rMBP or MBA (13") for iPad replacement? (re: couch usage/light gaming)

What should I do?

  • Buy a Retina Macbook Pro (rMBP, 13")

    Votes: 10 62.5%
  • Buy a Macbook Air (MBA, 13")

    Votes: 3 18.8%
  • You're crazy, keep the iPad Air

    Votes: 3 18.8%

  • Total voters


macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 5, 2008
I've had every iPad model and currently have the iPad Air but I've always been a PC guy and find myself limited on the iPad when I want to edit some photographs or play some indie PC games, etc.

So... I'm thinking about selling my iPad Air and getting a Macbook. I already have a large gaming PC, so this laptop would mostly be used on the couch and upstairs (since my office/gaming PC is in the basement and I have kids so I don't get much time down there!).

I've tested a Macbook Air and Retina Macbook Pro (13") and I'm completely torn. The rMBP has such an amazing screen and is beyond beautiful when looking at webpages and text, but it has several issues with "non-retina" content. For example, many applications looked terrible compared to the Macbook Air. Games often display incorrectly (i.e. super-tiny UI elements) or blurry compared to native resolution on the Macbook Air.

However... I'm torn because of the screen on the rMBP.

Can anybody give me any advice?

Here a summary of how I'll be using it:
  • iPad replacement (web surfing, light computing tasks)
  • 80% couch usage, 20% on a table (I don't travel at all either)
  • Light gaming including the new Steam In-Home Streaming (big reason)
  • Will be used as my "upstairs" PC when I'm away from my basement gaming PC

The rMBP looks perfect using scaled desktop resolutions, but it's the gaming resolutions (even 1280x800) that look very blurry compared to the Macbook Air native resolution. If the rMBP looked just as good as the Macbook Air using scaled resolution I wouldn't think twice about it...


May 8, 2011
Los Angeles
13 inches rMBP is not an iPad replacement so you might want to buy MBA 13 inches instead...The battery is so good than rMBP. Playing light games does not need retina display anyway. :apple:


macrumors 65816
Aug 2, 2008
I replaced my iPad Air with the 13" rMBP mainly because I wanted to be able to code on the couch. If you are used to the retina screen of the iPad you'd want to get as high resolution you can on the computer. It is also awesome to be able to fit more on the screen on the rMBP.

Either way it does what the iPad does just quicker and better while also opening the door to do way more. The footprint of the rMBP is actually smaller than the 13" MBA, it is just a bit thicker and heavier which doesn't really matter since you rest a laptop on something while using it. When my wife saw my 13" rMBP she wanted one to replace her 13" MBA that was way overdue for a replacement, so now we have two 13" rMBPs in the household.


Staff member
May 3, 2009
Because of the screen, I'd opt for the rMBP over the MBA. If you're looking for battery life the MBA is the choice.