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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:28 PM   #1
iMacBoy
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MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro Retina

Hi,

Ive had my 09 iMac now since release and I am thinking of getting a new Mac.
I have been looking at the normal Macbook Pros but am thinking that all computers will start to move to SSD so may aswell get one now and enjoy the speed, but i dont think the rMBP is worth the money. I think the Macbook Air 13" 128gb with 8gb ram for 1079 is a bargain, compared with 1500+ for the mbp. Can anyone tell me if the retina display is really a mega noticeable difference to normal?

Would the MBA 13" with external HD do me well for just the usual internet browsing, music and skype etc?
Or would it be better to get the normal macbook pro that is 999?

I dont have the money for the rMBP (wish i did)

Thanks.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:30 PM   #2
Soulweaponry
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I'm actually replacing my 2011 MacBook Pro with a 2012 MacBook Air. And my needs are pretty much the same as yours. So yes. I'd say it'd do ya just fine. Even some video editing thrown
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:36 PM   #3
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Oh good, im thinking SSD is probably the way to go, and i dont think you could go wrong with the 13" mba to be honest?!
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:55 PM   #4
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I recommend the 13" MBA. You could always buy a 13" MBP and put in a SSD yourself but CPU performance gains are minimal (10% faster at full load) and the MBA's portability and higher-res screen are far better advantages IMO. Regardless of sharpness, 1280x800 feels a bit clamped and you're certainly going to be a bit more productive with a 1440x900 screen.

The rMBP will have a noticeably better screen if you compare both but that's more because of the rMBP's screen being awesome than the MBA's screen being bad. The MBA's screen isn't by any means bad, especially considering a lot of laptops of its class use 1366x768 screens. I wish it was IPS instead of TN for better viewing angles, but otherwise PPI is quite good for a computer at 128PPI. For reference your iMac has 102PPI.

Last edited by pgiguere1; Nov 12, 2012 at 05:01 PM.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 05:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by iMacBoy View Post
I think the Macbook Air 13" 128gb with 8gb ram for 1079 is a bargain, compared with 1500+ for the mbp. Can anyone tell me if the retina display is really a mega noticeable difference to normal?
Like the original MBA, which launched at $1799 starting price (2G: $1799, 3G: $1499, 4G: $1299, 5G: $1399, 6G: $1199), 13" rMBP ($1699) is clearly targeted at early adopter. Using MBA as a guide, it is not unreasonable to expect that it will replace and cost the same as cMBP in few years.

Meanwhile, the only real tangible benefit of 13" rMBP over 13" MBA is the screen. Benchmarks have shown that performance differences between the two are not noticeable in real world.

Having said that, the price difference between 13" MBA and 13" rMBP with 128GB and 8GB RAM are 370 (rMBP is 1449), not 421+ as you indicated.

For 370 more, you do get higher resolution retina screen, much nicer IPS LCD panel (with true 16+ million colors instead of 262,144 true colors on MBA), two Thunderbolt ports, and HDMI port. That may not be worth the premium to some, but the screen absolutely blows MBA away.

As for storage, Apple will most likely add 802.11ac or 802.11ad to Macs next year, which will offer real world throughput of 600 Mbps or more (75 MB/sec). 75 MB/sec is faster than most external hard disk (single 5400 rpm) over USB 3.0. So in few years, relatively small flash storage capacity won't be as bad as it is on today's MBAs and rMBPs.
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Old Nov 20, 2012, 01:09 PM   #6
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You mention that you don't have the money for a rMBP. Have you tried the apple education store? I bought the 15" rMBP that I'm typing this on there. Got $200 off, and they didn't ask for any proof that I'm a student. But if you really can't afford rMBP, I suggest the MB air, becasue of the portability and the ssd. It already has a better screen than the MBP, and is so much nicer to carry. I would recomend fully upgrading the proccessor and ram as much as you can afford, as they are nonupgradable. But deffinetly MB air over MBP.
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Old Nov 20, 2012, 01:42 PM   #7
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You mention that you don't have the money for a rMBP. Have you tried the apple education store? I bought the 15" rMBP that I'm typing this on there. Got $200 off, and they didn't ask for any proof that I'm a student. But if you really can't afford rMBP, I suggest the MB air, becasue of the portability and the ssd. It already has a better screen than the MBP, and is so much nicer to carry. I would recomend fully upgrading the proccessor and ram as much as you can afford, as they are nonupgradable. But deffinetly MB air over MBP.
In the UK they're considerably more strict regarding the apple education store. You can only access it from a university intranet and they ask for ID cards in store.
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Old Nov 20, 2012, 02:59 PM   #8
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I went through a similar thought process, and ended up getting a refurb 2012 13" MBA with i7 2.0 GHz, 512 MB SSD, and 8 GB RAM.

My current Mac is a late 2008 MBP 15" with 2.53 Ghz and Core2Duo. It's still running well enough, but portability is definitely an issue. It also takes way too long to process videos in iMovie, even for simple things.

I thought I had to have a rMBP 15", but by the time I bumped the specs to future proof it a bit, it was over $3,000. Plus, though it's thinner and lighter than my current MBP, it still needs a giant laptop bag or backpack for travel.

The rMBP 13" is barely better spec-wise than the 13" MBA other than the screen, and it's a few hundred $ more (and not yet available refurbished) so I went with the MBA refurb. I get it on Monday - can't wait!
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Old Nov 21, 2012, 03:58 PM   #9
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In the UK they're considerably more strict regarding the apple education store. You can only access it from a university intranet and they ask for ID cards in store.

http://store.apple.com/uk_edu_5000828
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Old Nov 21, 2012, 04:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by iMacBoy View Post
Hi,

Ive had my 09 iMac now since release and I am thinking of getting a new Mac.
I have been looking at the normal Macbook Pros but am thinking that all computers will start to move to SSD so may aswell get one now and enjoy the speed, but i dont think the rMBP is worth the money. I think the Macbook Air 13" 128gb with 8gb ram for 1079 is a bargain, compared with 1500+ for the mbp. Can anyone tell me if the retina display is really a mega noticeable difference to normal?

Would the MBA 13" with external HD do me well for just the usual internet browsing, music and skype etc?
Or would it be better to get the normal macbook pro that is 999?

I dont have the money for the rMBP (wish i did)

Thanks.
The display on the retina is nice, but it will suck on apps that are not yet updated to take support on it. Similarly, it will also suck for apps that likely will never see an update for retina support (i.e. Final Cut Studio 3/FCP 7, QuickTime 7, older versions of Adobe and Microsoft software, some games, etc.). Given that there are still many apps that don't yet support it, as well as a majority of websites that don't yet have hi-density images/graphics, I wouldn't think that it would be worth it today. Two or three years from now, absolutely. Five years from now, when people buying this last crop of non-retina MacBook Pros are naturally upgrading to something newer, absolutely. Now, nah. The only other benefit of a 13" rMBP over a 13" Air is a faster processor. That's it. Otherwise, the Air is more affordable and more sensible today.
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Old Nov 21, 2012, 04:45 PM   #11
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It's a hard decision between several fantastic pieces of technology. I personally would go for the Air or RMBP over a regular MBP. Both have their benefits.
Everybody I know has fallen for the size and weight of the Air, it's simply Apple's most brilliant design move so far. I thought about it for a long time but in the end decided to replace my Air with a RMBP because I like the extra screen real estate and got spoiled by the iPad 3 retina display. The RMBP display helps my productivity because at 1920x1200 setting I can fit a lot of information on the screen. Also, looking at pictures from a good camera is a JOY. But I do miss the Air's form factor. Sorry to not be of more help but say that you'll be happy with either of those.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 12:09 AM   #12
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I just replaced 13" 2012 MBA I7/8Gb/512 with 13" rMBP i7/8Gb/512. Both are fine machines. You can notice weight difference of MBP over MBA. However, rMBP screen is really beautiful. Overall, I am happy with replacement.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 12:15 AM   #13
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There is a challenge one faces with the retina display that's rarely talked about in Apple forums, but is widely discussed across the blogosphere.

Sites & Apps look stunning if they utilize the hi res of the retina. Those sites & apps that do not are blurry, and miserable to deal with.

Once this problem is solved, retina will be much more enjoyable. It's one of the reasons I dumped mine.

Conversely one of the nicest Macs in ages is my 13" 2012 MBA.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iMacBoy View Post
Hi,

Ive had my 09 iMac now since release and I am thinking of getting a new Mac.
I have been looking at the normal Macbook Pros but am thinking that all computers will start to move to SSD so may aswell get one now and enjoy the speed, but i dont think the rMBP is worth the money. I think the Macbook Air 13" 128gb with 8gb ram for 1079 is a bargain, compared with 1500+ for the mbp. Can anyone tell me if the retina display is really a mega noticeable difference to normal?

Would the MBA 13" with external HD do me well for just the usual internet browsing, music and skype etc?
Or would it be better to get the normal macbook pro that is 999?

I dont have the money for the rMBP (wish i did)

Thanks.
The MBA with 8gb ram is perfect. Don't worry about the RMBP. I have both and enjoy them both differently.
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