Quandry: MBA vs. rMBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by hakr100, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. hakr100 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    East Coast
    #1
    I sold my three year old 15" MBP a while back to buy an iPAD III when it first came out. I like the iPAD as a traveling entertainment device and as a decent substitute for a laptop for reading and responding to email, but I: cannot abide by its clumsy applications for word processing and editing, and I don't much like the IOS file system.

    So, I'm going to sell the iPAD soon, and buy either a 13" MBA or a 13" rMBP. The prices for what I want aren't that much different. My real question is over the screen and how large and sharp the letters in a word processed document are at the native resolution on each. I'm not close enough to an Apple store to put the two machines side by side and make my own comparison, so I am hoping someone here has done so and can clue me in as to what to expect.

    My fear with the rMBP is that its 2560x1600 native resolution will render letters on the screen sharp as a tack but really tiny, and that the 1440x900 native resolution on the MBA might not render as sharply but the letters will be a little larger.

    I was more than satisfied with the screen resolution on my non-retina old 15" MBP.

    I don't play video games. I do like to watch movies on the screen when I am on a commercial flight but, again, my old MBP seemed adequate for this.

    The dimensional specs of the MBA and rMBP are so close, I really can't use them to make a decision.

    So, it really comes down to the screen on these 13" laptops for me. I wish there were a way for me to see the qualitative differences on line, in re: what the screens look like.

    Suggestions? Thanks!
     
  2. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #2
    I'm sure you'd be happy with either.
    go play with them. that's really the only thing anyone can recommend.

    i walked into the apple store SURE i wanted the 13" MBA but then i walked out wanting the 11" or the 13" rMBP.

    After doing some research it came done to either the 11" MBA or the 15" rMBP. Ultralight vs Ultrapowerful. I decided i needed portability more than "power" and since the MBA did everything I needed (not to mention cost about a grand less) i went with the 11" mba.
     
  3. hakr100 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 1, 2011
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    East Coast
    #3
    Thanks, but as I said, I live a long way from an Apple store.
     
  4. zachmo360 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    #4
    I'd go for the new MBA 13" with 8gb RAM and either 256 or 512 SSD. Then the laptop would last longer coz the rMBP is due an update soon. Also the rMBP will get underpowered because there's no discrete GPU to power the hi-res screen and it will heat up more. When the new model of MBA is released next year this years would sell on for a lot and you could upgrade again :)
     
  5. BenTrovato macrumors 68020

    BenTrovato

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    #5
    If your dilemma is over the screen, it's a tough choice. I like the retina screens a lot but I decided to go with the MBA, it just felt nicer overall to me. You can easily adjust the text size in most apps so it's at the most comfortable size to you so that you aren't squinting to make things out - and yes the rMBP makes everything look incredibly sharp. The nice thing with the MBA is that everything is always the perfect size :)
     
  6. Fattytail macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    #6
    I don't have an rMBP, but from playing around with one in an Apple store, I can tell you that text looks razor sharp on it. I don't think you'll have an issue with font sizes rendering too tiny. It's a beautiful screen to look at.

    That said, for the extra portability and battery life, I'd go with the MBA. Not to mention the fact that the MBA is much cheaper. A retina screen isn't worth that premium to me.
     
  7. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    #7
    Besides the sharpness of the rMBP screen, it's also an IPS display with better colors and much much better off angle viewing. If the screen is a primary choice, the rMBP is the clear winner. As far as size, the MBA is thinner and lighter but the rMBP is actually smaller in length and width. I chose the rMBP.

    Also keep in mind the screen isn't render at the full resolution. By default it's like a 1280x800 but much sharper. you can also run it at 1440x900 or 1680x1050 equivalent and it's still razor sharp.
     
  8. Dwinguel macrumors member

    Dwinguel

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Geneva, Switzerland
    #8
    Indeed, the rMBP won't run at full resolution and by default it stays at the same resolution as the non-retina MBP, i.e. the fonts are the same size. But the text will look much sharper and the screen, being IPS, is much better than on the standard MBP.

    I kept my old MBP for a little while after upgrading to the Retina model and comparing them side by side the difference is quite stunning!

    If it's just a matter of screen I would advise to go for the rMBP.

    If it's also a matter of size, weight or battery life, then my advice would be different.
     
  9. hakr100 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    East Coast
    #9
    Thanks for your input. I just said the hell with it and drove the 50 miles to the Apple store to check out the two machines. There's no question the rMBP has the "brighter, more colorful" screen, but the screen on the 13" MBA is pretty good too, especially for my major uses: word processing, emails, WordPress editing, et cetera. Also, the MBA seemed, well, snappier. :D

    I'm going to order an MBA, I think.
     
  10. rovex macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    #10
    Get an ipad 5 this fall with iOS7 it should be a much better experience and slightly closer to a proper computer and more powerful then get the retina air in 2014. :)
     
  11. hakr100 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    East Coast
    #11
    I've got an iPad III Retina with 64GB of memory and Verizon network electronics. I sold an older MBP to get it. I like the iPad but it turns out to be not too useful for my kind of word processing and other tasks, so I'm going to sell it. Has a nice Zagg combo case and keyboard, and it is low mileage. ;) I'll have to research what I should try to sell it for.
     
  12. rovex macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    #12
    MS Office has released for the iphone, so i can't imagine an ipad one is too far behind... albeit a heavily watered down ms office by the sound of it.
     
  13. hakr100 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 1, 2011
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    East Coast
    #13
    Yeah, an Office you have to rent. And it isn't clear to me where the files it creates are stored, though I haven't spent much time reading about it. If the file system is in "the cloud," then I'm not interested.

    The file system is one of the aspects of IOS I find most annoying. It's a petty annoyance on my iPhone but a major one on the iPad. I like folders and files I can easily access.
     
  14. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    #14
    I did the same thing you did but couldn't stand the MBA screen in comparison. Everyone is different, I guess.
     
  15. Dwinguel macrumors member

    Dwinguel

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Geneva, Switzerland
    #15
    Glad you could judge by yourself.

    Since the latest MBA has a better integrated graphic card, I would expect it to be a bit snappier when running graphic tasks in the OS.
     
  16. suprakc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    Location:
    Utah
    #16
    Pro

    I must say I was definitely sold on the 13" air until I went to the apple store and played around with it compared to the 13" rMBP. I have read over and over about performance being the same, but it's not. The baseline air, when loading basic apps, such as keynote, pages, numbers, iPhoto, iMovie, garage band, averaged about 5 seconds to open each individually. The rMBP baseline opened each individually in 1 or two seconds. And for the screen? It is phenomenal. Zooming becomes addictive because it is very difficult to find pixels anywhere.
    You will definitely save on the air. If a little performance difference doesn't bother you (and it is little) and you don't often zoom, edit, or just are fanatic about that retina screen, get the air. Awesome battery life, it's an :apple: product, so it rocks either way. The air with 8G RAM, 256GB is awesome for the price. As for me, I am waiting to see the updated pros, and whether the baseline 13" starts with 256GB. 128 isn't enough, and baseline is the only affordable option for me. Hope that helps.
     
  17. DarwinOSX macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    #17
    That's not true of the current retina and will be even less true of
    the next one.



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    Anyone who has a retina MBP will tell you it's hard to go back to a lesser screen. Not just because of resolution but noticeably better color and contrast.



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    There are plenty of apps that will give you file and folders aka directories on your iOS device.

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    Retina MBP don't have tiny text any more than a retina iPad or iPhone.

     

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