MacBook Pro or Air?

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  • MacBook Pro or Air?
  • scrumfled

    A current spec air has quite a meaty throughput, so unless you’re doing high end video/photo editing you’ll be fine.If its just the occassional go-pro jobby, it wont be lightning fast but it’ll do it.

    4gb is plenty, 8 is better if you can afford it.

    if you’re storing “some” photos and “lots” of music, you probably want a drive size that holds some-lots 😉 or to put it another way, the OS will take ~5gb, you want to have plenty of spare space so allow 25gb. Now look at your existing photos/music folder and see how big it is….. add that to the 25ish gb and you can see what drive size suits.

    If you want the short answer, 128 is probably enough, 256gb makes sense, you can always archive off your pictures to a cheapy external drive.

    Im looking to renew my macbook pro soon and will probably just take on the air….


    I had a similar dilemma a few years ago, I went for the Air. Slightly less money, slightly lighter, didn’t need the extra power for the small amount of photo and video editing I was doing and the cash saved on the processor meant I could get a bigger SSD. I went for the 256Gb drive and it’s now full. You’d get away with 4Gb of RAM but it’s not user replaceable in the modern macbooks so get at least 8.


    Weight difference is almost negligible in real world terms (when you pick them both up) – or was for me when I went through this dilemma a couple of moths ago. Retina is amazing, although not all software is Retina-ready so some stuff looks pretty ghastly to be honest. I had to update my Office for Mac, for example, as the old Word looked terrible – all fuzzy. In the end I went Pro, and I’m very glad I did. Bit more robust and future-proof, I reckon.

    Premier Icon slowoldman

    I too would go for 8Gb and by the time you add that to the Air the price difference isn’t great. So, if size/weight aren’t much of an issue, I would go for the Pro. Mind you I would go for the non-Retina Pro with 1Tb hard drive and save a load of money. Which is what I did.

    Premier Icon footflaps

    I have a MBP and the wife has the Air. The Air is so much lighter. I wouldn’t buy the MBP again and just get an Air.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise

    photos – storing lots of photos!

    film / TV downloads

    Do not underestimate how much space these things take up on your HDD. My iPhoto library is 56Gb and I don’t believe I take an unusually large number of photos by modern standards. That’s probably 10 years worth of pics though. My wife’s photos are in another equally large photo library. I don’t think OSX is particularly economical with HDD usage, so if you don’t want to spend a lot of time keeping the HDD tidy get as big as you can afford.

    I’d also, personally, go with 8Gb rather than the stock 4Gb of RAM. Again iPhoto is a great example of a nice looking bit of software that does a job, but is quite resource hungry with large photo libraries. This time next year it will be the poor legacy cousin of Apple’s cloud photo library that’s on its way.

    FWIW I didn’t think the Retina screen is significantly better than the non-Retina Air screen. Comparing a photo on one screen then the other left me completely indifferent.


    As others have said 4GB isn’t a lot of RAM these days, I would definitely recommend 8GB especially if your planning on keeping it for a while. As for processor speed 1.4ghz is usable for the tasks you mentioned but the 2.6/8ghz will be noticeably faster. For storage check how much your using at the moment work it out from there.

    Premier Icon footflaps

    I have four 2Tb drives plugged into the Airport Extreme, which all the Macs can see. Saves having to clutter up the HDs with films etc….

    Premier Icon somouk

    Go with 8 Gb of RAM and a 512 Gb drive on the latest ones, well worth the upgrades for what you mention.

    Makes it expensive but it will last years and years!


    OK, leaving aside the perennial ‘apple vs any other laptop’ debate 🙂 Can anyone offer any advice on how do decide between whether to get the Air or Pro with Retina (both 13″ versions). The weight / size difference is negligible for me, and although there is a price difference, that wouldn’t be the deciding factor.

    What I don’t know is how much power (speed?) and storage I need? I mainly want it for the following purposes:

    – general web use / e-mail etc
    – photos – storing lots of photos! Some basic photo editing, but not much.
    – some music storage (but not very much)
    – film / TV downloads
    – basic office use
    – option to maybe store / edit some go-pro type short videos

    So what do I need? 1.4 or 2.6/8 GHz? 4 or 8 GB memory? 128 or 256 or 512 GB flash storage?

    Please keep it simple, I am a technology dunce 🙂

    Premier Icon jambalaya

    For what you want I’d say retina mac book pro with 256SSD and 8gb ram. Its easy to add external storage these days (and it can run as fast as internal) but the ram is soldered on, so get 8 now (16 overkill for you). Processor speed isn’t such a big deal for you I’d say.

    The Air is super cool, still has the wow factor for me but the Pro is better specced and runs faster. As you note the new Pro is nearly as light as an Air.

    Apple litterally just did a small update to the retina Pro so now is a good time to buy.

    See the links here, loads of what should I get thread fyi

    MacRumours Buying Guide

    EDIT: BTW re Storing Photos make sure you have a backup, either via an external drive (1tb is £50 these days) or an online service. Apple Time Machine software (included) makes backing up really simple.


    Just got out of a meeting with my boss who has “upgraded” her Air to a Pro and says it’s slower than her Air was.


    I bought an Air, the 8gb one, retina. Have to say it’s rather Ace with a capital A. MrsBouy has a Pro and she prefers hers because she uses a Graphics design package on it.

    Comparing, well I prefer my Air, sexy see. The Pro’s an exceptional piece of kit, more inclined towards solid office equipment though.

    From what I’ve read of your requirements the Air would more than suffice (usage similar to me)

    Just don’t forget you can’t upgrade the Air, it’s fixed, the Pro you can if you need more storage/umph.



    Air will do everything you want, and battery life is great.

    Phone apple and chat with them. I got a free upgrade to 8GB when I told them my needs, and paid for the 256GB HDD. Very happy. It easily has all my apps open, streams movies to my TV via airplay, whilst letting me browse the web on my knee.

    Very impressed, WAY quicker than my Vaio, never crashes, just does what it should!

    The only downside to it is limited ports (only 2 USB, so I bought a VGA and Ethernet adapter though) and no DVD drive (so I bought an external one). All of these take up ports though, so a USB hub may be worthwhile. 99% of the time I don’t need any though.

    Premier Icon geoffj

    If you travel by train or plane a lot go for an air. If you need a desktop replacement or usually travel by car go for a pro.
    The new specs look very nice. I’m tempted to upgrade my 11″ Air – just not sure to go for a MBP or another AIR 😕

    Premier Icon Flaperon

    Wait a couple of months, rumour has it a Retina Air is on the way.

    Premier Icon geoffj

    I’m not sure my eyes are good enough to benefit from a retina display. Unless software will need it as a standard, I’m struggling to see (pun intended ) any reason to get it.


    Recently got the retina MBP, it’s very light.


    Just recently got a 13″ air after killing my macbook and very happy with it. I went for the 13″ as it was the same size as my old macbook and also it has the SD card slot for extra storage.

    Premier Icon mrblobby

    I’d want a retina screen so I’d go pro just for that. Really is an amazing display.

    Premier Icon jamj1974

    Both are great machines and I use both often. Go 256 HD and 8 on the memory at minimum. Retina screen is noticeably better to my eyes. Performance is even better with 16gb memory…

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