Articles: MacBook Buyers Guide 2012
Are you in the market to buy a new MacBook? If so, you may have loads of questions, starting with the basics of “Which MacBook should I buy?” or “What should I consider in regards to the differences between the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro?” or “When is the next new model coming and should I be worried about that?” or even, “Used or new?”
This MacBook buyers guide is designed to help you get started in answering those questions.
Under the MacBook umbrella, we have two products: The MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. Like almost everything in life, there are trade-offs for each model. The following are the main differences to consider.
To DVD or Not DVD?
Currently the MacBook Pros have a SuperDrive for reading and writing CD’s and DVD’s. The MacBook Airs do not, although you can buy an external one. As the world evolves into more and more data residing on the cloud or in email and so on, the need for optical discs is waning. Just like the floppy disk many years ago, there will come a time when very few of us use an opti
cal disc in our computers. So before you make a decision based on the lack of the optical drive, think about the last time you used one. If it has been a while, you can continue to consider the MacBook Air.
Traveling or Stationary?
If you travel a lot, the MacBook Air is going to get points simply for portability. It’s a lot like an iPad with a keyboard… it’s so light that you don’t think twice about carrying it virtually anywhere. The MacBook Pros are another story. No matter how light Apple has tried to make them, a full laptop bag with a 17-inch MacBook Pro will tax the strongest of shoulders. In addition, the MacBook Airs ship with flash drive storage, so if you’re prone to dropping your laptop once in a while, the Air will protect your data just a bit better in that regard.
Do You Need it to be Fast?
If you’re looking for a MacBook to take with you while traveling and you are not going to be using large software programs like InDesign or Photoshop, the MacBook Air will probably be just fine. The Pros will definitely take the lead when it comes to raw speed, but if you’re mostly answering email and surfing the web, the portability of the MacBook Air will give it the nod in that category.
Do You Need it Big?
The display size of the Airs max out at 13 inches. If you love or need your display real estate, go right to the 15-inch or 17-inch MacBook Pros. The 13-inch MacBook Pros are for those who need the speed and the optical drive but don’t care as much about screen size.
Do You Need it Now?
The thing with buying any computer is that within a certain amount of time, almost always measured in months, a new model will come out. Apple is a very secretive company, so no matter what you read on the internet as far as when the next model is shipping, understand this: they’re guessing. Trust us, we’ve been at this a long time and know the track record of the prognosticators: it’s horrendous. The bottom line is: buy what you need when you need it. If you wait for a new release and end up waiting three months, not only did you lose out on those three months, but there’s just as good a chance that a new model will have some bugs or problems to work out as be something that you absolutely had to have. Most upgrades are incremental. In any case, just buy and don’t look back. A Mac purchased today doesn’t suddenly become obsolete because a new model has been introduced.
New or Used?
When you stop to consider that every single Mac in use today is a used Mac, it puts perspective on the idea that buying a used Mac is something worth considering. In addition, over the last few years, the speed increases seen by later models are modest in comparison to the way it used to be some years ago. There is certainly something to be said about the “New Mac Experience” Apple gives you with their excellent packaging. But because everything resides on the web, there are no manuals to speak of and once you turn it on, you simply have another used Mac. So in general, used Macs can give you an excellent bang for the buck. However, AppleCare is unquestionably an extended care program worth owning, and you can only get that on a new Mac. In addition, occasionally there are model revs whereby new software will only work on a certain generation of Mac or later. At the same time, there are often programs people are using that don’t work on the latest Mac or OS. If you’re concerned about any of that, it’s a good time to speak to one of our Mac Experts to help you navigate those choppy waters.
But depending on the answers to these questions, your MacBook could range from $609 for a used MacBook Pro to $749 for a special deal MacBook Air href="http://www.powermax.com/parts/code/PM_CN_MB_17">brand new 2012 MacBook Pro 17’’ from $2099- $4099.
We hope this Guide has helped you answer a few questions about which MacBook might be right for you.