MBA 1.86GHz/HDD or 13-inch MBP?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by XX55XX, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. XX55XX macrumors regular

    May 17, 2009
    I am considering a laptop for college. I probably won't be buying until September at the earliest (when I finally get my hands on a university student ID card and be able to take advantage of the $100 student discount), but I am considering either a MBA 1.86GHz/HDD or the 13-inch MBP.

    My needs:

    1. I am a casual digital photographer, and I make use of Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom quite heavily. Being as casual as I am, my photo catalogues rarely ever exceed 100 pictures, nor do I shoot in RAW format (as my camera is incapable of it). Will there be a noticeable difference in performance between these two machines when editing photographs and such?

    2. Portability is also big factor for me, and as the price of the Air has gone down so much over the past year, it increasingly has become a very attractive option. Especially when performance has picked up pace in the meanwhile, too!

    3. I also plan to do web browsing, word processing, etc, but I guess either machine will do for these activities.

    4. Lack of an optical drive isn't a deal breaker for me - I will probably only use it only to reinstall the OS or something along those lines.


    1. While Apple claims that the new MBPs have a much longer battery life, I've read statements here on these forums that contradict the 7-hour battery life claim. So, disregarding Apple's estimates, how much better is battery life on the new MBP in comparison with the MBA, especially in real-world usage?

    2. How much slower is the MBA be in general usage in comparison with the 13-inch MBP?

    3. I also hear that the Rev. B MBAs have lines on their screens. How prevalent is this manufacturing defect?

    4. How do the speakers compare between these two machines? I plan to listen to a lot of music through the onboard speakers (not a fan of headphones).

    5. And finally, are there any plans for Apple to update either machine anytime this fall? (Even though they have been recently updated, I wouldn't mind waiting a few months in order to stay ahead of the curve.)

    Thank you, and hopefully I will be another happy Mac owner this fall. (Though I still love Windows. I am typing this from my Windows 7 rig right now.)
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    1. MBP will be faster because it has more RAM and faster CPU

    2. If you buy MBA, you must buy SSD model. HDD model is so much slower because of its 4200rpm drive

    3. Yes, shouldn't be differences

    4. You can buy external optical drive

    1. MBP's battery is better and it should last at least 6 hours when doing light surfing on web or word processing

    2. It can be faster if you buy SSD model, HDD model will be slower because of slower HD and less RAM

    3. If you have problems, call Apple and get replacement

    4. Both are quite bad, get external speakers and headphones

    5. Update can exist in Q4 '09 but more likely in Q1 '10, when Arrandales and mobile Nehalems are out
  3. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    get MBP13" and remove the super drive, it will make the mbp lighter a bit.
  4. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008

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