Thinking of replacing my MBA with the 17" MBP, would you?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by PsyD4Me, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. PsyD4Me macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2009
    under your bed
    So i've had my MBA for about 6 months and although i love its form and portability, its speed and battery life are leaving a sour taste in my mouth.
    I mainly use it for grad school/research, so the size is perfect, however, I recently started thinking that the 17" MBP could be a better option.

    -Pros: Great Battery life. I sit in class for 6 hours and the outlets are across the room. Great screen. Great for SPSS, excel and powerpoint....
    -Cons, its size. I love how i can fit my MBA into the back laptop compartment of my backpack with ease BUT i am worried that the MBA is too big.
    Also i am concerned about pulling this beast out and placing onto my school desk.

    Does anyone use the new 17" MBP as their primary portable laptop?
    Do you think I should make the switch?
    I prefer the 17" because of it's superior battery life to the 15" MBP.
  2. eddietr macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2006
    I've been using a new 15 today after more than a year of using an MBA daily.

    This thing feels HUGE to me. You get used to the MBA, and you forget what a normal size laptop is like.

    I've had a 17 before and it got old very quickly. It was really cool for a few weeks because it had the best portable specs at the time. But, for me, that wore off.
  3. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I would have to agree with the last poster.. Don't do it!

    I had a nice little 14" Samsung beauty, and when it finally died, I got a 15" MBP. It's been nice, but 2 years later it still feels too big and bulky. If you like the size of the air, the 17" MBP will feel HUGE.
  4. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    I did this exact thing last week after using the MBA for a couple of months. While at first this 17" UMBP does feel huge... I love it. I too was tired of short battery life and limited power to run online video which I use it primarily for when I'm around the house. I love this machine for it's power, it's display and it's amazing battery life. I've watched nearly 4 hours of video and still had battery to spare. I can take it to the office, run on battery all day hours of emails, running a VPN client, surfing etc.. I've even streamed some radio and had great results.

    It's obvious what your trading off but I carry a softside brief case that the 17" fits in fine and honestly I dont' notice the extra 3 lbs really. I carry alot of plans, paperwork already so 3 more lbs really isn't a big deal to me.

    Bottom line the MBP does everything I need, everywhere I go. I thought about keeping the MBA for some things but in the end just another computer to sync/deal with. I'm very happy and knew within the first few days I made the right move for me. I had already filled the 128gig SSD on the Air and needed more space, the base model I have is the 320gig HDD makes life much easier for me and other than starting some programs I don't notice the slower drive nearly as bad as I thought I would.

    I was bitten by the MBA "cool product" bug but after about 45 days knew it wasn't the right machine for me.
  5. The Samurai macrumors 68000

    The Samurai

    Dec 29, 2007
    Why not go for the 15" - kinda makes sense if your worried about the screen size.
  6. ClassicBean macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2004
    17" will drive you nuts if you're used to portability. Go for the 15" at most.
  7. ThirteenXIII macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2008
    i think youll be extremely satisfied if you do decide to do it.

    the battery life thus far has proven pretty well.
    coming from someone who replaced their MacPro desktop with this beast, i got the basic 2.66 model and totally happy with that decision.

    i can easily pick this notebook up with no problems and pop it in a nice belkin 17" case and still fit two notebooks, ipod, phone, charge cable and not weigh me down or be uncomfortable.

    it will give you a similar desktop experience but in a portable machine.

    i know the macbook air is light as it gets, but the 17" isnt that all, as i tend to bring my comp around the house with me with a Zalman notebook cooler that is less than that 17" and i can carry both in one hand and im not a strong/buff/muscle person either.

    and having experience with the 15" i can say that also is not a bad decision, if you want a college notebook that has a replaceable on the spot battery if need be, but for an overall desktop-replacement/all around system the 1" is the way to go.
  8. PsyD4Me thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2009
    under your bed
    thanx everyone for your input, the battery on the 15" is not as good.

    does anyone have real world numbers (hours) for the 15" are? I can't believer you replaced your MacPro with it. I can't give up the speed of my pro, plus the dual core setup has good speed longevity.
  9. ThirteenXIII macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2008
    i started moving around alot more between work, and travelling and while the pro dont get me wrong the best desktop ive ever used and ive built many, i had a long time to think about it and well, while i like the power of it, i just wasnt utilizing it day in and day out, the 17 i guess you could say kept me modest (not on price though! lol) on what i really needed to do and i can definitely keep working on music, graphics and video just fine with no hiccup in productivity.

    i bench marked the MBP and the MP 2.8 8core with 6gb of memory and they were pretty comparitive you just got to understand how it processes and handles things with different cpu and gpu architecture and so far no disappointments.

    i mean theyre both equally as upgradable in the sense, that well only a certain amount of GPUs can be added to the system unless your running a different OS, and the CPUs can be upgraded but not always 100% stable, memory is the clincher but 4-8gb for me is plenty.

    so to me it wa sa no brainer.

    as far as the 15" i had battery life of about 2.5hrs - 4hrs depending on what i was doing
  10. jamesdmc macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2007

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm contemplating making the same move (mac pro to 17" macbook pro) and your post addressed some of my concerns, especially

    How much ram do you have in your macbook pro?

  11. ThirteenXIII macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2008

    rightnow i have just the 4GB of memory, when prices become more reasonable for my means ill plop in the 8gb.

    but 4gb is plenty for me running logic express, and doing photoshop and aperture. not all at once but im sure it could handle it. =P
  12. PsyD4Me thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 11, 2009
    under your bed

    man, what do you do about all those wires when you 're docked at home? i've got so much connected to my pro and it is nicely tucked away on the floor.
  13. ThirteenXIII macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2008
    Yeah cabling can be alitte messy, but ive managed to tame it a bit nice.

    just to give you an idea:



    i have anice notebook cooler that has a usb port for an extra peripheral and allows all my cables to be wired underneath it.
    once i get my wireless keyboard everything will be alittle bit more tidy, once i can tuck the system under the display.

    so far i have two hard drives hooke dup and one connected to my airport extreme. so i can basically grab and go and access my documents wirelessly which is nice.
  14. cyberwolf777 macrumors member

    May 21, 2006
    @ PsyD4Me:

    Do it!

    I just switched from an old, white Macbook to the 17" MBP. While at first the computer felt big I got used to it really, really quickly. After using it for a while and then transferring some data from the Macbook to my new computer, looking at the Macbook screen made my eyes hurt - that's how amazing the screen and the 1920x1200 resolution of the new 17" MBP is!

    A Mac-nerd as I am, I spent a lot of time roaming through this forum and other Mac sites to see how people's experience with the size of the 17" was and there's no clear majority for either side - a lot of people (like me) would never go back to a smaller machine, at least as your only computer; but there's a similarly large group saying the exact opposite.

    In my opinion, the key to be happy with the 17" MBP on-the-go is to have the right bag. It is true that the computer won't fit into most bags and even if, it might be uncomfortable to carry around.

    For that purpose, I bought a black Incase Nylon Sling Pack:
    Alternatively, there's also a similar backpack if u need a little extra space:

    I've seen and tried many bags but this beats everything. It is so comfortable; the weight is really well distributed so you hardly feel it (and that's coming from a guy who is just 5'9";) The laptop compartment is exactly the size of the 17" MBP and you don't need an extra sleeve since there's some really soft plush-like material inside to protect the laptop (hard to explain).

    There is, however, two reasons not to get the 17" MBP:
    - You need to use the computer a lot on trains and airplanes
    - Money

    Other tips:
    - Get the matte display - it's amazing!
    - Don't get the 2.93Ghz, the 2.66Ghz is powerful enough, especially if you're coming from a MBA
    - Get the SSD - either now, if you have the money, or wait a year until it becomes chepaer!
  15. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Buy a 17" MBP for battery life only, YES...

    If a new MBA is released in the future with a longer battery life, you can always sell your 17" MBP.

    If you really hate the 17" MBP initially, return it.

    Maybe a new MBA with a 10-hour battery will be released, but you will not care because you love the 17" MBP powers and features by then and you realize it is plenty portable for you.

    Go with your gut. I love my rev B MBA, but I got to say, I could really use an extra few hours. I think Apple will definitely use the new technology in its future Mac notebooks... but when and will they gain that much battery life?

    One last idea I have had was the big rumor about a bigger MBA like 15", I think it would allow a lot more space for a battery yet be really thin by just adding the thinner tapered space.

    We will all see. The great thing for you, is you will probably know within three or four days if the big MBP is worth the lugging around. You will probably feel within a few days if you are missing the portability, or you may love the new display, or you may love the power.

    They are two completely opposite ends of Mac notebooks, but often a notebook is a notebook especially when most of the time it sits on a desk... When carrying around a notebook, to school, other books and even the wrong bag can make an MBA feel like a heavy tote. Use the best bag you can for the heavy MBP, and you just may love the experience.

    Best wishes whichever route you go.

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