It depends. Each has its own set of drawbacks. Platter based drives are cheaper and store more data, but they're very much subject to things like any little movement of the laptop. SSDs are more expensive, wear out faster (flash cells can only be written to X number of times), they haven't reached their true performance potential yet, but they use less energy, and aren't as sensitive to movement as platter based drives.
So, on the Air v MBP decision, just figure out whether or not you want more power or portability. Also note that the Air doesn't come with an optical drive, so it can get tricky reinstalling the OS without a second Mac around. If you go MBP, then you need to decide if it's worth the extra $300 for a SSD. I can't really say that it'd be worth it for you given what you describe, but that's my opinion.
If you do decide to go with the SSD or the Air, then I would strongly recommend the AppleCare plan. That way, if the SSD dies on you, Apple will swap it out. You don't have to buy that at the time of purchase, you can buy it any time before the initial one year warranty is up. But given the cost of SSDs, AppleCare would pay for itself if you ever had to have it replaced even once.
One other thing... The display on the new Air's seems to be the exact same display they've been using on all previous Air models, because I've had an order in for 7 Air displays to repair some at work, for going on like two weeks now. So that says there's some kind of major shortage of these parts, and it just happens to come about the same time Apple launches a new Air model. So while there's nothing wrong with the Air display, it just doesn't compare to the LED backlit displays in the MacBook and MBP. The color vibrancy and overall clarity is noticeably better.
i need some buying advice. i have just started my phd and am looking for a portable laptop. my requirements are pretty basic - lots of word processing, music, movies, and of course internet. maybe some photo editing.
now first, i am a little mixed up if i should go for the macbook pro (basic 13 inch) or the newly launched macbook air (13 inch basic).
pro is more powerful and cheaper than air. but then air is lighter and also has the faster flash memory!
on the other hand, i am tempted to go for an SSD option with the pro. the price goes up of course by 315 $ or so. but in a way then the system could last me for a very long time given that the new polymer batteries last 3 times than normal ones. and its really the batteries/HDD that get worn out first.
on the other hand i am a little wary of SSD technology. it seems that the old HDD's are not that bad, and have some advantages over the SSD's. an internet search reveals that the 1st generation SSD's had a lot of problems.
so does apple now use 1st generation ones or newer ones ?
moreover, is the SSD option more reliable or the flash drive one (with air) ?
basically am ready to invest a big amount provided i am assured that the system will last me for a long time to come.
any feedback welcome,