Macbook Pro with Retina Display VS The Macbook Air

I am going to Technical College this fall for Web and Software Develop and am in need of a computer. I would like to build a computer and be be able to design it to fit my needs and wants but it would have to be a desktop and since I'm going to school, I thought it may be best to get a laptop. I was thinking about going with just an el cheapo "regular" computer but I've always wanted a Mac and never had one so now would be a good excuse to get one. I'm thinking about spending about $1500 and I'm not sure what to get. I'm thinking between the Macbook Air (configured to i7 and with 8GB Memory) or the Macbook Pro with retina display (i7 and 8GB memory). I am going to be writing code on it, using word, writing papers, and putting programs on it. I realize I need space but I'm probably going to just get an external drive when I reach that point. I would also like to use it for my own personal interests alongside of homework and school. Along with the programs for school, I would also like to run other creative programs like photoshop. I want to be able to edit photos, possibly edit some short films and eventually I want to get a drawing tablet for it. Obviously there will be a lot of web serving and other smaller tasks on it, but my main concern is just having something that won't crash on me, keeps up with me and will be able to get the job done and not take twenty years. So which one do you think is the better of the options? Or should I just get an el cheapo laptop and build my own desktop? I was thinking about building my desktop and getting an iPad (I would love that) but the iPad really seems impractical for taking notes and doing stuff in school.
Let me know what you guys think,

3 Answers from the Community

  • Answer

    I do programming such as C++ and python and I found that the 13" macbook pro w/ retina is excellent at it. For college, I think the 15" is just too big and heavy to carry around all day, so the 13" has the advantage there. You could get an i7 with 8gb ram and that suits my needs. I use photoshop for editing photos and such and it is really quick and smooth. The point is, the 13" macbook pro retina w/ i7 7gb ram configuration will be excellent for software, graphical design and the screen is really great.

    • Answered by Michael W from Bellevue
    • 18-Dec-2014
  • I've had both, the air first, then the MBP, and do heavy duty programming on it. The MBP is quite superior in viewing quality, speed, quietness (less fan noise). Downside is it just weighs a tad more, and I don't know how many text books you'll be carrying too.

    • Answered by Christopher S from Altamonte Springs
    • 19-Oct-2014
  • You would be best to get the 15-inch 8GB/750GB MacBook Pro with retina display.

    1. You can store way more on it than a MacBook Air

    2. It would be better than a MacBook Air for coding

    3. It's also great for the basics (ie Web surfing, typing documents, power points, and for playing games on.

    If you have a certain budget to go by, then check out apples refurbished section.

    Hope this helped

    • Answered by Hugh F
    • 01-Aug-2013