My first Mac and in need of advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by alstrike, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. alstrike macrumors regular

    alstrike

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    been lurking for a few weeks but finally decided to register today. Need to get a new laptop and was thinking about something small.

    I work part time as an english teacher and currently use a XPS M1530 with a 50% dead 9 cell battery. Really hate taking the AC adaptor with me (big brick) because the battery lasts only for like 1h 1/2.

    I was thinking on getting the MBA (13" base), here in Spain costs 1.249,00 € (1,721.90 USD). However I work as a computer salesman in a big european retailer too and we just got some 13" MBP base models (early 2011) and they are going for 949€ (1,307.70 USD).

    My usage is pretty simple, basically internet, email, office, music and a lot of TV shows and movies (720 & 1080p mkv´s). I need it to play songs through the speakers in class (lessons) and I don´t know if the speakers are good enough for that.

    If I get the 13" MBP I will get 8GB RAM (cheap) and a SSD and keep the HDD external.

    What do you guys think? I really appreciate your help.

    P.S. Sorry for the long explanation...
     
  2. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #2
    If you can handle the weight, go for the 13in MBP as it will have better battery life than the MBA. I no longer think about portability and my next computer will be either an iMac or a larger MBP. This is because I normally carry my iPad to meetings and my Macbook is really acting as a desktop. As an english teacher, there may be apps you need that you can't use on the iPad, hence I suggest the 13 in MBP as a long battery life, moderately portable solution. If you find a way to get what you need for teaching to work on an iPad, it's really the best portable computer on the market right now.
     
  3. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #3
    I normally carry a 17" MBP and iPad almost every day.
     
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #4
    I honestly don't understand the "If you can handle the weight" part. Assuming you are a normal functioning adult, the weight of a 13" MBP is not something you concern yourself about.
     
  5. alstrike thread starter macrumors regular

    alstrike

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #5
    I´m 30, 6 ft and over 200 lbs. I guess I´ll be alright "dragging" around a 13" :D
     
  6. caligomez macrumors regular

    caligomez

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Location:
    San Juan, PR
    #6
    The 13" MBP has better battery than the 13" MBA? Apple states they are both at 7 hours, so that my not be a differentiating factor.
     
  7. iknowyourider macrumors 6502a

    iknowyourider

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    onanorthboundtrain
    #7
    Plus One for the 13" MBP. That's my next purchase. My BlackBook is 4 years old. I would love to have an Air but I really feel like the MBP is more practical for a primary computer.:(
     
  8. Confuzzzed macrumors 68000

    Confuzzzed

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #8
    Have owned both MBAs and MBPs (as well as iPad 2) and I honestly think for your computing needs, you should get a Macbook Air. The portability of that machine is a joy and if you think the charger of your current machine a brick then I can assure you the more lightweight MBA will suit your needs more. And the battery life of the 13' MBA is identical to that of the 13' MBP. Go for MBA especially at that price. Unless you need an optical disk drive of course. Which would then steer you towards an MBP.
     
  9. RovingEye macrumors newbie

    RovingEye

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #9
    May I add another thought? If I am right, the MBA does NOT have a LAN socket. For people who use hotels a lot, the lack of a decent internet connection could be a deciding factor.
    OK, good WiFi might be available in some hotels, but some locations are rather poorly served with a signal.
    To use a MBP with both internet connections available might be better?
    Just a thought. I have the same conundrum!
    MBA or MBP? Or even just an iPad2??
    Any observations please.

    (Present kit is iMac24" and iPod Touch 4th G.)
     
  10. phySi0 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Location:
    You don't want to know!
    #10
    I would say definitely MBA. It's light, great for your needs, and by the time you add the SSD and RAM onto the Pro, the price will probably come to about the same. The only thing I don't know about is the sound.
     
  11. cr2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    #11
    MBA v/s MBP

    I was surprised too initially but every one in the family has a 13" MBA and I have a 13" MBP.. The only bragging rights (at home) I have is that my battery last surely longer (though MBA recharge is very very fast). On the other hand Apple has far better charger and anyone else it is a not a big issue to carry the brick.

    Having said that, if you don't need a lot of storage then MBA is the way to go..
     
  12. Confuzzzed macrumors 68000

    Confuzzzed

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #12
    A £20 adaptor gets you out of that and in two years of owning MBAs, I have used it zero times and needed the adaptor even less. And I travel
     
  13. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #13
    If you plan on playing/ripping CD's and/or DVD's, you might consider the MBP for the optical drive. Otherwise, I'm not sure your use would dictate one over the other.
     
  14. alstrike thread starter macrumors regular

    alstrike

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #14
    The only thing that would steer me away from the MBA is the "allegedly" worse screen than the one found in the MBP.

    By the way, the HD3000 will do fine playing MKV´s (1080p) to an external monitor, right?

    Cheers
     
  15. Corrosive vinyl macrumors 6502

    Corrosive vinyl

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #15
    If you can, go to the apple store and mess around with both. See the resolutions for yourself. Also, get the base RAM and upgrade yourself... save the money apple charges and get it aftermarket.

    I have a 13" MBP and love it. I kind of agree about the statement about not having an ethernet port. What other ports are missing on the air, and will you care? I personally love having all those ports "just in case", and have used most of them many times.
     
  16. alstrike thread starter macrumors regular

    alstrike

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #16
    That´s for sure, I LOVE taking laptops apart. 8GB G.Skill 1333 Ram is like 35€ now...

    And the SSD prices are not rocketing up, I guess it´s a good thing not to have those factories in Thailand.
     
  17. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    #17
    It won't be utilised for video decoding, the CPU will, you'll have no trouble at all with high-bitrate x264 1080p.
     
  18. alstrike thread starter macrumors regular

    alstrike

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #18
    Didn´t XBMC or Plex sort this out already?

    That throws another "x" into the equation...
     
  19. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #19
    I can tell you're talking about a MBP. The OP seemed fairly set on a macbook air. In the Air, the ram is soldered into the motherboard. Aside from the entry model macbook air, they come with 4GB. Lion specifies a minimum of 2. It's fine for light computing. Too little ram drives me mad but I do different stuff.
     
  20. SDColorado macrumors 65816

    SDColorado

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Location:
    Highlands Ranch, CO
    #20
    Personally I wouldn't worry too much about the lack of an ethernet port, I have stayed in hotels out in the middle of nowhere, where I couldn't get a cell signal, but sure enough the hotel had wireless. But you can always buy the adapter for insurance if you wish. I can't recall the last time I had to plug a laptop in to Ethernet at a hotel... It's been years.

    I just recently purchased a 13" MacBook Air myself, as I was looking for something light, portable and capable. I was very tentative at first, and went and looked and looked at them a few times without pulling the trigger. Now I am kicking myself that it took me so long. I love the thing. My wife is dumping her 15" MBP for one as well. They are much nicer computers than I had initially given them credit for.
     
  21. Confuzzzed macrumors 68000

    Confuzzzed

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #21
    These are certainly very capable machines and the screen on mine seems (ok, very subjective claim) better than the screen on my 15' MBP. I wouldn't let that concern you if I am honest. But the lack of dedicated GPU may worry you if you are a serious gamer. Rumoured refresh in Q2 2012 should solve that if you can wait that long. by the way, the only use I have for my ethernet adapter is for the first back up of the machine with my time capsule
     
  22. szolr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK
    #22
    For your mentioned needs, get a 13 inch Air if the price difference is no big deal. For general tasks like you've mentioned the SSD will be a big plus. It'll also have the same battery life as a Macbook Pro, have a 15 inch equivalent screen resolution and be lighter to carry around.

    People say DVD drives are a good idea, but I've yet to use mine in my Macbook Pro and somehow I don't think I'm ever going to at this rate. So it's no big deal with the Air.
     
  23. RovingEye macrumors newbie

    RovingEye

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Location:
    Spain
    #23
    Confuzzed, thanks for that very good advice.:)
    The only other question I have is video processing power. I intend to stream from the laptop to a 42" Plasma TV via HDMI- which is the better of the two machines MBA or MBP? I have no need for an optical drive. The SSD is also worth considering for me. Weight is of lesser importance.

    I take it the MBP's screen is "better" for video quality?
     
  24. szolr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK
    #24
    Wrong actually. The Air's screen is better-as I said above it's got the equivalent of a 15 inch screen resolution.

    But streaming the video to an :apple:TV will work fine with either-no differences there. Neither laptop has a HDMI slot like the Mac Mini so you won't be able to plug a Macbook into your plasma TV.
     
  25. Confuzzzed macrumors 68000

    Confuzzzed

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2011
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #25
    Sure you can. Via the thunderbolt port. But only if you buy the appropriate cable (and/or adapter). see here http://www.amazon.co.uk/DisplayPort-Adapter-Converter-Cablesson-Unibody/dp/B002WSM2N6/ref=pd_rhf_gw_shvl38

    re. video streaming, I don't imagine there will be any difference whatsoever. it's all down to your wifi router speed and distance from it (I think). At the price you are getting the 13' MBA through your friend, it's a steal
     

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