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MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air?

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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-07-11 06:28 PM
Original message
MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air?
My MacBook seems to be dying a slow death. It has been shutting down unexpectedly and randomly. The space bar is losing it. This morning the airport wouldn't turn on until I rebooted it.

So, I am starting to look at replacing it. It's lived a good life, but I don't want to get up one morning and find it unusable.

Can anyone tell me what the major differences, advantages, disadvantages are between the Air and the Pro?
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-07-11 10:53 PM
Response to Original message
1. Right now, the Air has the upper hand. Still cost more overall, but not as much more...
Edited on Sun Aug-07-11 11:32 PM by onehandle
...for the power and lightness.

The recent update for the MacBook Air took it far, far ahead of its last update. Performance-wise, it's in Pro territory. As fast as the 13-inch model, but still behind the 15 and 17-models.

However, if Apple is on schedule, there should be a speed bump for Pros pretty soon... or not. Apple is expected to release redesigned Pros next year. People expect them to be thinner, but not quite MBA thin. Apple is selling a sh*tload of Airs (not to mention iPads) and I would not be surprised to see them skip the late MBP update and wait for next year's redesign.

The MBP has a built in optical drive (next year, I bet you it won't) and more ports. Pixel resolution varies depending on size between the two models, but the Airs are higher resolution overall. You can get a bigger drive on the MBP. An Air is limited to 2GB or 4GB of RAM. Pros can use up to 8GB (that's what's in mine). Lion recommends 2GB of RAM.

I have a two-year old 17-inch MBP and will likely get the new version next year (unless society has gone full on Mad Max). If I didn't require a very large screen that is portable (for graphic design) I would much more tempted by the Airs.

My wife currently has a 2008 iMac and the very first MacBook Air (both bought at the same time). I have just about convinced her to get a new MacBook Air and an Apple Thunderbolt Display to replace them both.

Right this moment MacBook Airs simply have the technical advantage over MacBook Pros, but the Pros still beat them in number of features and speed.

I honestly think that unless you are a 'power user' (which I seem to think I am) and can afford the premium, the MacBook Air is the right choice for most people.

You need to go to an Apple Store and mess with them to really make a call, IMO.

And read this: http://www.macworld.com/article/161434/2011/08/macbook_...



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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-08-11 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thank you very much for all that information.
I can't get to an Apple store and will have to order online, so I am pretty much boxing in the dark here.

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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-08-11 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Then I would carefully review the varying resolutions and think about the weight.
Edited on Mon Aug-08-11 11:32 AM by onehandle
The Airs have newer screens that are not only smaller, but have tinier pixels. So consider your vision as a factor. And antiglare screens are still available as an option for the Pros.

Also, you are paying a premium for the ultra-thinness and fewer features with the Air. How much will it be leaving home? Do you really need to save that extra couple of pounds or so?


On edit, The glossy screen Airs have less glare issues than the glossy Pros, due to how the screens are constructed (and the smaller size).


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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-08-11 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. I would like to tell you how I use my computer and see what you think.
It rarely leaves home and I have no issues with currently transporting my MacBook.

I use it for the internet mostly. My major concerns are speed, reliability and the ability to pick up and work with weak signals. I need to work between lots of windows open at the same time.

I use it outside a lot, so glare has been a factor with this machine. I also have limited electricity, so battery life is important to me.

I do watch some movies, etc, on it, but mostly via streaming and haven't used the cd-rom in quite a while. I like the option of hooking it up to my TV via HDMI adaptor, which I think the Pro has.

Anything I do offline, I do at a pretty non-technical level - creating and printing simple documents, file storage.

My MacBook runs hot, which has been an issue at times because I literally use it as a laptop.

Your help is much appreciated.
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-08-11 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. One more thing - I have an IPad, so that is always available to me if I want to travel light.
But I really don't like the on-screen keyboard, so tend not to use it at all for the kind of internet work I do.
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-08-11 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Well, knowing you have an iPad, I would definitely lean towards the Pro.
You really get more for the money. You have to get the HDMI connector from a third party. I got one off of Amazon for mine from Monoprice pretty cheap (video only, was about 8 bucks. video and audio will be more like $30). I believe that the Thunderbolt port from either machine will do HDMI out with an adapter.

I also work with many, many windows open at the same time. Most of the time, I have my MBP paired with a second monitor. I find two monitors to be the most efficient way to work. If you presently have a 13-inch screen, you could stay with that, but for a main machine, I would recommend a 15-inch.

As for glare, I mentioned that antiglare is only available on the MBP. It's only on the 15 and 17-inch models. For some reason, it's $150 more on the 15 and only $50 more on the 17.

Yep, laptops run hot. Some more than others. Video is the biggest culprit. I have found that by restarting and clearing your memory, that the machine tends to run cooler. I would invest in a laptop pillow or just carry a towel or something to keep the heat from your own lap.

Picking up weak signals? I would think a bigger machine, would have a bigger antenna, but that is just an assumption. I have not seen anything about a real-world difference.

Battery power? The 15 and 17-inch MBP are ahead here.

You didn't ask, but if I had the money ($500 to $1100 more), I would go with a solid-state drive on the MBP. Much, much faster. Longer battery life.

And on a portable, always... always get AppleCare.
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-08-11 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Great stuff, onehandle. Looks like the MBP is probably the way I will go. One more
questions, if you don't mind. When you say "wipe the memory", what exactly do you mean?
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-08-11 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I meant restarting and clearing the memory as a single action.
The longer you use any computer, even iPhones and iPads, the more the data held in RAM gets 'messy.' A computer's operating system is designed to self clean up the memory in theory, but in practice, your memory will slowly fill. I find web browsers to be the biggest offender here.

I make sure I shut down and restart my devices every couple of days or so. That clears your memory and gives you a fresh start.
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-08-11 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Got it. I also do that every couple of days when I notice an overall slowdown in
page loading.

Can't tell you how much I appreciate your time, knowledge and advice here.

:hi:
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-31-11 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. And for the PAD I'd suggest an external blue tooth keyboard
it works like a charm
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 12:15 AM
Response to Original message
10. For the uses you describe, I'd guess the main thing that matters to you is screen size
With the air, you're paying for flash memory, and I'm not convinced it's a good investment, unless you're likely to gimp your hard drive by rough handling of your notebook

I like OSX and I own several macs. But apple continues to irritate me with its attitude towards connectors and user-upgrade. "Thunderbolt" means mostly: "you want to connect to your existing hardware, then buy an adaptor from us." Shortly after I got my white macbook, for which a user can easily upgrade ram and harddrive, apple began making user upgrades harder. It looks to me like user-upgrade is more or less impossible for the macbook air or pro. And the more I learn, the more overpriced mac looks to me

If I were determined to buy another mac notebook, I'd probably go with the lowend macbook pro at $1200. But I'd really think twice about it: I could get a macmini with 4GB ram for $700, a generic 22" flatscreen for another $100, and adding a keyboard, mouse, and the %2#$! apple vga adapter for another $100 would only take me to $900; then I could probably buy a non-mac 15" 3ghz laptop with 4gb ram for <$400 and put linux on it -- then I'd have a decent work machine with a nice screen plus a decent sized laptop for about $1300. Hell, for $1200 I could build myself a perfectly decent work machine with a 22" screen, plus buy myself a non-mac 15" 3ghz laptop with 4gb ram for working on the back deck, plus get a little $250 netbook to keep under my front car seat for webbrowsing when I ate out alone
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. My husband has been pushing a non-mac laptop with Linux, but I couldn't be less interested.
See, here is the issue. I do not understand much of what you are saying in your posts. Not because you do not communicate well, but because you are speaking a language I am not fluent in.

I am not a stupid person, but I don't want to fight with my computer... ever, My MacBook loves me. I have anthropomorphized it. It has a name. I am going through a grieving process as I watch it slowly die.

I am going to get another Mac.

:rofl:
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Then consider the possibility that your problem may be something as simple as
some corrupted files or a damaged harddrive

Get out the little manual that came with your white macbook and run through the trouble-shooting routines: repair permissions and reset the PRAM and run the hardware test and so on. Some of those tricks have saved my scurvy ass more than once

If none of that works, save all your important files to a flashdrive, then save all your important files to another flashdrive, and then COMPLETELY REINSTALL OSX

If that doesn't work, get somebody to check your harddrive to see if it's damaged. Maybe you just need a new harddrive: you've picked this machine up and put it down a lot -- lil bump, lil bump, lil bump ... -- so your harddrive could be damaged. You could check this yourself but it doesn't sound like you want to: it isn't hard

That's a few hours of your time (and maybe some money -- but a whole lot less than the cost of a macbook air or pro)
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. You are right and I will put in some time before I dump it.
This machine has been more than just bumped around. It has flown across the boat in rough seas. It also has cracks in the cover around the key board and lives in a pretty harsh environment (sea air). There are sugar crystals behind the screen from a tea spill I am amazed that it works at all, lol

And it's still been a reliable workhorse for a long time.

So, I will try some of the things that you suggest and give it another chance.

Thanks so much for your help and advice.
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-28-11 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. PS, when you DO buy your mac, check their refurbished page.
I've gotten two that way and saved a couple hundred bucks.

Absolutely identical specs as the brand spanking new units.

Offerings change hourly, but they usually have one of whatever you're looking for.

I have on order one 11" Air with 256Gig SSDrive and 4 GB ram, and the faster i7 processor, and a perforated Incase cover, black.

Refurbished: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac?...

:hi:
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-28-11 12:50 AM
Response to Original message
14. Hey there, I'm on my second Air with a third on order. Ask me anything!
Hi there!

I've also got a brand spankin' new MacBook Pro for comparison.

My second and still new Air has an 11" screen and superfast Solid State Drive.

It wakes up instantly, looks for a signal and you're on the net in ten seconds or less.

Videos don't stall, only web-streams if the server or your connection is slow.

MBPros and the new Airs both that Thunderbolt ports- these are the fastest data ports ever, so if you're transferring a file it's superfast.

Both have a video out, backlit keys, the 13" Air and the MBP have card readers, the 11" Air does not.

The Air does NOT have a DVD drive, but they sell a slick little external drive.

I LOVE my 11" Air, the MBP is for running BootCamp and working on videos and AutoCad and things like that.

For everyday use, the air is the bomb digity!

Lighter and more portable than the iPad2, IMHO.

The only drawbacks to both units are that to be truly portable and on the web you need an external card (ATT laptop connect, for example), unlike some PCs that will accept an internal card or the iPad2 that can be had in a 3G version.

:hi:
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