MBA for medical school?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by kasmokia, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. kasmokia, Feb 12, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015

    kasmokia macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2011
    Hey guys,

    I will be attending medical school in the fall and I was thinking about upgrading my 2011 MBP 13in.

    I envision a set up where I take a MBA to class and then, at home, use a separate monitor to study. I will be checking email, using the internet, watching videos and listening to lectures, opening textbooks and searching through large PDFs (no photo/video editing and nothing too resource intensive). This relatively "light" load is what has lead me to a MBA over rMBP.

    However, I was wondering if using a separate monitor changes anything. Does ti make the usually non-intensive things more intensive? or does it depend on the resolution of the eternal display? If so, would a rMBP be more ideal?

    If not, would a 11in MBA be just as good as a 13in MBA?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    The 11" MBA has essentially the same guts as the 13" MBA and is not that different from a rMBP. None of your uses will be too intensive for an 11" model and it will be able to drive a large external display no problem.
  3. manwinder macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2015
    i've never had a macbook before, i will probably be getting the air 13 inch for ios programming and other things but i would honestly say that you would be better off getting a Surface Pro 3, or a Surface Pro 4 (if you wanna wait a while).

    I would totally get a SP3 but i got a windows laptop already (its not light but it has BEAST specs). Plus i got it a couple of years ago and have no reason to upgrade.

    I say get the SP3 because of the touchscreen, i don't know about you but at my university i see a lot of students using the SP3 and taking notes. I don't see many macbooks cause most of my classes have to do with math, and i don't know how easy it would be for someone to pull up Word and start taking notes using equations.
  4. kelon111 macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2013
    Congrats on being accepted to medical school.

    I'd recommend something like the SP3 (or maybe the rumored SP4). In medical school you may have lots of Power Point presentations and the active digitizer on the SP3 would make things easier for you.
    Instead of printing a huge stack of PPT notes , you could just annotate them on your SP3.
  5. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68030


    Nov 8, 2014
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    Go with the 11" MBA, it will cope perfectly with the tasks you have mentioned. And it is ultra-portable which is important for you, I presume.
  6. Windowsrefugee macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2011
    Microsoft Land
    Have 13" MBA and have been to Med School (admittedly before there were even PCs). If you have the option, would get 13" for the larger screen and truly all day battery life without searching for plug. The SP3 battery life is pathetic by comparison. Might wait until July to see if the rumored retina MBA comes out before classes start. For reading texts you could opt for iPad Mini or iPad Air. Yes, the MS Windows fans will say the SP3 will do both, but when your battery is out half way thru your day and you can't charge it (left charger at home), you are TOAST! :mad::mad::mad:

    Good luck in med school.
  7. kiopoptr877 macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2007
    Current Med Student

    First off, congrats on getting in! I know how much work it takes to even get in.

    I'm a current med student (MS-1) using a rMBP 13". I can't speak for all med schools, but let me just say that powerpoints, eBooks, PDFs, online medical references, and wikipedia are your best friends 1st and 2nd years during basic sciences.

    With that said, I have the 13" rMBP and my friend has the 15". The portability of the 13" is wonderful, but my friend prefers the big screen on the 15" because of all the reading we do. It's easier to have a webpage reference from medscape open while perusing through a powerpoint presentation.

    My setup is similar to what you envision. I use my rMBP for lectures and go home to bigger monitors to study. I think a long battery life is a good advantage to have since you'll probably have multiple classes per day. It's just better not having to plug in for power all the time, but I'd assume your lecture halls would have outlets readily available anyway.

    I do think an 11" would be way too small for typing notes on powerpoints during lecture (though, tbh, you may not even attend lecture and just view the recordings from home).

    I would say stick with something that's at least 13".

    FWIW, I have classmates with SP3s, 13" MBAs, and iPad Air 2's. It all comes down to preference. Doubt you'll be highlighting a lot on the powerpoints. I find myself typing most of the time, so a digitizer/touch screen isn't the most useful to me, but some people like the highlight things on the slide.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
  8. dgonzales macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2015
    Portland, OR
    I am in an MBA program. Currently using a 2013 13inch MBA with an external display. It works great! You won't have any issues.

    I would get the 13inch. The larger screen size and battery make it worth it. Of course, I would only consider the 11inch if I was traveling all of the time. Screen size is really a personal preference issue.
  9. marshallbedsaul macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2007
    My black book 2.4, 4gb ram,c2d, made it 5 years zero issues(at Hopkins in the dungen). The Mac didn't die i just retired it for a newer system. You will be fine !, good luck.
  10. powersteer macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2015
    Try using MS One Note or evernote on MBA, its great!
  11. brilliantthings macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2011
    13 inch MBA. Best laptop ever. Get a 2013 refurbished. The battery life is fantastic. You'll really value it.
  12. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
    My 13" MBA is my road warrior machine, it travels with me when ever I fly. At home I use an external monitor, keyboard and mouse. It's a great little machine.
  13. onepoint macrumors 6502a


    Aug 3, 2010

    As highlighted throughout this thread, it really comes down to your intended use(s).

    To address your explicit question re: external monitors, I can't imagine you would notice any hiccups related to 'intensiveness' of driving the monitor. No worries there.

    If you don't anticipate the need for handwritten notes (e.g., Surface Pro 3) you can't go wrong with the MBA.

    As for 11" vs. 13" that's all personal preference. The 13" gives a slight battery life boost, at a physical size premium. I have a mid-2011 13" at the moment (bought used, recently) that I'm looking to unload for an 11" -- when I made the decision to go lightweight and portable, the 13" just doesn't fit that bill for me. Great machine, but not what I consider lightweight and portable, at least compared to the 11".

    Shoot over to an Apple store or a Best Buy and get some hands-on time with both machines. Next to one other, there's a pretty significant difference.
  14. kasmokia thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2011
    First of all, thanks for the great response! I really do appreciate you guys taking the time to respond, especially those of you in medical school!

    I won’t be attending medical school until this fall and my current 2011 MBP 13” is doing great for now so I still have plenty of time to see what happens with the next MBA refresh and time to visit my local best buy to get a feel for the new MBA and SP3/4.

    I want to give the Surface a fair shot but I question how biased I am. I definitely appreciate how easy OSX is to use and I feel a mastery with it that I never quite felt with windows, especially on a tablet-PC like the Surface. I also felt vulnerable and exposed to viruses and malware when doing mildly sketchy things like torrenting and downloading textbooks from pop-up ridden sites. With my mac, I feel more safe and relaxed. I am not extremely tech savvy so I don’t know just how safe/vulnerable I truly am.

    I also understand much of the decision comes down to preferences and simply how I prefer to study in school. Through undergrad, my work flow basically involved me setting up camp in the library and using their Mac desktops with my laptops on the side, so essentially two screens but also two computers. I would have my textbooks and papers in front of me as well.

    Toward the end of my undergrad career I began using the dual monitor PCs and found that especially helpful while I was studying for the MCAT, where I would have multiple textbooks and many papers in front of my but also be able to have many things open on the computer like YouTube videos, PDFs, spotify, skype with my GF and everything was a quick google search away if I needed it.

    ^that kinds of setup is what I always imagined med school to be like~ a fair (50/50) mix of analogue (paper) study materials with electronic formats. I cannot imagine a 100% paper or 100% paperless approach working out for me. I also think a dual monitor set up is best for my preferences and I think having a MBA would combine this approach with a welcome portability.

    I am reassured by the comments that the 11” MBA is just as powerful as the 13” MBA and I feel confident it will blaze through all my required tasks. I wonder about the screen size and resolution though. I will be taking tests on my laptop for school (and wont be able to use my monitors) and I wonder if there will be a benefit to having a larger screen/ better resolution (maybe it is easier on the eyes or will help me read faster or idk something.) I guess I will just have to wait and check one out in person.

    Again, thanks for all the help!

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