MBA13 vs rMB vs rMBP13

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by chasgooses, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. chasgooses macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2014
    I have a 2011 MBA13 that is finally giving up the ghost, and while I wanted to wait a bit longer, I unfortunately need to get a new computer within the next couple weeks. I mainly use my computer for browsing the internet and watching tv. I do also use it for work, but I'm a lawyer so I really only need it to be capable of running Citrix without too many issues and to run Adobe Acrobat smoothly.

    Personally I love my MBA and don't really think that it needs to be smaller or lighter (although I wouldn't mind that). I would probably just go for the MBA now, except I don't really want to go another 3-4 years without the retina screen, which is just so beautiful. I know I don't need it, but I like things that look nice. Price-wise I'm somewhat agnostic since I would have to buy the more expensive version of the MBA as 256GB is non-negotiable. The retina screen is so tempting, but I would like someone to help me allay my concerns about the downsides of either the rMB or the rMBP13 (I'm only considering as a retina alternative if the downsides of the MB are too much) that I discuss below.


    -The single port is somewhat of a problem for me, at least when I use the computer to work from home. I currently have a home office setup with a monitor and a mouse and I mostly use my laptop as a second screen. The dongle aspect isn't too stressful, but are there dongles that allow you to charge the computer and plug in peripherals at the same time? Not to mention that I would also need to connect to a monitor (something that is non-negotiable for me since I need the size when I work) and I'm contemplating switching to a double monitor setup. I almost never use peripherals outside of that context, so I'm not worried about losing/forgetting dongles, but I don't want to have to buy a bunch of expensive adapters/clutter my desk with them either.

    -I've heard very mixed things about the keyboard. I've tried it and I was not a fan in the store and it worries me that people say its not just hard to type on, but somewhat unpleasant and even painful. Of course, when I switched to the MBA, I was initially not a fan and now when I type on my old 15 inch MBP it feels clunky and horrible.

    -As I said above, I don't really need super intense processing power, but I worry that the new processor will feel like a step down, even from my late 2011 MBA. I'd prefer not to spend more money and/or get a new computer that feels slower than my 4 year old one.

    MacBook Pro

    -Weight and size. It's certainly not as clunky and heavy as the old MB/MBP and when I held it in the store it wasn't terrible, BUT its clearly a lot heavier and bulkier than my MBA.

    -Price is sort of a concern since, unlike the MB, the base model comes with 128GB HD and it seems stupid to buy a computer that is more expensive almost solely due to things I don't want or need just to get a pretty screen.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    AFAIK, dual screen is a no-go on current rMB.
    The HDMI-USB-Charger adaptor increases the rMBs connectivity.
    However, the HDMI output is 1080 only.
    If the Citrix Client on your 2011 performs to your satisfaction, chances are it will also perform well on a 12 rMB.

    You could also get a used MBA from eBay/CL/whateve and use that until the 2nd generation of rMBs come out ...
    A 2012 or 2013 MBA shouldn't be too expensive these days.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Well once you spec ot a macbbok air with 8Gb and 256GB it is not much different from the rMBP and the rMBP is actually a little smaller (footprint wise) and the same height and only 1/2 pound heavier, if it feels a lot more that is in your head.

    The rMB will do your workload with ease so must be under consideration (it'll outperform your 2011 in all ways), you'll have to research your dongle docking options carefully though.
  4. Crazy Badger macrumors 65816

    Crazy Badger

    Apr 1, 2008
    Why is your 2011 MBA giving up the ghost? My girlfriend is still using my old 2010 MBA which runs OSX 10.11 flawlessly for the stuff you've mentioned.

    I'll have the same dilemma next year when I replace my 2013 MBA, but am hoping the rMB v2 resolves some of the issues with v1 (another port, faster skylake processors, longer battery) and makes it a no brainer over a 13" rMBP (which may be the same height at the back, but it ain't at the front)
  5. triple-tap macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2013
    I was in a similar situation about six months ago. My old firm operated on windows and I used Cintrix to log into work computers.

    I switch from a 2013 MBA base (i5 / 4gb / 128gb) to a 2015 rMBP 2.9/8gb/256gb. The difference is night ant day for the screen. I haven't really sacrificed any battery life either. I've even had some judges comment on the battery life (because I've been in front of them all morning and the afternoon without plugging into a socket).

    I tried both the MacBook and the 2015 MBA spec'ed up to 8gb ram / 256 go ssd. Neither was as satisfying as the rMBP.

    CHECK THE APPLE REFURB STORE. They had the 2015 rMBP at a price similar to the retina MacBook base model with the same specs (8gb and 256ssd)
  6. phillyboy82 macrumors regular


    Oct 27, 2015
    Not from Philly
    This is not entirely correct, as you can get 2560x1440 output at 60 Hz if you have a newer monitor. It also does 4k resolutions but at 30 Hz, which is kind of useless to me unless you are just watching movies.

    A couple of confirmations that 2560x1440 at 60 Hz is feasible:



    Would be nice if Apple just told us what HDMI version the adapter supports, but at least there is some confirmation out there.

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