MBA v MBP: Help Me Decide

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jcbobbitt, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. jcbobbitt macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2012
    Within the next couple of weeks I will be picking up a new laptop!

    I just don't know if I want the Air or Pro.

    I will mainly be using the device for web browsing and media consumption.

    The minimal amount of upgradability in the Air scares me. I'd like to be able to upgrade the RAM is my needs change I am considering podcasting or streaming video in the near future.

    I love the portability of the Air and I feel that even with the base 4GB of RAM, the SSD in the Air would be able to pick up on the speed lost by the slower processor.

    I do have a 2011 Mac mini that I've upgraded to 8GB of RAM.

    So, with all of that said, what do you think I need. I trust the brains and experience here in the forums and I can't wait to see what info you provide.

    I have posted this in the Air and Pro forums to try and get both perspectives.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. ConCat macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2012
    In an ethereal plane of existence.
    If you don't see yourself upgrading your computer in awhile, I'd get an air, and max out at 8GB of RAM. It does all that you say you do quite well, with no issues. The 8GB RAM is for optimal performance and future-proofing.
  3. Dominus Mortem macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2011
    The retina 13" is just as portable as the Air 13". While it's about 8oz heavier, it's actually smaller. It's thicker in the front but then again it has better hinges.

    I think it comes down to the screen. If you don't need the hi-res of the retina then an Air would be your best bet so you can save some $$$. I'd recommend the Air if you were doing a lot of production work like Photoshop, video editing and even typing a lot of essays or books. The sharpness of the text makes writing on the retina worth the extra cost. If that doesn't matter, again, the Air probably would be better for you.
  4. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2012
    Virginia, USA
    I looked at the MBPro Retina 15" vs the MBAir 13" and price dictated the Air at $2100 vs over $4,000. Easy decision to make and it's a lot lighter and more portable than the MBP R as well.
  5. imac5 macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2012
    In my opinion, if money is no object to you, rMBP > MBA > MBP (assuming all 13").

    I'm running a 2012 MBA 13" i5 w/ 8 GB RAM and I'd have to say that for the most part I've found my MBA to run zippier than 2011/2012 13" MBPs that my friends have.

    When you start to figure in the price difference, to me it made a lot more sense to go with MBA rather than the rMBP. I definitely enjoy the retina display, but for my everyday use, it really isn't something I would consider to be even close to essential.
  6. jobush macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2013
    The difference between the Air and the 13" MBP is huge.
    And the jump between the 13" to the 15" is also incredible, considering the graphics capabilities.

    Here's what I think is a good guideline:

    Is Portability an important thing? then Air or Retina. If not, cMBP is an option.

    Are you going to stick with word processing and browsing? Air.

    Do you want to do some Photoshop or other basic/intermediately demanding media tasks? - 13" MBP-Whatever you can afford.

    Do you have the burning desire to play demanding games? 15" - whatever you can afford.
  7. Vandefilm macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2012
    Well, he already said that he would be using it for browsing and media streaming. The air does that all without any problems. I can't think of one reason to go for the rMBP except if you want to pay hundreds of dollars for a better screen to look at your music.
  8. attis macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2012
    I have a hard time seeing the benefits of the 13" MBPR. The 13" Air is nearly equally capable and both cheaper and slightly more portable.

    The biggest difference is then between the 15" MBPR and the Air. QuadCore and discrete graphics are a big step up in performance. With simulated 1920x1200 on the 15", it's the one for you if you like to multitask when consuming 'yer media. Stick 16GBs of ram in it and it will probably last you many years, until more of the web and apps are improved for the Retinadisplay that you then have...

    Otherwise - I'd say i7/8GB MacBook Air. Not just because I happen to have one, but because I've tested my way up to it and that's the model of MacBooks that I'm best pleased with overall and seems to be the best compromise.

    - Large enough to be a real workstation. Power enough for media-creation, aswell as -consumption. Slim enough to always have room for.
  9. LeeM macrumors 6502a

    Jan 1, 2012
    Imagine a pro with 16gb an ssd and an internal hdd. You'll never get that from an air. And a pro will fit in ny bag the air will they're the same depth qnd width dimensions
  10. attis macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2012
    Yes we know that there's a difference and that the MBA can't accomodate all that. That's probably why it's called "Air"?

    They might be the same general sizes, but I'm pretty sure many will agree that the MBA is more portable. Portability isn't necessarily just width and height...
  11. seveej macrumors 6502a


    Dec 14, 2009
    Helsinki, Finland
    The eternal question.
    As others here have given you the logical answers, I'll give you the emotional answer (and no, I'm not a she):
    Go to a shop, play with both. Pick 'em up, cuddle them, hold them. Imagine yourself at home/work/school/starbucks with them - which one can you better see yourself with?
    Which is the one, that makes you feel warm and cuddly/proud/whole?
    Get the one you want more.

  12. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    For the needs you described and to prepare for potentially more taxing usage in the next few years, I would go with the 13" Air with 8GB RAM and 256MB storage. Enjoy.
  13. LeeM macrumors 6502a

    Jan 1, 2012
    Well seeing as the 2 main issues brought up in the op are upgrade ability and portability those are the 2 I addressed. Yes the air is lighter, but the difference between the pro and air is bout the same as a bottle of water.
    And if you ever need a portable hard drive because you've filled your ssd then you need to carry extra bits.
  14. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    The Air is capable of handling what you need it to. If you are worried about the future, then spend the extra $100 for the 8GB option. It will be a while before mainstream programs need 16GB.

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