13" MacBook Comparison

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Seo, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. Seo
    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Location:
    Cupertino, California
    #1
    I'm considering a laptop purchase and definitely think 13" is the best compromise in terms of size. Between the three choices (Air, Pro, Retina) I've realized that if purchased refurb, they're all the same price with the same SSD, RAM, GPU, and CPU benchmark. Let me know if something is out of wack.

    I would use my laptop mostly for the standard word processing as well as some light graphic design and photo editing (Lightroom, Photoshop). This laptop would likely last me through a couple years of college. I do a lot of video work but honestly to go from my Mac Pro to a laptop back to the Mac Pro doesn't seem worth it for the little work I would have to do away from my office, so I probably wouldn't have to do that very much.

    Macbook Air 13" - $1500 ($1360 refurb)

    1440x900
    Baseline CPU (6755)
    8GB RAM
    256GB SSD

    Macbook Pro 13" $1534 ($1354 refurb)

    1280x800
    Baseline CPU (6715)
    8GB RAM (upgradable to 16GB)
    240GB SSD
    500GB HDD

    Macbook Pro 13" Retina - $1700 ($1360 refurb)

    2560x1600
    Baseline CPU (6719)
    8GB RAM
    256GB SSD

    Pros/Cons List

    Macbook Air 13" Pros:
    * Lightweight, compact
    * Good resolution screen
    Macbook Air 13" Cons:
    * RAM, SSD not upgradeable

    Macbook Pro 13" Pros
    * RAM, SSD, HDD upgradeable
    * Second HDD bay
    Macbook Pro 13" Cons:
    * Poor resolution screen
    * Heaviest

    Macbook Pro 13" Retina Pros:
    * Relatively compact
    * Super high resolution screen
    Macbook Pro 13" Retina Cons:
    * RAM, SSD not upgradeable

    My thought process for deciding was, looking at the pros/cons for Air vs Retina, I saw that the only thing the Air had over the Retina was .6 pounds and thinness. I think the Retina is thin enough for me, and the screen would absolutely win me over vs. having that extra bit of thinness.

    So between the Retina and the Pro it comes down to screen resolution and compactness vs. future proofing. I guess the question would be, is 1280 x 800 enough for me? Is 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD enough for me?

    What would you guys do?
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #2
  3. Seo
    thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Location:
    Cupertino, California
    #3
    Mm, you're correct, but it's only about a 200 points difference on Geekbench, so it's not a big factor for me.

    Btw, seeing as you use the a MacBook Air, what do you think about it? Anything that stands out in a bad way?
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #4
    My 13" MBA is the base model (1.8/4/128) and really works just fine for me. I do have to say I really want a 13" rMBP though because that display is incredible. I had tried one once and it had bad display lag that honestly my base MBA seems faster during normal usage. It's a great machine, but I really don't tax it too hard.
     
  5. Seo, Feb 13, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013

    Seo
    thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 1, 2009
    Location:
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    #5
    Reading The Verge review really scared me away from the Retina. "If you're expecting your investment to last a few years, look elsewhere" and the strained performance definitely sways me in the direction of the Air.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Location:
    Winnipeg,Canada/New Delhi India
    #6
    I have an air and my friend got an rMBP 13",and when scrolling through some websites,rMBP does seems laggy as compared to MBA,just that the MBA feels a little snappier overall.
     
  7. Seo
    thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Location:
    Cupertino, California
    #7
    Just for fun:

    Macbook Pro 15" Retina - $2199 ($1779 refurb)

    2880x1800
    Superior CPU (10809)
    8GB RAM
    256GB SSD

    Macbook Pro 15" - $2135 ($1865 refurb)

    1440x900
    Superior CPU (10809)
    8GB RAM (upgradable to 16GB)
    256GB SSD
    500GB HDD

    The perfect laptop for about $400 more... probably too much laptop for me though, unless I plan on replacing my desktop with it.
     
  8. macrumors 68030

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    #8
    I personally like the anti-glare + screen size of the 15" - therefore I have a 15" that way over my actual needs (got a crazy deal on it though).
     
  9. Seo
    thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Location:
    Cupertino, California
    #9
    That's true, the 15" Pro has the best screen real estate at 1680 x 1050 and my preference of a matte display. Though the Retina has cut reflections enough for it to be worth using a glossy display just to get that retina resolution. Especially at a lower price!
     
  10. macrumors 65816

    designs216

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Down the rabbit hole
    #10
    I feel the 8GB/256GB config is the sweet spot and before you mentioned video, I would have said get the Air -- you'll be doing much walking. But the extra weight and upgradability of the cMBP is justifiable since this machine could conceivably last all 4-7 years :)
     
  11. Seo, Feb 14, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013

    Seo
    thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Location:
    Cupertino, California
    #11
    True, but screen real estate and the compactness would make a more immediate difference. I have a good two years before I'm at college, so if my needs change I can always resell and upgrade.

    I think I'm pretty decided on a MacBook Air. No immediate performance advantage for the cMBP, and better screen real estate, better size and lighter weight with the MBA.

    EDIT: Going back to some past experiences with a MBA though, I did notice the screen was lackluster. Doing some more research online has showed I'm right, and with all the visual work I do there's nothing I hate more than a bad screen. So perhaps the MBP is for me. I'll probably wait to see what will come out this year and make a decision then.
     
  12. macrumors 65816

    designs216

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Down the rabbit hole
    #12
    If you do go with the Air tell me what you think. I'm considering the 13" 8GB/256GB for my wife. She probably wouldn't notice the screen difference but would really dig the lighter weight laptop.
     

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