rMB vs. MBP vs. iPad Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by tick.tock, Sep 27, 2015.


Best Device for General Use

  1. 12" Retina MacBook

    27 vote(s)
  2. iPad Pro

    8 vote(s)
  3. 15" MacBook Pro (keep what I've got)

    10 vote(s)
  1. tick.tock macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2015
    Currently, I am using a mid-2014 15" Retina MacBook Pro and the machine is great. That said, I kind of resent the amount of money it cost and the lack of portability. I am always nervous carrying it around and afraid it will get bumped, dropped, stolen, etc. It's not a $1000 machine, it's a $3,000 machine. I am thinking of selling the MBP (and taking the monetary hit) and rotating into either a Retina MacBook or waiting for the new iPad Pro. Here is what I like, and what I don't like about each.

    Retina MacBook:
    - Concerned about the speed and battery life of the computer. Worried that both have been too compromised in the name of lightness.
    - Like the lightness, lack of ports, and love the retina display.
    - Wish it came in a 14" size with longer battery life.
    - I like that it runs full OS X.
    - I prefer the iPad Pro format for walking around, using it at airports, restaurants, etc. I never liked using a laptop on my lap. An iPad always felt more natural while "out and about".

    - Excellent portability, but I feel like it might be too small and too slow. For its size, I would rather carry around an iPad Pro.

    MacBook Pro:
    - Advantage: already have it, money is sunk.
    - No Force-Touch trackpad :(
    - Plenty of power, storage, etc.
    - Too heavy and I am always concerned about "bumping" into things, sliding it around, etc. For the money I spent on it, I am just really not at ease carrying it around. For what it's worth, I would never buy a 13" MacBook Pro.
    - Too small for using in a permanent desk configuration. Too small for a desk, too big for portability. Ugh.
    - I like that it runs full OS X.

    - Wonderful computer, but portability is frustrating and I am disappointed in the amount of money I spent on it.

    iPad Pro:
    - Beautiful display, wonderful size.
    - Perfect for carrying around, flipping it open to google something quickly, etc. It is the king in terms of portability.
    - Big disadvantage: does not run full OS X. There is not much I need from full OS X, although I am concerned about document and file storage. There's iCloud Drive, but I am still not 100% sold on it.

    Am I just being crazy here? Should I just keep what I have and forget about the MacBook and iPad? I do not want to have multiple devices. I have no need for an iPad if I have a MacBook and no need for a MacBook if I have a MacBook Pro. I guess it is a case of buyers remorse (a year later), but I am not really sure what I would buy if I did not have anything.

    What should I do?
  2. Nebrie macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2002
    You forgot the most important part: what do you actually do with your machine? What do you use it for?
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    What apps will you be running? How are you going to be using the machines.

    Spending more money out of fear of getting the 15" MBP stolen doesn't seem like a good idea. Why not change your usage habits to decrease any possible risk.

    Why did you get the 15" machine in the first place and will the 12" MB be able to handle those tasks? Likewise for the iPad Pro.
  4. throAU, Sep 28, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015

    throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    What are you (realistically) using the machine for?

    If its basic web browsing, occasional photo/video editing and general "stuff" the rMB will be fine. The MBP will be overkill in both price, weight and lack of portability.

    If you ARE doing stuff like regular video editing, professional audio, etc. then maybe the Pro will suit you better.

    Not sure why you're so set against the 13" rMBP - personally I think it's a far better deal than the rMB; it's similarly priced, far more connectivity, way stronger CPU and is "light enough" - but YMMV - it isn't the shiny new sexy super-thin thing but by no means is it non-portable.

    The 'wish it came in 14" size with better battery life' desire you have for the rMB is almost filled by the 13" rMBP - it's just slightly thicker with more ports.
  5. robin0627 macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2012
    I also owe a 15" rMBP but I am looking for something more portable. Yes, the 13" rMBP seems to be a better deal in terms of the number of ports it has and its processing power. But I don't think 128 GB storage would be enough for me as the 256 GB SSD on my MBP is almost full and it's too expensive to upgrade the storage to 512 GB. The rMB is a more affordable option if I want more storage.
  6. nightlong macrumors 6502a


    Jun 16, 2012
    For my purposes and priorities the 13" MBP is a perfect laptop ... And that is the point .. What are your priorities?
    I love iPads and use them a lot, but I can't do without a computer, for many things but most importantly some apps, like Scrivener, and for the ports.

    I'm a writer and the screen size is important (13" is small enough, only just big enough, for me).

    The weight is fine .. But then I don't have to carry it around for hours. I would never be without an iPad, but even the iPad Pro can't be my only machine.
  7. mtneer macrumors 68030


    Sep 15, 2012
    I don't know. Spending more money on a (slight?) chance of your current MBP does not sound like a good deal to me. If you are in a high crime neighborhood or country, I would look into buying an insurance policy for such happenings. Unless you are craving a new machine and want us to justify that purchase - I think the prudent choice is to keep working on your (paid off) machine and get a new one when the current one stops working.
  8. RUGGLES99 macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2015
    Dont think you are missing anything by not having force touch. I have found the new touch pad to be a pain to deal with. Force touch is just a gimmick and i find the touch pad in general to be inferior to the NORMAL mac tp.
  9. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    Yes you are being crazy! All 3 machines are expensive. None of them are cheap so stop worrying about bumping into things and enjoy what you have.
  10. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I think you underestimate the performance and battery life of the Macbook. Unless you are doing fairly CPU-intensive work, the rMB will be surprisingly fast, and I would be very, very surprised if it does not net you better battery life than your current Pro.

    iPad vs. rMB is a matter of which form-factor you prefer. The iPad pro will be large enough that I think that most of that 'convenience' factor you cite when out and about will be lost. I have a Surface Pro 3 in addition to my rMB and the iPad Pro is even bigger (area-wise) than the Surface. It's a big device to use as a tablet when mobile. I still have my iPad Air 2 and yes, that is the device I often use on the airplane, but the genius of the Macbook is that it feels a lot like an iPad that you use like a laptop. I pull it out for casual use in most of the places where I used to go to my iPad. It's a marvelous mobile device. If you feel like you want an iPad that runs OS X, the rMB is your device.
  11. boltjames macrumors 601


    May 2, 2010

    Great post. My setup is:

    Dell Notebook: Powerful work-provided computer, sits under my desk in a docking station, never leaves the office.

    Retina MacBook: Personal purchase, best-in-class size/weight, use situationally when I travel.

    iPad Air II: Personal purchase, use it primarily for media when I travel on planes, in hotels, etc.

    So if budget is not a big object, there's a case for the OP to own a Pro, an RMB, and an iPad.

  12. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    How long have you used it for? Personally after using it for a while and also keeping my old macbook with the non-force touch trackpad i prefer force touch in every way. The click is the same on every area of the pad for a start... much less effort required to click and drag. Never mind future UI stuff that will use the pressure sensitivity.
  13. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    Im struggling with the same type of decision. I want a good "family-all-around" laptop. The rMBP seems to be the no brainer choice but its also the priciest. Love to make the MacBook work but its semi-wimpy specs and extremt "lightness" concerns me. Not sure about the ports but that problem appears to be over-stated.

    The iPad pro also is quite intriguing with more oomph than the MB but much more portable than the rMBP. But - touch screen ONLY with a keyboard attached? Weird setup, IMO.

    Hmmm.....???? :)
  14. Montymitch macrumors regular


    Feb 16, 2009
    I'm on a 15" and totally get what you're saying. It's an expensive machine that makes me nervous to take out in public. I'm starting to lean towards a Surface since anything I can do on the go can easily be handled by it.
  15. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    But would spending 1,000 on a new device allay those fears. I mean if you're nervous about taking a 2,000 dollar laptop out and about, wouldn't you be nervous about taking a 1,000 dollar device?

    I understand what you're getting at, but spending around 1,000 dollars on something just be sure your current laptop isn't stolen doesn't seem like the best solution to the problem. Just my $.02
  16. shifomu macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2014
    Just to add my two cents:

    I recently just moved from a 2012 MacBook Pro Retina 15 Inch to a 1.2/512GB 12 inch and I am extremely happy with the decision, but that's because it does exactly what I want it to do. We don't know what you're doing with your laptop so until then we can't really help haha.

    I dual boot mine between OSX and Windows 10. I use Windows 10 at work as I am a System administrator/IT Support in a windows environment and switch to OS X when at home/leisure. I haven't run into any real power limitation issues and for day to day stuff like internet browsing, RDP, Outlook/word/excel/pdf and that sort of thing I cannot tell the difference between the 12 inch and the 15 inch rMBP. There is the occasional stutter in windows 10 that i wouldn't see on my 2012 rMBP but i can't tell if that's a software issue or hardware limitation. For example in this reply when I am typing there is a significant delay between my key press and the text appearing, however scrolling up and down the page is at 60fps so it's kinda weird.

    Battery life isn't as good as the 2012 rMBP but still great. I get roughly 6 and a half hours from 100% to 0%. Where as my 2012 rMBP would get around 7 and a half.

    Single port - I may be swimming up stream here when I say this but I actually love it. At work I plug my rMB into a monitor and keep the lid closed. Being able to put just one cable in for my Ethernet, keyboard, mouse and display is awesome.

    The build quality is exceptional and the space grey is perfect (darker than the iPhone) I literally have one eye on my monitor and one eye looking at the laptop as it is so good looking! (sad to call a laptop good looking I know haha)

    The screen is noticeably better than the '2012 rMBP. I wouldn't go as far to say it's significant as they are both great to look at but the black levels on the rMB seem better and the contrast for sure is better. It also appears to be more saturated.

    Keyboard - It took a few days to get used to but now I probably couldn't go back.

    Force touch - At first I thought it was a gimmick and wasn't completely sold but now i really quite like it, it is really well done and like the keyboard it took a few days to adjust too but now i probably couldn't go back. It just needs more support in different applications.

    Portability - This is what really sold it for me, it's so light i can take it anywhere and has improved my productivity.

    I am 200% satisfied with my switch. Like you I was skeptical at first but I'm glad I did it. Whilst this may be a strong statement I truly believe this is the best product since the iPhone back in 2007.

    I hope that clears things up :)
  17. ssls6 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 7, 2013

    TL/DR: I use tools to do jobs. The nature of the job dictates the proper tool. For you I'd look at a 13" MacBook Air

    That said, I have an old MacPro 5,1 at home and I do video conversion on it for my libraries. It is designed to run wide open for days if needed without heat killing it (I've often queued up enough jobs to run for 12-18 hours stints).

    I have a MBPro 15" like yours for work. I don't like carrying it but it is powerful enough for the work I do there and I don't game or do any type of job that cause it to run hot for hours. Hot for minutes yes but not hours. I could have gotten by with a 13" model but since I try not to carry it the size isn't a big deal.

    I had a 13" MacBook Air which I think is the most awesome travel laptop ever made. That thing is light, lasts for 10 hours on battery, has ports. The biggest gripe I had with it is the lack of LTE built in because most "free" wifi sucks and hotel wifi sucks, and airport wifi sucks.....

    Lastly, I have a iPhone and iPad Air which has unlimited LTE data. I rely on this a lot when traveling because of the LTE. Apps are actually pretty good now for business and entertainment has always been a strong point.

    My solution is to sell the MB Air (already sold) and the iPad Air for a iPad Pro. The reason? to use my LTE. That makes it the right tool for traveling and its big enough to not need the 13" MB Air. A compromise for sure but one that will lighten my load and simplify travels.

    You don't mention LTE as a big care-about so in your case I would look hard at the 13" MacBook Air. It really is a great notebook for weight, power, price, & flexibility. Buy it refurbished from apple or on sale. I know what you mean about traveling with the 15" MB Pro. It's pretty heavy.
  18. tock.tick macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2015
    Okay, I will try to respond to each of you individually. Sorry about the switch in username, but I'm not able to get into my original account.

    Realistically, usual computer things - word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, etc. The only third party software I am using is MATLAB, but it's usage will fall drastically once my dissertation is finished. I have an office computer that I use primarily for my research.

    Got the 15" because of the screen. I wanted a Retina display and the only options were the 13" and 15" MacBook Pro's at the time. The 12" Retina MacBook was not announced, yet. I sold my 2011 13" MacBook Air, so I saw no need to get the 13" MacBook Pro. The only thing I am concerned with the iPad Pro is the usability factor. No filesystem, character input, etc. No MATLAB is not a deal breaker, but I am starting to think the 12" RMB is edging out the iPad Pro.

    Yep. As stated previously, the 12" rMB did not exist when I was making this decision previously.

    No reason to sell my 15" for a 13", in my opinion. There is no reason to downsize my computer, pay more, for less features and the same portability issues.

    Yeah, a family member has the 13" MBP and I see no advantage (for me) to go from a 15" MBP to a 13". I loved carrying around the iPad when I had one, which is why I was considering the iPad Pro.

    Yeah, still considering this option. It certainly seems the most reasonable.

    Yeah, I was just thinking of the store models I have used. Compared to my MBP, I have noticed extra "delay" when opening applications and just extra hesitation. Maybe this was just the store model, though.

    This is the way I am leaning with the iPad vs rMB.

    Glad I'm not the only one. :)

    Well, all said and done, I would have a rMB and probably $600 cash.

    Thanks for your comments. This is the way I am leaning as well. I actually love the single port as well.

    In retrospect, I never should have sold my 13" MBA. That said, now that I have and have been using the MBP for the last year, I just cannot go back to a non-retina display. It hurts my eyes.

    At this point, I am thinking of picking up the Retina MacBook. I might wait until the next generation is released, sell my MBP, and make the switch then. I think we are mid-cycle for the rMB.

Share This Page

17 September 27, 2015