What MacBook should I buy my wife?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by macbrown, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. macbrown macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2009

    I'm looking for some views on my wife's Christmas present. I'm going to be getting her a MacBook as she's looking to upgrade from a Dell laptop.

    She's a teacher and needs something to take in to school and to work on during the evenings. It will need to do the normal routine tasks like web browsing, word processing, presentations etc. Nothing too taxing.

    I'm thinking MacBook Air, mainly because it's new and shiny (and I want one), but I already have a MacBook that serves as our man computer at home. I'm tired of having to give it up every evening when she needs to work and I have to surf on my iPhone, it's just not the same on that tiny screen!

    For what she needs, I realise that a base MacBook would be sufficient but I'd like a little variety at home with our computers. Portability is an issue, and there's nothing more portable, that will also do everything required, than the Air.

    One concern I have about the Air is it's sealed nature. I want this thing to last. I had to replace the battery on my MacBook recently after 500 or so cycles. It just died. I'm guessing that wouldn't be possible on the Air?

    The MacBook Pro's are another possibility, 13 inch probably. I'm just not sure she would need the extra performance but the machine should last longer, although I have the same reservations about their sealed batteries (please correct me if I'm wrong there).

    So I'm just weighing up the relative merits of each MacBook here, what do you think I should do? Price isn't really an issue, I'd just like to get my wife something that suits her needs.

    Thanks for reading, recommendations welcome!!
  2. nefan65 macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2009
    All the Macbooks [Pro/Air included] have built in batteries, and are not removable like the old MB's. They're not so much sealed, but don't have the little dial you turn to unlock. If you want to keep the warranty in place, you have to send all the new ones to an Apple repair center [or Apple Store]. So I urge you to get a 3 year Apple Care warranty.

    Beyond that, it's really personal. Since she's only doing light work, I'd go a refurb MB. If you like the idea of Metal instead, go a Refurb MBP 13.3". Great machines, same warranty, etc...They're essentially a brand new machine.

    I like the MBA, but I need the USB, FW stuff. Otherwise, I'd have gone that route for the portability...
  3. 3N16MA macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2009
    Seems like you only want the Air so you can get your hands on it. Basically buy it for her and you can use it during the evenings. Honestly a MB/13" MBP would be more than enough. Kind of shady that your buying her a gift but also looking out for yourself at the same time.

    Just in case someone takes my post the wrong way what I am saying is that it seems that your motivation to buy the Air is not really for your wife's needs but for your own.
  4. xlii macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2006
    Millis, Massachusetts
    I agree with the other two posters. For your wife the 13" MB or MBP is a much better choice over the new MB Airs.

    Why not give your wife the current MB you have at home and you buy the 13" MBP for yourself. I own a 1 year old 13" MBP and it is a very nice machine.
  5. macbrown thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2009
    Thanks for the replies. First of all, it's not something I want to to buy so I can use it during the evenings, I genuinely want my wife to have nice things! Granted, I've been taken in by the marketing hyperbole associated with the update to the MB Air this week, but I'm quite happy with my MacBook for my own use. When I replace it I'll get an iMac for the house and my wife will have her laptop for work.

    So 3N16MA, thanks for the reply, but the Air is not for my needs at all, I just think it's a cool piece of kit.
  6. Epsilon88 macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2009
    If you don't need the super portability of the Air, then the Macbook is a lot more practical. (Adding another voice to the other two posters).
  7. SidBala macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
    For your wife? Hmm. Buy the stock 11.6in MBA.
  8. JustSomeDude macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2010
    You say she uses your macbook now. Let this guide you. Does she complain about its weight, size, or possibly screen resolution? Those would be reasons to get the new air. If she's not complaining about those things then you should probably consider the mb or mb pro. You could also get a refurb and use the savings to make it a nicer to use machine - like add a ssd or more ram or an external monitor and keyboard to use when at home.

    Of course, don't forget to consider if she might have mentioned things that might actually push you to a 15/17 mb pro (like the machine being slow or the screen too small).
  9. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    based on what you said, any of the 13" options will work...possibly the 11.6" Air, but I'd err on the side of a bigger/more useful display + SD card slot. if she's clumsy/accident-prone, flash memory is a bonus, too.

    all Macbooks are sealed now, the only issue with the Air is that it won't ever be able to have more than 4GB of RAM, but for the intended use, that probably won't be an issue.

    buy refurbished whenever possible.
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    It might also be worth mentioning that Apple is "closing out" the previous-generation MacBook Airs at -very- attractive prices right now.

    Maybe your wife would like her present "early"....!
  11. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

    Jul 23, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    She'll fall in love with the macbook air.

    I'd avoid it, if I were you.
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    The only reason to get an Air is because it's small and light. However, if your wife is going to be carrying her new system around a lot, then "small and light" is a really good reason to go that way.

    My wife has an Air, that she loves. It's the one that gets moved around a lot. She also has a 15" MacBook Pro that she loves (it's 4 years old, and starting to show it's age). The MBP doesn't move so much, and she doesn't need the internal power of the MBP - but she needs the screen real-estate. (She actually managed to accept that 'sparky' is due for retirement and has a 17" MBP on order). Way more computer than she needs, but she wants the screen real-estate and doesn't want an external monitor. (She researches and writes, so Office the internet and Mail are really the only things she needs, plus a virtual machine)

    So - the point I'm trying to make is this. From what you've described, any of the portables that Apple makes has the power to do what your wife wants. Don't get caught in the feature trap. It all hinges on balancing the portability needs of your wife vs the screen size she needs.

    JustSomeDude said it best - let her reaction to your MacBook guide you - too big, not big enough, too heavy, etc

    ps the new MBA is a first generation machine. The smart money will say that there will be some teething problems.

    Good luck. Lucky wife.
  13. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603


    Mar 22, 2010
    Go with the 13 inch MBP. it really does get close to 8hrs of battery life. I think that would be beneficial for her school days.
  14. yoak macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    First, which MB do you already have?
    The latest, unibodykindof MB?

    I was in your shoes in February as I wanted to buy my wife a Mac so the family could stay in touch over Skype while I was in LA shooting for a longer period.

    I took her to the shop and had a look at the different MB´s.
    I thought maybe the Air would be nice because of it´s weight, but she thought it looked too masculine.

    The previous MB was on sale as the new MB just came out, but she fell in love with the new one as it was all white and had rounded corners (it´s what´s inside that counts, yeah right:rolleyes:)

    So in the end I would have bought her the "wrong" one twice if I hadn´t "consulted" her.

    Just some food for thought.

    Good luck
  15. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    Backlit keys, firewire, 4gb ram would be my reason to consider a 13" MBP. (those were my reasons for selling my late 2009 MB for a 2010 MBP)
  16. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    I would suggest that get her a 13inch base MBP. You can also get a student discount and get apple care cheaper (do buy it...its worth it) as she is a teacher.
  17. macbrown thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2009
    Thanks for all the comments.

    I've got a 2007 white MacBook, upgraded with 4G RAM and 500Gig hard drive, it still works a treat. I'm interested in the comments about Apple Care and the battery life on unibody models.

    The battery on mine is an issue, it will never give more than 4 hours. It also had to be replaced after the original died. I think this was just after 3 years so any Apple Care would have expired, the only other issue I've had is a cracked palm rest, a widespread issue that was fixed free of charge at an Apple store. So for me, I think Apple Care for this MacBook would have been a waste of money. It strikes me as just an insurance policy, am I missing something as I've heard positive feedback about it on several occasions. Perhaps I should purchase it with my wife's new MacBook???

    Regarding the battery life, Apple claims 'up to' 10 hours life on both the MacBook & 13' Pro but only 7 hours on the new Air (although Jobs claims this is based on more realistic battery life tests). Who cares how portable the Air is when it doesn't last long enough?!

    Anyway, feeling like the MB or 13' Pro would be a better fit for my wife now, but what about Apple Care??
  18. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Smart Man. Consult your wife. Mine bought a printer based on it's looks. We have a good arrangement. I show her the shortlist of tech things that will do the job she needs done, she makes the final decision based on .... well, her own criteria.

    AppleCare, as you mention, is an insurance policy. Laptops tend to get banged around more than desktops. We are a multiple Mac household, and until recently except for one 1st gen MBP that had some teething issues and was repaired under the one year standard warranty, we have not had to use the HW portion of AppleCare at all.

    Then last month my wife's 1st gen MBA had the HD fail (fixed under AC), and yesterday my Mac Pro had a CPU fail. It's currently in the shop being fixed under AC. So - in 30 days we went from total non-use to having paid for itself (and the other Macs in the house).

    If you ask me now, I am a believer in AC. If you had asked me in September, I wouldn't have been so sure.

    Two other points. I believe batteries are covered under slightly different warranties than the machine. They are, by nature, considered a consumable.... so read the Apple pages on batteries for details.

    AppleCare isn't just for hardware. If you have questions about Apple software, you can call AppleCare and have someone talk you through it. If you just think you are having a hardware problem, you can call AppleCare and have someone walk you through some diagnostic steps. It's a good way to catch a problem before it crashes your system.
  19. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    Just a minor correction, here, btw. AppleCare is not an insurance policy. Nor is it even close. It's a good thing, don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of AppleCare. It will not, however, cover anything related to physical damage, including spills, and I've more than once seen a warranty claim rejected due to relatively minor (visually) damage on the outside of the case that at least appeared to Apple to have caused the internal failure (I used to work as a tech, so this was mostly customer machines I mailed in to Apple for various reasons). While it's good, don't think of AppleCare as insurance.

    As to the original question, I'm glad the OP consulted his wife, that's always best, but I'd challenge all you guys that would possibly at some point be faced with this same decision not to assume that most women are going to care about the same things in computers as we do. Some women will care about the tech specs, of course, but to many women, the look and feel of the laptop is far more important, and in that respect, the MBA has a huge draw. I showed my wife the new MBA on Apple's website, and she practically fell in love with it already, even though she hasn't seen one in person. She doesn't care about it being a little slower, or not having FireWire or ethernet, etc. She likes the fact that it's small, light, looks good, should be durable, gets good battery life, etc. She's very computer-savvy, too, and knows all about the differences in the processor and RAM, etc, compared to a MacBook or MacBook Pro. That's simply not (as) important to her.

  20. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Yes, you're correct - it's not an insurance policy. I should have chosen my words more carefully. I meant to say that it shares one of the aspects of an insurance policy in that you spread the cost of potential repairs over a large group. Someone in that group will be happy to have paid the premium when their $200 or $300 AppleCare saves them $1000 or $2000 in repairs. However, most people who buy AppleCare never take advantage of it. Like insurance - where most people never claim, or their claims never quite equal what they have paid in. But the family that gets a house rebuilt from the insurance is really happy to have had the policy in place.
  21. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    Be sure to consider how she will secure the laptop while at school. Will she want to use a cable lock of some sort? I don't think the Air even has a slot.

    Of course, the cable locks aren't terribly secure vs a determined thief (search google & youtube), but they're still better than the laptop sitting unsecured and disappearing when she turns her back. (Presumably she'd never leave the room without the laptop in her possession or locked in a desk drawer.)

Share This Page