Should I get a MacBook Air 11", Air 13", or a MacBook Pro 13"?

I'm going to be a freshman in college this fall, and I need an upgrade from my old, slow PC to something I can use throughout my college years. My friends are all getting MacBook Pros, and all suggest that I should do the same (due to longer battery life, better storage, higher speed, CD drive, etc.). However, the Pro's are a little bit out of my price range. If I find that they are worth the extra money, I have no problem forking it over (especially with the student discount!). However, I haven't received very personal or specific advice from people who know what they're talking about (yet). I have been looking into the MacBook Airs, and from what I've read, they should be okay for my needs. I will be typing, reading, downloading, and using word documents frequently, uploading pictures and video (not a lot, and I could look into external storage for those), using iTunes, taking notes in class, and it needs to be fairly light and portable so I can carry it around campus with me.
If you would kindly give me your advice on which Mac laptop I should get, it would be greatly appreciated! The main issues are:
and ability to survive at least 4 years of college
Thank you!

2 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:


    I've been asking myself the same question. My circumstances aren't exactly the same but it boils down to pretty much the same thing - what's more important: form factor, storage space, zippiness, power, or longevity?

    I'm loving the form factor of the Air and have been leaning towards it because of this - size and weight just can't be changed. Honestly, I was hoping they'd blend the 13" Air and Pro in the most recent iteration but they did not.

    For now, the Air will suit all your needs but with storage compromises, as you mentioned re: external drives. The Pro seems like it'll be more sturdy though and will likely have a longer lifespan. I'm thinking that the Air might start to seem a little slow or non- upgradeable in about 3 years. However, if the hardware requirements don't keep going up, as they have been mostly curtailed in the last few years, you might still be okay for the fourth year or maybe even more. I'm looking at it as the Air is a premium 3 year purchase and the Pro is a sturdy 5-6 year one. You could always throw an ssd in the Pro to make it more zippy but that definitely won't declunkify it. You could always also throw a 256 GB and 8GB of RAM in the Air but then that just prices the thing up into a whole nother market.

    I'm stuck on the same point but am thinking I'll be happier with the Air strictly because of its form factor. This should also be pretty key for you, as you'll be taking around to lectures.

    As per storage, the other main hurdle, I have a 115GB ssd in my desktop and it's fine for space (I use about 50GB) but that's with about 250GB worth of data (pic's, vid's, music and doc's) on the 500GB external drive that I've got. I think the 128GB model will be fine if you're content with storing much of your heavy data externally, which I currently do just for safety and stability.

    I hope these ideas helped.

    • Answered by Ryan P from Toronto
    • Jun 19, 2012
  • The Macbook Air should be fine if storage isn't an issue with 128GB. I have a Macbook Pro 13inch retina and I absolutely love it. I bought the base model MacBook Pro 4GB memory, 500GB hard drive. I had always been a PC owner and had an optical drive so I thought I had bought what was best for me. A couple of days later I went back into BestBuy just looking around and fell inlove with the retina display, everything is so crisp and bright, just beautiful, I just had to have it, so they exchanged macbook pro for the 13inch model with retina display, 8GB of ram and 256 flash storage. I can certainly tell a difference in the speed and so many wonderful things in the upgrade. Now saying that, doesnt mean that there was anything wrong with the base model because there wasn't. It was a great machine also. Since storage isnt an issue for you and you said price range you may be better off getting the MacBook Air with 4GB ram, 128GB storage. I think personally that the Pro would last longer than the AIr, especially since you are going to be carrying it around every day, but the Air should meet your needs. I just wanted to be sure and let you know that you do get what you pay for and if you want to spend a bit more you certainly will get more than you ever imagined with the macbook pro retina, it is amazing. If you have any more questions I will be glad to help you find the Macbook that is right for you. Coming from a PC, any and I mean any Macbook you choose you will be asking yourself what took you so long because you will never go back to a PC again. Once you go Mac, you dont look back....

    • Answered by Rhonda S from Little Rock
    • Apr 19, 2013