Why the 13″ Air Is Better Than the 13″ Pro

After posting about “Macs and Cars” yesterday I received a lot of great comments from readers, none more annoyed at me then those that actually like the 13″ MacBook Pro. To each your own and all that, but truly the 13″ MacBook Pro is a pretty silly choice at this point. Instead of refuting each claim let’s just try to do it all here.

Reasons the 13″ MacBook Pro is silly:

  • Lower screen resolution than the 13″ Air
  • To get everyday use performance equal to a MacBook Air you will need the SSD. Making the cheapest 13 Pro option $1449 1
  • Disk drives are going the way of pagers — you are buying something you will never use.
  • It’s heavy.

Here’s the crux of the issue: you are essentially paying a premium for “specs” that you are likely to never use or notice. While at the same time forgoing things that you will notice every time you use the computer (screen resolution and the performance of an SSD). If you really need more power than you get out of a 13″ Air then you honestly should be looking at the 15″ Pro as it is much faster. The 13″ line is dual core only, while the base 15″ is quad core.

To stick with the car analogy, buying a 13″ Pro is like an SUV that doesn’t have 4-wheel drive — that’s just pointless. What though of users who are budget constrained and want the most horsepower for their dollar? MacBook Air or iMac both will cost you around the same amount. The iMac will give you the CPU speed, but the drive speed will be had by the Air (comparing base specs here). Unless you are doing lots of gaming or encoding work the Air is likely to feel faster than any MacBook Pro/iMac that doesn’t have an SSD.

I am not saying that the 13″ MacBook Pro is an inherently bad computer — what I am saying is that it is a pretty bad buying decision given the current slate of Macs. I would be so bold to guess that if I plopped my MacBook Air in front of any current 13″ MacBook Pro owners and asked them to use it for an hour and tell which computer is faster — 98% would say the Air is faster. It’s not about performance specs, it about user experience and how people use their computers — most people just don’t do that many CPU intensive tasks on anything but an occasional basis.

That’s why the Air makes more sense than the 13″ Pro.

  1. Honestly this is the only way you can make the Pro better than the Air.
Originally posted for members on: May 6, 2011
Follow along on RSS, App.net, or Twitter.
~I would appreciate it if you considered becoming a member.~