Trading up to a MacBook?

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I bought myself an iPad 2 about six months ago. I vowed that I would never do it, but I knew a few people who'd gotten one and I fell for the Apple magic. Obviously, because I'm a starving student without a whole lot of cash to spare, I had to make some sacrifices to get it. And because I was so caught up in that new-Apple-product enthusiasm, I decided to sell my Windows laptop and my Kindle 3G to get it. "It will do everything those things do!" I confidently asserted to everyone who would listen.

Don't get me wrong, I love my iPad, and I wouldn't trade back down to a Kindle for the world. But it definitely doesn't do everything a laptop can do - even a Windows laptop. When school started up again, it became an incredible hassle to do any kind of work away from the computer lab. I couldn't save files to a flash drive, access some of my classes' pages, or watch the hopelessly outdated WMV movies; printing a file involved ten minutes' work, uploading and downloading and converting on the decade-old Optiplexes.

I got a four-years-old Mac mini for practically nothing, which eased the problems somewhat, but now I feel like I have two devices doing what one could do before. I just use the iPad to walk around browsing the web and reading Flipboard or Zite; for everything else, I sit down at my desk or remote in with PocketCloud. So I'm really starting to wonder if selling both of these devices and upgrading to a MacBook wouldn't be the best idea. I can get a MacBook Air for $799 or a MacBook Pro for $929; the profits would just about cover it. And I'm almost certainly getting an iPod touch for Christmas, which will do the whole "walk around reading" thing (although I will admittedly miss the bigger screen!)

This was mostly just my brainstorming, but any thoughts or conclusive arguments either way would be helpful. :S
 

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I bought myself an iPad 2 about six months ago.

..."It will do everything those things do!" I confidently asserted to everyone who would listen.

Yeah...this is what I and others tell folks all the time. An iPad is not a replacement for a laptop. It's a nice fun addition to a laptop...but not a laptop replacement.

So I'm really starting to wonder if selling both of these devices and upgrading to a MacBook wouldn't be the best idea. I can get a MacBook Air for $799 or a MacBook Pro for $929; the profits would just about cover it.

I'm personally not a big fan of the MacBook Air. Yeah it's really thin and light...but it has many expansion limitations (the new models you cannot upgrade the ram). And it doesn't have an optical drive (which even though I don't use it very often...I still like having one. So you have to buy the external optical drive if you need one.

I'm assuming you would be buying a used MacBook...since Apple no longer sells them (discontinued).

And I'm almost certainly getting an iPod touch for Christmas, which will do the whole "walk around reading" thing (although I will admittedly miss the bigger screen!)

It would sure be nice to have the $$$ from the iPod Touch to use towards the new laptop. IMHO...the iPod Touch is just a small iPad. And if you already have a "smart phone" of some sort...the iPod Touch is sort of redundant. An iPhone would be a better choice. I bought my wife an iPod Touch...and she doesn't even use it anymore since she has a Blackberry.

If you decide to sell your iPad...getting an iPod Touch just puts you back in the same boat when you had the iPad...but with the iPod Touch...you have a much smaller screen (of course it will fit in your pocket).:)

With what you mentioned...sounds like you would be much happier with a laptop...and maybe an iPod Touch. Maybe in the future when you have some extra bucks...you could get another iPad.

Just my humble opinion of course,

- Nick
 
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mknightretke
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I'm personally not a big fan of the MacBook Air. Yeah it's really thin and light...but it has many expansion limitations (the new models you cannot upgrade the ram). And it doesn't have an optical drive (which even though I don't use it very often...I still like having one. So you have to buy the external optical drive if you need one.

I'm assuming you would be buying a used MacBook...since Apple no longer sells them (discontinued).

Nope, I was thinking about an Apple-refurbished MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. The cheapest option of each is $799 and $929, respectively. I was leaning in the direction of the Pro myself, mainly for the optical drive, but I do like the thin and light aspect of the Air. Would I realistically need to upgrade the RAM? I mean, could I multitask on Lion with Pages, Keynote, iTunes, Preview, and a few Safari tabs? I don't plan to game much.

It would sure be nice to have the $$$ from the iPod Touch to use towards the new laptop. IMHO...the iPod Touch is just a small iPad. And if you already have a "smart phone" of some sort...the iPod Touch is sort of redundant. An iPhone would be a better choice. I bought my wife an iPod Touch...and she doesn't even use it anymore since she has a Blackberry.

If you decide to sell your iPad...getting an iPod Touch just puts you back in the same boat when you had the iPad...but with the iPod Touch...you have a much smaller screen (of course it will fit in your pocket).:)

I don't have an iPhone, because it's just too expensive! It comes out to thousands of dollars over the course of the contract, and the unlocked versions are just as cost-prohibitive. The iPod touch seems like a good "sweet spot" - it's cheap, at least compared to all the other iDevices, and it does most of what they do.

With what you mentioned...sounds like you would be much happier with a laptop...and maybe an iPod Touch. Maybe in the future when you have some extra bucks...you could get another iPad.

Just my humble opinion of course,

- Nick

That's the direction I was leaning toward. Sell my iPad for $450 and my Mini (with wireless keyboard, mouse, and LCD) for ~$400, throw in another $100, buy the MacBook Air and the iPod touch.

Any more advice on the Pro vs. Air, though?
 

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That's the direction I was leaning toward. Sell my iPad for $450 and my Mini (with wireless keyboard, mouse, and LCD) for ~$400, throw in another $100, buy the MacBook Air and the iPod touch.

Any more advice on the Pro vs. Air, though?

Personally, I find the Air to be far too limiting. 4GB of RAM isn't enough for me - especially when I've got Windows 7 running in a VM. And unfortunately, it's soldered in, without even so much as a factory option to bump up to 8. Although 4GB should be plenty for a student, I like to think of what my needs might be within the useful lifespan of the machine I'm about to buy. And I think before too long, 4GB will be a major shortfall.
 

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Nope, I was thinking about an Apple-refurbished MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.

You did say "MacBook" in your thread title & original post.;)

You mentioned $799 for a refurbished MacBook Air...I'm assuming you're talking about this one:

Refurbished MacBook Air 1.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - Apple Store (U.S.)

It only has:

- an 11" display
- 1.4ghz cpu
- 2 gig of ram

Like I mentioned earlier...the ram on a MacBook Air is NOT upgradeable...and by buying a MacBook Air with only 2 gig of ram...you're already sort of starting out with a "semi-obsloete" computer.

You mentioned $929 for a MacBook Pro...so I'm assuming it's this one:

Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.3GHz dual-core Intel i5 - Apple Store (U.S.)

This would be a MUCH MUCH better computer (IMHO)!!!

My vote would be for the MacBook Pro.

- Nick
 
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Personally, I find the Air to be far too limiting. 4GB of RAM isn't enough for me - especially when I've got Windows 7 running in a VM. And unfortunately, it's soldered in, without even so much as a factory option to bump up to 8. Although 4GB should be plenty for a student, I like to think of what my needs might be within the useful lifespan of the machine I'm about to buy. And I think before too long, 4GB will be a major shortfall.

You may be right. However, I'm currently running a Mini with Snow Leopard and 1 GB of RAM, and my only issue with it has been some lag while multitasking. 4GB would be a really major step up for me. 8GB...inconceivable! ;)

pigoo3 said:
You did say "MacBook" in your thread title & original post. ;)

Heh, I suppose I did. Sorry for the confusion.

pigoo3 said:
You mentioned $799 for a refurbished MacBook Air...I'm assuming you're talking about this one:

Refurbished MacBook Air 1.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - Apple Store (U.S.)

It only has:

- an 11" display
- 1.4ghz cpu
- 2 gig of ram

Like I mentioned earlier...the ram on a MacBook Air is NOT upgradeable...and by buying a MacBook Air with only 2 gig of ram...you're already sort of starting out with a "semi-obsloete" computer.

You mentioned $929 for a MacBook Pro...so I'm assuming it's this one:

Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.3GHz dual-core Intel i5 - Apple Store (U.S.)

This would be a MUCH MUCH better computer (IMHO)!!!

My vote would be for the MacBook Pro.

- Nick

The display is not a problem for me. I've seen it in person and it looks extra-crisp. I was, however, under the impression that it had an i5 (or at least an i3, maybe?). I can't check right now because the Apple Store has the "We'll be back shortly" thing going on. Core 2 Duo would mean it's last year's model, no?

The MacBook Pro looks pretty great, but for the extra $130, it basically means I have to choose between Pro or Air+iPod. >.<
 

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I do agree with Nick. If the Macbook will be your only system, the Pro would be the way to go in my opinion also. The air is not bad, but getting one with just 2GB with Lion is a bit low if you do any real multitasking. And any new Mac will come with Lion and there will be no option to install Snow Leopard at all. What the new Mac comes with OS wise is the oldest it will go.

So if you can, get that MBP.
 

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You may be right. However, I'm currently running a Mini with Snow Leopard and 1 GB of RAM, and my only issue with it has been some lag while multitasking. 4GB would be a really major step up for me. 8GB...inconceivable! ;)

My biggest issue with the "low-end" MacBook Air is the 2 gig of ram. Maybe you're running Snow Leopard at the moment with 1gig of ram on your Mini...with no issues. With the MacBook Air...it will either come preinstalled with Lion or eventually you will want to run Lion (either because you want to...or forced to for compatibility reasons).

"Lion" requires at least 2 gig of ram. If you get a MacBook Air with 2 gig of ram...you will only be meeting the minimum requirements...and the ram in the MacBook Air is NOT upgradeable.

There is absolutely no way I would purchase a computer with only 2gig of ram where the ram wasn't upgradeable.

- Nick
 

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But Nick, the MacBook Air is so cute..... ;) I'm amazed at the number of folks who have asked me about buying an Air and then said what they were going to use it for. I have to agree with you. The only Air I would even think of buying is the one that's fully loaded and that's more $$.
 
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I also am not a huge fan of the MBA. I can speak to the refurbished MBP. I bought the 929$ MBP which is 2.3 i5 4gb ram and 320 HD. If this is the same one you are talking about, then absolutely pick that mac. I don't know half the stuff about these computers that the other guys on here do, but I love this computer. I am using it for school, as well as editing pictures and videos and I haven't had a single disappointment. As to the quality of a refurb, it is outstanding! I did not find a single scratch on it whenever I got it in the mail. I have found just one thing that is different from the brand new MBP. It doesn't come with the MBP box, it comes in a blah whitish gray box. So if you want to pay a few hundred extra for that pretty box, then by all means haha!
 

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But Nick, the MacBook Air is so cute..... ;)

Yes...cuteness can really cloud someones judgement.;)

Then we see posts here saying..."I didn't realize that the MacBook Air ram wasn't upgradeable!"

- Nick
 

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Yes...cuteness can really cloud someones judgement.;)

Then we see posts here saying..."I didn't realize that the MacBook Air ram wasn't upgradeable!"

- Nick

CLOUD your Judgement? Cloud Computing? :D Grin

Sorry, I had to say it! :D

Yes the Air is cute and I would take it over any Netbook, but for a real powerful notebook, it's MBP for me.
 

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We really like our MBA, but we have some very specific requirements which it meets quite well. For one thing my wife is extremely limited in the weight she can handle; even a 13 in MBP is too much lifting for her back.

On the otherhand I see a lot of people gravitating to the air when a MBP would serve them far better, and dollars are limited. I guess that just shows the "power" of cuteness. ;)
 

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On the otherhand I see a lot of people gravitating to the air when a MBP would serve them far better, and dollars are limited. I guess that just shows the "power" of cuteness. ;)

Before Lion was released (with it's 2gig ram requirement)...I wouldn't have been so "hard" on the MacBook Air's with 2gig of non-upgradeable ram. But now with Lion's higher ram requirement...there will certainly be less ram available for applications. And in a couple years...who knows what we will need in terms of ram.

Regarding MBP vs. MBA price. Funny...a little over a year ago before the 11" MacBook Air was released...and before the MacBook was discontinued...the MBA was definitely over-priced. One was always able to get a better equipped MacBook for a lower price than the low-end 13" MBA.

- Nick
 

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I've moved your post to a more proper forum; please be sure to check the forum descriptions to find the best place to post.

By posting in the right forum you help people not only find your question faster, but it helps others looking for the same information in the future.

Thanks for understanding!
 
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Sure, cwa, I don't mind. I hope this isn't necromancing or retroposting or whatever you call it, since this thread is less than two weeks old, but feel free to correct me if so.

I just wanted to let you guys know that I did it. I posted my iPad and Mac mini up for sale on eBay, that is. I found a lovely refurbished MacBook Pro 2010 for $800, which seems like the sweet spot between the underpowered Air and the overpriced Pro '11. As soon as my things sell, I'm going to buy it - and the sales should almost completely cover the cost!

I've got a horrible leaden feeling in my stomach about losing this iPad, though. Still hoping to get an iPod touch for Christmas, so maybe that will dull the blow a bit. Please tell me I've made the right decision!
 

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Sure, cwa, I don't mind. I hope this isn't necromancing or retroposting or whatever you call it, since this thread is less than two weeks old, but feel free to correct me if so.

I just wanted to let you guys know that I did it. I posted my iPad and Mac mini up for sale on eBay, that is. I found a lovely refurbished MacBook Pro 2010 for $800, which seems like the sweet spot between the underpowered Air and the overpriced Pro '11. As soon as my things sell, I'm going to buy it - and the sales should almost completely cover the cost!

I've got a horrible leaden feeling in my stomach about losing this iPad, though. Still hoping to get an iPod touch for Christmas, so maybe that will dull the blow a bit. Please tell me I've made the right decision!

Have to say I think you are making the right decision. After you graduate and cash isn't so tight, you can treat yourself to a brand new iPad 3 or iPad4 (which ever by then). :)
 
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Sure, cwa, I don't mind. I hope this isn't necromancing or retroposting or whatever you call it, since this thread is less than two weeks old, but feel free to correct me if so.

I just wanted to let you guys know that I did it. I posted my iPad and Mac mini up for sale on eBay, that is. I found a lovely refurbished MacBook Pro 2010 for $800, which seems like the sweet spot between the underpowered Air and the overpriced Pro '11. As soon as my things sell, I'm going to buy it - and the sales should almost completely cover the cost!

I've got a horrible leaden feeling in my stomach about losing this iPad, though. Still hoping to get an iPod touch for Christmas, so maybe that will dull the blow a bit. Please tell me I've made the right decision!

Be straight with your family, ask them to give you an Apple gift card for the amount they'd have used to buy the itouch, then when you have extra money you can add to it & buy a new ipad.

My family frequently gifts me with things like amazon or newegg gift cards so that I'll have some loot when I need stuff
because they get confused trying to choose hardware for me.
 
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I think you've made the right descision. I have used ipads many times and they are great, but when i wouldn't have traded my old ipod touch for one. It does what the ipad does but fits in your pocket and, i personally used mine more than my phone at the time. I know it sounds like I'm just talking about the initial excitement of getting an ipod touch, but it was like this for 3 years, now I have a iPhone 4S and the ipod was given away. My point is you will really enjoy the ipod, and even if you miss the ipad a little bit th MacBook Pro is worth it.
 

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