Yesterday Apple unveiled the new 2011 MacBook Air running on new Intel Core i5 CPUs along wih the OS X Lion release. In the process the MacBook got killed. Now you just need to look at two laptop lines when looking to buy one from Apple. You would think that it got easier, but it did not. The decision between the MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro needs some thinking and clear analyses of your needs.
Key comparison points:
If you just consider cost you will be tempted to only look at the Air as it starts at $999. The MacBook Pro starts at $1,199 which is $200 more, but you also get a lot more like a larger screen, faster CPU, more RAM and DVD drive. If you want a 13-inch screen size than the MacBook Pro is actually lower priced than a 13-inch MacBook Air.
Weight and Size:
The 11-inch MacBook Air only weighs 2.38 lbs. The 13-inch Air clocks in at 2.96 lbs. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has a weight of 4.5 lbs the 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pros are even heavier than that. The MacBook Air's height ranges from 0.11-0.68 inches. A MacBook Pro with it's 0.95-inch height appears fat compared to the Air.
The MacBook Pro has faster CPUs in all models with Core i5 and Core i7 all clocked above 2Ghz. A full tricked out MacBook Air still ends at a 1.8Ghz Core i7. The big advantage of the Air is its SSD storage. I love SSD and never go back. To get SSD on the MacBook Pro it costs you extra. The 256GB SSD adds for instance another $600 to the price-tag. According to tests by Laptop Mag, the 1.7Ghz Core i5 13-inch MacBook Air is not that far behind a 2.3Ghz Core i5 MacBook Pro in Geekbench tests. This means you can actually do serious work on the 13-inch MacBook Air.
Now you need to look at what you actually want to use your new Apple laptop for and how. Here are a couple questions you can ask yourself and corresponding answers:
- If you like to surf the web, answer email and do this lounging on your couch the MacBook Air is the way to go.
- If you travel a lot or think about rolling all the time with you Apple laptop, the MacBook Air is a no brainer.
- If you want a desktop replacement than it is clear that you want a MacBook Pro in 15 or 17-inch screen sizes.
- If you need lots of hard-drive space for your legally downloaded movies than the MacBook Pro is the way to go.
- If you like to watch movies on DVD on your Apple laptop than the MacBook Pro has you covered with a built-in drive, but Apple sells you a $79 external drive for the MacBook Air.
- If you want to download 3D first person shooters from Steam and play them on your Apple laptop, the MacBook Pro is your choice.
- If you want to spend the least amount of money on an Apple laptop, the $999 11-inch MacBook Air is your entry-level Apple computer.
I hope this report helps you make up your mind. Feel free to post questions about the decision to buy a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro below. I try to answer them.