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Haseo
Jul 4, 2013, 10:06 AM
Hello MacRumors, first time post! :D

I was originally intending to purchase a new 2013 MBA with i7/8gb/128GB. However, upon viewing the price, I came to the realization that it is not far off from the price of the 13' RMBP. This leads me to consider which I should get of the two, but I have some hesitations on the decision.

I wanted to get some opinions/experiences on which macbook would be more ergonomical and comfortable when using on your lap. As for my uses, 90% of the time I will be using the computer for writing word documents and programming in XCode while reclined on my couch.

The power difference and cost difference between the two is a non-issue to me, so I need to decide which would be more comfortable to use. The RMBP has a retina display, which is awesome -- but the mba has a slimmer and slanted design and is lighter, which makes it seem like it would be more comfortable to use for typing. Does the design and weight difference make much of a difference?

I know the best thing to do would be to visit an Apple store and compare the two, but I do not have one nearby me and will be ordering online, so I was hoping for some experiences and opinions.

While although I may not be posting replies much as I am a bit busy, I will certainly read all replies, and appreciate any input on this! Thanks! :apple:



PDFierro
Jul 4, 2013, 10:52 AM
Well even going to the Apple store wouldn't help too much, as you couldn't hold it in your lap.

Honestly, I think the 13-inch rMBP is better designed for easier typing/writing. Mainly because of the flat design and all else. But that's just me.

It's only half a pound difference between the MBA and MBP, and you get a far superior screen.

Haseo
Jul 4, 2013, 03:24 PM
Well even going to the Apple store wouldn't help too much, as you couldn't hold it in your lap.

Honestly, I think the 13-inch rMBP is better designed for easier typing/writing. Mainly because of the flat design and all else. But that's just me.

It's only half a pound difference between the MBA and MBP, and you get a far superior screen.

Hmm, yeah I didn't think about that! Exactly why I would like some opinions from owners / people that haved used them. Thanks for your input!

falconeight
Jul 4, 2013, 03:57 PM
I've had both and both feel pretty good. I will always prefer slimmer and light but I like the screen enough to not care about the .5 pounds and little thickness.

Agent-P
Jul 4, 2013, 04:21 PM
I used to have a 2011 MBP before I switched to the MBA last year and I prefer the keyboard of the MBP. IMO it was more comfortable to type on. That isn't to say the MBA keyboard is bad (it's still very good), I just prefer the MBP keyboard.

Stealth777
Jul 4, 2013, 04:34 PM
I've got the 13" rMBP as well as the 2013 13" Air and there are subtle differences in typing on them.

I like the slightly larger desk on the Air, and the tapered edge..makes it's nicer to type on comfort wise.

I do get what others have said about the retina keyboard though. It has a more solid or substantial feel to it, I think mostly because of the extra weight of the laptop itself. It doesn't bounce around on your lap if you are a heavier typer like I am. A test would be to put both of them on your mattress and just start typing. You will see that the Air bounces up and down more which makes the keyboard "feel" a little less substantial although in reality I think they are probably both the same..just the weight of the machines making it a different experience.

Typing on a desktop I prefer the Air. I think the tapered edge is more ergonomic. Typing on my lap, I'm not sure which I prefer..maybe still the Air?

As far as machines though, the retina screen makes a big difference and in my small tests so far the retina runs more smoothly than the Air. The verdict is still out though.

In COD4 on default settings I was surprised that the Air got much warmer and much more quickly than the retina. Fan noise was an issue with the Air immediately. Same session on the retina, the fan cam on much later and ran more quietly..off topic I know..:)

haaX
Jul 4, 2013, 04:37 PM
I wanted to get some opinions/experiences on which macbook would be more ergonomical and comfortable when using on your lap. As for my uses, 90% of the time I will be using the computer for writing word documents and programming in XCode while reclined on my couch.


I had a 13" MBA but I returned it for an 11" MBA. I found the 13" MBA a tad too large (albeit a fantastic PC), but the space below the keyboard was just too large for comfortable couch surfing. The footprint of the MBPr 13" is actually smaller than the 13" MBA. Myself I'd gone for the 13 MBPr.... but if your going for that, why not wait for the new MBPr rumoured in a couple of months?

maxosx
Jul 4, 2013, 04:42 PM
I have both. My preference is the MBPr since its more well balanced when using it in your lap. The bottom part of the Air is so light it moves around. On a desk it's down to very minute differences none of which are deal makers or breakers.

Farthen
Jul 4, 2013, 04:59 PM
I guess it really depends on what you want to do.

I have an 11" Air as a companion to my 27" iMac. It's really great for using it on the lap, in bed and on the go in planes and trains. If you want a device you mainly use on a desk I'd get the 13" rMBP though. It's more powerful and has the retina display.

I wouldn't really consider the 13" Air though, the retina isn't that far off and has so many extra features.

If you want something you want to use on the go a lot though you should consider the 11" Air. It's really great for exactly that. It's so light, I don't even notice it's there when carrying it in my bag. Oh and it's cheaper too! You could spend the extra money on an external display.

No matter what you get, if you use your computer a lot I really recommend at least some sort of external display + keyboard/mouse. Especially ergonomics wise, your back will thank you later.

mattferg
Jul 4, 2013, 05:21 PM
Hello MacRumors, first time post! :D

I was originally intending to purchase a new 2013 MBA with i7/8gb/128GB. However, upon viewing the price, I came to the realization that it is not far off from the price of the 13' RMBP. This leads me to consider which I should get of the two, but I have some hesitations on the decision.

I wanted to get some opinions/experiences on which macbook would be more ergonomical and comfortable when using on your lap. As for my uses, 90% of the time I will be using the computer for writing word documents and programming in XCode while reclined on my couch.

The power difference and cost difference between the two is a non-issue to me, so I need to decide which would be more comfortable to use. The RMBP has a retina display, which is awesome -- but the mba has a slimmer and slanted design and is lighter, which makes it seem like it would be more comfortable to use for typing. Does the design and weight difference make much of a difference?

I know the best thing to do would be to visit an Apple store and compare the two, but I do not have one nearby me and will be ordering online, so I was hoping for some experiences and opinions.

While although I may not be posting replies much as I am a bit busy, I will certainly read all replies, and appreciate any input on this! Thanks! :apple:

Don't get the i7. Money problem solved.

Haseo
Jul 4, 2013, 05:28 PM
I had a 13" MBA but I returned it for an 11" MBA. I found the 13" MBA a tad too large (albeit a fantastic PC), but the space below the keyboard was just too large for comfortable couch surfing. The footprint of the MBPr 13" is actually smaller than the 13" MBA. Myself I'd gone for the 13 MBPr.... but if your going for that, why not wait for the new MBPr rumoured in a couple of months?

Hah, yes if I do decide for the RMBP I will indeed wait for the haswell upgrade -- it would be crazy not to with the substantial battery life upgrade!

As for the rest of the responses -- thanks all for the input! While although subjective, anecdotal experiences do indeed help my decision! :D

flynz4
Jul 4, 2013, 06:58 PM
I'll take the contrarian view. IMHO... the MBA is the "deluxe" model in Apple's line of laptops.

Having said that: When asked for advice... my recommendation typically is:

If you will have one computer... buy a MBP
If you have a desktop + laptop... buy a MBA

IMHO... the very best solution is an iMac + MBA combination. Two optimized computers. When you must (or choose) to have one... the MBP is the best single machine to span the entire usage (especially if you get a ATD too).

/Jim

Agent-P
Jul 4, 2013, 07:56 PM
If you will have one computer... buy a MBP
If you have a desktop + laptop... buy a MBA

IMHO... the very best solution is an iMac + MBA combination. Two optimized computers. When you must (or choose) to have one... the MBP is the best single machine to span the entire usage (especially if you get a ATD too).

/Jim

I would agree with this. My current setup is a MBA and a Windows desktop. Though I'm thinking of switching to an iMac just for better compatibility with my MBA. But the idea behind it of having a more powerful device and more portable device stands.

hkim1983
Jul 4, 2013, 09:55 PM
I'll take the contrarian view. IMHO... the MBA is the "deluxe" model in Apple's line of laptops.

Having said that: When asked for advice... my recommendation typically is:

If you will have one computer... buy a MBP
If you have a desktop + laptop... buy a MBA

IMHO... the very best solution is an iMac + MBA combination. Two optimized computers. When you must (or choose) to have one... the MBP is the best single machine to span the entire usage (especially if you get a ATD too).

/Jim

I don't agree with this for one reason only: if you don't need the additional power, the extra computer is meaningless. I'm currently using a cMBP, and I just purchased an Air to replace it because I wanted the extra resolution on the go, and the superior battery life (I suppose the weight difference is nice too) while the computing power that I lose is irrelevant to my needs.

If you don't do "serious" gaming (in which case, you would probably have a Windows PC anyway) or heavy duty media work, the argument for having a dedicated desktop computer is fairly weak IMO, unless you're going strictly for price/performance ratios. For those that do benefit from the additional horsepower, but still need something mobile to carry around with them, then yea, I would agree that's probably the ideal set-up.

PDFierro
Jul 4, 2013, 10:19 PM
I had a 13" MBA but I returned it for an 11" MBA. I found the 13" MBA a tad too large (albeit a fantastic PC), but the space below the keyboard was just too large for comfortable couch surfing. The footprint of the MBPr 13" is actually smaller than the 13" MBA. Myself I'd gone for the 13 MBPr.... but if your going for that, why not wait for the new MBPr rumoured in a couple of months?

And you can comfortably type on the 11-inch Air even with the shortened palm rest area?

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I've got the 13" rMBP as well as the 2013 13" Air and there are subtle differences in typing on them.

I like the slightly larger desk on the Air, and the tapered edge..makes it's nicer to type on comfort wise.

I do get what others have said about the retina keyboard though. It has a more solid or substantial feel to it, I think mostly because of the extra weight of the laptop itself. It doesn't bounce around on your lap if you are a heavier typer like I am. A test would be to put both of them on your mattress and just start typing. You will see that the Air bounces up and down more which makes the keyboard "feel" a little less substantial although in reality I think they are probably both the same..just the weight of the machines making it a different experience.

Typing on a desktop I prefer the Air. I think the tapered edge is more ergonomic. Typing on my lap, I'm not sure which I prefer..maybe still the Air?

As far as machines though, the retina screen makes a big difference and in my small tests so far the retina runs more smoothly than the Air. The verdict is still out though.

In COD4 on default settings I was surprised that the Air got much warmer and much more quickly than the retina. Fan noise was an issue with the Air immediately. Same session on the retina, the fan cam on much later and ran more quietly..off topic I know..:)

Yeah, that's what I meant. The keyboard feels more solid on the rMBP, like it's made better or something. And I just prefer the design of the rMBP. It seems extremely comfortable to type on due to the perfect combination of design and how the keyboard/trackpad are vs. the Air.

Allan in T.Dot
Jul 4, 2013, 10:25 PM
Clearly everyone here who has responded is not an ergonomist such as myself. Before I waste my time answering your question, did they answer your question or did you want a valid response related to the ergonomics of these two machines?

PDFierro
Jul 4, 2013, 10:33 PM
Clearly everyone here who has responded is not an ergonomist such as myself. Before I waste my time answering your question, did they answer your question or did you want a valid response related to the ergonomics of these two machines?

So instead of being a smart-ass, why not voice your actual opinion?

Stealth777
Jul 5, 2013, 01:16 AM
Clearly everyone here who has responded is not an ergonomist such as myself. Before I waste my time answering your question, did they answer your question or did you want a valid response related to the ergonomics of these two machines?

We eagerly await your expert opinion.

falconeight
Jul 5, 2013, 01:28 AM
Clearly everyone here who has responded is not an ergonomist such as myself. Before I waste my time answering your question, did they answer your question or did you want a valid response related to the ergonomics of these two machines?

How does one become a ergonomist?

bkribbs
Jul 5, 2013, 01:46 AM
One thing I think may be problematic- the location of the fan intake for the rMBP is on the bottom, so for me if I am on the couch I have to be careful with positioning it so the laptop doesnt sink in the sofa or a blanket or something (and block the vents).

dljeffery
Jul 5, 2013, 03:18 AM
My two cents:

I just bought a 2013 13" MBA to replace my mid-2010 15" MPB. I love that I didn't drop in screen real estate to do so; both are 1440x900. Also, I noticed that I don't like 1440x900 on my old 15" MBP any more... it seems way too blown up for no good reason. Kind of like how when there were 12" and 14" iBooks back in the day with no resolution difference between the two.

If I had a 13" rMPB, I would miss the screen real estate from my old 15", unless I ran at non-retina resolutions. Honestly, with the 15" rMPB, I would love the quad cores and the ability for 16GB RAM... if the 13" rMPB offered either one of those, that probably would have swayed me from the Air line. But in the end, I decided that at least this time around, I preferred to go for a much smaller and lighter package, plus of course the amazing battery life. So far, I'm very pleased with my decision.

I also use Xcode a lot, along with the iPhone/iPad simulators. I don't think I'd be happy with either on the 13" rMPB without scaling the screen up. I seriously considered the 11" MBA before tossing it out based on just that factor.

sectime
Jul 5, 2013, 04:07 AM
How does one become a ergonomist?

If he is a typical example you just twist your brain into a self-important position.

Miat
Jul 5, 2013, 09:17 AM
How does one become a ergonomist?

Not sure, but presumably it doesn't take much effort.

sonicrobby
Jul 5, 2013, 09:23 AM
Well even going to the Apple store wouldn't help too much, as you couldn't hold it in your lap.


Come on now, you could bring a few friends along to pick up the macbooks around the macbook you want, get up, lie across the table and test it out. Granted, people WILL look at you funny, and an apple rep might kick you out after a while, you just got to be quick ;D

But to the OP. I personally dont know, because I havent had the MBA or 13" rMBP, but using the 15"rMBP is fine on my lap (in a horizontal position), lyeing down and proping it up on my knees, a bit annoying. While I would recommend the rMBP because of the performance, the tapered-ness of the air seems to be a better fit for lap usage; to me it seems it was designed for the purpose of being used on laps and in weird positions. While the rMBP is still a laptop, it seems more fit for flat surface usage (desk or your lap while sitting up).

BenTrovato
Jul 5, 2013, 09:25 AM
In terms of ergonomics on the 13" level there isn't much difference between the two machines. I would go with the Air if it was going to be on my lap for long periods of time.

Collider
Jul 5, 2013, 09:35 AM
For me, it comes down to where I am. At a desk, it's the rMBP hands-down. In my lap, nothing beats the Air.

Speaking from personal preference, and with a heavy focus on comfort when typing rather than screen quality etc., the solidity of the MBP makes it feel more weighted in my lap than it actually is, whereas the Air is so light you scarcely feel it at all. By contrast, and for the same reason, I find the MBP a thousand times more pleasant and enjoyable to use when sitting at a desk.

Haseo
Jul 5, 2013, 06:07 PM
Great responses everyone, I appreciate the input!

It seems that the general consensus so far is that the RMBP keyboard is more comfortable to type on, yet the MBA is more comfortable on your lap. This is good information to know!

And @ Mr. 'Ergonomicist' : Not sure if serious or trolling. :rolleyes:

Suraj R.
Jul 5, 2013, 08:43 PM
As for what everyone's saying about the keyboard, there is a very slight difference in thickness. You have to press the keys in less on the Air than on Apple's other keyboards to register a click/put them at the same height as the aluminum back. I have an Apple Wireless Keyboard that I use along with my 2013 13" Air (i5/8/128) and I can tell some slight difference between the two keyboards. Not a big deal at all however, I can easily switch between the two. Almost disregardable (for a lack of a better word).

hkim1983
Jul 5, 2013, 09:34 PM
A lot of people have mentioned the keyboard, but I thought I'd throw my two cents in:

Personally, I feel that the Airs are the worst keyboards Apple has ever made (at least from what I've used in the last 20 or so years). They don't have as much positive feedback in typing (which is the result of it being so thin) and don't feel quite as good as Apple's other keyboards (obviously this is mostly subjective). That being said, I don't think the rMBP's are THAT much better (still inferior to the cMBP's IMO, although better than old iBooks), but you can definitely feel a difference.

I use an external keyboard most of the time anyway, so it's not the biggest deal though.

falconeight
Jul 5, 2013, 09:54 PM
A lot of people have mentioned the keyboard, but I thought I'd throw my two cents in:

Personally, I feel that the Airs are the worst keyboards Apple has ever made (at least from what I've used in the last 20 or so years). They don't have as much positive feedback in typing (which is the result of it being so thin) and don't feel quite as good as Apple's other keyboards (obviously this is mostly subjective). That being said, I don't think the rMBP's are THAT much better (still inferior to the cMBP's IMO, although better than old iBooks), but you can definitely feel a difference.

I use an external keyboard most of the time anyway, so it's not the biggest deal though.

I haven't felt a difference in keyboards between the air, retina or regular macbook pro. They all feel the same except for the thickness.

CountBrass
Jul 6, 2013, 06:25 AM
How does one become a ergonomist?

I've heard they hand out degrees in ergonomics as the booby prize if you fail art history.

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I haven't felt a difference in keyboards between the air, retina or regular macbook pro. They all feel the same except for the thickness.

I have to confess that, in their context, I think the air's keyboard is okay and the desktop's (iMac and, shamefully, the MacPro's) are terrible. I bought a dozen of the old mechanical Apple keyboards off eBay for my Mac Pro.

And to throw my hat into the ring answering the OP's question: personally I think that if you are considering a 13" rMBP then you should consider making the leap to the 15" rMBP which is a far superior machine, rather light and slim for a 15" laptop and far higher performance. For me 13" and 15" are too close to call size and weight wise so: 15" rMBP.

In contrast I think the 11" MBA is in a completely different class. It's about as portable as an iPad (shame the MBA lacks built in 3G connectivity) although I am finding for what I use my 11" for, the iPad is rapidly taking over: especially now that I can write code / develop on the iPad. What my MBA really lacks is being able to synch' iTunes content with my Mac Pro, the way I can my iPad. That, and the touch screen.

PDFierro
Jul 6, 2013, 01:41 PM
I've heard they hand out degrees in ergonomics as the booby prize if you fail art history.

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I have to confess that, in their context, I think the air's keyboard is okay and the desktop's (iMac and, shamefully, the MacPro's) are terrible. I bought a dozen of the old mechanical Apple keyboards off eBay for my Mac Pro.

And to throw my hat into the ring answering the OP's question: personally I think that if you are considering a 13" rMBP then you should consider making the leap to the 15" rMBP which is a far superior machine, rather light and slim for a 15" laptop and far higher performance. For me 13" and 15" are too close to call size and weight wise so: 15" rMBP.

In contrast I think the 11" MBA is in a completely different class. It's about as portable as an iPad (shame the MBA lacks built in 3G connectivity) although I am finding for what I use my 11" for, the iPad is rapidly taking over: especially now that I can write code / develop on the iPad. What my MBA really lacks is being able to synch' iTunes content with my Mac Pro, the way I can my iPad. That, and the touch screen.

About your comments on stepping up to the 15-inch rMBP if you are considering the 13, that's not true at all. Not everyone needs the power that the 15-inch offers, and some find the 15 to be way too large in size. And the 13-inch rMBP is a clear choice over the 13-inch Air, so it's not like you're compromising by going with the 13 rMBP.

hkim1983
Jul 6, 2013, 02:32 PM
And the 13-inch rMBP is a clear choice over the 13-inch Air, so it's not like you're compromising by going with the 13 rMBP.

I don't agree with this generalization, because it depends entirely on what you need out of a computer. The only major benefit the 13" rMBP offers is the screen, that's it. You can argue the little things if you want (better keyboard, better speakers, etc.) but at the end of the day, what it comes down to is: if you want the screen, buy the rMBP, if you don't, buy the Air. This may be bizarre to some of you pro-rMBP users, but for some people, superior battery life > screen.

EDIT: This also doesn't take into consideration those who highly value built-in "legacy" support, in which, the 13" cMBP is really the only option at that size.

haaX
Jul 6, 2013, 02:42 PM
And you can comfortably type on the 11-inch Air even with the shortened palm rest area?

Yep absolutley no problems. On the couch with the MBA on my lap it's far better.

thejadedmonkey
Jul 6, 2013, 02:47 PM
I much prefer the MBA. The rMBP still cuts into my wrists too much.

PDFierro
Jul 6, 2013, 03:38 PM
I don't agree with this generalization, because it depends entirely on what you need out of a computer. The only major benefit the 13" rMBP offers is the screen, that's it. You can argue the little things if you want (better keyboard, better speakers, etc.) but at the end of the day, what it comes down to is: if you want the screen, buy the rMBP, if you don't, buy the Air. This may be bizarre to some of you pro-rMBP users, but for some people, superior battery life > screen.

EDIT: This also doesn't take into consideration those who highly value built-in "legacy" support, in which, the 13" cMBP is really the only option at that size.

Well the argument here is that it's only half a pound in difference, which makes it a no-brainer to trade that for the screen. But I see your points as well.

SteveJobs2.0
Jul 6, 2013, 03:43 PM
Well the argument here is that it's only half a pound in difference, which makes it a no-brainer to trade that for the screen. But I see your points as well.

It may be half a pound on paper but in reality I can feel a significant difference in weight.

hkim1983
Jul 6, 2013, 03:55 PM
It may be half a pound on paper but in reality I can feel a significant difference in weight.

I agree. A half pound may not be a big deal on paper and for short periods of time, but over the course of an entire day in conjunction with whatever else you may be carrying, it can add up.

Granted, this assumes you're traveling a lot, so for those who don't, it's irrelevant.

MacBird
Jul 6, 2013, 04:26 PM
I prefer the MBA because I like the keyboard better. I can actually type faster on it and I have to write a lot.

I don't like the edge of the rMBP as it is too sharp and cuts into my palm and it gets rather warm at the bottom.

Haseo
Jul 6, 2013, 06:23 PM
Thanks again all for sharing, these are all great experiences to note!

As for the question of the 15" rmbp -- I really don't need the extra screen size nor weight and exterior size that comes with it. The main conflict in decision-making I have is what would be more comfortable or ergonomical -- if the RMBP is just as comfortable to use as the MBA, then it's a no-brainer to get the RMBP as the screen quality is quite superior. However, some have mentioned that the half pound difference in the air actually does make a difference in comfortability, which is what I'm more concerned about.

As for the more powerful stuff I do -- I have a maxed out 27" 2012 iMac for everything else. So the power difference between the air and rmbp is a non-issue to me. Cost really isn't an issue either, which is why I would choose to go with the i7 on the MBA, just in case there comes a time where I do need a little extra power on the go in the future, as I tend to keep computers for many years.

kahkityoong
Jul 6, 2013, 07:30 PM
I've owned both. Stopped using the 13rMBP because the 13MBA felt so much more comfortable on the lap, couch or in bed. No difference for me in terms of typing.

daviddth
Jul 7, 2013, 12:13 AM
Personally, I feel that the Airs are the worst keyboards Apple has ever made (at least from what I've used in the last 20 or so years).
The air is my only Apple PC here, and I love typing on it much more than my main PC. The low key travel makes typing a dream, easy and fast, but thats just my opinion.

We all like different things and that is good. Like no way in hell would I use a MBP as they are too heavy and big for what I want to do nowdays with the MBA.

PDFierro
Jul 7, 2013, 09:22 AM
Thanks again all for sharing, these are all great experiences to note!

As for the question of the 15" rmbp -- I really don't need the extra screen size nor weight and exterior size that comes with it. The main conflict in decision-making I have is what would be more comfortable or ergonomical -- if the RMBP is just as comfortable to use as the MBA, then it's a no-brainer to get the RMBP as the screen quality is quite superior. However, some have mentioned that the half pound difference in the air actually does make a difference in comfortability, which is what I'm more concerned about.

As for the more powerful stuff I do -- I have a maxed out 27" 2012 iMac for everything else. So the power difference between the air and rmbp is a non-issue to me. Cost really isn't an issue either, which is why I would choose to go with the i7 on the MBA, just in case there comes a time where I do need a little extra power on the go in the future, as I tend to keep computers for many years.

This is the first time I've actually seen people say the half-pound difference between the rMBP and MBA actually bothers them. I've held both and there isn't much difference. And even if it felt like more than half a pound, it would still be worth it due to the much superior screen.

Most people are buying the 13-inch MBA over the rMBP. But the smarter choice is clearly the 13 rMBP. I'm not saying it should be your choice, but I think people are making the half-pound difference a bigger deal than it actually is.

If I'm going to have this thing on my lap, I'm going to need a better screen. I also heavily prefer the design/keyboard of the rMBP when it comes to lap usage.

To each their own.

hkim1983
Jul 7, 2013, 10:56 AM
This is the first time I've actually seen people say the half-pound difference between the rMBP and MBA actually bothers them. I've held both and there isn't much difference. And even if it felt like more than half a pound, it would still be worth it due to the much superior screen.



You're not grasping what we're saying then. A half-pound on paper or in the short-term makes no noticeable difference unless your wrist strength is simply non-existant. That being said, over the period of an entire day IN CONJUNCTION with anything else you may be carrying, you will feel the difference and will try to make your load as light as necessary, regardless of how "strong" you are (I'm in pretty good shape myself, but it doesn't matter, because any weight over a period of time will eventually wear you out).

Again though, if you don't travel frequently, then this is a non-issue.

PDFierro
Jul 7, 2013, 11:02 AM
You're not grasping what we're saying then. A half-pound on paper or in the short-term makes no noticeable difference unless your wrist strength is simply non-existant. That being said, over the period of an entire day IN CONJUNCTION with anything else you may be carrying, you will feel the difference and will try to make your load as light as necessary, regardless of how "strong" you are (I'm in pretty good shape myself, but it doesn't matter, because any weight over a period of time will eventually wear you out).

Again though, if you don't travel frequently, then this is a non-issue.

No, I do see what you are saying. But I do travel frequently, I don't own a car so I'm always carrying something. Just a half-pound wouldn't make a difference to me, not for what you are getting in exchange.

It's a minimal increase. But the Air does have its advantages with being thinner, better battery life, etc. Anyway, really wasn't trying to take the conversation away from the ergonomics of the machine, just my thoughts.

mac82
Jul 8, 2013, 10:14 AM
n/a

GekkePrutser
Jul 8, 2013, 04:51 PM
I much prefer the MBA. The rMBP still cuts into my wrists too much.

This. I used to have the 11" air, much better in terms of the sharp edge than the 13" rMBP I have now. I hardly felt the edge on the 11". Now I've had to buy a speck case and sand the edge down to make it acceptable.

The retina screen is brilliant for Xcode though, especially the iPhone simulator if it's run in retina mode.

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In contrast I think the 11" MBA is in a completely different class. It's about as portable as an iPad (shame the MBA lacks built in 3G connectivity) although I am finding for what I use my 11" for, the iPad is rapidly taking over: especially now that I can write code / develop on the iPad.

How do you develop on the iPad? Mine has also taken over a lot of use cases I used to use my 11" Air for. But for development I'm still stuck with the 13" rMBP, and that's too heavy to bring on a hand-luggage-only business trip :( The 11" probably also would have been too heavy anyway because I have to bring a massive HP "laptop" for work :(

I did try using Textastic with Dropbox and the Objective-C colour template but without a chance of debugging I found it too limited to do anything serious.

Tike1994
Jul 8, 2013, 05:02 PM
I prefer the MBA because I like the keyboard better. I can actually type faster on it and I have to write a lot.

I don't like the edge of the rMBP as it is too sharp and cuts into my palm and it gets rather warm at the bottom.

I second this statement. I had a 13" MBP a few years ago and the "cutting" on my wrists was quite annoying.

I replaced it with a MBA and find it much easier to type on while using on the couch, bed, etc.

Haseo
Jul 9, 2013, 09:27 PM
Hmmm, quite a few people have noted that the rmbp cuts into your wrist, while although the mba does not!

This is interesting. I wonder if it has to do with the slanted design of the mba.

neteng101
Jul 9, 2013, 11:49 PM
This is interesting. I wonder if it has to do with the slanted design of the mba.

Slanted design plus no real wall at the front edge where its at its thinnest.

Fattytail
Jul 10, 2013, 07:53 AM
Slanted design plus no real wall at the front edge where its at its thinnest.

yeah, but there's still a sharp edge. Why doesn't that matter?

Allan in T.Dot
Jul 10, 2013, 08:26 AM
Hello MacRumors, first time post! :D

I was originally intending to purchase a new 2013 MBA with i7/8gb/128GB. However, upon viewing the price, I came to the realization that it is not far off from the price of the 13' RMBP. This leads me to consider which I should get of the two, but I have some hesitations on the decision.

I wanted to get some opinions/experiences on which macbook would be more ergonomical and comfortable when using on your lap. As for my uses, 90% of the time I will be using the computer for writing word documents and programming in XCode while reclined on my couch.

The power difference and cost difference between the two is a non-issue to me, so I need to decide which would be more comfortable to use. The RMBP has a retina display, which is awesome -- but the mba has a slimmer and slanted design and is lighter, which makes it seem like it would be more comfortable to use for typing. Does the design and weight difference make much of a difference?

I know the best thing to do would be to visit an Apple store and compare the two, but I do not have one nearby me and will be ordering online, so I was hoping for some experiences and opinions.

While although I may not be posting replies much as I am a bit busy, I will certainly read all replies, and appreciate any input on this! Thanks! :apple:

Hello Haseo,

Since you asked for some more information here we go!

The primary ergonomic issue is not which laptop is better. It's your work setup/work environment. You indicated that "I will be using the computer for writing word documents and programming in XCode while reclined on my couch".

You could be using a clunky laptop from 2000 but because your setup itself is so poor, the discussion of the laptop is moot. Think of your posture/position of your head. You're using a laptop on your lap with a 13" or 15" screen. You're head will be shifted forward to view the screen and the torque required by the musculature in your neck will be increased significantly (think of grandma/grandpa's posture).

There's been discussion about the weight of the laptop. Sure, there will certainly be some circulatory issues but that is considered negligible unless the laptop is over 10 lbs on your lap. I'm not too concerned about portability because that wasn't the question.

There's been some discussion about laptop design. Again, what about your posture and work environment?

A laptop is meant to be a temporary/mobile device. It's not meant to be a desktop replacement. That's why a offices still have a monitor, external keyboard, and mouse slaved to a laptop.

There is a lot of information on the internet but again, it's the 'internet' so ask questions. If it doesn't make sense, it's probably not right. Even question what I've said above because it's the 'internet'. Here is a link below where you can find some more office ergonomics information. I hope that raises some more awareness about your ergonomics and setup and where I direct my clients to for additional resources. If you have any additional questions, please ask.

http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/

KPOM
Jul 10, 2013, 09:06 AM
Hello MacRumors, first time post! :D

I was originally intending to purchase a new 2013 MBA with i7/8gb/128GB. However, upon viewing the price, I came to the realization that it is not far off from the price of the 13' RMBP. This leads me to consider which I should get of the two, but I have some hesitations on the decision.

The power difference and cost difference between the two is a non-issue to me, so I need to decide which would be more comfortable to use. The RMBP has a retina display, which is awesome -- but the mba has a slimmer and slanted design and is lighter, which makes it seem like it would be more comfortable to use for typing. Does the design and weight difference make much of a difference?
While although I may not be posting replies much as I am a bit busy, I will certainly read all replies, and appreciate any input on this! Thanks! :apple:

I had a 13" MBA from 2008-2011, an 11.6" MBA from 2011 until January 2013, when I purchased a 13" rMBP. Of all the form factors, I really liked the 11.6" MBA the best since it was so portable. I'd actually like an 11.6" rMBP since the screen on the rMBP is so much better than the MBA (in terms of color gamut, resolution, and viewing angles).

The extra 1.2lbs of the 13" rMBP vs. the 11.6" MBA is very noticeable. It might be less so between the two MBA models. However, the rMBP doesn't taper, so I've found that it doesn't fit quite as nicely into a front pocket of a notebook case or suitcase as did either MBA.

As for ergonomics, I'd say they are similar. The keyboard travel is pretty much the same across the board. The rMBP might have a slight edge because the screen has better viewing angles, so you can position the screen wherever you want it. The 13" rMBP actually has a slightly smaller footprint than the 13" MBA. It doesn't make much difference on a lap, but it does help on an airplane tray table (it's nearly as good as the 11.6" in that regard). Finally, the rMBP seems to have better thermals than the MBA, though I haven't tried the Haswell versions. The MBA tends to run hotter.

Haseo
Jul 10, 2013, 01:55 PM
Hello Haseo,

Since you asked for some more information here we go!

The primary ergonomic issue is not which laptop is better. It's your work setup/work environment. You indicated that "I will be using the computer for writing word documents and programming in XCode while reclined on my couch".

You could be using a clunky laptop from 2000 but because your setup itself is so poor, the discussion of the laptop is moot. Think of your posture/position of your head. You're using a laptop on your lap with a 13" or 15" screen. You're head will be shifted forward to view the screen and the torque required by the musculature in your neck will be increased significantly (think of grandma/grandpa's posture).

There's been discussion about the weight of the laptop. Sure, there will certainly be some circulatory issues but that is considered negligible unless the laptop is over 10 lbs on your lap. I'm not too concerned about portability because that wasn't the question.

There's been some discussion about laptop design. Again, what about your posture and work environment?

A laptop is meant to be a temporary/mobile device. It's not meant to be a desktop replacement. That's why a offices still have a monitor, external keyboard, and mouse slaved to a laptop.

There is a lot of information on the internet but again, it's the 'internet' so ask questions. If it doesn't make sense, it's probably not right. Even question what I've said above because it's the 'internet'. Here is a link below where you can find some more office ergonomics information. I hope that raises some more awareness about your ergonomics and setup and where I direct my clients to for additional resources. If you have any additional questions, please ask.

http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/

That is some very good information to consider! Thanks for taking the time to type that out.

I guess I am more concerned about comfortability than ergonomics then, as my setup doesn't seem to be very ergonomic, but it certainly is comfortable to recline on a couch! It is indeed important to consider though that I should probably get up and move around from time to time if being in that position for too long -- Thanks!

----------

I had a 13" MBA from 2008-2011, an 11.6" MBA from 2011 until January 2013, when I purchased a 13" rMBP. Of all the form factors, I really liked the 11.6" MBA the best since it was so portable. I'd actually like an 11.6" rMBP since the screen on the rMBP is so much better than the MBA (in terms of color gamut, resolution, and viewing angles).

The extra 1.2lbs of the 13" rMBP vs. the 11.6" MBA is very noticeable. It might be less so between the two MBA models. However, the rMBP doesn't taper, so I've found that it doesn't fit quite as nicely into a front pocket of a notebook case or suitcase as did either MBA.

As for ergonomics, I'd say they are similar. The keyboard travel is pretty much the same across the board. The rMBP might have a slight edge because the screen has better viewing angles, so you can position the screen wherever you want it. The 13" rMBP actually has a slightly smaller footprint than the 13" MBA. It doesn't make much difference on a lap, but it does help on an airplane tray table (it's nearly as good as the 11.6" in that regard). Finally, the rMBP seems to have better thermals than the MBA, though I haven't tried the Haswell versions. The MBA tends to run hotter.

This is good information to know! It may help other purchasers who are in a similar position. Fortunately I really won't be travelling with it too much, I will mainly be taking it between a few different residences to use while on the couch, or occasionally in a cafe.