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    Eva M

    So I’m shopping for a new laptop and having a hard time deciding what I want. I’m an Apple-holic so I’m torn between getting another MacBook Air or trying a MacBook Pro with Retina Display. The main purpose for my new computer is because I want to go back to school so I’d obviously need Microsoft. Which brings me to my 3rd option of getting the Surface Pro 3. It’s a tablet / computer and given that I travel so much it could be a great choice. Oh decisions decisions. Can someone please give me some suggestions on which is best.


    Hi Eva,

    If you’re going to be using it for school, a tablet might not have the power you need in terms of hard drive space, etc. for assignments in progress. You would probably want to go with a full laptop. Other than that, I have no advice, ’cause I’m a PC girl myself 😉



    Being a heavy Windows user myself my first instinct is to recommend the Surface but Sparksfley is right, internal storage is an issue… The Mac Laptops use similar Hard drives though so the difference is pretty small. It’s also possible to expand that space with external hard drives so don’t worry about it too much.

    Screen size is something to ask yourself about, the 12″ screen on the Surface 3 is great for portability but can be hard to work on. I have a 13″ Laptop, and while I can do most of my school work on there I find it much nicer to work on more complicated projects on my tower and 24″ Monitor.

    If this is going to be your only computer you may want to try a 15″ Mac Book Pro. It will sacrifice some of your portability but you should be alright (they are much lighter than they used to be…) It will also give you more screen size to see what you are working on. Also whatever size screen you decide on, if you are already more comfortable with the Mac OS then why change? I may not use it, but I don’t criticize it for those who are already happy with it.

    If screen size isn’t an issue or you have another home computer to occasionally use for bigger and/or graphical projects then I would say the Mac Air. You again can stick with the OS you are comfortable with, it’s about the same weight (if not lighter) and you’ll get all the same functionality.

    If you do decide to get the Surface I should be booking my trip next week (Finally!!!! 🙂 ) and can give lessons. I will also give Windows 8 my personal seal of approval as I use windows a lot and appreciate it’s versatility and range of products.

    Hope that helped 🙂

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Winterfun.

    If you want a power tablet go with Razer Edge.

    Eva M

    Winterfun you’re awesome. Thank you for breaking it down for me. I do have a MacBook Air so I was really leaning towards a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display since it’s light weight and has the best Intel processor. The Surface is appealing but like Sparksfley and you said the internal memory space would be limited which defeats my reason for needing a portable computer. Thanks to Flint for also broadening my horizons but too many choices makes it harder to decide sometimes. I really feel my next visit to Apple will result in me walking out with a MacBook Pro! Thanks everybody :*


    When I shop for a new computer, I always consider what I’m trying to get out of it. I have used both Apple and Windows systems and I’m comfortable with both but for different reasons.

    If you’re going to be using it for school then you have to consider if there is any specific software you need for your classes that are only supported by one OS or the other. When I was taking geoscience classes I found that most of the software was built for Windows and there was little Apple support so I purchased a Windows laptop.

    If software isn’t a big issue and storage is your only consideration, keep in mind that with a Google account you can store papers on Google Drive; which I recommend anyway, which frees up storage space and allows you to access your files from any computer connected to the internet.

    Lastly, since you already have a MacBook Air and if it’s in good working condition then having an alternate system isn’t always a bad thing. It really comes down to what feel you need to get out of the new computer and what you are comfortable with.

    Just my 2 cents.


    Glad to help 🙂


    If you’re used to the Mac, I’d also recommending sticking with that. For best price/performance, PCs win, but again…stick with what’s comfortable. For the processors, if you only plan on using it for papers, spreadsheets, slide decks, email, etc. the i5 processor would be fine. If you also plan on using it for your photography (and/or video), go i7 and as much memory as fits your budget…in any case, I would go minimum 8GB. For internal storage…512GB+ if you plan on storing a lot of photos, videos, music, etc. (again, budget permitting), but I would still recommend iCloud service for backup if you’re storing anything local (that you care about). Also, sounds like you’re heading this direction anyway, but only the Pro w/ Retina display has a video out (HDMI) if you want to connect to external monitor or your TV. Lesser models need extra cable converters.

    Incidentally, for software, with your student ID you can get significantly discounted prices on software. I’ve used academicsoftware.com in the past. If you want Office…sign up at Outlook.com and you can get the basics of Microsoft Office for free in an online edition. Not sure if Adobe sells the full CS bundle any way other than online service any more, but you can still get Photoshop.

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