Returning my rMBP 13" the right decision?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by taenzerme, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. taenzerme macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Bonn, Germany
    #1
    I'm currently thinking about returning my freshly bought rMBP 13" (i7 2.9/8GB/512GB SSD) and switch back to a fully-loaded 2012 MBA and need some feedback if I'm doing the right thing.

    I'm a professional coder/web developer/screen designer doing a lot of work using the Adobe Creative Suite, Sublime Text, Transmit, Terminal/SSH-Sessions and Parallels for 1-2 virtual machines running Windows for browser testing. My primary work machine in my office is an iMac 27" (maximum BTO configuration i7/8GB, upgraded 128GB SSD as an additional system volume myself). I'm still pretty happy with that, no problems so far, esp. not in regards to performance.

    Traveling and taking the thing to my clients happens a lot, so this actually is an issue to consider, too.

    My primary mobile/at home machine was a LATE 2009 MBA 13"/2GB/128GB SSD since 2009 and buggying me performance-wise in the last months. So I got the new rMBA 13" when it came out and am working on it several hours a day for a week now and still not sure.

    Actually I REALLY like the screen and the option to switch between resolutions (using non-system tools like QuickRes). Performance is great, though I do notice some lagging now and then that wasn't there when browsing the web even back on my 2009 MBA. That's not just my imagination, I put them side by side.

    What bugs me the most:

    • form factor - the sharp edge on front is actually a problem for me. I think it feels uncomfortable and harder while coding longer times compared to the MBA. The position of your hands while typing was much more relaxing on the MBA keyboard
    • many apps, esp. Adobe CS 6 is not retina ready yet and the UI is really pixelated ugly
    • Battery runtime is worse when running scaled resolutions - maybe not always, but I noticed about an hour less when running with HiDPI 1680x1050
    • 450$ more for just the display - but actually less screen estate when running in retina mode compared to an 2012 MBA
    • the 300g more weight actually does bug me a little. Even though it's not much but coming from the air still seem a lot. It just feels more "bulky". Even though the Air is a bit larger it's actually easier to carry around.
    • GeekBench & Co do not show much difference in performance between a maxed-out 2012 MBA 13" (i7/8GB/512) - anybody here working on both and can say the rMBP is faster?
    • I'm feeling like I'm beeing ripped off - calling this a 'Pro' without dedicated graphics and 16GB RAM for that price did not bug me when ordering first but does the more I think about it.

    Finally, do you think once you go Air it's always Air? ;-) Actually I think it has a lot of emotional reasons, too. I thought about getting the maxed-out MBA for weeks - then the rMBP was released and I ordered it in a hurry. But to be honest - somehow I miss the "Air" feeling.

    Are there others around thinking about returning the rMBP or who already did and want to share why? I'm also interested in feedback of others doing the same kind of work that kept it or returned it.
     
  2. sectime macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    #2
    The main reason I got rid of my MacBook Air was the sharp front edge digging into my palms.
     
  3. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #3
    why not use an external keyboard and monitor when at home or office? Personally I only use the internal screen and keyboard when I am in the field.
     
  4. taenzerme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Bonn, Germany
    #4
    In the end it all comes down to very subjective experiences, I know.
    Maybe I just have to get used to it?

    I don't have an external keyboard/monitor at home, actually I enjoy working without it. Most of the time when at home I find myself working on the couch with the macbook on my lap.

    I'm really interested in finding out if the 2012 Air (maxed out) feels different in performance compared to a rMBP 13" besides the retina screen.
     
  5. m00min macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    #5
    I guess it comes down to whether you can't live without the retina screen. It sounds like you're doing similar work to me, web design doesn't tend to put much stress on CS6 so I'd guess you wouldn't need that extra bit of speed the Pro has over the Air (Guessing as I've not used a Pro retina).

    From what I've seen of the 13 inch Pro there isn't a great deal (screen notwithstanding) to recommend it over the Air. 15 inch is another matter but again I don't honestly see a web designer _needing_ it, maybe just lusting over the screen :)
     
  6. taenzerme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Bonn, Germany
    #6
    No, actually the screen is not a must have. I have a slight feeling I should wait for the next edition (esp. considering the ghosting stuff coming up on the forums everywhere telling me all these displays will have problems sometime in the future).

    The thing is - does the Pro actually have that much more power in reality? Sure, the MBA i7 is the low power version and so all the stuff is running at lower timing.

    But just looking at the average GeekBench results between these two makes it really hard for me. MBA: +-7600 - rMBP 13: +-8200. I know these benchmarks are not everything, sure.

    I'm considering ordering one and then return one or another. It's would be heavy burden on my bank account though ;-)
     
  7. mohsy90 macrumors 65816

    mohsy90

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    New York
    #7
    The 13" pro does have more power compared to the Air but not by much. It's really only the difference of the processor, which is why it becomes a difficult situation as to which is more suitable. If the retina screen is not a major factor, then I would suggest you move back to the Air. The UI will be less laggy and obviously you dont have to worry about retina support for programs.

    At the price you paid for your 13" rMBP you could have spent an extra hundred and gotten the upgraded 15" with a discrete GPU. Thats where pro computer actually differentiates itself from the Air. Yes, it will obviously weigh more but the UI should definitely improve with updates while the 13" rMBP will be limited by the intel 4000 graphics.

    With all that said, if you don't desire the retina then go back to the Air. If you want the retina and discrete GPU, I would consider upgrading to the 15" model.
     
  8. m00min macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    #8
    When I tested my 2010 MBP i7 with SSD against my i7 MBA the difference was about 1000, with my Air being about the score you've said. I have to say that my Air feels no faster in use (running Photoshop, Illustrator and a Windows 7 VM in Parallels).

    EDIT. Just checked my Geekbench scores and the difference was actually 1200.
     
  9. mohsy90 macrumors 65816

    mohsy90

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    New York
    #9
    Another note. Benchmarks are just that, benchmarks. It all depends on how the hardware preforms when running various programs. Fps and UI are the biggest concerns I have with the rMBP when running graphics heavy programs.
     
  10. taenzerme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Bonn, Germany
    #10
    Thanks for all your feedbacks.

    I really can't explain the difference in words - I always had the joy and a "smoothness feeling" when working with the Air (even with the old Late 2009 one).

    Working with the rMBP is somehow a different experience - it's not that "light" and "smooth" anymore, even though CPU and chipset are faster in theory. Actually, after working some hours with it it feels a littly sluggish sometimes - as noted elsewhere on the web. I consider myself an experienced user and not usually disturbed my some small quirks. But this actually (after 3-4 hours of work on it using PS6, some coding, browsing with Chrome) FEELS a little more sluggish and slower than my OLD Air before. This might be subjective but it's how it feels to me - and in the end comes down to a lot of other mentions related to the HD4000 not beeing capable of driving that display. It just doesn't feel as perfect as I'd expected it to be with a 3000$ macbook.

    I find myself working in the 1440 res most of the time and not using the retina res due to more screen estate.

    One more important fact is: my work iMac is just downstairs as my agency's office is on the first floor in the same house. When I need more power I easily switch to that machine most of the time.

    I guess in the end it's all about going back to the Air, trying it for another 2 weeks and returning it if I suddenly feel the urge to get back the Retina screen.
     
  11. m00min macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    #11
    I agree with that, that's why I was careful to mention how apps felt in use. I just included the benchmarks because they seem to indicate the same amount of difference from 2010MBP -> 2012MBA -> 2012rMBP.

    It's a shame Apple didn't add a dGPU to the 13 inch Pro, given that it has that many pixels from the get go.
     
  12. taenzerme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Bonn, Germany
    #12
    Just wanted to give you all a follow up: Exchanged the rMBP13 for a maxed out 2012 Air - and I'm not looking back.

    The rMBP13 is still sitting in a drawer for some time now as I'm waiting for Apple to pick it up and I've never had the urge to switch to the rMBP again. Had the chance to use both on the same desk and can say: Once Air, always Air - for me. The Air form factor still makes the difference and the less weight does too. Of course, all of that is highly subjective, sure.

    I was REALLY panicking days before the Air arrived as I more and more seemed to like the screen and the rMBP13 and wasn't sure if the Air would be "good enough" again. I was wrong. Working with the Air for 2 weeks now and don't miss the screen at all. I was working at 1440 anyway and IMHO fonts, websites are a lot easier to read on the Air. The non-default 1440 res on the Retina always looked a little washed out to me.

    Another fact I noticed is the Air and Retina really do not have world-noticable differences in terms of performance (i7 8GB 512 MBA vs. i7 8GB 512GB rMBP13). I tried DiabloIII, too, and there also is NO noticable difference when it comes to noise. The fans of the MBA kick in the same moment the fans of the rMBP13 do. The sound of the rMBP fans is a little "deeper", but I for myself don't notice any big difference.

    So just wanted to let you know I think I made the right decision - and the extra 500€ will get me a new iPad.
     
  13. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #13
    OP, sounds like you made the best decision possible.
     
  14. Rosenlicht macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    #14
    I tried out the Air for a bit and then returned it for a Retina and I much prefer the Retina. But that's me.
     
  15. WilliamG macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #15
    I feel like there's no portable for me right now. You could say I have the worst FWP right now (First-World Problems).

    I used to have a 15" MacBook Pro, back in 2007 and then the unibody in 2008. I then switched to an iMac since I didn't need the portability. Then my wife got a MacBook Air and I fell in love with it.

    But.... then something terrible happened (FWP). I got given a brand new Sony Vaio Z2 last year, and I hate it. It has a useless trackpad, broken-sounding speakers, an all-too-shallow keyboard, stupidly annoying bright LEDs, among other issues.

    But.... but.... it has two RAID 0 SSDs built in (yes, built in), an external LightPeak (Thunderbolt essentially) GPU/dock, and a blazing fast i7 processor. 1600x900 13.1" display etc...

    The killer? It weighs 2.58 lbs. 2.58lbs!!!

    But... it's Windows! And the trackpad/keyboard issues bug me (especially the trackpad). Nobody touches Apple for trackpads.

    Anyway, being driven mad by this love/hate relationship with my Vaio Z2, I picked up a Retina display 13" Macbook Pro. There are some things I love about it: The screen, keyboard, trackpad, 2x Thunderbolt etc = excellent.

    But at 3.57lbs it's an absolute brick by comparison to the Vaio, and it gets overly warm toward the rear by the hinges when it's playing just movies/TV shows. I really don't like the feel of the warm keyboard when I'm typing.

    The rMBP is a GORGEOUS system, with some surprisingly decent speakers as well (The Vaio speakers really do sound broken), but it's still too heavy, to brick-like, and somehow... dated in its design. Aside from the display, the system is too evolutionary. But it's lovely. And expensive!

    So there's my rock and hard place. I love the Z2 for its ridiculous portability, decent battery life (even better if you attach the sheet battery). Heck, you can even replace the battery on the Z2 in 30 seconds (take that, rMBP!)

    But the rMBP experience is wonderful.

    The key? I'd like a retina display MacBook Air. Hopefully that will be light enough for me, because right now when I go from my wife's MacBook Air to my carbon-fiber Sony Vaio Z2, even the MacBook Air feels.... heavy.

    So there are my first-world problems. I'd love a new laptop, but I want it to be 2.58lbs or under. :)
     
  16. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #16
    I'm in the opposite situation. I lost my 2012 MacBook Air (11.6") while traveling yesterday. :( Fortunately, I had it insured (and have a Time Machine backup from Tuesday night) and just got a call back from the claim processor with the settlement amount.

    I filed a lost item report with the airline, so hopefully it turns up over the next day or two, but if not I'll just take the insurance settlement. I'll get back the purchase price for my MacBook Air (including tax) less a $250 deductible. I'm debating between waiting for a refurbished 11.6" 2012 Air to show up on the Apple website (it would cost just about the same as my insurance proceeds), or forking out the extra cash and getting the 2012 13" rMBP ($1999 configuration).

    How is using the rMBP on an airplane tray? I like my 11.6" Air because it's so easy to use even in a middle seat (especially compared to my 14" 5lb work notebook). I had a 13" Air before, but the rMBP is slightly heavier, though narrower. I'm curious about the tradeoffs.
     
  17. WilliamG macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #17
    If you had the 11.6" Air which only weighs 2.38lbs, going to the 3.57lb rMBP 13.3" is going to feel absolutely like a different class of laptop. I mentioned in my above post going from my 2.58lb Sony Vaio Z2 to the rMBP was insanely hard for me (too hard), so for you the difference is even greater. You could still use the rMBP on a plane tray, but it won't be anywhere near as much fun.
     
  18. taenzerme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Bonn, Germany
    #18
    I second that. Beeing an Air user for a long time since the 1st edition IMHO the rMBP 13" feels a lot bulkier than the Air - and I'm talking about the 13" Air. Coming from the 11" Air is really another class. I had the rMBP 13" for some time now (about 4 weeks) and would not want to use that on a plane - though I consider the 13" Air just fine.

    I didn't believe it myself but even though the MBA has a bigger footprint it still feels and is a lot more portable than the rMBP13. But again - all of that is highly subjective.... You should try it out and if you can afford order both and send one back. Apple is quite easy about that.
     
  19. Rosenlicht macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    #19
    Comparing the portability of the 13" Air and 13" rMBP makes no sense. They are both very portable and there is very little difference between the two. It's basically the portability of the 13" against the portability of the 15" systems. If returning a 13" rMBP for the 13" Air on the grounds of portability, that is a mistake. If you are comparing form factor and other points of comparison and end up deciding on the Air that makes more sense.
     
  20. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #20
    Update: After much thought, I decided to go with the 13" rMBP. While I certainly notice the extra heft, the screen is absolutely exquisite. If the Air gets a Retina Display I'll switch back, but even with a comparable processor (I had the i7 in the Air) and SSD storage, the Pro still feels like a solid step up for now based on the IPS screen.
     
  21. Jay1818182728 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    #21
    Totally agree with you about the retina, way more trouble than it's worth.

    Yeah it looks stunning but so many apps/websites (some microsoft office programs, some parts of facebook, spotify) aren't retina ready, so it just makes it look way worse than it did before.

    Also i'm pretty sure Garage Band isn't even retina ready. (quickly used it earlier, might be an update)
     
  22. njean777 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    #22
    I went from an 11in air back to a 13in cMBP and I have never really had a problem with the weight or the screen resolution. Sure the weight on the 11in air was nice, but having extra power and the room to expand in the future far outweighs 2lbs worth of weight.

    Then again you are talking about the rMBP and I had one for a week before I decided to return it and just go back to my cMBP, the resolution is nice, but no user upgrading and the price tag are just to much to bare right now for me.
     
  23. ob81 macrumors 65816

    ob81

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    #23
    I returned my 13" rRMP after a few weeks because, I couldn't live with the idea that it really doesn't live up to its cost value. When compared to other Mac computers, the price just doesn't make sense. We have seen this before with the introduction of the MBA. The price was sky high. Now look at it. $999. The MBA did more for portability than any computer before it. What does the 13" rMBP bring that merits the $500 premium? Nothing.

    I traded up for a 15" rMBP and couldn't be happier. I actually purchased a 13" MBA that I was completely satisfied with before the 15" rMBP, but I got a decent deal on a used rMBP on the forums.
     
  24. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #24
    To be fair, the premium isn't quite $500. I had a 2012 MacBook Air that was $1649 (11.6", i7, 256GB SSD, and 8GB RAM). It is $1699 in the 13.3" model. The comparable rMBP is the base with 256GB, which runs $1999. The extra $300 provides the better display and an extra Thunderbolt port. The 35W 2.5GHz i5 in the Pro is broadly comparable to the 17W2.0GHz i7 in the Air. Yes, it is a steep premium, but it is more like $300.
     
  25. ob81 macrumors 65816

    ob81

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    #25
    I can agree with that figure, especially when compared to the MBA. Part of my main concern was the lack of a step forward for the rMBP 13".

    Not really mad at the machine. It was pretty neat. Just needed more bang for my buck.
     

Share This Page