Non-Retina Air display vs Pro Retina?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by rhino89, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. rhino89 macrumors regular

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    Nov 7, 2011
    #1
    Question for people who have owned/used both the Macbook Air and retina Pro... is the retina worth it if I am looking for a laptop to use for the next 5 years as a main portable computer? Considering the rMBP right now, but I can get an upgraded Air for less than the price of the retina display, but I don't want to be kicking myself in a year when an Air display becomes "old".

    I compared it in the store side by side, and the retina is definitely more vibrant, and some text appears to be less washed-out. But that's when comparing side-by-side, you know? Not sure what to do, and prices are great right now so I didn't really want to wait for a 1st gen rMBA which may come with its own problems...
     
  2. jdphoto macrumors 6502

    jdphoto

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    Jan 13, 2014
    #2
    I would go with the rMBP. I think you'd definitely be feeling the lower resolution display of the current MBAs in 5 years. The dual core CPUs and the max of 8GB or memory also would probably start to limit you by that point.
     
  3. jlp2979 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 20, 2009
    #3
    Both the rMBP and Air have dual core processors, unless you are also considering the 15" Pro w/ a quad core (not in your post, so assuming you're not). 8gb of RAM should be plenty for many years if you're just doing general / casual tasks. If you're doing more cpu intensive tasks the Pro may suit you better, but the processors still are similar. I've recently used both. If you are just doing general tasks you only need to consider 2 factors- screen and battery life. Other than that these laptops are nearly identical. The Air weighs about 1/2 pound less than the Pro, I noticed it but you may not, so probably not a big deal. Battery life is great on both machines, either will last a work day or almost a work day. So really, the screen is all that's left. I had specific issues with the retina screen and the work I do, so I kept the Air. Either will last you a few years and then some. Even though I chose the Air I'd probably recommend the rMBP to you if the extra .5 lbs. and 3 hour battery life difference doesn't matter, and if you fell in love with the screen. The display on the Air isn't bad at all. It's just that the retina is insane.
     
  4. BenTrovato macrumors 68020

    BenTrovato

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    #4
    rMBP is a joy to use every single day. I cannot believe I hung on to my MBA for 2 years. Knowing what I know now, I would never have waited that long for a retina display.
     
  5. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

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    Jun 16, 2014
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    #5
    I've had both. Started with Air then sold it for a rMBP and ended up going back to the Air. As far as display goes, of course the retina is significantly better. For me, other factors made me miss the Air. Thin wedge on front, amazing battery life, keyboard, and overall lightness of the machine. The display on the Air is not bad, it just looks rough compared to a retina. Once you use the Air for a few days (if coming from retina) you get used to it and it's not a problem at all. I find my Air display is just fine for my usage. You may put more stock in a display than me, it really is a personal choice.

    Also how much of a price difference is it?
     
  6. rhino89 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 7, 2011
    #6
    The difference would be about $250 if I go with a 1.7ghz air (8gb/256gb) or $100 if I go with the 1.4ghz (8gb/256gb). But considering I want to use this machine for about 5 years, maybe it isn't a lot of "extra" cost in the long run?
     
  7. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

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    Apr 23, 2009
    #7
    I have both. The screen of the Air is only annoying immediately after switching from a Pro, but you get used to the screen of the Air very quickly. It is not a bad screen, it is just not as awesome as the retina-screen. What I never get used to though is how heavy my Pro is, compared to the Air.
    My conclusion would be: get the Air unless you must have a Pro.
     
  8. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

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    #8
    This is correct. Even though the weight difference is only .5 pounds, there is a significant difference especially when you consider how thin the air is at the front.
     
  9. FuNGi macrumors 65816

    FuNGi

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    Feb 26, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #9
    The MBA screen is already 4 years old so wanting a macbook to last you another 5 years is asking for 9 year old tech. Go with the retina. I have both and would never consider getting another Air if finances allowed it.
     
  10. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #10
    Don't be stupid.

    The IPS technology used in the retina MacBook screens was commercialized in 1998.

    So if you get a retina MacBook it's like buying 16 year old technology, right?
     
  11. Violafab macrumors member

    Violafab

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    Nov 12, 2014
    #11
    I have both machines and I prefer the rmbp anytime. The air looks crap, when getting used to the retina screen :)
     
  12. LFMNX macrumors regular

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    Feb 14, 2011
    #12
    I had a 2011 air, and was ready to update. I loved the air but wanted more SSD and RAM at 8Gig. Looked at the air and 13 rMBP. In the end I went for another Macbook air (2014). The weight and long run time are so fantastic.

    I run logic 10 and was worried it would be under powered. Not the case. The Macbook Air is such an incredible usable machine. The rMBP retina is beautiful but I will gladly trade that away for the weight and runtime of the Macbook Air.
     
  13. rajivhifi macrumors member

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    Jul 31, 2014
    #13
    Used both

    I use the rMBP at work and have a MBA at home. The benefits of the MBA for me outweighs the retina display. I hardly notice it at work or the absence of it at home. It's a nice to have for photos etc in higher resolution but the MBA is no sham. I'm happy with the MBA and prefer it to the rMBP for home use.
     
  14. capathy21 macrumors 65816

    capathy21

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    #14
    Completely agree....
     
  15. FuNGi macrumors 65816

    FuNGi

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    #15
    Insult aside, it's not unless you define technology at such a reductionist level. The rMBP screens were used in late 2013 and were updated from the 2012 screens with lower brightness among other things. The MBA screens were used in late 2010 and have not changed.
     
  16. happyslayer macrumors 6502a

    happyslayer

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    Glendale, AZ
    #16
    I have owned several MBAs since the first one in 2008, both 13" and 11" sizes, and just got the 13" rMBP in late October after selling my 2013 11" Air. The screen is really really nice. (Really damn nice!) I just setup a new 13" MBA for a customer this afternoon and totally noticed the difference in clarity now that I have grown accustomed to the much crisper and sharper retina screen. Unless weight is the primary concern, I would go with the rMBP. Also, you mentioned keeping it for 5 years; the pro will "last" longer and should remain more current in this instance because it has a better, faster cpu as well. If I were you, I'd get the pro.

    Or, if you can wait, there is supposed to be a 12" retina MacBook Air coming in 2015--probably mid-2015... maybe, if the rumors are true.
     
  17. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #17
    My point being, just because a particular model of display started being manufactured in a particular year means very little.

    If I can track down a PC laptop that was redesigned in 2014 and uses the same display panel as a MBA, does that mean the display is all of a sudden "2014 technology"?
     
  18. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #18
    IPS may be old but retina pixel density is not...

    It's not the IPS that is new it is the pixel density, you are being obtuse for no reason other than to wind people up.
     
  19. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #19
    Nope, just annoyed that people are complaining about the MBA screen specifically because it hasn't been changed in 4 years. That's a pretty vague and arbitrary reason to complain about a screen.
     
  20. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #20
    Fair enough

    Thats fair enough mate. They should complain because its not as good as even the cMBP screen despite a higher pixel density. The Colour and viewing angles are just not as good.
     
  21. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #21
    i have both. and there both have pluses and minuses...

    1) the retina is AMAZING! in fact its so amazing that as soon as MBA gets the retina i'll be selling my non-retina and replacing with a retina one.

    2) on the other hand the air is light... the numbers don't really do it justice... but if you have to carry a laptop all day long, the 1/2 pound or so does make a difference.

    3) the Air has better battery, no matter which way you slice it, it does last longer...

    Overall, its a tough call to be honest. if you don't want to replace soon, then the rMBP is a good bet.

    anyways, good luck and no matter what you get enjoy it :D
     
  22. FuNGi macrumors 65816

    FuNGi

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    #22
    Exactly. The MBA screen was never as good as the cMBP screen (despite having slightly higher pixel density) with regards to color or viewing angle. And now, compared to a retina IPS screen that difference is painful to behold. My original point was to address the OP's specific desire to have the laptop for 5 years. Imagine how out-of-date the MBA screen, which has not changed since late 2010, will feel even 3 years from now. The rMBP screen will still remain very, very good then.
     
  23. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #23
    You're saying the MBA screen is horribly out of date because it's 4 years old. But the rMBP screen will still be "very, very good" after it's 5 years old? (13" rMBP introduced in late 2012.)

    You're not making any sense. You have to stop this stuff with which year the displays came out. It's absolutely irrelevant.

    The simple fact is that the MBA screen that's available today is fine and it won't look any better or worse to human eyeballs in the next 5 years.

    The rMBP has a better screen. It will look the same amount better in 5 years as it does now.

    It is ridiculous to argue that the rMBP will somehow look relatively better in the future vs. the MBA since they will be exactly the same and eyeballs will be the same.
     
  24. FuNGi macrumors 65816

    FuNGi

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    #24
    I'm done trying to get you to understand my point. I think your reading comprehension skills have shrunk in fear of your own arrogance.

    It's called context.
     
  25. cruisin macrumors 6502a

    cruisin

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    Apr 1, 2014
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    Canada
    #25
    The Air is all about being the lightest laptop with the best battery life. I seriously doubt the rMBA will appear, as it would decrease the battery life. More pixels needs more backlight energy to maintain the brightness. And probably uses more energy to use as everything is rendered at a higher resolution. I think that they will always keep the Air as the best possible portable laptop. Also the retina screen would increase the price until you would essentially have a low power and slightly lighter and cheaper rMBP. Seems to me that there is too much overlap between a rMBA and rMBP.

    I enjoy the sharpness on retina displays so for me the choice was always going to be obvious. I also like the bigger screen the 15 inch gives so that just made my choice that much clearer. I have seen some terrible screens, and the Air has a very good screen with minimal colour shifts. They obviously tried to make the screen the best they could and it shows.

    I will point out is that the Air only supports one external display and people resort to workarounds to use two. And the Air needs a adapter to use HDMI. As long as you are ok with this, then for regular use you will not notice much difference between the Air and the Pro.
     

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