13" MBA v MBP Screens Why

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by englishman, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. englishman macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    Why does Apple have two different screens for their 13" models?

    I am trying to decide between the 13" base MBA and the base 13" MBP.

    I prefer the CPU/DVD/HD Space of the MBP


    like the lightness/SSD of the MBA

    I will go into a store to compare but from the technical and/or marketing point of view why the 2 screen types?

    I do realise both are probably due to be replaced by retina displays soon?
  2. Glockron macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2012
    I doubt they'll be replaced by retina displays soon - maybe just higher res... Requires too much power that just isn't there in the Air. :p It's already using all available space for battery.

    The MBA has a better display than the MBP. First off the silver bezel makes it seem less glossy than the glass MBP display. Also, the 13" MBA has a 1440x900 resolution as opposed to 1200x800 on the 13" MBP
  3. englishman thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    But why the 2 different screen types on the Air v Pro ?
  4. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816


    Apr 5, 2012
    Adrift in a sea of possibilities
    Cost? Maybe Apple needed to keep the screen specs lower to keep the MBP in the desired price bracket after they improved the internals this year? I don't know, but I still think the display is beautiful, bright, vibrant. No issues with mine.
  5. angelsguardian macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2012
    North East Scotland
    Snap! And having tried my mother in laws Netbook then go and look there for a REALLY bad little screen.
  6. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    I've had the past two 13" MBPs and now have an 11" MBA.

    No issues with screen quality here.
  7. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816


    Apr 5, 2012
    Adrift in a sea of possibilities
    Yeah, I've got a little Acer Aspire One netbook. It used to be the little computer that could. Now it's the little computer that can't anymore. :rolleyes:
  8. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    The MBA 13" used to cost more. If look across other Mac laptops the higher res screen (when difference choices available) costs more. (e.g., rMBP 15" vs. MBP 15" , MBP 15" antiglare-hi res vs MBP 15" , etc. )

    There is a probably temporary odd quirk right now since Apple lowered and evened the price with the MBP 13". Apple does want to differentiate them somewhat. I suspect Apple is hoping that with the price even with the MBP 13" that more people will by the MBA than the MBP. That will show up in justifications later for when they kill off so-DIMM , ODDs , and 2.5" drives. (we'll people don't want that stuff ... see the MBA 13" outsold the MBP 13" )

    If the MBP 13" sells more and Apple kills off the MBA 13" , I think there is some cred to the rMBP 13" rumors. It would be the MBA 13" that might disappear. Then the MBP 13" + doubled dimensions "retina" version would be left.

    Currently Apple's OS display software isn't very effective with the marginal increase on the MBA 13" ( and MBA 11" ) screen. They just make text smaller. It is fine if just want more pixels on the screen, but they don't improve clarity. I think the MBP 13" screen stayed the same because they are waiting on a real solution to the issue. Not a marginal kludge.
  9. jaguar451 macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2002
    More options? (I know, herasy!) resolution vs color/viewing angle....
  10. riveting macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2009
    why, cause Apple can reserve their 13 mbp resolution bump later, they don't need it to sell the 13 MBP now.
  11. Synergie macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2011
    Halifax, Canada
    Be careful how you define 'better' Yes the MBA has a 'slightly' higher res screen than the MBP (why? I don't really know why they did that and the extra 100 pixels height and 240 pixels width isn't that noticible) But the quality is actually better in the MBP. The MBP screen has a much higher colour gamut and if you are going to do any sort of graphics or photo editing etc, the colour reproduction will be much better on the MBP.

    Personally, I don't know why they just didn't use the same screen that's in the MBP on the MBA rather than manufacturing 2 different screens...
  12. dona83 macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2004
    Coquitlam, BC
    I prefer the colours on the MBP, not to say that the MBA is bad, it's still a nice screen, both the 11 and 13, but colours just seem better on my MBP.
  13. englishman thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    Interesting - I'm now leaning towards the MBP. I need portability rarely. I might miss the SSD though that's the only thing.
  14. Synergie macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2011
    Halifax, Canada
    To the OP: I would go with the 13" base model MBP and heres why:

    1. as discussed above, colour gamut. Colour reproduction is much higher quality on the MBP even though its slightly less resolution. Quality over quantity! You'll notice it in a side by side comparison with movies / photos etc.

    2. Get the base model MBP and then upgrade the RAM to 8 Gb on your own, and purchase a Seagate Momentus XT** hybrid drive. The 500 Gb runs about 80.00 now and third party RAM is pretty cheap too.

    The extra RAM and faster hard drive do more for visibly speeding up your system than the processor does. You won't be able to upgrade the MBA at all once you have it.

    **The Momentus XT is a hybrid drive. (there is a 500 or 750 Gb version) It has a small amount of built in SSD memory attached to a standard platter hard drive, which is 7200 RPM (the base model MBP comes with a 5400 RPM drive). It dynamically puts your most used apps at any given time into the SSD portion of the drive so that boot time and program loading speeds are near SSD speed.

    If you do that you will have a blazing fast system and you can still upgrade RAM and the HD down the road. Another option you have with the MBP is that if you find you don't use the optical drive at all, you can opt to remove it and turn that bay into another hard drive bay! Options are good! You will end up with a much faster system doing the above which still has options down the road.

    You won't notice the little bit of extra weight, as I actually find the MBA weird to hold on to or to balance on my lap. The MBP just feels better and sits better on my lap to type. It just feels less fragile to me too...
  15. jordanallen73 macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2010
    I chose the MBP 13" over the Air - Tested both

    I was in the same situation a couple weeks ago while trying to decide which MBP to buy. Remember, even if you want portability, the MBP 13'' is only a pound heavier and you gain a lot of stuff in that pound. I originally bought the MBA 13" a couple weeks ago, the i5 with 256GB SSD. It was a lot of fun just to be back on a Mac. But then I started to have some serious buyers remorse. I was going to have to get an external HD and probably an external superdrive for CD's/DVD's. I also kept switching the MBA settings to put the resolution at 1280x800 and I felt like I liked it more. When I compared the colors I saw a huge difference, much better on the MBP. The solution was easy. I couldn't believe I spent so much money when the difference was minimal and I could gain so much by switching to the MBP, saving me $400! I decided to switch and it was the best decision ever. I don't feel limited with storage and I've already started loading tons of music and movies on my 500GB hard drive. It's true there is a difference in boot times as well as loading things, but other than that you don't lose a thing. The pro's were far leaning towards the MBP, how often do you boot up your computer honestly? Once you get the programs up and running (not slow, just a few more seconds to load on the classic HDD) the processing power is even more on the pro so I didn't feel like I lost there either. One of the biggest kickers for me was also the option to upgrade later. The MBA offers virtually no upgradeability later on, whereas the MBP you can upgrade flash memory and if I decide I don't need the superdrive in the future I can add an extra SSD in that space. For me it was a no brainer and I haven't looked back once.

    Resuming: For me the specs were clearly in favor of the MBP 13"

    MBP 13"
    -Still portable
    -Much crisper screen colors
    -Slightly more processing power
    -DVD Superdrive (I still love making mixes for people on the go:)
    -The classic style Magsafe (I personally like the design better)
    -A proven machine, one that will no doubt last 4+ years easy...they already have!
    -More bang for my buck

    MBA 13"
    -Not upgradeable
    -Higher Res screen - more muted colors
    -Keyboard slightly less springy - not a huge deal but noticeable
    -SSD Flash style memory - much less storage for much more money, very nice to have though - I plan to upgrade my MBP in the future for sure
    -Power nap feature in the new Mountain Lion OS available for MBA
    -A pound lighter and a cool form factor - I liked that it wasn't as flimsy feeling as it looked - the form factor alone makes it fun
    -A great machine, just not for me at this point

    I loved both machines, for me needing a great PC for school and as a desktop replacement the MBP had much more bang for my buck. Hope your decision comes as easy as mine, without the buyers remorse part! :D:apple:
  16. chiguy20002 macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2012
    I chose the 13" MBP over the 13" MBA. They were the same price. Even though the MBA has a slightly higher resolution screen, I found that I wanted to have more hard drive storage space, and was willing to sacrifice the speed of the SSD, because more space was more important to me, especially since I was planning to run BootCamp.

    The processor in the MBP is faster, and the MBP has a built-in DVD Drive. I know the external DVD Drive would not have added too much weight if I carried it around, but that is another separate thing that I would have had to bring.

    I have had no problem with the screen on the 13" MBP, it is very sharp and easy to view, it seems nicer that the screen on my older 14" Toshiba, even though the resolution on the 14" Toshiba was slightly higher. If I had extra to spend, I would have gone with a 15" MBP, primarily because of the discrete graphics card in it, but I couldn't justify spending that much more, so I went with the base 13" MBP.

    The upgradability of the MBP was another nice thing over the MBA, because if I wanted to I can add an SSD to the MBP in the future, when their costs would go down for a larger capacity, as well as upgrade the RAM.

    Also, the portability of the 13" MBP is still really good, it is light enough for me to carry around. Better than my 14" Toshiba Laptop, and much better than my old 17" HP Laptop.
  17. englishman thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    Pressed the button on the MBP

    Thanks for everyone's advice
  18. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    You'll understand when you get older. Seriously, as one gets older the eyes get bad and for many, presbyopia sets in. That is the inability to focus closely making those high resolution/tiny fonts too much of a strain on the eyes - even with glasses. My first mac was a 2009 iMac which I had to sell as my eyes would screen with pain. Same is true for the high-res 15" MBP and the standard 17". So for some people this limitation means they can't'/shouldn't use these type of screens and hence, without that option, apple would lose a market segment which includes many older people (and of course the young guys that will eventually get old).

    I had perfect vision until about 45. There is a limit to how small one can make things. Last year I purchased a Kindle reader because too many books had small type and it was a pain to figure out which ones were acceptable... with a Kindle I read at least 3x more since it is easy on the eyes.

    Offering 'normal' and high-res computers is the way to go. Choice is good.
  19. chiguy20002, Jul 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012

    chiguy20002 macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2012
    It seems like the lower resolution screens are easier to read on the same physical size screen because the fonts will appear to be larger, and everything will just be easier to read.

    When I did desktop support back in the CRT monitor days that quite a few people requested I lower their resolution so that they have an easier time to read it.

    Of course now with LCD/LED screens the best resolution is the native resolution of the screen, everything else appears to be fuzzy.
  20. Synergie macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2011
    Halifax, Canada
    you guys talking about losing out on SSD speed... you missed my earlier post in here. You can swap out the included 5400 RPM drive with a Seagate Momentus XT SSD Hybrid drive for less than 100.00!!! That will give you near SSD speeds!!!

    It's a combo drive consisting of both a regular platter drive (7200 RPM - already faster than the included drive) but it also has 4 Gb NAND FLASH memory on board (basically a small SSD attached to it) and it dynamically knows which programs you launch most and puts key files for those apps in the flash memory so they will load at SSD speeds. The result is boot times and your most used apps will load at near SSD speeds.

    So if you were going to buy the Air for the SSD, this is an option - go with the MBP and change the hard drive to a Momentus XT. There's even a 750 Gb version now!

    I have the 500 Gb version and actually swapped out the included 750 Gb HDD that my brand new 2012 13" 2.9GHz Ci7 came with and replaced it with the 500 Gb Momentus XT I have been using for the last 10 months or so... and I plan to upgrade to the 750 Gb version soon as well.

    Swapping them is easy... carbon copy clone to the Momentus XT and just swap them out and you are good to go.

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