When to choose the Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by PeterJP, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. PeterJP macrumors 6502

    PeterJP

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #1
    I'm looking to get a new macbook if I get a new freelance assignment. After comparing the 4 compact options (everything but the 15"), I'm a bit stumped by the Air. It's probably me, but what is the use case for the Air? Let me compare:

    - It's €50 more than the macbook, but the performance is about the same. In fact, AppleInsider says in a stress test, there's just 3% in it. So if the performance is enough, why not go for the ultraportable? Is it the extra USB-C port? The 5k external resolution? Maybe butterfly v3? Or the longer battery life?
    - If you then decide to for the larger form factor (identical footprint to the MBP), why not just pick an MBP? The weight is about the same. While the touchbar MBP is €400 more, the non-touchbar one is just €150 more than the Air. So, why not go for the extra performance? With the touchbar, you also get extra performance and 2 more ports, which I I would opt for.

    Looking at it like this, it seems to be either an rMB or an MBP if I need the performance. But maybe I'm missing something?

    This is an honest question not meant to bash the Air. I think it's a great looking machine and people seem very enthusiastic about it. So please enlighten me! Thanks.
     
  2. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #2
    You can get the non-Touch Bar Pro for less money than the Air on the refurb store. The Air is not available in the refurb store (yet).

    The Pro has a brighter and better quality screen, better performance, and better FaceTime camera.
     
  3. Cehape macrumors newbie

    Cehape

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Germany
    #3
    You can get a used VW Golf GTI for less money than a new VW Golf 1.5 TSI at the local dealer.
    The GTI has more power and a better undercarriage.

    So what's your point here?
     
  4. EugW, Dec 5, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018

    EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #4
    Your post is quite misleading, as Apple refurbs are not the same thing as used products with limited warranties. Not sure if your misdirection was intentional or not but car analogies always suck.

    Apple’s refurbs are essentially brand new, and have the exact same warranty as the new ones. They also have the exact same eligibility for extended Apple Care warranty as the new ones.

    So my point here is that given the advantages of the Pro and lower cost of the refurb, the refurb Pro is a much better value overall.

    BTW, if the user wants portability, the Air is not to machine to get either, as it is only 9% lighter than the Pro and has the exact same footprint. The machine to get for portability is the 12” MacBook. The Air is 36% heavier than the 12” MacBook, with the 12” having a much smaller footprint, almost as good CPU performance, and a somewhat brighter screen.
     
  5. Cehape macrumors newbie

    Cehape

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Germany
    #5
    Ok, so it is NEVER a good idea to buy Apple products new and everybody who is not buying refurb is just wasting money. Thanks for the enlightment.
     
  6. Ma2k5 macrumors 68020

    Ma2k5

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Location:
    London
    #6
    There are some omissions you have made

    1) The Air has TouchID, the other two do not. A lot of people love TouchID coupled with 1Password etc.
    2) The Air has a T2 chip, which not only does a lot of the security/controller tasks for the components, but improves a lot of real world case usage - see here: https://appleinsider.com/articles/1...-about-apples-t2-chip-in-the-2018-macbook-pro
    3) The MacBook 12" only has a 480p camera
    4) The wedge shape of the Air makes it more ergonomic than the ntB

    The 12" MacBook and the nTB have their advantages, but the 13" Air also has some features a lot of people would want (in addition to the gen 3 butterfly key, 5k resolution capability, battery life, extra port)
     
  7. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #7
    2. Bridge OS which drives T2 has been a source of crashes on the new Pro machines. Jury is still out on the Air. I wonder if the crashes are in part related to the use of third party peripherals. Somehow some may be inducing Bridge OS crashes.

    3. By all accounts, the 720p camera in the Air sucks just as bad as the 12” MacBook’s camera. There are threads here about it.
     
  8. PeterJP thread starter macrumors 6502

    PeterJP

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #8
    I was mainly looking at the touchbar MBP, so I missed that the non-tb doesn't have the T2 & TouchId. It just reinforces my impression that the nTB isn't a very interesting option (for me).

    So when I take out the nTB, it makes the distinction a bit clearer:
    - At €2000-2100, you can go for portability or higher overall spec (resolution, 2 ports, cam, TouchId, T2, ...). Both options have about the same performance.
    - Otherwise, you pay more but you also get a lot more in terms of performance and ports.

    Note that the prices are all for a 16/512 config.
     
  9. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #9
    I'm in (basically) the same situation, and was considering the new 2018 Air against the 2018 13" MBP (with touchbar).

    Concluded that with similar config (16GB RAM and 512GB SSD) the price difference between the two were rather close (NOK18K vs NOK22K in the EDU store), considering the better screen and overall performance of the MBP.

    Ended up not buying now even though my 2010 11" Air is overdue for a replacement, waiting for the next MB or the next MBP, hoping my trusty old Air had another 6-8 months in it... ;)
     
  10. revmacian macrumors 6502a

    revmacian

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2018
    Location:
    USA
    #10
    I've been seeing that a large number of users are having trouble with the keyboards and SSD's on the ntB as well.
     
  11. Watchin Macs macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    #11
    lol are you high? The Air is completely portable. It fits in the same leather sleeve I used for my old 11" MacBook Air. And it weighs about the same as my 11". Apple's obsession with lightness is making people delusional.
     
  12. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #12
    I was comparing the Air against the Pro. It's no longer 2013.

    The 2018 13" Air has the exact same footprint as the 13" MacBook Pro. If you think the Air is very portable, then you should think the 13" Pro is also very portable. However, my point was if you want something significantly MORE portable than the 13" Pro, the Air isn't the answer since it's the same footprint and only 9% lighter. The more portable solution is the 12" MacBook.
     
  13. Falcon80 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    #13
    Do you know typically how long does it take for a new laptop like Macbook Air 2018 to appear on the refurb store?
     
  14. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #14
    Usually several months, but the selection of options isn’t always great when it first arrives.
     
  15. PeterJP thread starter macrumors 6502

    PeterJP

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #15
    Precisely. If I want ultra portability, I'll go for the macbook. If I want to trade that ultra portability for better tech, I'll go for the Air. If I'm in that situation and money is no objection or I would need more performance, I'll go for the MBP (with touchbar).
     
  16. corduroygt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #16
    It's all about price. My micro center had the 8/256 for 1199 but they had an "open box" version which was brand new for $1079. I originally wanted a pro with 16/512 and quad but that was at least $1900+tax and I have no use for the Touch Bar. I got the Air since I really don't need the power of the Pro.

    We have a 12" MB in the house and it's just too small for me. I wish the Air weighed as little as the 12" but keep the 13" size. I also needed the TB3 ports because I use dual 4K60 monitors, and 2016-17 pros are forever flawed to me due to their keyboard issues.
     
  17. Showmaster macrumors member

    Showmaster

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2018
    #17
    Check the difference in keyboard too!
    Go to an Apple Store and physically try it out for yourself.

    Cheers,


    Showmaster
     
  18. PeterJP thread starter macrumors 6502

    PeterJP

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Leuven, Belgium
    #18
    Good point. I realise the rMB has v2, which is more prone to failure because of dirt. It's one of the parameters I have in mind. But the feel is also different.
     
  19. nutmac macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #19
    12" MacBook offers a clear portability advantage over 13" MacBook Air and 13" MacBook Pro. Although I personally think 13" Macs are portable enough, 12" feels distinctively lighter and smaller. For this reason, I think MacBook will be updated next year with MacBook Air's key features, Thunderbolt 3 port (probably just one), T2, Touch ID, and 3rd generation butterfly keyboard.

    In my opinion, 13" MacBook Pro without Touch Bar (aka MacBook Escape) is an anomaly, as evidenced by lack of update this year. Apple could've easily spec bumped, but chose not to. I am not sure why it wasn't discontinued when MacBook Air was announced. The performance, at least when you look at common benchmarks like the GeekBench, is not dramatically different between MacBook Escape and MacBook Air. The only major advantage of MacBook Escape over MacBook Air is better screen (brighter, wider color gamut), which some might appreciate given that it only costs $100 more, and sometimes less as it's more heavily discounted. Of course, you get shorter battery life, no Touch ID and T2, and older butterfly keyboard.

    13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar offers several distinct advantages over MacBook Air, (1) better screen with True Tone, (2) much faster performance with quad-core, (3) 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, and (4) Touch Bar (if you are so inclined anyway). But it also costs $400 more than MacBook Air with comparable RAM and storage options.

    So that brings us back to 13" MacBook Air. While seemingly same footprint and negligible weight difference, it subjectively feels more portable. Why? To me, MacBook Air has superior physical design. Slanted keyboard base translates to (1) more pleasant typing experience (no sharp edge cutting into your wrist), (2) far easier to open as it's obvious as to which side is the front (not to mention very pronounced notch), and (3) micro thin front side gives the appearance of thinness. And there are no vents on the bottom that cut into your skin. And let's not forget that MacBook Air has longer battery life to boot and can fully charge more quickly (even with dinky $29 18W charger for iPad Pro).

    So I don't think Mac's portable line up is as confusing as it seems. If you want extreme portability, get 12" MacBook Air. If you can spend more and need better screen, performance, or 4 ports, get 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. For everyone else, get 13" MacBook Air.
     
  20. icymountain macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    #20
    Not so clear that it could easily have been bumped. I understand there was no suitable 15W Intel chip released in 2018.
     
  21. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #21
    GTI also costs a lot more money in the long run, for insurance, fuel, and repairs.
    Analogy is false.

    Anyway,
    when i got the i9 refund, I ordered the Mac Mini i7 for powerhouse and needed a laptop for portability, was torn between 13" Air and tb Pro, but it's a no brainer.
    300$ more and you get 250% more CPU power. for 0.25LBs of weight. That's nothing. There's no upgrade so cheap on the mac side right now.
     
  22. nutmac macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #22
    Isn't i5 8250U a logical successor to i5 7360U powering 2017 entry level MacBook Pro without Touch Bar?
     
  23. Ma2k5 macrumors 68020

    Ma2k5

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Location:
    London
    #23
    Technically yes but it probably doesn’t meet their iGPU standards.

    It goes from Intel’s HD640 to HD620, somewhat anemic?
     
  24. AppleHaterLover macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2018
    #24
    It's a hefty graphics downgrade (Iris Pro 640 to HD620). Plus I'm not sure about the base clock (not that it means much...)

    Considering the 2018 MBA graphics performance is absolutely awful and pure garbage, I'm not sure Apple would be willing to stick a "Pro" moniker on anything using that chip - but they're sort of doing away with their standards recently....
     
  25. RUGERMAN macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    #25
    That's actually true IMO unless you want a Mac that's not available in the refurb store.I've had 4 Macs refurbished and all were identical to new.
     

Share This Page

25 December 5, 2018