Will I regret downsizing my Macbook Pro to Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by NJRonbo, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. NJRonbo macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007
    You know that feeling when you have money to spend and you don't quite know what to spend it on?

    Apple has some big announcements tomorrow.

    I was planning on buying an iPad Air to replace my iPad 3.


    I suspect a new 13" retina Macbook Air is going to be announced.

    Now, I already own a retina 15" Macbook Pro. I downsized from a 17" almost 2 years ago.

    I was concerned about losing the real estate, from 17" to 15". But, what I gained was more portability. I was now carrying around a lighter laptop. And, really, no significant difference between the two sizes.

    Now I am looking to give up my 15" and go with a 13" Macbook Air.

    The primary reason, of course, is portability. A 13" Macbook Air would be extremely light. It could be carried in one hand, I suspect.

    The only thing I fear is losing 2 more inches of real estate.


    Anyone who has gone from a 17" or 15" Macbook Pro to one of the smaller AIR laptops wish to comment on how they feel about losing screen real estate?

    Also, I assume that the Macbook Air models are just as powerful as their Macbook Pro counterparts?

    When all is said and done, I suspect that since the current 13" Macbook Air (maxed out) is about $1,700 that the rumored new model should be about the same price if not a bit lower. Not bad, considering.

    I can sell my 2012 15" Macbook Pro on Gazelle for $1179. That means a new Macbook Air would only cost me approximately $500.

    ...and let's hope a new iWatch is not announced so it doesn't further confuse spending matters. :p
  2. maflynn, Jun 1, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2014

    maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The MBA already received a small speed bump earlier this year so I don't think we'll see anything new from apple on that line. The MBP may see a similar bump and that will be minor. Nothing is going to change until Broadwell is released later this year.

    As for downsizing too much, it is a bit is jump from 15" to 13" and you may regret the lack of screen real estate. I certainly did. I went from a 15" MPB to a 13" model and found it too constraining. You hadn't mentioned what you use the laptop for, so its hard to say what may or may not work in your case

    MBAs are not as powerful as their MBP counterparts, they're using lower voltage Haswell chips that give better battery life at the expense of more horse power. This includes the GPU on the current MBP vs. the MBAs.

    You can get more (though it will take time) if you sell the MBP though craiglist and/or ebay though I understand the lure of Gazelle getting a guaranteed sale
  3. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007

    Not the answer I wanted to hear, but the truth is what I wanted.

    I do a lot of work on my laptop, though it's mostly delegated to email and web browsing. I also do some Photoshop work.

    I just like the idea of being able to carry the laptop anywhere without the associated weight. Even the 15" MBP is a bit hefty. It's a rather big deal unpacking it from its handled case and setting it up. It seems to me the MBA would be something I could carry under one arm in a sleeve and have set up in moments.

    The 13" screen restrictions are scary too, but then again, I have kind of gotten used to my iPad and that doesn't seem to small for me.

    So my question to you is....

    If you had to do it all over again would you have given up your 15" MBP for the 13" MBA?
  4. Intelligent macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2013
    Depends on what you do, Retina Macbook Pro 15" obviously have better specifications.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I would be a 15" rMBP hands down, but that's me.

    My software uses were significantly impacted by the smaller screen.
    I use gotomypc to access my work computer - the smaller screen made it very difficult (small laptop screen trying to render a larger desktop display means it had to be reduced a lot).
    Aperture/Lightroom is another example. Lack of real estate impacted my using these apps.

    As for the weight/size. I've gotten used to it.
  6. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007
    I did come up with one, quite powerful function that I do on my current 15" MBP (with i7 processor and 16GB ram)...

    Transferring video from my camcorder to my laptop and then editing in iMovie.

    Now, transferring and rendering video alone takes up a heap of processing and ram power.

    Can the Macbook Air handle this with ease if I opt for the fastest processor and most RAM?

    It seems, based on Google Searches, perhaps it would be fine
  7. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I went from a 2008 15" MBP to a 2013 13" MBA and it seemed like a huge upgrade to me. But the old MBP was a 2.4ghz core2 duo and the i5 in the MBA was about twice as fast. The 13" MBA had the same number of pixels on the screen, so there was no loss of "real estate" in the change, just smaller pixels. Of course, that is not the case with the retina MBP.

    Last summer I went from a 13" MBA to a new 11" MBA and it is - hands down - the best computer I've ever owned (I have the i7/8gb/512gb model). The smaller size/lighter weight is fantastic. Yes, the screen is small but I plug into a big monitor and external keyboard when I need more room. It's a really powerful little computer and you can carry it around all day and never even know it's there. The battery life is also very impressive.

    But you have to consider your own needs and usage patterns. I retired recently, so I don't need a laptop with a big screen to use in the office (although I could just use an external screen in the office if I did). I edit professional HD video (Sony XDCAM EX HQ) on my MBA with an old version of Final Cut Pro (6) and it works just fine. It certainly runs circles around my old MBP. I also run Logic Pro without problem.

    In the end, you are the only one who can decide, but many people just don't realize how powerful these little computers are, and how their mobility and battery life adds to their usefulness.

    Beyond that, I don't think anyone really expects a new MBA next week, aside from a few people in this forum who engage in wishful thinking. :)

    As far as having "money to spend but not knowing what to spend it on"…. yes, I know that feeling. It was usually followed by the feeling of regret for buying something I really didn't need when I could have saved it for something important. :D
  8. Zellio macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2012
    The 13" retina macbook pros are small and light enough, and with Intel Isis Pro they are powerful. Plus, the IPS screen makes you forget pretty much every laptop you had....
  9. rei101 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 24, 2011
    I would but you still have the chance to go to an Apple store and compare the size of the screens yourself and test. That's why there are Apple stores every where.

    By the way, I still have a 12" Powerbook that rules. And I used to edit video with it 10 years ago. So, a 13" today is just fine.
  10. geta macrumors 6502a

    May 18, 2010
    The Moon
    I moved down from 17" PowerBook to 15" PowerBook after one year coz it was too big to cary around, used it till 2010 and then i changed to 13" MBP. Love the 13", its the best size\performance (mine with 8GB and SSD + HDD) for my needs. Till now, i don't really feel the need to change it, still running solid as a mobile setup (for Logic and live performance) while on the road... the only reason im thinking about changing to 13" MBA (or 13" rMBP) its coz of the weight and the battery life, but no rush coz i can squeeze another 1-2 years easily...

    I've tried many times the 11" MBA in the shops, really wanted to like it, but the screen is just too small for my needs - for me the 13" is the sweet spot as a mobile solution :cool:
  11. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007
    Thanks for the advice, guys.

    Sadly, the more I read, the more apparent it seems that Apple will not be announcing a 13" MBA tomorrow.
  12. cedwhatev macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2011
    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing... I just ordered a MBA 11" 1.7/8/256 on Friday and then saw the Mac9to5 article. If tomorrow we find out some interesting news, I may be sending that one back.. ;)
  13. ayres macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2010
    i did... gave up a cMBP 15" for a 2013 13" air. i love the portability and the long battery life. and for most daily activities, you can't notice a difference in performance.
  14. skaertus macrumors 68040


    Feb 23, 2009
    Why don't you take a 13-inch retina MacBook Pro instead of the Air? The 13-inch retina Pro can be configured to have much more real estate than the Air. While the Air has a 1440x900 resolution, the Pro can look like a 1680x1050 screen, while still keeping the 2560x1600 resolution. And it is almost as portable as the Air.
  15. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007
    Would consider...

    ...but I take it that the 13" rMBP is not as light or portable (tiny) as the Air?
  16. Kaylor macrumors regular


    Oct 18, 2011
    Long Island, NY/Houston, TX
    The 13" rMBP is slightly heavier and .03" thicker but has a smaller footprint than the 13" Air.
  17. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The 13" rMBP is a superior computer then the 13" MBA, I'd opt for that over the MBA.

    I'm not down on the MBA, its slightly lighter, and has a much better battery, but your needs are less about battery longevity and more about processing power.
  18. Yakibomb macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2014
    Cape Town
    In my experience a 13" screen just doesn't have enough screen real estate for Photoshop, I found myself constantly having to move the canvas around which became extremely annoying over time. But for normal web browsing and such its perfect. I guess it really just depends on how much Photoshoping you'll be doing, and if you'd ever use an external monitor
  19. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    That was my problem - while plugged into my external monitor it was fine but when I was mobile, it was a royal pain.
  20. skaertus macrumors 68040


    Feb 23, 2009
    The 13-inch Pro is slightly heavier than the 13-inch Air:

    15-inch Pro: 4.46 lbs
    13-inch Pro: 3.46 lbs
    13-inch Air: 2.96 lbs
    11-inch Air: 2.38 lbs

    It's not as light, but still very portable. I think you should definitely consider it. Just go to a store and take a good look. There's not much difference in weight.
  21. Plerf macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2014
    I'd suggest the MBP Retina 13, if your eyesight is good.

    It's almost as light as the MBA, and you can crank the resolution up to psuedo 1920x1200 and really have a lot of space to work with.

    I find the Retina scaled to a non-native resolution to be incredibly sharp.
  22. dawgfang macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2005
    I bought a new 1.4 13" Air a couple of weeks ago. Great computer. I needed to run Parallels so I swapped it for a 13" Pro last week with 8GB of RAM.
    The thing that sticks out to me is the build quality of this Pro compared to the Air. Not that the Air is bad in any way.
    Of course the screen is, WOW.

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