. I do heavy PS with an old PB and the specs make the MBA look like a pro laptop in comparison (unfortunately for me). The MBA is such a good laptop for travel - both solid and light. And if you need more HD, you can buy a very small external.

    Although - and I hate writing this - I would wait for the next MBA update if I was buying.
     
  14. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #14
    Having had a 20" iMac to always count on for heavier lifting... and having owned Apple's 12" PPC notebooks and a 13" MB and now the MBA...

    If, OP, the MBA is within the budget you're willing to spend, I'd say MBA.

    It's a fantastic companion machine and I cannot stress enough how wonderfully light and portable it is. It's a joy to bring around. And while obviously not as powerful as the MB/ MBPs, it's far from being a weak computer.

    I ono, the way I feel about getting a new machine is that you should feel strongly about it, one way or another. Before the MBA was announced and it was just a collection of rumors, I knew I was going to sell my MB and either get a MBP or if Apple came out w/ a more portable notebook, that option. I knew I'd know which I truly wanted before making a decision and when I did make up my mind, there wasn't a bit of me that was not sure that I wanted the MBA. But I guess I'm a different kind of shopper from others. :eek:
     
  15. jfull15 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #15
    I'm sitting basically in your same position right now... i have the 2.8ghz Aluminum iMac extreme 4gig ram, the whole deal... now i'm looking for a portable mac and really leaning towards a mba. I do a lot of final cut & cs3, but I'm not sure if I'dbe doing these on my portable anyways, I'd have to buy more licenses. ugh. but, I think I'm going with the MBA, for it looks like a great companion and powerful for what I'd use it for. Of course I'd come home to my iMac when I need to edit videos or work on special projects... But, for around the house, random travels I really think the MBA would suit my needs....But would I miss the option of having all that power? This is where I'm considering a MBA now... and a 17" MBP later on after exterior revisions are made... I guess I need some advice too :p
     
  16. sleepingworker macrumors 6502a

    sleepingworker

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    Manhattan, NY
    #16
    Yes, this is what I am waiting for: a 17" MBP with a slimmer form factor, larger trackpad (like MBA), more "solid" feel, while not sacrificing a superdrive or a firewire port ... talk about my cake and eat it too! I wish I could use the MBA but really do need the MBP. Sigh.
     
  17. youthpastor macrumors newbie

    youthpastor

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    #17
    Purchase a MacBook. I'd vote for the Black MacBook. I used 2 MacBook Airs and they just seem pretty slow to me--even seemed to take a while to load up programs like Word, iPhoto, etc. Maybe you have more patience then me (Lord knows I need more), but I would purchase a MacBook. Good luck <><
     
  18. queshy macrumors 68040

    queshy

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    #18
    Since it's a second computer, I'd say a MBA would suit your needs well. Can't go wrong with a macbook, either. MBP is overkill.
     
  19. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #19
    For your needs - MBA.

    MBP is way too much for what you are planning to do (except for a bigger screen ;) which is always nice), MacBooks look less "professional" than MBA and MBA has backlit keyboard. If you dont mind having 1 USB port on the go, get MBA.

    :D
     
  20. ascender macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    #20
    Which is the exact same setup as I have and the same conundrum!

    Money isn't an issue for me on this one as the MBA, Black Macbook and base MBP are all fairly closely priced to each other.

    What's stopping me buying a MBA? Probably the nagging doubt that its going to be "too slow" for me. That at some point soon I'll want to upgrade the memory as OS X really flies on 4Gb RAM. Is the loading of apps much slower on the MBA? That's such a minor question in the scheme of things, but it could be one of those little annoyances that becomes a bigger annoyance. Or am I being really picky here?!

    The major upside for me is that the MBA is a stunning piece of kit, nice and lightweight and by all accounts has a cracking screen on it.

    But will it be too slow? I guess I need to do more reading, but I'm wondering how objective people will be as its sometimes hard to get honest opinions on new kit like this which seems to have polarised opinion.
     
  21. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #21
    If money isnt an issue, get SSD - apps will load faster ;)

    But on the stock 4200 RPM HD it will be slower than on your iMac for sure.
     
  22. teerexx52 macrumors 68000

    teerexx52

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Location:
    Florida West Coast
    #22
    I agree. Air's screen is so nice
     
  23. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #23
    for what you're describing, an air would do the job perfectly.

    if you're even slightly adverse to the extra spend, get any macbook you want :)

    atm, the mac laptops are just unbeatbable
     
  24. sleepingworker macrumors 6502a

    sleepingworker

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    Manhattan, NY
    #24
    It's wonderful in every way but one for me - glossy. I wish there was an option for matte.
     
  25. ascender macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    #25
    Oops, I've just bought an Air.

    Thing is, I was then thinking about selling my iMac, replacing it with a MBP and ACD, or buying a Macbook etc etc.

    Had a play with an Air in Comet and it was definitely much more responsive than my Macbook if that makes sense, so maybe the Geekbench score doesn't tell the whole story.

    Who knows. Maybe it'll be for sale next week on eBay!
     

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