How does rMB browsing feel compared to iPad Air 2?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by johngwheeler, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. johngwheeler macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...
    If anyone is fortunate to have both an iPad Air 2 and rMB, could you please give your impression of the web browsing "experience" on both devices?

    Does the rMB feel faster / more capable, and have less delay reloading tabs when you have lots open?

    Given the multi-core benchmarks of both devices are in the same ballpark, I'm curious as to whether the subjective speeds are similar when using software that exists on both platforms (such as Safari, Mail etc.)
  2. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Well as I'm sure you're aware, the browsing experience is completely different. The rMB has a fully featured desktop OS, while the iPad does not. Browsing on the rMB is the same as it is on other Macs.
  3. johngwheeler thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...
    Yes, I would expect the rMB to be more capable, but I'm curious to know whether an iOS & Mac OS device with similar benchmarks (+/- 15%) actually "feel" significantly different for similar tasks.

    I've never used an iPad Air so I have nothing to compare with. I do have an iPad 2, and find it very slow when browsing with multiple tabs because of the frequent re-loading. I typically have 20-30 browser tabs open at any given time (poor discipline, I know!), and am trying to decide whether the rMB gives any significant improvement.

    the rMB obviously have 4 times the RAM and a full desktop OS, so there will lots of other differences in usability, but I'm trying to focus on a single comparison at the moment.

    I guess I can go to an Apple store and open up the same tabs on both devices to see for myself, but I have limited time & opportunity for this.
  4. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    You realize that even the Air 2 won't allow you to have more than 5-10 tabs open max before it starts to reload (on the short end with Safari, on the longer end with 3rd party browsers)? All will still reload somewhat regularly though. The rMB will never reload because it's running OSx and can page to disk once it runs out of RAM.

    For actual browsing, I would expect the differences in loading pages to be minimal to the point of being almost unnoticeable.
  5. Cvx5832 macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2014
    I have both. They're both capable machines and you would be fine with one or the other. That said -

    If you frequent places like this where you type, post pictures and do some "desktop" stuff, the rMB will be a delight. The combination of keyboard, screen, track pad, storage space and form factor is perfect in my opinion for that kind of use.

    If you typically just read (as opposed to participating in some "discussions"), don't really have a need for the desktop stuff like spreadsheets and the like, the added stowability on the iPad Air 2 is priceless.

    I love the screen on both. I love the software on both. Gone is the "hollow" feel from the Air 1. Both machines are packed so tightly you feel the chassis vibrate when playing music. I love the build quality on both. My iPad and rMB are launch day devices and I absolutely can't find anything (reasonable) to fault them on.

    Bottom line for me, the iPad Air 2 is an internet consumption machine and the rMB is like any other computer where you can create content and get it out there, while having portability very close (but not equal) to the iPad.
  6. vanimal macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2014
    If you plan to just browse the web, write a few occasional email & use streaming services. You can save A LOT of money getting a Air 2.

    I was going to get the wife a MBR, she has been using her 6 plus as her main device for a while now. She's on multiple company laptops at home everyday. So she prefers not to be on one after. I picked her up a Air 2 yesterday, staples has them in store for $100 off 16GB and 32GB. So I paid $399 instead of $1299 if I got her a MBR. Fine by me :)

    Depends how bad you want a keyboard and trackpad. I have a 2015 MBPR and the Air 2 browse the web at really about the same speed give or take.

    If you plan to do even any light work probably go with the MBR. If you have the extra $$$. Otherwise the Air 2 is great to use around the house & bed.
  7. lch6257 macrumors member

    Apr 16, 2015
    It feels like a mac...not an ipad. They are two different animals, IOS is not OSX.
  8. kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    I don't have my rMB yet but I'm sick and tired of safari reloading on my iPad Air 2. I thought all would be fine when Apple doubled the memory to 2gb on the 2 but I still have to reset the memory constantly.
  9. doxielover macrumors 6502a


    Apr 12, 2011
    It's nice to be able to jailbreak the iPad iOS which you can't on OS.
  10. JediZenMaster Suspended


    Mar 28, 2010
    I'm confused as to why we are comparing a portable to an iPad air 2. :p
  11. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    Seriously? You are making it sound not being able to jailbreak Mac OS is a disadvantage of Mac OS. You can't jailbreak Mac OS because it is not a closed ecosystem like iOS is so there is no need to jailbreak Mac OS.
  12. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2015
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    Well said. I don't know what he was thinking when he posted that.

    And to the OP, how do you even compare two completely different products?
    The rMB is a fully fledged computer with a desktop OS, while the iPad is more of a toy. :p
  13. johngwheeler thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...
    Well, the intention was see how the "general feel" of rMB performance compares to the iPad. Benchmark results can be deceptive, but would suggest that than iPad is about as fast as the base rMB.

    I obviously know that one is a fully-fledged computer and the other is mostly a media consumption device.

    I'm trying to work out whether my next mobile device should be an rMB or the next generation iPad. I think the iPad screen is a bit too small for productivity tasks, and needs an external keyboard to make it useful for work, but it is very portable.

    If the rumored iPad Pro is released, then I think many people will be wondering which one is best for their needs.
  14. MyopicPaideia macrumors 68000


    Mar 19, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Yeah, like another poster already insinuated, benchmarks are not even half the story.

    iOS and OS X differ greatly in things like memory management and multi-tasking. OS X is allowed to page out to the system disk (SSD or HD) in order to keep things in memory if the RAM gets full...i.e. virtual memory.

    So OS X never has to reload a tab for you like iOS does. As far as I'm aware, iOS doesn't have a proper virtual memory function at all, it just dumps things out of RAM and poof, your apps have to reload, your safari tabs, etc.

    This has a big effect on the ability of iOS to have 'proper' multitasking. It does it, giving apps the ability to run in the background, examples being FaceTime or Skype can continue to run while you check an Excel or Numbers file, or look something up on the web (just don't do music or video, otherwise it will kill the background process!!) and AirPlay has the same background ability, just as background system processes that apps run like GPS in map apps, etc. - However, running fully active apps side by side (on the same screen or not), running more than one audio or video stream simultaneously, are not possible in iOS.

    These are the big limitations. I have a feeling that these are going to be addressed if the iPad Pro rumours have a basis of truth. Give iOS proper memory management, and true multitasking, (bluetooth trackpad/mouse support as well!!) and you will have a genuine question about whether you should buy a Mac or an iPad as your only device.
  15. Dennison macrumors regular


    Apr 19, 2015
    United States
    Benchmarks are really unimportant here.

    I own and use both an iPad Air 2 and the new MacBook. Others have detailed the specific differences between iOS and OS X, so I'll just cover the bases. Web browsing experience depends on the operating system of course, but it also hinges on where you are, and what you're doing on the web.

    Example 1: If you're lounging on the couch or laying down in bed reading articles and watching videos, the iPad Air 2 is awesome. It's so easy to manipulate content on the screen using touch, switching between tasks is a snap with gestures, and locking the orientation through control center really comes in handy in bed.

    Example 2: If you're sitting up in a chair, at a desk, or even sitting up in bed, and you're surfing articles or threads on MacRumors and looking to punch out comments and replies, the new MacBook is a dream.

    So it obviously depends on these things, but the best overall web browsing experience will probably be in Safari on OS X on the new MacBook. I started with the iPad Air 2 and used it for web browsing way more than at my desktop (Mac mini), simply because it's more comfortable to sit back and use an iPad.

    I would recommend going into an Apple Store if it's not too far from you and testing this out for yourself on both devices to see if they fit your specific usage. I've had lots of tabs open on my iPad Air 2 (I think at most, maybe 15, but I'm quite punctual about closing things). Safari in iOS still reloads pages when you have more than 5 tabs open. I haven't had a lot open on my new Macbook yet, but it seems to handle multiple tabs just fine so far when I fullscreen Safari in OS X.

    When I got my iPad Air 2, I upgraded from an iPad 2 with Retina Display. I did a lot of web browsing on the iPad, and the upgrade made an incredible difference. I did experience a lot of slowness on the older iPad and I don't regret upgrading at all. I thank this mostly to the 2GB of RAM in the new iPad, which makes iOS 8 really roar.
  16. wolfie macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2008
    Putting the physical aspect of using these devices aside, I own the air 2 and the new MacBook, and if I had to be brutally honest, I find the air 2 offers a smoother safari experience.
  17. jazz1 macrumors 65816


    Aug 19, 2002
    Mid-West USA
    I do own both. I really do love the iPad2 Air. But for intense surfing over multiple sites OSX vs IOS seems more productive to me.

    I guess with use I'll figure it out, but the Macbook is so small and light, with a keyboard vs. the iPad it would be harder to leave behind.
  18. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    In what way?
  19. Hankster macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC
    I have both. Both are 100% different. The iPad 2 gives a mobile internet whereas the rMB gives the full internet. Also, the iPad 2 is touch screen and the rMB is keyboard/trackpad.

    You cannot compare the two - at all.


    Is this because the iPad 2 is loading a mobile site and not the full version? There is a huge difference :)
  20. newellj macrumors 603

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US
    iPad 3, I think. I had one. It was very heavy and rather slow. It's only redeeming features were the LTE radio (unless you bought wifi only) and the retina display, which was admittedly nice.
  21. vigilant macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Very very different machines.

    I expect if you are just talking about casually browsing on the internet I would say they are comparable.

    If you need to upload documents, or open up many different tabs as you find interesting looking stories I can see this being a miserable experience though.

    I LOVE my iPad Air 2, and in a revision or two I could see myself actually being able to work full time from one. Current one isn't that though
  22. kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    Let me be brutally honest also. The iPad Air and 2 are memory hungry and when there's none the browser resembles an early 1900 Kammatograph.
    How's that for a smooth experience.
  23. johngwheeler thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...
    This depends on whether you use your iPad *with* a keyboard for productivity tasks, which I do. I only remove the keyboard when I'm standing up, doing something passive like watching a movie, or where it would get in the way (e.g. using iPad whilst eating on a very small table)

    Most web-sites that I use appear as the full desktop site on an iPad, and those that don't by default normally have a link to the full site somewhere on the page. No difference that I can see apart from a little less screen real-estate.
  24. wolfie macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2008
    Ipad air 2 offers 'smoother' scrolling. The macbook can get jittery. Aside from that, the macbook trumps the iPad air 2.
  25. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    The rMB is significantly faster (around 100%) in browser benchmarks. Don't look at Geekbench scores, they are pointless here.

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