The eternal dilemma: MacBook Air 13" vs MacBook Pro 13"


macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 17, 2010
What I need is a laptop that follows me everywhere, but has enough power to decently handle Adobe CS5.5 (mainly Photoshop).
The major work would take place on a Mac Pro and large screens, so the laptop would only have to handle minor editing on-the-go.
Those are the models I'm considering:

1499€ MBA 13"------------------------1449€ MBP 13"
Screen res. 1440x900-----------------Screen res. 1280x800
Core i5 dual-core 1,7Ghz-------------Core i7 dual-core 2,7Ghz
4 GB RAM------------------------------4 GB RAM
Intel HD graphics 3000----------------Intel HD graphics 3000
256GB of flash storage----------------500GB HDD 5400rpm
1,35 Kg (2.96 pounds)-----------------2,04 Kg (4.5 pounds)
7hrs battery----------------------------7hrs battery

MBA wins in screen resolution, storage (less space, but way faster) and portability (but would I even notice 0,7 Kg of difference?), while the MBP wins in price, processor and eventual expandability (to be fair it also has more connectivity and a DVD drive, but those things are less important for me).
The MBA has just been presented (MacRumors Buyer's Guide: Buy Now! Product just updated - Days Since Update 2 Avg = 321) so it would probably make more sense to opt for it, while the MBP's been out for a while (MacRumors Buyer's Guide: Buy only if you need it - Approaching the end of a cycle - Days Since Update 148 Avg = 215) and is expected to have a major revamp, that would suggest to wait if i choose a MBP.
Another thing to consider is that if I'm opting for a MBP, then the 15" would probably be a wiser choice over the 13", since it has a lot more power and it's not much larger or heavier, but then the difference in portability with the Air would be much more notable.
Maybe the ultimate solution would be to take now the 13" Air and wait for the MBP revamp to get a 15", so that I would have a very portable laptop for everyday use and a very powerful but not so portable one for when I need more power away from my Mac Pro, but then again, would the 13" MBP be the one to unify those two?!
Given those premises, what would you do? Which one do you think is the ultimate laptop considering both power and portability?
Last edited:


macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
To answer one of your questions, yes you will notice .7kg of difference between the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air.

If your budget can afford it, consider the Core i7 MacBook Air, since it will get you a little closer to the Pro. Apple left a little more room between the 13" Air and 13" Pro than they did last October (there was very little difference between the 2.13GHz and 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo), but for most users the 13" Air vs 13" Pro debate is back on.

If you are going to be using Photoshop a lot, the Pro may be your better bet. Consider going with the 256GB SSD (though that boosts the price to $2,099), or purchasing a third-party SSD. While the Air can handle it, more CPU comes in handy. Ideally, the 15" Pro would be better since it has a discrete GPU, but the size becomes an issue, as you point out.


macrumors 65816
May 7, 2008
Gamut, black levels, viewing angles: MBP wins.

Another benefit of the MBP for me is the ability to build in a 500GB hybrid drive or 750GB 2700rpm.


macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
The Far Horizon
The eternal dilemma actually means that only you can answer the eternal question when considering this dilemma: Which do you want, or need, more - power, or portability? The answer will determine your choice.

I have had both and they were both excellent computers. However, I now have a MBA; portability matters to me, as I travel a lot, am not a gamer (apart from MR distractions), and do not have a need for the sort of power required for heavy graphics usage, for example.

If you want power, greater specifications, and value for money, get the MBP; if you want excellent screen resolution, uber-portability and a fast response (with the SSD) get the MBA. Your choice.


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