13" low end MBP Retina 128Gb or Ultimate 13" MBA 256GB?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by damo11, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2012
    Hey Guys this is my first post
    I am currently a PC user and I saw the light of apple :D
    So I would like to by a macbook machine

    I was taken in by the word 'Retina' and I thought about buying the base model for it.

    The macbook has 2.5GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
    128GB Flash Storage and 8GB of ram

    However, for the same price I would get a 13" air with

    2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
    8GB of RAM
    256GB Flash Storage

    Storage for me is no issue at all since I do not use much of it at all so i could be happy with 128GB. Price is not issue, however I don't want to spend any more than £1449/$1669. I notice that that the difference may be in overall performance and speed. Yet, I don't know much about it.
    What I would use it for is taking it to uni once a week, write essays, browse the web watch videos and play games occasionally, such as Call of Duty or skyrim when it could come out on mac (or in the future I could get windows on it). Neither is the issue of weight however, I don't wish to have a computer too fat either.

    The choice is very tough, the price is the same.
    I am looking for something that would last me for a number of years (at least 5) and would occasionally play games. also something that would not break easily, thus, it should be pretty strong and durable.

    Personal info: UK Classics &ancient history Student, has iPhone 5 32GB
    Any help would be awesome
  2. macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Either would suffice, but I'd say get the air. You're traveling with it a lot and the air is more portable. You aren't doing anything that requires the better processor of the retina (plus, the i7 air is FAST). You don't need the extra ports on the retina. You may like the display on the retina better...but you will only be able to decide how important that is after going to a store and trying both of them out.
  3. macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2010
    Gaming on either platform is abysmal since they both only have integrated graphics.

    As for portability, there isn't much difference between the 13" retina and air (300 grams).

    The screen on the air is crap. It's TN.

    The screen on the retina is much better and nicer especially for reading.

    The 128 gb ssd is fairly small. And don't think you can upgrade it in the future.

    Anyway, I would go for the retina (I have the 15" retina) simply because of the screen.
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2012
    Thanks for that i am going to the apple store tomorrow, my flatmate told me that that the downside of having a retina of that specs is that i am stuck with only 128gb of storage, however, i have filled my laptop with only about 60 gigs in a space of 4 years. Still, do the mac games and applications take up more space than the same ones on windows?
  5. macrumors member

    Dec 8, 2012
    I say go for the Air.
    I've spent so much time over the past month-ish weighing the differences between MacBooks and I just bought a 13" Air a few days ago. Previously I bought a 15" retina, but returned that.
    I know when you have a certain amount of money you can spend, you're easily drawn to words like "max" and "quad core", believe me, I'm a total sucker for buzzwords and feeling like I'm getting something incredible.
    This time, however, I sucked it up a little bit, I didn't go for the i7, I got the base 13" with a ram upgrade to 8GB (I upgraded the ram because it's soldered onto MBAs, and if I want this thing to last me ~3 years, I don't think it could make it with 4).
    Man, I could not be happier with my purchase. I'd say my usage is fairly similar to yours, I like to game on my MacBook occasionally but it's not a deal-breaker. Luckily, contrary to what I thought, this thing runs games beautifully. Obviously you can't take some brand new high intensity game and run it on MAX settings, but if you want to play some occasional TF2 or CS: GO it will run it flawlessly at decent settings (will get a little hot though, as with any MacBook). Mainly though I'm doing web-based things, some light programming, some audio production here and there through Ableton..this machine can handle all of it perfectly fine.

    As far as the display goes, I'm not too big on the retina. As I said, I had the 15" with a 2880x1800 display, and that's pretty much all I found it useful for..saying that. Your movies will look the same, games will see a slight bump, and the web will look no different. Unless you do video editing of sorts, graphic design, or photography..at this point in time I really see no benefit of a casual user owning a retina display. Unless you like to program, in which case the 15" offers a 1920x1200 resolution, which will give you a ton of space for coding.

    Otherwise, check my thread from earlier today, I think I hacked life and discovered something special about this device, I'm currently running it at a successful 1920x1080 resolution, which looks better than the 1680 x 1050 "more space" resolution that you get with the 13" Retina (I know a lot of you are looking at me like "wtf this dude is a moron" but, read my thread).

    My personal advice, as someone who loves throwing money at Apple, save some money if you can on specs you won't truly need. This gives you more money to blow on accessories for your new computer!
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 26, 2007
    MacBook Air's screen is awesome, anyone saying otherwise is trolling or crazy. Sure Macbook Pro 13" retina is another story since it is retina.
    Gaming sill suffer for sure with HD 4000 but if you play with lower resolution like 1280x800 you can enjoy most modern games at medium settings.
    YOU CAN UPGRADE either Air or Pro SSD, just check OWC website.
  7. macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2011
    Go for the Air... 8GB is FAST... and in my opinion, that's more important than a Retina Screen, not to mention the portability and the 256SSD. If you are looking for a Retina screen, get a new iPad, because the 13" base MBPr is overpriced. The MBA screen will suffice, as it's pretty sharp. If you absolutely MUST have a Retina screen, then I don't even know why you would be questioning this purchase. Otherwise, get the Air.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2012
    air for sure... the 13rmbp is a waste of money.

    13Air or 15Rmbp are the only options
  9. macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2012
    I like that the 13" Retina has a smaller foot print than the air.

    I like that the air is slightly thinner than the Retina.

    I don't think you will be upset going with either.
  10. macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2012
    Agreed ! The Air screen is plenty good,anyone saying it is crap or something is clearly going crazy or thinks every laptop is Retina !
  11. macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2012
    I went with the macbook air 13" i5/256/8

    i couldnt justify paying that much for a macbook pro retina 13". plus weight is an important factor for me. i wll be traveling around the world next year for about a year or two, and i wanted a laptop that was light, has some okay power to do photo editing and video editing, and a computer that will last me for the next 6 years.

    the macbook pro 15 is a better deal overall pricewise with the specs it offers. but i had to trade it off for portability as much as it pains me to have payed over $1700 just to get macbook air 13" i5/256/8. damn the cost of SSD. oh well.
  12. macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2012
    If portability is a priority then I'd go with the Air myself. My Air remains at home 90% of the time, yet I still very much so appreciate its form factor and weight and makes lugging it around the house and when I'm out and about such a pleasure.

    Retina is nice and I wouldn't mind paying for it on a $500 iPad, but I am not willing to fork over the difference when it comes to a laptop. Text on the Air could definitely use the retina treatment, but again I am one of those people who are not as willing to pay the premium.
  13. macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2012
    I have a similar question. I am deciding between a 13"MBA and 13"rMBP. I write and read documents all day most days. I'm also older, so my eyes aren't what they used to be. My main concern is eye strain, particularly with a 13" screen. Will the retina display help with this?

    I do realize that the obvious suggestion is to use an external monitor. Unfortunately, this isn't really an option for me as I constantly travel.
  14. macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2012
    Over the last 4 weeks I have tried the rMBP 15" (to big and heavy), 13" MBP (text looked hazy), 13" MBA (text was to small) and presently a 13" rMBP ( which I love and is definitely a keeper). I am retired and use a laptop mostly for light photo work, researching on the web, e-mail, and web page design. There is no question in my mind that even though the rMBP is very costly, if you want clear text that doesn't tire out your eyes after a couple of hours, light weight, and a computer that will last you for at least 3 years, then the 13" Macbook Pro with Retina is the way to go. I purchased the $1,999 model as I need more than 128GB of storage. After going through all the Macs mentioned above, the retina is the way to go, especially for reading text.
  15. macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2011

    Either one would be great for a student. The speeds are really going to be equal.

    MBA 13" i7


    MBPR 13" i5

    with this being said the main difference will be with the screen. I would suggest going to an Apple store to see a Retina in person. For me I went with the MBA since I got a i7, 256GB, 8GB for $1450 refurbished. Since your buying new and the prices are similar I would go with the MBPR 13" because of the Retina
  16. macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I've owned all versions of the Air since they were first released, both the 11 and 13" screen sizes. Loved every one, they're excellent notebooks, great screen, best TN panels I've ever seen.

    That being said, I now own a 13" rMBP, and it is by far the best laptop I've ever owned. I had the 15" Retina before that and didn't like the larger footprint, 15" notebooks just aren't for me, probably because I'm very mobile with my work gear.

    There's some critical comments here so far. My experience using my 13" Retina all day every day has been great. Websites and almost everything look far better on the retina screen, much better for reading long hours, less eyestrain ... i7 isn't noticeably faster doing average tasks over the i5...

    Don't take my word for it, go to the Apple store and compare them side by side. If price isn't a big concern I'd expect you'd chose the retina screen.

    I think it's a shame people suggest either the 13" Air or 15" Retina and leave out the 13" Retina, "lack of value" is the usual reason. Okay, it's expensive but its one hell of a nice computer, fast, no lag, super quiet, no excessive heat, excellent keyboard, smaller footprint than the 13" Air and *unbelievable* screen.
  17. macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2009
    The Air screen is dated. No, it's not crap or unusable. But it IS dated, the new standard is IPS screens. I won't buy an Air until they upgrade the screen. Too much money to throw into something that's not the best or close to best today. And it's also glossy like all mac screens now, which is a big negative in my book...
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2007
    Air, light, portable and very good machine over all.
  19. macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
    Man by now the Retina Macbooks are not good options, are overpriced and do not have much support third-party apps. Moreover you will spend building a macbook air (2.0/8gb/256gb - $ 1699) does not pay. I think you better take the most basic model for $ 1200 and save that money to buy a new macbook next year (and enjoying could sell this most basic model later), it will have a video card integrated much better, and probably will 256GB Flash Memory and 8GB Ram as the initial model.

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