Which Apple laptop should I buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jmleung, Oct 29, 2016.

  1. jmleung macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2016
    Hi there, I am thinking of treating myself with a brand new Apple laptop and saying goodbye to my currently used old MBP (13-inch, mid 2012 model, without Retina and still with CD/DVD drive). As a university student, I will be moving around campus, carrying a laptop to help me with note taking or doing assignments at breaks. So portability is my first priority when considering buying my next laptop. As far as I know, the 12-inch MacBook offers attractive selling points for being the current lightest and slimest among present Apple laptop. I also personally like the gold coloured one. However, one thing that I am still considering is its speed and performance overall. I usually use laptop for normal web browsing, watching YouTube, using online Google Docs or Sheets to create lecture notes or make simple spreadsheets, diagrams for my study. Perhaps the most heaviest tasks I expects from a laptop is opening multiple tabs on a web-browser (either for searching journal articles, relevant research papers for my study and assignments OR opening multiple YouTube tabs or online video streaming services) or office stuff (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). Other than these activities, I can't really find any other tasks I usually do on a laptop computer. As for only having one USB-C for multipurposes, I don't mind it since I can buy some adaptors to solve this problem. However, is the 12-inch MacBook series suitable for my aforementioned requirements? Is it strong enough to carry out those tasks on a daily basis?

    I'm also thinking of another more expensive option like the just announced 13-inch MBP with touch bar feature. I think it's pretty cool. As for the performance, I'm pretty sure it is more than enough to suit all my regular needs from a laptop. In addition to that, the weight and volume of it are acceptable and not likely to hurt my back when carrying out. Problems are its price and there are only 2 colour options (none of which I am really interested but maybe if having to choose I will stick to the traditional silver but I still prefer the gold finish more).

    I don't usually change a laptop after at least 4 or 5 years of usage. So which one should I buy to not dissapoint myself? Thanks a lot! :)
  2. macs4nw, Oct 29, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016

    macs4nw macrumors 601


    For your stated usage, I'd say you picked the right one, and the one I would have recommended to you. Since you intend to keep it for 4-5 years, I would (if your budget allows) go for the 1.3 GHz dual-core m7 processor with 512GB of storage. That brings you to $1749 for a maxed out 12" MacBook, still $250 below the basic just released 13" MBP with TouchBar and 512GB of storage. Yes, that new unit is a nicer laptop with a faster processor and graphics but also 50% heavier (3.02 vs 2.03 lbs), and not available in your color of preference.

    For your usage, I question whether you will notice any objectionable speed difference between the two units, but you will definitely notice lugging that extra pound around all day.

    Also, you can literally save hundreds buying from Apple's own Refurb Store, where you get good-as-new equipment with full warranty and return privileges, and the option of purchasing AppleCare. Other than the plain packaging and lack of a fancy box, you'll be hard-pressed to distinguish the merchandise from new.

    The above mentioned 12" MacBook with 1.3 m7 and 512 storage currently goes for $1319 as a refurb, that's a whopping $430 savings. Check the store often, even several times a day on weekdays. If purchasing from the Refurb Store, you usually have to move quickly when you see what you like, as things move fast in there.

    If you're willing to wait, the new MBPs will eventually also show up in the Refurb Store, usually around 3-6 mos.

    A lot to consider there. Best of Luck!
  3. jmleung thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2016
    Thank you macs4nw!
    Your reply have given me more confidence in buying the 12-inch one. I can see a trend of Apple starting to add more colour options into their laptop product lines so perhaps after a few months or years, I would be able to see one MBP with my favourite colour :). Also, the specs for MBP with touch bar may get stronger after future upgrade so maybe it's better to wait to get one. Anyway, one thing that pops up into my mind after reading your recommendation. Is the basal configuration (1.1 m3, 256 GB), in other words without any modifications and the cheapest option, suitable for my requirements? Storage-wise, I believe I won't need as much as 512 GB since I usually transfer all my data or contents (including music, pdf files, videos, etc) on Google Drive. But as for processors, is it necessary to buy one with 1.3 m7 like what you have recommended earlier? Thank you again! :)
  4. macs4nw, Oct 29, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016

    macs4nw macrumors 601


    For light use, it will do fine. However consider that if your usage changes during the useful life of your MacBook, you can always add external storage, but won't be able to upgrade the processor. If you can live with that, I'd say go ahead with the above basic config. If you're not happy, you'll always have that two-week return window.

    Or as a happy medium you could just upgrade the processor from the basic 1.1 GHz m3 to the 1.3 GHz m7.

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3 October 29, 2016