Should I get a MacBook Air 2013 or MacBook Pro 2012 for University?

Hi, I'm starting 1st year University in the Fall and have been contemplating what MacBook to purchase that would perfectly suit my needs. ATM I have an older white MacBook, but the screen is broken and battery needs to be replaced. On top of that, I want to purchase one prior to the ending of the deal going on right now (Buy a MacBook for University and get a $100.00 iTunes gift card). So it is kind of urgent.

What I'll be using the computer for are:
- Surfing the Internet (Email, Twitter, YouTube, a couple flash based online games)
- Watching movies and listening to music (I have tons of movies and music on my EHDD, but it requires the two USB ports being used to be beside one another due to short wires)
- Need long battery life
- Needs to last 3-4 years at least
- I'm looking for a snappy computer (Needs to run smoothly)
- Will sometimes hook it up to my television to watch movies
- Portable

So with my needs and financial standing, I'm looking at bass model MacBook Pro 13" 2012 or MacBook Air 13" 2013 (128 SSD or 256 SSD). Unfortunately, the Retina MacBook Pro is out of my reach. So please help me out here :(

4 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    Hi there,

    Quite honestly I would go for the MacBook Air with your needs specified. Since the MacBook AIr 2013 includes the new Intel Haswell processor chip, you get almost double the battery life (up to around 12 hours as advertised) and even faster speeds. For surfing the internet, watching movies, listening to music, a MacBook Pro 2012 without Retina is kind of too much to buy.

    Comparing the speeds of both laptops, the MacBook Air includes an SSD (Solid State Hard-Drive) which are tiny chips instead of a spinning hard-drive (HDD) to access information, in which the SSD dramatically increases the loading times. Because the SSD comes with the MacBook Air and the 500 GB HDD with the MacBook Pro, I would recommend getting the Air.

    Now in the long run, I would say go with the 256GB MacBook Air for the extra storage space since you'll be having it 3-4 years. Some owners I know say that they're definitely restricted in some way by getting only the 128GB.

    Short version:
    - Get the MacBook Air
    - 256GB for extra storage space
    - Better for your casual computing needs
    - Excellent for carrying around the campus.
    - Purchase a Thunderbolt to HDMI converter

    Have a great time with your new MacBook!

    • Answered by Jonathan C from Kingston
    • 12-Aug-2013
  • Roman,

    With what you have listed as your needs I would suggest a Macbook Air. It should be able to last you at least 3-4 years with a SSD. For the EHDD, it might be easier to buy an additional cable (one that can reach both USB ports on the MBA given that they are on opposite sides) to play your movies off of but a 256 SSD should be able to hold quite a few for a while. My suggestion is copy a few movies over to the SSD and then delete them when finished. If you want, pay the $100 to upgrade the RAM to 8G, but it isnt absolutely necessary, it will just help with running many apps at once.

    • Answered by Nathan F from Los Osos
    • 08-Jul-2013
  • Both are great computers and are more than capable for suiting the needs you mentioned above. If it were me I'd get the Air. Both will be fast but the new Air wins the battery life AND portability game by a lot. Also, the Air has a better screen in this matchup. I have a 4 year old MBP and it's still usable for editing audio and video. Both the baseline MBP and MBA crush my old 2009 Core 2 Duo MBP in terms of performance. You will have to get some new usb wires because the ports on the Macbook Air are one on either side of the unit. Personally I think this is an advantage.

    It needs to be said that the Pro is much more powerful and upgradable. You should upgrade the ram upon purchase if you get the Air. It will make the computer more attractive for resale if you end up selling it down the line.

    • Answered by Ryan B from Watertown
    • 20-Aug-2013
  • Listen to me because i have a lot of experience with those. It's a really hard decision, 2012 pros would be less and function just as well as a 2013 air. Airs aren't as good as the pros though, if you are going to walk around and your college a lot get an air they go for $999 - $1099. Pro's are in general better but bigger and bulkier. You could get one cheaper that $1099. But, for college i would get the air. I have one for school too and I think it's the best choice. Hope i can help.

    • Answered by Tony P from Fairfield
    • 23-Aug-2013