Should I replace my MBP with latest MBA or keep it and buy refurb MBA?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by yensteel, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. yensteel, Jun 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012

    yensteel macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2009
    Dear all, I am considering two similarly priced scenarios

    The weight of my 15" 2009 Macbook Pro has started to become tiresome. I really want to have a portable computer for doing casual work but still have processing power when I need it at home.

    I'm very interested in the newly released Macbook Air (13" inch i7 8GB ram + 256gb storage) and want to buy it to replace my Macbook Pro. It's lower weight would make it much easier to carry around, it's processing speed is faster, and the GPU processing slightly faster (HD 4000 vs 9600m GT according to notebookcheck comparison). The hard drive space is limited though, but can be manageable.

    However, from checking, I found out that the Hong Kong apple store have 2010 macbook airs in stock for approximately $772 US for the 11" 2010 4GB 128Gb model, which is enough when I'm on the go. It also would mean that I don't have to compromise on the screen size, since I can use a larger screen when I'm at home and still remain very portable outside. I can also upgrade my older Macbook Pro with a larger hard drive and more ram in the future, keeping it up to date.

    I occasionally like to play games such as Skyrim and Starcraft 2, and do a lot of amateur video production when I'm at home. I also carry a computer with me whenever I'm on the go for lectures and for projects.

    I'm faced these choices, both results in similar amounts of money (selling for $876 - $1608 = $732 vs - $772).

    Option 1: Selling macbook pro and replacing with an ultimate Macbook Air (13", i7, 8gb ram, 256 hd):

    Centralized storage and work
    Performance available everywhere I go.
    Faster storage and more Ram than Macbook pro
    USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt
    More future proof for using and selling

    Hard drive space will be limited, from 500 gb to 256 gb for my primary computer (Wants to run bootcamp, External storage a hassle, multimedia editing hampered)
    Feeling of spending a lot of cash just for the storage upgrade (Very inefficient)
    Selling hassle
    Compromising on portability
    May have to get an external dvd drive if I need to burn something

    Option 2: Buying the cheapest macbook air to compensate for traveling:

    More portable for 11" Macbook air
    More storage on 15" Macbook Pro
    Don't have to bother with selling the 15" Macbook Pro
    Can still keep my CD drive (hardly use it though).
    Flexible on options, can cost less at US $665 or more for storage/speed
    2 Computers instead of one. (Not sure how useful that is)
    Better speakers when working on primary computer
    Ram upgradability on 15" Macbook Pro

    File/Work management will be a little more of a hassle (Like browsing session or running programs)
    Performance related tasks limited to Macbook Pro,
    Slower Hard drive on primary computer
    Lacking USB 3.0 for both computers, thunderbolt for primary computer
    Selling the computers in the future will be even more difficult.

    Is there anything else that I'm not considering, and what would you think is a good idea? I hope the writing's not too long but I've been thinking about this for some time. One option is to get a computer that have satisfactory compromises while the other is primarily augmenting my computing mobility. I think either option can be useful for different people and would like to share and discuss.
  2. durruti macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2004
    Option 1

    Main reason - central location of files.

    I like simplicity.
  3. Fraaaa macrumors 65816


    Mar 22, 2010
    London, UK
    11" is a no go. I got the 11" once and I couldn't stand it. Too tiny. I returned it and got the 13".
  4. yensteel, Jun 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012

    yensteel thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2009
    Thanks for the recommendations and opinions :)

    Durruti and Fraaaa -
    I agree that work centralization is a big factor in deciding whether a satellite ultraportable is worth the trouble of keeping everything organized. Web browsing can be solved with the browser's syncing features, but other programs are not as convenient. The 11 inch's display size is suitable for doing stuff on the go so it wasn't a big deal, so long as 15" is available to fall back to at home. I wanted to maximize the complimenting computer's advantages, which is why I didn't consider the 13" Refurb Macbook Airs, let alone the increased price for it. If I bought an 11" inch Macbook air as a primary computer, It would very likely be replaced as well.

    EpleTech -
    Thanks for recommending the Macbook Pro 13" and sharing the link, it has a lot of good points. I have considered it as an option but focused on the Macbook Air because of trying to stay light and felt it's on the heavy side for carrying. It's still lighter than the 15" Macbook Pro, but not as much as either Macbook Airs. The screen resolution would have an impact when doing work, which is a minus for me. It also have the bonus of closing my eyes, holding it up and fantasizing that it's a decked out Retina Macbook Pro for fun. In terms of desirability, I'm naturally more attracted to the Macbook Air but should focus on the facts.

    Looking at the Advantages vs Disadvantages it solves a some of the Ultimate 13" Macbook Air limitations. The higher tier Macbook Pro is cheaper at $1378 US (Converted from HK) and is faster than the Ultimate 2012 13" Macbook Air. It also has a much larger hard drive size, which means that I don't need to rely on external storage as much.

    In the end, If I consider comparing Option 1 vs Option 3, It would mainly be increased portability VS more HD space and bonus performance, and whether I'm able to accept the Macbook Pro 13"'s weight vs being more observant on storage space. I also have to take the screen into consideration as well.

    Option 3:

    Centralized storage and work
    Increased hard drive storage (from 500gb to 750gb or 1tb) (Against inconveniently using an external storage to fix the issue)
    Performance available everywhere I go.
    Faster storage and more Ram than older Macbook pro
    USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt
    More future proof for using and selling
    Retaining Connectivity like Gigabit ethernet and Firewire 800 (Not important to me though)
    CD drive (Would hardly use it)
    The text would be bigger and easier to read

    Compromising on portability (Big factor in decision, since nothing can fix it)
    Screen real estate for work is reduced
    Hard drive space will be slower, (Seagate Momentus XT might help later on)
    Selling hassle
    Speakers in comparison to 15" Macbook Pro

    I'll go to the apple store to check out the 13" Macbook Pro and re-consider it's weight. I'm still leaning towards option 1 (Because I can solve it's weakness with USB 3.0 or thunderbolt external storage), but still can't make a good decision yet. Option 2 is still viable as well, With the it's superior working specs (better screen, trackpad, hard drive, and speakers) and selling issues avoided, but still have the workflow maintenance annoyance.

    Thanks again for your help guys, does anybody else have any ideas?
  5. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    I agree with the option 1 comment.

    One machine with everything on it that you carry with you trumps multiple machines with files scattered between them.

    Agree with the comment on the 11". I hate the screen. The GF loves it, fits in her handbag, but for any serious work the 16x9 ratio (arrgh no vertical space!!) and small dimensions really sucks.

    16x10 ratio screens like on the 13" air are so much better to get work done on.

    If you can stump for 8gb RAM and 256gb SSD, i'd recommend the 13" Air over the 13" Pro.

    I was previously a big 13" pro fan over the air, but that was before you could get airs with 8gb of RAM. 8 gb is "enough" for now/near future (4 gb wasn't), and the screen is better res, weight is better, etc.
  6. yensteel, Jun 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012

    yensteel thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2009
    Good point about the Resolution thing. In the past I didn't like 16*10 screens because I see less of my writing until I got my 15" Macbook Pro. I agree that it's not a good ratio for doing work unless it's on a large screen.

    Just an update, I ordered my 2012 Macbook air (Option 1) two days ago, and it's arriving soon!

    Thanks a lot for your help :D

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