Apple’s late-2016 MacBook Pros are cool, but they cost more than before. Even the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, which is without the Touch Bar, costs more than its comparable model in the previous generation. For students who are looking to save some money, Apple’s educational pricing is an attractive option. Or, there’s also the campus notebook deals to consider.
It wasn’t always the case in the past that those campus notebook deals offered better prices than what students can get directly from Apple. It was all about packaging. The last time I compared NUS notebook prices was in 2014, and by then they had decoupled software bundling to make apples-to-apples comparison far easier. At that time, it was still cheaper to buy directly from Apple Online Store in some cases.
It’s 2017 now, and NUS has some new price revisions to accommodate the newest MacBook Pros. This time around, it seems the NUS deal is quite legit. I’ve drawn up a comparison below between the public (non-educational) prices from Apple Online Store, the educational prices from Apple Online Store, and prices from the NUS notebook deal. AppleCare Protection Plan prices are included.
MacBook Pro 13-inch, 8 GB RAM 256 GB SSD (no Touch Bar) (Model MLL42)
- Apple Online Store public price: $2536
- Apple Online Store education price: $2396
- NUS notebook deal: $2360
Macbook Pro 13-inch with Touch Bar, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD (Model MLH12)
- Apple Online Store public price: $2936
- Apple Online Store educational price: $2716
- NUS notebook deal: $2710
MacBook Pro 13-inch with Touch Bar, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD (Model MNQF2)
- Apple Online Store public price: $3136
- Apple Online Store educational price: $2926
- NUS notebook deal: $2890
MacBook Pro 15-inch with Touch Bar, 2.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD (Model MLH32)
- Apple Online Store public price: $3877
- Apple Online Store educational price: $3566
- NUS notebook deal: $3430
MacBook Pro 15-inch with Touch Bar, 2.7 GHz, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD (Model MLH42)
- Apple Online Store public price: $4437
- Apple Online Store educational price: $4056
- NUS notebook deal: $3920
Across the board, the NUS prices are better than Apple Online Store education prices.
On top of that, the NUS deal adds a few sweeteners:
- Onsite (in NUS) next-business-day servicing
- USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter
- USB wired mouse and laptop carrying case
The choice is much simpler now since there isn’t any bundling of unnecessary software. I can’t say if other campuses (e.g. NTU) have the same deal, but the likelihood is that it’s the same. The downside is that only the standard configurations are available. You cannot customise your build, such as adding more RAM, or increasing the SSD size. In other words, CTO (customised-to-order) is not possible.
In case you’re wondering, Microsoft Office is now included in the Office 365 that is available to every staff and student. You don’t need to buy Office anymore, though if you want, the Office 365 University Edition is also a sweet deal.
Perhaps the one thing you might want to consider purchasing separately, if you really need to run Windows on the Mac, is a virtualisation software like Parallels Desktop.
So if you’re out looking to get a new MacBook Pro, the numbers on this one look good.