Should I get the Macbook Retina 12"?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by pmouritz, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. pmouritz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #1
    Hi all!

    So currently I'm on my Macbook Pro 15" Retina medio 2012 with 16 GB RAM and 256 GB hard drive. I bought this back in 2012 while I was still gaming WoW and D3 but since then I've stopped gaming on my computer entirely. Now I'm using it for university and for work only. I'm an engineering student and I have completed all the advanced mathematics courses and such, so I won't be needing power for simulations in Maple, MatLab etc.. Al though it might occur that I have to use programs like these in the future on my masters but only for brief calculations.
    I don't use the power of my rMPB anymore since I'm mostly doing word processing, web browsing and at non-intensive tasks at my work as an IT consultant.
    Now I have the opportunity to sell my (beloved) rMPB which have made me very happy during the last 3.2 years and put the same money into a Macbook 12" 1.2 GHz and 512 GB hard drive. The reason why I'm considering this is to get a more portable laptop, better battery life and new warranty. My rMBP currently has 88% battery capacity and is doing about 6-7 hours with my usage.
    I can't seem to decide whether or not this is a good idea. I'll lose the larger screen and power but gain a lot more portability and hopefully more battery life (maybe also the opportunity to buy a battery pack). All the fuzz about the one port doesn't really bother me since I never use my ports. I would get the AV adapter to connect to an external monitor and keep it in my back at all times. I only use USB ports once or twice a year since Dropbox and Onedrive takes care of all my file transfer and my iCloud storage takes care of photos and such. Also I'm not doing any hardcore photo/video editing or any form of gaming.

    I already tried out a 1.1 GHz Macbook in the Apple store running multiple Safari windows with lots of tabs and a variety of apps plus multiple desktops with apps. It didn't seem use more than 20-35% CPU and wasn't getting too hot nor did it get slow. So it was very pleasent to see since my only concern is that it's too slow even for my low to middle intense usage.

    So what do you think? Would you make a switch from a 15" powerhouse to a feather-light 12"?

    I've also considered waiting for Skylake update sometime next year but by that time the rMBP line will probably also get an upgrade, meaning the value of my current rMBP will fall exponentially. Furthermore, I feel like a direct swap between my 3.2 year old rMBP to a brand new rMB is a smart choice, since it won't feel like I'm losing anything on it.

    Feel free to share your opinions on the new Macbook or if you have any good/bad experiences!
     
  2. MDMacGuy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2015
    #2
    I'm in a very different situation, but facing the same decision. I bought the 15" rMBP when it first came out because I wanted a computer that I could still be using many years later. Three of those many years later, I have a still-very-functional computer that I use to do word processing and web browsing and email that I'm, quite frankly, sick of lugging back and forth to work, on trips, etc.

    I've had Mac notebooks ever since the original PB12 came out, and have pretty consistently alternated between the smallest form factor available and the biggest powerhouse available, always delighted with what I gain in my new computer that I didn't have in my previous computer, but eventually frustrated with what I gave up.

    If the rMB gets a speed bump -- or, God forbid, a 1TB SSD option -- in the next week or two, I'm going with the best BTO version they make; otherwise, I'm stepping off this merry go-round and getting a fully optioned 13" rMBP.
     
  3. whg macrumors regular

    whg

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #3
    Hi,
    I really like my Macbook 1.2GHz for its mobility. It is faster than the Macbook Air 11" 2013 that it replaced and the screen is much better. BUT, in the office I prefer to work on my 27" iMac 2011 3.4GHz. If I were only allowed one computer, it would probably be the Macbook Pro 15". I also have the first generation retina 2012 model. In the train it is a little bit too big, and at the office it is a little bit too small, but also too big on my desk to hook it up to the iMac (or any other device) as an external display.

    Sometimes I really need a quad core processor for parallel processing of intensive model calculations, therefore I couldn't work with only the Macbook 1.2GHz. Sometimes, both my iMac and the Macbook 15" are busy with such model calculations and then I use the small Macbook for e-mail and the rest of my workload. After some time I get used to the small screen and performance was almost never a problem, e.g. using Lightroom with 16 MByte RAW files (Panasonic GH4), but I can feel that it's slower than what I'm used to with the iMac.

    If you don't need the performance of 4 cores, then the Macbook 1.2GHz could work well for you, especially if you use an external display at home/office. There are some positive reports elsewhere on this forum. Personally, I wouldn't trade my 15" for the 12" as my only computer.
     
  4. s2mikey macrumors 68020

    s2mikey

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Location:
    Upstate, NY
    #4
    As long as you are OK with the reduced performance you should be fine. The Pros are work-horses. The new MacBook is light, svelt, stylish. Its not "weak" but its a far cry from a powerhouse.
     
  5. iBilal macrumors regular

    iBilal

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    #5
    I'm in a similar situation .. I have a MacBook Pro 15 inch .. and use my laptop for non-intensive stuff .. basically web-browsing, research and word processing .. the thing with me is that I need a lot of screen "real estate" .. and while the MacBook is gorgeous and all, I'm worried the 12" screen would be too small .. I don't want to sell this laptop .. I want to get another more portable machine with a retina display and the screen real estate .. the 13" MBP Pro would just be the same laptop, but I know it's much better value for money .. I don't like the Airs .. their screens seems washed out and I can't stand non-retina machines .. so it's either the MacBook or the 13" rMBP .. sighh ..
     
  6. boltjames macrumors 68030

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #6
    Yes, do it, I did.

    If you're not going to use all the processing and ports that add weight to your notebook, don't pay for them and by all means don't drag them around. As a student, this is the perfect time to be feather-light and mobile. The RMB is the only MacBook you can carry in a backpack without realizing its even there.

    And, as you know, Apple has a 14-day return policy. Buy one today, load it up, see how it suits your needs. You can press the undo button if it doesn't meet expectations.

    BJ
     
  7. questioner76 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    #7
    I was in the exact same boat. Pulled the trigger and sold my 2012 15" retina and bought the 12" MacBook. Love it so far. I really didn't need the power of the 15" and it got heavy after 3 years.

     
  8. pmouritz thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #8
    First of all, great answers! Thanks a lot for that, it's really nice to get some actual input from people in situations different or equal to mine.

    I kind of feel the same way since a speed bump would be needed if it had to compete with the 13" rMBP. I don't use that much storage but I see why that can be an obstacle. Two weeks ago I was sure that I would be getting a smaller rMBP too but now I'm all over the new Macbook because of its ultra lightness. Since I tested it at the store I think it would also suit my needs properly but I still haven't decided yet.

    This is also again as MDMacGuy said a general problem with using the rMB as primarily computer. The lack of power but to be honest I think that in my current situation I will be able to accept the less power for the portability. I never use the 4 cores that my rMBP is capable of. I like the idea of an extremely portable laptop on the go and a powerhouse workstation at home. So the perfect setup in my head would be an iMac 27" and rMP hehe.

    Indeed it is.. The perfect computer would be a rMPB 13" in the rMB thinness and weight in my opinion. I doubt that my daily usage will be too much to handle for the rMB but I still worry. I will go to the store again to day to do some more testing.

    Exactly! The 13" rMBP would just be the same laptop.. It's the same design just smaller and if you carry them in your hand, you can't really feel the difference in weight. I haven't tried to do a comparison in a bag but I've been standing with my 15" and my roommates 13" and they both feel kind of dense compared to the rMB. But no doubt that at the current market the 13" rMBP is the best value for money if you don't like Airs. Al though I recommended my sister to buy an Air because it suits her needs and price tage. I'm a giant tech geek and would gladly pay the extra bucks for an rMB if it suits my needs. And frankly I don't think I'll even need the power of an 13" rMBP which makes this decision more towards the rMB.

    I had the exact same thought! In 2 and a half year when I'm done with my education, I will no longer have to sit in crammed up rooms listening to lectures with no space for a 15". It's now that I'm on the go constantly carrying around the weight of my 15" without even using the larger screen no the extra ports. I would just love a Macbook at 0.92 kg instead of the 2.04 kg. I might as well use the return policy - that's actually a really good idea, I hadn't really thought of that.

    I'm really glad to see someone in the same position! Now I see that it's not that odd to want to switch out your 15" for a 12" which otherwise seems backwards to want a smaller screen. But again as you, I never use the power and prior to the last 3 years my 15" has gone from the most awesome, thin and light laptop you could imagine to a heavy and large brick compared to my fellow students with their Airs and 13" rMBPs.
     
  9. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #9
    Just one other point to assure you. Over the last couple of years I've moved away entirely from larger notebooks - for both work and home. I used to think that 13-14" was really the minimum size that would give me the workspace I was comfortable with, but high resolution screens have changed all that. I now think that 12" is the perfect combination of adequate workspace and mobility. I have worked out of the office for months at a time on my Surface Pro 3 and not felt like I was at a serious disadvantage. Because of how sharp these screens are I'm able to run at higher resolutions than I often had on my 14" laptops.
     
  10. Max(IT) Suspended

    Max(IT)

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Italy
    #10
    I just faced the same dilemma : what to replace my beloved MBP 15" i7 Quad from late 11 ?
    The first choice was, like you, a rMB. I tried it several times at the Apple Store. I spent a good amount of time on it, and i didn't really feel it slow.
    But at the end of the day I choose a rMBP 13", a good compromise between portability and power/flexibility.
    The absolute lack of ports on the rMB was scaring. And sometimes an i5 could be useful.
     
  11. Max(IT) Suspended

    Max(IT)

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Italy
    #11
    Did it fatten ? :eek:

    :D:D:D
     
  12. questioner76 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    #12
    lol, not the machine, but maybe me! I got weaker too.

     
  13. DNichter macrumors 68020

    DNichter

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2015
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #13
    At this point, I would wait for Skylake and potentially the option to add more ram/storage. That's what I am doing.
     
  14. pmouritz thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #14
    Great point. I totally agree with you since the resolution is so high that the room available is actually of an 13" Air. When I'm using my 15" rMBP now I never use full screen since it's way to large. All my application windows are smaller and especially the Safari window I'm using is the same size it would be on a 13". So I don't use all the space and never use the awesome full screen features since I don't need it. If I had a 12" I'm sure the full screen feature would make it feel just as big a screen as my 15" rMBP.

    I'm going to try it a lot more at the store before I decide. For now I don't feel that it's slow in anyway so I don't think that'll be an issue. But I don't think I have the same need for ports as you do. I would simply have an AV adapter and that would be all I needed when home, otherwise I rarely connect my computer to anything. I would probably keep an USB-C to USB 3.0 adapter in my bag but that's pretty much it. Al though I totally agree that the rMBP 13" is the perfect machine. It has ports and fast processor, crisp screen and a portable form factor.

    I agree that the Skylake processor will probably give it a bit of a speed bump and probably an hour or two on the battery side. The problem is when Skylake rMB comes out so do Skylake rMBP. This will devalue my medio 2012 15" rMBP plus the rMB I can get now is with a 25% discount. Since I could be getting the 1.2 GHz now instead of a 1.1 GHz Skylake, I would pretty much get the same speed since the Skylakes will be approximately 17% faster or so. And the larger hard drive would also be a plus.
    In the end it all comes down to the sale of my current rMBP. If nobody is willing to pay my price so I can get the discounted 1.2 GHz rMB, I will wait till next years Skylake model.
     
  15. iBilal macrumors regular

    iBilal

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    #15
    really? .. and you're not having any issues in terms of processing power? .. the number of apps running at the same time .. tabs in browsers, etc.? ..
     
  16. pmouritz thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #16
    I've tested the rMB 1.1 GHz in the store several times now and it doesn't seem to have any difficulty handling a lot of apps. Not even when you switch desktop or use mission control and exposé, yet like you, I'm afraid that it will not perform properly when used.
    The current situation now is that I think I'm going to buy the rMB 1.1 GHz instead of 1.2 GHz and try it out for a week to decide whether or not I will sell my current 15" rMBP Retina 2012. I will post an update regarding the performance for web browsing, word processing and multiple apps :) I've found it hard to find any reviews about the daily usage. It seems like all people care about is photo/video editing, all kinds of benchmarks and gaming when reviewing the performance. But daily usage such as word processing, multiple desktops and splitscreens, checking mails and browsing the web which is my 99% usage is not covered properly by any reviewers.
     
  17. Apples n' Stone macrumors 6502a

    Apples n' Stone

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2015
    Location:
    Greater-than-London (Maidstone, U.K)
    #17
    I was in a similar position coming form a Late 2013 rMBP, I do not do anything intensive on the Macbook and would not honestly be able to tell it had double the RAM then the rMB. Once you use a 12" a lot throughout the day the 15" feels massive, but in a positive way and seen as I use mine for Sixth Form I end up using it throughout the majority of the day. I felt the same but you honestly will get used to it, consider looking form a 5.5" 6S Plus to my old 5S. The 5S almost looks like a toy! Go for it.
     
  18. iBilal macrumors regular

    iBilal

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    #18
    so you don't miss the screen "real estate" of a 15 inch laptop? ..
     
  19. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #19
    I own the 2012 rmbp and 12 mb. For anything that does not involve processing the mb is my go to machine .

    Either way seems like you want something more portable , so get the 12 mb, and trial or for 2 weeks, if it's not for you, the 13 MBA is also a great machine , otherwise the 13 rmbp
     
  20. Sirolway macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Location:
    London
    #20
    I wouldn't have thought the rMB would get a speed bump before next year. It sounds like that might be a pretty good bump to wait for but, as ever, if you need a new laptop you should get one now rather than procrastinating endlessly for no concrete reason. I got the maxed out rMB and while it's not the fastest laptop in the world, the portability and battery life (& screen) are fantastic.
     
  21. Max(IT) Suspended

    Max(IT)

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Italy
    #21
    Unfortunately nowadays the reviews are focused on synthetic benchmarks ...
    The best way to know if it fits your needs is to actually try it in an Apple Store.
    I did it, I took my time (about 1 hrs) and I tried several apps and situations.
    I even asked permission to use a couple of my documents on it and the Apple Store employee acknowledged without a problem.
    The MacBook was absolutely ok for me, but the lack of ports was an issue, so I choose the rMBP 13".
     
  22. Apples n' Stone macrumors 6502a

    Apples n' Stone

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2015
    Location:
    Greater-than-London (Maidstone, U.K)
    #22
    Not really; you grow accustomed to the smaller size and end up spending a lot of tie split screening on the bigger one! It is a lot of space; if I were not used to it previously I would not know what to do with it all! And I really like the keys on the rMB which I am coincidentally typing on now!
     
  23. MDMacGuy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2015
    #23
    I bit the bullet and bought the 1.2 GHz rMB over the weekend. I decided that a speed bump in any of the models that I was considering was pretty unlikely, and my 2012 rMBP flaked out one too many times late last week. (I first checked to see that it wasn't eligible for a fix under the Quality Program for the flaky video cards that plagued that era of rMBPs, and once it was determined that it wasn't, I decided it was time for a new computer.)

    My initial sense is that this was exactly the right choice. So far, I've been able to do everything I normally do without a noticeable speed hit. I can tell things are a bit more sluggish, but not horribly so. I love the size of the computer and can tell that I'm going to be taking it with me to meetings a lot more. The keyboard is taking a bit of time to get used to, but more because of slightly different key placement than the key mechanics. The one thing that I'm having trouble getting used to is force touch in that I tend to mash the trackpad a lot harder than I need to, and even that is getting better with time.

    The one thing that I *don't* like is the whole USB-C mess. Long term, I don't expect to do much with it other than charge the computer, but while I was setting up the rMB, it would have been nice to be able to cable the rMB and rMBP for file transfer, something that seems nigh on impossible with the adapters that are available. Also, I found that it wasn't very friendly with some of the external HDs that i own, although I suspect it is a power issue. (All of the HDs with issues were four or more years old and had options for an external power source.) I also find it maddening that none of the adapters Apple sells has a Thunderbolt/DisplayPort option, but that's obviously a well-documented frustration.

    There are obviously compromises, but I also realize that in two years, I'm going to be ready to buy a new computer. If I paid $1,000 more for a fully optioned rMBP, I'd find myself feeling compelled to wait for another year or so, as I did with my 2012. This definitely feels like a "two year machine," and I fully expect that I will enjoy it immensely for most, if not all of those two years.
     
  24. James.K.Polk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2015
    #24
    I did it (went from 2013 15" rMBP to the 12") and regretted it. I tried to convince myself I wasn't a power user... I'm not a power user but for anything beyond web browsing, or heck, even for having more than 4 applications open at once, it's a hassle. I sold it at a $50 loss, and bought a 2015 15" rMBP.
     
  25. pmouritz thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #25
    Two very different views which I'm glad to see for a more non-biased overall view! My current situation is that I can't buy one and try for two weeks and decide whether or not to keep it. This is caused by the lack of the Apple service in Denmark, meaning that once I open the package, I won't be able to return it. But I get 2 year warranty because of the states laws which is very convenient for a first generation product. Furthermore, I was on my way to pick a used one (just a 1 month old rMB) up yesterday evening with cash and everything. But it turned to have a very small (and maybe not so significant) production fault in the coating of the back. So I decided I'd rather buy a new one which leads me to the doubt again hehe.

    I think that the current 1.2 GHz Broadwell processor will before just as well as the new Skylake base-model processor next year, perhaps except for the graphics at least. I will not be able to get the 1.2 GHz model, simply because it's too expensive for me since I unfortunately didn't get that 25% discount after all. Anyways I'm glad to hear you don't find it slow or bad, I don't mind the ports since I use NAS at my home and all other file transfer through OneDrive and DropBox. I do mind that it should not be too sluggish when using mission control, multiple desktops and split screen view, do you have anything to comment on that?
    I also definitely feel like this is a 2 year computer, the Macbook version (or perhaps redesigned Pro/Air) in 2017 will most definitely blow the 2015 rMB away by. But that does not change the fact that it's a very nice computer! Compared to the 15" rMBP which will probably do more years the price is also cheaper. So I would gladly pay the price for the rMB and love it for 2-3 years and get the updated version.

    That sounds very unfortunate, can you elaborate on your decision to sell? I mean it should very well be able to handle web browsing and mutiple applications. Did you get the base-model? I've tried it out in the store with no problems running 10 tabs in 2 Safari windows, 8+ apps, split screen and multiple desktops. It did run a little bit warm but not hot.
     

Share This Page