1. iMore Question's Avatar

    I've been wanting to switch to Mac OS for quite some time now. I already owned and own different iOS devices (iPods, iPhones, iPads) and now I also want to replace my old ThinkPad with a Mac.

    Originally I wanted to go for the top-of-the-line 15" MacBook Pro for 2500, but when I thought about my decision it came to my mind that there are various reasons to go for an 27" iMac (not the 5k one) AND a MacBook instead - at a similar pricepoint. I also decided to go for the MacBook first - as I need a portable device - and then buy the iMac at a later point this year.

    Now the question is what MacBook I should go for. I originally intended to buy a MacBook Air because of battery life, portability and also the price point. I'd chose the 13" model with 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM, I'd also stick to the standard i5 I guess.
    Now I recognized that I could get the MacBook Pro with Retina display (also 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD) without spending much more on it. There are some nice deals (I could also get a student discount) so there would be roughly 150-200 difference between the Air and the Retina Pro. So while I love the extra battery life of the Air, I also find the Retina screen pretty appealing. Now what do you guys think? What is the better overall deal? Do I really get a remarkable boost in performance with the Pro or is it really just display vs. battery life? And do I really need it since I'm also looking at an iMac later this year or is the Air more than enough for my tasks?

    My usage mostly consists of Office Apps and sometimes light photo editing. I also want to use Logic Pro X on my new Macs.

    Thanks in advance for you help and excuse my english skills, I'm not a native speaker unfortunately.

    03-03-2015 04:59 AM
  2. Algus's Avatar
    The Air might be the industry leader in battery life, but the Pro is right up there with it. It can't compare to the Air but it still has amazing battery life. I can get many hours out of my machine on the road when I enable power saving features on it.

    This is the decision I agonized over when I bought my computer at the beginning of the year. Both did what I wanted, both looked great, and they were going to be similarly priced (once I up specced the Air to match the Pro I wanted). For me the Pro won out because of the screen. It is absolutely gorgeous! The scaling option is also extremely useful for work IMO. If I need more screen space, I can get it and if I want the retina display...I can have that too! Apple did a brilliant job of incorporating these high rez displays into the laptop form factors IMO.

    Air vs Pro CPU, well the Air CPU is under clocked which is how it achieves such good battery life. This is fine for basic computing tasks (internet, media consumption, office work) and it is still ok for more CPU intense tasks like gaming and rendering because it can turbo clock, where it increases its speed to match that of a standard CPU. It is still not as fast as the i5 in the Pro but it will probably be sufficient for hobbyist photo/film editing and other such projects.

    If you are to get a high end iMac, you probably don't need to spend a lot of money on the CPU for your Macbook as you'll be doing most of your major work on your desktop (at least if you are like me). Both the ULV i5 and the regular i5 in the Air and Pro respectively should be up to the tasks you plan to use your computer for. I don't know what work you plan to do in Logic Pro but if you are going to run it natively on your Pro, you will almost certainly get a performance boost over the Air (though expect it to be relatively modest...the Pro will be faster but the Air will still be able to do the work quickly enough so as not to disrupt work flow).
    03-03-2015 05:26 AM

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