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macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 6, 2013
452
48
I'm preparing to replace my old laptop with a new MacBook, but I'm having trouble deciding which one I should get. I'm split between the 13-inch MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

The majority of my use of the computer will be web browsing (rarely more than 5 tabs open), eMail, very frequent use of the iCloud apps (especially Notes and Reminders), instant messaging, I also want to store my music collection on the computer (about 25 GB) and my slowly growing photo collection (about 10 GB). I may end up doing very light video editing, and light photo editing as well. I'm also considering gaming, but very rarely. If I do, I'm interested in The Elder Scrolls Online, and Skyrim. I played Skyrim on an Intel HD 4000 GPU and I was happy with how the game played.

Battery life is the most important aspect to me. Second most important aspect is smooth operation, I hate choppy scrolling. And third is portability. I know I want at least 256 GB of storage, I'm not sure if I should bump the RAM to 8 GB or not. Apple keeps pushing the 13-inch rMBP on me, but I'm very enticed by the battery life on the 13-inch Air. I'm eligible for an educational discount and the difference between the Air and the rMBP is just $66. Is it worth upgrading to the more powerful machine, or should I go with the Air for its battery (which is most important to me)?

Thanks!
 

theyanman

macrumors newbie
Mar 12, 2011
21
0
If battery life is most important to you, get the MBA. I've seen in multiple threads that the 13 MBA can get 15 hours + with OSX Mavericks. Pre-Mavericks, I know that the 13 MBA was getting 12 hours+ still beating out the 13 rMBP battery time. Top out the RAM as well to 8GB.
 

mangotears

macrumors member
Jun 29, 2012
53
1
Battery life is the most important aspect to me. Second most important aspect is smooth operation, I hate choppy scrolling. And third is portability. I know I want at least 256 GB of storage, I'm not sure if I should bump the RAM to 8 GB or not. Apple keeps pushing the 13-inch rMBP on me, but I'm very enticed by the battery life on the 13-inch Air. I'm eligible for an educational discount and the difference between the Air and the rMBP is just $66. Is it worth upgrading to the more powerful machine, or should I go with the Air for its battery (which is most important to me)?

Thanks!

Battery - MBA wins by a good margin
Smooth Operation - MBA wins by a good margin for everday usage (rMBP still shows some choppiness)
Portability - MBA wins by a medium margin (longer battery, slimmer, smaller power-adapter, lighter)

It sounds like most of the things that are important are you are offered by the Macbook Air. It's a fantastic machine.
 

Yebubbleman

macrumors 601
May 20, 2010
4,422
1,199
Los Angeles, CA
I'm preparing to replace my old laptop with a new MacBook, but I'm having trouble deciding which one I should get. I'm split between the 13-inch MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

The majority of my use of the computer will be web browsing (rarely more than 5 tabs open), eMail, very frequent use of the iCloud apps (especially Notes and Reminders), instant messaging, I also want to store my music collection on the computer (about 25 GB) and my slowly growing photo collection (about 10 GB). I may end up doing very light video editing, and light photo editing as well. I'm also considering gaming, but very rarely. If I do, I'm interested in The Elder Scrolls Online, and Skyrim. I played Skyrim on an Intel HD 4000 GPU and I was happy with how the game played.

Battery life is the most important aspect to me. Second most important aspect is smooth operation, I hate choppy scrolling. And third is portability. I know I want at least 256 GB of storage, I'm not sure if I should bump the RAM to 8 GB or not. Apple keeps pushing the 13-inch rMBP on me, but I'm very enticed by the battery life on the 13-inch Air. I'm eligible for an educational discount and the difference between the Air and the rMBP is just $66. Is it worth upgrading to the more powerful machine, or should I go with the Air for its battery (which is most important to me)?

Thanks!

The difference in portability between the two machines is minimal. The difference in battery life also doesn't make me bat an eye; 9 days without an adapter is pretty amazing; I'm not sure that I even need to care about the additional 3 that an Air would offer there. Ultimately, if the apps that you are ending up using are optimized for the retina display, then I'd go with the 13" rMBP. Check and see if Skyrim is because if it isn't, it might not even be all that playable (as in-game interface elements are often wonky when they're not fully optimized for retina). If your apps are not retina-ready, then 13" Air all the way. If they are, then the 13" rMBP is the obviously superior machine; both in terms of muscle, but also in terms of the display and the I/O. Sure, you lose 3 hours of battery life; you still have a good 7 hours more than the competition.
 

nateo200

macrumors 68030
Feb 4, 2009
2,857
6
Northern District NY
For the price you should get a maxed out MacBook Air over the retina MacBook Pro...you can save allot of money this way. Upgrades wise I'd go for 8GB RAM with 256GB SSD (or more if possible).
 

Shubbeh

macrumors member
Nov 2, 2013
39
0
For the price you should get a maxed out MacBook Air over the retina MacBook Pro...you can save allot of money this way. Upgrades wise I'd go for 8GB RAM with 256GB SSD (or more if possible).

Not sure what you mean by "maxed out" but a maxed out 13" MBA (i7/8GB/512GB) will cost more than a number of rMBP configurations.
 

emseven

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2013
115
0
You will be very pleased with the Macbook Air. Go to an Apple Store and check out the 11-inch as the resolution is a little tighter and way more portable.

The critical thing on either computer is 8GB of RAM.
 

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macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 6, 2013
452
48
I tested out the two machines in person, they perform very similarly. I did notice a small amount of choppy animations on the retina MacBook Pro, but it wasn't horrible. The screen does look good, but the MacBook Air display doesn't bother me at all, even scaled to 1280x800. I played a 4K video on both machines, it ran perfectly on both. I did various experiments between the two and I'm pretty sure that I like the MacBook Air more.
 
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