Pros and Cons of MacBookAir and MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by Captain Oveur, Jan 2, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    I'm looking at getting the Mac Book Air 15" when it's supposed to be released (rumored to be around April). My heart wants to do it, but I want my head to be on-board too.

    A couple of angles I'm looking for:
    1. Experiences from people who have switched from PC to Mac, what they think.

    2. Comparison between MB Air and MB Pro. Size/weight hasn't been an issue with me, but there's something about the MB Air that I really like. Mostly concerned about durability, as I have read in MP and other places from people who mention the MBs can be a little flimsy in terms of its frame.

    If it matters, the laptop would be my main computer, used for Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Live Audio/Video streaming (mostly downloading, not uploading).

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I used PC exclusively until three years ago when i switched to MAC and have been a true believer ever since. I am now writing on a MacBookPro 13" which replaced a Lenovo ThinkPad 15". I have since bought iPad 1 and iPhone 4 that have acted to deepen my conviction that this is the way to go. I went with the MacBookPro only to get the optical drive, which i have used exactly once in 15 months. Next time it will be MacBookAir without a doubt.

    Today I have Windows 7 operating on VMware Fusion 3. I have used Windows apps less and less and less as other options have become available. I last booted up Windows six months ago, and do not expect to do so again, sicne both my essential Windows apps are now available in Mac.

    I do not miss a single thing about Windows. Mac support is incredibly good. When I screw something up I call the local Mac support number whereever I happen to be (last year included Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Miami; I am trouble prone) In each location they answered within a ring or two, spoke to me in English or Portuguese and fixed my own mistakes)

    To my way of thinking the MacBook Pro has only the optical drive in it's favor. I like solid state drives and don't need an optical one any more.
     
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  3. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    The Macbook Airs top out at 4 gigabytes of memory. Mac OS is said to be a memory hungry operating system. That makes it difficult to run a Windows virtual machine at the same time as the Mac OS. The Pro line can go above 4 gigs. This issue stopped me from buying the Air this past year -- I'm a software developer and a substantial portion of what I do would require a Windows VM.
     
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  4. Tummy

    Tummy Active Member

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    I got the latest MB Air 11.6" about 4 months ago. It's my 11th Apple laptop and the best I have ever had. Formerly I used IBM Thinkpads and Toshiba Portege sub notebooks.

    I have the model with 4gb RAM and 128gb SSD. I run Parallels 7 with Windows XP VM and Sharepoint Designer almost everyday. It also runs Windows 7 Enterprise very well (32bit). The VM actually runs faster on my air than my i7 iMac with 16gb memory, but a traditional spinning disk hard drive. If you're are using Visual Studio then I would say to get a desktop computer with a SSD.

    I have it connected to a 24" cheap LCD and it works great using a VM, Word, Photoshop, and Safari all at the same time. This is my first computer with SSD and I think I will never get a traditional disk again.

    The aluminum unibody construction feels very high quality and much more rigid than plastic computers.
     
  5. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    That just reads scary. I hate my Windows 7 Thinkpad with a passion at times, but I am yet to require any sort of help at all while traveling.
     
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  6. ACMM
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    No issue whatsoever with the Air in this house for 6 months. Unsure why the frequent issues from the other poster.

    (Posted from my milePoint enabled iPhone)
     
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  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Thinkpad X series convertible tablet --> MB Pro 15" --> MB Air 13"

    Nothing flimsy about the Air, but since I pay for them with my own dollars, I tend to treat them better than my coworkers handle their craptacular Dell laptops (I have one of those, too... locked in my desk at work).

    Since the Air goes with me wherever I go, I love the portability, battery life, ... Even the processor is slower than that of my Pro, it feels quite a bit faster due to the SSD.

    OP, are you going to work natively in MacOS, or in Windows via Bootcamp or virtualization?
     
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  8. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Probably in the MacOS with the Windows Office compatibility package.

    Something I wasn't aware about was the limited capacity of the Flash/SSD drive only being 128gb right now. I would need at least double that with all the necessary media storage I have. I'm assuming that the rumored refresh in spring will include a larger SSD HD. Otherwise, Pro might be where I need to go.

    I'm not in a rush to get the MBA or MBP. Hoping to get MBA for the thin nature.
     
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  9. ACMM
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    Unsure what you are referring to. Mac AIR SSD here is 256GB.

    (Posted from my milePoint enabled iPhone)
     
  10. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    I used PC-based computers for 20+yrs and Macs for 10. Use of Microsoft Office between the 2 will not be a problem as I have to do this frequently with colleagues from my MBP to their Dells.

    In terms of laptops that I have had (Dell Latitude, IBM Thinkpad, Sony Vaio, MB and now MBP), the Apples are by far easier to use. They are solid machines, quick to boot up (unlike PCs) and nice video/screens. All-in-all, you pay more, but you get more. like jbcarioca, I have to say the service is very good. If you do get one, make sure you purchase an extended warranty -- not a bad price for an extra couple of yrs of precaution. Finally, as I am at a University, Apple offers discounts for both computers and Applecare, making the package all the better!
     
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  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Same here. I got my MB Air in March (i.e., it's not the latest model, but looks like it). And it's 256 GB.
     
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  12. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Tummy's information about running Windows in a VM should be considered more authoritative than mine (about it being difficult due to memory limitations) which was based on second-hand information.

    In any event, if you don't need a Windows machine (in which case a large number of competitors are about to come on the market) by all means plump for the Air. You get to own both a computer and a work of art.

    As a data point, I'm just wrapping up a project (I write software) for a boutique PE hedge fund that has elected to run the entire company on MacBook Airs (with studio monitors in the office). They have a couple of PCs for temps, but all the principals are fulltime Air users.
     
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  13. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I am occasionally running Windows 7 in a VirtualBox VM on my MB Air. I thought I would need it more often, but I really don't. In any case, I don't have any performance problems with my 4GB machine. That said, if my "life" (=salary) depended on running Windows 10 hrs a day, I'd probably go with a Windows laptop. I really don't think Windows 7 is a bad product, and MacOS has its own set of weirdnesses and quirks. For example, right now it's telling me

    terminal_error.png

    which is one of MacOS' incredibly "user-friendly" ways of telling me that I have reached the limit of processes (256, I believe). Another way it tells you that is with "
    fork: Resource temporarily unavailable"
    (the culprit for that is Google Chrome, which appears to be leaking processes in the latest version... right now I have 209 Chrome processes according to ps!)

    That said, MacOS is internally Unix-based, and that makes a lot of things easier for me.
     
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  14. emajy
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    emajy Silver Member

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    Switched to Mac 4 years ago and would not look back. Big Keynote user and like it much better then PowerPoint. Even made myself a Hackintosh netbook with an SSD for travel and it screams. Just make the break from Windows.
     
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  15. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    Also, note that the current issue of MacWorld has Mac Air vs MacBook Pro :)
     
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  16. Pizzaman
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    As others have said, current Air lineup goes up to 256GB HD. I'm a 9-year MBP owner, all 15". I run VMWare, and have for as long as I can remember. In the beginning, I used it every day. Now, I find I use it once a month or so. It runs Windows fine, but I don't miss anything about Windows.

    I'm actually going to switch to an Air when my current MBP reaches it's useful life. Or, more correctly, when someone who works for me breaks their machine beyond repair. I don't really need a CD/DVD drive for everyday use. Can just hook up a wireless one or use the desktop in the house if need be. I'd like to see them come out with an 8GB/512GB machine, but still holding my breath on that one.
     
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  17. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Sorry, I made a mistake on the 128/256gb thing.

    Still, I do need something more than 256 for an SSD, and I share Pizzaman's hopes for a 8/512 MBA coming out soon.
     
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  18. Pizzaman
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    If you really need lots of HD space and 8GB memory, there's NOTHING wrong with an MBP. I've just grown out of needing a lot of the things an MBP has as the Airs have grown up. And, my back could use the reduction in weight of my backpack. :)
     
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  19. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    I hear ya....if I needed a laptop right now, I wouldn't hesitate to go with the MBP.

    Right now, I do have the luxury of waiting, and wanted to see what user experiences have been.

    In the end, if MBA doesn't come out with a larger HD (have a hard time believing they won't), I won't lose sleep if I have to "settle" for a MBP.
     
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  20. kyunbit
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    kyunbit Silver Member

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    My reservation against against Mac is just the price. My current Thinkpad was bought at <$400, while a Macbook would cost 2-2.5 times as much. It means, even if I buy another laptop in 2 years I will come out ahead. For about the same price, I would always have better technology and the feel of a new computer.
     
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  21. TrueBlueFlyer
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    TrueBlueFlyer Silver Member

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    I posted this before but most people blamed it on me using an old laptop. Still, after having a 15" MacBook Air in Singapore for a few months (a passmedown from someone else in the office) I did have a problem with it getting extremely hot and freezing when watching YouTube videos or doing Gmail chat.

    I have since bought an Alienware 11.5" and its been great... computer did freeze once over a Gmail video chat which was weird and unexpected for a new laptop... but other than that it does what I need it to do.
     
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  22. COFlyerCLE
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    COFlyerCLE Gold Member

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    I travel with the 13" MBAir, and it replaced my 15" MBPro. Both have been amazing, and I've had no need at all to install Windows on either machine. The new version of Microsoft Office Mac 2011 is the closest version yet to the Windows version, and as a consultant, I can easily go back and forth between the Mac version on my laptop and the Windows version we use on the work PCs. It is fairly seamless. The MBPro is kind of heavy to travel with, so for me, the Air really has met all of my needs when I'm on the road, and I've gotten used to the slightly smaller screen from the Pro.

    In all honesty - everything seems easier on the Mac - whether it is networking, doc creation, file sharing... The only thing that I have not found a good Mac alternative for is Quicken. I think this is the last thing I have my home PC for.

    We've become strong Apple advocates at our house, so I think you'll really enjoy the Mac once you get started with it.
     
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  23. Pizzaman
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    Sure, but then overlay the cost of virus protection and other crap, er, helpful software you have to buy on a Windows machine. Total cost of ownership on a Mac is lower, IME. I spend zero time administering 12 machines for our company.

    And, because we don't have to deal with spyware, malware, underware, a 3-year old Mac will run faster than a 3-month old Lenovo without having to wipe the damn thing every couple of months.
     
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  24. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    The help I needed was with understanding new functions, not anything wrong. An unusual feature fo Apple help is that you can ask them anything and they'll help. Thus when I have any issue understanding a new function or feature i just call he help desk rather than look it up, unless the solution is obvious. I have had the odd issue with new software and they usually can solve those issues too. From time to time my helper will ask around for somebody who knows about my special issue with Statistica (for example). I have yet to encounter anybody else whose help desk will actually try to help with other companies software, but Apple does.

    I have never needed any help with anything Apple-specific.
     
  25. Art234
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    Art234 Milepoint Guide

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    I have a MacBook Pro 17 inch with 4GB and a 500GB hard drive as my primary personal computer now. I am using Office for Mac, and in the 15 months I have had it, I have had no major issues--and I upgraded to Lion myself without issue. I have VM Fusion 4.0 (recommended over 3.0 when upgrading to Lion) because the accounting program I use is only available for Windows.

    The biggest drawback I see in Mac is the lack of advanced software for certain applications, such as accounting, contact management etc. There is really no equivalent to advanced versions of Quicken (I use Rental Property Manager), or ACT (I use Daylight but it is very difficult to use).

    On the other hand, I have the iPad 2 updated to iOS 5 and an iPhone 4s, with iCloud activated, so that makes syncing much easier.

    Comparing the MacBook Air to the Pro, I think the only consideration other than storage capacity is the optical drive. I just bought my wife a MacBook Air for Christmas to replace a 17 in HP laptop running Win 7, and there is no looking back.

    Hope this helps.
     
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