Which Apple notebook is best for you, MacBook Pro, MacBook, or MacBook Air?

“If you’re a MacBook user and you never quite figured out what all those holes on the side of your laptop are for—and $500 or so doesn’t mean much to you—the Air is a viable option. Even at 1.6GHz and with an iPod drive the MacBook Air is more than powerful enough for office work and presentations. However, if you need more speed, fast I/O, and better graphics, the Air is no match for the MacBook Pro with its GeForce 8600M GT and the ability to drive 2560×1600 screens. The bigger LCD screen also helps, of course. Storage-wise, the MBP not only supports much bigger and faster internal drive options—it also has FireWire800, the ExpressCard slot, and gigabit Ethernet to connect to external storage at high speed, while the MBA is limited to 802.11n and USB2. This makes the MBP a suitable choice for graphics/video work, where the MBA and, to a slightly lesser degree, the MB, would out of their depth,” Iljitsch van Beijnum reports for Ars Technica.

“It’s easy to criticize the MacBook Air for what it’s not. It’s not a fully loaded desktop replacement. It’s not the laptop for the masses. However, it is a machine made for taking with you on the road,” van Beijnum reports.

“If you’re looking for a primary computer, the MBP is probably your best choice if you don’t want to compromise on performance and I/O options. The MB can still be a decent option in this scenario if your needs and budget are more modest. The MBA isn’t an obvious choice as a primary computer unless style is an overriding concern. As a second computer, the MBA is great if you travel around much in places where there’s WiFi, with the MB coming in second—it’s a lot heaver than the MBA, but also a lot cheaper. The MBP is the second computer of choice for the traveling graphics/video professional and for people that can’t live without good connectivity even if there’s no WiFi,” van Beijnum reports.

More in the full article, including a convenient chart comparing and contrasting Apple’s MacBook Pro, MacBook, and MacBook Air, here.

74 Comments

  1. It definitely is not going to be the MacBook Air. That thing is so hobbled, it is not even funny. I will just buy the black MacBook when I can next month.

    Biggest gripe I have with it… No removable battery. WTF is Jobs thinking?

  2. MacBook Air fits well into the expanded product matrix and I’m sure it will sell like hot cakes — based on its good looks rather than the sheer performance stats.

    I’m looking to upgrade from my rather old PB G4 @ 1.67GHz and so I’m assuming that I will notice a speed improvement [as well as battery life improvement with the SSD option].

    For an email/web/keynote machine which can also run pro creative apps if I’m out-of-office I think this is a killer product.

    Does anyone know of the battery life with all the goodies switched off — eg. no wifi, SSD drive, &c;?

  3. The MacBook Air is the future of laptops.

    Sad to say, but it’s true.

    Because processors can’t be made much faster without incurring a lot of heat, too much heat for a laptop.

    The MacBook Pro of the future will be a brand new product, a portable tower.

    So on one end one has the MacBook Air, the other end the MacPro, a mid-range desktop the iMac and a new iMac Portable. (iMac Air?)

    You’ll see.

  4. I can’t wait to put my hands on a new (revised) MacBook Pro!
    I use it mainly for work, so I like a fast and efficient machine with a lot of power and storage. Right now, I have a old 12″ iBook, so you surely understand my needs to upgrade. I will get a 15″ screen (to my point of view a 17″ is no longer a “portable” model).

    I’ve been waiting since last september for a real upgrade. Last june model was tempting but I prefered to wait a bit longer because of a few things that bothered me (like the closing latch not been magnetic). Now I hope we will get the new trackpad introduced on the Air Book.

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