The right choice for college: Is the air reliable vs. the pro (non-retina)?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by bcwright03, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. bcwright03 macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2012
    I will start by asserting my needs with the computer that I am likely to buy in July as an upcoming college freshman. For one, I am not a pro user. If anything constitutes pro use, it would be sporadic video editing, light photoshop work, and some multi-tasking. These activities, as I said, are sporadic and not representative of the majority of the tasks I do on a computer. I mostly read articles on the web, watch netflix streaming, listen to music with spotify, watch youtube videos, write essays, prepare presentations, and download occasional movies. One hobby of mine is photography and I usually edit and go through pretty large files when editing them. When I do video work, the end products will be anywhere from one minute to ten. Usually they are for school or are small projects.

    Now that I have addressed my needs, I would like to present the options I have come to consider. After the recent mid 2012 release of the MBA, MBP, and MBP w retina display, I initially stroked the Pro with retina display off of the list. Firstly, the 15" size is too large for my needs, and is too expensive. This leaves the two 13" models (the 13 mba and mbp). As late, I was dead set on the air. After the 2011 release with the core i5 and i7 processors, I could not see a reason to buy the pro. I was not seeing any advantages to having the pro besides the dvd drive, the slightly faster processor, and the greater variety of I/O ports. After thinking though, I came to the conclusion that I may indeed be out of luck if my college requires cd's and certain connections (ethernet, firewire, more usb). Also, I read that the mbp, with their mobile cpu's are more future proof than the air's with the ulv cpu's.

    My question is, would the minuscule advantages of the mbp be noticeable given the tasks I do and would do in college? Would I end up regretting purchasing an air if it meant I was left with inadequate performance and ports? I know the air has a few advantages as well. The ssd is a big one for me. If I did get a pro though, I would install an ssd so that factor would become moot anyway. It also has a higher resolution display, which is also less reflective. Both of these are pretty important. I can not stand the reflectiveness on my iMac and would be hard-pressed not to buy an antiglare film for the mbp, if I went that route. Also, the obvious advantages of lightness and portability are contributing factors. As a college student, these are especially considered to be important for my needs.

    Thanks for any input which may help with my decision, and I hope to hear some helpful information pretty soon!
  2. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Hi. I am a graduate student / instructor who moved from a 2011 13" MBP to a 2012 11" MBA. My main uses are Internet, Evernote, Pages, Adobe PDF Pro (OCR of scans, annotations, etc.), Numbers, and various lightweight apps. Some movies and Hulu, but not so much.

    In my opinion, the MBA 13" and MBP 13" will give you essentially the same performance (once they are running with all applications open), but the MBA will be lighter, less money, with better resolution, and a faster drive (immediate start-up and no hiccups).

    Unless you desperately need to carry around a bunch of data inside your computer (remember, we have Google Drive, Dropbox, external hard drives, etc.) and just cannot imagine going out the door without a DVD drive in your computer (buy an external one for $20?), then the MBA 13" (in my mind) is the obvious choice. Apple killed off the MBP 13" with the anemic update (in my opinion).
  3. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    I am a 3rd year grad student and just picked up a base 13 in mbp. Should more than suffice
  4. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida

    It depends. Are you a glass half empty kinda guy, or a glass half full kinda guy?
  5. bcwright03 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2012
    Well, I'm definitely a pessimist. Given I am not sure exactly the tasks I'll be doing in college, I'm not sure if I would even need the ethernet, cd drive, and firewire though. If I don't need them, the air is perfect. But If I have to start using usb adapters and external drives, I won't be happy. It depends though if I would need to do that in the first place.

    It depends. Are you a glass half empty kinda guy, or a glass half full kinda guy?[/QUOTE]
  6. mikeytrend macrumors member

    Jul 8, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    You're already going to be carrying around notebooks and textbooks, don't carry a clunker of a laptop around with you as well. I would highly suggest the air. I had an MBP throughout college and it was fine, but it was huge and noticeably heavy on certain days.

    The air is a conversation point because of its thinness and I'm not sure if I have bad luck with DVD drives or what, but both Mac laptops I've had had dead DVD drives by the time I was ready for an upgrade.
  7. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040


    Sep 29, 2005
    Just get the Air, and in the rare circumstance you want to be able to use a CD/DVD, get a cheap USB drive on newegg.
  8. LaWally macrumors 6502a

    Feb 24, 2012
    Or find a buddy with a Mac with an ODD and use remote disk.

    Using Remote Disk
  9. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    With an 11" Mac, scanned books, an iPad, and a Waterfield Vertigo bag I went from a large backpack full of books to a tiny man bag with a library full of books inside. If I needed something else (I never have), I could just use one of the computers available in computer labs all over campus.

    I don't get the point of a 2012 MBP. In 2011, before the Sandy Bridge in the MBA, it made sense, but not anymore.

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