need laptop for mostly FaceTime, Photos, Facebook use

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jk73, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. jk73 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2012
    #1
    A friend has had an MBP since early 2011 and it's finally dying. She mostly uses her computer for FaceTime, Photos, and Facebook. Looking for advice here — new or used/refurb? MacBook or MacBook Air? (MBP seems like overkill.)

    I have a late-2016 MBP with Touch Bar and my usage pattern is a lot different than hers. Thanks very much.
     
  2. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #2
    Pretty much anything will run that load, I should think. I suggest that she might want to start at a retail store, if at all possible, and decide whether she wants a retina screen or if she's OK with the Air; and whether she wants the retina Macbook portability or a MBP sized screen, and if the latter, whether she wants 13 or 15 inch. Other than ensuring that there's enough storage to hold her stuff, I doubt that any of the performance specs are going to matter much for her usage.

    Refurb / used would certainly be an option unless she decides she wants shiny new and is willing to pay for it. (Nothing wrong with that, but it should be done with eyes open!)
     
  3. jk73 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2012
    #3
    Thanks. I'm basically in charge of the purchase since she's not tech-savvy at all. I've never shopped for anything other than a new MBP, so I'm wondering where the values might be in terms of MBA, MB, refurb, etc.
     
  4. CrystalQuest76 macrumors 6502

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    West Cost A Lot
    #4
    the cheapest MacBook or even cheaper iPad will do all of the things requested. No need to spend the money on a MacBook Pro.
    Saving money is not a crime.
     
  5. Altis macrumors 68020

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    Sep 10, 2013
    #5
    I'd recommend checking the used market.

    Should be able to save quite a bit and get a decent machine that's a few years old. Maybe a 2013 or 2014 MacBook Pro for Retina display and SSD and should be good for years to come.
     
  6. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #6
    If she's completely not tech savvy, I would avoid used, stick with new-with-warranty. A reburb would be good because it's at a discount, but still has full Apple warranty. Literally any Mac Apple is currently selling refurbished would be sufficient for what you say she wants to use it for.

    I would say that for pure "futureproofing" and full macOS experience, I'd recommend a refurbished MacBook. Retina display looks great, has "port of the future" USB-C, and PCIe storage guaranteed. Plus, the cheapest refurb MacBook is only $40 more expensive than the cheapest refurb MacBook Air.

    If she's a clumsy type, or paranoid about warranties, add AppleCare+.
     
  7. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    Jul 24, 2009
    #7
    iPad Pro and a smart keyboard save your money. Those tasks do not require a fully fledged pc
     
  8. CmdrLaForge macrumors 68040

    CmdrLaForge

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    #8
    Not sure how serious about the photos but in case I suggest a MacBook with plenty of SSD storage and a good backup drive for time machine
     
  9. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    The reason I suggested hands-on is that her most important choices have nothing to do with tech, or being tech-savvy. They are pure ergonomics. Is the 12 inch screen too small? Is an Air screen OK, or does she really like the retina? Those are things that can be answered by a buyer without needing to know the slightest thing about gigabytes or boost clock.
     
  10. adib macrumors regular

    adib

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    Singapore
    #10
    Sounds like she may not even need a MacBook. An iPad + Keyboard would do just fine, maybe a large-capacity one to store photos *or* an iCloud subscription to go beyond the free 5GB tier..
     
  11. ZapNZs macrumors 68000

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #11
    I see the MacBook, MacBook Air, and iPad Pro all meeting her requirements. What size is needed, and what the budget is could make one better than the others.

    If she wants a nice screen, the iPad Pro and MacBook are the two options.

    If pricing is an issue, the MacBook Air 128 GB model can often be found for $750 or less.

    If pricing is an issue and significant storage is desired, the 2016 MacBook with 256 and 512 storage options can currently be found for killer sales from Best Buy. With that said, the 2017 MacBook has what I consider to be a vastly improved keyboard and a much faster CPU.
     
  12. jk73 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2012
    #12
    Thanks for all of the feedback. She definitely wants a laptop instead of an iPad, and she needs at least 256 GB of HD space. I'll check out the refurb and BestBuy deals mentioned above.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 12, 2017 ---
    Oops, I forgot to mention that she prefers a Spanish keyboard. Apple's refurb site doesn't list any Spanish keyboards being available. Anyone know if that can be requested? Thanks again.
     
  13. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    #13
    I skimmed so sorry if I missed this, but if FaceTime is one of the main uses, I’d stay away from the MB. The camera is terrible. Do MBPs or MBAs have better cameras?
     
  14. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

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    #14
    All you "need" is an iPad Pro
     
  15. jk73 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2012
    #16
    Right now, she has an MBP from early 2011. A 2016 or 2017 MB's FaceTime camera almost has to be an upgrade over that, right?
    --- Post Merged, Sep 12, 2017 ---
    She's famous for losing things, so an iPad is probably almost too portable for her. The laptop she mostly keeps at home and uses around the house (thankfully).
    --- Post Merged, Sep 12, 2017 ---
    Shooting for $1,200 or below. It looks like I can get her an MB with a 512 GB HD for around that price from Best Buy, but now the comment above about the camera has me thinking twice about it.
     
  16. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    #17
    According to my brief research (sorry — on my phone), the 2011 MBP had a 720p cam vs. the 480p cam in both the 16 and 17 MB.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 12, 2017 ---
    The camera in the MB is truly awful. Trust me.
     
  17. jk73 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2012
    #18
    Good grief, that's terrible. I didn't think it was possible for a 2017 MB to be worse than a 2011 MBP in any respect.

    Do others here second this? My friend is a big FaceTime user.

    How do the current MBAs fare in this respect? Thanks.
     
  18. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 8, 2008
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    Zurich, Switzerland
    #19

    720p
    Is it really so important how you look in a Facetime call?
    The MB has a vastly superior display.
    You look into that display all the time.

    Think of your eyes (or rather, your friend's eyes).
     
  19. jk73 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2012
    #20
    Thanks. So in a choice between an MB and an MBA, from the screen perspective, the MB wins by far?
     
  20. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 9, 2014
    #21
    Absolutely. The retina screen is lovely. The Air screen is perfectly usable, sort of, in the same way that a 5 year old hard-driven minivan is usable; but once you work in front of a good retina display for a while, it's hard to go back to an older tech, lower-res screen. (unless there are massive compensating differences, like being 32 inches diagonal, or being almost free, but the MBA doesn't possess any real advantage except for price and maybe a better camera.)
     
  21. jk73 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2012
    #22
    Okay, thanks very much. I need to make a decision tomorrow. Leaning toward a refurb MB with a Spanish keyboard (if they can find me one); otherwise, I'll order a new one.

    If anyone knows any other options for finding an MB with a Spanish keyboard (refurb or new), please post. Doesn't seem like the major non-Apple retailers stock them. Thanks.
     
  22. jk73 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2012
    #23
    Thanks again to everyone for the feedback. Ended up going $150 over budget for a late-2016 13" retina MBP with a 256 GB HD with the desired Spanish keyboard. Now she'll have both the nicer screen and the better FaceTime camera.
     
  23. smallcoffee macrumors 6502a

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    North America
    #24
    I'd go with a refurb MacBook. It's way better than the Air.
     
  24. jk73 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2012
    #25
    I ruled out the Air after comments here, but I couldn't find a refurb MB with a Spanish keyboard and Apple says they don't ever sell them in their refurb section. I found a new, discounted MBP with a Spanish keyboard at Amazon and went with that.
     

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