Choosing The Right MacBook For University 2016

Earlier on in the year Apple announced their annual Back To Uni offer, which gives you discounted pricing on a new Mac computer, plus a free pair of Solo 2 beats headphones. However, before you take advantage of that offer you might be asking yourself which MacBook is best? To make that choice a little easier I’m going to give a general rundown on each type of MacBook – the portable notebook range from Apple – along with some helpful points at the end.

Before I start I want to highlight the similarities between each MacBook model. All MacBooks come with the same warranty, include free Apps ready for university (such as Pages, Numbers & Keynote and lots more), OS X, wireless Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, a full-sized keyboard, and are all capable of running a huge range of Apps.

However, there are differences to each MacBook – from the obvious different specifications and design, to which tasks are more suitable on a particular model – and these are the differences I want to try to point out.

The MacBook Range

There are a total of six Mac computers, three of them being a portable notebook:

  1. MacBook
  2. MacBook Air
  3. MacBook Pro

All of them include a number of models within each range, which often vary in storage size, display size and other areas.

The MacBook

Starting at A$1,999 and available in only one display size at 12-inches, the MacBook is the lightest and thinnest MacBook in the range at just 13.11 mm and 920g. If you’re going to be carrying a MacBook around all day this will be a great option in terms of portability.

New Gold 12-inch MacBook
MacBook In Gold

It’s the newest model in the range, with Apple terming it a revolutionary Mac, as it has been completely re-designed from the inside out. The MacBook features a brand new keyboard, 12-inch Retina Display, improved battery technology and a ForceTouch Trackpad. You will only find two ports on this: a headphone jack and a USB-C port for data transfer, video out and charging. It’s fair to say this Mac is built for those who love the wireless world and want the most compact, yet powerful notebook possible.

It will have no issue with doing a huge range of tasks, from the basics to photo editing, but if you’re using it for rendering (i.e. architectural rendering, etc.), engineering or graphic design it may not give you the performance you will need. This is because the MacBook Air/Pro do feature the more advanced CPU inside, and Apple have chosen a CPU for this MacBook because it generates less heat, gives great battery performance, while allowing them to create their first fan-less MacBook (this MacBook is completely silent.)

  • 12-inch Retina Display
  • Built for the wireless world of internet & sharing
  • Available in Grey, Space Grey and Gold
  • 9 hours battery life
  • Great for most tasks, however not suitable for intensive ones expected in Engineering, Architecture and Video courses

The MacBook Air

The cheapest MacBook available, the MacBook Air starts at A$1,399 for an 11-inch display and A$1,549 for a 13-inch display. It is fairly light at 1.08kg, and impressively thin. The MacBook Air also has a battery that will last you between 9-12 hours (depending on what display size you get), meaning it will last you throughout the day.

Buy 2015 MacBook Air

Like the MacBook, it too will have no issues with doing a huge range of tasks, however it technically has a slightly faster chip than the 12-inch MacBook. What it does lack in comparison is a choice of colours and Retina Display. A Retina Display is a display where the pixels are packed in so close together your eye cannot differentiate them. This makes text is super sharp, and photos are super clear.

The lack of this Retina Display won’t be a huge issue to most for everyday tasks, but the display isn’t as nice as the ones in the MacBook or MacBook Pro. If you’re going to be doing a lot of photo editing, or you’re doing a design course you will be better off with a Retina Display.

  • Most affordable MacBook available
  • 9-12 hours battery life
  • Available in Grey in 11-inch or 13-inch display sizes
  • Great for most general tasks

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro gets its ‘pro’ for offering the most powerful MacBook available, not just in speed but in graphics, display sizes and ports. It features a vibrant Retina Display (with all models in both 13-inch and 15-inch display sizes), and the Macbook Pro also packs in the fastest Intel chips for graphics – including some models having dedicated graphics cards – storage, and best overall performance.

MacBook Pro 2015

Despite all this performance, this may not mean it’s the best MacBook for everyone – it does come at a cost in a number of areas. First, the price (starting at A$1,999 for the entry 13-inch model and A$3,099 for the entry 15-inch model) means they are not the most affordable option, and secondly it’s the heaviest MacBook at 1.58 kg to 2.04 kg so portability is more of a concern.

So what does this all mean? If you’re going to be required to run intensive applications like Final Cut Pro, the Adobe Suite, AutoCAD, REVIT and apps for Animation, Graphic Design or video, this is the MacBook for you. If you love more than the casual game [outside of university] this also is the MacBook also the best suited to high process gaming software.

  • Fastest and most capable MacBook, but also the heaviest
  • 9-10 hours battery life
  • Available in Grey
  • The most expensive MacBook
  • Ideal for those who require to run intensive apps seen in Engineering, Graphic/Animation design, Video etc.

Buy MacBook Online

The complete range of Apple products, including MacBooks, are available from the Apple Online Store for Education. There you can learn more in-depth about each MacBook.

You can purchase your MacBook online at Apple and choose from a number of delivery options including free delivery to your work or home, pick-up at a Retail Store, or choose from over 900 pick-up points around Australia. All MacBooks purchased from the Apple Online Store come with 14-day returns.

About Ben

Founder and owner of Mac Prices Australia. Covering the latest news and announcements from Apple that is specific to Australia. I love design, technology, travel, and photography.

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