First time Mac user - MBA/rMBP/etc

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by stayley, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. stayley macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2013

    this is my first post so I just wanted to say how happy I am to finally join your community (I had some serious registration issues) and thank you for having created such a great environment for discussions :)

    I have followed the Haswell rMBP mega thread for a few months now, but a week before the conference I decided to buy the MBA through the online store and in case the rMBP gets a redesign (that it kind of did) towards being lighter I might just return the MBA.

    I really like the MBA apart from one thing - the screen. I mean, what the hell is Apple thinking putting these awful, AWFUL screens in great machines like the MBA. I did a side by side comparison with my 4 year old ASUS that I replaced the MBA with and it's screen is better in any possible aspect (, has a disgusting yellowish glow (the only colour profile, the one from Anandtech that makes the screen bearable unfortunately has it) and has a much worse refresh rate than the Asus one does. Why oh why :(

    In every other respect the machine is perfect, I love the design, much better than the pro, but... and here comes my question:

    The difference in price between my MBA (i5/8GB/256GB) and rMBP I'd be buying (same specs as the Air) is immaterial (like 20 pounds in the education store). Would you go for the rMBP?

    It's still a little heavier than the MBA but not that much. This is an important thing for me, because I walk a lot with the computer and that was the primary reason for getting an MBA. Then again, this screen is just killing me and I feel like I have downgraded from a 4 year old middle-range windows laptop (I mean, really, wtf Apple).

    What I am also worried about with the MBA is that it is practically obsolete technology. The rMBP might get another redesign next year towards a slimmer/lighter chassis and then I really can't see any room for the MBA, so I imagine they'll phase it out. Or do the stupid 12". What I'm saying is that rMBP might be a better investment, more future proofed, etc.

    What do you guys think? I would appreciate any help. I am going to check out the new rMBPs at the Apple store maybe tomorrow. I only had the MBA for 3 days so I'm within the grace period for another 11.

    Maybe some advice for the MBA screen? It seems like I have the Samsung panel (god I just can't get over the fact that a 1050 pounds machine from 2013 has a much worse screen than a 500 pounds laptop from 2009, WTF), I have tried a range of colour profiles. The only one that's kinda satisfactory just looks pathetic when compared to the Asus. Please help, cause I'd love to keep the MBA, but it seems like I'll exchange it for the rMBP.

    Oh, and btw, is it normal for text to be blurry when you scroll the screen? Is it something that Mac's do, just like the different font rendering? Is my screen experiencing issues with pixel walk? I've looked at two other MBAs and it seemed like they had the same issue, what would imply that the terrible screen is a common issue :/
  2. 53kyle macrumors 65816


    Mar 27, 2012
    Sebastopol, CA
    I think if it is the screen that is bothering you, I would absolutely go for the rMBP, because it has the best screen I for one have ever seen.
  3. stayley, Oct 24, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013

    stayley thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2013
    Yeah, well... that's the thing, I really don't care about the retina display. I work with sound, not picture. Why couldn't they just stick a decent IPS panel into the MBA, what they are doing now is simply disgusting.

    But I know you are right, I'm just worried about the mobility. I just pulled out the MBA from my bag with one hand and put it on the table like nothing... but then I opened the lid and saw the awful screen :(

    It's such a shame, the MBA is a beautiful thing.

    Ok, so let me ask you this another way: Is it worth it trying to return the MBA for a new one? Is there any chance I'll see an improvement in the screen? Or are they just all this bad? I care much more for the form factor of the MBA than a retina screen, but I just can't live with this one.
  4. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2013
    For someone who works in audio you sure seem pretty intent on having a (good enough for you) screen..if that's all you care about, get a Pro. But, then you say you don't keep the Air. See my point?

    You're stuck in an infinite loop until you have them both in front of you..order a Pro, compare them side-by-side and then send one back. Easy as that if your credit (or bank account) allows it.
  5. stayley thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2013
    Thanks for replying. Infinite loop, yeah. I'll go and compare the two tomorrow in store. I might just pick up the retina at the store, play around with the two over the weekend and just return one of them as you say...

    So much hassle with all this though :/

    Any further thoughts on the MBA/rMBP dilemma?

    Can someone tell me how the keyboard of the rMBP compares to the MBA? I absolutely adore the one on the MBA.

    Oh, yeah, I do work primarily in audio, but I absolutely won't settle for my new computer to be a downgrade from what I bought 4 years ago for half the price. You know what I mean? I like to watch a movie every now and then, review and do some light editing of some pictures, etc.
  6. ItHurtsWhenIP macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2013
    I have no experience with Retina Pros..or any Pros for that matter.

    What I can say is that (and I'm not sure if you have or not) after updating to Mavericks, I swear to all that's holy, the LG screen on my Air looks better. No yellow tint..still not amazing, but most definitely better.

    I haven't had any troubles with light photo editing, or at least no one has said my blues look red or anything of the sort. :p

    But again...if screen is what you won't settle on, it's the Retina Pro or something that's not Apple.
  7. stayley thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2013
    I'm in the store now with my MBA right next to the rMBP and still have no idea what to do :/

    First world problems
  8. Macneck macrumors regular


    Oct 17, 2012
    Indeed, pal!

    Anyway I am 100% with you about the screen. I DO LOVE my 2013 MBA, It's such a wonderful laptop! But that screen... It's like having a Mercedes Benz with wooden wagon wheels. Okay, maybe not that much, but you know what I mean. I don't feel comfortable with that screen and I've been using it for a few months now. I know I will never feel comfortable with it and which is a real shame for such an outstanding machine.
  9. stayley, Oct 24, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013

    stayley thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2013
    Mystery solved.

    Turns out I lost the screen lottery and got a faulty one. The MBAs I've compared it to in store were exponentially better. Sharper, better gamut, not washed out, I could go on and on. While their screens were still rather crap (compared to what Samsung, Sony, Dell and other brands are doing with their laptops), I could definitely settle for those.

    I just arranged for a return, I'll be without a laptop for a few days but fingers crossed the new one will be better. The whole process took 20 minutes, spoke to three people, quite smooth, I'm impressed. I was only a little annoyed when the tech guy on the phone couldn't comprehend what the issue is, faulty part wasn't getting through and he kept asking if it was cosmetic damage after I got the laptop. Pissed me off.

    Also, I compared it to the rMBP for like a good half an hour. I definitely like the MBA better. It is lighter, while the 250g difference on paper doesn't seem like much, it does make a big difference in real world. It's difficult for me to explain, but just the way I can so effortlessly pick up an MBA, roll around with it in bed (;) ) is just amazing. That's where the 250g is a difference and that's why I wanted an ultrabook that the rMBP is not. I also prefer the MBA chassis with it's larger footprint but also how the bottom is kinda wedged - helps in picking it up. Petty little things, but do make a difference for me. And the MBA is prettier :)

    Keyboard on the MBA is better. Period. (I mean, both are really good, but it's the MBA's that I fell in love with)

    It goes further... choppy scrolling on the rMBP. I mean seriously Apple? I've seen people complaining about it on the old retinas, the issue is still there. I opened up a couple of academic papers on the rMBP and my MBA next to it. MBA super smooth (apart from the ********** blur - faulty screen), rMBP choppy and nasty...

    With the negligible price difference (for me it's 30 pounds), the only call you're making here is the display vs form factor and battery really. Performance should be virtually on par (who cares about synthetic benchmarks) for a person who is considering an MBA.

    The retina screen is gorgeous indeed (kinda dark though?) but the good MBAs were perfectly satisfactory for me. I'm sticking with the MBA. The only thing that bothers me is that the price reduction in retinas slashed MBA resale value. Then again, who cares, if I have an MBA with a good screen I'll keep it for quite a few years (unless we see a 13" retina MBA).

    Sorry for this verbal diarrhoea, but just wanted to share my thoughts. I'm saying all this from a standpoint of a person who can get either of the two now, so there's no buyer's regret bias here or money considerations really. Oh, btw, I got 14:25h of juice after Mavericks. Crazy!

    So, backing up with time machine and waiting for a new MBA. Do you know if I get the 14 days grace period all over again? Why oh why don't they stock BTO versions in retail stores :(

    Macneck... well there you go. I played a HD video on the MBA and rMBP simultaneously. The display on the Air was grotesque compared to the retina. Colours washed out, not rich at all. What was a shade of yellow on the retina was white on the MBA, same with any finer shades of any colour. The difference is just mind-blowing when you put the two side by side. Still, as I said, non-faulty screen MBAs are enough for me. I just hope the rumors are not true and Apple will retain the 13" screen on the MBAs and upgrade them with retina technology at some point. (or they'll just make the rMBP weigh 3lb)

    One final thought :)D), I think that people did get over the LG/Samsung/AUO (AOU? whatever) craziness. But, FWIW, it turns out that the Samsung screens are perfectly capable of being **** :) Even the MBAs I compared in store were different, not as drastically as mine, but different. Forget the serial number, just look at the screen and figure out whether you're happy with it or not. This test: showed the differences very well (my major issue is the refresh rate and pixel walking). There was one model that was absolutely perfect. Should I pray? Should I beg? Too much luck involved in a purchase of a 1000 pounds laptop :/

    BTW, it feels so good to have this rMBP MBA dilemma out of the way. Been killing me for two days :) If anyone is in doubt, just go to the store and play around with both for some time.
  10. stayley thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2013
    So, just a little update if anyone's interested...

    I just got my replacement MBA yesterday and I'm really happy I made the swap and waited. Now I've got the LG panel and I can't even try to describe how much better it is from the Samsung one my first unit shipped with. Then again, that panel must have been faulty, I just can't imagine Apple releasing a unit with such a terrible screen.

    While it is still a little bit worse than my 4 year old Asus, I can live with it.

    All in all, I'm very happy with my first Apple computer :)
  11. yosemit macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2013
    Good ending! :)


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