Macbook pro Retina or 13 inch Macbook Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by johnnyvh, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. johnnyvh macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2012
    Hi guys,
    I'm new to the forum, but i watched macrumors for half a year for rumors about the new Macbooks. Now they are here, and i cannot decide which one to chose..

    The specs of the two models of which i'm trying to decide:

    Macbook Air
    2,0-GHz dual-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost till 3,2 GHz
    8 GB 1600-MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    256 GB flash

    Macbook Pro Retina high end
    2,6-GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost till 3,6 GHz
    8 GB 1600-MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    512 GB flash

    or Macbook Pro Retina low end
    2,3-GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost tot 3,3 GHz
    8 GB 1600-MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    256 GB flash-opslag

    I'll mostly use it for school, as i'm going to university next year...
    That's why i was in for the 13 inch macbook air. (Portability)
    But i also want to play some games with it like counter-strike: source or something like that, and that's why i started to doubt about my decision. (Power). I'm not going to do any video editing.

    I hoped that Apple would had come with a new design of the Macbook pro 13 Inch, but the didn't...

    What would you advice?
    Thank you in advance!
  2. leo.andres.21 macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2008
    Centre of the Attention
    What are you studying? Do you need the extra screen size + resolution?
    If you write a lot, and watch a lot of movies, then you should get a big external monitor. Same goes if you work with Excel a lot.
    The rMBP is not a necessity for anyone, and it is really expensive for a student, just in case you lose it somehow.
    The MacBook Air is considerably a better solution for a student, with an external monitor. the MBA is also lighter and easier to carry around.
    the price of the rMBP is not quite justified (imo) as the laptops only last for about 2-3 years for new ones to be twice as fast, $2199 is a lot of money.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The rMBP gives you a better cpu, gpu, and a larger (and better) screen. I'd go with that, but the MBA is quite portable and depending your needs either one will fit your needs. The rMBP would will handle games a bit better.
  4. johnnyvh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2012
    I'm going to study business administration. Yes, it may be a good option to buy a 13 inch Macbook Air and buy a Thunderbolt display with it. But i'll buy a 13 inch Macbook Air 2,0-GHz dual-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost till 3,2 GHz
    8 GB 1600-MHz DDR3L SDRAM it will cost me like 1800 euro's and 2200 euro is not that much more...(i think) But maybe it's nice to buy the Air now and buy the newer ones that will come out 2-3 years later! Thanks for the advice!

    Any more advice is welcome!
  5. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    As a fellow business major let me give you some buying advice.

    I completed my entire masters in marketing on a 13" laptop (first gen air and then first gen MacBook aluminum) and it was plenty for anything that was thrown at me.

    You probably don't even need the external display. I never had one (so the 13" display is all I had all year) and it was just fine. Once you spend a little time with it, you will get used to it.

    And the cost savings are significant. Put the money you would've spent extra on the retina or an external display in an envelope (or in another currency I'd you're worried about the euro crashing!) and use it toward your next Mac purchase when you are done. Think of it as a graduation present to yourself. :)
  6. luked14 macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    I'm currently a college student who uses a 2011 13" MBA. I've gone to the Apple store twice now to try out the rMBP and there is simply no comparison between the two. If the price isn't an issue for you, the base rMBP is the best choice. The display is worth the extra money alone.
  7. danb93 macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2012
    i have the same problem. i am going to university to study international business management and can not decide whether to buy the air. 13 inch pro or retina. the retina is alot of money but i can get 30% off but then i would need to buy a optical drive. i think i will go for the 13 inch pro and save money, as i will need all the money for uni.
  8. johnnyvh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2012
    Well, money isn't that big of an issue. The high end air will cost me about 1800 euro and the retina MacBook pro is about 2200. What to do, what to do... Haha
  9. AlvinNguyen macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    I've always thought that 13" laptops are a little too small for every day use. Unless you're planning on an external monitor, I think at only $400 more the MBPr is a better option. Plus, I'm a firm believer that you always benefit more from adopting new technology quicker - whether it's social or just technical gain. Why stick with old tech when you can be at the forefront (provided that you have the means for it).
  10. johnnyvh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2012
    Hmm. Well i'm going to go to a Apple store one more time and make a decision. But it's really hard. Everybody has an different advice at what i should buy (What is logical). But i will buy an external monitor;)
  11. JohnnyQuest macrumors 65816


    May 25, 2006
    I was debating between the two as well, and ultimately went the the Retina Pro. I need more power for Photoshop and video editing, and the screen is really amazing. The Air is fantastically light though, and it's a very capable computer.

    I think it just depends on if you value power or portability more.
  12. mat25 macrumors regular


    Aug 13, 2008
    Yeah Im in the exact same situation except for engineering. My only concern is that the air won't be powerful enough for some programs I may have to run.
  13. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    Yeah, but do you really need the high end Air? I use my MBA to do actual business on, not to mention play the occasional game and I have the base model of the 13" from last year.

    So if you consider the base model, you'd be saving some significant money. Unless you really badly need that extra storage, but to that I would almost say its better to buy SD cards.
  14. zerotiu macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    define 'school', I know you use it for school, but will you carry your laptop everyday? If yes, MBA it is. If not, rMBP it is :)

    and a thunderbolt display? That means you won't carry the laptop because you must have external display.
  15. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    IF the money is truely not the deciding factor. rMBP is the easy choice. I work on a larger screen at the office but being able to take this 15" rMBP anywhere and still have plenty of desktop real estate vs the 2012 MBA I used for several weeks is well worth any price difference imo. The slim design and maybe it's just me but it feels about the same weight as the MBA. (yes I know it's 2lbs more) The difference in thickness and the screen are pretty amazing to sit and use. The ability to hold it in one hand if I"m standing up to show someone a project in the hallway, or line up to websites side by side on the screen and have the pixels to show full websites is pretty awesome.

    I've used the 2010 MBA for near a year prior along with a 15" MBP from work. The rMBP is the best of both worlds, thin, relatively light for what you get, powerful enough (Geekbenches higher than the 3.4Ghz iMac 2011), dual Tbolt ports, HDMI and a great set of speakers not even mentioning the bright, crisp display. I found the MBA a bit washed out before, and after sitting em side by side... forget it, not even a contest.

    Take it or leave it, my advice is rMBP all the way.
  16. golu14 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2012
    Delhi, India
    I had posted a good long reply a few hours ago where did it go?:confused:
  17. PVisitors macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Just out of curiosity why do people say that if you're carrying it around every day get the MBA.

    Obviously it being much lighter and slimmer is a factor, but let's put the MBPR into context, it's just as light as a 13" MBP which was the laptop of choice before the 2011 Air. I think a 2kg laptop isnt that heavy for everyday use. The footprint isn't that much bigger than a 13".
  18. AutoUnion39 macrumors 601


    Jun 21, 2010
    I'm in college right now and ordered a Retina that should be here in mid-July. I was without my laptop for the last 10 days or so and my iPad wasn't cutting it, so I went out and got a MBA. I really like the portability and how small it is, but I'm not really a fan of the small screen. 13.3 isn't cutting it.

    I'm probably just going to keep this laptop around, but the Retina will be my main machine.
  19. johnnyvh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2012
    I do carry the laptop around, but i'm going to hire a room in the city where i will be studying. So when i'm at my room i can plug it in an external display ;)
    The hardest thing is: I do not really know how much i have to travel with it. Next year i will have college from monday till friday (5 hours a day), and i think i'll need the laptop with me then. I'm also planning on going to my family in the weekends, so I will have to travel by train with the laptop...

    I do really need the extra storage, and i prefer a little faster CPU...

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