Advice Wanted MacBook for web testing recommendations?

Kevin

Code Monkey 🐒
I'm back to considering picking up a cheap MacBook for testing. Costco has the 13.3" MacBook Air (M1 / 8GB / 256GB) on sale for $749. I believe it's the 2020 model.

Thoughts on it versus going bigger with the 15" versions? Are the keyboards on both the 13" & 15" physically the same size or is the keyboard sized up on the 15"? Could I use it with my existing docking hub that support my Windows laptops & Android ecosystem?


Alternatively, anybody have an older MacBook they aren't using and want to sell it cheap? :D
 
Alternatively, anybody have an older MacBook they aren't using and want to sell it cheap? :D
Second alternative... looks like Amazon sells refurbished units relatively cheap. Since this won't be my primary machine then a unit not in perfect shape would likely be fine. 🍎
 
From what I gather, the 15” and 13” have the same full size keyboard and both should have suitably massive trackpads. I bought the Mrs a base 2022 15” MBA and it’s great. A 2020 model might be Intel or M1. M1 is a much better experience. No fan and insane battery life.
 
From what I gather, the 15” and 13” have the same full size keyboard and both should have suitably massive trackpads.
With my hands a bigger keyboard is definitely a plus. If the 13" & 15" use the same keyboard then it's one less factor to consider. 👍
I bought the Mrs a base 2022 15” MBA and it’s great. A 2020 model might be Intel or M1. M1 is a much better experience. No fan and insane battery life.
For what I have in mind the older processor would be fine for me as long I'll be able to do updates on it for at least a few years.
 
With my hands a bigger keyboard is definitely a plus. If the 13" & 15" use the same keyboard then it's one less factor to consider. 👍For what I have in mind the older processor would be fine for me as long I'll be able to do updates on it for at least a few years.
You’ll probably get macOS updates for it until about 2027 or so. Does it have to be a laptop? If you're the industrious type, some of the older desktops can be had for cheap and you can get more updates through OpenCore.
 
I’m all for Linux, but it’s not as friendly for running your favorite for-pay photo editing software. Yes, there are free ones in Linux (darktable is good), but the for-pay ones are often best, and they don’t run worth a darn in WINE.
 
I would really try and go with Apple silicone over Intel. Most software for Mac is now being written for the M silicone and it will get updates far longer. If you don’t need the laptop form factor the Mac Mini is the cheapest way into an M1 chip. Right now Woot has one for $450 with a one year Apple warranty.

I recently purchased a MacBook Pro from Woot. It was an Apple refurbished with a one year warranty from Apple and was eligible for Apple Care+ coverage. It seems Apple may use Woot to sell refurbished at a lower price point than they sell directly.
 
Yes, refurb from Apple is basically like buying new. Gets the same 1 year warranty, batteries are replaced, new screens applied, etc. They explain the process, and I've bought a few refurbs from them over the years with no regrets. It's definitely not the same as buying "like new" or refurbished from eBay or Amazon or wherever.
 
Thanks for the ideas. :)

MacBook Air (13.3-inch) - Apple M1 Chip 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU - 8GB Memory - 256GB SSD Space Gray
If I go with Costco I'll get 4% back (total) so my net out-of-pocket would really be $720~ and they extend the manufacturers warranty so it'd be two years instead of one.

Amazon is the only one that comes with AppleCare+. At $998 it's not much of a bargain though versus buying from elsewhere and adding AppleCare+.

I'm not sure I'd trust Amazon's "renewed" products based on reviews.

That French-Canadian keyboard from Woot sure is enticing though. 🤣

I'm still on the fence about getting a MacBook versus a Mini. For how much I'm likely to use it, a Mini would be the more logical choice. Decisions, decisions...
 
Thanks for the ideas. :)

MacBook Air (13.3-inch) - Apple M1 Chip 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU - 8GB Memory - 256GB SSD Space Gray
If I go with Costco I'll get 4% back (total) so my net out-of-pocket would really be $720~ and they extend the manufacturers warranty so it'd be two years instead of one.

Amazon is the only one that comes with AppleCare+. At $998 it's not much of a bargain though versus buying from elsewhere and adding AppleCare+.

I'm not sure I'd trust Amazon's "renewed" products based on reviews.

That French-Canadian keyboard from Woot sure is enticing though. 🤣

I'm still on the fence about getting a MacBook versus a Mini. For how much I'm likely to use it, a Mini would be the more logical choice. Decisions, decisions...
Interesting to see how the landscape has changed a bit in regards to refurbs (Apple) vs deals on new (B&H)…

An advantage of the Mini would be that you can attach a normal keyboard (even a French-Canadian :) )and some nice big monitors…
 
I have a 2015 MBP 13 and have pretty large hands and the work area seems to be more than adequate , I travel quit a bit and find I can stow it along with my camera gear all in 1 carry on even on domestic flights. I bought the M1 mini for a desk top and haven't had any issues. I also just updated to whatever the latest software is on my MPB.
 
Got a Microcenter near you? Mine has the 2018 Intel Mac mini for $349, comes with the 6 core i7 and 32GB RAM. Dumb part is that it has the base 128GB storage, but you can always go with external storage if you need more. Not as powerful of a GPU, but it's a cheap cost of entry if you're just wanting to dabble in macOS. My current daily driver is a 2010 Mac Pro that I've maxed out the CPU to dual 6-core Xeons and added an RX 5600 XT. 2 NVME drives, 32GB RAM, it's actually pretty solid today. I had to put OpenCore on one of the drives to run Monterey, which is good enough for me.
 
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