MBA 13 or rMBP 13?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jparker402, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. jparker402 macrumors member

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    Plattsmouth
    #1
    Hmm! Had mentally prepared myself for looking for a MBA 13 (8 and 128) for my first Mac. Then yesterday I decided to stop in at a BestBuy to see if I could look at a MBA side-by-side with the new MacBook. Couldn't; this BestBuy didn't have the new MacBook. However they had a MBA sitting next to a rMBP with 8 and 128. And for only $100 more (at the moment) that would net me a retina display. Think the MacBook is more than $100 more although it does have a 257 SSD. Thinking maybe the rMBP might be the way to go. Comments?
     
  2. s0nicpr0s macrumors regular

    s0nicpr0s

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    Illinois
    #2
    What do you intend to do with the machine? Email, Netflix, and Facebook type tasks? Or something a little heavier and computer intensive?

    If they were both the latest generation models for only $100 difference, I'd personally go with the pro. Between the retina display and the stronger CPU I'd happily give up the extra battery time.
     
  3. jparker402 thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    --- Post Merged, Jun 24, 2016 ---
    Surf the web, email, financial spreadsheet, simple correspondence and store photos. Perhaps watch videos at some point.
     
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #4
    The screen is worth it from my point of view, it really is much nicer to work on especially with small text and spreadsheets i'd go with the pro.
     
  5. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    Jul 29, 2011
    #5
    First, do some fact-checking on those prices & whether they're both for the latest models, same SSD size etc. I think the usual difference between MBA and rMBP (with equivalent SSDs) is more like $200.

    The MBA will do what you want, its a classic design, great battery life, but the display isn't great by 2016 standards.

    However, I'd go for rMBP. You may not need the extra power and connectivity, but the display is far better, esp. for photos. The battery life is still good, its only half a pound heavier and is actually marginally "smaller" in overall dimensions if you ignore the Air's tapered edges (which make it look smaller than it is).

    Go for the MBA if mobility outweighs screen quality and/or the extra $100-$200 is a deal-breaker for you.

    The MacBook means sacrificing price/performance & connectivity in favour of ultimate mobility: only consider if you are literally carrying it around all day & don't buy without trying the keyboard which is a bit... different.
     
  6. s0nicpr0s macrumors regular

    s0nicpr0s

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    #6
    I agree with @theluggage about confirming the model year and specs of the machine.

    I do want to add that although the MBA uses an older tech for its screen, it does still hold up as decent. I adore the sharpness that the retina models can provide, but the MBA still looks good enough to not ruin your experience. In fact, at default settings, the MBA will give you more usable screen space than the retina.

    Also, if considering the MacBook, definitely check it out somewhere first because the keyboard is drastically different and opinions on it vary. I think I could get used to it with a couple days time, but I would choose the keyboard from the other models any day.

    @jparker402, your use cases can be handled easily by all three of the current models without issue. Since you aren't dealing with intensive virtual machines or resource hungry applications/games, the decision would be left to your preference for aesthetics and budget.
     
  7. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    #7
    Hmm. "usable screen space" is a piece of string. Both screens are the same size - so "more space" comes at the cost of smaller text & graphics, and not everybody is blessed with perfect eyesight.

    If your eyes are up to it, even in default mode, the rMBP display is far sharper and any software with a "zoom" function will let you fit more content on screen. In "scaled mode" the rMBP can give you either the same (1440x900 equivalent) or more (1680x1050 equivalent) screen space - and unlike older displays which look horrible at non-native resolutions, these look pretty good on retina.
     
  8. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

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    #8
    for me, the weight and space savings of the Air turned it into my primary machine even though I own more powerful options. the Air travels with me almost every time I leave the house and at home, it follows me from room to room. very convenient.

    for the everyday stuff, it does just fine. and even for the more demanding stuff, I end up using it more than I expected as its the machine I usually have in front of me. and I'm on a 2012 model. the graphics improvements alone on the 2015 model will make it a much more usable machine. waiting to see what Apple releases this year but definitely a new Air for me before the year is out.
     
  9. shaunp macrumors 65816

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    Nov 5, 2010
    #9
    rMBP. The screen is far superior. I looked at both of them and the Mac Book. I went for the 2.9GHz i5, with 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD. If you spec out the 13" MBA to 2.2GHz, 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD just for comparison, there is only £30 difference in price, but the rMBP has a much better screen and has a faster CPU.

    The screen on the Mac Book is probably the best of the bunch, but the keyboard has very shallow travel and it has a very slow CPU. And it's only £100 cheaper than the equivalent (RAM + SSD) rMBP. If you are planning on spending around £1200, you might as well spend a little bit more and get the rMBP as its a much better machine and it's not much heavier than the MBA - 0.23kg heavier.
     
  10. s0nicpr0s macrumors regular

    s0nicpr0s

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    #10
    I'm well aware of that, that's why I had specified the 'default settings' for the screen. I know I prefer to use the native resolutions of screens, but have used the scaled ones for times where I needed a little bit of extra room for text. Like many, I am not blessed with perfect eyesight myself, but in my experience, I haven't had any users complain about the screen of either.
     
  11. jparker402 thread starter macrumors member

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    Plattsmouth
    #11
    Change is in the air again (no pun intended)! Just found a deal starting this weekend on a Mac Air 13 with 8GB/128 for $889, no shipping and no tax. Unfortunately no deals on a Mac Pro 13 w/Retina. Leaning toward the Mac Air.
     
  12. shaunp macrumors 65816

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    Nov 5, 2010
    #12
    go look at them before you decide. try the keyboard and trackpad, look at the screen. pick it up etc. Unless you've already seen them and had a chance to do this a laptop isn't something you should choose on specs and price alone.
     
  13. jaduff46 macrumors regular

    jaduff46

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    #13
    Daughter was drawn to the Air a couple of years ago based on the size and weight. Convinced her that the rMBP was a much better machine for her for a bit more money, marginally heavier, and a much better screen.

    She still loves her rMBP and you will too.
     
  14. jparker402 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 7, 2016
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    #14
    Ended up not getting a Mac - yet. Thought the $889 for the MBA 8/128 would be an exceptional deal until two other local dealers went down to $899 for the Fourth. Suddenly the exceptional deal took on the aura of ordinary. Since my Windows machine has not yet died and my iPhone does great for surfing, think I will wait until this fall to see if Apple will send prices on the older gear lower.
     
  15. shaunp macrumors 65816

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    Nov 5, 2010
    #15

    Try to avoid the 128GB SSD if you can. It just gets a little tight after a while and you are forced to do too much data management. Personally I found 256GB and above to be more easy to get a long with. Your mileage may vary of course, but SSD's are a lot cheaper than they used to be.
     

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