Retina Macbook Pro VS Macbook Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Masterfox72, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. Masterfox72 macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2012
    So after being lulled in by my iPhone into getting an iPad, I have been extremely impressed by Apple's products. Recent work had me use Mac OS a lot and I have grown to like the OS a lot.

    Therefore, as my current PC is in need of an update, I am looking to get my first Mac.

    Pretty much my options have been narrowed down to two choices:

    Macbook Air 2012
    8 GB RAM
    256 SSD
    i7 Ivy Bridge Processor


    Macbook Pro Retina Display
    16 GB RAM
    256 SSD
    i7 Quad Core Ivy Bridge Processor

    I am a junior in college and a biochemistry major, and I use a few programs for research that will run on Mac and Windows, so that is no problem.

    Normally, I use my computer for word and image processing, making presentations and general web surfing. As a student I take my laptop to classes and my current one is a monster 17 inch at around 10 pounds! Therefore something light would be ideal.

    However, I also need some power as I am an amateur photographer and I do use Photoshop but not Aperature. I most likely will not do too much video editting, just a few quick snips taken off my iPhone (1080p) if that would tax the processor.

    Battery life between these two devices seems comparable although first hand experience may be of more insight than expected values.

    For me, the retina display is a bonus, not a necessity, I don't really need it, but it'd be nice. Also, I am coming from a 17inch so I dunno how much of a downgrade the Air would be in screen size.

    The one major caveat for me right now though is that I am a gamer. Not a hardcore gamer by any means, but I do plan on playing Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3, which I am afraid the Air will not handle so well. I don't mind playing on low graphics and don't need high framerates. A constant 30 FPS is all I really need. I am mostly worried about the heat issues with the Air when gaming extensively.

    For my needs, I feel like the retina pro will do very well, but I also feel that I will most likely not use its full power, but I am afraid the Air may not simply be powerful enough yet.

    Any opinions would greatly help.

  2. GREEN4U, Jul 31, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012

    GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    Get the rMBP. I personally strongly dislike the rMBP because I think it's too heavy, expensive, and overrated, but since your current laptop is close to a whopping 10 lbs, the rMBP will still be godsend. Plus you're comparing it to a MBA of almost the same price.

    The Pro lineup typically makes for a good first Mac since you don't have to worry about anything not meeting your standards. It's good to start with more than you need, and then over the years, figure out what you need and don't need. I got my Powerbook when I was a freshman in college. I thought it was overkill back then but it serves me well to this day. My roommate had a Powerbook too and he talked me out of getting the iBook, thank god. The Macbook Air, IMO, is for the more seasoned Apple user who's tired of lugging around weight and who has determined what he/she needs in their Mac. Others will disagree with me but that's how I see it.
  3. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    You are a retina MacBook Pro owner. I chopped your post down to the reasons rMBP would be superior.

    Use your student discount to get $200 off and then use the $100 gift card to buy Aperture.
  4. usmaak macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2012
    These are personal decisions. Check out the rMBP over on the Macbook Pro forums. It's having some issues with screen retention and other things. Might wait a bit to see if they can get those problems ironed out. Or if you decide on it, jump in and get one (if you can find one), and just exchange it if it becomes a problem.

    I looked at the rMBP in the store, and it has a gorgeous display. But of course there are two manufacturers, and of course each screen seems to have its flaws.

    I'm still up in the air about the MBA I have. I like it, but the restricted viewing angles are sort of annoying me. If I don't open it enough, the bottom of the screen has an annoying grayish bar. If I open it enough to make that go away, the top of the screen starts to look a little bit pinkish. I can't seem to find a perfect way to see the entire screen well.

    Either way, you'll end up with a nice, fast machine that should meet all of your needs.
  5. hawk1410 macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    I would suggest that if you get the rMBP you might wanna stick with 8gb of ram, You wont really need 16gb unless you;re doing heavy video editing.
  6. Masterfox72 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2012
    Thanks for the responses guys. I have been leaning a lot toward the rMBP.

    I have a few more questions though.

    I saw the Engadget report that the rMBP had a battery life of 9 hours?
    Apple only reported 5-7 hours.

    I don't see how it's possible they under reported by such a large factor. Surely 9 hour battery life would be a great thing to tout about. What are your real world values for this?

    The rMBP is also around 4ish pounds, but what is the real feel on it? Does it feel very heavy? Either way, I know I'll win with weight for my new machine.

    Lastly, how do games run on it at the high resolution?

    Thanks all for your replies!
  7. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    In my limited experience trying it out at the Apple Store, the best way I would put it is, it feels heavier than it looks. It's obviously very nice compared to the old Macbook Pros, but after I went to the Macbook Air table and came back to the rMBP table, I lifted them again and thought "ughh, this is kinda heavy."

    It's not for me, but it may be for you. I can't justify needing it. And when I walk around campus all day, every pound matters after a while.
  8. Masterfox72 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2012
    I'll agree with you there. But after lugging my tank laptop around, I'm sure this will be a pleasantry.

    I am currently unable to visit my Apple Store, so I was also wondering about the glare on the screens compared to each other.

    I know the glare on the pro was pretty bad with the extra layer of glass, so I'm wondering how it is on the rMBP compared to the Air.
  9. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    I prefer matte screens and I do not remember how bad the glare was, so it probably wasn't that bad. But what can you do anyway, ya know?
  10. Masterfox72 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2012
    That is true. If the glare is bad, I suppose an anti-glare cover will be in order.
  11. GREEN4U macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2010
    Chances are it won't be that bad. Plus it couldn't be worse than to possibly ruin that beautiful retina display w/ a cover. Everyhing will be fine. :)
  12. luqtotheman macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2012


    I faced the same decision and for me I went with the air. Although the rMBP was great it wasn't for me. The air is so light and can take every where it's great.

    I would check out youtube for videos people playing SC2 and D3 on the air and rMBP to help see if that's what you want.
  13. randomhkkid macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2010
    I faced the same decision coming from a 2009 MBP 15. In the end I went with the retina as I wanted something more portable but I wanted to keep the physical size of the 15 inch display (Which by the way is gorgeous). The glare is improved but not matte, for example before with the windows wide open I could see my bed behind me in the the screen with the retina I can't. The weight is also a big plus as coming from the 2009 it feels super light! Hope this helps :D
  14. Vulcan macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Apple stated that the glare on the rMBP has been reduced up to 75%. Viewing them together in person, I'd say that the rMBP is a little bit better.

Share This Page