Worth getting rMBP 13" when running at 1440x900?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by epicbagel, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. epicbagel macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2012
    Have an 2010 Air, the display broke today [insert Apple conspiracy theory :)], so figured I'm gonna take the upgrade plunge.

    I love the extra screen space they 13" Air gives me, using my wife's 13 " MBP with the lower resolution always felt like a productivity hit.

    I know the 15" supports a retina version of 1440x900 natively, but switching to that from an Air just feels like a big loss in terms of portability.

    So, my question is this. Is it worth getting the 13" rMBP if I run the resolution at the equivalent of 1440x900 instead of the retina 1280x800. It kinda feels I won't be getting the most out of it. So, why not just get another Air. Will creating more space make the screen look noticeably worse? Has anyone had similar experiences with the 15 rMBP and using the resolutions to create more space?

    I'm guessing a retina Air is still a few years away. I'm just worried I'll get the 13" rMBP, set the resolution to have more space (like the air) and not see a step change in quality.
  2. Rizzm macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2012
    If you would see the step up in quality at the full resolution, then you'll definitely see the upgrade at 1440x900. It's barely less than optimal for the display.

    But if the air worked for you before then I'd stick with that.
  3. yanksrock100 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2010
    San Diego
    Non-native screen on the 15 rMBP look fine, so it would be a safe guess that 1440x900 would look fine on the 13 rMBP too. Will it look better than the MBA's 1440x900? Yes, it will look better and sharper. Not to mention it is an IPS screen.
  4. marvin4653 macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2012
    The "more space" settings on the 15" Retina look superior to the equivalent resolutions running on native panels. I compared the 15" Retina running at the equivalent of 1680x1050 to a 15" Pro with the high-res display and the Retina looked better, so I think it's safe to say the 13" Retina will look better than the 13" Air with the same screen real estate. Plus, as mentioned above, you get an IPS panel. And given that the 15" Retina seems to perform well on its default 1440x900 equivalent setting on integrated graphics, you probably don't need to worry about a performance hit like those running the equivalent of 1680x1050 or higher on the 15" Retina.

    That being said, I don't know if paying that much more for a slight increase in clarity and a heavier computer is worthwhile. I think the 13" Retina would be worth the money to be able to run at 1680x1050 (something the Air can't do), but I would recommend checking out the 13" Retina in a store to see if you think the difference is worthwhile.
  5. rrm998 macrumors regular


    Jun 15, 2012
    Houston, TX USA
    I run the rMBP 15 at 1920x1200 and, with Retina enabled apps, the text is the sharpest I've ever had on a laptop. The extra screen space is a big reason why I love the unit.

    In theory the "best for retina" option of 1440x900 offers the best quality scaling but regardless of what size I pick, some scaling has to occur. Also, the smaller text and graphics objects on the screen make it harder to see scaling issues. I thought Office apps looked better at 1920x1200 then 1440x900 (before being updated).

    I think the big consideration is whether you need to extra capability that the rMBP provides. If your normal work is suitable to the MBA, I suggest saving the money and getting a 2012 Air.
  6. epicbagel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2012
    Thanks, some really useful replies. Think I'll pop into the store and see if they could do a side by side comparison with an Air and my preferred rMBP resolution.

    It's a development machine, so the extra power will come in useful. I've not bought a machine day after launch before - will it be online only at the moment or also available in store (pending availability)?

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