Maxed-out 13 Air or Entry-level rMBP (need prompt help, thanks!)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sk1989, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. sk1989, Apr 21, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013

    sk1989 macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2013
    Ok, here goes: I'm a heavy internet user. I run a blog that often requires me to load (simultaneously) 20-25 tabs at once. I also use Photoshop from time to time to edit images, etc.. I have a formidable Asus UX31E that I like quite a bit, but I've been itching to give Apple a try for a while now.

    Here's the thing: Apple products cost 100% (!!!) more in my country than they do in the US/Canada. Yes, that's x2.

    Here's the other thing: My father is traveling to Thailand on 5/5/13. This presents an oppurtunity to buy not only an iPad Mini (decided not to hold on this one), but also an Apple laptop.

    However, looking at MacRumors Buyer Guide it says:

    • Retina MacBook Pro - Neutral
    • Macbook Air - Buy only if you need

    So that pretty much scractches the air off...?

    With the rMBP my concerns are as follows:

    1. Rumors about bad screens? note that I will get very limited warranty in my country (despite Apple's international warranty) if my rMBP turns to be broken or something.

    2. Neutral buy already? I wonder if this due to problematic hardware.

    Update: 3. Is the most of the web optimized for Retina? I'd hate to have my "web" exprience "runied" just because the retina display is overly awesome...perhaps wait a year or two until we're a bit more ready..?

    Considering the diffrence in price, should I go for a proven maxed out Air model ($100 more) , or swing the fences with the current 13'' rMBP?

    OR - Hold out until newer models are rolled, and take the risk of nobody around me going abroad (and willing to buy it for me)..?

    Note: the title and original post have been edited to better represent my dillemma.
  2. garybUK Guest


    Jun 3, 2002
    Blogging isn't real work, if you need a glorified browser why not look at a Chromebook?

    The only 'Retina' optimisation is done by the Browser, Safari renders text for Retina, I don't use Chrome or other browsers so can't comment. It's only images you really noticed that are blurry or pixelated sometimes.

    For your needs sounds like the Air is more than enough, if you need it BUY it, if not wait.
  3. sk1989 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2013
    Thanks. It's not only a matter of need but also a matter of want, so the rMBP is on my hotlist for that reason. I know a Macbook Air is probably enough, but I'm thinking:

    1. More than enough
    2. Beautiful screen
    3. enough in 2 years

    Again, what's holding me back right now are reports of faulty screens and the fact the web might look "ugly".
  4. garybUK Guest


    Jun 3, 2002
    Retina certainly is an awesone screen, I have the 15" and the Intel Gfx is certainly the weak point, i'd wait out for haswell if you are looking at the 13" Retina.

    Most of the web is ugly.... I haven't noticed any issues.
  5. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2009
    Among the starlings
    Doesn't sound like your photoshop work is heavy. The air is probably sufficient and will be for quite some time (although you might want to invest in 8GB RAM if you intend for it to last 3+ years).

    If I had to buy this week, I'd probably go for the air. Especially given that if you get a bad rMBP you might have issues with return or replacement (not sure how that works internationally.) (The "don't buy" recommendation just means a refresh is expected soon, so wait if you can afford to. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the current models or even that they're badly out of date.)
  6. sk1989 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2013
    Yep, I'm only considering the 13''...haswell...?

    And again: I'm not sure when is the next time I or any of my friends/relatives are going to be abroad to buy this for me.

    Actually, my Asus UX31E does a bit better than the Air in benchmark testing, so I'm not sure it will be sufficient as you guys are suggesting. I'd rather get an overkill and have maneuvering room than get something good enough that won't do with tomorrow's browsers/performance requirements. I am aware of the buyer's guide definitions, but it still sucks to buy something only to discover a better model is out by the time you're unboxing it :)
  7. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
    I'd not take too much notice of benchmarks/specs in comparisons. The OS polishes off the whole experience, and makes a massive difference in terms of usability.

    Given that you've not got the opportunity again, I'd go for a 13" air. If you really are worried about the specs, get a 13" non retina pro. I agree the risk of display issues with the 13" is too Hugh given hour situation. Saying that, my buddy at work just got a 13" rMBP and it's absolutely fine.
  8. sk1989 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2013
    Hour situation? can you explain please?

    And a non-retina MacBook is out of question, it's not portable enough for me. It's either an a 13'' rMBP or 13'' Air. Right now it seems right to avoid both? :(
  9. sk1989 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2013
    Is Apple still selling them rMBPs with LG screens? anyone know?
  10. sk1989 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2013
    I guess I'm just going to take the bite and buy the 13 rMBP.
  11. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    I think you'll like it. You can scale the resolution to higher than what the MBA offers, which is why I'll be moving from my 2011 MBA to a 2013 rMBP. More screen real estate = more productivity.

    The concerns on screen quality are typically overblown - you see it on MacRumors because only the people have something to complain about are going to post. Probably millions of others that don't have issues (or it doesn't bother them at least).

    If you could wait for Haswell, I'd suggest it, but it could be half a year before the next rMBP iteration arrives. So just enjoy what you get, I'm sure it'll be awesome.
  12. troy14 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 25, 2008
    Las Vegas (Summerlin), NV

    I had the same dilemma as you. I purchased the 11 air, 13 air. Both went back, and got a 13 rMBP. Man, I love this thing. No issue with my screen, it is plenty fast, and the resolution options are great. I wouldn't give this up for anything. Is the next update going to make it better? Probably... but will I need it? Probably not. Even if I do, Apple products hold their value insanely well so upgrading shouldn't be too expensive.
  13. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
    My bad, was typing on the iPad and not double-checking! I meant "your situation". I also meant not too "high" as opposed to "Hugh" :eek:

    Anyway, yeah I think you'll be happy with the 13" Retina. Lovely machines, and definitely the one I'd be buying if I were buying now. I do live <10 mins away from an Apple Store though!
  14. sk1989 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2013
    Thanks people! I'm very close into making a decision. Is it safe to assume Apple got their faulty LG units out of the stores? I mean the Feb. 2013 patch is going relatively smooth right now isn't it?

  15. pwolfe macrumors member

    Jul 17, 2007
    All this bad screen stuff is vastly blown out of proportion. You are seeing an extremely vocal minority hit the forums about it. The greater majority of users are not enthusiasts that visit forums.

    The IT firm I work for is an Authorized Apple Service Provider, meaning we handle Apple warranty issues. There isnt an Apple store or another AASP 150 miles radius of us and we have not seen a single retina macbook come in for this issue. Not a single one.

    LG screens are still being used. I'm typing this on a 15" retina right now that uses an LG panel (rev2). I have no problems.
  16. sk1989 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2013
    Ok boys, we got an Apple convert here! The retina will be in my possession in 20 days. Any must knows for a savvy Windows user? I'm assuming that learning the keyboard settings alone is going to be a nightmare.

    What about warranty policies? How does that work with Apple? What is covered and not covered with AppleCare? (Which I'm def. getting)

    Oh: and the mouse - the Apple mouse: people either love it, or hate it. Should I buy it?
  17. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    I say pull the trigger on the 13" Air and don't look back. There's no need to pay the retina premium and possibly buy trouble in the bargain. The product line refresh isn't likely to bring anything that will make this machine better for your purposes other than a price break for the '12 model. Just remember to get a decent size drive and max out the RAM.

    Oops. Didn't see that your dilemma was resolved til I hit Save. Learning the keyboard is not a huge deal. Most folks have been pretty happy with how Apple deals with warrantied repairs. I don't use my Apple mouse as I favor the way my MS mouse fits my hand. I also like the extra buttons on the side of the MS mouse. One thing that's superior with the Apple mouse is the scrolling. You may find you switch back and forth between the two based on the activity. Enjoy.
  18. sk1989 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2013
    Actually, it isn't quite resolved. I'm now contemplating a maxed-out 13'' Air with the i7 and 8GB RAM instead of the Retina's base model. I have about a week more to make up my mind since my father is traveling to Thailand.

    It would be nice to have a Retina display, but for $100 more, the i7 8GB RAM Air is: a) a stronger machine? b) a more reliable purchase at this point in time c) more portable.

    So the only argument left for the Retina is...a retina display? The device itself isn't any faster than the maxed out Air, it seems. Other than this and "future-proofing", i dont see any pros of getting a Retina. Am I missing something?
  19. sk1989 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2013
    I have now updated the thread title and the original post's content to reflect my new dillemma, please chime in folks!
  20. Brandon263 macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2009
    Beaumont, CA
    I'd get the entry-level 15 " rMBP if I were you -- it's more future-proof than any of the 13 inch laptops, not to mention the extra physical screen space is great for web work, writing, photography related tasks, etc.

    If you are bent on getting a 13 inch one, I'd get the Air with 8 GB. It doesn't have to be the maxed out one, though. The entry level one upgraded with 8 GB ram should be sufficient for your needs.
  21. Giuly macrumors 68040


    Get the 13" rMBP with 16GB of RAM. The CPU is faster than the Air's, it's equally portable and the screen is better.
    If you are working with lots of tabs, RAM is the key.
  22. gwelmarten macrumors 6502

    Jan 17, 2011
    I think the MBA will struggle. Get the base rMBP, but seriously consider the 16gb RAM option - it's not upgradable in the future and will really help if you have loads open at any one time.
  23. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    13" has no option for 16 GB RAM.
  24. philosopherdog macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2008
    There's no choice to make the retina machine is light years ahead of the air. Period. Way better screen, almost as light, and much more power. The air is not a bad machine, but the retina is a brilliant machine.


    Stay clear of any Apple mice. They're all junk. Personally I use steermouse because I find the mouse drivers leave even good mice unresponsive on OS X. Also the keyboard repeat rate is very very slow on macs you can fix it with a free utility called keyremap4macbook . Otherwise is a great source for finding out about great Mac apps. Enjoy the Mac. It's a way better user experience.


    Unless you have Windows running you have no real need of 16 gbs. It makes very little difference to OS X. I have imacs with 32 gbs and my retina with 8 and the retina is a much more nimble machine. Instead if installing flash, just use Chome which comes with built with it. This will get rid of a bunch of problems.
  25. Giuly macrumors 68040


    The Magic Mouse is great, yet you have an even better multitouch trackpad built-in already.

    Sad, but true.

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