need help deciding between a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Smiller4128, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. Smiller4128 macrumors member

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    Feb 1, 2010
    #1
    I'm aware that there's probably a thousand of these but everyone's needs are different and with this being a forum and all I decide to make my own post ont his topic.

    So I’m trying to decide what MacBook would be best for me. A 13" Macbook Air or a 17" macbook Pro? This decision has been killing me and I need as much help on it as I can get.

    Here’s a quick run-down on what my uses are:

    -Safari/Google Chrome
    -iMail
    -ITunes (I like listening to a lot of music whenever I’m on my laptop)
    -iPhoto – I have a Canon 60D that I use to do some photography as a hobby, I’m not a pro by any means it’s just meant for a little extra fun and sometimes I do some fun enhancements to my photos like adding a couple of effects, etc. but nothing major by any means. However, I am picky when it comes to the color of my photos. But as long as the colors are nice and accurate than I have no problem.
    -Vuze – Most of you know what this is already so no need to explain however I do encode everything so that’ll be compatible to stream it to my Apple TV.
    -Handbrake
    -Mac App Store (I like to buy and play the occasional games such as Angry Birds Space, etc.)

    Here’s the thing, which ever macbook I decide to go with, it’ll be my ONLY computer. In other words, I don’t have a desktop or anything else at all so this will be my ONLY computer. With that in mind, I just want to know which macbook would be better for me the 13” Macbook Air or the 17” Macbook Pro. And yes I’m aware of the HUGE difference between the two. I’m just someone that believes in getting the top-of-the line model…if you’re gonna do something, go big lol. I’m just trying to figure out which macbook line would be best for me.
     
  2. getz76 macrumors 6502a

    getz76

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    #2
    Both will do all of those tasks without issue.

    Handbrake is processor intensive, so if you are in a hurry you'll want more processing power. If you are patient, it won't matter. Or queue stuff up and run it overnight.
     
  3. srxtr macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    MBP for the space, unless you're gonna upgrade MBA's SSD
     
  4. Bear macrumors G3

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    #4
    Go in to an Apple store and look at various websites on any model you're considering. Also bring up iPhoto and look at photos and play with them.

    Also, see how the different keyboards feel. If you decide to go with the Pro, you probably want to get one with the antiglare screen.

    For what you have listed, for myself I'd probably go with a 15" Pro with an antiglare screen.

    What it boils down to for me is the screen size/resolution and how long the Air would take for some some of what you have listed.
     
  5. Smiller4128 thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    I should point out that I have a 2TB Apple Time Capsule so ultimately, space is not even an issue for me at all.
     
  6. heisenberg123 macrumors 603

    heisenberg123

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    #6
    i say MBP the MBA is not powerfull enough for a primary computer in my opinion but thats just me
     
  7. mzjin macrumors 6502

    mzjin

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    #7
    Macbook Pro for the superior screen, speed, RAM, etc..

    The AIR will not do as a primary machine.
     
  8. Smiller4128 thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    ah...see thats what I was worried about if I went with the Air...
     
  9. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

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    #9
    What kind/size files are you planning on encoding? If they're standard def you're OK (actually you'd only need to encode the audio). The same applies if it's an ATV 3.

    But if you're taking 1080p files down to 720p, you need power and memory if you do it in any kind of volume. For everything else you do, an MBA is fine.

    Obviously there's a huge difference in size, weight and power. Will either one ever be mobile, or will it be a stay at home?
     
  10. ixodes macrumors 601

    ixodes

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    #10
    Well said, I agree.

    I have both MBP's and MBA's, but only because the majority of my engineering work is very resource intense. Otherwise, the 13" MBA I use for most other tasks is a very enjoyable laptop.
     
  11. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 9, 2011
    #11
    Comparing the 13" MBA with the 17" MBP is comparing apples to oranges, seriously. Basically, you're asking here: "Should I buy a Porsche 911 or a luxury Mercedes Benz?".

    Anyway, I will try to give you a meaningful answer...

    1) For your needs, the MBA is more than enough from a performance point of view.

    2) Do you need your laptop to be mobile at all? are you ever planing to carry it out of your home? because the 17" MBP is not really a mobile solution.
     
  12. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Of course the MBA can entirely do as a primary machine. It depends entirely on what the user does with his computer, not about the computer itself. Geez... :rolleyes:
     
  13. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

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    #13
    Indeed, for most people I know in terms of processor power and resolution it's absolute overkill. They'd be happier with 1024x768
     
  14. getz76 macrumors 6502a

    getz76

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    #14
    Did you see his list of tasks? The first generation Air would do if he was patient with Handbrake.
     
  15. Bear macrumors G3

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    #15
    I'm not sure if the first generation would cover everything without a lot of patience. I think my reply above (#4) about covers the situation the best.
     
  16. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

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    #16
    Basically, you're looking at the entire line of Apple laptops lol. Ordinarily I'd say there's little difference between a 15" MBP and a 13" MBA, but you really do feel the weight/thickness difference when you carry your laptop around a lot.
     
  17. getz76 macrumors 6502a

    getz76

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    #17
    Really just Handbrake on that list is processor and memory intensive, but I agree with your response in general. With anything that is that tactile, getting your hands on it is a great idea.
     
  18. JHUFrank macrumors 6502a

    JHUFrank

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    Apr 16, 2010
    #18
    Dang man, you are right. I will just have to go throw my MB Air in the trash that is my primary machine that I use doing my system admin job. I feel crushed that I spent the money on this thing. /sarcasm
     
  19. mac26, Apr 18, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2012

    mac26 macrumors 6502

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    #19
    I suggest the Air 13" with a good IPS monitor (if you have insufficient funds for the Tunderbolt Display)
     
  20. lionmanpt macrumors regular

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    Jan 1, 2011
    #20
    Screens

    I recently bought a 13' MBA coming from a 15' MBP.

    What I can say (extra to all the comments already made) is that I just cannot adapt to the MBA screen.......it seems lack of vivid colors.

    Bottom line (and this is my opinion): MBA is much , much faster than the MBP I had, but the screen.........is much much worse.
     
  21. mzjin macrumors 6502

    mzjin

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    #21
    It is. I've owned 2 MBAs and the screens were just too awful to keep around. Color gamut and viewing angles. The 13" Pro is hugely superior in the screen, despite slightly lower resolution.

    The Airs are limited to 4GB ram, making them far less useful as a primary machine. My iMac regularly runs with 10GB in use.

    The Airs are slower and will run hotter doing similar processes, being space and size constrained.

    The difference between a 15" Pro and a 13" Air is immense, one can be used as a desktop replacement and fair gaming machine. The other can not. Both are portable, the Airs are just more portable.


    Portability vs.... huge trade-offs.
     
  22. Smiller4128 thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 1, 2010
    #22
    I'm patient with Handbrake. usually i'll let it run as i'm watching tv, playing games, sleeping, etc. There's no need for a rush on it.

    In terms of mobility, I don't see much in terms of it going different places other than from my desk, to my bed or to my futon, etc. So even if I did need to take it with me somewhere, it wouldnt be often.
     
  23. heisenberg123 macrumors 603

    heisenberg123

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    #23
    You do realize these are all opinions right? There's no right or wrong opinion
     
  24. Smiller4128 thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 1, 2010
    #24
    just a few things I wanted to ask...

    1. If I did get the 17" MacBook Air and wanted to upgrade the Ram myself to 8GB, would that void the warranty on it at all?

    2. I've checked out both models in the stores and maybe it's just me, but i just don't see this HUGE difference in speed that everyone else does...what things do you guys see run faster on the air?

    3. Why wouldn't the 17" macbook pro be portable? At 6.6 lbs, how is that considered even remotely "heavy"?...
     
  25. heisenberg123 macrumors 603

    heisenberg123

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    #25

    1. no it would not void the warranty intact apple provides the instructions on changing RAM and Hard drives.

    2. With SSDs you notice the most speed on boot up, and launching apps, also SSDs have fast read/write speeds, FYI you can easily put an SSD in your macbook pro

    3. your correct the mbp so still very light and portable in all 3 sizes in my opinion also
     

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