rMB or MBA? Help me pick please.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by supernet33, Jun 16, 2015.

  1. supernet33 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    #1
    So I can pick a rMB or Macbook Air 2015 with 8GB and 256 GB HD for work.

    I love the size of the rMB and the retina screen.

    I like the fact the Air is more powerful however it doesn't a retina screen.

    I would just use the Mac for light work, nothing heaI would be RDP into a windows 7 computer a lot,
     
  2. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Before you buy any, go into a store and try both.

    The retina screen is nice, however people really hype up about how "bad" the MBA display is. I have a MBA and a rMBP and at times, the difference isn't that disconcerting.

    Also, the keyboard on the rMB is a very personal thing. Some love it, some hate it. I personally hate it. The lack of travel etc makes it a more painful experience to type on.
     
  3. Fuzzball84 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 19, 2015
    #3
    I agree, you have to go and try them out in person... no substitute.

    Just be aware of the rMBs port selection also, you may have to buy a few adapters depending on other devices you wish to connect to.

    The keyboard is very different from any other macbook... I'm still getting used to it but it works well... For me its somewhere in-between a regular macbook keyboard and using a touchscreen...

    BTW battery life is pretty amazing for such a small device with retina display... and its so portable and light...
     
  4. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

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    #4
    Obviously go try them out. I had to make this decision last week for my work laptop and I went with the 13" Air, 8GB/256GB for the same price as the new MacBook really. For me it came down to the ports. I need gigabit ethernet, I need multiple USB 3.0, and the SD card is a nicety. I work IT so I'm using ethernet to troubleshoot and connect to the server and such since the WiFi is about half the speed.

    At home I use a 13" rMBP and I love it. I'd say I prefer it over this Air because of the display and HDMI port. But for work I needed as little weight and as much battery life as possible when working around campus. So I chose Air. It was close with the new MacBook but I just couldn't do it with the lack of ports. I also use VMs and the fan helps keep the CPU running full speed without throttling, but the MB shouldn't have any issues with VMs even since my '08 MB ran them fine with half the power.

    In your case, if you aren't plugging it in to much, I'd probably just go with the new MacBook since it's the newest design and has a beautiful display. In my case I did what was best for the situation. I'd love to own a new MacBook sometime down the line, maybe by revision 2 or 3 USB-C will be more popular and easier to get adapters.
     
  5. Skylitfly macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Get the rMB. It's far superior to MBA.

    Thinner, lighter, smaller, fanless, retina display and usb-c.

    I bet you'll regret if you go with the MBA.
     
  6. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #6
    If your going got spend a lot of time behind the screen, Retina is a distinct advantage, more to the point IPS. If the rMB performance is a doubt consider the 13" Retina MacBook Pro, it`s a real workhorse as from way your describing you will be relatively static for extended periods of time (assumption) in that scenario absolute ultra portability may not be such a pressing priority, a point worth considering.

    Q-6
     
  7. newellj macrumors 601

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    #7
    This ^^^. Consider also that the rMBP is 8 square inches smaller in footprint than the MBA and weighs only half a pound more.
     
  8. polee, Jun 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015

    polee macrumors 6502a

    polee

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    #8
    I have both RMB 12 and MBA 11. I have to say that MBA 11 (2013) is my all time favourite because it has useful ports, a long battery life and a good-travel keyboard. Also it feels like an all round solid notebook: trusty, tough and dependable. I have had it for two years with very little issues.

    However the RMB 12 does not rate far behind. It is lighter than the MBA 11, has a retina display, a reasonable battery life, and an interesting keyboard which is very usable but takes some getting used to. The lack of ports may irk you, likewise, the lack of travel for the keys on the new keyboard.

    Like the rest have said, try the both of them out at a brick and mortar store. Then let your head and your heart decide.
     
  9. newellj macrumors 601

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    #9
    Good advice, though head and heart may come to the conclusion that they really would have preferred some from column A and some from column B, rather than exactly what's offered. :) "Interesting" is a great word to use for that keyboard!
     
  10. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #10
    Interesting, certainly, definitely a one of a kind.

    Q-6
     
  11. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    #11
    I don't know if you're the type of person that gets an "argh, must have" when Apple releases larger updates to products.

    That happened to me with the first four or five MacBook Air updates. They were all (to me) decent upgrades in either increase in performance or a redesign (add more ports, switch to SSD as standard, add 512GB SSD option, add backlit keyboard, etc), so it was a yearly thing for me to sell my old Air and buy the new one. I stopped that in 2012, and have been using that model ever since, as it's been fast enough for me (both in terms of processor and SSD).

    I'd imagine the new rMB will track similarly, so if that's something that might bug you, ... :)
     
  12. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #12
    But the MBA will outperform the rMB any day. That may not matter depending on what the OP will be doing.
     
  13. js2704 macrumors member

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    May 20, 2015
    #13
    Provided your usage is light, I'd go with the RMB. I'm typing this on mine, and I haven't fallen in love with a computer like this since I bought my first ever Mac, which was also a 12" - the 1.5 12" G4 Powerbook. I won't be running Handbrake on it, that's for sure, but it's an astonishing computing experience - the lid opens beautifully, the screen is perfect, it's fast enough and the keyboard is great once you're used to it. I had sore fingers after the first day but worked out that I was typing too hard; now it's fine - weirdly halfway between a keyboard and an iPad. In fact, it feels like the iPad I always wanted - I haven't picked up my iPad since getting this thing.

    I have an old 8 core Mac Pro 5.1 which I'm gradually pimping (32GB RAM, couple of SSDs, booting off a PCIE SM951 - just need to up the graphics card and the processors and I'm done!) so that does any heavy lifting like Handbrake or big photo library merges as well as being the home server. If you need something that might do big stuff from time to time you really might want to think about a 13" RMBP.
     
  14. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    May I ask, do you also have a conventional mac keyboard? Another macbook perhaps, or an apple bluetooth keyboard?

    If yes, my question is, when you switch back and forth between the rMB kb and a classic apple keyboard, does it take time to adjust? As if I bought the rMB, even if I got used to the keyboard, when I get home and start using the apple bluetooth keyboard, I'm afraid I'll never get fully accustomed to the rMB and it'll be a massive waste of a purchase.
     
  15. newellj macrumors 601

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    #15
    Except that during most of every day no one is going to notice. For the tasks it was designed for - word processing, spreadsheets of reasonable size, web browsing, garden variety photo/graphics work - it will be fine, and it will do it with a retina display in a really small, light physical format. People who really need to blast electrons and pixels around would probably be better off with an rMBP. I think the distinctive points that favor the MBA at this point are cost and pure battery life (the latter at the expense of display quality and CPU power).
     
  16. newellj macrumors 601

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    #16
    I found myself unable to adjust to the rMB keyboard and yes, going back and forth with a rMBP keyboard and the Apple Wireless (BlueTooth) keyboard drove me nuts. YMMV - others get along with it fine, and I think I'm in the minority.
     
  17. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

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    #17
    I agree and that's why I said it may not matter to the OP.

    I'm a huge fan of the rMB. Many on this forum have proved it's more capable than most give it credit for. However, I still think the MBA is a better all around computer at this point.

    I also think the current Core M will be phased out sooner.
     
  18. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #18
    "Better" or "superior" is a relative term. Thinner and lighter is not better than thicker and more connectivity by default. It depends on the user.

    I would go with the rMB only if the Core M can handle what you will be doing specifically. It would be wise to consider if you need external support as well. The rMB is kind of crippled in this department, sans carrying around quite a few adapters, or an eventual hub.

    I would get a MBA personally. Not sure what "light work" entails specifically, but do you really need a retina panel for this? I think the MBA would be better suited for a work environment. It has much more connectivity and hardware that is less likely to bottleneck your workflow if you choose to do anything beyond light work.
     
  19. polee macrumors 6502a

    polee

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    #19
    I have an apple bluetooth keyboard and also the rMB12. I find that my fingers can adapt to typing on both keyboards. I don't prefer one over the other. My fingers have adapted.

    The larger keys on the rMB make my typing more accurate. Initially, I had to take some time to adjust the rMB keyboard, the lack of travel was "weird" to say the least. However, like I have said, I am now indifferent between the two. That's my personal experience at this point.
     
  20. Eric8199 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 27, 2009
    #20
    I've never understood the obsession with IPS displays. Do you not adjust the display to be the best possible angle when you use a computer anyway? Having better viewing angles from the edges only really is improving the screen for those sitting next to you spying on what you are doing rather than yourself.

    That being said, based on the OP's use case, I would HIGHLY recommend the rMB. I had the exact same dilemma as you, and I went with the rMB after playing with the two for a bit in the Apple Store. After moving to the retina display when the first rMBP was introduced, I went from "I'm only getting the computer for the SSD, the lightness and the power, I could care less about the display" to "holy crap, my eyes are bleeding because I'm not looking at a retina display."

    On a smaller display, the retina display takes a lot of the strain off your eyes because you're looking at a crisp, clear picture rather than something that is pixelated and blurry. I really would have preferred everything about the MBA over the MB, minus the r. If the MBA was retina, it would be a no-brainer. But because you have to go rMB to get the retina, that's the direction I went. Retina supersedes ports, and I do a lot of photography and thus use SD cards and external hard drives frequently. Still prefer the rMB.
     
  21. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #21
    The rMB will performs extremely well thanks to the "burst" nature of the Core M and new SSD, equally those with usage/workflows that demand sustained heavy computational loads should think twice as the current rMB is not designed for this type of workload, as the system will and does throttle to remain within it`s thermal envelope.

    Typical Office productivity workloads, the rMB flies, being "snappy" and pleasing to use. Keyboard is very different to any other portable

    Q-6
    It`s not an obsession, it`s simply improved technology. If you spend significant time behind a display IPS & HiDPI will reduce eye fatigue considerably, nothing more complex than that. For many the display is the last thing they consider when purchasing a new Notebook, however it`s one of it `s most defining features and once you move to IPS + HiDPI, going back to a SD TN display, is painful at best...

    Q-6
     
  22. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    To be honest, I find my eyes are more strained when using my 13 rMBP compared to my 11 Air. Could just be a weird thing though.
     
  23. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #23
    Cant comment on that, maybe an adjustment thing. I spend a hell of a time on reading and writing heavyweight technical documents & schematics, for me the Retina Display made a huge difference in eye fatigue.

    YMMV and it looks too :)

    Q-6
     
  24. metier macrumors member

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    #24
    I agree go try both. I have the rMB a rMBP 15 and I had a 2011 13 inch air (that I gave to my daughter when I got the rMB). With these old eyes I just had trouble reading on the air screen. I switch between the pro and MB and do not really have any issues switching between keyboards.

    The only issue I have with the rMB keyboard is accidentally turning on the caps lock key. You can go into the keyboard preferences and turn off the cap lack key, but I'm waiting to see if I stop hitting it with more use of the rMB.

    As far as ports either one you're going to have dongles hanging off the machine. I don't think it really matters wether you have 3 dongles hanging off 3 ports or if you have 3 dongles hanging off 1 port.

    Most of my work is with Cisco gear so a lot of terminal sessions and some RDP or web sessions to servers, so I'm not taxing any of the machines. But the more I use the rMB the more I like it.

    I used the air mostly at night while sitting on the couch web browsing, email, and remote access to do some work after hours. This was the intended use of the rMB but I'm leaning more to it also replacing the rMBP.
     
  25. placidity44 macrumors 6502

    placidity44

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    #25
    I'd personally go with a rMB...but it's a tough choice. I can certainly discern the difference between the screens but the extra battery life you'd get from the 13 would make that a non factor for me with trade offs. The rMB is no slouch even though it may appear so on paper. It's a phenomenal machine. I'd test out both models at an apple store or best buy nearby and see if you like the keyboard and trackpad of the rMB. You really can't go wrong either way though.
     

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