Please tell me what Mac laptop to buy!
April 9, 2021 5:25 PM   Subscribe

My 9-year old MacBook Air is finally giving up the ghost, so I need to buy a new laptop. I think at this point I’m inclined to just stay in the Mac ecosystem even though I know there are plenty of great Windows laptops out there. Can you please tell me which Mac laptop to get and what specifications to get (amount of memory, etc.)?

I hate dealing with computer stuff and don’t want to do a bunch of research. I just want someone to tell me what selections make sense.

Refurbished is fine. I probably don’t need a Pro, I mostly just use the laptop for web browsing and working from home, which entails mostly emails and video calls.

I’m not trying to spend extra money for no reason, but budget isn’t really a concern... after all I haven’t had to buy a computer for 9 years.

Thank you for your help, wise MeFites!
posted by aka burlap to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Just buy the current model MacBook Air. There may be some refurbs available. Do not buy older models because they recently switched CPU architectures, and you don't want to be on the wrong side of that if you're planning to keep it a long time.

If I was going to pick one of the two standard configurations, I'd pick the slightly more expensive one to get more storage which may be helpful some time in the next 9 years, but if you're really just doing email, web browsing, and video calls, you can probably get away with the base config.

It's very hard for me to resist suggesting speccing it up for more longevity, but with modest needs it's probably fine.
posted by primethyme at 5:30 PM on April 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I just traded my 11-year-old Air for a new Air (the basic model) and I love it. For one thing, they make the migration as easy as heck. It's got some newfangled features but overall it's so similar to the old one that I didn't have to struggle at all to adapt.

(My verrry old version of Word doesn't work with the newer system, however I was long overdue to update that and didn't mind.)

Also I was flabbergasted to see that Apple would give me $200 for my old Air even though the battery only just barely worked. I also paid for the new machine with my Apple card, which let me do it in monthly installments with zero interest plus cash back.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:32 PM on April 9, 2021

Best answer: Yes, the new M1 Macbook Air is what you want. The base model, with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD is probably fine, though I bought the next one up (with 8 GPU cores and 512GB SSD). Bumping to 16GB RAM is probably overkill for your needs. I moved from Windows to Mac with this machine and I could not be happier.
posted by lhauser at 5:34 PM on April 9, 2021

Best answer: MacBook Air. Apple's in-stock M1 refurb models right now are near the top of the range though at a decent discount: $1529 for the 8GB/2TB configuration that sells for $1799, $1739 for the $2049 config. That'll change depending upon what they have, so if you want to pay less and are in no immediate hurry, keep checking. As previously, I'd say pay extra for storage but not for RAM.
posted by holgate at 6:56 PM on April 9, 2021

Best answer: I upgraded from 2013 11" Air to the new Air M1 and it's great.

I went with a refurb and bought the entry model and liked it so much I sent it back and went with the second from the top model (so, 16 ram, 1TB storage, 8/8 CPU stuffs) because it only cost about 450 more and I figured it'd last me at least 5+ years. It was the right decision, I think.
posted by dobbs at 7:53 PM on April 9, 2021

Semi irate repair guy reviews the M1. Not particularly good... but seems biased against Apple in general.
Happy to see good reviews above but I’m gonna wait for the m2.
posted by pmaxwell at 6:36 AM on April 10, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks all! This is exactly the guidance I was looking for.
posted by aka burlap at 8:23 AM on April 10, 2021

Response by poster: Oh, and thanks for linking to that previously, holgate. I knew I had seen a similar question recently but I somehow couldn't find it again.
posted by aka burlap at 8:35 AM on April 10, 2021

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