Please help to choose MBAvsMBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by cosplays, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. cosplays macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2013
    Hi everyone!

    Im relatively new to Macs, overall.
    Recently became Apple fan.
    Not so long ago had my priorities change, and found myself in a need of a laptop.
    Obviously it all fell to Apple.
    Did some research, chose 2.
    Macbook Pro 13'' i5 2.5 2012 and Macbook Air 13'' i5 1.3 2013.
    But here's a bump.
    While air is thinner, mbp is not that much larger, and some size specs could be omitted in case of mbp having much more power advantage.
    Both are (~) relatively close in specs. Surfed the web, but didnt find performance comparison/analysis good enough. Non of it matters in the end though.
    Right now, Im in need of an advice from fellow Apple fans. From their personal experience.
    In terms of power and speed, processing, video play, gaming. Which one is better?
    How much power boost I would get if I choose Pro over Air or vice-versa?

    Thank you all in advance.
  2. dizmonk macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2010
    I had a MBP for a few years and just switched to the MBA. The lighter weight, expanded battery life and SSD were too much to ignore...
  3. Klae17 macrumors 65816


    Jul 15, 2011
    Gaming is sufficient for the new MBAs. I would wait for the MBP or the rMPB to be updated before you buy. The rMBP would be your best choice in my opinion.
  4. kahkityoong macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    There's no significant 'power boost' of the 13rMBP over this year's MBA. And if you pay the extra to go i7 MBA, it will likely be a little more powerful. It comes down to whether retina display as in other performance they are about equal.
  5. cosplays thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2013
    Well, there's no talk is going on about any rmbp. Actually it all comes down only to these particular models of mbp and mba.
    So, what power difference we are talking about here?
  6. NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    Depends on what you're doing. Neither are going to be great gaming machines, but you probably already knew that if you've decided on the Mac. Do you do any other demanding activities? Serious Photoshop work? Video encoding? Other weird media stuff?


    Go with the Air. If you do in fact do some of that stuff, still go with the Air unless you're doing a lot it at a professional level. As far as day-to-day consumer computing goes, nothing tops the MBA in my opinion. I just switched from a decked-out 2012 MBP with the Core i7 2.9 GHz, 16 GB DDR3, 256 GB SSD, etc. I decided the MBP was too fat and heavy, so I'm now rocking the base model 13" MBA.

    Best decision ever. Unless you're a professional with specific needs, the MBA is "fast enough" my a large margin. I love it.
  7. cosplays thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2013
    First of all, thank you NMF for your answer.

    I do different stuff.
    Constant office.
    Watching HD video.
    Some little gaming, nothing serious.

    But, most importantly:

    Photoshop, but nothing serious.
    I do some work on Final Cut Pro 7, occasionally, nothing professional, but I handle very large video files from powerful cameras, medium class.

    So I got it, will not see any difference in simple stuff.
    What about video encoding? How much difference would I see?
  8. NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    I can't comment on that specifically as I've always done my encoding on the iMac. That may in fact be a valid reason to go for the MBP though. I guess it really depends on how often you do it, and whether having a thinner and lighter notebook is worth the likely longer encode times.

    This is assuming that you wait for the Haswell refresh of the rMBP. If it's really just between the 2012 rMBP or the 2013 MBA, I'd go with the MBA with the i7 and 8GB RAM upgrades.
  9. ayres macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2010
    you're right, there's not much of a size difference between the 13mbp and the 13mba. i've had several of the 13 mbp and currently have the new 13 mba. neither is a bad choice. i too fall into the 'nothing serious' camp: some lightroom 4, other photo stuff, lots of writing, reading, and video watching.

    you're probably looking at the prices, and considering the added power you get from the mbp. but honestly, the seemingly underpowered mba is not something i have noticed. what i do notice:

    1) amazing battery - i've used laptops since 1998, and this is the first time in my life that i am actually willing to leave the house without the charger. a real game changer.

    2) and something that no one mentions is how FAST the mba's battery recharges. i haven't timed it, but it is amazingly fast. close it, charge it, and in less than 30 minutes, you will have enough battery to get by for a day of minor use (good for when you forget to charge it the night before and are rushed in the morning).

    3) the mbp's screen is just a little too cramped for me. the mba's higher res allows for a slightly more spacious screen, and i personally prefer it. though if your eyesight is not good, you probably should go with the mbp.

    4) the small storage space (128) is not a headache. the large files i have anyway are files that i am rarely accessing. the essential stuff easily fits on the ssd.

    5) i have to have an optical drive, but only several times a year is it actually used. so i got an external for cheap, and keep it stored away.

    6) i agonized over which mba specs to buy. so many here swear by the need for larger specs. try the base. in almost everything you're likely to do, you will not see any difference between the base and the more expensive models.

    i say, try the mba. you have the return policy. give yourself about ten days with it, and decide. also, given how cheap the mbp is now. you could bto a 128 or 256 ssd and still keep it reasonably priced. remember, both are great machines.
  10. cosplays thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2013
    Ayres Thank you for your generous reply.
    You got me here.
    Alright, but what if we are taking about MBA 13" i5 1.8 4000hd mid2012 and MBA 13" i5 1.3 5000hd mid 2013. How much of a difference is there? I did actually read that 2012 machine performs better...
  11. ayres macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2010
    not a difference with what you are doing... 'performs better' means benchmarks. do you want to sit around all day quantifying the subtle performance differences, or do you want to use your computer? i bet in a blind test, most could not tell the difference between the base 2012 & base 2013 mbas. regardless of benchmarks, both the 2012 and 2013 are fantastic computers. hell, my sister's 2011 air is fantastic. with the 2013, you'll see less battery drain when watching videos. if you're deciding between those two machines, then i think price comes into play. a 2012 for the right price and still under warranty so as to buy applecare, and i'd probably do it. but i really, really love the long battery on the 2013. it truly finally untethers the laptop from the charger.
  12. yinz macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2012
    13" MBP is basically a MBA with some classic stuff like ethernet port and optical drive. If you don't need those things, I don't think the 2013 MBA is much slower than the 2012 MBP considering the SSD really boosts the speed. The battery life is definitely another crazy improvement the MBA has over the MBP. I love portability, but a 13" MBP just doesn't seem to deserve the Pro name. It has the same integrated graphics card, so the only real difference between the two machines are hard drive and processor. Processing speed isn't the end all and be all of speed. The SSD vs HDD also has a profound effect on speed.

    Of course, you can upgrade the MBP much easier, but I can honestly say, that not THAT many people upgrade MacBooks. Maybe the majority of the people on this forum do, but the majority of people don't.

    Go with the MBA, unless you want Retina Display or larger screen!
  13. Yell0w macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2008
    Very informative thread so far cause I was having issues deciding for myself.

    Although I purchased the early 2008 MBP, I found that throughout the years I never really pushed my machine to the limit. I felt that all the things that I did on it were just minimal tasks.
  14. boats4chris macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2012
    I would go with the 13" rMBP

    I bought the 2012 13" Air last year about a month after it came out and I could not bring myself to pay for 15" rMBP. It was way too much for my bank account.

    But...after a year of using the Air, I would have liked to have had the Retina 13". Don't get me wrong, I love my Air! It is light and very portable. Battery life is awesome! But, I would prefer the clarity of the Retina display. I would definitely wait for the rev of the graphics chip expected soon. Should make for a better experience and gaming potential if you are interested in that side.

    The display for the Air is good, but if you use an iPhone a lot, I think you will notice the difference. Text is were I notice it the most and that is what I am mostly using the Air for. I think it is kind of ironic that the clarity of text can be a higher priority over image quality. I am fine with the Air screen for images, but text is really giving me screen envy!

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