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Back to school Mac buyer's guide

Roman Loyola | Aug. 18, 2015
You're probably still enjoying your summer vacation, but that first day of school is creeping up on you. Sooner of later, you're going to have to start getting ready to go back to school. I know it's a bummer, but let's look at the bright side: Back to school is a great opportunity to buy a new Mac. Yay!

You're probably still enjoying your summer vacation, but that first day of school is creeping up on you. Sooner of later, you're going to have to start getting ready to go back to school. I know it's a bummer, but let's look at the bright side: Back to school is a great opportunity to buy a new Mac. Yay!

But wait, how do you decide which Mac to get? Don't worry. Here are the ideal Macs for students, with reasons why you'd want each model. Pick the one that fits for you, and be on your way. After all, you have only a few days of summer left before class starts.

On a budget: 11-inch MacBook Air

Priced at $899 (128GB flash storage) and $1099 (256GB flash storage), the 11-inch MacBook Air is a capable laptop for everyday use, and it won't break your bank. It has a 1.6GHz dual-core Core i5 processor that can easily handle writing apps, presentation software, Internet access, email, and a lot more. It can even process video and audio projects, though you'll have to wait a little longer than with a more powerful Mac.

The 11-inch MacBook Air has a 9-hour battery life for wireless web use, and a 10-hour life for iTunes video--that should get you through a day of classes. And it weighs less than 2.5 pounds, so it you won't get worn out carrying it around all day long.

Lightweight contender: MacBook

You know what sucks more than racing across campus to get to your next class? Lugging a backpack with a laptop while racing across campus. With every step you take, your backpack feels heavier and heavier. Ugh.

If this is among the top of your back-to-school concerns, you should get Apple's lightest laptop, the MacBook ($1299 and $1599). It weighs a tad over 2 pounds, so you may not even notice it in your bag, especially if your teacher insists on using that 10-pound monolith of a textbook.

The MacBook isn't going to set performance records, but it's quite capable of handling a variety of tasks. It also has a 12-inch Retina display that produces gorgeous images, and it's available in gold, space gray, and silver.

Portable powerhouse: 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

You've got big things planned for school--big things that involve big projects. You're going to need processing power. You need a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display ($1299, 1499, and $1799).

These laptops use dual-core Core i5 processors that are much faster than the ones found in the MacBook Air. They'll handle your student film projects and song recordings with ease. The 13-inch Retina display looks fantastic and comes in handy when you're looking for the best photo for your presentation. And the battery will last into the later hours of your day, with juice to spare. 

 

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