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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

A weird dilemma, I know - but should I get a MBA 13" or rMBP?


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shoebkhan

 
Member Since: Oct 04, 2010
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Before you think what kind of crazy question this is, please consider the following.

I am a professional who uses Windows on Parallels on a daily basis primarily because I prefer using MS Office on Win. Other than that my usage is mostly confined to browsing, Skype, and VLC (for video playback) on OS X.

I've had a mid-07 black macbook for the last 5 years. And it has served me extremely well. But I feel the technology has progressed so far that I feel I'm overdue for a change.

In a new machine, I'm looking for the following:
1. I want to invest in a laptop that will last me at least another 3 years, if not more. By saying that I mean I don't want the technology I'm buying to become too obsolete a couple of years down the line. I'm worried the 4gb ram with the MBA won't be enough going a few years down the road. I'm located in India so I can't configure macs before purchase and have to accept the hardware sold "as is". That's why the 8gb ram with the rMBP is attractive.

2. Reasonable portability. In addition to the office I use the laptop alot at home as well (in the bed, on the sofa - basically not at a desk). In this regard the size and weight of my current macbook have never felt too much and I'm afraid a 15" laptop might be too bulky to handle, in spite of the drop in weight compared to my current macbook (2.02 kg vs. 2.3 kg).

Now based on the above most of you would say go for the rMBP. But as you can imagine the major hesitation is due to the price. The only reason I'm considering a rMBP is because the store I'll be purchasing from offers 0 down, 0% monthly instalment plans (3, 6, or 9 months). I'll be opting for the 9 month plan, so the monthly hit is a little easier to bear when compared to buying either of the machines outright.

Another concern with a rMBP is the look of apps not yet updated to handle retina resolution. I've read that to some users the non-retina apps on rMBP look worse than on a non-retina MBP. That is definitely a feeling I dont' want to have when paying a BOMB for a machine.

For those of you who are wondering why I'm in considering a 13" or 15" MBP, this is what I think. SSD is a must for me and I don't want to go for an aftermarket option (it's expensive and too much hassle for me). And I don't want to go for the MBP 15" because I figure if I'm willing to spend that much then might as well go for the rMBP. Also I'd prefer the MBA over MBP 13" since the MBA has a higher resolution display.

So there you go. Based on my usage and what I'm looking for in a new machine, what machine would you suggest? Do you think I can justify getting the rMBP for my usage?Also, I appreciate those that have been patient enough to read this long post. Any inputs are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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scathe

 
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What other usage do you have lined up for this machine besides Parallels with Office, movies and Skype? Personally I couldn't buy a retina for that kind of usage.

Edit:
Unless you really want a 15" screen to work with. Really the only deal breaker when it comes to a light, portable Mac and Air vs. Retina.

As for the retina screen as a technology, I cannot comment on that.
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shoebkhan

 
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Considering the amount of time I spend in front of a computer daily, the extra screen real estate would definitely come in handy. And now that Parallels has been updated for retina I'm guessing using Windows on it should be a joy.

Other than the aforementioned usage, I don't have much else planned.
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wolfpuppies3

 
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I would (and did) opt for the 13" MBA. You are not limited to 4GB RAM, I have 8 GB RAM in mine. Screen resolution is great, portability is incredible. The price difference is incredible given that I always max out a machine when I buy it as a hedge against future technology developments ans well as software needs. In this case my machine, at $2100 with the Apple Super Drive, was almost one half the cost of a 15 " RMBPro which I had priced out at $3828 with options I selected.

My two cents
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MrBobb

 
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Wolf is right, u can buy MBA with 8G now, u have outdated info.
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whatevs22

 
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If you're worried about price, keep in mind that repairs on the Retina MBP are more expensive than for the normal MBP.. the battery is glued down and the LCD is fused to the glass of the display (or something along those lines, you have to buy a whole new display if it breaks, compared to just replacing the screen). You also can't upgrade RAM because it's fused into the logic board of the computer.

If the retina display is really important to you then go with that, but I'd look into what it might cost you in repairs in the future compared to a normal macbook pro.
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CanuckBoater

 
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The 13 inch Macbook Air has been awesome for me.

Now that MBP doesn't have an optical drive, why bother with MBP? Retina display? Add a drive in the future? Unlikely.

Go with the Macbook Air
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shoebkhan

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb View Post
Wolf is right, u can buy MBA with 8G now, u have outdated info.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfpuppies3 View Post
I would (and did) opt for the 13" MBA. You are not limited to 4GB RAM, I have 8 GB RAM in mine. Screen resolution is great, portability is incredible. The price difference is incredible given that I always max out a machine when I buy it as a hedge against future technology developments ans well as software needs. In this case my machine, at $2100 with the Apple Super Drive, was almost one half the cost of a 15 " RMBPro which I had priced out at $3828 with options I selected.

My two cents
I never said that the MBA doesn't come with 8g ram. But since I'm in India I can't get Apple computers configured/upgraded before purchase (mentioned in post). So whether it be a MBA or rMBP, I have to buy them with them with the specs they originally come in, which is 4g ram for MBA and 8 g ram for rMBP. So in order to "hedge against future technology" (as Wolf rightly puts it) the 8 g ram in rMBP is attractive.
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shoebkhan

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatevs22 View Post
If you're worried about price, keep in mind that repairs on the Retina MBP are more expensive than for the normal MBP.. the battery is glued down and the LCD is fused to the glass of the display (or something along those lines, you have to buy a whole new display if it breaks, compared to just replacing the screen). You also can't upgrade RAM because it's fused into the logic board of the computer.

If the retina display is really important to you then go with that, but I'd look into what it might cost you in repairs in the future compared to a normal macbook pro.
Given that I've factored in AppleCare into my costing for both MBA and rMBP, would you still say your point still applies?

Are display breakages not covered under AppleCare?

Thanks.
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