Should I get the new Air or keep my old MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AMSOS, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. AMSOS macrumors regular

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    Nov 21, 2010
    #1
    (1) I have a 13in MacBook Pro (Retina, early 2015) that has served me well. However, unlike my previous Macs there have always been failures: the charger and display (the well-known problems of the coatings going bad) were replaced. And the speakers (crackling and mostly useless) and battery (down to 80% of capacity) soon after the end of the extended warranty.

    I have no problems with the battery capacity going down because it has been used - and served me - well. However, what I did not realise was the sheer cost of replacing it. Apparently, they will need to replace the keyboard and trackpad along with the battery! All the result of slimming down and miniaturisation, I am told.

    The cost? Approx. $400 (250+150). But now I am wondering - there is no guarantee of any more failures after I put in $400.

    (2) Enter the new MacBook Air launched today. I should be able to get $500 for my MBP and that way I only need to put in $650 (education pricing is $1150) for the new MBA. Do you think it’s better to get the new Air rather than upgrade the speakers and battery on my old MBP?

    I am in particular uncertain about the new keyboard whose problems are well-known by now. Is there anything to indicate the new MBA has finally ironed them out?

    Do you think this Retina display will be better than the earlier generations and will not beed to be replaced a couple of years down the line (given adequate care, of course)?

    Should I reasonably expect to be in a similar situation (as with my MBP) with this new Air 3.5 years down the line? The battery will have gone and replacing it have become even more costly than now. Not to mention other problems cropping up because of the slimming down etc.

    (3) Should I just get the old Air that is a student friendly $850? I should be okay with that screen since I have a 8 year old ViewSonic monitor that I hook it up to.
    But subsequent Mac OS upgrades after Mojave work well with the older hardware of this Air?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Spudlicious macrumors 6502

    Spudlicious

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    #2
    If you use an external monitor I assume you can run the laptop on mains power, so why worry about an 80% battery?
    The old air does not have the grunt of a 2015 MBP and you might notice the difference.
    From all you write I'm thinking stick with what you have but if you really fancy a new computer then go ahead, but not with the old air.
     
  3. AMSOS thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 21, 2010
    #3
    Thanks for the quick response. But I move around quite a bit and don't like carrying the charger along all the time. Hence, the interest in getting a new battery.
    Can you elaborate a bit on why you recommend against the old Air? My research work is writing based and there is no video editing involved. Do you foresee compatibility problem of the old Air with the newer Mac OS versions perhaps?
     
  4. jerryk macrumors 601

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    #4
    You might want to wait a few months to make sure the new Air does not have issues before jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
     
  5. Spudlicious macrumors 6502

    Spudlicious

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    #5
    I would not expect you to see newer MacOS issues with the old Air within any reasonable timescale. It would be a display and CPU downgrade for you though so not, in my view, a good step to take.
     
  6. AMSOS thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Ha ha - well put!
    The thing that bothers me is the realisation that the days of Macs lasting much longer than your standard windows laptop are probably over.
    The battery goes after 3 years or so. And then you realise that replacing is involves replacing the keyboard and speakers!
    I’m not sure if the SSD can be replaced easily and for cheap.
    I would keep using my old MacBook Pro except I would be in a jam if something else malfunctioned after I put in $400 or so.
    Just generally have mixed feelings about where apple is going with it’s machines and what happened to that famous apple longevity.
    End of rant.
     
  7. jerryk macrumors 601

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    #7
    It is not a rant when you speak the reality of the situation.

    Anyway, best of luck on your decision.
     
  8. Howard2k macrumors 68020

    Howard2k

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    #8
    $199 US for a battery replacement. Who is quoting you $400?
     
  9. thadoggfather macrumors G4

    thadoggfather

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    Oct 1, 2007
    #9
    If my 2016 nTB ever goes kaput out of warranty, id consider a retina air to replace it. don't wanna shell out for a touch bar and all that.

    as it stands, I aint shelling out ANYTHING.

    as long in the tooth air has been and a retina version is great at last, especially for newcomers, its too little too late for too much for me
     
  10. AMSOS thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Thanks for being empathetic jerryk. It is especially bad for students on a budget. I am not sure where to go from here - should I think of leaving laptops and permanently shifting to say an iPad for the future?
    I have to be honest - I even toyed with the idea of going to Windows but then machines like the XPS aren't exactly cheap, and more importantly I still find Mac OS to be robust and useful for my purposes.
    Where do you - and other members - see things heading in the future?
    Thanks!
    --- Post Merged, Oct 30, 2018 ---
    The speakers are also gone. In fact, it's strange how first the battery backup dropped significantly to 80% of its original capacity (though I don't have any complaints there since it served me very well for 3 years). And then the speakers just gave up, even though I had never heard on full.
    It turns out that you need to replace the keyboard and trackpad if you want a new battery.
    That is approx $250 if you send it in to Apple. With taxes I am looking at a total cost of more than $400.
    That's why I am thinking that it may make more sense to put in some money and get the new Air.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 30, 2018 ---
    Well said! I totally know you feel at the moment. I just wanted a solid laptop to do basic work and things like the touch bar are just non-starters for me.
    What I don't get is why students and those who want a solid performer that lasts them for years can't get a simple machine anymore.
    Anyway...
     
  11. Leo90 macrumors 6502

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    Sep 15, 2014
    #11
    The new MacBook Air is absolutely crazy expensive for the specs. They should be embarrassed selling that for that price. Keep your MBP and save yourself some money.
     
  12. Painter2002 macrumors 65816

    Painter2002

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    #12
    Add another vote to keep your current MBP. The only benefit you will really be gaining is a fresh battery and a shiny new and lighter machine with the new 2018 MacBook Air. And for $1200+, that is a tall sum of money, especially considering that the MacBook Pro you have is more powerful than what the Air offers (at least in stock configurations).

    Also, if there are no issues with your computer, Apple should be able to replace the battery on your MBP for only $200, not $400. The $400 price is the "fix-it-all" option that they try to sell, but it's only good if you have other issues that need repair.
     
  13. jerryk, Oct 31, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018

    jerryk macrumors 601

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    #13
    I am way beyond being a student, so take my observations with a grain of salt.

    A year or two ago I bought an iPad Pro with the idea it would be a great machine for travel. My thought was I taking my iPad anyway, so why not get one that supported a keyboard, pen, etc. and leave the laptop at home. I turned out to be a huge mistake.

    As expected the iPad is great for content consumption. But, when I had free time I wanted to do some content creation (writing, coding on cloud resources, photography, video) and it was a mess. Here is why.
    • Either the applications I needed did not exist on the iPad, or existing in stripped down versions with missing functionality.
    • The keyboard, Apple's that connected physically, missed key presses too often. (Bluetooth KBs had delay between typing and letter appearance)
    • The pen, was OK, but there is only so much you can do with it.
    • For my work I really need a file system I can easily access.
    • Finally, by the time you add a keyboard and pen, your price is approaching a Mac Air if not exceeding it. Second, the size and weight is just about as much. So in the end I had not gained anything, except a comprised package.
    As a result of this failed experiment, my iPad Pro still goes with me on trips (minus keyboard), but so does a mac.


    On the battery. The $199 battery replacement is really a top case replacement. That include Aluminum part of case where you hands rest and keyboard resides plus keyboard, trackpad, and battery. They are all glued together and come as one replaceable unit. It is one heck of a value IMHO.

    They might even replace the speakers if you mention it nicely.;)
     
  14. Spudlicious macrumors 6502

    Spudlicious

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    #14
    I think we have to recognise that Apple, now even more than ever, is a premium brand, and if you have to think about the price then you can't afford it.
    All sound advice, agree 100%. To the list of iPad limitations I would add these; try having multiple Word documents open simultaneously, as I routinely need to do, it's still a no-no with iPad. Try loading files from an external drive, as you can do with any real computer, it's still a no-no with iPad, even the brand spanking new ones with USB-C because Apple have crippled the port. You speak quite kindly of the pen, but I always remember Steve Jobs's words, if you see a stylus, they blew it. Apple have assembled a collection of fripperies such as Face ID and Neural Engine (whatever that is) while failing to cater for what people actually need to do.

    Your final but one paragraph is something the OP should perhaps take to heart. If for $199 he or she can get his or her truly classic 2015 MBP essentially made new, born again for another few years life, then why even contemplate any other course of action?
     
  15. Painter2002, Oct 31, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018

    Painter2002 macrumors 65816

    Painter2002

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    #15
    To my knowledge replacing the topcase includes the speakers automatically as well. To me, that is by far the best bet for OP. All the OP's other options be it an iPad Pro, a Macbook Air (old or new, definitely don't get the old gen now at this point), or a 12" MacBook, are all going to be a downgrade in performance compared to what the 2015 MBP that OP currently uses.

    All in all, I would spend the $200 and get the new battery for OP's machine. With a new battery it should easily last OP another 3-4 years, if not more.

    EDIT: I incorrectly said there wasn’t a fan on the new MacBook Air, there is and I have updated this post to remove that inaccuracy
     
  16. AMSOS thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 21, 2010
    #16
    Thanks for making a case for my MBP. It works well and performance wise I have no complaints. However, as I pointed out in my first post there have been issues all along the way.
    I used to think of Apple as providing the most reliable hardware. Indeed, this was borne out of personal experience and those around me who got Macs on my suggestions.
    But I feel so unsure now. The Apple people had told me that problems with the coatings of Retina displays have been common, and the keyboard issues are too well-known.
    For me the big question is - after putting in money to get new speakers and a battery, can I afford to have something else give up on me?
    In all, this is going to be a difficult decision for me. But thanks for being so understanding and helping clarify the matter with your responses!
    --- Post Merged, Oct 31, 2018 ---
    You're right. What a contrast between my 3.5 year old MBP and the newly launched Air. Feels strange to hear that my old machine is still better performance wise than the latest one. And that too offered at almost the same price point.
    On that note, can you point out how I can get a new genuine battery replaced at as low a cost as possible? I am still surprised that the Apple people told me that I'll have to send in my computer for up to 5 days and they'll also replace the KB and trackpad.
     
  17. Howard2k macrumors 68020

    Howard2k

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    #17
    Different class of device. Your MBPro is a higher end device, or was at the time.

    I have a 2015 13". The new Air makes no sense to upgrade at this point (IMO). Not knocking the new Air, if I was in the market I would consider it, but I don't expect it will be substantially faster (if at all) than the 2015 13" MBPro. Perhaps slower in some cases.

    That doesn't make me disappointed with the Air, it makes me happy with my MBPro. I actually did buy an Air (way back) and held onto it for a week or so before returning it and getting the Pro. Had I kept hold of the Air I would have paid less at the time but I'd be paying for an upgrade now I expect.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 31, 2018 ---
    Apple - US$199 I think?
     
  18. AMSOS thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 21, 2010
    #18
    Thanks for sharing this! Quite useful for me as I had intuitively thought that there could be such issues, but your explanations makes it quite clear that I need to stick to a laptop or desktop for the kind of work I do.
    Speaking of the battery. Would you be able to direct me as to how I can get the battery and speakers replaced in one go, without having to send them off to Apple for up to 5 days?
    Getting these repaired is definitely one option I have in mind now.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 31, 2018 ---
    You said it! While things like Face ID are amazing and have their uses, I am not sure it was really needed. I love the simple Touch ID on my iPhone 7. The best part is that since it's not a physical button it's now sealed in and makes for even better dust/water proofing.

    I do so want to agree with just that advice of keeping my old MBP and renewing it with a new battery/speakers. Except, as I described in the first post I've had problems with the charger, display, and now the speakers. I am not counting the battery because that is normal wear and tear.
    I don't mind putting in money to get new components for the ones worn out or damaged, but I would be in trouble if 6 months down the line some other fault crops up again.
    Earlier, I had though that the battery or speakers are easy to replace and will require minimal opening up/dismantling of the system, but now I am thinking what side-effects all this dismantling of the KB, trackpad, battery, speakers will have 6 months down the line?!
    --- Post Merged, Oct 31, 2018 ---
    Wow, I didn't realise that! I am an amateur photographer and do like to do some post-processing work, but that's not often.
    I definitely need to have a lot of Safari tabs open for my research and/or entertainment.
    The more I hear you guys the more I feel like I should take the risk of getting a new battery/speakers for my current MBP, and hoping for the best 1 year down the line that I don't face any more component failures.
     
  19. Howard2k macrumors 68020

    Howard2k

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    #19
    The Air does appear to have active cooling. Fan in the left corner.
     
  20. casperghst42 macrumors member

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    Jan 11, 2006
    #20
    Sure, you can choose to replace the whole topshell if you want to replace the battery, but someone is pulling your leg - you can get a replacement battery from iifxit for approx 120$, incl. the tools required to change it yourself. And you do not need to be a brain surgeon to do so. The same goes for the speakers, also replaceable by you. Or find someone who can, and pay them 50$ ...

    I personally have a problem with the new butterfly keyboard, I would never end up liking it, and the T2 thing is just an excuse for Apple to collect repair tax. I must say that the new Air looks cool, but it's not a cheap offering.
     
  21. Painter2002 macrumors 65816

    Painter2002

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    #21
    Any sauce on this? All the unboxing videos I have seen don’t show any vents for airflow, and given Apple didn’t put fans in the 12” MacBook lineup, I don’t see why they would on the Air if it’s even thinner.
     
  22. Howard2k macrumors 68020

    Howard2k

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    #22
    Yeah it is in the video for the presentation. In the video they show the logic board and you can see the fan in the top left corner. They start showing the case and it fades away. You’ll need to pause it and look when the logic board is revealed, they don’t show it for long.
     
  23. Painter2002 macrumors 65816

    Painter2002

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    #23
    Ah ok, I’ll have to rewatch the presentation. I only got to watch it off an on while I was working. I apologize for providing bad info.
     
  24. Howard2k macrumors 68020

    Howard2k

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    #24

    All good. I missed it too, read about it here somewhere, took a look for myself.
     
  25. duervo macrumors 68020

    duervo

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    #25
    I’d wait for some more thorough reviews to be available beyond what’s out right now, and then decide.
     

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