Struggling with a buying decision

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by julianps, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. julianps macrumors member


    Aug 6, 2006
    Wales, UK
    Thinking about replacing my ageing Macbook Air 11" 2013

    Options are naturally current model MBAir/MBPro 13" or previous model MBAir/MBPro 13" via the Refurbish/Clearance store.

    Curveball is a Macbook 12" 2017 i5/512GB ...

    Clearly the Macbook 12" (i5) is exponentially faster than my 11" Air and has (+) Much larger SSD, much faster SSD interface, better battery life, better screen and is generally lighter and brighter, but (-) more fraglie, butterfly keyboard, USB-3 Gen 3.1 (slow) port x1 (needs an Apple HDMI+USB-A+Charger adapter for £70 to offset).

    On compromise points, the Macbook 12" (i5) keyboard is Gen2 plus the laptop doesn't have a fan sucking dust into the keyboard mechanism (hence why almost no-one complains about knackered MB12" keyboards?). Macbook 12" 2017 i5/512GB has a street-price here of £999 making it affordable too.

    I could mitigate a lot of weaknesses with a new 2017 (old) Macbook Air 13" that has, relative to my current MBA 11", faster processor, faster SSD interface, better external monitor support and an SDXC port for cheap storage upgrade (JetDrive Lite 130, etc). Plus the 2017 MBA 13" is more robust.

    Additionally I can replace the battery on an old MBA, and upgrade the SSD myself later if I need to; modern laptops are end-of-life/costly service once the battery/SSD fails. Applecare is 25% cheaper too.

    As a general rule Apple makes products Vintage at 6 years so both Macbook 2017 and MBAir 2017 will go end-of-life in 2024/5 as will anything I buy now from the refurb' store (given I'm 63 now I'll be three-score and ten by then myself!!).

    My MBA 11" will go Vintage next year. This will degrade access to macOS upgrades and software application upgrades/security from that point forward. I feel a change is neccessary but have to say; in no way does the performance of my MBA 11" impact the writing and accounting work I do - it's fine (best laptop I ever owned, etc, etc).

  2. thebez macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2008
    Is it more than powerful enough to meet your needs? Does it feel right in weight, size, screen, keyboard, and trackpad? Can you be content with the single port? If all your answers are yes, then go for it and be happy.
  3. brucewayne macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2005
    I just ordered a 2019 13" MacBook Pro to replace my 2010(!) Core2Duo MacBook Air.

    Because of the huge bezels and taper on the 11" Air the current 13's are only slightly larger/heavier. It is hard to beat the 2019 13" MacBook Air or base MacBook Pro especially at current edu pricing (parent/student/teacher). Sell the free Beats headphones on Ebay and its an additional $100-150 off.

    They are a hell of a lot faster all around than the 12" MacBook and the two thunderbolt 3 ports make it a lot more flexible. Being a 2019 you will stay out of 'vintage' longer.
  4. Nbd1790 macrumors regular

    Jan 2, 2017
    New York
    If you're getting by with your current 11 inch Air, it seems no matter which laptop you choose it's going to be just fine in terms of performance, let alone it will be an upgrade in performance regardless. Personally, I would stay away from the regular "Macbook" just because it's substantially less powerful than the other options you're considering. If you're going to be spending some money on a new Mac, I would recommend going for the most power that you can afford at a reasonable price (the price difference between the models you're considering is rather small in the bigger picture)

    With that being said, go with the MacBook Air or the MacBook Pro. Both will have more than enough power for what you want to do, a larger screen than the standard MacBook, and additional C ports. Two C ports are great, but find yourself in a situation where you don't have a hub on you when you need to charge and also have something else connected, that single port will prove to be a problem. Good luck!
  5. ignatius345 macrumors 68020

    Aug 20, 2015
    I have a MacBook Air 11" and I absolutely love it. The screen is dated to say the least but everything else about it is rock solid. It's tough as hell, has a GREAT keyboard and, as you say, can very easily be opened up to replace the battery (which I just did in 15 minutes) or even the SSD if you choose. It has MagSafe, useful USB-A ports and is just all around one of the best laptops Apple has ever made in my opinion. No real reason to believe the 13" wouldn't be basically the same but a little larger. I mostly use mine for writing or basic email and web and document type stuff, so while the screen is less pretty to look at, it 100% gets the job done. Things might be different if I was doing photo editing or graphic design or something on it, but I'm not.

    I did have a 12" Retina MacBook for a while. It was going to be the replacement for the Air, but I bought it and just hated it. The screen was gorgeous but typing on that keyboard felt terrible, even after I gave it a full month to "get used to" how awful it was. I also missed MagSafe even more than I thought I would, and I didn't find the battery life to be very good at all. I loved the screen and I liked the weight and thinness but I hated every design compromise that was made to get it that thin.

    If it was me, I'd hold out a little longer and at least see what they introduce in a few weeks.

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4 August 21, 2019