Quick MacBook Pro versus Air Thoughts


macrumors member
Original poster
May 17, 2010
About a month ago, I decided to sell my 27” iMac because I needed mobile computing for my new job. The decision basically came down to a MacBook Pro or Air, both the 13” models. I’ve used the Pros before back in 2009, so I knew what they would be like. The newly released Airs, on the other hand, were new and intriguing. Since my computer needs are rather low, I decided to go with the Air and be an early adopter of the future of notebook computing.

In the end, I returned the Air for a Pro.

The main issue for me was the display. The Air displays just can’t compare to the Pro, especially in terms of color gamut. In a nutshell, the colors seem washed out and blown out. To be fair, it’s not a bad display, especially when compared to PCs; but if you compare an Air to a Pro or, worse yet, an iMac, there’s truly a difference in quality. I tried my best to live with it, but I simply couldn’t, so in the end I sold my Air for a Pro.

As far as the other issues pertaining to the AIr, the lack of an optical drive didn’t bother me that much. I was using the Air as my only computer, and it served that role quite well. Even though I frequently use my computer to watch DVDs, it wasn’t that much of a hassle to connect an external DVD drive. The benefit of not having the extra weight of an optical drive when I didn’t need far outweighed the slight inconvenience of attaching an external drive.

The limited hard drive space on the Air’s SSD wasn’t really a factor for me. I kept most of my major files on an external drive, which I hooked up to the Air when necessary, which was quite rare. 99% of the time I was perfectly happy with the immediate files I kept on the SDD.

There were other small differences between Air and the Pro, all very minor. The keyboard on an Air has less travel than a Pro, making it a bit more tight, which I guess is due to its thin form factor. To me, it was neither better nor worse, just different. Once I got used to it, I typed equally as comfortably on an Air or a Pro.

Also, the trackpad is a bit more responsive on a Pro. Very minor, but just wanted to point that out.

All in all, I think that the MacBook Air is a great computer for those without heavy computing needs. The form factor is a godsend and makes the machine incredibly light and mobile. The SDD makes launching applications and transferring files lightening fast. It’s literally a hybrid between a MacBook and an iPad.

If I weren’t an amateur photographer and didn’t cared so much about color, I would be perfectly happy with using an Air as my only computer. However, seeing how I just can’t let the color issues go, I had to reluctantly switch to a Pro. But the day they put IPS displays in an Air, I will go back to one immediately, no questions asked.


macrumors 6502
Nov 19, 2008
Did you calibrate the screen on your MBA? After calibrating mine it was much better and perfectly acceptable for photo editing. I could say the same about any of my MBP's as well.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2009
Did you consider using the MBA with external LCD for your photography hobby?
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