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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

mbp vs air


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Smalltowntech

 
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Member Since: May 05, 2012
Location: Central CA
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Mac Specs: MBP 15, 2.2ghz, 4G ram 10.9

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I currently have a 15"mbp that I picked up last May as my first mac. I have to say I really enjoy the operating system and the apps so far. I have a dilemma coming up and was looking for input from those of you who have experience working on a mbp and an air. At some point I will probably be switching out my 15" mbp for a newer 13" air and I was looking for advice on ease of use, readability, and speed.

Currently I teach at a local high school and utilize my laptop to work on my school stuff and occasionally for connecting to a projector to run some third party presentation software. I do currently play some computer games on my laptop but would not be running those on the air. It would be primarily for internet, pages, numbers, etc. that I use day to day in/out of the classroom. At some point I would also be picking up an imac to handle any heavy computer needs at home, but I was thinking the air would give me a lighter option and more portability.

I realize that I will be giving up some power and screen space and was wondering if any of you who have used both platforms could give me some insight. I do plan on going down the apple store and trying the air out long before I buy it but I was looking for any personal experience some of you may have working with both laptops.

Any information would be appreciated.
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chscag

 
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Member Since: Jan 23, 2008
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Mac Specs: 27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, 3 iPods, OS X Mavericks

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I've tested both the 13" MBA and the 13" MBP. The difference in size and weight is negligible. The 13" MBP is faster, upgradeable, and has an optical drive. And... you can always pull the optical drive and replace it with a SSD. No way would I choose the 13" Air over the 13" MBP.

Now, if you're considering buying an 11" MBA, that would make it a different ball game. The form factor is smaller, thinner, and lighter than the 13" MBP which gives it greater portability.
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IvanLasston

 
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Member Since: Feb 26, 2010
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Mac Specs: 1.8 GHz i7 MBA 11" OSX 10.8.2

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I wouldn't call 1.5 pounds negligible. (4.5 lbs vs 2.96 lbs) If you aren't moving around a lot I could see it - but schlepping an extra 1.5 pounds can be significant. Even dropping from the 2.96 of the 13" MBA to the 2.38 of the 11" MBA is something if you travel a lot.

If you are talking retina - then it is 3.57 lbs vs 2.96 lbs - and maybe that is more on the negligible side - but then you are talking significantly more money and no optical drive.

Note - I have an optical drive at home - but I haven't found a need to have one on the road at all.

Bottom line for the MBA line - you are paying more for less power - but you get enhanced portability. Flying 60,000 miles a year - I really appreciate a small light laptop for on the go.
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chscag

 
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Mac Specs: 27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, 3 iPods, OS X Mavericks

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I guess the weight difference (1.5 Lbs) (or feel of it) depends on how often you're carrying it around. I no longer travel about the way you do since I retired from government field work. I do all of my travel now by auto. And I absolutely need the optical drive when I'm away from the iMac at my home office.

I have given serious consideration though to the 11" MBA because of its size and ease of transporting. Again the drawback with that is no optical drive but for the size difference I could live with flash drives. Using my iPad 3 (Verizon LTE model, 32 GB) right now but IMO, it's not a substitute for a portable computer.
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IvanLasston

 
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Mac Specs: 1.8 GHz i7 MBA 11" OSX 10.8.2

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Well I went from a 6.6 pound 17" to the 2.38 pound MBA 11". As I said - even the 13" MBA wasn't light and thin enough for me. I am able to fit both my computer bag, and my carryon bag - under the seat in front of me. I've been on many crowded flights where I was running to try to get on standby. When I wasn't flying as much - I think I would have agreed with you on 1.5 lb not being that much.

From my travels - I have found the perfect setup for me is the 11" MBA paired with a Retina iPad. I can display documentation and presentations on my iPad - and do compute work on the MBA (Kind of poor man's or is that rich man's? dual screen) With Air Display - you can actually use the iPad as a double screen but it is slow.

chscag - I guess I would say I am really pleased with the 11" for travel. It pretty much fits in any bag that the iPad fits in (except for the absolute smallest bags) I'd highly recommend getting one as a travel computer. If you need a real mouse/keyboard then the 11" is great. I've found that - with the MBA and iPad combo - I can work quite a long time - as web surfing, email, etc I will use the iPad. When I need to run my VNC engineering apps I'll pull out the MBA. Plus if you truly need a CD drive - the super drive is .74 lbs - so it is still 3.12 lbs total if you carry an 11" MBA plus the super drive.
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Smalltowntech

 
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Member Since: May 05, 2012
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Mac Specs: MBP 15, 2.2ghz, 4G ram 10.9

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Thanks for your input so far. One of the concerns I had was that the mba would not be able to handle most of my computer needs. I am not sure I want to drop down to the 11" but I will definitely have to drop down by the store and test drive some of them to see what works and what does not. When I was looking at the mbp originally I was not sure if I wanted the anti-glare screen until I went by the store. After seeing the two screens side by side I went with the anti-glare in a heartbeat just to avoid the glare.

I also see what you mean by comparing the 13" mbp and mba cost wise. I am not sure if the idea of a solid state hard drive is appealing enough to justify going with the mba. Oh well, more things to ponder.
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