13-inch Air or 13-inch rMBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Alphabetize, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Alphabetize macrumors 6502

    Alphabetize

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    #1
    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!
     
  2. theyanman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    #2
    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.
     
  3. mangotears macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    #3
    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.
     
  4. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #4
    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.
     
  5. Black.Infinity macrumors 6502

    Black.Infinity

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Location:
    Apple tree-Toronto
    #5
    Seems like you want a MBA. Dont forget to bump the ram to 8GB.
     
  6. nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Northern District NY
    #6
    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).
     
  7. Shubbeh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2013
    #7
    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.
     
  8. emseven macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2013
    #8
    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.
     
  9. Alphabetize thread starter macrumors 6502

    Alphabetize

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    #9
    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.
     
  10. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #10
    To the OP, this is a critically important piece of advice that you absolutely should follow as RAM on MacBook Airs and now retina MacBook Pros is soldered on to the logic board and cannot be upgraded aftermarket anymore.
     

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