Mid 2012 MBA vs 2013 MBPr

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by tjleonard, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. tjleonard macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2013
    Hi all,

    I am debating between keeping my 2012 MBA (that I love) or upgrade to a 2013 MBPr. The retina screen is amazing...but I do have a question.

    First, I am not 100% fond of how Apple does soldered memory and not allowing you to add memory as needed...but what else can I do? With that said, I always feel like I need to upgrade it to the max.

    My current MBA is a 13", i7, 8gb RAM. I think the 13" screen is perfect for me. I would go even to say this is the best laptop I have ever owned. I had one stolen after having it for about 4-5 months and bought another one identical instead of trying to 2012 MBPr's because of battery life.

    With the upgrades, it says MBPr's (13") can get about 9 hours of battery life - and I think mine was stated to get around 7-8 hour marks. I don't necessarily need a 12-15 hour battery life (for a new MBA). The questions I have:

    1. To get the most battery out of a 13" MBPr, should I upgrade it to an i7 processor? I have seen different reports on this. I am not a huge power user for video or pic editing, so I'm not so sure a .2 ghz speed difference would matter to me, unless it will help with battery power in some way (maybe it's smarter with battery, I don't know?).

    2. Will I get equal or better battery life on the new MBPr with the same usage, same screen brightness, ect? Mavericks did unfortunately make my battery life a little worse - some others are complaining about this issue...I'm sure it will be fixed though if it is an issue or bug in Mavericks. What I can not have is a 6 hour battery life on minor web browsing on 50% brightness. I hate keeping up with a charger and usually have one at work and one at home. I only take the charger if i'm traveling.

    3. The weight difference. I know it's like .48lbs, and i've held both. I do love the MBA weight, but wonder if that extra .48lbs will start making the laptop feel "heavier".

    Any other people that have upgraded from the Mid 2012 MBA to a late 2013 MBPr, your opinions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. tjleonard thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2013
  3. c1phr macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    You didn't explicitly state your usage for the machine, so it's hard for anyone to make a recommendation without that.

    That being said, it seems to me that you're plenty happy with your machine now and you're only looking to upgrade for the retina display. The major player there is whether or not it's financially viable to get the new machine (and sell your old one?) if it's just for the display. Battery life should definitely be better (if nothing else, it will be the same as your Air, no worse). The i7 however will not get you better battery life, though don't expect to lose more than 30-40 minutes on that upgrade alone if you aren't using the extra power it gives.
  4. underblu macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2010
    You mention that you really like your 2012 MBA so the most logical question seems to be what are you looking for in an upgrade.

    If you want better battery life and upgraded graphics performance with maximum portability well then maybe the 2013 MBA are just the thing.

    If you want enhanced battery life and a high res display in a similar albeit slightly heavier form factor than the late 2013 mbp might make sense,

    Decide what it is you are looking to gain and then you can best determine what mb will best suit you
  5. tjleonard thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2013
    Thanks for the reply.

    The machine is used for business. I'm at IT Manager / Systems Admin and remote into servers, email, web browsing.

    I am more interested in the display than anything. Financially, it's not a HUGE deal...I would be selling this machine and see that it's on ebay for around $1000-$1100. I have several extra power cables I could sell for an additional $30-$40 each, which help.

    I'm just looking for the retina screen - without adding much weight (which I know is the case), better battery than this MBA, even if it's slightly better). I do not get 12-14 hours, and can not find the justifications to upgrade to he new MBA just for the increased battery life, as I find my current MBA good with Battery.

    I don't know about the $300 extra for an i7...but I would spend it if it helped battery life. I read that realistically, it runs the processor faster and if you're not using it, therefore it will burn more battery. If that's true - I'd rather opt for the upgraded (as much as I can get) i5. Does that make sense?
  6. tjleonard thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2013
    Also, in the occasional time I play video games, graphics editing, or video editing, I do connect to a power adapter, so that's not an issue...I just need my web browsing, off and on remoting into servers and email send and receive to be all done without a power adapter.

    I'm just not sure i'm willing to sacrifice battery for graphics - or if maybe since I do a lot of web browsing and demoting in - the major display improvement is really the better option for me.

    I can read very small text when doing all of these things, and i find that is one thing I like.

    What's Apples typical return policy on a custom order? Does it different from a pre-made unit? I may buy one, try it for a week or two, and then decide whether to sell the Air or MBPr .... I can float $2000 easy for making the best choice - unless their customized returned policy (if I upgrade to max memory, ext, and not happy with battery life) makes it too hard to return. In that case, I may can get a maxed out 13" pre-made from the apple store, use it, and then return once I find it's not the machine for me - or decide it is - I Just want to decked out options.


    Enhanced battery life (more than my MBA now, or around the same) and a lot better display. I can over look the weight. Keep in mind, once an MBA happens with Retina, I will be changing back over. I find it's easy to resell, take a minor loss, and get what you want. Does that help?

    I just can't find any information that says yes, a new MBPr will give me th esame or better battery life than the MBA I have. It does give me an amazing display all together. Apple states 9 hours - but is that on a i7, i5? Should i7 be considered for better battery life? Or should i5 prove to be better battery life? I'm really unsure if the small speed difference for an i7 would make it worth it, unless it can give me 30 minutes longer battery life - in which it would since i'm getting more battery and more speed for the $300?
  7. AlecMyrddyn macrumors 6502

    Dec 5, 2008
    Southern Maine
    The reviews out there on the 13" that include battery life testing so far only seem to be on base models, so the 2.4 or 2.6 i5's. They are getting up to 10.5 hours of battery on their tests though, better than Apple has stated.

    Be aware that there does seem to be a Mavericks bug out there where a system kernel process can go wild when you come out of sleep. When this happens, it uses 100% of one CPU Thread and in doing so draws hard on the battery.

    radiohead14 has compiled a list of reviews you can read through for more info on battery life on the 13". Until someone can perform the same exact test(s) on a 13" i7 BTO system, we have no idea if or how much battery life will be impacted.
  8. tjleonard thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2013
    It looks like you went ahead and ordered an i7 version...I just can't decide. Personally would rather 30 minutes more battery than a slightly faster CPU. If battery life or identical on both, i'm not so sure the small increase in speed is worth $300 unless i'm missing something.
  9. AlecMyrddyn macrumors 6502

    Dec 5, 2008
    Southern Maine
    I did... $180 to go from the 2.6 i5 to the 2.8 i7 with EPP pricing, since I started with the high end base model. All logic said go for the 2.6/8/512, but I knew I'd worry I made a bad choice. Now I know it'll last as long as possible.

    Longevity of this system was more important to me as I'm not the type to sell in a couple years to trade up. So I went 2.8 and 16 GB of RAM. It'll be used around the house, so power will be available if needed, battery life beyond a few hours is a bonus.
  10. MacLC macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2013
    tjleonard, I have a similar usage pattern and replacement dilemma as you. A friend came up with a solution for when you're ready to upgrade: Get a friend who is ready to buy a new MBA. Get the MBA and if it doesn't work, sell it to your friend at cost (throw in some tech help to make it a deal) and get the model up. If the MBA works for you offer to help your friend set up their own MBA to thank them for offering. Everybody wins :D
  11. channelinspire macrumors member


    Jun 23, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Mine is a mid model i5 2.4 and is getting over 10 hours in the usage you mentioned. 50-60% brightness and misc browsing type things. Email and Tweetbot. Maybe the i7 would be better but probably not $180 worth if you don't need the CPU power.

    And as a previous MBA owner, the retina is definitely worth the upgrade. I have so much trouble on my Work laptop (Dell) and my mini that connected to a 21" Samsung 1080p monitor. Maybe I'll get used to how good the retina looks but for now it is downright shocking how good it is.
  12. judgedeath2 macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2013
    FWIW, I also [had] a 2012 13" MBA. Base specs, but it was the best computer I've ever owned.

    I just got a BTO 13" Haswell rMBP (base model w/ 8 GB of RAM) and it's even better. Then screen and GPU are much improved and I didn't really lose any battery life in comparison. The footprint is slightly smaller, and it weighs a little more. Throwing the machine in my messenger bag, I didn't really notice either. However, the machine does feel notably more solid.

    Is it a necessary upgrade? Not really, unless you do GPU-intensive tasks.
    Is the upgrade worth the $400-$500 (price paid out of pocket after selling the MBA)? I think so.
  13. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    I went from a 2010 13" MBA 2.13/4/256 (max back then) to a 2013 13" rMBP 2.6/8/512.

    Had the MBA experience, and I don't see the point of crazy battery life when I'm plugged in most of the time. The screen difference is huge... resolution, better colors. Its heavier but the footprint is less than the MBA even, and unlike the MBA, it feels far more solid due to the non-wedge body and glass covered LCD.

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