2015 MBA 13 or MacBook Pro 13 dilemma solved

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AliMacs, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. AliMacs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2014
    #1
    My god, after spending a week and more time investigating at the retail stores both early 2015 MBA and 2015 MacBook Pro 13 models, I was so ambivalent between the MBA or the MacBook Pro 13-inch that I finally was able to decide!

    The probably was how sexy the MBA 13 was in comparison to the MacBook Pro 13. Sure the weight was a mere 1/2lb overweight on the mbp but the weight between the two are so close you almost cannot tell the difference. The nice thing about the MacBook Pro 13 is that it has a smaller footprint than the MBA 13. It's small.

    The turning point was at an apple store seeing both screens. I knew coming in the MBA sucked because of the low res 2010 TN panel. But I didn't mind and at the distance I'm at from my laptop now, I don't think it's that big of a deal - at least I wasn't thinking it thru.

    I work with images and I also work with video. I don't necessarily need the MBA to process video work because I have a desktop with ample power to do these tasks. I needed a personal device to take with me everywhere and have access to all my stuff. The iPad AIR 2 I have is just great but it's a chore to do compared to what I can do on a full OS X system. I finally decided to give up the iPad air 2 and buy a laptop 13-inch in size. Trouble was figuring out which.

    I knew the 5th gen i7 cpu's rocked in a 15w package, it not only has low heat but can hang with the rMBP as well. But then for the price I was at in this configuration: i7 2.2GHz/8GB/256GB, the price after taxes was around $1500. Now I can get the 28w i5 2.7/8GB/(amazing 2x PCIe SSD)256GB for about the same price.

    I've never owned an rMBP before so I've been hearing about the iGPU being too weak in previous gen causing UI lag issues, etc. Even a thread brought up lag and stuttering (which is true) when using expose in Yosemite. So I went in the stores each day and gave each laptop a thorough run thru.

    To sum it up, I left with the rMBP 13! Reasons are just too easy: #1 and foremost, the retina screen is just too amazing to not go with. Especially when I need to see if my images are in focus and inspecting my 1080p videos. You can't do this with the low quality (by 2015 standards) TN panel on the MBA. I was so reluctant to believe this was the case but today I was on the apple.com page and when i scrolled to the very bottom of the page where there are subtext disclaimer info - without zooming in on the page, I could not make out the letters and words. It's quite sad if I am to pay $1500+ for a nearly maxxed out MBA, I expect to be able to sit there and read text just fine. But amazingly, somehow I missed this investigation and today I just saw it for myself and the text was just too blurry to make out.

    The retina screen shows text and images and videos so superbly, there is not a solid reason to stick with the MBA - the battery life may be longer on the MBA but I cannot fathom sitting in front of the LCD and looking at 2010 TN display paying upwards of $1500. It's almost like telling myself it is ok to pay for 1Mb/s internet for $70 a month when I can get 50Mb/s for same price. It would be foolish and the rMBP 13 would fit my needs so much better.

    Also, the touch pad is amazing. Sure I was trying it at the store but after having been home with it and working on it like normal, it is just amazing how easy and fluid the touchpad is. The response of the pad is just superior to my older 2011 MacBook Pro and now this touchpad even supports touch sensitive/pressure sensitive drawing capabilities!

    Overall, I'm so please with this early 2015 2.7GHz rMBP - I'm so glad I went with the rMBP and if you are like myself contemplating between the two, definitely try the rMBP 13 - it's just amazing how it can hold its own in battery performance and the 28w broad well cpu can sustain longer turbo boost thus if you were to compare the i7 2.2GHz in the MBA, it would not match it in real life use. But of course we're talking a few seconds here and there when encoding video or anything cpu intensive.

    As for the stuttering when I was at the stores, I opened up all the apps and just swiped up to see all the apps - and yes it did stutter a bit on the rMBP but then it was not a deal breaker because it really didn't bother me. If you switch between apps, there is no UI lag, no stuttering, all 100% fluid. It's really a killer laptop right now and I can say without a doubt, it is the best laptop bang for your buck right now.

    That's if you don't need heavy encoding cpu work done on it or 3D applications. It's such a nice little laptop and the weight is so close to the MBA, you really shouldn't use it as a deal breaker to buy an MBA. The MBA is actually LARGER footprint than the rMBP 13. I'm so satisfied with this laptop - I hope this will help persuade you to see 2015 technology!

    Thanks for listening...

    [​IMG]

    PS - the laptop is ultra quiet -I swear it doesn't even have a fan on. While web surfing, editing images, even a video it's quiet. The only thing I don't like too much is the squeaky delete key - maybe needs a bit of a break in. Overall, the laptop doesn't even get warm on the bottom - only when you stress out both cores at max for a few minutes then the fans kick in but the entire laptop cools back down very quickly!
     
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #2
    All of this

    Has been true since the late 2013 haswell model...

    Glad you like it.
     
  3. nobodyjustwalks macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
  4. shawngt2 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    #4
    Awesome post AliMacs! I have the maxed out (with 512GB SSD) 11" MBA right now and think I will return for a 13" rMBP. You are right, you get so much more for your money! The problem I am stuck on now is 256GB or 512GB SSD. The 16GB RAM is easy for me. The 2.9GHz processor I would be happy with, but then for another $200 I get a 3.1! That's how Apple gets you! LOL
     
  5. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #6
    The i7 is pointless

    The i7 is pointless in most use cases it is still a dual core and is maybe 5-6% faster than the i5 if you are really maxxing out your cores.

    16GB is also not often needed unless you are running specific RAM hungry apps or multiple VMs. See here

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1756865&highlight=how+much+ram+do+i+need

    The only upgrade worth it for most buyers is the hard drive size it's nice to have 512gb for all your movies photos and music.
     
  7. shawngt2, Mar 20, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015

    shawngt2 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    #7
    Agreed and thanks. I think the 2.7/8/256 configuration may be best for me then. I really don't keep my computers very long. My wife likes to remind me when I tell her I want to spend more now for a longer term investment "when is the last time you kept a phone/notebook/iPad, etc longer than 1 year?" Hahaha It's true. Thanks to the wife to remind me when I get out of line.
     
  8. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #8
    That's so true

    With a sigh and boys and their toys comment after....
     
  9. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida
    #9
    I reached the same conclusion. I've been using an MBA for 4 years, and my current model is a maxed out 2013 model. My wife has a 2011. I was going to buy the MBA 2015 and give my wife mine, but that Retina screen and extra RAM and disk space just was too juicy to pass up. I am hoping I won't regret it in the portability department.

    I already got my Saddleback leather sleeve and it looks HUGE.
     
  10. AliMacs thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2014
    #10
    Thanks fellas - 3rd day with this new rMBP and man, it just gets better and better. SOOOOOOOOOO glad i decided on the rMBP - there is no way I could live with the fact knowing I paid so much in 2015 for that TN panel! The retina display is just so crisp and awesome.

    My 2011 MacBook Pro 17 has 1920x1200 and at a desktop viewing distance it's not bad at all. But man, this retina screen is just amazing.

    Anyway, I know for a fact the next gen or future gen models of the iPhone/iPad AIR 3 will include force touch tech because I found out you can draw on screen using the preview.app and your brush stroke size is reflected by the amount of pressure you apply to touchpad! This is way different than Wacom because you can use your finger on the screen in the next iteration of the iPhone/iPad AIR 3!

    This will be awesome because you don't even need a stylus to create pressure sensitive brush strokes - just use your finger and press as hard or soft! I'm betting money on this new feature is gonna be a hot seller for the iPad AIR 3 because everyone has been whining about lack of pressure sensitive touch screen on the iPad.
     
  11. AliMacs thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2014
    #11
    sick battery life, lol. Just loving this rMBP even more and more!
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Paulg2uk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    #12
    I'm still deciding the same thing. But reading your post I'm thinking rmbp as well. I have a mid 2012 15" rmbp and wanted to get something more portable for work. After using a retina screen all these years i think its gonna be hard to go back to a normal screen.

    How do you guys get on with 8gb of ram and 512 ssd? Is it enough for your needs? I take it upgrading from an I5 TO I7 wouldn't be much different?
     
  13. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #13
    Yeah, I just upgraded, from a 2013 MBA to a 2015 13" MBP. I fretted about it and even considered canceling a number of times before it got here. Now I'm so glad I didn't. While I loved my MBA, I kinda regret not getting the MBPr sooner, though I'm very glad I got it now.
     
  14. Amplelink macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    #14
    Good to see a bunch of people jumping on to the rMBP bandwagon. I agree that the size differential isn't a factor in real world usage. I did notice the heftier weight at first, but since the footprint is smaller, it just feels like a smaller computer. Also, I absolutely love the black bezels. So much better than the silver bezels on the MBA.
     
  15. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida
    #15
    I took the opportunity to upgrade to 16GB and 1TB. Since these were not an option on the MBA I took advantage of the rMBP platform and went with them. I may not need them now, but I expect to keep this laptop many years. I'll use them eventually.
     
  16. Paulg2uk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    #16

    That's what I'm thinking as well. I'd wanna future proof it if I can but it adds quite a bit to the price. If I do decide go with the RMBP over the MBA then I will have to save up a little more and get what I can for my 15" RMBP. I'm gonna go and check them out first hopefully tomorrow.
     
  17. JHUFrank macrumors 6502a

    JHUFrank

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2010
    #17
    I was totally sold on the MBA generation that started in 2010. Amazing laptop, wonderful design. Carried it for nearly 5 years. But then apple came out with this last generation of rMBP. Holy crap! I never thought I would be budged off of the MBA, boy was I wrong. All in all, the biggest trade off between the two has been battery vs screen. I could use my MBA for about 7 hours of real time work, and my new rMBP will only do about 5. About double that for just goofing around browsing and such.
    The rMBP display just kicks the poo out of the MBA.
     
  18. Paulg2uk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    #18
    Hey guys,

    Well today I went to the Apple store to check out the 13" RMBP. And I'm definitely sold on it. It's definitely the Retina display for me comparing it to the MBA there's just no contest, for me anyway. Force trackpad is really good as well, I had no diffculties using it. And playing with it for around 20 mins felt normal.

    I like the small footprint of the 13" model as well, it feels very compact compared to my 15". The weight isn't an issue either I found it pretty lightweight. I really thought I'd notice the difference between the 15" display and the 13" but not at all. It really is a fantastic little laptop.

    Ok well now I've decided on the right model I now have to decide on the configuration. It's not worth me maxing the RAM out to 16gb as I wouldn't use it but I'd consider the 1TB SSD drive. Anyone else got the 1TB drive?
     
  19. AliMacs thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2014
    #19
    I have the 2.7/8GB/256GB right now. I am within return period and am thinking of the 2.9/8GB/512GB. Reason being my single VM is around 20GB, my lightroom smart cache is around 34GB and of course all the apps I have. It will cut down to around 150GB or less if I am conservative.

    I have been using 256GB 830 Pro and now the 850 pro on my 2011 17" for a long time and I've never run out of space that's cause I'm being very conscious of what I store.

    512GB is really tempting but I don't know if I can justify apple charging me $300 difference. The CPU isn't that big of a deal going from 2.7 -> 2.9 even 3.1 isn't that big of a deal in this dual core laptop. At the price I'm looking at after taxes, I'm already within range of a quad core 15"!

    So i think after thinking long and hard I think I will stick with 256GB. The $300 price increase just isn't good enough for me - that's a lot to ask for going from 256GB -> 512GB. If they threw in 16GB of ram then ;)

    I told myself there will always be better hardware so if I spend way over budget, I'm gonna be pissed cause the next best thing that comes out in a few years I'm gonna want. I'd rather stay under $1500 at most which is what I've done with this current configuration.

    Of course many others will max their 13" out and that's great! For me, I do not think I can justify the price increase for what I'm getting.

    Whatever you end up buying, this is the best small laptop apple has ever made. I'm so happy with my purchase i can only imagine how much improvement they will make to this 13" considering how bad ass the 12" rMB is of course hopefully they will not take away all the current ports!
     
  20. Eldiablojoe macrumors 6502a

    Eldiablojoe

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Location:
    West Koast
    #20
    Just to confirm, you are talking about the 2015 13-inch rMBP that was just announced/updated at the March 9 keynote? The one with the new touchpad?
     
  21. Eldiablojoe, Mar 22, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015

    Eldiablojoe macrumors 6502a

    Eldiablojoe

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Location:
    West Koast
    #21
    Okay, this thread and my eventual plan to replace my current laptop almost has me convinced. *Almost.* I need the "push" to press the "Place Order" button on the Apple Store website. Help convince me that my Late 2009 white unibody MacBook will die soon so I should buy the 2015 rMBP 13-inch. Even though I recently upped my RAM and swapped out the HDD to a SSD.

    I use iPhoto and web surf a lot. Some Pages and Microsoft Word work. Nothing too crazy.

    It's so hard to pull the trigger on this because it is so much money :-/

    Thanks!
     
  22. AliMacs thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2014
    #22
    If money is of concern, the answer is simple! Don't push that order button.

    I have a few laptops at home and some iPads as well. In fact, I was solely using the iPad Air 2 as my primary computer for everyday use up until the point I got a bit tired of having to use of apps to get the same thing done in OS X with a few mouse clicks.

    I also have a 2011 quad core i7 17" that is my desktop unit now used to encode some videos and do heavy cpu tasks. The reason I went with the new rMBP is because it's so small and light and even though some may say it's about 1/2lb heavier than the MBA 13, when you hold it side by side, you would not hesitate to say the rMBP is actually about same weight. The footprint of the rMBP is smaller as well. Like I said in original post, I wasn't going to let the non-retina screen on the MBA deter me but when I saw some small text on the screen and I had to zoom in to get a clear reading, that was the deal breaker. Due to costs I wouldn't want to be stuck with a MBA in my usage case.

    Anyway, I thought having an SSD samsung 850 pro 256GB btw in my quad 17" was going to solve all my issues I was wrong - the smaller dual core rMBP is actually faster in everything except encoding videos. In fact, it's faster in browsing the web, the entire UI is faster and everything is just smooth. My 17" just isn't as fast and if you look at the current state of our technology, it's amazing to have something so small so powerful.

    All I really wanted was to have my iPad air 2 be super fast or as fast as my desktop in web browsing but it's just not there yet. And the multitasking is pathetic to be honest. you just can't get work done as efficiently as a real computer.

    I will just tell you that after buying this baby and using it for a few days now, overall battery life is just insanely great - i'm talking about over 10 hours of web use for me easily. And it charges so fast even faster with my 85w charger - just that I had to buy that stupid magsafe 2 converter plug. Overall the laptop is such a great laptop if you max out one, you can and will be using it for many, many years!

    I also have an early 08 MacBook Pro 15" and I put in my old 830pro drive - the read speed is over 130MB/s but the write is really pathetic at around 50MB/s tops. That's due to the SATA interface of course. But overall, at 4GB ram, that old 2008 (7 year old model laptop) is still functioning and the web browsing on that with the SSD is on par with my iPad air 2!

    So have no worries - if you buy today's laptop (heck even 2014 or 2013) - you're gonna be using it for years to come. It's just that great!

    PS - I've always worried about the non-user replaceable battery and that fact I can't simply buy one off the shelf; but you know what, in reality it's simple - just pay apple $129 and have it done - you won't be needing this for a few years at least. And if you buy something like a dell - you can't just walk into a store and expect service like apple. I guess the apple tax is worth it for me.

    Good luck- but whatever you do - don't go over the top in budget spending because you know around the corner will be a better model and that apple allure will sucker you into buying another one - so buy something you can afford now and be done with it. Enjoy it and at least in a few years when you do need to replace or buy another one, it won't hurt as much in the wallet! If you notice each new model that comes out yearly is around the same price.
     
  23. Eldiablojoe macrumors 6502a

    Eldiablojoe

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Location:
    West Koast
    #23
    Money is not an issue, I have saved up cash for exactly this purchase. I 'm just looking for that "obsolescence is going to be an issue soon" push I need to do away with my tried-and-true 2009 white unibody w recent upgrades and drop the four-figures on the rMBP.

    I admit, a large part of the impetus is that the machine is well regarded and it's the last of an era, so to speak, as in if I want to keep easily using my USB peripherals, I am going to lose that option in the not very distant future.
     

Share This Page