MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

  • BrownsTown

    Posts: 158

    Dec 07, 2011 3:31 PM GMT
    I have a 2008-ish 15" MacBook Pro that is slowly starting to die (keyboard freezes up regularly and I eventually have to reboot it ... a known issue with this generation).

    Trying to decide between a new 15-in. MacBook Pro and a 13-in. MacBook Air. Price difference is about $500. Love that the Air is so much lighter (I travel for work 6-8 times per year and that would be nice), but I HATE the idea that it doesn't have a CD/DVD player. A coworker has an Air with the USB plug-in CD/DVD player ($79). I could carry both around and they'd still likely be lighter than a Pro. But I cannot decide one way or the other. I do sort of want the bigger 15-in. screen, but it isn't a dealbreaker.

    Anyone here have thoughts/preferences? I'm totally open on this and appreciate any opinions!! icon_biggrin.gif


    P.S. A PC is not an option for me; both because of personal preferences and because I need a Mac for work ...
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    Dec 07, 2011 3:36 PM GMT
    I would go for the Air: there really isn't much of a reason to use a DVD player on the go any longer, but the lower weight and smaller profile are something for which you'll be thankful on a daily basis.
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    Dec 07, 2011 4:05 PM GMT
    BrownsTown saidI have a 2008-ish 15" MacBook Pro that is slowly starting to die (keyboard freezes up regularly and I eventually have to reboot it ... a known issue with this generation).

    Trying to decide between a new 15-in. MacBook Pro and a 13-in. MacBook Air. Price difference is about $500. Love that the Air is so much lighter (I travel for work 6-8 times per year and that would be nice), but I HATE the idea that it doesn't have a CD/DVD player. A coworker has an Air with the USB plug-in CD/DVD player ($79). I could carry both around and they'd still likely be lighter than a Pro. But I cannot decide one way or the other. I do sort of want the bigger 15-in. screen, but it isn't a dealbreaker.

    Anyone here have thoughts/preferences? I'm totally open on this and appreciate any opinions!! icon_biggrin.gif


    P.S. A PC is not an option for me; both because of personal preferences and because I need a Mac for work ...


    From an IT Professionals Perspective... I would go with the Pro. Lets just put it this way, things that are packaged smaller are more expensive. Although the Air is about the same price (maybe a $100 cheaper than the Pro), you are getting SUBSTANTIALLY less for your money. For about the same or a little bit more, you get a normal laptop with a CD/DVD drive, a much faster processor, more RAM, bigger screen, BACKLIT KEYBOARD, etc. The list goes on. Much more peripheral ports on the Pro... Trust me when I say, the Pro is the way to go... if you really are into the whole Macbook Air Fad and you wanna have it to show off to your friends and tell them you have such a tiny laptop but to be honest, I have a Sony Vaio Z Series and a MacBook Pro. I have no problem carrying my MacBook Pro everywhere I go... the 13'' is more than portable enough for anyone.
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    Dec 07, 2011 4:36 PM GMT
    I would hold off if you are deciding, there are rumors that Apple will be releasing a 15 inch Macbook Air in Q1 of 2012. These rumors appear pretty reliable.

    http://www.macrumors.com/2011/12/06/ivy-bridge-mobile-cpus-for-next-macbook-air-and-pro-models-due-around-may/
  • jim_sf

    Posts: 2094

    Dec 07, 2011 4:44 PM GMT
    Basket said
    BrownsTown saidI have a 2008-ish 15" MacBook Pro that is slowly starting to die (keyboard freezes up regularly and I eventually have to reboot it ... a known issue with this generation).

    Trying to decide between a new 15-in. MacBook Pro and a 13-in. MacBook Air. Price difference is about $500. Love that the Air is so much lighter (I travel for work 6-8 times per year and that would be nice), but I HATE the idea that it doesn't have a CD/DVD player. A coworker has an Air with the USB plug-in CD/DVD player ($79). I could carry both around and they'd still likely be lighter than a Pro. But I cannot decide one way or the other. I do sort of want the bigger 15-in. screen, but it isn't a dealbreaker.

    Anyone here have thoughts/preferences? I'm totally open on this and appreciate any opinions!! icon_biggrin.gif


    P.S. A PC is not an option for me; both because of personal preferences and because I need a Mac for work ...


    From an IT Professionals Perspective... I would go with the Pro. Lets just put it this way, things that are packaged smaller are more expensive. Although the Air is about the same price (maybe a $100 cheaper than the Pro), you are getting SUBSTANTIALLY less for your money. For about the same or a little bit more, you get a normal laptop with a CD/DVD drive, a much faster processor, more RAM, bigger screen, BACKLIT KEYBOARD, etc. The list goes on. Much more peripheral ports on the Pro... Trust me when I say, the Pro is the way to go... if you really are into the whole Macbook Air Fad and you wanna have it to show off to your friends and tell them you have such a tiny laptop but to be honest, I have a Sony Vaio Z Series and a MacBook Pro. I have no problem carrying my MacBook Pro everywhere I go... the 13'' is more than portable enough for anyone.


    This, plus you can upgrade some components on the Pro (namely, RAM and hard drive) without much difficulty. (The latest Airs have the backlit KB again, though.)
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    Dec 07, 2011 6:21 PM GMT
    What other specs are you looking at for these models? What functions do you need from your laptop?

    I would recommend the Pro. You're going to get a lot more longevity with that machine. I think you'll find that, in a couple of years, the Air just isn't going to hold up as well.
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    Dec 07, 2011 6:23 PM GMT
    I just bought the 13" MacBook Air and I love it. I had the original 11" Air but it was so slow. This one has the Core i5 and is super fast. Right now I have Skype, Chrome, Safari, Word, Excel, Pages, VMWare, TextEdit, a Terminal App, MSN, Nook, Fetch, and Photoshop open at the same time and it's still crazy fast I love it.
  • hockeyguy99

    Posts: 126

    Dec 07, 2011 6:25 PM GMT
    I have the 15' Pro now and love it. I feel like I would get way to frustrated with the Air having to carry around an external CD/DVD drive everywhere I go on the off chance that I might need it.

    Although the pro is a little heavier, it would be worth while having everything you need.

    Could you get by with the Pro and then pick up an Ipad to take into meetings and things when you don't need the entire computer?
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    Dec 07, 2011 6:50 PM GMT
    How often does anyone really use their DVD drive anymore? I haven't had to use physical installation media in *years.* The DVD drive is a wash when it comes to making a final decision. I would consider it negligible.

    It's a matter of what's important to YOU -- power vs. (ultra)portability. A laptop is a laptop is a laptop, and they're all portable, though some are FAR more portable than others. The Pro does have far more power on the graphics end, and is user-end upgradeable when it comes to RAM, HDD and battery. But I imagine you'd be signing up with Apple Care regardless, so the Air isn't as closed off as you might think.

    (And you'd be very, very foolish not to get Apple Care.)

    So if you don't have a need to run twelve programs simultaneously or work in graphics-intensive apps, the Air is a no-brainer.

    You're going to be paying out the ass regardless, so just make it count. icon_smile.gif
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    Dec 07, 2011 7:01 PM GMT
    I'm not up on the current specs - my 2008 laptop is still doing fine. It just needed more memory as software bloat advanced. Also recently needed a new battery.

    Back then, I couldn't figure out the "air." By specs, it was a weaker machine for $1k more money. Not sure where it stands now.

    For a laptop, smaller is better. A 15" screen is pushing it into a "luggable" range rather than a portable. The best form-factor laptop I've ever had was the 12" powerbook. It's just too obsolete to use for anything except a data logger any more. I wish they'd bring back that size.
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    Dec 07, 2011 7:05 PM GMT
    A bit off-topic, but I don't get all this griping about the "backlit keyboards." I see all kinds of stupid statements like, "any real power-user needs a backlit keyboard." Doesn't anybody know how to type any more? Especially a so-called "power user?"
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    Dec 07, 2011 7:13 PM GMT
    I've had my 13'' Pro for almost 2 years now. Never had a single problem out of it.
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    Dec 07, 2011 7:19 PM GMT
    Hope this helps.... the repair guy that i took my old mac to... told me to get the pro ... as in more bang for the buck. He did say that the air would take more abuse.... solid state drive or something. I went out and bought the pro..... of course as always it doesn't matter what mac you get.... it's all good.
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    Dec 07, 2011 7:46 PM GMT
    I have a MacBook Pro, 15" 2010 model. I really enjoy it a lot. Like you, I didn't like the fact that the Air lacked an internal CD/DVD drive. Also, the Air doesn't have the storage space that I'd prefer, where as the MacBook Pro has plenty. To address the weight issue, in my opinion, I'd much rather have a little heavier laptop with an internal CD/DVD drive and bigger screen, than carry two separate pieces.

    Love my MacBook Pro!!!
  • umphreak

    Posts: 43

    Dec 07, 2011 8:04 PM GMT
    Before anyone can help you answer this question, you need to explain what you use the computer for.

    And I'd take your computer into apple and see what they can do. They offered to REPLACE my old white macbook keyboard that I gave to my mom. For free. Never underestimate how amazing their customer service is. And if they shut you down, ask questions like "should I expect MacBook pros to [name problem]?". "why would apple make such products and not stand behind them?". And make comments like "this wasn't what I expect from apple" "this doesn't exactly make me want to invest another 2k on a new pro". Etc. if you are NICE and ask sincerely (not sarcastically) they may often just fix it for you.

    Also- you may want to pay for a new keyboard and then sell the pro. You'll get a decent chunk of change towards your new laptop.

    And finally, WAIT until the new pros come out in Q1 of 2012. Major refresh is expected, both with the new processor designs, max ram capabilities, SSD availability and scree sizes.
  • BrownsTown

    Posts: 158

    Dec 07, 2011 8:42 PM GMT
    Thanks for the great, insightful thoughts. They all helped enormously. I am going to go with the 15" Pro. I am often running a lot of applications at once (including things like Photoshop and InDesign) and I also hadn't realized that the Air has only about half the storage space of the the Pro.

    (I also want to do this before the end of the year, as I can write it off as a business expense for my freelance business.)

    I do use the DVD all the time on my computer—actually, I do all my P90X workouts on it—and it's so convenient to just pause, change windows to Excel and record my reps/weights and then hit play again.

    I also have an iPad and I do take that to some events, but I usually end up bringing my computer, too. Do heavy email and more complicated things in the hotel at night and use the iPad at the trade show to take notes, keep track of appointments, etc.

    Now, I can give my old Pro to the kids and let them use it for watching Pokemon videos online, lol.

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    Dec 07, 2011 8:44 PM GMT
    Basket said
    BrownsTown saidI have a 2008-ish 15" MacBook Pro that is slowly starting to die (keyboard freezes up regularly and I eventually have to reboot it ... a known issue with this generation).

    Trying to decide between a new 15-in. MacBook Pro and a 13-in. MacBook Air. Price difference is about $500. Love that the Air is so much lighter (I travel for work 6-8 times per year and that would be nice), but I HATE the idea that it doesn't have a CD/DVD player. A coworker has an Air with the USB plug-in CD/DVD player ($79). I could carry both around and they'd still likely be lighter than a Pro. But I cannot decide one way or the other. I do sort of want the bigger 15-in. screen, but it isn't a dealbreaker.

    Anyone here have thoughts/preferences? I'm totally open on this and appreciate any opinions!! icon_biggrin.gif


    P.S. A PC is not an option for me; both because of personal preferences and because I need a Mac for work ...


    From an IT Professionals Perspective... I would go with the Pro. Lets just put it this way, things that are packaged smaller are more expensive. Although the Air is about the same price (maybe a $100 cheaper than the Pro), you are getting SUBSTANTIALLY less for your money. For about the same or a little bit more, you get a normal laptop with a CD/DVD drive, a much faster processor, more RAM, bigger screen, BACKLIT KEYBOARD, etc. The list goes on. Much more peripheral ports on the Pro... Trust me when I say, the Pro is the way to go... if you really are into the whole Macbook Air Fad and you wanna have it to show off to your friends and tell them you have such a tiny laptop but to be honest, I have a Sony Vaio Z Series and a MacBook Pro. I have no problem carrying my MacBook Pro everywhere I go... the 13'' is more than portable enough for anyone.


    I went through the exact same reasoning when I bought my MacBook Pro a few weeks ago. The Air does seem "cooler", but at the end of the day, I want more bang for the buck, and the processing power of the MacBook Pro is just far superior. Why pay the same amount of money for less features?

    Also, I hear a lot of people saying "when's the last time you ever used your DVD player?" Well, as true as it is that Apple and other companies are wanting to make everything digital, we're not quite there yet.
  • jim_sf

    Posts: 2094

    Dec 07, 2011 8:56 PM GMT
    BrownsTown saidI am often running a lot of applications at once (including things like Photoshop and InDesign)


    Storage space, schmorage space. If you're running a resource hog like Photoshop along with other things, then the Air is underpowered for your needs, period.
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    Dec 07, 2011 9:01 PM GMT
    I got a macbook air this summer because I needed to have portable access to the internet, with full software capabilities and a full keyboard. I got the external DVD drive, and I keep it at home and load things when I need to. Granted I do most of my work and archiving from my desktop at home, and that was why I was more willing to compromise on storage space and have the portability of the Air. I just didn't need a souped-up laptop.

    Otherwise the Air is super fast and super durable. No problems on speed at all. The extra portability is surprisingly nice. I keep it in the side pocket of a loose leaf binder that I use for meetings.
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    Dec 07, 2011 9:03 PM GMT
    Ps. I use that DVD drive only about once every three months. I think disc drives of all forms will gradually give way to flash media and online content.
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    Dec 07, 2011 9:06 PM GMT
    westanimas saidI got a macbook air this summer because I needed to have portable access to the internet, with full software capabilities and a full keyboard. I got the external DVD drive, and I keep it at home and load things when I need to. Granted I do most of my work and archiving from my desktop at home, and that was why I was more willing to compromise on storage space and have the portability of the Air. I just didn't need a souped-up laptop.

    Otherwise the Air is super fast and super durable. No problems on speed at all. The extra portability is surprisingly nice. I keep it in the side pocket of a loose leaf binder that I use for meetings.


    The Air is definitely durable... have flash memory makes is super quick and impossible for a spinning hardrive to get scratched
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    Dec 08, 2011 3:48 AM GMT
    ya go for the Pro, later on you can also buy the Cinema Display and connect it to your MBP. Im saying this because it seems like you are interested in graphic design
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    Dec 08, 2011 3:52 AM GMT
    Fuck 'em both!

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  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 08, 2011 3:53 AM GMT
    Pro.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 08, 2011 3:53 AM GMT
    BrownsTown saidI have a 2008-ish 15" MacBook Pro that is slowly starting to die (keyboard freezes up regularly and I eventually have to reboot it ... a known issue with this generation).

    Trying to decide between a new 15-in. MacBook Pro and a 13-in. MacBook Air. Price difference is about $500. Love that the Air is so much lighter (I travel for work 6-8 times per year and that would be nice), but I HATE the idea that it doesn't have a CD/DVD player. A coworker has an Air with the USB plug-in CD/DVD player ($79). I could carry both around and they'd still likely be lighter than a Pro. But I cannot decide one way or the other. I do sort of want the bigger 15-in. screen, but it isn't a dealbreaker.

    Anyone here have thoughts/preferences? I'm totally open on this and appreciate any opinions!! icon_biggrin.gif


    P.S. A PC is not an option for me; both because of personal preferences and because I need a Mac for work ...


    get a pro.