'13 MBA (13") vs. '12 rMBP (13")

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jennyjimin, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. jennyjimin macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2012
    Hello everyone,

    I am trying to decide between a '13 MBA and '12 rMBP, both with a 13" screen.

    Since rMBP has improved on the portability and MBA advanced in the performance and battery life, the critical factor left for me is the display.

    My understanding is that the Retina Display, in addition to having a wider viewing angle (IPS vs. TN), has higher resolution, which will give an option of a larger workspace and better legibility of small texts. Would Retina Display still have sharper texts and photos even at 1280 x 800 resolution?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. bkribbs macrumors 65816

    Jan 15, 2012
    Its worth taking a trip to the apple store to look at it in person before you buy one.
  3. jennyjimin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dear bkribbs,

    Thank you for the advice. What if I cannot visit the Apple Store before I make the purchase?
  4. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
  5. jennyjimin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dear thekev,

    Thank you for the reply. However, I do not understand what you mean. Can you explain?
  6. surroundfan macrumors 6502

    Nov 22, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    I've just ordered a 13" rMBP, and while it has a resolution of 2560x1600, in the 'Best for Retina', it gives a desktop area equivalent to 1280x800 with extremely clear text etc. You can set it up to give more space though (up to 1680x1050).

    The MBA is 1440x900, so it displays fonts etc smaller.
  7. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Oh sorry. Aliasing is seen as the appearance of jaggy lines. You can still see it in some things. Think of it as pixelation. In the case of the rmbps when set to 1280x800 on a 13", it doubles the pixels assigned per value in both directions. If I understand it correctly, think of one pixel represented by 4 smaller pixels. In both cases they are square pixels, but it would allow for smoother rendering. Using "scaled" resolutions as in something apart from either native or the 1280x800 would require bicubic resampling. I haven't looked at that. Some people on here have suggested it causes blurry text. I do like IPS displays, but some the image persistence complaints worried me. I'm not sure if they are still experiencing problems. You may want to browse a few of the threads on the topic. There are many.

    That's what I was thinking of, and yeah I would personally leave it at that "best for retina" setting as it is probably one that simply divides each pixel into 4 pixels.
  8. fskywalker macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2009
    Display of the rMBP is miles ahead of the MBA (Had compared them side by side, since my wife has a 13 inch 2012 MBA, I have a 15 inch rMBP), the advantages of the MBA are lower weight and longer battery life.
  9. lagisibuk macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2013
    Always Somewhere
    retina is better...
    why people choice air : weight and battrey life
    do you think that haswell in air will be better with retina? i dont think so :D
    better or not, it's depends on what are you doing with you macbook. so, dont depends on what people think of, please choice from what you need.

    i say retina is worth and best choice? do you think that u need retina? if not, please choice air, you will save more that $400-$600.

    as a developer, retina for me is the best choice.
  10. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009

    The default setting is "Looks like 1280x800". This is actually a true resolution of 2560x1600, but all images, font sizes, buttons, etc. are doubled so that the resulting workspace area is equivalent to a 1280x800 display.

    Since it's actually 2560x1600, that means that fonts and images will be drawn at much higher fidelity than on a 1280x800 display for applications and web pages that support such high density displays.

    For example, watching a 1080p video on a 1280x800 screen would result in a loss of detail because the video has to be downscaled. On the 13" rMBP you can play a 1080p video at full pixel-perfect native resolution and still have extra space left on the screen, or you could scale it up to full screen and retain almost full quality.
  11. mxidis88 macrumors member


    Jul 8, 2013
    SLC, UT
    I've owned the 2012 Macbook Air and recently sold it to purchase a new one. I've been agonizing over the same issues you have(refurb rMBP or MBA) and decided to go with the rMBP. I realize it's the near the end of the rMBP product cycle, but buying one of these machines for about $1300 after tax is the best deal you'll get on a retina screen for awhile.

    I am a student and would have loved the extra battery life in the new Haswell airs, but at the same time I spend 8 hours a day(most days) looking at the screen on my computer and I want to look at something stunningly beautiful. I've had the laptop now for about a week and have had zero problems with it. It's a bit smaller than air, but has a more substantial feel when you pick it up. The i5 handles everything I can throw at it(20 tabs in chrome, iWorks, photoshop, itunes, 1080P videos, and light gaming like Civ 5) and I'm excited to get more improvements when Mavericks comes out this fall(GPU accelerated UI graphics).

    You can go with the Air, but now everytime I look at my girlfriend's MBA I see a huge silver bezel around a subpar screen(thanks for that retina screen). I love being able to bump my screen real estate up to the highest setting and have 2 or 3 different windows fully display(great for writing research papers cause I don't have to keep switching spaces like I did on the MBA). Overall I would give this laptop a 9/10 value proposition at a $1300 price tag.
  12. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    I am pleased with the weight of the rMBP 13", the 15" seems much heavier. The key factor if you have to buy now is battery life. The rMBP is superior in every way except three hours less battery in real life usage.
  13. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    The solution for you is 100% wait fot haswell rMBP. You will get the pros of current MBA(battery) and the display, cpu and HD5100. So wait it seems that a month from now we will get it

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