New Macbook or Macbook Air

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by kdog0126, Nov 23, 2015.

?

New MacBook (2015) or 11in MacBook Air (2015)

Poll closed Nov 30, 2015.
  1. MacBook (2015)

    75.8%
  2. MacBook Air (2015 - 11 in.)

    24.2%
  1. kdog0126 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #1
    Looking to get my daughter (HS freshman) a notebook for Christmas. Thinking about a new Macbook ($1299) or refurbished MacBook Air 11in ($750).

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. whodatrr macrumors 6502a

    whodatrr

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    #2
    Refurbished new MacBook. Plenty around for much cheaper than MSRP. We just bought two of them, for under $1k each.

    Also, when you're comparing the rMB with the 11 MBA, look at RAM and SSD size.
     
  3. kdog0126 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #3
    You found a refurbished new Macbook? What site?
     
  4. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #4
    Apple.com for referbs

    As for the 11" mba I wouldn't recommend it as the real estate is way to small to be productive.
     
  5. whodatrr macrumors 6502a

    whodatrr

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    #5
    We got ours at Best Buy. Apple also has refurbis. MacMall has them too. Lots of places to buy...


     
  6. garirry macrumors 68000

    garirry

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2013
    Location:
    Canada is my city
    #6
    Depends on multiple factors. Is a retina display important? How much RAM and SSD are you planning to go for? What is she going to do with it (is performance necessary)?

    With the assumption that it's going to be only used for taking notes and stuff, I'd choose the rMB.
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #7
    As the long-time Mac user, current owner of an 11.6" MBA ("my favourite laptop ever"), and someone who considered buying a 12" MacBook as early as last week (but would have waited for the next update), I'd still recommend the 11" MBA. The biggest differentiator is the Retina screen of the 12" MB, which isn't a big deal to my eyes. Sure, the MacBook screen is sharper, but it's not like the 11" MBA's screen isn't sharp. The sharpness is fine, even when compared to a Surface Pro 3, which has a screen with a "Retina"-level PPI. I have both a Surface Pro 3 and 11" MBA sitting in front of me, and I'm looking at the same photo on both screens. Trust me, it's not a massive difference. ;)

    Having said that, I'm not extremely sensitive like some people are!

    If there's anything about the 12" MacBook's screen that I'm jealous of, it's actually the colour accuracy and contrast, which is difficult to judge objectively simply by looking at a photo. For the significant majority of girls and boys entering highschool, neither of these are a big deal at all. What's important is portability, battery life, keyboard and trackpad comfort, and ease of use. I think the 11" MBA covers all this pretty well. That, and it has ports!! :p

    The only reason I had considered buying the 12" MacBook is because I feel the 11" MBA is a poor deal when considering the level of equipment you get for the price, particularly with the screen it includes. Yes, the 11" MBA is my favourite laptop ever -- even better than my old 12" Powerbook -- but Apple really should drop the price to something that reflects its equipment level (+40% margin, as usual).

    The 12" MacBook is fast (in bursts, not for continuous 4K video editing or anything of the sort) for its size, and has a great screen. The only reason I didn't buy one last week is due to the lack of ports, which I already knew about. If the damn thing had TWO USB-C ports, I would have bought one after the next upgrade.

    Instead, I'll probably buy a Surface Pro 4 because I really like my SP3 at work.
     
  8. navaira macrumors 68040

    navaira

    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    #8
    Faced with the same decision I settled on 13" Air. Try that keyboard on rMB, or even better, if it's not a surprise for your daughter, have her try the keyboard. I found it as comfortable as banging my fingers on a desk. True, the screen is gorgeous and the thing is so thin you can shave with it, but the keyboard is no-go for me.
     
  9. zamboni52 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    #9
    I bought the Macbook Air 13 for my daughter 2 years ago. It was the base model with 128gb SSD and 4gb RAM. With all of the discounts going on at the time we spent $780 out the door including tax. She is a computer science major and runs Virtual Box and Xcode on it just fine. MS Office for mac runs perfectly for all of her papers and presentations. For the price, the 13" screen gives her enough display real estate to multitask and be productive...this means watching Netflix in a window while working on MS Word, plus to her, the bigger display with good resolution outweighed the smaller Retina display (I showed her my rMB a few months ago). The one thing I would consider doing differently is buying the 256gb SSD model as the 128gb tends to fill up quickly with all of her school work. She is good about moving old stuff to a thumb drive though. Also, for a college students having the multiple ports of the Air is more convenient that the single USB-C port of the rMB. However, for me...I love my 1.2 512 rMB.
     
  10. navaira macrumors 68040

    navaira

    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    #10
    Maybe consider this: http://eu.minidrive.bynifty.com/ plus a microSD card? It will be way cheaper than what Apple charges, slower too, but with media or text files this doesn't make a difference. I'm even stingier, buying a very cheap version of this from AliExpress.
     
  11. zamboni52 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    #11
    navaira, thanks for the recommendation. I'll look into that and that may give her extra space to tide her over until she graduates. She can leave it in her computer and not have to carry around an extra thumb drive.
     
  12. whodatrr, Nov 24, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015

    whodatrr macrumors 6502a

    whodatrr

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    #12
    Since she already has an MS Office license, maybe she can also use OneDrive for some of that storage? She should have 1TB up there, for free.

    And yep, 128G is pretty small. You can use that up just backing up an iPhone or iPad, assuming you want a local copy as in addition to iCloud.

    Back on-point, more ramblings:

    • 11" MBA - For me, it's a non-starter. yes, I own one - actually, I've owned two. There's just not enough vertical real estate for me. While the width was OK, height just always interfered with me getting work done
    • 13" MBA - I also own one (work issued), and almost never use it. I don't use it, because I hate its screen. It just feels very 5yrs ago, at least to me.
    • 12" rMB - We own two of these, and I love them! For me, it;s an idea 2nd system (I still use my iMac for big tasks). for my woman, it's a great primary system (her needs are lighter than mine). I love the screen and portability! It has solid battery life, and it makes easy work of MS Office and light photo stuff.
    • 13" rMBP - I bought one for my two oldest kids. In my option, this is the best general purpose system that Apple makes. It's fast enough to be a decent workstation, yet light and small enough to be a good portable. If I could only have one computer, this would be it. I know it's a bit over budget, but yo can find deals. the one that I bought for my boys was $1,050 open box (2015/i5/8/256), at Best Buy.
    • SP3/4 - I have an SP3, and like it. I bought it because I occasionally need to do some Windows stuff, and it's proven powerful and portable. However...
    • XPS 13 - I just bought one, yesterday, as a replacement for my SP3. While the SP screen is nice, I just felt I wanted a bit more real estate. I also wanted a real keyboard. I opted for the system with the touch screen and higher res display, which is more expensive and has worse battery life. But you could buy the straight HD display (still much better than an MBA screen), for about $900 with an edu discount (probably better deals on Black Friday). This system is much smaller and lighter than a 13" MBA, and is arguably the best Windows Ultrabook currently on the market.

    That's my take. If she's already a Mac person, find a good deal on a used or open-box 13" rMBP. If she's open to Mac or Windows, buy her the low-end new XPS 13. If she truly has limited power needs, buy her and open-box or refurb 12 rMB. But avoid the MBA series.. again, I have both, and I just feel they're out of date, vs the rest of the stuff out there. YMMV.


     
  13. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #13
    MBA is the smart choice the rMB is the desirable choice

    Watching media etc on the rMB will be so much nicer for her
     
  14. roxysdad macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    #14
    High school freshman = MacBook Air. Get the 11 or the 13. Actually get the 13 inch because it has the SD card slot. To her eyes the screen will be just fine. Safe some dough this weekend and get one from Best Buy with the sale plus student discount. Can't go wrong. Use the money you save for more fun purchases this Christmas.
     
  15. kdog0126 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #15
    Thanks all...there is a big difference in price, but I think it's worth it given the display, memory and storage. Think I am going to go with the rMB because she can use it for years...including college (if it lasts that long). She will primarily use it to type paper, surf the net and watch Netflix.

    She has a gold iPhone and Apple Watch...this will complete the circle.

    What's the difference between early 2015 and mid-2015?
     
  16. navaira macrumors 68040

    navaira

    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    #16
    There are two models of rMB already? I completely missed that!

    See I got the Air because I intend to use it for years. It's faster. But it's not available in gold :)
     
  17. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #17
    There has been no update to the retina Macbook. They are all the same.

    The only thing I haven't seen mention here is whether she needs usb access on a regular basis or not? I personally have no problem with the lack of a regular usb port because I rarely need it, and when I do, I know where to find my adapter. I've been thinking of giving this rMB to my wife though to replace her aging 11" Air, and the thing I think she would be most frustrated with is needing to find that adapter whenever she needed to connect something. She's just not the type to keep it in a location where she'll know where it is when she needs it. Something to think about. Otherwise I think the rMB is a much better computer than the Air as they sit today.
     
  18. maerz001 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #18
    There's only the rMB released in April. So no differences
     
  19. maerz001 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #19
    What computer scientists should have recommended your daughter is having at least 8GB RAM when using virtual box or parallels
     
  20. Max(IT) Suspended

    Max(IT)

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Italy
    #20
    actually I'd buy a 13" MBA, better if refurbished ....
     
  21. kdog0126 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #21
    Was able to find one for $1050. Only $200 more than I would pay for the Air. I think this is a good deal given the extra storage and RAM.
     
  22. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #22
    Sounds great and she will be V Happy with the rMB
     

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