MacBook Pro versus MacBook Air. Which to choose and why?

I’ve been asked this question so many times by customers.
Which of the above two should I buy and why?
Today, the entry level MacBook Pro with it’s 13” screen and 500Gb conventional hard disc drive still seems like the device to go for if you’re a student.
In my opinion, it’s a good “workhorse” which a good quality screen, plenty of expansion ports and a relatively large storage space  (or hard disc drive).
Having said that, my younger son bought a 13” MacBook Air and did a 100,000 word thesis on it, recently completing his PhD in Chemistry.
The Advantages of the MacBook Air 13” over the MacBook Pro 13” are:
  • That the Air is much lighter and easier to carry around
  • The 13” MacBook Air offers a higher resolution display than the 13” MacBook Pro
  • The MacBook Air has a much higher “real-life” battery life over the 13” MacBook Pro. For example, up to 14 hours versus 10 hours.
  • The MacBook Air, which uses “chip storage” instead of a normal hard disc drive has extremely fast disc storage versus the MacBook Pro. This means that the MacBook Air will typically start up an application in one tenth of the time of the MacBook Pro. For example, click on an App like Microsoft Word from the dock and “bang” there it is ready to use in about two seconds!
But the downsides of the MacBook Air versus the MacBook Pro are:
  • Less standard built in “ports” versus the MacBook Pro.
  • The MacBook Air, although offering much faster storage access times, offers less storage space versus the base model MacBook Pro for the same money
  • Chip Storage instead of a conventional hard disc drive, is virtually impossible to recover data from, if it fails, whereas a conventional hard disc drive may be able to recover some data from if the system crashes.
In my opinion, the MacBook Air is the way to go, not only for students, but also for the average user.
But wait…
Just last week, Apple released a product simply called the “MacBook”. This makes our decision a little more interesting. The new “MacBook” has a 12-inch screen and is very thin and light, rivalling a Macbook Air.
My comments on this: if I had a rule of thumb for the smallest screen size I would want to work with would be 13-inch (without plugging into an external display.)
Maybe since I’m over 50 and my eyesight isn’t as good as yours. However, an inch makes a difference to usability.
Secondly, the new “MacBook” has only one external expansion port. This means that you need to buy expansion adapters in order to plug your laptop into an external display, USB stick, printer, or removable hard drive.
Personally, I love being able to charge my MacBook Pro with Retina Display by using one port only and without carrying multiple extra adapters. Perhaps you’re ok with that?
My opinion is that the MacBook Air is still the way to go.
As ever, I’ll look forward to your feedback on the topic.
All the best,
Rob

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