Doubting between MBA and Ultra thin '12

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by rcannudi, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. rcannudi macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    Same decision here... after being a windows/linux user for many many years, I finally have to face the facts that Apple is my next step (many reasons, win 8.1 being one of the main ones).

    I'm a tech person, writing, maintaining networks, configuring routers, calculating, browsing, gaming (league of legends and some steam games mainly), and lots of internet browsing. Using external storage mainly for all my data. I'm sometimes on the move, but I'm not a traveler, mainly either working at home or shared desk spaces and co-working offices.
    Don't care that much about retina display, although it's cool...

    Still doubting though this is a rather expensive piece of tech, between:
    - MBA 8 GB HDD 128GB- with thunderbolt to ethernet port (can't live without ethernet port)
    - or waiting for the new rumoured Mac 12 inch
    - or maybe the MBP (although I think it's a bit too much for my needs)

    I'm very new to all things Apple, since I tried it many years ago and found it totally not ok (2001-2) - But times changes a lot ... tried out a macbook pro from a friend today and was impressed with the speed although it was a few years old machine.

    Any suggestions are welcome.
  2. imaccooper macrumors regular


    May 29, 2014
    North Carolina
    Unfortunately, all we have about the 12 in macbook is rumors so it really depends on how soon you need to get your new computer for that one.

    As for the other options, I like my MBA but I think you would benefit from a pro if you want some more speed. As I'm sure you know, an SSD is a must in either device, but the MBP allows for upgradable RAM and a better processor. Since you said there won't be a lot of moving around then I would go for a 15 in model as you can get the best bang for your buck I believe.

    I also want to insert another suggestion that you may or may not have considered. If you are able/willing to be in a desktop setup then a well equipped mini would be perfect for what you are talking about.

    Wish you well in your change to the apple side of technology.
  3. MrGimper macrumors 603


    Sep 22, 2012
    Andover, UK
    The benefits of the Air over the retina MacBook Pros, are weight and battery life.

    As it appears from your post that travelling is the exception rather than the rule, so the benefits of the Air seem to be null and void.

    Therefore I'd suggest the 13" retina MBP or if you want less portability (weight and sizewise), the 15".

    I recently replaced my 2012 i7/8/512 MBA with a 2014 Apple refurb 13" i5 2.8/16/1TB and love it.
  4. rcannudi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    Thanks for the help and replies so far.

    The reason I'm taking the Air in consideration is for the steep resting place for my palms, instead of the pro who's a bit 'higher' up the table for a writing session. Of both would have the same lay-out under the keyboard space then my choice would be far more easy :)

    Portability I get it, battery life and weight are not really an issue for me as I take my laptop only on very short trips and most of the time in a desk-environment (electricity is no problem).

    The mini is something I thought about for a while but I'm not really seeing myself go to different locations (even small trips) with just a box, screen, keyboard, mouse and a mac mini in tow.

    It's a very difficult choice I think.

    What's the life expectancy of such laptops under normal use? My last one (a Samsung) went on for 7 years 'til the screen gave up.
  5. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I recommend a rmbp. You'll appreciate the screen.
    How long it holds, nobody can tell you.
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You want that screen

    I prefer the keyboard on the rMBP a bit more travel I think, if the angle is the issue maybe an angled dock or laptop desk would help.

    You mention theat you will be going for extended writing sessions on it, for me that just screams retina, for a varety of reasons.

    1. Text looks great and it's more like reading print.

    2 the anti-glare coating is superb, and really cuts that issue down.

    3. the wide viewing angles make writing on the go easier with it in your lap or on an aircraft or coach table.

    Only you can tell wether you will be happy with it in 6-7 years, it sounds like your use case is fairly light on CPU and GPU power, so as long as it hasn't failed, as all electronic devices can, then I can't see it being a problem. Unfortunately the newness of the screen technology and the pcie ssd means we don't really know how long they'll last but looking good so far...
  7. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    For your uses, plus you know tech -- seriously get the Retina MBPro. Much improved screen (you'll never go back to lesser panels), superior keyboard, fast machine with lots of storage and the ports you will need/want, good wifi. It's got everything, and not much larger than the Air. I think you will find the Air a bit limiting, though it's a great machine too.

    I owned both. Gave the Air to my assistant. Kept the Pro. I don't know what "calculating" means, but if you are churning data via databases, you'll also want the Pro. My MBPro has run circles around some older Win machines with platters, Win machines kept getting dreaded hang symbols while I smoked through data and searches.
  8. rcannudi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    Thanks for all the usefull feedback.
    Still making my choice, the only thing holding me back from the MBP now is the "sharp edge" I've noticed when checking out the typing comfort in the shop.
    While typing for like 5 min. (yes, they let me do that) I noticed my palms striking the edge of the macbook pro often. Not really a comfort feeling there. But as many of you told, the MBA is not really up to all my needs in specs.

    It will be a trade-off between the slightly heavier MBP with a sharp edge or the more portable, but less capable MBA which is cheaper.

    Making my mind up today, can't keep on being stuck to my giant desktop here at home ... :)
  9. birdman77 macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2015
    option #3

    How about last mbp 15" late 2012 with 1680x1050 matte screen? I have same machine with stock 1400x900 screen and it is beautiful. Ivy bridge processor, custom installed xtra ssd so running Win 7 on smaller ssd and osx on larger... USB 3.0, ethernet and thunderbolt, installed my own 16gb ram....its sweet and even has great discrete gpu or integrated graphics. ...the retinas are cool but very fragile IMHO and no Ethernet? Cmon really? U can pick these models up nearly new condition for $1000. Just consider it outputs to thunderbolt and supports same external resolution as Rmbp
  10. rcannudi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    Went to the shop again today at a local reseller, also visited the part where the windows laptops were, ... then the Apple section again.

    The lack of ethernet is amazing in fact, almost all the times I connect I need ethernet (especially for troubleshooting networks and such). The first thing I'd have to buy is a thunderbolt to ehternet adapter (who uses thunderbolt anyway? Never seen it used anywhere outside of an Apple store).

    The 15 inch like a few people suggested, is not an option since it's a bit bigger and the goal is portability / home use trade-off. The price for the 13' is already high, let alone the 15' ... I want to spent some money on quality, but I'm not able to spent more than 1300 euro's on a computer, hell for that price I can upgrade my desktop home machine to a power gaming device, easily.

    I'm still very fond of the screen of the MBP and the performance seems OK (not impressive compared to a Samsung or ASUS at 400 euro less price tag) but it's doable.

    The fragility of the retina or non-retina's... is that about the same? Are there any figures about that? Want at least to survive 4 years with this laptop... I realize that also heavily depends on how I use it, but I'm very very careful with my tech. I see it as a price tag per month... my Samsung cost me 499 euro's and I've spent about 6 years with it,... that's value.

    I hope to have a similar value with the MBP.

    Hoped to make up my mind today, but I didn't.
  11. rcannudi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    Just wanted to let you all know I've opted for the Macbook Pro retina 13 inch, been using it for a full day now and really happy with my choice. The keyboard is excellent, and now I'm trying to learn and get familiar with the other way of working in sense of shortcuts and so on (the @ sign for example is still very oddly placed for my feeling, but I'll manage...)

    The main thing I wanted to let you all know is that the battery life is not as expected. I got about 4 hours out of it... with just surfing the web and typing (no video of heavy stuff). Very weird. Is there a way to easily check if the battery is healthy?
  12. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Go into system report

    You can go into system report and look at power it will give you your battery details. I find that a few charging cycles usually gets the battery up to full working order.
    Also if you are using chrome it'll be terrible on your mac it is poorly coded for OSX and a massive CPU and battery hog I reccomend that you use another browser if you can't or won't then you pretty much have to accept those limitations.
  13. rcannudi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2015
    Thanks for the reply, it's indeed Chrome that's draining the battery 50% faster than it would normally. I'd stick with Chrome in any case, using Safari is terrible.
  14. JPamplin macrumors 6502


    Mar 12, 2009
    Nashville, TN
    If you're a techie / gamer, I'm not sure if the new MBA 12 will truly suit you. The MBA 13 is plenty thin enough, and the USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, and SD Card ports are essential, in my mind, to the kind of expandability that you would need for day-to-day practicality. And it won't be a gaming machine, period.
  15. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    If you're doing any gaming at all, I'd go with at least a 13" rMBP. The 15" rMBP seems like it'd give you all of your needs and then some (should you later decide to do more intense things). Plus two thunderbolt ports are better than one, especially if you're doing any configuring of Thunderbolt RAID systems, which, if you're doing Mac-based IT stuff, you may very well.

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