Resolved What should I get for college?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by combataran, May 9, 2011.

  1. combataran, May 9, 2011
    Last edited: May 13, 2011

    combataran macrumors member

    combataran

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    #1
    I'm stuck between a 13 inch 2011 MacBook Pro and a 13 inch 2010 MacBook Air, can't seem to decide whether I want performance+extra weight or ultimate portability+noob specs. Which one should I buy?

    I mainly use my laptops to surf, play games at low graphics, and the occasional music production, documents, presentations, stuff college students do.
    I could wait for the rumored Sandy Bridge MacBook Air, but who knows how long it will take. College is starting in a few months.

    Also, should I get an iPhone as well?

    Comments with details are appreciated.
     
  2. francis21 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Location:
    Mississauga, ON, Canada
    #3
    It seems like you're doing some intensive stuff right there. I would go for a MBP, just to secure yourself for some programs that might need that computing horsepower.

    Again, get to know some of the tasks that you'll be needing the computer for. For instance, if you're doing some video and/or music productions, MBPs are the way to go. Meanwhile, if you're just those people who just need to quickly open up their e-mail, surf the web, MBA would just be fine - but remember, do not expect the MBA to perform your video productions; you wouldn't just get that speed and performance just as an MBP would have.

    Hope this helps. :)
     
  3. combataran thread starter macrumors member

    combataran

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    #4
    Laptops aside, should I get the iPhone 4, or wait for the next one to come out? College is starting in a few months.
     
  4. macingman macrumors 68020

    macingman

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #5
    It's your college education so you need to sit down and work out what would help you complete your course as well as possible. I can offer you a bit of advice though. If you have an iPhone already it may be better to keep it until the iPhone 5 is announced (either June or September). However if you really really want an iPhone 4 ASAP you might as well wait until the WWDC conference next month just so you don't buy an iPhone 4 3 weeks before the new one is announced. But again if you really want an iPhone 4 buy one now and don't worry about 5.

    Sorry I know this is a lot to digest, I just tried to share all my relavent knowledge on iPhone releases.
     
  5. dizzy130 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    #6
    iPhone

    I'm a grad student and we didn't have wifi on my college campus (I graduated 5 years ago) but my grad school has it. Honestly, if your college has wifi and you'll be living there or at home with your parents wifi and cost is a concern, an iPod touch will be about 90% as good.

    I have an iPhone but the data is not cheap. If I was a full time student with no income I'd definitely go with a dumb phone/iPod touch combo. Is it nice to have 3G? Of course. But if you're going to be spending almost all of your time on a campus that has wifi and you're not used to having 3G, I'd recommend starting out with an iPod touch. The only thing you'll be missing is Internet when you step off your campus, and you don't have to pay the data charges and be locked into a contract. It would not be worth it to me when I was a college student who rarely left campus to have an iPhone - in fact, if I lived on my grad school's campus I'd probably go the dumb phone/iPod touch route myself.
     
  6. TheSideshow macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    #7
    Why do you need a smartphone for college? Maybe pdfs and stuff? If so android is the best bet, given the file system access.

    Typed on a Tiny Keyboard
     
  7. earthwindnpyro macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Location:
    New Cap City
    #8
    What should I get for college?

    What should I get for college?

    Condoms!
     
  8. combataran thread starter macrumors member

    combataran

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    #9
    I'll be getting the unlocked iPhone from Singapore, so no need for 3G. Just wondering if the iPhone would be of any use in college coursework in general. And no, I've never had an iPhone before, gonna make the switch, right now I'm still using a Sony Ericsson K800i, been with me for 4 years now.
     
  9. ratzzo macrumors 6502a

    ratzzo

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Location:
    Madrid
    #10
    Well, the iPhone is, after all, a smartphone. Benefits from a smartphone include being able to share files easily, connect to data plans/wifi, camera uses etc.

    However, I don't see how any of this would affect your college performance.. an iPhone is definitely not going to affect how well you do..

    On the laptop side, unless you think you'd move a lot with your laptop everywhere, I'd get a MBP just for the added cpu power. While the air is really light, so is the 13" MBP, the perfect relationship between size, weight and power.
     
  10. combataran thread starter macrumors member

    combataran

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    #11
    What if I do intend to move around a lot(throws the laptop into the bag wherever I go), and can't stand 2kgs of added weight plus the books that I'm gonna be carrying?
     
  11. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #12
    If by "music production" you mean that you want to make songs using virtual synths, then I'd go for as much power as you can afford. I have a song I'm working on in GarageBand that has about 10 virtual synth, about 4 audio tracks, and about 10 medium-horsepower audio channel plugins. I'm running this on a 9 month old MBP 2.4 GHz core i5, and this song is starting to reach the limits of the machine. So if you want to make songs of similar horsepower intensity, then you have to get a machine that's got benchmark specs that at least match this computer.
     
  12. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    #13
    Then MBA is probably the way to go. Sounds like you need an ultra portable (MBA) and a desktop (iMac?), considering your need for portability and horsepower.
     
  13. combataran thread starter macrumors member

    combataran

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    #14
    Let's say the rumored MBA refresh brings in a SB core i5, should I be considering it?
    @above I already have a core i5 PC with 4G of RAM, does that count as a replacement for an iMac(don't feel like splurging for 2 Apple machines.)
     
  14. VPrime macrumors 68000

    VPrime

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Location:
    London Ontario
    #15
    The iPhone is absolutely not needed for school.
    You won't be typing notes on it.. you just wont. If any thing the iPhone will be more of a distraction (checking email, texting, playing a game..). So don't purchase one thinking it will help advance your education. It (and any other smart phone) wil be used as a toy.
    The only benefit that you may use is the calendar, but really if you buy a laptop chances are you will have that with you at most times any ways.
     
  15. darknite38 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #16
    Definitely get the MBP. It has the ethernet port just incase your college doesn't have wifi everwhere - some don't. The MBP also has the potential to be upgraded whenever you want, it has a better battery life, backlit keyboard for typing in the dark, TB port, it could be cheaper depending on the one that you get.

    I really hope you decide to get the MBP, good luck!
     
  16. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #17
    Um, what? How so? I can't think of a single type of upgrade on a MBP that isn't also a type of upgrade on a MB, and probably an MBA as well (though I'm not really familiar with the MBA. Both the MB and MBP can upgrade the RAM and hard disk, and that's it. The MBP has a higher maximum RAM upgradability, but that's an insignificant difference. What other type of upgradability are you talking about?
     
  17. Thares macrumors regular

    Thares

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Location:
    Dresden, Germany
    #18
    Hey,

    I am not quite sure if you really need the portability. Because for me, it feels like you are in the same situation now as I was a few weeks ago. I thought, I'd need a portable laptop to carry around all the time and write a lot of stuff while sitting in a lecture.
    In fact, errrm... no. When I got my MBAir I was really excited and happy. But besides of doing some surfing and idling around in the lectures, I actually didn't need it while in class.

    I don't know what your study will be or what your main work will be. As I am studying Business Psychology, I need to do a lot of presentations, searching and writing stuff. Besides of that I like to play some games from time to time. For my needs I found the 27" iMac suitable. Mainly because of the huge screen and secondly because of the power (for games).
    As I notice that a portable machine would be nice - but is not necessarily essential (ugh... correct english? :S) - I am planning to buy a cheap Windows laptop for the needs when I want to sit together with my 'co-workers' when we work on a project.

    Summary: I like portability a lot and a MacBook Air (or Pro, had both for a week) looks really nice. But it is not necessary for me. I went with a 27" iMac which should arrive soon. And I am planning to buy a cheap Windows laptop if it's really needed. It will be enough to do PPT presentations and organize my schedules thanks to the new Office.


    And now I will practice my presentation I've to do in a few hours. :)
     
  18. combataran thread starter macrumors member

    combataran

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    #19
    i just stopped by an Apple retailer, picked up the MBP 13 and went"Holy *****, this thing is heavy". It actually feels like my 15 incher Acer laptop. Imagine that.
     
  19. norsemen macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    #20
    Wait a couple of weeks.

    If the past is anything to go by, Apple will launch it's back to school-campaign in late May. In recent years they have given away a free iPod Touch with every MacBook Pro/Air/iMac bought. Something to keep or sell...:)
     
  20. Thares macrumors regular

    Thares

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Location:
    Dresden, Germany
    #21
    What do you need to do with your computer in class? From my view: nothing. You need to watch and to listen. A MacBook only makes sense if you a) travel a lot or b) need to sit together with friends or in the university when you've to work with you computer.

    Most of the work I've to do, is done at home. It's my office.
     
  21. combataran thread starter macrumors member

    combataran

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    #22
    Well, take notes, mostly. That, and the occasional Internet. Come to think of it, I don't really need all that power on the go. Maybe a 11 incher MBA would suffice?
     
  22. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #23
    Im a College Student with a 11" MacBook Air, and for what most college students need to do, a 11" or 13" Air will cope very well. Ethernet isnt that big of a problem, as who needs more than a USB port for a mouse while on campus anyway - the ethernet adapter isn't that heavy, or that much of a chore to carry with a MBA. My MBA (The low-end 11), can play basic games just fine, and for notes etc its perfectly happy ( having the internet during lectures, so I can grab the notes is really really useful - and makes it a lot easier to follow when you cant see the screen as your at the back). Although I don't do audio production on it, I do use Final Cut Pro 7 and Motion 4 for video editing and motion graphics creation, and although they aren't by any means as fast as on my Mac Pro, they do run well enough to get stuff done - so I cant see you having any issues by choosing an Air unless you need FireWire on your Mac.
     
  23. velocityg4, May 10, 2011
    Last edited: May 10, 2011

    velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #24
    Laptops are really quite horrible for taking notes on. Excepting for the few teachers that follow a strict outline with no diagrams.

    Otherwise once the teacher starts jumping back to previous points in a topic and drawing diagrams you'll find out that pen and paper works better for taking notes. They are also useless for writing out equations and scientific formulas. So they can't really be used for notes in math or science courses.

    I too had though a laptop would be useful in college. Within a few weeks it was left at home. When your carrying around twenty or thirty pounds of books and binders. The last thing you will want to do is cram laptop in bag which will be useless in class.

    Now I could see having an iPad or Kindle. If even just two or three of your textbooks are available as ebooks.

    Edit: Actually instead of getting the iPhone. I would advise spending that money on the iPad instead if any of your textbooks are available as ebooks.
     
  24. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #25
    My experience is the exact opposite - although I do also use a TabletPC so I don't use any pen and paper at all. My laptop is invaluable for me, and I don't carry any books/binders - I have PDFs of all my textbooks on my MBA or iPad, and just carry all my notes digitally, including any written notes off my TabletPC. For most of my classes however, I take my notes in OmniOutliner and do graphics in OmniGraffle. - My bag only weighs about 3lbs at most. (Generally just MacBook Air, and occasionally a paper pad in case I need to scribble a note to a professor and leave it somewhere).
     

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