The Most Important Features in Macbook for Web Development

CBianco

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 5, 2015
3
0
Hello, everyone.

I've read a thousand reviews / forum questions concerning Macbook Airs/Pros for professional web development (I'm a total newbie who wants to learn the profession), and most of the opinions seem to center on three (3) things--screen size, retina display, and SSD.

So I'd like to ask your opinions on these distinct issues.

SCREEN SIZE: Some people say that 13" is perfectly fine for professional web development (as long as you supplement by buying a large second monitor), while others argue that 15" is essential.

RETINA DISPLAY: Some argue that the retina display is absolutely essential to good and proper web development, because otherwise the images may seem fine to you, but are actually blurry to others. (I'd hate for that to happen to me!) On the other hand, does it really matter? After all, many of the 27" monitors I see for sale aren't even retina display quality, yet they are highly recommended for supplemental screen real estate.

SSD: I think both Macbooks come with SSD, so that's a non-issue?

Thank you in advance for your advice and opinions.

Regards,
Chris
 

dusk007

macrumors 68040
Dec 5, 2009
3,386
62
I think the display is not essential but very nice to have and useful to test retina ready imagery. You don't need it but it is good to at least try out a few things. Ie. I found that high res images on a page can be saved with really low quality 35% to make page loading not very much different but you cannot tell the difference at normal viewing distance (without zooming in).
Other than that Retina gives you sharper text but that is only really an issue with Apple's low default resolution. A 15" at 1920x1080 has enough pixels. Apple default was 1440x900 which just was never enough. The 4k 15" displays going around are overkill IHMO. Sharp text is nice but it is only really needed in so far that you can fit enough code at small text size on the screen without it getting fuzzy. If you go to a text size too small for 1080p on 15" you cannot comfortably read it anyway. Basically retina lets you go as small as you want until it is really just not practical anymore.
The air got 1440x900 on 13" which is still okay I think. It isn't horrible like the same thing on 15". You don't need the Retina and you'll want an external display in any case. There are also plenty Windows notebooks with retina displays for cheaper in the 13" market.

You can also go out and buy an external retina display like a 24" 4k one. Costs more but you don't need it on the notebook.

Personally I never liked 13" but that is really mostly habit. You get used to either. I disliked being confined to 13" when I wanted to do something away from the external monitor at home so I always want 13". But plenty of people work on 13" and never miss the difference. If you intend to work mostly at home it does not matter as long as you get an external display, but if you work a lot in caffés, or elsewhere away from the desk at home the 15" display is real nice. I just think that Apple has a much better price/value ratio in the 13" notebooks and a rather bad one in the 15" so if you go 15" consider Windows again.

Any SSD is good but you never really reach high IO scenarios that require a particularly fast one. You'd be CPU bound even on 3 year old SSDs.
 
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dusk007

macrumors 68040
Dec 5, 2009
3,386
62
PS the most important thing is your workflow. The apps, frameworks, builders that you use.
The rest doesn't matter so much UI wise they are all very adaptable.
 
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Toutou

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2015
673
957
Prague, Czech Republic
1. 13" is fine if you are a college student or you just travel a lot, it's enough on the go and when using it at home you'll always end up with a large monitor hooked up. If you're not on a budget or just don't care about the portability, get the 15". No reason to go lower.

2. Once you go retina, you never go non-retina. It's super pleasant to use, easy on your eyes and you can use a scaled resolution and set it whichever way you like it. Of course it's not necessary. It's just a great thing to have.

3. Correct, a non-issue.
 
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