MBA or rMBP: What would you recommend if I were buying all over again?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by JerTheGeek, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. JerTheGeek, Aug 8, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014

    JerTheGeek macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2014
    Hello everyone.
    I sometimes am in doubt about whether I bought the right Macbook, so I'm going to ask here as if I were buying all over again. Plus I figure the discussion can help all the back-to-school shoppers:D;)
    So, I am a homeschooled highschooler. I'm deciding between the 2013 Core i5 rMBP 13 and the 2013 Core i5 MBA 13 with 4GB of RAM.
    I use my laptop for web browsing, emailing, listening to music in iTunes, managing my photo library, in iPhoto (no photo editing of any kind, just importing and viewing and organizing). For school I'll be writing reports an stuff in Pages, taking notes, and using the dictionary and calc for school. In addition to this I'll be making YouTube videos in iMovie twice a month or so, for my YouTube channel (nothing too professional, I have less than 150 subscribers).
    I'm buying refurbished. I need 256GB of storage. Since I'm homeschooled, I won't be carrying it with me every day, and it will be used almost exclusively at home (however I dont need a desktop because I like using it in bed and around the house).
    So, with that said, which would you recommend for me if I were buying all over again?
    Thanks in advance,
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd go with the rMBP because it has a better CPU, GPU and the retina screen is excellent. The only reason I'd suggest the MBA is if you need an all day battery.
  3. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I agree with maflynn. Laptop for at home and you'll be using the laptop screen (in bed) seems like the rmbp is for you.
    The mba is not to be underestimated though! Its light and for your uses its much snappier!
  4. cerberusss macrumors 6502a


    Aug 25, 2013
    The Netherlands
    For the purposes mentioned, I think the rMBP is a very expensive machine. I'd definitely go with the MBA.
  5. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    good point. The mba can be had for half the price of the rmbp and they only differnce for your needs is the screen.
  6. DeNachtwacht macrumors member


    Aug 2, 2012
    No one can help you with that but yourself. Its the choice between what Apple designed its products for:

    rMBP: heavy-task laptop for (semi)professionals, with less portability and battery life as a negative consequence.
    MBA: focused on (lightweight) everyday-tasks on the go.

    It's just up to you to decide which profile fits your usage the best.
  7. JerTheGeek thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2014
    I dont have to have retina

    I forgot to mention that I dont really care about retina because I have never had an HD laptop screen before. I had the iPad 3 but switched to the mini, and now the only device I own with retina is my iPhone 4, so I'm not concerned about having it on my laptop.
  8. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    then take the mba and save money, but gain snappieness! :)
  9. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Exactly. For portability and power and extended battery life, nothing beats the MBA. Besides, it is better value, too.

    It is a great computer; I have one and it is easily the best machine I have ever owned.

    Should anything you do need an extraordinarily good screen (because the retina screen is outstandingly good), such as video editing, or working in the sort of environment where the visual is a part of your profession, I'd recommend the rMBP.
  10. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I started with a top of the line MBPro Retina and sold it to go to. 13" MBA i7/8/512. Has all the power of the MBPro and the storage space I require in a smaller and light package that was made for the road.
  11. goodroots macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2011
    I bought my current MBA in October 2011 and use it for some of the tasks you've mentioned, including occasional video editing. I could not be happier with my MBA.

    It even took a glass of water on the keyboard about 6 months after I bought it, but it still runs like a champ.
  12. JerTheGeek thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2014
    So it seems like, from what everyone has said so far, for what I do, even occasional (twice a month) video editing, the 13' Core i5, 4GB MBA would not differ in performance from the 13' Core i5 rMBP? Only difference between the two that matters in my usage case is the screen?
  13. Papa Shank macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2005
    If this was something that you were going to be taking with you wherever you go then I'd say get a MacBook Air in a flash. However, as you'll only be taking it out of your house ocassionally I wonder if spending a little bit more for the MacBook Pro wouldn't be a better option for the longer term.

    I guess I'm saying that if you can afford a MBP then get a MBP. If you can't then get the MBA.
  14. JerTheGeek thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2014
    Yeah when purchasing this I chose the Air because I had $1000 or so to spend, and I could have only gotten a refurbished 128GB rMBP for that; i definitely needed 256GB, so really I just plain couldn't afford the rMBP.
  15. 0983275 Suspended

    Mar 15, 2013
    rMBP is nice, but I'll go with 13" MBA every time unless I know I'm guaranteed to get a rMBP without the annoying image retention issue (last 2 rMBP I bought (and returned) had the IR issue)

    15~ hours of battery life is amazing, Intel HD 5000 isn't too bad, 1440x900 resolution on a 13" screen is comfortable.
  16. jeffgao macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2011
    I'd go with the MBA, especially for its usable screen resolution. The 13" MBA has 1440x900 resolution. In comparison, rMBP 13" has only 1280x800 equivalent screen resolution under optimal display setting.
  17. jadAce macrumors regular


    Aug 10, 2013
    I love the MacBook Air, but I've seen rMBPs that friends own, and the screens are absolutely gorgeous. I would actually go with a rMBP (and I'm planning on upgrading to one soon). If the MBA had a retina display, in addition to amazing battery life, it would be awesome, but rMBP will have to do for now.
  18. M5RahuL macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2009
    rMBP. Your eyes will thank you!!..seriously. :)

    I love my MBA for it's tapered design and battery life..but that screen resolution on a 13" just ain't for me anymore.

    If you intend to use an external display, then I can see myself recommending the MBA.
  19. Ronnoco macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    United States of America
    If you only have $1000 to spend, get the Air with the 256 SSD. You won't reget it whatsoever. Excellent for your needs.
  20. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Either a Macbook Air or a 15" Macbook Pro. The 13" Macbook Air is "good enough", and the MBP isn't enough of a usable/hardware upgrade unless you spring for the 15" one.

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