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View Full Version : 13" MacBook Air Vs. 13" Retina MacBook Pro




dc95
Feb 16, 2013, 06:51 AM
Hi guys,

I'm new to the forum and have seen this question answered a lot, but I would really like a personal answer, so I'm going to ask it again :).

A couple days ago I ordered the 13" MacBook Air with the 8GB RAM upgrade and a standard 128GB SSD, but for only $150 more (with the education discount and recent price drop), I realized I could now have got the entry level 13" Retina MacBook Pro. I plan to use my new MacBook for simple college tasks (Pages, email, internet) and the one thing that would ruin my experience with it would be UI lag in fairly mundane tasks - a reported issue for the Retina, which is why I chose the Air in the end. But now I am starting to wonder if this Retina lag will be resolved in future software updates, and am wondering if I made the right choice in selecting the MacBook Air.

Would Retina MacBook Pro users be able to comment on their experiences with their product? I'm mainly curious as to how it would handle fairly simple tasks (lag is unacceptable for Apple :p), and if it can handle mild CAD work at such a high resolution (I will be studying engineering at college).

I will check back here tomorrow morning, and perhaps head round to the Apple Store to change my order depending on the responses :D.

Thanks in advance.



skaertus
Feb 16, 2013, 07:29 AM
Well, I don't have a retina MacBook Pro, but this is one of my concerns as well. I do have a 3rd generation iPad, and, although the retina display on it is great, it suffers from lagging. I wouldn't like a laptop with the same problem.

As far as I have read, there seems to be no lagging problems with this laptop. However, note that this may depend on the screen resolution you use. If you use retina settings (2560x1600, which is quad 1280x800), you should have no lagging issues. If you choose to use a different screen resolution, which provides more real estate, such as the 1680x1050 scaling, you may have some lagging problems, due to the fact that OS X will render the images at 3360x2100, putting a lot of stress on the integrated video card.

I have not found any comment on how the retina 13-inch MacBook Pro performs on CAD applications. I guess the 15-inch would be recommended for these tasks, but I really don't know. You could try searching for YouTube videos on that (I tried to, but I was unsuccessful in my search).

Of course the personal experience of someone who actually owns a 13-inch MacBook Pro is much more worth it than my opinion on it, but I hope it helps anyway.

dmk1974
Feb 16, 2013, 07:58 AM
Hopefully I can let you know later today. Here's my thread. I have a 13" MBA and have a 13" rMBP that should be arriving today to compare.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1543593

dc95
Feb 16, 2013, 08:32 AM
Thanks for the replies/advice so far guys. Definitely helpful.

In the past few minutes, my order status has swapped to "Preparing for Shipment" (talk about bad luck :p), which means I can't cancel my MBA unless I do it by phone (which I can't, since it's a weekend), and after reading some more reviews (and some YouTube footage) it looks like the rMBP will be the better option.

Do you guys know how Apple's return policy works? Because it would be great if I could walk in to an Apple Retail Store (in Australia) with my unopened MBA (when it arrives) and swap it for a retina, but I have heard you have to ship it back to China instead (might take a while).

Either way, I'm still open to more feedback about which MacBook will be the better option, and I will head into an Apple Store tomorrow for another comparison of the MBA and rMBP, and see what my return options are.

entatlrg
Feb 16, 2013, 09:14 AM
I have both the Air and 13" rMBP ... I'm CEO of a design company, CAD software, Adobe Illustrator etc is running on all our computers at all times, plus I have many tabs open in my web browsers.

This lag issue is blown WAY out of proportion. My rMBP is excellent, love the screen, smaller footprint than my 13" Air and does heavy lifting tasks with no problem.

In our office I have a Mac Pro, and we have iMacs and a 15rMBP, I can use any computer I want. When doing a concept drawing in Illustrator or spec'ing out a design in AutoCAD I never see the need to use one of the more powerful commuters here because my 13" rMBP is lagging or can't keep up. Hence the reason I say the OCD over lag is overblown and rediculous.

The only way you'll know for sure is to try it out for yourself, you have 14 days for a full refund. If I'd of made my buying decision based on some of the negative posts here I'd never of bought our 15 or 13" rMBP and based on what I've experienced owning both not buying them would of been a huge mistake. I really like the retina display too, I'm on a notebook for long hours, a superior display is worth every dollar.

KPOM
Feb 16, 2013, 12:37 PM
I agree that the lag issue is blown completely out of proportion. I switched from a MacBook Air to a 13" rMBP in December, and am glad I did. The screen is miles ahead of the MacBook Air. With the new prices, it's almost a no-brainer when compared to the 13" MacBook Air, IMO. I still have a soft spot for the 11.6" MBA, and if that ever gets a Retina Display, I'm probably going to switch back. But not before.

dc95
Feb 16, 2013, 09:17 PM
Hey everyone, just thought I would give you an update.

I went to the Apple Store today to try out the Retina 13" MBP again, and this time there was absolutely no lag (which I strangely experienced at another store's MacBook Pro display). I then put it side by side with the MacBook Air, and the Retina display just looks awesome :D. Well worth the $150 extra and that tiny bit more bulk.

So without the performance issues I was concerned about, its needless to say that I will be cancelling my MacBook Air order on Monday and hopefully grabbing a new MacBook Pro with the Retina display on the same day.

Thanks for your advice everyone, and I'm still open to comments about which is the better notebook.

skaertus
Feb 16, 2013, 09:59 PM
Hey everyone, just thought I would give you an update.

I went to the Apple Store today to try out the Retina 13" MBP again, and this time there was absolutely no lag (which I strangely experienced at another store's MacBook Pro display). I then put it side by side with the MacBook Air, and the Retina display just looks awesome :D. Well worth the $150 extra and that tiny bit more bulk.

So without the performance issues I was concerned about, its needless to say that I will be cancelling my MacBook Air order on Monday and hopefully grabbing a new MacBook Pro with the Retina display on the same day.

Thanks for your advice everyone, and I'm still open to comments about which is the better notebook.

Good choice. That's what I would have done.

Violet1337
Feb 16, 2013, 10:48 PM
Hi guys,

I'm new to the forum and have seen this question answered a lot, but I would really like a personal answer, so I'm going to ask it again :).

A couple days ago I ordered the 13" MacBook Air with the 8GB RAM upgrade and a standard 128GB SSD, but for only $150 more (with the education discount and recent price drop), I realized I could now have got the entry level 13" Retina MacBook Pro. I plan to use my new MacBook for simple college tasks (Pages, email, internet) and the one thing that would ruin my experience with it would be UI lag in fairly mundane tasks - a reported issue for the Retina, which is why I chose the Air in the end. But now I am starting to wonder if this Retina lag will be resolved in future software updates, and am wondering if I made the right choice in selecting the MacBook Air.

Would Retina MacBook Pro users be able to comment on their experiences with their product? I'm mainly curious as to how it would handle fairly simple tasks (lag is unacceptable for Apple :p), and if it can handle mild CAD work at such a high resolution (I will be studying engineering at college).

I will check back here tomorrow morning, and perhaps head round to the Apple Store to change my order depending on the responses :D.

Thanks in advance.

I would keep the MacBook Air as I personally wouldn't need the retina display as I'm not a photographer, who would fully utilize the display. Plus, the portability of the Air is very convenient especially for your use as a travelling college student. Just my contribution (:

ilifecomputer
Feb 16, 2013, 11:18 PM
i had the same decision to make and wound up getting the air. in fact, i went 11 inch. i take my computer everywhere so having less weight across my shoulder feels so nice. granted i switched from a 15mbp. but anyways, the weight difference is very noticeable when traveling (for me). either way you will be happy.

dc95
Feb 16, 2013, 11:51 PM
i had the same decision to make and wound up getting the air. in fact, i went 11 inch. i take my computer everywhere so having less weight across my shoulder feels so nice. granted i switched from a 15mbp. but anyways, the weight difference is very noticeable when traveling (for me). either way you will be happy.

Yeah, I was thinking a bit about the bulk. I tried comparing the Air and Retina in-store, but since their plugged in it's pretty difficult. What I will do though is buy the Retina, compare it to my mate's Air, and if the weight is too much for taking around college, I will get my two-week refund and move back to the Air.

I would keep the MacBook Air as I personally wouldn't need the retina display as I'm not a photographer, who would fully utilize the display. Plus, the portability of the Air is very convenient especially for your use as a travelling college student. Just my contribution (:

Yeah, I don't really need the Retina resolution either, but this will be my first Mac, so I figured I might as well get a fairly high-end one :D (I'm hoping it will last me 4 years.) I will definitely keep an eye on its portability, I can always switch to the Air in the first two weeks if I need to.

Trunks87
Feb 17, 2013, 09:06 PM
I got a 13" 128GB 2012 model and am satisfied with it. At least I thought I was until the Retina price drop (a little extra weight don't bother me because I could then do 1 Thunderbolt HD + 1 HD display at once). Then I realized they're doing Haswell + a newer graphics chip down the road this year... So many options! I'll probably just wait for a newer Retina to come out and mull it over then. This mac I got isn't bad or anything but better graphics and a lower power draw from the CPU meaning potentially increased battery capacity is cool.

Miat
Feb 17, 2013, 10:52 PM
I am waiting for one or two revisions of the 13" MBPr, before I buy. Mainly want more SSD, 802.11ac WiFi, and Haswell with improved graphics. Improved battery life is always welcome too.

Eventually, once my trusty old 2007 iMac finally gives out, I will be running a MBPr as my only comp, using an external screen and clamshell mode most of the time.

jmoore5196
Feb 17, 2013, 10:58 PM
I will be running a MBPr as my only comp, using an external screen and clamshell mode most of the time.

I've been struck by the thought the clamshell mode is a waste of a beautiful screen ... which is probably why I've stuck with my cMBP (with an SSD) and my MBA. The recent price drop is certainly tempting though!

Miat
Feb 18, 2013, 07:34 AM
Depends on the external screen. ;)

But fair point. :)

Sean76
Feb 18, 2013, 10:26 AM
Well I was in the same boat as alot of people on these Forums...Which one to get? The MBA or the rMBP?

Originally I went with the entry level 13 inch MBA a few weeks back, but 4GB of ram wasn't going to cut it as far as running Parallels on my machine and doing some other everyday tasks...So my I T guy recommended exchanging it and going with the 8GB version for a $100 more, then the craziness set in...Why not just go for more storage also while I'm at it and bump up to 256GB of memory? So thats what I did, got my new Air and whammmm, a nice scratch right out of the box.

And because this was a special order I couldn't just walk into J&R Music in NYC and grab another one, so while I was waiting for my sales guy to order me another one I ended up checking out the 13 inch rMBP and that was that, I was hooked and knew that was the machine I wanted. I actually ended up with a fairly good deal as far as price goes also. I got the rMBP for $1,519 with 256GB of memory on board and to be honest, I'm pretty happy. Is there a newer better machine in the pipeline for early summer with better specs...Yea Sure! It's a Vicious Cycle and thats just the way technology goes.

dc95
Feb 19, 2013, 09:49 PM
Ok guys, so I just bought the 13" Retina MacBook Pro (with my MacBook Air order cancelled) and so far I have no regrets at all. The display looks great (even though some internet images are blurry, which isn't a problem for me) and I've only ever noticed slight lag when going through Facebook. This laptop pretty much feels the same weight as the Air as well.

At this stage, with the price drop, I reckon the Retina is the way to go, for a tiny bit of added bulk, it is simply so much more powerful .

SlickShoes
Feb 20, 2013, 04:00 AM
Ok guys, so I just bought the 13" Retina MacBook Pro (with my MacBook Air order cancelled) and so far I have no regrets at all. The display looks great (even though some internet images are blurry, which isn't a problem for me) and I've only ever noticed slight lag when going through Facebook. This laptop pretty much feels the same weight as the Air as well.

At this stage, with the price drop, I reckon the Retina is the way to go, for a tiny bit of added bulk, it is simply so much more powerful .

In what way is it "so much more powerful" ?

I understand that the processor has a bit more oomph but other than that what difference is there?

The benchmarks in some reviews like this show there isn't much between them apart from the resolution of the screen:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6409/13inch-retina-macbook-pro-review/9

peleh
Feb 20, 2013, 04:18 AM
I think that the manufacturer of the 13 Pro RMBP is Samsung, why? The blues are too blue... :)

I think theres no match for RMBP 13, perfect size and weight, good performance, even with some lag on certain heavy pages. Once you go retina, you wont come back to normal notebooks.

dc95
Feb 20, 2013, 04:58 AM
In what way is it "so much more powerful" ?

I understand that the processor has a bit more oomph but other than that what difference is there?



8GB RAM standard, higher clock frequency (2.5 GHz vs. 1.8 GHz). Maybe "so much more powerful" was a bad choice of words, but the rMBP is definitely an upgrade over the Air.

SlickShoes
Feb 20, 2013, 05:11 AM
8GB RAM standard, higher clock frequency (2.5 GHz vs. 1.8 GHz). Maybe "so much more powerful" was a bad choice of words, but the rMBP is definitely an upgrade over the Air.

Yeah if you are comparing the base spec of each model then yes it is better but it is also 249 more expensive.

I admit it is a really nice machine though, I just cant justify the extra money to buy one over the air haha

dc95
Feb 20, 2013, 06:25 AM
Yeah if you are comparing the base spec of each model then yes it is better but it is also 249 more expensive.

I admit it is a really nice machine though, I just cant justify the extra money to buy one over the air haha

Yeah, with the education discount it was only $150 AUD more for me, so I could justify it.

Mike Oxard
Feb 20, 2013, 07:54 AM
Yeah if you are comparing the base spec of each model then yes it is better but it is also 249 more expensive.

I admit it is a really nice machine though, I just cant justify the extra money to buy one over the air haha

If you get a refurb rMBP then it's only 50 more expensive.

http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/macbook_pro/13

SlickShoes
Feb 20, 2013, 08:09 AM
If you get a refurb rMBP then it's only 50 more expensive.

http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/macbook_pro/13

I get education pricing so the Air still comes out at 200 cheaper for me on the UK store, it is tempting at that price though.

Buck987
Feb 20, 2013, 09:14 AM
I agree that the lag issue is blown completely out of proportion. I switched from a MacBook Air to a 13" rMBP in December, and am glad I did. The screen is miles ahead of the MacBook Air. With the new prices, it's almost a no-brainer when compared to the 13" MacBook Air, IMO. I still have a soft spot for the 11.6" MBA, and if that ever gets a Retina Display, I'm probably going to switch back. But not before.

I have the 11.6 air and recently got the 13 rMBP. IMO they compliment each other perfectly.

entatlrg
Feb 20, 2013, 11:06 PM
I have the 11.6 air and recently got the 13 rMBP. IMO they compliment each other perfectly.

How do you use them together?

Buck987
Feb 21, 2013, 11:41 AM
How do you use them together?


The 11.6 inch stays in my sleeve case and comes out in a pinch at any time to work on a PPT, give a presentation, do financials for my business etc. I have had to pull to the side of the road to answer questions on a PPT and the size is perfect for using in the car. Its also better for small restaurant tables and for times I have to share a desk with a client.

The 11.6 air was cheap enough (best buy $900, 4gig 128) so that having it as a secondary computer ready at any time adds value to me by me not having to worry about packing a computer each day and lugging around the slightly heavier 13" rMBP.

I use dropbox so my key files for a client are always there.

With a 13" rMBP I don't see the need for a 13" air. You lose a little portability with the 13" air and then I would say to myself why not just take the rMPB. What's another 3/4 pound.

The 13 rMBP with the better screen sees the bulk of my work at night. And for longer periods of time. The 13 air screen is nice but not at good.

So for a business owner...11.6 air and 13rMBP are the ways to go at the current prices.

Hayabusi
Feb 21, 2013, 05:14 PM
I'm basically in the same boat.
I need a new (lighter) laptop for my 6 month trip to Tokyo to write my Master thesis there.
I could get the top 13" Retina for around 160CHF (175$) more than the Air (256GB, 8GB RAM).
But I don't know if it is worth it.
I want more screen real estate compared to my current 13 MBP, because I don't know if I will have an external monitor there (or if I buy me a cheap one, which I really consider if the lab does not have a spare one).
The 1440 of the Air are already quite an upgrade when running two office windows side-by-side, so would the 1680 give me even more (or would the text be to little for a whole day of writing and reading)?

And I am a little bit worried about running the Retina at 1680 performance wise.

Hayabusi
Feb 22, 2013, 08:05 AM
So I spent some time at the store and decided to get the Air.
It was basically a weight decision, because I will have to take it with everyday and perhaps on a two (or more) week trip to further explore the country.
As I also want to take my DSLR with me everyday, everything counts. :-)

So I got the 256GB one with an RAM upgrade to 8GB and will pay around 1100, while my old MBP goes for around 500-600 on ebay. So all in all a great deal! :-)

Buck987
Feb 22, 2013, 08:10 AM
So I spent some time at the store and decided to get the Air.
It was basically a weight decision, because I will have to take it with everyday and perhaps on a two (or more) week trip to further explore the country.
As I also want to take my DSLR with me everyday, everything counts. :-)

So I got the 256GB one with an RAM upgrade to 8GB and will pay around 1100, while my old MBP goes for around 500-600 on ebay. So all in all a great deal! :-)

cant go wrong with any macbook...all the best for your trip and the thesis

DisplacedMic
Mar 5, 2013, 02:06 PM
I'm basically in the same boat.
I need a new (lighter) laptop for my 6 month trip to Tokyo to write my Master thesis there.
I could get the top 13" Retina for around 160CHF (175$) more than the Air (256GB, 8GB RAM).
But I don't know if it is worth it.
I want more screen real estate compared to my current 13 MBP, because I don't know if I will have an external monitor there (or if I buy me a cheap one, which I really consider if the lab does not have a spare one).
The 1440 of the Air are already quite an upgrade when running two office windows side-by-side, so would the 1680 give me even more (or would the text be to little for a whole day of writing and reading)?

And I am a little bit worried about running the Retina at 1680 performance wise.

wow - just based on the information in this post it is obvious that you have a way better life than i do
:mad:

;-p