2015 Macbook Air 13 refurb. vs 2012 Macbook Pro 13 refurb?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by wat870, Jul 13, 2016.

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  1. wat870

    wat870 Newbie

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    Hi guys,

    1) What is your budget?
    Wouldn't want to be paying much more than £760 ($1000)

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.
    UK

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    No real dislikes
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    Yes

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    Mainly word processing, web browsing, video streaming, a little photo editing here and there but nothing too demanding

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    To and from college, the office and on business trips

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook?
    No

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    As much as possible, although 7 hours is probably sufficient

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    Happy to see in-store and then purchase online

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, etc.
    I'm used to Windows 10, moderately used to OS X, but looking to switch to OS X

    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer?

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen?
    Glossy

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Yes, but performance and practicality is more important

    15) When are you buying this laptop?
    Within the next month

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    6-7 years

    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive?
    256GB would probably do me. SSD would be preferable but not essential

    18) Do you need an optical drive?
    No

    ==========


    I'm not a very heavy user: I'll mainly be web browsing, streaming, word processing, a bit of amateur photo editing etc, but I'm often doing multiple things at once. I'm looking for portability and battery life, as i'll be going to and from college most days, and from next year i'll be going to and from the office. That said, i'll also be using it a lot at home as you would a desktop.

    These are the two deals i've found. I've done as much research as I can into the specs to figure out what might be best for my purposes, but can't come to a decision. Hoping that people who are more experienced can weigh in!

    Is a 1 year old MBA with those specs worth an extra $250 compared to a 4 year old MBP? Is it worth the price difference?

    Is the MBA worth the extra money given that it has flash storage? Would flash storage make much of a difference for my needs?

    Thanks

    Refurbished Macbook Pro 13" i5 MD101LL/A (mid-2012) - $765


      • 2.5 GHz Intel “Core i5” processor
      • Intel HD graphics: 4000 graphics processor
      • 4GB RAM
      • 500GB HDD
      • Integrated 720p FaceTime HD webcam
      • LED-backlit 13.3” widescreen
      • TFT active-matrix “glossy” display (1280x800 native resolution)
      • Designed to provide up to 7 hours of battery life
      • Backlit keyboard, ‘‘no button’’ glass ‘‘inertial’’ multi-touch trackpad
      • Connectivity: AirPort Extreme (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet, a Firewire “800” port, two USB 3.0 ports, a “Thunderbolt” port, audio in/out, and an SDXC card slot
      • Six-month warranty

    Refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Air 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (early 2015) - $1004

    13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colours

    4GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory

    256GB PCIe-based flash storage

    720p FaceTime HD Camera

    Intel HD Graphics 6000

    Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3

    Up to 12 hours battery life

    1 year warranty

     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  2. Starlight5

    Starlight5 W I N T E R B O R N

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    @wat870 comparing these two, the latter seems way better. However, both have poor displays and overall the build quality is not stellar - it's premium consumer, not business-class, after all. If you want to do color-sensitive work, at least get something with good display, be it Mac or not. To add an insult to injury, 4GB non-upgradeable ram is considered low-end nowadays. Filling the form would certainly help to aide you better.
     
  3. Kent T

    Kent T Notebook Virtuoso

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    That said for a Mac, I'd go MacBook Pro before MacBook Air. As it would have some RAM upgrade capability and storage options not found in an Air, and I'd go with a newer model refurb. Say a year or two newer and get it from Apple with a warranty if you decide on Apple. AppleCare added on is also recommended. And that Core i5 means a happier experience too.
     
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  4. wat870

    wat870 Newbie

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    Would the first option be a good deal if the same model came with 16GB ram and a 600GB SSD for $1000 total?

    When you say the build quality isn't stellar, what do you mean? My needs are mainly consumer, I won't be doing anything too demanding like video editing if that makes a difference

    Also am i right in saying even the 2016 MBAs have poor displays compared to the rest of the range and most competitors?

    Again, do you think the first option would be a good deal if the same model came with 16GB ram and a 600GB SSD for $1000 total? Even though it's not from Apple? (Does still come with 6 month warranty from a reputable company)

    Since I'm hoping to keep this laptop for the next 6-7 years, it would be really useful to know how old is too old with refurbs. Obviously I'd rather not get something that's already very dated to begin with, but at the same time I don't want to spend much more than 1000 bucks
     
  5. Starlight5

    Starlight5 W I N T E R B O R N

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    I believe it will still be too expensive, given its age and especially poor display.
    I mean that they don't last that long and are much easier to break than business-class machines; poor cooling doesn't help motherboard longevity, in particular.
    Choosing a Macbook, you should compare Apples to Apples. (= Hardware-wise, non-Retina models are nothing spectacular, and everything Apple bears a hefty price premium - but since you're choosing between them, I assume you want to run some specific OS X software. While making a Hackintosh is always a possibility, it involves a lot of tinkering, and every OS X update poses a danger; Macbook just works.
     
  6. wat870

    wat870 Newbie

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    What would you consider a business class machine? I wouldn't consider myself a business user by the way, very much an ordinary consumer

    Choosing a Macbook, you should compare Apples to Apples. (= Hardware-wise, non-Retina models are nothing spectacular, and everything Apple bears a hefty price premium - but since you're choosing between them, I assume you want to run some specific OS X software. While making a Hackintosh is always a possibility, it involves a lot of tinkering, and every OS X update poses a danger; Macbook just works.[/QUOTE]

    Which Windows PC machines could I consider instead of Apple, given my needs? (I've filled in the form in the OP if it helps) I've been looking at the Yoga 3 and the Zenbook ux305 as well...
     
  7. Starlight5

    Starlight5 W I N T E R B O R N

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    Lenovo Thinkpads, HP Elitebooks, Dell Latitudes, Fujitsu Lifebooks, Toshiba Porteges, etc. Sturdy, high-quality machines with good or excellent keyboards which are easy to maintain and repair, and last 5+ years. They usually cost quite a lot when bought new, but are easy to find quite cheap when enterprises - who are their main buyers - sell them, often in bulk. Given your 6-7 years expectation, this is the only kind of machines I would consider; neither Macbook nor ASUS or consumer Yogas would normally last that much unless babied + a lot of luck.
    I would normally advise 14" Thinkpad Yoga 460 in this case - great business-class machine all around, easily upgradeable yet cheap. Then, there's more compact 12.5" Thinkpad Yoga 260 if you'd consider smaller display size, and other options too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  8. Krowe

    Krowe Notebook Evangelist

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    Macbooks in the 2010 era is notorious for its unreliability. There has been "service bulletins" (read: recalls after losing a class action lawsuit) almost every year since 2009.
    These machines are refurbished for a reason, because they are designed with virtually no ventilation (for silence and aesthetics, and arguably, designed to fail) and they use ridiculously cheap components and have badly designed power systems.

    Also, saying that build quality of Macs isn't stellar is putting it really really nicely, lets look at some of the most obvious design blunders from macs in recent years.
    1. Virtually no ventilation, which means that your components will run hot. High temperatures will kill electronic components, no surprise there. Most brand new macs will last up to 5 years, although I wouldn't count on it judging by the number of lawsuits that Apple settles each year, and that my firm has outright blacklisted Apple as a supplier of computer equipment. A refurbished mac, if you're a fan of the lotto, you should get one.
    2. Increasing amounts of glue used in the construction, in the wrong places. Nothing wrong with glue, but when you put heat sensitive adhesives right at the exhaust where hot air is coming out, you can only facepalm as an engineer.
    3. Exceptionally poor component choices for power rails. Apple has a habit of using tantalum capacitors in their main + standby power delivery circuits. Tantalum capacitors suffer from field crystallization, and the result is a short to ground. Bad power rail is one of the number one causes of "my macbook wont turn on", can't turn the notebook on if its not getting power.

    For that amount of money, get a mid-high range business notebook, build quality is much better than that of a MacBook. Macbooks are consumer class products (i.e. disposable) pretending to be professional, while Thinkpads, Latitudes, Elitebooks are actual business/ professional products (all good choices, can't really go wrong with them). Dell has an outlet in the UK and you can pick up a very decently spec'ed latitude for not a lot of money, plus you can buy next business day onsite service (up to 5 years, not that expensive) where they come to you to fix your notebook if it goes wrong. That said, I'd usually take the certified refurbished or outlet new machines. Scratch and dent is kind of hit and miss, scratches aren't a big deal, but dents are caused by impact, you don't want something that's been impacted. Scratch and dent'll be cheaper, but you'll have to try your luck.

    Just my $0.02

    TLDR: Only buy a mac if you can't find a comparable new/refurb business machine. For 600 GBP, you can pick up a refurb latitude with an 1080p screen with money to spare (or you can buy the 5 year NBD onsite warranty). Never buy a refurbished mac.
     
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  9. wat870

    wat870 Newbie

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    Thanks for the feedback, I'll take a look at those. With all this in mind, why is it that all review websites seem to rate all the latest macbooks so highly (with the exception of maybe the Air)?
     
  10. Starlight5

    Starlight5 W I N T E R B O R N

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    @wat870 if they rate it poorly, Apple won't ever send review samples again. I only trust notebookcheck. (= Also, Macbooks are somewhat good - as long as consumer devices go. After all, reviewers won't have to use them for years; many crappy, unreliable products get very positive reviews.
     
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