Loaded 2012 13" Air vs. 2012 MBP Retina...

pfb

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 6, 2006
9
0
I currently have:

2011 air
  • 13" display
  • 1.8GHz i7 (Sandy bridge, dual core)
  • 256GB SSD
  • 4GB RAM
  • ($1,700 in Feb)

I need a new mac laptop for my niece... While the base $1,200 13" air would be more than enough for her, I'm thinking of getting a new laptop for myself and doing some "trickle down macanomics".

Looking at:
2012 Air
  • 13" display
  • 2.0GHz i7 (Ivy bridge, turbo boost, etc))
  • 256GB SSD
  • 8GB RAM
  • $1,700

-or-

2012 MacBook Pro Retina
  • 15" Retina display
    [*]2.3GHZ i7
    (Ivy bridge, quad core, turbo boost, etc.)
  • 256GB SSD
  • 8GB RAM
  • $2,100

So $500 gets me:
  • Significantly faster processor (quad core vs. dual core, 2.3GHz vs. 2.0GHz
  • Larger, much higher resolution display with faster graphics processor.
  • An extra pound and a half to lug around.

The price difference is really surprisingly small... If not for the extra weight, it would be an easy decision. But since moving from my 2009 MBP 15" to the air, I have been loving the featherweight laptop!

Any thoughts?
 

Higgs1

macrumors 6502
Jun 6, 2009
331
1
New York City
I'm going with the 13" air i7/8gb/256gb. The retina may be nice but 15" plus added weight isn't something I'm interested in.
 

jameswdmb

macrumors member
Jun 4, 2012
82
0
I had the same descision....... I chose the air. I dont have retina, but for my needs the Air w/ i7, 8GB RAM, and SSD were enough to satisfy my usage. I will look at the Retina Pro in 2-3 years when price has come down a bit. I really wanted to go big, but I chose to save the $450 and use it towards an upgrade when my apple care runs out on the Air. I was planning on a Pro machine before the keynote. I work in IT and the Air was off my radar until 8GB of RAM happened, but I think I will be pleased when it is all said and done.

It is worth mentioning that I recently bought a refurbed thunderbolt display to have second monitor option so I am not relying on just 13" of screen.
 

pfb

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 6, 2006
9
0
the Air was off my radar until 8GB of RAM happened, but I think I will be pleased when it is all said and done.
When I moved from my 2009 MacBook Pro 15" to the 2011 air, my two biggest concerns were disk space and RAM. I had a 500GB disk that was almost completely full, and even with 8GB on the pro, I found myself noticeably slowing down when I started paging.

Pruning out 300+GB to an external NAS disk that I wouldn't always have access to was a big chore, but surprisingly, the 4GB RAM limit hasn't been anywhere near as big of an issue as I anticipated. Part of it is that if I do become memory bound on the air (which really isn't that often) page swaps are much faster than with a conventional disk.

I only really notice it if it really starts thrashing, and I check my activity monitor and shut down an unneeded app or two. Usually a browser with about four windows open with 20 tabs in each...:rolleyes:
 

sirris101

macrumors member
Jan 9, 2008
56
0
I think I'm with the rest of you on this one; I chose the Air.

I've had a 15" MacBook Pro (three of them) since Tiger, and loved them, but hating lugging them around. I was very excited about a retina MacBook Pro, but have also grown increasingly jealous of all my coworkers and their featherweight airs.

I just bought the 13" 2012 Air / 2.0 i7 with 8gb ram and I'm really happy with it so far. It has everything I want; is less likely to get hot, and the pixel density is better than my prior high res and standard resolution MacBook Pros. It can't compete with a retina screen, but I suspect there will be a retina MacBook Air in next two years, and I'll upgrade again.

For now, I'm going to enjoy Ivy Bridge i7 with plenty of ram in the my ideal form factor with a good (but not retina) display.
 

pfb

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 6, 2006
9
0
I'm going to try and stop by the Apple store today or tomorrow and just pick up the Pro to get an idea how much an extra pound-and-a-half feels like.

On the retina display, I had a MacBook pro 15" with the optional 1680×1050 matte display for a while (I was relieved of it, along with my iPad, iPhone, and iPod on a car smash-and-grab, a very iBad day.)

While the display was gorgeous with some apps, it was annoying on others, and especially annoying while surfing the web. Lots of semi-poorly designed websites with small fonts became unreadable by default, and I was constantly command+plussing to get readable fonts, or using browser features and extensions to increase the minimum font. But zooming bumping the fonts often caused other problems with site formatting, and it was overall a bit of a pita. Take this web page for example... If the text input box had a way to small font, bumping the font size also bumps those silly little emoticons below the text box, and would push the page into horizontal scroll by the time you got the font to an easily readable size.

And I also suspect other applications that have small default fonts or unchangeable font sizes are going to be very difficult to use until they are updated for Retina.

Again, something I hope to check out at the Apple store...
 

Kceb83

macrumors member
Dec 1, 2011
44
8
I had the same dilemma and decided on the maxed out 13 inch air. I couldn't pass up the price difference and although retina screens are beautiful I really don't think I will notice the difference in day to day tasks. I have been using last years 11 inch air and feel the display is super crisp despite its resolution so am looking forward to the new 13 inch
 

entatlrg

macrumors 68040
Mar 2, 2009
3,376
3
Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
I'm going to try and stop by the Apple store today or tomorrow and just pick up the Pro to get an idea how much an extra pound-and-a-half feels like.

On the retina display, I had a MacBook pro 15" with the optional 1680×1050 matte display for a while (I was relieved of it, along with my iPad, iPhone, and iPod on a car smash-and-grab, a very iBad day.)

While the display was gorgeous with some apps, it was annoying on others, and especially annoying while surfing the web. Lots of semi-poorly designed websites with small fonts became unreadable by default, and I was constantly command+plussing to get readable fonts, or using browser features and extensions to increase the minimum font. But zooming bumping the fonts often caused other problems with site formatting, and it was overall a bit of a pita. Take this web page for example... If the text input box had a way to small font, bumping the font size also bumps those silly little emoticons below the text box, and would push the page into horizontal scroll by the time you got the font to an easily readable size.

And I also suspect other applications that have small default fonts or unchangeable font sizes are going to be very difficult to use until they are updated for Retina.

Again, something I hope to check out at the Apple store...
The Air for me too. While the Retina is nice adding 1.5 pounds and the larger foot print isn't worth it. I use my laptop on my lap often and the clunkier, heavier 15" form factor isn't for me.

Wish they'd of come out with a 13" Retina Mac ...

And, you gain nothing in screen real estate from the 13" to 15" so what's the point?
 

DeepIn2U

macrumors 604
May 30, 2002
6,550
1,940
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I'm going with the 13" air i7/8gb/256gb. The retina may be nice but 15" plus added weight isn't something I'm interested in.
Really??? Are you guys/gals frail limbed aliens or weak obese ppl? 1 pound is "added" weight in fact but I'll bet you while traveling or carrying either or the "weight" is barely perceptible vs the physical size 15.4" vs 13" in your hand or bag.

To PFB, I suggest you do the following:
Find ot what you require out of USING the machine NOW & 2yrs from now!
Then go into a store to test the 15.4" Retina MBP see what you'll be missing - bonus if you can bring a file or two and test on both machines to see various apps performance.

PS: you could upgrade the 256-512 SSD but it'll cost you$800CAN
 

jmoore5196

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2009
753
261
Midwest US
I'm a frequent traveler, and I have to disagree: While 18 ounces doesn't sound like much, none of us are weaklings. Lugging around an extra pound and a half all day does make a difference.

I have a 15" MBP (2.0gHz i7 QC) that I'd love to replace with the new Retina MBP. The sheer size of the machine and the extra weight are holding me back. I would probably pop for the new model were it 4 pounds rather than 4.5 ... but I'll probably end up with an Air for travel and leave the MBP at home on my desk. The extra weight is too noticeable and the extra real estate isn't much of a bonus on the road or on an airplane.
 

pfb

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 6, 2006
9
0
Really??? ... 1 pound is "added" weight in fact but I'll bet you while traveling or carrying either or the "weight" is barely perceptible
That's what I thought too. Until I bought an Air, and then occasionally grabbed my older Pro. Admittedly that was 2.5 pounds extra instead of the new, slimmer Pro at 1.5 pounds extra, but the difference is profound. I never thought my Pro to be particularly heavy, but now that I have an Air, the Pro feels like lifting a brick.

Until you've used both extensively, it's hard to understand the significant difference in feel with everyday use.
 

pfb

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 6, 2006
9
0
Side note...

Looks like the Pro Retina *will not* have upgradable memory... Soldered on the motherboard. Buy the 8GB version, live with the 8GB version. Might need 16GB? Better buy it up front.

Not a surprise, as the Air also has soldered RAM. But it was a question I was trying to answer on the new Pro, thought others might be wondering as well.
 

Smartie

macrumors regular
Apr 25, 2012
170
0
Stockholm, Sweden
Another issue that made me going for a maxed out MBA 13" a few hours ago is the usability with the trackpad. The lower front of the MBA makes it soooo much more comfortable to use the track pad vs the MBP, where at least I get pain in the wrist after only a few minutes of surfing. The MBP requires a mouse in my mind, the MBA doesn't.
 

dona83

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2004
317
47
Kelowna, BC
I have a 3.5 lb Dell Vostro V13 that is about as heavy I would want any machine. The Retina Pro is an amazing feat of engineering, but I love using my wife's 11" Air. You just can't beat that iPad size that can be taken and used anywhere.
 

sirris101

macrumors member
Jan 9, 2008
56
0
Regarding weight: I've been lugging around a heavy MacBook Pro for 5 years. This morning I carried the Air to work for the first time; my backpack was noticeably lighter. I'm no weakling, but I definitely prefer the lighter form factor.

(Also, can't wait for a retina MacBook Air-- probably in 2013 or 14.)
 

Nerio27

macrumors member
Jun 12, 2012
51
0
Didn't see this mentioned, but don't forget the improved graphics in the MBP. I can imaging the performance boost from the dedicated graphics card is very substantial over the integrated intel graphics.
 

entatlrg

macrumors 68040
Mar 2, 2009
3,376
3
Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
Another issue that made me going for a maxed out MBA 13" a few hours ago is the usability with the trackpad. The lower front of the MBA makes it soooo much more comfortable to use the track pad vs the MBP, where at least I get pain in the wrist after only a few minutes of surfing. The MBP requires a mouse in my mind, the MBA doesn't.
Very true.

And, they carried over the razor sharp edges on the new RMBP too, much more noticeable on the MBP's compared to the Air's, sharp enough to cut the skin.
 

Sounds Good

macrumors 68000
Jul 8, 2007
1,692
57
The lower front of the MBA makes it soooo much more comfortable to use the track pad vs the MBP, where at least I get pain in the wrist after only a few minutes of surfing.
Off topic (sorry) but how does the 11" Air compare to the 13" Air in this regard? Which trackpad is more "comfortable", the 11" or the 13" Air?
 

DeepIn2U

macrumors 604
May 30, 2002
6,550
1,940
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Another issue that made me going for a maxed out MBA 13" a few hours ago is the usability with the trackpad. The lower front of the MBA makes it soooo much more comfortable to use the track pad vs the MBP, where at least I get pain in the wrist after only a few minutes of surfing. The MBP requires a mouse in my mind, the MBA doesn't.
On the trackpad I wholeheartedly disagree!

The trackpad on the air has less travel and for users like myself, recent switchers or PC laptop users by day, Mac users by night, I can tell you that MBA trackpad will begin hardware suffering early. I caused the upper left corner of my former MBA 13" ultimate begin to scratch-click at every use. Disturbing. I don't have that issue with the pro.

Would I go back to the air
? Hell yes!
 

Smartie

macrumors regular
Apr 25, 2012
170
0
Stockholm, Sweden
On the trackpad I wholeheartedly disagree!

The trackpad on the air has less travel and for users like myself, recent switchers or PC laptop users by day, Mac users by night, I can tell you that MBA trackpad will begin hardware suffering early. I caused the upper left corner of my former MBA 13" ultimate begin to scratch-click at every use. Disturbing. I don't have that issue with the pro.

Would I go back to the air
? Hell yes!
For me this sounds like an Apple Care issue. Both the MBA and MBP has full glass track pads, why would the MBA be worse?

----------

Off topic (sorry) but how does the 11" Air compare to the 13" Air in this regard? Which trackpad is more "comfortable", the 11" or the 13" Air?
I tried both. I think they feel the same, but there could be differences that I didn't notice.
 

DeepIn2U

macrumors 604
May 30, 2002
6,550
1,940
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
For me this sounds like an Apple Care issue. Both the MBA and MBP has full glass track pads, why would the MBA be worse?

----------



I tried both. I think they feel the same, but there could be differences that I didn't notice.
Again ... Less Travel in pressing on the trackpad ... therein lies le difference. Yes a situation AppleCare to resolve, but I think its a design trade-off against those that learned how to touch-type on a manual typewriter ... even on a laptop or current gen Apple keyboards you'd cringe to hear me type ... HAMMER HAMMER HAMMER time.
 

buhhrahhyann

macrumors newbie
Jun 18, 2012
1
0
I think I'm with the rest of you on this one; I chose the Air.

I've had a 15" MacBook Pro (three of them) since Tiger, and loved them, but hating lugging them around. I was very excited about a retina MacBook Pro, but have also grown increasingly jealous of all my coworkers and their featherweight airs.

I just bought the 13" 2012 Air / 2.0 i7 with 8gb ram and I'm really happy with it so far. It has everything I want; is less likely to get hot, and the pixel density is better than my prior high res and standard resolution MacBook Pros. It can't compete with a retina screen, but I suspect there will be a retina MacBook Air in next two years, and I'll upgrade again.

For now, I'm going to enjoy Ivy Bridge i7 with plenty of ram in the my ideal form factor with a good (but not retina) display.
May I know whats the battery life on the 13" 2012 Air / 2.0 i7 with 8gb ram??
 

ugahairydawgs

macrumors 68030
Jun 10, 2010
2,708
1,345
On the trackpad I wholeheartedly disagree!

The trackpad on the air has less travel and for users like myself, recent switchers or PC laptop users by day, Mac users by night, I can tell you that MBA trackpad will begin hardware suffering early. I caused the upper left corner of my former MBA 13" ultimate begin to scratch-click at every use. Disturbing. I don't have that issue with the pro.

Would I go back to the air
? Hell yes!
Like all computer parts trackpads are probe to failure. This is not something limited to the MBA though. Was using my brother's 13" MBP this weekend and the trackpad on that thing is pretty much non-functional. You have to bang the middle of the pad pretty hard to get it to register a click.
 

bit density

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2004
398
2
Seattle
Any thoughts?
If you're a gamer. Or you do design work on your laptop as your primary computer get the rMBP. (heavier but excels at those things)

If you don't use your computer for those things, then get the air. (lighter, just not as good at those things)...

I am an Air guy, and do other things on my iMac.
 

bogatyr

macrumors 65816
Mar 13, 2012
1,127
1
Really??? Are you guys/gals frail limbed aliens or weak obese ppl? 1 pound is "added" weight in fact but I'll bet you while traveling or carrying either or the "weight" is barely perceptible vs the physical size 15.4" vs 13" in your hand or bag.
If you frequently travel, every ounce matters.

When reading that, you might think, "bah, ********" but when you actually travel with a backpack so heavy that you can't take it as carry on without sneaking it past the flight crew - it matters. When you walk around with that pack in a large city in a country that you can't rent a car in and finding a taxi can be a bitch - it matters.

Not everyone is in the same situation but at least for me, a laptop is meant to be light and flexible in what it can do. The air exceeds those qualifications.
 
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