rMBP + Thunderbolt Display, any users?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Maciah, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. Maciah macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2014
    Hi everyone!

    I'm an iOS app designer looking for some insight on what my next computer should be.

    I have a MacBook Air 13" connected with a 27" Thunderbolt Display, that is my daily workstation and it works great.

    The Thunderbolt Display is a must, I just can do actual work on the air by itself, I might do small things like email, some front-end coding, but when it comes to design I do 100% of it on the Display.

    Now, for the months I've been wondering if I should get the rMBP. A lot of designers say that "once you go retina, you never go back" and I think is 100% true is the laptop is your entire workstation.

    I'm worried that having a retina display (rMBP 13") connected to a non-retina (Display 27") won't be the best idea as my eyes will be battling around with 2 different resolutions. I would bet that things won't look very good on the external display once you see them on a retina one.

    So my question; Is there any rMBP + Thunderbolt Display user who can share his/her experience? Do you see significant difference from dragging one window from the rMBP to the Display?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I have/had the exact same setup so can give you some insight.

    I had a 13" MBA attached to my TBD and was very happy with that. I could tell a big difference between the resolution (particularly text) between the MBA and the TBD, with the TBD being much much clearer. I used it that way about two years.

    I bought the new 2014 13" rMBP when it came out six weeks ago and have been using that with the TBD primarily, and when traveling on the Retina screen by itself. If you lean forward close to the TBD, you can tell the text resolution is not as good as the Retina, but leaning back in a normal seating position there is not much difference at all. The way I sit if I extend my arm straight out my fingertip is about an inch from the TBD. Of course when using the Retina the screen sits much closer, so I think this compensates for much of the noticeable difference.

    I just came back from four days lout of town using only the Retina and am now home on the TBD and I can tell the difference, but I don't feel at all like "Ackkk... this TBD is horrible."

    I don't think you will be bothered by it at all.
  3. Maciah thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2014
    Hi Weaselboy,

    Thanks for the insight, just what I was looking for.

    Comparing your previous setup (MBA + TBD) with the new one (rMBP + TBD), Do you think is worth the upgrade?

    Also, considering that you had the setup I currently have, and now using the one I what, couple of more questions:

    1) Do you find that the rMBP is considerable heavier than the MBA? Or just for the first days?

    2) Do you find the battery on the rMBP goes to 0% faster than the Air?

    Thanks in advance, you are helping me a lot in this matter.

  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    If you use it as a portable a lot (not attached to the TBD), yes the screen is really nice and a big improvement over the MBA screen and worth it.

    Yes, I do notice the increased weight. If you are carrying it around say in a brief case all day you will definitely notice the difference. I mostly carry it into a hotel room and set it up and leave it there, so weight is not much of an issue for me.

    It will depend of course on your usage pattern, but the battery life is noticeable less. With the Air I could use it all day (seven to eight hours) and still have three hours battery life showing. I get about the advertised eight to nine on the Retina. Plenty for my usage though.
  5. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    My rMBP display is only for use in the field. When I am home, I use the ATD. Nothing substitutes for a large IPS screen. So while the Retina screen is nice in the field.....give me a large high res monitor every time.
  6. FuNGi macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
    I regularly use a 15" rMBP and a 24" ACD at work. I think the ACD has the same resolution as the Thunderbolt version. I notice the difference and have taken to using the laptop in front of and below the ACD so that the ACD sits further away from me. I prefer to use the retina screen for text and have a hard time switching over to anything but for more than a few moments. Video's, photo's, and graphical interfaces I have less issues with on the ACD.
    If I were you I'd keep your current set up for awhile longer. Only consider retina when you need an upgrade, then consider either the retina air (if you want to keep a small screen) or the 15" rMBP.
  7. LxHunter macrumors 6502

    Nov 14, 2010
    Very interesting discussion.
    At work the guys writing code almost all use MBP's and the Apple 27 Thunderbolt display.
    I used to use iMAC but went to MacBooks for portability. I do mostly financial work like financials, Excel, and documents, Word.
    I recently purchased rMPB 15 - decided the convenience, and no need to have large monitors at office and home office, were worth the extra weight in my bag. In fact removed junk and gadgets from my laptop bag, so at about break- even weight. So far working well. Love the retina screen and don't miss the larger screen. Maybe if I come into big bucks will buy updated Apple Thunderbolt displays one day.

    PS - the Air is close to the nearly perfect invisible computer. Had the 11 and gave my 13 to my daughter.

Share This Page