MacBook Air vs. 13" tMBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by CaptRB, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    LA, California
    #1
    The Air remains one of my favorite laptops. So I thought it would be interesting to test it against the new kid on the block in the 2016 13" MacBook Pro with Touchbar.


    SCREEN
    Duh! The Pro screen looks easily better than my Air as we'd expect. But that's a side-by-side comparison. In actual use the Air screen is very good and I even use it for light photo work. If you're a writer or not in need of top notch color, the Air screen is really very good. MBP for the win in any case.

    SPEAKERS
    I have NEVER heard a laptop with great sound. I've heard them with tolerable sound and the new MBP sits atop the heap with some reasonable fidelity in such a thin case. But again, the Air is just fine and it's not like one can be used to cut a new single and the other can't. MBP for the win, but if you care about audio, buy headphones or real speakers.

    KEYBOARD
    It's time to stop the insanity. Previous Mac keyboards were mushy and key wobble was absurd for such a premium product. But when people make a mental decision to dislike a feature, they will often reject it ongoing. I've done this myself with certain features and products. And so...there's no question that the 2nd gen. keyboard on the Mac Pro is higher quality and better engineered, but that won't mean everyone will adapt overnight. MBP for the win in the long run.

    SPEED
    You all know the answer on this one. The new MBP is fast. In fact it can beat higher spec systems due to the fast SSD and excellent OS. It clobbers the Air, but that doesn't make the Air "slow." If you don't do heavy video and PP photo work, the Air is very quick. So...MBP for the win, but ONLY if you need it.

    HANDLING/BUILD
    Someone will yell at me, but in spite of the MBP being smaller, the Air STILL feels thinner and lighter to me. It's also a better fit on my lap. The tapered case of the Air is likely part of that feeling and the MBP is like a thin brick and less elegant. There's no question that the MBP is incredibly well build and the Air feels almost flimsy by comparison. Air for the win on lap work, MBP for the build quality.

    BATTERY
    Ah, yes! Here's the one you've been waiting for. But you already know the answer. With some messing around and care about settings (brightness down, unused apps closed, BT off), you can get 8-10 hours out of the 13" tMBP, but 6-7 is going to be more typical. That's about what my 2015 rMBP does with a 15" screen,. but that's not entirely fair because it's battery has been through a lot of cycles already. Even after a LOT of cycles, the Air EASILY hits 10 hours, making it the laptop to be stranded on a island with. I don't know who needs more than 4 hours of battery these days, but if you do, the Air is the champ....unless....Because of the USB-C charging, the new MBP can grab juice from a external pack. These are on the market and I already saw one that even adds standard USB ports and matches the MBP for just 150.00. Pretty slick if you really do need independent power for 15 hours. But this is a fight over INTERNAL batteries, so it's the Air for the big win!

    SUMMARY
    I still love the Air. I don't even need it, but I haven't accepted the idea of selling it or handing it down. It's still very slick and comfortable to use. Yeah, my new tMBP is better at just about everything, but just because my friends Lambo is faster than my Hellcat doesn't mean my car is slow. And that's what we have for the Air because it's still very viable. The only issue is that, in maxed out configuration it costs just 250 bucks less than the superior tMBP. I'd say the screen alone is worth the extra cash. So...MBP for the overall win with a special place in my heart for the Air. ❤️


    R.
     
  2. eye.surgeon macrumors 6502

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    California
    #2
    Good comparison. TBH I wish I'd got a new MBA rather than the ntMBP that I got on launch day. I think the best older MBA upgrade currently available is a MBA.
     
  3. maerz001, Dec 7, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016

    maerz001 macrumors 6502

    maerz001

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #3
    I have the Air for more than 4years. But calling the Air's screen "really very good" is bs.
    This thing lost in every aspect against competitors in the range. The viewing angles, contrast, sharpness or color accuracy are lackluster.
    It was the worst display Apple had in its lineup when it was released and now 6years later this unchanged crap is a slap in every customers face.

    http://www.ultrabookreview.com/177-ultrabooks-macbook-air/
     
  4. CaptRB thread starter macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    #4




    You know, people post someone else's opinions and accept it, AND present it as some sort of fact.

    Just because something is "better" doesn't mean the screen of the Air can't be used or is poor. I'm a pro photographer and I've got 4K screens, retina and all the rest. The screen of the Air is just fine for a majority of tasks.

    This attitude that the last generations are suddenly useless is one of the reasons why Apple does so well. Look at the huge amount of "fashion buyers" who need a fraction of what these machines can do.

    In practical terms, the Mac Air screen is serviceable for most folks.


    R.
     
  5. maerz001 macrumors 6502

    maerz001

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    Nov 2, 2010
    #5
    The TN display technology is just bad. Colors are washed out and you have a massive contrast shift. Sorry. Even For 2010s standards when it was released. And for this price there is no excuse that they didn't put an IPS panel inside after such a long time.
    Of course you can work with it as I do. But u can't say it's "really very good". I mean what comes next? "Magical" ;)
     
  6. Jefe's MacAir macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    #6
    1st. I agree 100%. I also have a new tMBP in addition to three Airs and one 15’ rMB.

    To be fair you should be comparing 256 to 256, not 256 to 512 when comparing ‘maxed out’ models.

    So, here you go.

    Late 16’ MBA w/ 256 GB and maxed out processor = $1349 or +$0
    Late 16’ MBP w/ 256GB and standard processor = $1499 or +$150
    Last 16’ rMB w/ 256 GB standard processor = $1549 or + $200
    Late 16’ tMBP w/ 256 and standard processor = $1799 or + $450

    As much as I LOVE the Air, I couldn’t recommend it over the other choices, due to price, unless you absolutely need the extended battery life w/o having access to an outlet or battery pack. Which both are easily found. And why I forgone the rMB for the tMBP this time around. Go w/ the rMB if size and weight are of a huge concern. I can attest to it’s portability and it’s fit on an airline’s tray table.

    At least get the MBP vs. Air. Your battery life will be nearly identical because you are using the same apps and programs on either machine. They are all about as efficient as the other. The difference being the size of the battery. The MBP gets a bigger battery than the tMBP and is essentially the same size as the Air’s. Weight is also essentially the same and the Pro has a smaller physical size than the Air and is only $150 more w/ more options for storage and processing if you’re interested.
     
  7. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    #7
    For me personally, I switched from the Air solely to go with a Retina screen. Otherwise I loved it.
     
  8. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    Bay Area
    #8
    Yes, but I think there's a difference between "really very good," which you originally posted, and "serviceable." I'd imagine most people would agree with the latter, very few with the former.
     
  9. thesaint024 macrumors 6502a

    thesaint024

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    #9
    Yep, as others have said, I only have issue with your screen rating. That was the one thing that kept me from getting the MBA 2 years ago was holding out for retina. You use it for photos, but I think a better measuring medium is text (for sharpness). You can really see the pixelation when reading against white background vs. retina screens. This is one of the bigger factors in why the battery life is so good on the MBA, simply less pixels to push. I think the retina screen tradeoff for some battery life makes the ntMBP the winner if you are like most "productivity" users like me. I traded even more battery for my TB model, but that's a different story.
     
  10. Barnfather macrumors regular

    Barnfather

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    UK
    #10
    My problem with the Air was not the screen but that godawful bezel around it, which made it look like some sort of toy laptop. Irrational maybe, but once it bugged me it kept bugging me
     
  11. CaptRB thread starter macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    #11



    I use programs such as Final Draft, Moviewriter and word...about 1/3rd of what I do is with Final Draft. Yeah, the retina certainly looks crisp and sharp, but I never felt like the Air was doing anything to impede my writing or hurting my eyes.

    On my new tMBA, I do notice that the shape of the unit (lack of taper) makes it a bit less comfortable for me. Nothing major, and maybe I need to get used to it, but I contact the hard edges of this new unit more often.


    Robert
     
  12. Cameron604 Suspended

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  13. CaptRB thread starter macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    #13


    Calm yourself! Life is short! Retina displays are a fairly new item on the market and folks like me were making boatloads of scratch using very capable pre-retina stuff on beautiful screens for years and years.
    The new stuff doesn't render the old obsolete in absolute terms. I have a jewelry shoot in January. I'll post using 4K displays, but I could easily do it on a 5 year old iMac too.


    Robert
     
  14. thesaint024 macrumors 6502a

    thesaint024

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    #14
    You could but doesn't mean you should. Especially after we've seen the light in the new retinas. ;)
     
  15. CaptRB thread starter macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

    Joined:
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    #15

    Right you are...until Q-Retina is released and then we'll hear things like...

    "I can't even watch old episodes of Star Trek on those lousy retina screens!

    Apple has their sheep lined up in a neat little high-res row.



    R
     
  16. Brammy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    #16
    You're getting some crap in the thread, and I just wanted to chime in with I agree with you. I stopped by the Apple store and took at look at the MacBook (non Pro) next to both the 13" Air they had next to it, and my 11" Air I had with me. While, yes, I could tell the difference between the two devices it wasn't as jarring as when I looked at an iPad 2 next to my iPad 3.

    I have really good eyes. I can read 6pt type without needing my glasses. Anything more than 10' away, and I'm a mess, but I have good near vision. I also got in close like I was using the devices and not from the distance on the floor.

    I also have a 2011 MacBook Pro 15, and the screen on that one is worse than my Air. At some point, I will end up needing to replace the two MacBooks, but for now since I can keep tossing larger 2.5" SSD drives into the Pro (or get an OWC 1TB SSD for the Air, right now the ease of upgrade is beating out a retina screen for me.
     
  17. linguist macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    #17
    when comparing 11" with retina it will be less jarring than 13"MBA vs retina, that's true !!!

    the PPI in 11"MBA is good and higher than 13"MBA but user interface text and icons are a bit small.
     

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