13 Replies Latest reply: Aug 24, 2011 4:39 AM by JoeyR
Israelboy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I am a student and I already have an iMac but i want something that I can take to class my questions is what is more worth the price. A macbook pro or a macbook air. I really like the macbook air's design but i feel like I can damage it easily, but I really like how thin it is. The macbook pro is heavier and it is 200 dollars more but i do not mind spending that money to get the macbook pro if it is worth it, but if i can save 200 dollars and get something that is thinner i may as do so. Please tell me which computer I should buy.

imac
  • rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (46,990 points)
    We can't tell you which computer to buy without any real information. Please tell us the applications you intend to use and other details about how you intend to use your new notebook. As far as the MBA being robust enough it is very durable, every bit as much as a MBP. However with any notebook it will last longer if the owner takes proper precautions, i.e. proper carryying case, using where it's intended to be used (read the owners manual), and then taking care not to drop it or other abuses.

    Also there are countless threads asking identical questions to yours, you may want to spend a little time reading some over.

    Roger
  • Glen Doggett Level 4 Level 4 (1,835 points)
    It's not fair to compare only the Air and the Pro, they serve very different purposes. Instead compare how the iMac/Air combo works compared to the iMac/Pro combo. Do you need both the iMac and a heavy Pro laptop? (the iMac is basically a heavy pro laptop already).

    Consider your collection as a whole and what fits each purpose. Get the Air, if your main purpose you need is mobility. It's made out of Al, you can't break it. The main thing you have to worry about at school is theft, use a strong password, data encryption and some kind of recovery software like LoJack, and get an external hard drive with that $200 you saved to back up the hard drive.

    Look for the Apple Education Store discount prices for students.
  • Israelboy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    What I need is a notebook that I can write essay's on, play games on, and surf the web that is basically it.
  • rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (46,990 points)
    Depends on the games but for the other needs a MBA will be plenty of computer for that. There are a lot of people that play games on MBA's however I'm not one of them and don't know much about them other than 3D action games tax graphics cards. The MBA has a OK graphics cards however the MBA was never intended to be a gaming platform.
  • JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)
    +*It's made out of Al, you can't break it.*+

    Sturdy... yes. Unbreakable... no. You still need to exercise reasonable care. While an aluminum case is tough, the insides are still the same delicate components that you would find in any other computer. Dropping it might not break the casing... but the display and internals are still vulnerable.
  • JE13 Level 4 Level 4 (3,920 points)
    Theft is a worry, and the one problem with the MBA is that you do have to keep an eye on it, do have to close it up and take it with you when you head to the restroom as there is no way to lock it to a table (not yet at least). The Pro does give you a slot for a lock.

    If you think you can manage without the lock, I'd actually recommend an MBA 11". Why? well, because (1) you're probably hauling a lot of books in your backpack and there's no reason to make it any heavier. This is half the weight of a Pro. (2) Likely you'll want to take notes in class, and the 11" is tiny and fits on small desktops. On the other hand, if you're going to do some major gaming on the MBA, go 13". More power, storage, larger screen and much longer battery life. That's a plus there for a student. Under the right circumstances, the 13" can go 10 hours without a plug. I know students tend to fight over those plugs

    If you don't need the disk drive, want thunderbolt, or engage in really demanding gaming--or want that lock--then that erases most of the reasons for getting a Pro. There is, however, one very important advantage to the Pro for a student--you can upgrade it. So if you need more in the future--bigger hard drive, more RAM, whatever--you can change the Pro.

    MBA's are as they come. What you buy is what you'll have for the life of the computer. No changing them. I think that's the primary question you need to ask. What do you see as your future and the future purpose of this laptop?

    As for damaging the computer--any laptop can be broken or damaged, but the MBA's are tougher than they look. You're more likely to scratch and dent them then actually break them. I don't know that I'd recommend an MBA for someone making their way up Mt. Everest, but if you don't throw it around and keep it in a padded backpack, it should last you just fine. If you are going to throw the laptop around, then a Pro will be almost equally at risk. Remember, it's got a disk drive that can be dented or damaged. Its thickness isn't more armor, but more components.
  • rredge Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    yardenmichael wrote:
    What I need is a notebook that I can write essay's on, play games on, and surf the web that is basically it.


    Given that you have an iMac at home, I would consider either the 11" MacBook Air or an iPad, the latter with an app called Writer: http://www.informationarchitects.jp/en/writer-for-ipad/.

    If you go the MacBook Air route, I think that it makes a good deal of sense to get 4 GB of RAM, which means that the computer would cost $1100. Note that you have to make a decision about how much RAM you want at the time of purchase; it cannot be upgraded.

    If you go the iPad route, I think that you would do fine with 16 GB of storage, which would cost $500 for the wireless version and $620, plus a monthly data fee, for the 3G version. Apple is currently selling the original base iPad, which works perfectly well, for $400, which is $700 less than the base MacBook Air with 4 GB of RAM. If you go the iPad route and want a keyboard, although personally I find that Writer works very well for the kind of writing that you are talking about, I would suggest the standard Apple Bluetooth keyboard rather than the one made for the iPad.

    I have both devices. The MacBook Air is more versatile (more like a regular computer) but it is also a couple of inches longer and about a pound heavier. It is also most usable when set down on a table, whereas the iPad can be held like a fairly thin book in any orientation you find comfortable. Finally, if you are concerned about how long your device will run on its battery, the MacBook Air is good for about five hours with light use, and the iPad is good for about ten hours.

    I would suggest that you go to a store and spend a half hour or so with both devices to see what feels right given your needs.

    I might add that I don't baby either of these devices and am confident that they will hold up unless I drop them on the ground or spill coffee over them. I use Apple's basic cover with the iPad, which it needs because the screen is open, and I carry around the MacBook Air with no protection at all, having concluded that a sleeve doesn't actually offer protection and that a case defeats the purpose of low bulk, low weight. I've yet to have a single scratch on my Air, which by the way has rubber feet if you are concerned about the bottom being scratched.

    One caveat, I don't use these computers to play games and I have no idea how suitable they are from that perspective. I assume that it depends on the game, because at this point there is no shortage of games available for the iPad.

    Cheers

    Message was edited by: rredge

    Message was edited by: rredge
  • Israelboy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    i like the whole ipad idea but my sister has an ipad and for me it is hard to type on it. And I really do not want to carry a key board with me.
  • rredge Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    yardenmichael wrote:
    i like the whole ipad idea but my sister has an ipad and for me it is hard to type on it. And I really do not want to carry a key board with me.


    Good reasons to dismiss it as an option.

    If your sister uses her iPad to write, you might mention to her the Writer app that to which I referred. One of its attractive features is that it brings up a modified keyboard that is geared to writing. I have no connection with the company that makes it, but I am impressed with the product.

    Good luck with your decision and your studies.
  • zeno11 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    one point not made explicity here regards the durability and expandability of MBP. In the MBP you can change most of the internal components while in the MBA hardly any. For this reason, and the fact that is has more time in the market, it is probably a safer investment.

    My wife has a Macbook white bought in 2006 and it works well even today, mostly because the upgrade of RAM and SSD instead of regular HD. Be sure that the MBA in 2-3years is a much worse machine than a equivalent MBP in the same time-frame.

    So, I think you should ask how much you want your investment to last. The MBP might be the best option, by far.

  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,315 points)

    Israelboy wrote:

     

    play games on

     

    3D games I assume. That pretty much seals a MacBook Pro 2.2 Ghz or better

     

    (not the 2.0 ghz model, it's got a last year strenght video card)

     

    Screen shot 2011-07-20 at 11.39.03 PM.jpg

  • JE13 Level 4 Level 4 (3,920 points)

    zeno11 wrote:

     

    one point not made explicity here regards the durability and expandability of MBP. In the MBP you can change most of the internal components while in the MBA hardly any. For this reason, and the fact that is has more time in the market, it is probably a safer investment.

    First off, this is an old thread started before the new Airs came out and I rather think Isrealboy probably made his decision months back and there's no changing it now. Second, given the new Airs--with thunderbolt--and given the fact that more and more virtual storage is avalible, I think the big plus of the pro--it's expandiblity, is becoming more moot, especially for users who are only writing essays and playing games. It's modest storage and even max of 4gb RAM might be quite sustainable.

     

    I had a 12" powerbook. It was never upgraded, and yet it's still going strong in the hands of a friend with very modest needs. Which is to say, longevity is not necessarily predicated on the computer's ability to be upgraded, otherwise my 12" powerbook, never upgraded, could not still be in use.

     

    And that's an 8-year-old computer I rather think that the even more powerful, and very solidly built 11" MBA, has a good chance of lasting up to 4 years, even if it's not expandable. Apple makes very long-lasting computers whatever the limits of their configuations.

  • JoeyR Level 6 Level 6 (8,275 points)

    DS... What is that translucent app on your desktop showing all of your system data.