13" MBA or 15" MBP?

I'm currently doing mainly Ruby on Rails development.

My preferable requirements would be to get at least two code editors or
one code editor and a terminal side-by-side.

It should be portable.

I've already dropped off 17" MBP, because it's simply too big. 11" MBA
is too small.

Both, 13" MBA and 15" have 4GB memory and both can be upgraded to SSD.

My main concerns with MBA 13" is the Core2Duo processor and 1440x900
resolution. Will the screen size be enough? Processor speed is probably
the bottle-neck in RoR development, so will I save a lot of time with
the Intel i5 that ships with 15" MBP? Oh, and no matte screen option.

On the other hand, 15" has almost twice the weight as the 13" MBA. But
it can be purchased with the wide-screen matte display with 1680x1050
resolution. And it has the i5 processor.

I would be very grateful to hear any comments and recommendations by
developers who have experience with this kind of development on
MacBooks.

Alexander H. wrote in post #956067:

I would be very grateful to hear any comments and recommendations by
developers who have experience with this kind of development on
MacBooks.

Screen real estate trumps all (IMHO), but then I'm a visually-oriented
person.

Ar Chron wrote in post #956068:

Screen real estate trumps all (IMHO), but then I'm a visually-oriented
person.

How do you define "Screen real estate?"

MacBook Pro 15.4" @ 1440x900
MacBook Air 13.3" @ 1440x900

If one defines screen real estate by number of pixels then these two are
equivalent. If pixels to points has a 1:1 ratio then these two systems
can display identical content. The MBA has a higher resolution screen
(in terms of pixels per inch) than the MBP.

Obviously, things will appear smaller on the MBA, so I suppose it
depends on how good your eyes are, and if having things look smaller is
acceptable to you.

Robert Walker wrote in post #956075:

Ar Chron wrote in post #956068:

Screen real estate trumps all (IMHO), but then I'm a visually-oriented
person.

How do you define "Screen real estate?"

MacBook Pro 15.4" @ 1440x900
MacBook Air 13.3" @ 1440x900

MacBook Pro 15" can be ordered with the 1680x1050 resolution display,
which has ~36% more total screen space, ~16.7% more vertical and
horizontal space compared to 1440x900. If I go with 15", I definitely
will get the high-res display.

Alexander H. wrote in post #956078:

MacBook Pro 15" can be ordered with the 1680x1050 resolution display,
which has ~36% more total screen space, ~16.7% more vertical and
horizontal space compared to 1440x900. If I go with 15", I definitely
will get the high-res display.

True. Just making sure to clarify the difference in ppi resolution vs.
physical screen size. It's been a long time in coming, but hopefully one
day we won't have to deal with this particular trade-off. Once we get
full resolution independence in our desktop and laptop computers we will
no longer have to trade high resolution displays with the problem text
and controls being too small to see or use effectively.

We know this problem can be solved. The iPhone 4 vs. prior version prove
this. The iPhone 4 has doubled the resolution while keeping the UI the
same physical size.

How portable? I have a 15", my wife has a 13". 90% of the time I'm at my desk on an external LCD. 90% of the time she's on the couch, kitchen table, bedroom, friends house, etc... So for her the 13" is definitely nicer even if she has to trade some screen real estate. For me, it really doesn't matter the few times a month I go somewhere...

I don't think you'll notice much difference with processor speed... you might, but I doubt it. You might notice a big difference when you do that initial "git st" on a huge rails project with SSD vs HD though.

For me though... I can't stand the glossy LCD, but lots of folks love it. Which means 15" is my only choice.

Don't think you can go wrong either way though...

(for the record, my 15" macbook pro is about 2.5 years old. my wife's 13" macbook pro is about 6 months old)

-philip

Well I know it is not for everyone but I am sporting the new 11" Macbook Air and at 2.3 lbs it is a tradeoff on screensize but for this Starbucks nomad is perfect.

I take it the C2D processor isn't a deal breaker?

Well I know it is not for everyone but I am sporting the new 11" Macbook Air and at 2.3 lbs it is a tradeoff on screensize but for this Starbucks nomad is perfect.

                         ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

developer -> guru -> rockstar -> jedi -> ninja -> Starbucks nomad ???

Waits for job descriptions looking for Starbucks nomads....

:slight_smile:

-philip

I am using a 13" MBP I should have spent the extra for the 15" I always feel its just a tad bit too small. Maybe if i could have a higher resolution I would be happier, but as of now the 13" is just barely too small. My opinion though as a 13" MBP user and a developer.