Not buying because overwhelmed with choice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by alphe, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. alphe macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2013
    I started work about 3 years ago, and so bought new products then: iPhone 4S, MacBook Pro (maxed specs) and a first generation iPad (16GB Wifi) for when traveling.

    Now it's 3 years later and I'm sure you can guess what's happened: everything's started dying. I've also just started my PhD, so do not have the financial flexibility that I had when I started work.

    I'm going to hold onto my 4S for another product cycle- the battery dies but it still functions relatively okay. My iPad is going well - battery is good, but I can't upgrade it past iOS 5 and it is a little slow.

    My MacBook Pro is another story, with the logic board playing up - sometimes just crashing when things get too much for the computer. I did a test at the Apple Store and it failed the relevant logic board test. They quoted $350 to repair. I haven't had a crash since upgrading to Mavericks last week.

    So, my questions to the experts out there is thus:

    Should I buy a new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or the iPad Air?

    Portability is important but not essential: I've found myself leaving my Macbook Pro at home and taking my iPad to class/meetings for notes. I like playing games on my computer, so having a Macbook Pro was important to me, but given I'll have this one sitting around, not sure whether the upgrade is necessary?
    Price is a key concern for me, and once I get into writing more seriously, being able to reference while I write means that the iPads are sometimes not the best devices.

  2. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    The MacBook Pro.....

    seems to me as a strain to your budget, but you will get portability and enough power to be upgrade-wise for about 3-5 years. The Air cen be viewed as a compromise between the MacBook Pro and the iPad. And yet, the iPad is the cheaper option.....So I would lend towards the Air.....:D

  3. MikeyAndTheCity macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2013
    I found myself in a similar position - being in school and wanting to game a little as well. I settled on a refurbished 2013 11" Macbook Air. The price point was right (just a bit more than the iPad would have been) and I've read that the Airs handle games relatively well. Not sure what you're planning to play, but check out whether or not the Air can play the games you want it to - you might be surprised, I know I was.

    Plus, the battery life is icing on the cake!
  4. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a


    May 15, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    If you're doing a PhD then you'll want a machine to be productive on with a good screen. Go for a 13" rMBP.

    As far as your 4S goes, get the battery replaced. If it's crapping out on you in general, then get it replaced with a refurb. It costs, but only a fraction of the price of buying a new phone.
  5. Tfb macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2012
    I think the mba should be fine for *most* games. Ask here or google it to make sure but I would verify before assuming that the mbp would be better enough to make it worthwhile for the games alone.

    For me the challenging part would be the retina screen versus the lighter weight and extended battery time. If you think you'll be writing a lot of papers on it or doing a lot of research on it, I'd be tempted to go for the base mbpr. If you tend to do more of that kind of work on your home computer anyway, then you may not really need a laptop at all.

    If I were you this is what I would do:

    Go back to school *first*. You've been out for at least a couple of years and this is a new program. Get an idea of what your lifestyle will be like, where you'll do work, what kind of work you'll do, how much stuff you'll have to shlep around, etc. Hopefully your current computer will hold out with Mavericks long enough to let you get a feel for your new life. Then you'll have the information to make a better decision.

    For what it's worth, if you have a decent anticipation of going back to a good income, I think you can definitely justify the base mbpr even on a going back to school budget.
  6. ecrispy macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2013
    Why is a MBP dying after only 3 years? I've heard so much about the build quality and reliability of these things, 3 years is a very short time for a top of the line notebook to last.

    I hope this is not a common scenario?
  7. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    It's not.
  8. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I also don't think it's the norm. I'm still using a MacBook from 2008 and everything works fine on it albeit a bit slowly.
  9. alphe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2013
    Apparently a number of 2010 Macbook Pros had logic board issues. There was a recall and swap program - my logic board was only eligible if it failed during the three year period... 2 months too late :S
  10. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    That sucks.

    While you could get a Bluetooth keyboard to go with an iPad Air, the select, copy and paste operations using the touchscreen are a nuisance so I could not imagine using it to write a paper or thesis.

    While the new offerings are all pretty sweet, $350 for the logic board is your lowest priced option! I would be talking to Apple about that recall too.

    Best of luck.
  11. alphe, Jan 4, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014

    alphe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2013
    Happy New Year.

    Just wanted to update on what I ended up getting and why in case anyone else is in the same position and comes across this thread.

    Firstly - thanks so much for all of your responses; I kept coming back to this thread as I made my decision and all of your views certainly helped!

    I ended up buying a refurbished June 2013 13" Macbook Air, entry level.


    1. Price point. Being refurbished but being the latest model made the refurbished option very reasonable. In fact, I saved nearly $200 off retail - much more than my education discount (only $50 with the Air). I was quite impressed with the steps taken by apple in the refurb process.

    2. Portability. One of my biggest issues with lugging around my 2010 15" Macbook Pro was its weight. I considered the 13" MBPr for the same reason, but ultimately, decided lighter was better. I decided against the iPad option for the reason below.

    3. Power. This was the tough one. Do I go for the 13" MBPr and get better performance (particularly for gaming) while balancing with portability. This point was the exact reason the iPad wasn't reasonable. It wouldn't run programs needed for my writing: e.g. citation software, writing programs.

    In the end, I decided that the second two outweighed the last option. The main reason being that trying to do everything at once was going to compromise the real purpose of me needing a new computer: reliability and portability for my studies.

    After a couple of months of university (as advised by one of your posts) these came out as the most important. While I like gaming, I think I'm better posed using my current MBP (when it's working) for gaming or a separate tower or console (a decision for another day). I would much rather my computer crash while running to Windhelm than halfway through Chapter 3 of my thesis ;)

    For the money I've saved and the added portability, I'm happy with choosing a dedicated working machine. I'll probably try and install a game at some point, but ultimately, gaming is the second priority ;)
  12. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Even a spotty MBP fetches a ridiculously high price on eBay. I'd sell it and use the money for a console or to pay a large chunk of a gaming PC. List it as "For parts not working" and describe the condition. If the case looks clean it helps the value a lot.

    Heck if you don't need the latest in gaming and would be happy with a console. Find someone on eBay selling a PS3 or XBOX 360 with their game library.

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