Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

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vginvestor
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Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by vginvestor » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:08 am

I am planning to purchase a 13.3in MacBook either Pro or Air. This will primarily be used for UX Design work i.e. to use Sketch for design work (websites, mobile apps). Perhaps, use other software in the future (Adobe). Which one would you recommend buying?

Also, I'm not sure what specs should I consider for this MacBook i.e. performance, display, battery life, future-proofing, etc. I'm thinking of going with 16G RAM and 256SSD Storage, Dual Core (i8?). Would this be appropriate or should I consider changing any specs?

Any insights/recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

Flyer24
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by Flyer24 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:11 am

This is the personal finance section.

livesoft
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by livesoft » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:11 am

256Gb SDD is what you would get for a phone nowadays. Even 5 years ago it seems that 512 Gb SSD was standard and maybe today 1Tb SSD is what most people get.
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Admiral
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by Admiral » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:17 am

vginvestor wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:08 am
I am planning to purchase a 13.3in MacBook either Pro or Air. This will primarily be used for UX Design work i.e. to use Sketch for design work (websites, mobile apps). Perhaps, use other software in the future (Adobe). Which one would you recommend buying?

Also, I'm not sure what specs should I consider for this MacBook i.e. performance, display, battery life, future-proofing, etc. I'm thinking of going with 16G RAM and 256SSD Storage, Dual Core (i8?). Would this be appropriate or should I consider changing any specs?

Any insights/recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
I assume the mods will more this to Consumer section.

You should get the Pro w/o the touchpad. Much better performance and the prices are not too far apart. 16GB of RAM may be needed, but 8GB is probably adequate unless you are dealing with very large files. 256GB SSD is, again, adequate in my book (and of course you can always add external storage later). I would say the battery on my MB Pro is "good" but it is not as good as the Air (or the smaller, less powerful Macbook.)

I suggest shopping from the Refurb store: you can save some bucks and the warranty is the same.

There are lots of online comparisons of the Air vs the Pro.

What machine do you have now?

stimulacra
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by stimulacra » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:19 am

What's your budget?

I would probably lean towards the MacBook Pro unless weight and sleekness was the top priority.

MacBook Airs only offer i5 processors due to space, thermal, and battery life consideration.

I would max out the RAM (16 GB) and get 1 TB SSD if you want to future proof. 256 GB is much too small for 2019 in my opinion.

I've been using Apple/Mac for 20+ years, my next system that I will buy personally most likely it will be a ThinkPad (either X1 or P-series).

livesoft
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by livesoft » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:23 am

Also be sure to set up your Mac trackpad so that you don't have to click it. Use "tap-to-click" instead.
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Dave55
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by Dave55 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:24 am

vginvestor wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:08 am
I am planning to purchase a 13.3in MacBook either Pro or Air. This will primarily be used for UX Design work i.e. to use Sketch for design work (websites, mobile apps). Perhaps, use other software in the future (Adobe). Which one would you recommend buying?

Also, I'm not sure what specs should I consider for this MacBook i.e. performance, display, battery life, future-proofing, etc. I'm thinking of going with 16G RAM and 256SSD Storage, Dual Core (i8?). Would this be appropriate or should I consider changing any specs?

Any insights/recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
I just bought the Pro, 1TB of storage and 16 G RAM and i7 2.7 processor. (to replace my Mini Mac which was 9 years old). I also have a MAC Air, the performance of the Pro is noticeably faster than the Air. The PRO has 4 ports which could come in useful.

Dave

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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by bluebolt » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:25 am

livesoft wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:23 am
Also be sure to set up your Mac trackpad so that you don't have to click it. Use "tap-to-click" instead.
+1 First thing I do when I get a Mac laptop.

I just got a new 13" Macbook Pro (no touchbar) 16GB, 512GB, i7, coming from an i5 Air (older model). Very happy with the performance.

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vginvestor
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by vginvestor » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:31 am

Thanks for the quick responses.

Current machine is Dell (Windows 10; iCore 7); however Sketch only works on Mac.

I'll up the SSD to 1TB. Budget is $1500/$1600, but looks like I may have to go above that.

stan1
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by stan1 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:36 am

I have a 2018 Macbook Air with 8GB RAM and 256 GB SSD. I use it for web browsing and I want something lightweight for travel, but if I was doing high end graphics or video processing I'd pretty quickly want a Pro with a faster CPU, GPU, 16GB RAM, and at least 512GB SSD. You can add external storage so I'd focus on CPU and RAM first for upgrades.

If you are going to be taking either mobile frequently you'll want a USB-C hub of some sort so you have a single USB-C connection. There are dozens of them with different configurations in large part depending upon what your external video requirements are. Getting this part right requires some research. Some products don't actually do what you'd think they do so you have to read the product descriptions and reviews to get what you want.

stimulacra
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by stimulacra » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:41 am

If you can't do 1TB I would go no lower than 512 GB SSD. There are some nice options for external SSDs if you need to expand further down the line.

Costco now offers Macs for sale at their store and website. It looks like 10-15% across the board. Definitely worth a look if you have a membership.
https://www.costco.com/CatalogSearch?de ... bookprofeb

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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:52 am

vginvestor wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:08 am
I am planning to purchase a 13.3in MacBook either Pro or Air. This will primarily be used for UX Design work i.e. to use Sketch for design work (websites, mobile apps). Perhaps, use other software in the future (Adobe). Which one would you recommend buying?

Also, I'm not sure what specs should I consider for this MacBook i.e. performance, display, battery life, future-proofing, etc. I'm thinking of going with 16G RAM and 256SSD Storage, Dual Core (i8?). Would this be appropriate or should I consider changing any specs?

Any insights/recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
I recently purchased a "fully loaded" MacBook Air with the expectation of it being significantly lighter and/or more compact. It was not. Side by side with my "still newish" loaded MacBookPro, I can hardly tell the difference. The newer MacBook Air and Pro does have the revised "butterfly mechanism" keyboard which has been an issue in previous models.
Otherwise, they are near identical in function and size, "and weight".

However:
If you're going to use Adobe photo editing software or graphic intensive apps, IMHO, go with the MacBook Pro and get it as loaded as you can. Comparatively, there's more for the money there.
Also: The Air only has 2 ports and that is a bit of a hassle if you're plugging in power and need to plug in 2 more devices, etc.
Last edited by Sandtrap on Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Admiral
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by Admiral » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:52 am

vginvestor wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:31 am
Thanks for the quick responses.

Current machine is Dell (Windows 10; iCore 7); however Sketch only works on Mac.

I'll up the SSD to 1TB. Budget is $1500/$1600, but looks like I may have to go above that.
IMO this whole "buy 1TB of storage" argument is outmoded. You can store almost everything in the cloud, either for free (Google Drive) or at minimal cost. If Apple's storage upgrade pricing was reasonable, I might agree to buy more. But it isn't. It's gouging. A 1TB SSD is ridiculously expensive when bought from Apple. Save the money and use it to buy online storage, upgrade RAM, or buy an airline ticket!

Also I don't understand "turn off the click on the touchpad." I can't stand tap to click. While it's true that the non-mechanical click on the new touchpads take some getting used to... you get used to it.

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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by stimulacra » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:04 am

Admiral wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:52 am
vginvestor wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:31 am
Thanks for the quick responses.

Current machine is Dell (Windows 10; iCore 7); however Sketch only works on Mac.

I'll up the SSD to 1TB. Budget is $1500/$1600, but looks like I may have to go above that.
IMO this whole "buy 1TB of storage" argument is outmoded. You can store almost everything in the cloud, either for free (Google Drive) or at minimal cost. If Apple's storage upgrade pricing was reasonable, I might agree to buy more. But it isn't. It's gouging. A 1TB SSD is ridiculously expensive when bought from Apple. Save the money and use it to buy online storage, upgrade RAM, or buy an airline ticket!

Also I don't understand "turn off the click on the touchpad." I can't stand tap to click. While it's true that the non-mechanical click on the new touchpads take some getting used to... you get used to it.
My argument against 256 GB storage is that you eventually run out of space just with the OS, apps, email, and scratch disk or cache files that a UX designer might be running. If you are the type that has dozens of browser tabs open, Safari can store GBs of cache files that can slow down performance. There's no cloud solution for offloading the system gunk files that accumulates for moderate to power users.

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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by livesoft » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:17 pm

Admiral wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:52 am
Also I don't understand "turn off the click on the touchpad." I can't stand tap to click. While it's true that the non-mechanical click on the new touchpads take some getting used to... you get used to it.
Don't understand it? Why don't phones have clicking? Tap-to-click is what you do with a phone anyways.
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by RickBoglehead » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:24 pm

vginvestor wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:08 am
I am planning to purchase a 13.3in MacBook either Pro or Air. This will primarily be used for UX Design work i.e. to use Sketch for design work (websites, mobile apps). Perhaps, use other software in the future (Adobe). Which one would you recommend buying?

Also, I'm not sure what specs should I consider for this MacBook i.e. performance, display, battery life, future-proofing, etc. I'm thinking of going with 16G RAM and 256SSD Storage, Dual Core (i8?). Would this be appropriate or should I consider changing any specs?

Any insights/recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
I'm sure there are many other sites that cater to UX Design work experts and would have much better recommendations than the small handful of Bogleheads that would fit in this narrow niche.

Some suggestions (I have no UX Design experience):

https://thewirecutter.com/
www.cnet.com
https://www.tomshardware.com/
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by fogalog » Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:46 pm

Long time Mac user here.

+1 on buying more storage. Yes Apple is expensive but you've already made that choice. :D Yes, you can use Google drive - I use it myself extensively for work and local disk as a cache - but be aware that Google is scanning your files. You may or may not be comfortable with that (I have multiple google accounts and don't put any personal information on google drive for this reason). What does work very well is that I personally use 2 different laptops + a desktop and my data is always "there". I never need to bring my laptop home from work.

+1 on 16GB RAM versus 8GB. All of a sudden it feels like macOS is getting bigger and bigger. I ran with 4GB for years; now 8GB seems tight. Not critical; more future proofing.

Make sure you turn on FileVault.

[and of course +1 on tap-to-click and tap-to-drag]

I personally don't like the new macbook pros. I find the touchbar a little cumbersome and I like having an old USB & HDMI ports. In 2016, you could still buy the older model and that's what I did (albeit with 8GB RAM instead of 16GB). You sometimes find the older ones on apple.com refurb section for a great price.

The only caution I would add specific to the macbook pro is the recent emergence of problems related to how Apple chose to route the display cable around the hinge. Google "flexgate" and you will find a few recent articles. I had this exact problem with a gen #1 Macbook Air but at least in that case I was able to replace the display cable (a major pain in the ass but at least possible - with the new macbooks, you have to replace the whole display). I'd recommend AppleCare but remember this wont help you after 3 years are up, which is when these wear / use problems are likely to arise. In my experience, macrumors.com has the best information.

Good luck!
Last edited by fogalog on Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by Capricorn51 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:55 pm

Long time Mac user as well (former MacBook Air, now both a Pro and a MacBook -- the latter as a travel machine).

If you are not looking for a lightweight travel machine, you will, IMHO, always pay a performance penalty dollar for dollar getting an Air versus a Pro.

I looked very carefully at the new air versus a new MacBook as a travel machine and went for the MacBook.

I think another key advantage of the Pro is that you have more output ports(though you could always buy an external hub).

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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by abuss368 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:05 pm

I purchased a MacBook Pro 3 or 4 years ago it is the best laptop I have ever used. That said I will probably not purchase another because of cost. I am hope that future iPads can replace a laptop by hooking up a monitor and using a keyboard and mouse. If not perhaps I’ll get a desk top and use my iPad.
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by MarkRoulo » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:56 pm

vginvestor wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:31 am
Thanks for the quick responses.

Current machine is Dell (Windows 10; iCore 7); however Sketch only works on Mac.

I'll up the SSD to 1TB. Budget is $1500/$1600, but looks like I may have to go above that.
Have you played with the butterfly keyboard that comes with each of these?

Be sure that you are okay with it.

[15 year Macintosh user who is very sad about the butterfly keyboard ...]

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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by abuss368 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:04 pm

MarkRoulo wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:56 pm
vginvestor wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:31 am
Thanks for the quick responses.

Current machine is Dell (Windows 10; iCore 7); however Sketch only works on Mac.

I'll up the SSD to 1TB. Budget is $1500/$1600, but looks like I may have to go above that.
Have you played with the butterfly keyboard that comes with each of these?

Be sure that you are okay with it.

[15 year Macintosh user who is very sad about the butterfly keyboard ...]
Do you have a Mac desktop? If so what are your thoughts? Why select a desktop over a laptop?
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

MarkRoulo
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by MarkRoulo » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:11 pm

abuss368 wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:04 pm
MarkRoulo wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:56 pm
vginvestor wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:31 am
Thanks for the quick responses.

Current machine is Dell (Windows 10; iCore 7); however Sketch only works on Mac.

I'll up the SSD to 1TB. Budget is $1500/$1600, but looks like I may have to go above that.
Have you played with the butterfly keyboard that comes with each of these?

Be sure that you are okay with it.

[15 year Macintosh user who is very sad about the butterfly keyboard ...]
Do you have a Mac desktop? If so what are your thoughts? Why select a desktop over a laptop?
I do not have a desktop (though my wife does ... and we live in a community property state, so I own part of it).
I *could* get a desktop, but I've been using a laptop for about a decade and like being able to take my computer (and work) with me.

I like the desktops better because I can fix all the issues that I have with recent Macintosh laptops. But the desktop isn't portable so if I want to wander down to my local coffee shop and drink coffee and do computer work a desktop doesn't work so good.

If you're intended use is stationary, I really like the Mac Mini (which is what my wife uses) with a large monitor. You don't need to purchase the monitor from Apple if you don't want to. If you don't like the newer Macintosh keyboards, you can get a non-Apple keyboard as well. This lets you use MacOS (which I *really* like) without needing to use Apple peripherals. Not an option with a laptop ...

catalina355
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by catalina355 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:17 pm

stimulacra wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:04 am
Admiral wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:52 am
vginvestor wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:31 am
Thanks for the quick responses.

Current machine is Dell (Windows 10; iCore 7); however Sketch only works on Mac.

I'll up the SSD to 1TB. Budget is $1500/$1600, but looks like I may have to go above that.
IMO this whole "buy 1TB of storage" argument is outmoded. You can store almost everything in the cloud, either for free (Google Drive) or at minimal cost. If Apple's storage upgrade pricing was reasonable, I might agree to buy more. But it isn't. It's gouging. A 1TB SSD is ridiculously expensive when bought from Apple. Save the money and use it to buy online storage, upgrade RAM, or buy an airline ticket!

Also I don't understand "turn off the click on the touchpad." I can't stand tap to click. While it's true that the non-mechanical click on the new touchpads take some getting used to... you get used to it.
My argument against 256 GB storage is that you eventually run out of space just with the OS, apps, email, and scratch disk or cache files that a UX designer might be running. If you are the type that has dozens of browser tabs open, Safari can store GBs of cache files that can slow down performance. There's no cloud solution for offloading the system gunk files that accumulates for moderate to power users.
I agree with you about 256GB but I also think that for a UX designer 512GB would be fine. If you are editing lots of video and need to store them all locally then 1TB is likely necessary unless you are using a video storage system.

Ztx
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Re: Should I purchase MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

Post by Ztx » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:18 pm

MarkRoulo wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:56 pm
vginvestor wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:31 am
Thanks for the quick responses.

Current machine is Dell (Windows 10; iCore 7); however Sketch only works on Mac.

I'll up the SSD to 1TB. Budget is $1500/$1600, but looks like I may have to go above that.
Have you played with the butterfly keyboard that comes with each of these?

Be sure that you are okay with it.

[15 year Macintosh user who is very sad about the butterfly keyboard ...]
+1 on the butterfly keyboard... I went for a 2015 Mac Book Pro when I upgraded my old mac in 2017 even though it was a 2 year old model (bought new). I really didn't like the butterfly keyboard and touch bar

Regarding storage: I prefer to store data in cloud _and_ keep a full local copy (using DropBox) , so for that reason I got 1 TB SSD. I don't feel comfortable keeping the data in cloud only (internet outages, cloud provider loosing data (yes, happens even to large companies) etc) .

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