I'll say it loud - I prefer MBA over MBP retina

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by sysProgrammer, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. sysProgrammer macrumors member

    sysProgrammer

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    #1
    I waited and waited and then the update to MBP came. It was all I wanted on paper, thinner, more powerful, with retina display.

    I spent hours in the Apple store, and still, after all my reasoning couldn't bring myself to buy Retina.

    So I got i7, 8GB, 512GB SSD. Why?

    i7 is as fast in the real world terms as the retina i7 although to get retina i7 its 200 more.
    MacBook Air is still more portable, looks slicker, and has that special appeal that I just don't get with MBP Retina. Using MBA brings somehow more natural usability feeling (could be due to the curve of the keyboard, starts of from almost surface level and it rises), but its different than the one on MBP.
    MBP Retina has issues - yep...
    12 - 15 hours of uptime = all day long.
    If I need to replace or upgrade something - I can, its not glued to the case (this wasn't really a concern but it kept lingering in the back of my mind).

    Unless you're looking at the retina screen you won't know you miss it, so at the end of the day are all the trade offs worth the retina screen. I couldn't do it, so I guess not to me.
     
  2. Animalk macrumors 6502

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    #2
    I pretty much had the same experience as you.

    I've been waiting for this Retina update for a long time. Finally I couldn't get myself to purchase the rMBP because it offered nothing other than the retina screen.

    As a programmer and gamer, the rMBP offered nothing in those respects in terms of performance. The slightly beefier Intel APU is negated by the extra processing power required to drive the retina screen.

    I went for the MBA because typing on it felt so much better. The rising slant of the keyboard is mainly to thank for that. The battery life has been unbelievable. Reading code and text on the MBA all day has been really good. Very easy on the eyes.

    My MBA also runs games great.

    I am very happy with my decision and I look forward to many years of ownership and use.
     
  3. sysProgrammer thread starter macrumors member

    sysProgrammer

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    #3
    Right on, I am a programmer, and need it for portability. Same exact thoughts.
     
  4. qawsed macrumors regular

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    #4
    I'll say it loud - I prefer MBP retina over MBA... :D
     
  5. sysProgrammer thread starter macrumors member

    sysProgrammer

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    #5
    Just out of curiosity, what do you plan on using your MPBr? It is usually tied to one's profession so it wouldn't hurt to ask, don't have to answer, in general terms?
     
  6. Windowsrefugee macrumors regular

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    #6
    To OP. You say, "The battery life has been unbelievable."

    I am thinking about this model of MBA for the same reasons, including portability, feel and battery life. Can you provide more details on battery life i.e. screen brightness, apps open, which OS and duration of actual use on a single charge? Thanx.
     
  7. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    #7
    I bought the same machine, mostly for light weight and battery life. It's a great machine.
     
  8. dean1012 macrumors regular

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    Jul 10, 2008
    #8
    I'd be happy to indulge you.

    11" 2013 MBA (stock i5/4gb/256gb).

    Screen brightness: third bar (not sure what that is maybe 20%?) - I can see it comfortably.

    Battery Life: 8-10 hours

    iTunes running almost the entire time on battery playing music through headphones.

    VMWare for short bursts (maybe an hour total) as needed. One VM is headless (text only centos) while the other is used less often and is graphical (ubuntu).

    Notes and Mail

    Wifi is on for about an hour, rest of the time it is off.

    Crashplan+, Dropbox, and Time Machine.

     
  9. Windowsrefugee, Nov 13, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013

    Windowsrefugee macrumors regular

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    #9
    Dean1012-- are you on ML or on Mavericks? I have read conflicting reports of Mavericks and battery life. I am curious about the MBA running on Mavericks, particularly the i7 13 version.
     
  10. sysProgrammer thread starter macrumors member

    sysProgrammer

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    #10
    The being that rMBP can't get 10 hours and Macbook AIR can.

    Here are the MacBook Air i5 vs i7 test stats:
    http://blog.laptopmag.com/core-i7-macbook-air-2013
     
  11. qawsed macrumors regular

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    #11
    Reading notes, books, references, studying, doing presentations, browsing the internet, using MS Office etc

    Nothing out of the ordinary!
     
  12. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #12
    I loved my 2011 MBA, but sold it this year. I am using a 15" rMBP now, but I do miss the MBA's portability and I still look at them lovingly at the Apple Store. However I have no plans to buy one again until they do something about the resolution and the quality of the display. I am not looking for a retina resolution, but something like 1080p and a better quality screen would be very welcome. Also, is it just me or the MBA's trackpad just does not feel as nice as the MBP's?
     
  13. Mockenrue macrumors 6502

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    #13
    One of the bigger selling points for me was the near complete absence of heat and fan noise on the Air with my usage patterns (ie. no games). Using the iPad and even a $250 Chromebook showed me how much I appreciate passive cooling and a solid state-like experience. The rMBP was not as cool or quiet in my limited testing.
     
  14. iLuvMyMacToo macrumors regular

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    Australia
    #14
    I'm happy I decided to buy a MBA going from a mid 2012 15" MBP. It's light, cooler, quieter and generally everything a laptop computer should be.
     
  15. Fallingreason macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Same here. Bought the new MBPr 13" and returned it for my second macbook air.

    The air is just too sexy =)

    I agree with all of the other said reasons.
     
  16. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #16
    It's actually worse than that. Using the MBP at a non-native 1440x900 resolution causes even more stress on the GPU, so the MBA at its native resolution both performs better and has more screen real-estate than the rMBP.
     
  17. Fallingreason macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Another reason I didn't like the 13" MBPr is I always use a 1080p monitor (24") at home, and only use the 13" screen when I'm out. Going from retina to 1080p is pretty rough. I don't experience that with the air.

    Only the thunderbolt displays seem to lessen this torture though even they aren't retina.
     
  18. nefan65 macrumors 65816

    nefan65

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    #18
    Glad I read this thread! I'm in the same boat, and have a 2010 13"MBP. It'll be 4 years old in February, and it's a work laptop. I need a new one, and was contemplating the 13" rMBP, but did like the portability, size, and looks of the Air.

    I need to go to a store and mess around with one for a bit before deciding, but I'm definitely leaning toward the Air.
     
  19. robvas macrumors 68020

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    #19
    I've bounced between the 13" Air, 13" Pro, 13" Retina, and 11" Air. Right now I have the 11" Air.

    I miss the HDMI port of the Retina. I also miss the ability to jump up to 1680x1050 when I want but using a third party program to run that resolution on my 11" screen isn't that terrible for when I need to do something real quick on a server for work. I wouldn't want to run that resolution for an hour but it's much better than trying to get certain things done on 1366x768. Not quite as bad of an issue with the 13" Airs 1440x900, though.
     
  20. tjleonard macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I don't personally care what the tests show...I own a 13" 2012 MBA, i7, 8gb and just bought (to try) a new 13" MBPr, 16gb ram, i7 as well.

    With Mavericks on both...using the same items on both, and the screen brightness the same on both, I get 11-12 hours on the MBPr and only 7-8 on the MBA.

    I have found the footprint being smaller on the MBPr is nice, but the 1/2 of lb sucks. I do like very mobile, but it's really (to me) the nicer screen, more memory, and more battery vs less weight. And yes, I run VM's pretty often ... (usually I do plug up when dealing a lot with VM's) so the 16gb is needed.

    Now I may change my mind if it where the newest MBA vs the newest MBPr ... and I would LOVE to pay extra to lose this .5 lbs as it is worth it....
     
  21. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #21
    How do you figure this? The Core i7 that you'd outfit a current 13" rMBP with is 1.1GHz faster than the one that you'd outfit a current 13" MBA with. I know clock speed isn't everything, especially when you're talking about a difference of up to 300MHz, but 1.1GHz is something else.

    Again, with an extremely minimal difference in weight, how do you figure this? The 13" rMBP even has a smaller footprint than the 13" MBA.

    Such as...?

    What kind of lifestyle do you live where you will have to go more than 9 solid hours of computer use without a charger present? Seems like a needless feature at that point.

    Actually this is incorrect. You still have the same proprietary screws securing the bottom case on the MBA as you do the rMBP. The RAM is also soldered on the MBA just like it is on the rMBP and thusly not upgradable like it was on the previous non-retina Unibody style of MacBook Pros and the earlier MacBooks. The battery is removable without having to replace the entire top-case assembly, but unless you are an Apple Authorized Service Provider or a Genius Bar, you're not going to do either swap yourself anyway! The only real difference that you as a consumer would experience in dealing with the battery is a $70 increase over the cost of the battery swap in the rMBP over the MBA and non-retina unibody MBPs. Given that these batteries are pretty well performing, you will likely not even experience this throughout your time owning this machine.

    I mean look, I'm not trying to tell you that your opinions are wrong, nor that you need any justification for picking one Mac model over another. But you make assertions here that are either wrong or based on information that is incomplete.
     
  22. sysProgrammer thread starter macrumors member

    sysProgrammer

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    #22
    Gigbench mbpr 2992 vs mba 2866. In real world this difference is squat, meaning if you are not crunching numbers and spinning cpu-s you are not going to tell the difference.
    http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks

    By going to the store and taking one, picking it up, opening it, etc, etc, etc..
    In any case are you prepared to say that it's not more portable and that the .5lbs doesn't make a difference. I thought so too, until I compared one next to the other, and I asked myself if I had to live with one vs the other, MBA wins every time.



    Screen lags, track pad lockups, problems supporting different resolutions, etc. etc. etc....

    The kind where I can take this thing with me in the morning and charge it at night. I write code dude, I am next to a computer 16 hours a day.

    There is a difference a big difference. If you don't believe me than believe these guys:

    MacBook Pro with Retina Display 13" Late 2013 Repairability Score: 1 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)
    http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Retina+Display+Late+2013+Teardown/18695


    vs.


    MacBook Air 13" Mid 2013 Repairability Score: 4 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).
    http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Air+13-Inch+Mid+2013+Teardown/15042


    I just gave you the links from industry standard testers. Chose to believe whatever you want.
     
  23. iLuvMyMacToo macrumors regular

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    #23

    Well that's interesting. I get 13 hours battery time on my 13" MBA i7/256GB/8GB If I'm doing some full on photo editing or watching plenty of YouTube that may drop to around 11 hours.
     
  24. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #24
    In multi-core 64-bit performance (which you will be able to utilize in Xcode as Xcode is both 64-bit and multi-core aware) the Geekbench numbers for the following Haswell i7 machines are: 13" Air with an i7 has a score of 6140; the 13" retina Pro has a score of 6919; that is a sizable disparity. That also doesn't take into account the speed increases that Mavericks gives the integrated graphics on both and the fact that the Iris (Intel HD 5100) is better than the Air's HD 5000. I'll accept that's likely a small increase in speed, but it's still adds up.

    I've picked up and held both models and extensively. I do that as part of my job. I'm not saying that one isn't lighter than the other; I'm saying that the difference in weight is extremely minimal; and again, I have the experience with the machines too.


    First off, the trackpad issues were resolved in a firmware update issued last week. That is a moot issue. Secondly, screen lagging isn't all that bad, but even so that is a driver/OS issue and not a hardware issue (read: it is possible to correct that). You can get a Retina to display any resolution even native; there is freely available software to do this.

    You still did not address my question. When do you go more than 9 continuous hours on a computer away from a wall outlet or a power adapter? I get that you code for a living, but most people who code for a living do so in a place where power isn't all that far from them. Even so, it's not like Apple's MagSafe 2 adapters are all that unwieldy to carry.

    Dude! I'm an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician! I have opened up both machines and have done extensive repairs to both machines! I don't need iFixIt to tell me how repairable one machine is versus the other, I actually repair these machines myself! The only difference in repairability between the two machines is (a) the battery and (b) the trackpad. That's it! In both cases it's nearly impossible to separate the screen from the bezel and in both cases the replacement of the keyboard requires a complete gutting of the machine and full replacement of the top case assembly. In both cases the RAM is soldered onto the logic board, and in both cases there is the use of a proprietary solid state drive. And lastly in both cases, Apple uses a proprietary screw type to keep users out of the machine. Regardless, unless you are an AASP or a Genius Bar, you're not cracking this thing open to do much of anything other than install an aftermarket SSD as that's the only aftermarket part you can get and Apple doesn't sell its parts to the public.

    I work doing this for a living. Your links from "industry standard testers" don't trump that.


    Again, I'm not saying that you're not entitled to pick one over the other for arbitrary reasons. But if you pick reasons for which there are holes in the logic of, expect to have people point those out.
     
  25. sysProgrammer thread starter macrumors member

    sysProgrammer

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    #25
    Ah sorry that makes things o right. I have MS in Comp Science worked on Windows Linux and OSX, wrote drivers and multicore programs, even those that have lockless rings spinning on CPU's with RT FIFO priority. Built about 20 computers and numerous servers, first being 9 years old.

    So lets take your points into considerations.
    For a programmer like myself, this machine not being server but a tool that one will use every day, again I say there is no difference in i7 on Air vs MacProRetina in regular day usage, even for a programmer running XCode or one or two virtualized hosts. Having said that the i7 in the macbook retina has more to do to support that retina screen. It is not going to hold a battery charge as good no mater what benchmarks say. I would be surprised that it lasted within 30% as long as MBA in the similar usage (say playing movie). There is big difference between i7 and i5 however, but that aside for regular user is not going to be a difference. Now those 64 bit benchmarks - heh...
    If you are going to do that kind of utilization you are better of having 15inch with dedicated GPU.

    Again working on Air looks so much more natural than on MBPr. Not something to put the finger on, but it feels much more portable, ergonomic than 13 MBPr.
    I am not saying that MBPr is not good to work on, just that MBA is more preferable.

    You may not need an all day battery, but I do. :)

    It's getting late and this argument is getting lousy. If the retina screen is not a deal breaker, everything else is better on MBA. There.
     

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