#1  
Old 11-07-2019, 01:57 PM
dalej42 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Chicago
Posts: 14,742

How do I compare MacBooks?


The decision has been made to buy a MacBook. Iím still kids confused as to all the options and googling hasnít really helped.

Hereís some info. I think 13 inch is better, it will need to travel in my backpack frequently. Battery life would be nice. Iím not a gamer. Iíll be doing light video editing, think vacation videos and such, not making commercials or amateur films. Light Excel and light word processing, Iím not crunching serious data.

Whatís the main difference between a MacBook air and a MacBook Pro? I often see models available on Groupon and the refurbished section of the Apple website. I donít think Iíll need the absolute latest. Reading laptop articles has my head spinning.

Donít need answer fast, will probably pull the trigger around the endless Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
__________________
Twitter:@Stardales IG:@Dalej42
  #2  
Old 11-07-2019, 02:08 PM
DCnDC's Avatar
DCnDC is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Dueling Grounds
Posts: 12,924
Basically the Pro has better hardware, more options, and more I/O. If the Air has everything you need, by all means go with that. If it does not, you will need to go Pro.
  #3  
Old 11-07-2019, 11:54 PM
zbuzz is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,208
Here's what you get with a base MacBook Pro over a base MacBook Air:

A quad core i5 instead of a dual core i5, a little nicer display, a little nicer graphics, a little less battery life, a quarter pound heavier, and the Touch Bar.

The quad core puts the Pro over the line, IMO. That should save you actual time when exporting your videos. Unless you're on the go a whole lot where every pound and minute of battery life counts, I'd go with the Pro.

You can compare up to three Mac models here https://www.apple.com/mac/compare/ but it's mostly a list of specs and numbers.
  #4  
Old 11-08-2019, 07:50 AM
SanVito is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Bristol, UK
Posts: 4,825
I have the latest MacBook Pro 15" for work, and a new Macbook Air for home.

Please note I am not a technical person - the list of specs don't mean much of anything to me, but I am a heavy user.

My work mac needs to be powerful as I'm working on large graphic/imagery/video files.

But the Air is perfect for my home use - watching videos, writing Word docs, surfing, carrying it on holiday - it's lightweight and easy to lug around. My Macbook is heavy and cumbersome in comparison.

The battery life on both is great.

Last edited by SanVito; 11-08-2019 at 07:50 AM.
  #5  
Old 11-08-2019, 11:58 AM
DCnDC's Avatar
DCnDC is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Dueling Grounds
Posts: 12,924
Note that if you want any I/O that's not Thunderbolt, you'll have to find an older model. My Macbook Air is a refurb (that I specifically bought the older model so it had a USB port) and I've had zero issues with it.
__________________
But I am a robot!
  #6  
Old 11-08-2019, 12:52 PM
Charlie Tan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Scania
Posts: 5,014
Warning:
Apple is way ahead of the curve with USB-C ports*. If you have a lot of wired, external stuff, expect to pay for gadgets/connections/dongles to hook them up.
New MacBooks (Air or Pro) only have USB-C, whereas older pros have SD-card slot, HDMI outlet, USV 3.1 ports. OTOH, if you don't need to hook up a screen, printer, DSLR, getting a newer MB will get you a machine that'll keep for at least five years, probably more. If you're going for re-furbished, see to it that it has an SSD (at least 256GB) and 8GB RAM.



*Everyone will come around to USB-C eventually. For older MB Air, you'll see names like "Thunderbolt" "Mini Display Port" "Lightning". These are proprietary connectors and adaptors cost a lot. If I were to buy a refurbished, I'd go with the MB Pro, pre task bar.
  #7  
Old 11-08-2019, 12:59 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 12,109
Very few common uses of computers are actually CPU-bound, so the Air is likely a better choice for most people. Cheaper and longer battery are more important than 2 more cores. If you know you're doing something CPU-bound, then you'll know it, and you can look at specs. But if you don't know, you very likely don't need it.

Also note that Apple's laptop keyboards for the last few years really suck. They are rumored to be going with a different design for laptops starting next year.
  #8  
Old 11-08-2019, 01:00 PM
RickG is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Boulder CO USA
Posts: 818
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
Note that if you want any I/O that's not Thunderbolt, you'll have to find an older model. My Macbook Air is a refurb (that I specifically bought the older model so it had a USB port) and I've had zero issues with it.
Nitpick: The ports are USB-C form factor and are Thunderbolt 3, but they also support I/O for multiple display formats, and all USB devices, with adapters. (I have a 2018 15" MacBook Pro, and use USB-C to USB-A adapters daily--they cost a couple of bucks from Monoprice or Amazon.)

Since the OP is not doing heavy video editing, I'd say go for the MacBook Air, but probably prioritize a storage upgrade over a memory upgrade. The base 8GB of memory is likely plenty for all but the most demanding tasks, but a 128GB SSD might fill up pretty quickly with photos/videos, and aftermarket upgrades are extremely difficult on these machines.

One other thing: there have been significant issues with the current Mac laptop keyboard design. They've made some mods to ameliorate the problems, but a major redesign is rumored to be coming, but maybe not soon. There is, IIRC, an extended warranty period on the keyboard in response to the increased failure rate, but don't eat anything crumbly near your open laptop.
__________________
Rick
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:23 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017