rMBP 13" vs MBA 13" + iPad 5 (for university)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by NickPhamUK, Sep 2, 2013.


OP should purchase (with a budget of $2000)

  1. rMBP 13"

    3 vote(s)
  2. MBA 13" + iPad 5

    12 vote(s)
  3. Other (please give a brief explanation)

    3 vote(s)
  1. NickPhamUK, Sep 2, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013

    NickPhamUK macrumors 6502


    May 6, 2013
    Business student here, soon to attend university. Budget: $2000.

    1. rMBP 13" (256GB SSD) = $1699.
    2. MBA 13" (128GB SSD) = $1099 + iPad 5 Wifi 32GB (which will probably cost $599). In this case, I'll leave the notebook at the hostel and bring along the iPad.

    I'll have $300 left to spend on accessories (like a Macbook sleeve, an iPad case, Apple wireless mouse, external HDD) or on upgrades/customisations (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD on MBA, 4G or 64GB on iPad 5). What do you think? Any help is appreciated.

    P.S: I'll bootcamp or buy Windows Office for Mac so please don't comment "as a business student, buy a cheap Windows PC to save cost bla bla", thank you very much! :rolleyes:
  2. hbksabhi macrumors regular

    Apr 30, 2013
    mba + ipad 5

    mba has a gorgeous display ,dont compare to retina though .
    get ipad 5 or ipad mini 2 retina if that came out ....
  3. skeleb macrumors member

    Jan 26, 2011
    The iPad will only hinder your studies. It's great for other uses but not for studying. You can buy loads of pens, paper and school books for that money.

    For the computer I recommend 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM, and other things such as weight and display is a matter of preference. MBA or rMBP will both do just fine.
  4. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    Unless I had a need for a MBP, I would rather have MBA + iPad. However... someone made a good point above about the iPad hindering studies. I definitely waste more time on an iPad than doing useful work on it. If I was going to make a better life decision I would get a MBA, save the rest of the money and focus on my studies. If I want to screw around, I can do it on the laptop instead of making it easier by picking up the iPad and doing it there.
  5. lamboman macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2011
    It's unlikely you'll need any more power than the MBA, and you'll get the longer battery life, which I'd say rules out the rMBP straight away.

    Tablets as a whole serve far better as consumption devices than creation devices. For actual work I think you'll find them more hassle than they're worth. I'd save your money and not bother with the iPad unless you want something to play/read on for extended periods.

    MBA i5/8GB/256GB would work quite well.

    Are you based in the UK? Acme Made sleeves (the generic ones, not the ones specifically designed for the MBA) can be found at John Lewis for £9.95 right now, absolute bargain!
  6. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2009
    The MBA does all you need and has a far better battery life. 128 SSD is a bit skimpy though.
    I like the iPad as addition. If you have a bit of self-discipline it is a great machine for note-taking and running small spreadsheets etc. I find myself using my iPad more and more instead of the MBP as it is just easier, and so I will get the new iPad as soon as it arrives.
  7. hoodedwarbler12 macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2012
    I think the MacBook Air and iPad 5 are great choices. The MacBook air is nice and portable but still powerful enough do whatever you'll need with Haswell (not to mention great battery life), and the iPad 5 will be even more portable and has all the advantages offered by iOS devices for students.
  8. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2010
    I find the retina screen better for reading text, much crisper. If you'll be doing lots of reading, I'd lean toward it. I don't know what you'd need an IPad for. If your timing permits it, you might want to wait for the Macbook Pro updates which are coming very soon.
  9. Dr Charter macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    I'm a college professor and I completely disagree with this. Like any device, it depends on what the user does with it. A computer can hinder or help studies as well. In fact, this is probably the same argument people made about students having their own computers years ago. There are a lot of apps that are great for college: bibliography managers like Endnote, productivity apps, etc. My intro to lit students who use iPads love how they can get editions of texts we are reading for free or only for a few dollars. They can look up words or track biblical or classical allusions with the push of a button.

    Students use iPads to collaborate on projects or present using Keynote and airplay to a projector hooked up to an Apple TV. An iPad is a great device for education. If someone just wants to use it to check Facebook, watch TV shows, or play Angry Birds, they don't have good study habits to begin with.
  10. Doublea6 macrumors regular


    Aug 3, 2013
    I don't really see why you would get an air and leave it at home though. It's a great portable machine. Actually I have an idea. My bro just did this. He got an iPad and a Mac mini. That way he has a computer at home to work on and then an iPad to take to school with him.
  11. jadAce macrumors regular


    Aug 10, 2013
    I would go with the MBA "13 + iPad 5.

    If you are a business student, IMHO, what you need is portability (not too much power). The MBA is light and efficient. It does the job when you need it, and you can carry it around quite easily. The only thing really you are missing out on is the retina screen and perhaps a little extra processing power, which I think you won't need for university studies. The battery life is phenomenal.

    The iPad 5 is often called a "content consumption" device, but you can use it to be productive. Checking email is easy, as is taking notes, showing quick presentations, etc. You could even go with the iPad Mini 2 (when released), and it might even have a retina screen. That would save you some extra money.

    As for upgrades, I would recommend going with i5/256 GB SSD/8 GB RAM if possible. i5 is a perfect processor for non-graphics-intensive use. The 256 GB SSD means you don't have to worry about running out of storage, or worry about carrying around an external HDD. The 8 GB RAM definitely helps with fast multitasking.
  12. potvkettle macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2012
    rMBP and eReader

    You don't provide much information for what you would look to get out of each set-up. However, for awhile now, I've looked at the dimensions and weight of the 13" rMBP compared to the 13" Macbook Air (which I own), and I just don't see that the two are that different -- the Air is only .2cm thinner at it's thickest point, otherwise the rMBP is actually smaller, and there is only .3 kg difference in weight between them. If you equalize the builds between them as much as possible on Apple's webstore, there's only $150 difference in price (in the US), which accounts for the Retina display.

    However, like the professor posted before, a lot of use can be gained out of an iPad in today's college setting, especially if your professors are the least bit technology-minded. And, this situation is only going to improve.

    With the new Haswell chips, you should expect all-day battery out of the Air. However, when I was in school, I never had class for more than 4 hours at one stretch, and there are probably plenty of power outlets in the library.

    However, I also agree with the previous poster who said you should wait for Apple to launch the rMBP with Haswell before making your decision, if possible.

    So, I hate to say either way would work, but you won't be poorly served by either set up. Personally, I would go with the rMBP if you have the budget. Get as much computer as you can buy now. You can pick up a refurb iPad later when your budget allows. Or, you can pick up a cheap eReader now with the extra money you'll have left. If you look at the spec/dimensions, the rMBP is every bit as portable as the Air.
  13. andrew8404 macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2009
    Loma Linda, Ca
    Exactly which is why I went mac mini and mba.

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