When someone thinks of the Macbook Air they generally think “very portable”. Where it comes to the Pro’s they will think power and the bugger the pro the more powerful. To a large degree this is true however things are more nuanced than this. The above implies somewhat that the Macbook Air is not as capable as the Macbook Pro’s and nothing could be further from the truth.
Macbook Air in ways is what a Portable is all About
Apple’s Macbook Air is highly touted as a great, all around computer. It is a svelt 2.75 pounds. Although an iPad Pro is just over 1 pound, put a keyboard case on the device and it is running at well over two pounds.
The Macbook Pros start just over 3 pounds which doesn’t seem like much of a difference but the different design and weight make the Macbook Pro definitely feel not quite the same in terms of portability.
Grabbing a Macbook Air and throwing it in a bag then walking around with it all day without strain demonstrates just how portable the computer is. You don’t feel the weight and it definitely doesn’t bog you down. If as an example you’re a student who carries their computer with them everywhere the Macbook Air is ideal for this kind of function.
Performance and Operation
The Air is no slouch either where it comes to quick performance. For all functions except the most demanding graphical functions the air performs well. Doing all the typical things such as writing, calculating and browsing feel zippy on an Air because they are.
The Air does not have the controversial touch bar (is there any value to it) but rather has a row of function keys which most people are very used to. They can also be remapped by a program such as Keyboard Maestro to implement macros that can speed up your repetive tasks. What the Air does have that everyone appreciates is the security key on the far right that allows for quick unlocking of you computer.
The screen of the Air is now first rate and is as good basically as the pro screen. Apple just recently introduced true tone to the screen bringing it up to almost equal par with the pro. The Pro’s screen is slightly brighter at 500 nits vs the Airs at 400 nits but this difference is negligible. Most people feel that Airs screen is exceptional.
Fans, Heat and your Lap
The Air is an i5 dual core CPU whereas the pro is a 4 core CPU. Many would immediately assume the 4 core unit to be better as it would be faster and in some ways this is correct. However, the Macbook Pro’s get significantly hotter and thus to cool them the fans kick in more frequently. If you don’t mind fan noise this isn’t a problem but very few people like the fan noise generated from a Pro. If they are writing the fan noise can prove very distracting.
The second thing is that you could find your computer getting disconcertingly hot on the bottom and if it is sitting on your lap the heat might prove too uncomfortable. The more powerful the pro the worse the heat. In fact, the top end sixteen inch pro gets so hot it just simply cannot be rested on your lap.
These two items are far more important than might at first be realized. The sixteen inch Pro is only suited for table top use. Again, if you’re a student taking notes it is more important to be able to sit your device on your lap as there might not always be a table top. The abiity for a student to input is far more important than the overall power of the unit. If it is a case where power is needed for graphical work it might be better to have a desktop to do that and your Air for you general work.
The Macbook Air Surprisingly is the Best Portable for a Variety of Reasons
When you think what a portable is for the Macbook Air is your best choice. Certainly the more high ended Macbook Pro’s can handle more demanding work which is generally graphical in nature requiring a fair bit of horsepower but at the same time it is not ideally suited for portability.
It is time to start thinking again about the synergy of a desktop with something that is truly portable. At the desktop you can deploy all manner of power and whatever you choose is fine. I think if your going to go high end iMac your best to get an iMac Pro as it is a beast of a machine and the fans never run. Price wise, it’s a little more than a loaded iMac but it is so worth it.
Then you have your Air for portability and you ensure the two systems are in sync. Finally, since the Air is basically Apple’s most reasonably priced computer getting this with an iMac is not a lot more than a high power Macbook Pro with the 27” LG screen.
A Desktop with an Air: The Best of it All
If you need portability but power also and the Air won’t cut it you could get a Macbook Pro as long as the downsides don’t bother you. It will not be as portable and if it is too powerful but you need it to sit on your lap at times it will likely be too hot for comforts sake.
At this point you really need to carefully assess your usage. If the Macbook Pro were only to sit on a table top and you don’t mind the fan noise under load then it is a viable solution. However, if you would only put the device on your lap to write or take notes or browse somewhat etc the Air is more than adequate to the job. Further, it is the most portable computer of the bunch and some people do not like the touch bar but prefer the “f” keys and thus this would be your computer. However, if at times you do graphically intensive stuff and need the horsepower and have decided you won’t appreciate the fan noise nor the heat as the computer would be used on your lap in a highly portable state, I would suggest a desktop properly configured for what you’re doing along with an Air. Now you have the best of both worlds.
In fact, some peoples power use needs require the iMac pro. Yet they still require portability of a nature I’ve described. The iMac Pro is the best computer Apple has ever built. With this computer configured with an Air you truly have the best of both worlds. When you need portability and want to just zip up the machine in its case easily and carry it without issue, you’ll love that you chose an Air. Ensure though that your computing requirements are right.
In terms of price, a high end 16” Macbook Pro with monitor is almost as expensive as the entry level iMac Pro with Air. The iMac pro would be your hub and you would just replicate to the Air or put the files on a good file server such as pCloud to ensure you have the right documents with you. You will appreciate having done this for yourself.