Buying advice: 13 MBA vs 15 rMBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by cmpedicini-13, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. cmpedicini-13 macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2013
    Fort Worth
    I am a student who is studying accounting; however, due to a mild disability I use dictation for almost all of my correspondence. I am in the market for a new machine and am deciding between these configs:

    (1) 13" MBA, with processor, memory, and SSD upgraded to max
    (2) stock 15 rMBP (2.7GHz model), with 16GB RAM as standard

    I do some photo edits given I am a storm spotter (my images show up on broadcast tv -- we're talking hundreds of thousands of people seeing these.) But my biggest concern right now is memory. On my current machine (a mid 2009 3.06GHz C2D 15" MBP), I use close to 7GB with my dictation software open.

    Retina favored for: photography, better screen / less fatigue. Only machine with 16GB memory.
    Air favored for: smaller and more portable (3lb vs. 5.6 now), 12hrs (!!) battery life, ≈ 10:30 in normal usage. Less disk swapping? Subjectively, less glare than the retinas.

    Who has a maxed out Air (2012 would suffice for comparison purposes) that might be able to weigh in? (Note that the air gets 512GB SSD and 8GB memory upgrades. I can't live on 4GB. Processor isn't as big of an issue, as I get several generations better regardless of which way I go.)

    Ideally, I'd wait for a Haswell rMBP but I have to get the machine before August so I may get IVB instead, should I stick with the retina.

    I've had my current cMBP for 3.5 years. I expect the next machine to last at least that long.
  2. revisionA macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    I just plugged the memory card from my D7000 right into the side of my 2013 13" MBA Ultimate and Aperture is instantaneous for edits.

    Dang convenient to just pop the card in the side. No adapter necessary!

    It got a tad warm from me tweaking all the settings to fudge up a nice pic for effect, but no fan and i can see me doing this more often now that I gave it a try.

    You do realize, there is a 1000 dollar difference between the two devices you are comparing, right?
  3. cmpedicini-13 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2013
    Fort Worth
    Yes, I am aware of that.

    That being said, I think the comparison point is now a 13" rMBP. (15" seems big, and is unwieldy for long travels.)
  4. Saberon macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2008
    I personably wouldn't get the rMBP 13 with ivy bridge under any circumstances right now. Haswell brings killer battery and GPU improvements. I'd hate to spend $1500 on last years tech.

    I just ordered the air this week although our uses for a computer are very different.
  5. ndriver182 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2007
    I've been debating between a 13" MBA and a 13" MBPr as well. To get the 13" MBA where I want it, I'd need to upgrade the RAM to 8gb and get the 256gb SSD. By the time I do that, I may as well get a 13" MBPr. The potential concessions are going to be battery life, weight, thickness, and the difference in integrated graphics.

    Battery: I had an 11" 2011 MBA before that maybe got 3.5 hrs so even 2013 MBPr will offer more. I don't really travel to the point where I'd need 12hrs of battery life, so although nice, I'm guessing I could survive without it.

    Weight/Thickness: 13 MBPr is only 0.5lb heavier so I'm not concerned about this. The thickness doesn't bother me. I hear the MBPr feels a little more sturdy due to its design.

    Integrated graphics: This is the one I'm not sure about. I know what to expect out of HD4000 since my Mac Mini has this and it seems to handle my Asus 2560x1440 display just fine, so I don't think there should be any issues with HD4000 on the MPBr display.

    I'm still a little torn myself.
  6. Agent-P macrumors 68030


    Dec 5, 2009
    The Tri-State Area
    Since you said you need the computer before August, I'd recommend waiting until the last minute if you're able to. The longer you wait, the better idea you'll have as to when the rMBP line will be updated and what kind of upgrades they'll have (and maybe the updates will have already happened by then).
  7. zirition macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2013
    If you use dictation a lot and rely on it, you should get the Air over the actual rMBP.

    The Air has dual microphone that, at least on reviews, improves voice recognition.
  8. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Doesn't the rMBP also have this?
  9. zirition macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2013
    Yep, you are right, i just checked and the rMBP has dual mic, the normal MBP doesn't.

  10. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

    Apr 27, 2005
    Exactly. Do not buy an rMBP now. The battery life improvement itself is worth waiting for. I love the freedom that 12 hr battery life gives me. Not sure if they an match this for the Haswell rMBP, but if they can that's going to be a killer machine
  11. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I have both a 2012 13" Air and a 13" rMBP ... I'd highly recommend the 13" retina. For a 1/2 pound more in weight the screen alone is worth. Add in the better keyboard, smaller footprint, more power, ram etc it's a great machine.

    I did try the 15" rMBP too and while it's a really really nice notebook the footprint was larger than I prefer although the weight and thinness was excellent.

    Now I use a 13" retina and an 11" Air. It's getting to the point I'm wondering if I should of bought the 11". I love it for couch surfing but the screen isn't that great in natural light.
  12. cmpedicini-13 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2013
    Fort Worth
    varying responses

    @entalrg: What made you decide on the 11" as opposed to the retina?

    For my purposes, it's almost which 13" machine I get. Haswell sounds attractive, if they can release on time.
  13. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    I have a 2010 13" Air now, and I think I will give the 2013 Haswell 13" rMBP a hard look when it comes out. I like the smaller bezels and retina display, as my iPad2 is making me want a better screen than the Air has. I really like the 15" rMBP, but it would essentially be a desktop replacement for my 2011 2.5" Mini with SSD-- but it's doing fine for now. Can't see the 15" as a backpack machine at the library, but could see it as a work machine if I were doing on-site work at a client.

Share This Page