Which Mac/iPad Combination For Incoming College Freshman?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by caleba94, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. caleba94 macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2012
    I'm planning on buying a Macbook pro for college, which I start this fall. Should I get the retina or non-retina display macbook pro? Also should I get an iPad? Would there be a big difference between iPad 2 and iPad 3?

  2. Prof. macrumors 601


    Aug 17, 2007
    My advice: you should get the best MacBook Pro that you can afford.

    As for the iPad, don't bother. One of the worst investments you can make, especially if you have an iPhone.
  3. djmoody macrumors regular

    May 13, 2012
    If you get the 13" pro or the 15" retina, I'd wait a couple weeks before getting an Ipad to see if you really hate lugging around either computer. I had a 13" MBP, and didn't feel I'd need a tablet till I sold my 13 incher for a 17" pc last year.
  4. Ryan1524 macrumors 68000


    Apr 9, 2003
    Canada GTA
  5. caleba94 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2012
    Yeah, I have an iPhone 4. I like the extra screen space of the 15'' and with the $200 off the new retina display it's only $1999 which for a computer that should last me all 4 years and maybe more that's not that bad. Does anyone have the retina display? and do you like it?
  6. djmoody macrumors regular

    May 13, 2012
    Well, my brother got his today[ordered launch day](he's about to start college as well, I'm on my 4th year at my university), I actually wasn't planning on buying one, but I went with him on saturday to the AppleStore and played on their display units while he bought some accessories, it was enough to make me go home and order one that night.
  7. BlazednSleepy macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2012
    All you need is a macbook pro. Get the retina if you can.
  8. shanimal macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2011
    The retina MBP seems to be having a lagging issue (correct if wrong. I usually get spend all my time looking a reviews about new gadgets but i get depressed cause i want this one sooo bad and cant afford it :(), and i dont know if it is software or hardware. If its software, then I would say to spring for it if:

    -You dont mind not having a optical drive (classes may require you to watch a dvd...lol idk. You can always get an external drive though.)

    -Not being to upgrade RAM or SSD(?)

    -Not being able to eat for a couple weeks due to $600 price bump

    An iPad is cool, but i wouldnt buy one unless I had lots of money to spend... *whispers* I dont...

    It is a lot easier to whip out the iPad when waiting for your next class and watch a movie. Plus the retina display on the iPad 3 makes it even better.
  9. caleba94 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2012
    Is the 15'' to big for college or have others used it just fine?
  10. Feed Me macrumors 6502a

    Feed Me

    Jan 7, 2012
    Location Location
    I'm in the same position as you.

    I'll be taking my iPad with an apple wireless keyboard, and a retina MBP.

    I figure that if the MacBook is a bit cumbersome to carry around all day, I'll use the iPad + Keyboard combo for taking notes, etc. With iCloud it'll hopefully be a pretty seamless way of getting things done.

    I have heard reports of people using 17" laptops at university just fine, so I imagine you'll be able to survive with a 15" just fine as well. A 13" MacBook Air would however be the prefferred choice, of course.

    I personally plan on simply carrying my MacBook around for a day or so to see if its size gets in the way or hurts my back, or whatever. If it does, I'll switch to the iPad arrangement above. :)
  11. luked14 macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    I've used both a 15" MBP and 13" MBA in school and the Air was definitely easier to carry around. However, the new RMBP shouldn't be too big considering how much thinner and lighter it is.
  12. heloise macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2012
    I just finished my freshman year at college. I would absolutely not get an ipad if I were you. None of my friends who have them use them frequently. I just got my RMBP (to replace my 13" air) and I love it. If I were you I would go for that or do an 11" air and desktop combo (esp. if you are into gaming).
  13. Ryan1524 macrumors 68000


    Apr 9, 2003
    Canada GTA
    15 is perfect. 17 is too large to carry around - most bags don't fit. 13 is too small for reading and paper-writing.

    Air + Desktop is not a bad combo, but then you'd have to manage files between two computers. Not a big deal with cloud services, but it's just one more thing that gets in the way of your work. One computer is more than enough.
  14. edk99 macrumors 6502a

    May 27, 2009
    - They make external DVD drives - Non issue.
    - Order it with 16gb of RAM - Non iussue
    - Upgrade SSD - Ok maybe an issue. Should have 3rd party SSD replacements in a few months so we will see
    - $600 Price bump? From What? I just spec'd out a 15" non Retnia MBP with same processor, 8gb Ram, 256 SSD and Hi res screen and it was $2499. It seems a similar rMBP is $300 less :rolleyes:
  15. shanimal macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2011
    yea, youre correct. I was overlooking that the rMBP comes with a SSD and the Legacy doesnt. :D:D


    OK, easy a quick answer :eek:

    I would get retina because:
    -No OD is not a huge problem with external drives available.
    -You can scale it back down to non-retina resolution so no performance hit when on games (correct if wrong)
    -Looks better than Legacy (not that it looked bad)
    -Shiny n ****

    iPad 3 is better than they iPad 2 because:
    -Better rear camera
    -Retina display
    -Has 4g (Option, and you need data plan)
    -Better processor

    I would go for a third gen iPad if money wasnt a problem... but it is
  16. Rockadile macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2012
    What are you going to be using it for?

    I've seen other students with 10' netbooks doing just fine. I also see a lot of 13' macbook and MBP :)
  17. djtopcat macrumors newbie


    Apr 20, 2011
    Seattle,WA USA
    Do not buy the retina yet!

    If you're an incoming Freshman and mommy and daddy are flipping the bill by all means get a maxed out Retina. Lol
    If however you are paying your own way, student loans etc there's no hurry
    they are not going to sell out. I guarantee by the end of August you'll have all the info you need to make an informative decision on whether plunking down 3k is worth it.
    I personally would rather wait and get feedback on these things after a few months. I'll let the impatient Apple Fanboys be the guinea pigs.
    Also sometimes students get package incentive deals around the time school starts.
    You could be missing the chance to get a crappy HP printer free or maybe a free adapter that Apple
    should have provided in the first place! :)
  18. AppleDApp macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2011
    The big question is what are you going to be using it for. I say if you can't get a computer with a screen big enough to have a webpage and a word processing app open simultaneously, don't bother. Two years ago I bought a MBP to finish high school. Soon after that built a windows PC with a 19" display. I then started college last fall and realized with all the textbooks I had it would be to heavy to also bring my laptop. So for all my work I would use the school's computer's with dropbox to sync all my documents. With that, I decided to sell both my macbook and PC to save up for an iMac. In class for taking notes I will either use pen and paper or my iPad.
  19. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011
    As a fellow college student (I was a freshman this last year) I would definitely say to get something in the 13'' range. 15'' laptops are great, but for all the moving around you do I think 15'' is too big for a college student. This last year I had a 15'' MBP, but I only had that used as a desktop as I also have an 11'' Air, which is absolutely perfect for a college student. Personally, I don't see much use for iPads at all in a college environment. I feel like many of the people that use them in college simply use them because they have one. Certain things are useful on iPads, but it's not really a productivity device and that's what you're looking for as a college student.

    Instead of a Pro, I would highly recommend a 13'' Air. There is something about the Air, and many will agree with me on this, that is intangible and makes it fun and great to use. The light weight and thin frame make it a more enjoyable, portable laptop to use. Also, SSD's are damn amazing and HDD's will only cause you problems. If you really feel you need a disc drive, get a Superdrive, but really think about how often you use a disk drive. Many people will say the Air is underpowered, but unless you plan on doing hardcore gaming or something extremely intensive, which 99% of college students don't, the Air will be more than powerful enough for your tasks everyday. However, if you're set on a MBP, I'd get the 13'' with 8GB of RAM.

    This is all my opinion, but me being a college student as well as significant time spent with all of these laptops helps :)
  20. Zzari macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    Currently a junior here and looking back I would suggest the 13" Air as the best laptop for a college student. Get the i5/8GB/256GB combo and you should be set for the next four years. Throw in an external 1TB USB 3.0 drive (for movies, music, pictures, etc.) and order an external DVD drive from Amazon (Superdrives are crap speed). Definitely recommend utilizing Dropbox and/or other cloud-based storage solutions so that you can access your work from any computer (i.e. at the library if yours runs out of battery, or if you need to use a Windows PC for something, etc.)
  21. Cubeeless macrumors regular


    Apr 6, 2012
    I would buy a mbp 13 and ipad 3

    Hook up the mbp to a external display.
  22. Rileyx2 macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2012
    I am starting college in the fall as well and have been debating the same issue for the last few days. I was fortunate enough to have a 13" MBP (Early 2011) and an iPad 2 my last year in high school. When I purchased the MacBook a year ago, I was also considering the 13" Air. (I chose the Pro in that case because I needed the ability to run DVDs and I wanted the Thunderbolt and FireWire connections.)

    However, after carrying around the 4.5 pound machine (and the lighter toy) for a year, I feel that the Pro is the way to go at this point. The Air is nice, and if that suits your computing needs for your path of study, go for it! There isn't really much of a need to carry the extra pound and a half (or more for bigger MacBooks) if you don't need to. I looked at the new 15" MBPs (Retina and non-Retina) the other day at Best Buy, and I felt that even though they are much more powerful, that extra power comes at a cost: size. They both feel a bit heavy and I do not see myself benefiting from either one until I need a faster Mac. At this point, my best option is upgrading my MBP with an SSD (more for protection against bumps and other misfortunes than speed) and more RAM. Until the mythical '13" Retina MBP' debuts (if it does exist) or the Air is updated with much more power, I am sticking to the 13" MBP line.

    As for the iPad, I do not see a real "need" for one in college. Taking notes on it was mediocre (often annoying) in high school, and I preferred my MBP or paper over it. I did not have the luxury of carrying around a Bluetooth keyboard for notes and I feel like that is just a dumb idea, especially if you are going from classroom to classroom. It is a great device for many things (games, music, movies, web browsing, etc.), but not powerful enough to be truly conducive in the college environment. Digital Textbooks are the only real plus to one at this point.

    Sorry for making you read my full opinion. :eek:
  23. makefunnyfaces, Jun 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2012

    makefunnyfaces macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2010
    West Virginia
    Hey! I'll be starting college this fall, too. I suggest getting the MacBook Pro over the iPad because (imho) the iPad just isn't "there" yet to be a standalone device. It's up to you what model MBP you want/need. I went with base Retina + 16gb because I love the new screen and it will be plenty for the next four years. If you can afford to get both, do it! The iPad is such a wonderful device for reading/games/email/surfing the web.
  24. caleba94 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2012
    Yeah, I've decided I'm going to go with the Retina Macbook and no iPad. Thanks everyone.
  25. FastEddiebags macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2012
    Its fine... your books will weigh more than it.

    Source- 4 years of personal experience

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