Decision: 2013 MBA or late 2013 rMBP?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 11, 2014
I've seen a lot of posts regarding people deciding between both of these laptops so I wanted to share my experience. I just received my refurbed 2013 MBA the other day and am really stoked about getting my first mac. Like I said in another thread, I used to be the guy who always said macs were overpriced compared to windows machines. I think this new shift to mac will be for the better but time will tell. These machines are like works of art.

I looked long and hard at the late 2013 rMBP before purchasing the 2013 MBA. The price of both models i was looking at was the same. The i7/8gb/256 ssd 2013 MBA vs the i5/8gb/256 sadssd late 2013 rMBP. Both $1,490 after taxes.

The key deciding factor for me between the MBA and the late 2013 rMBP was whether or not the better retina MBP screen outweighed the extra battery juice of the MBA. I'm a casual user so the performance difference between both laptops is pretty much a wash. For me this was basically all about the better screen of the rMBP vs the extra battery life of the MBA.

After debating for nearly 2 weeks, going back and forth, I went with the MBA. A laptop to me, even if it’s my only computer, has always been about portability and battery life. I've read some comments on this forum about people saying the MBA's battery life is almost excessive, or to much and that the new rMBP has more than enough battery juice. To me, there's never enough battery juice on a laptop. You never know when you may need to use the thing for a long before charging. Unexpected circumstances do happen.

I personally, did not find the rMBP's screen to be so much better to the point where it outweighed the big advantage of the MBA's extra battery juice (both now and long term when the battery capacity has decreased).

A very minor part of this decision also came down to the problems users have been encountering with the new late 2013 rMBP's. Throughout the 2 week debating period I went through before buying the MBA, I came across a lot people having issues with the late 2013 rMBP's. Some issues seem to have been fixed such as the freezing trackpad, etc. but there are other issues people are still complaining about such as poor battery life and audio issues. I would like to be confident and say that apple will fix all these issues but I'm not sure. I welcome all rMBP users to provide feedback and user experiences on this to prove me wrong!

For the TLDR'ers:

To sum up my decision, a top-notch retina screen and the best battery life is something we can only dream of for now. Currently, there's no option for a machine with the best screen, performance and battery life. I'm not sure there every will be; there's always going to be something you have to compromise. In making my decision I chose to compromise the better screen in favour of the longer battery life.


macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2012
I think in terms of resale value and resale appeal. Two years from now nearly all laptops will offer ultra fine pixel displays AND 12 hours of battery life. So will buyers of 2 year old laptops in 2016 be more interested in an 8 hour MB retina or a 12 hour MB Air? I believe the great majority of them will believe the 8 hour retina is the more appealing computer and so the retinas will be easier to sell and will command a higher price than the Airs.

Similarly, in 1993 Apple offered black and white powerbooks with long battery life and two versions of color powerbooks with shorter life. In 1995 those 1993 color models were considered substantially more appealing and commanded substantially higher prices.


Staff member
May 3, 2009
I'd go for the rMBP, the screen and performance clearly outshine the increased battery performance of the MBA.


macrumors member
Jan 28, 2014
Also, a forum is not the best place to go to judge the reliability of a product. There is a process of self selection here (because people post complaints but not praises usually) that means a forum greatly inflates issues.