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  1. #1

    Member Since
    May 11, 2014
    MacBook Air/Pro screen size - coding, external display

    I am considering buying a MacBook Air 13" for my university years. (I am starting Computer Science this year)

    I friend of mine reminded me that it is highly likely that the screen real estate would not be enough. (for coding, the more you have, the better; many people claim at least)

    So I wondered if a MacBook Pro 13" would be better. But on the Verge review of the rMBP I found this:

    "[about the retina display] It's essentially taking a 1280 x 800 display and displaying four pixels in each spot"
    "The problem is simple real estate — 1280 x 800 isn't that much screen space. I can see more on my 13-inch, 1440 x 900 Air than on the 13-inch Pro"

    Is it really so? Anyone of you having a rPro and an Air as well? For you, what was coding like on the Air? Is it really so bad?

    I just thought that I could connect an external display to the Air. Is it possible, can the Air drive a huge (21"+) display?

    If you have any such experience please let me know.

    Thanks a lot

  2. #2

    Member Since
    Nov 09, 2011
    15" rMBP Mid-2014 ~ iPad 4 16GB ~ iPhone 6 Plus 16GB
    I haven't coded on an Air, but I can comment as follows.

    A couple of days ago I played with a MBA and 13" rMBP back-to-back. Honestly, I found the MBA display better. Sure the retina is beautiful, but the res isn't great. You can connect a nice external monitor via the Thunderbolt port in either case.

    Further considerations:
    -Will you be coding in OS X or do you need to run Windows in a VM? If VM, you'll need a decent SSD (>=256 GB) on the Air. Either way, max. out the RAM - no longer user-upgradeable.
    -How big will your projects be? If they're going to be large and involve local database engines, you might want to consider a machine with more horsepower. If a large project + DB stuff to be done in a VM, then even a dual-core MBP may battle.

    I develop in Windows under Fusion and ultimately settled for a 2012 15" MBP (hi-res, non-retina) which is an absolute dream.
    Last edited by Checco; 05-17-2014 at 01:29 PM. Reason: More detail

  3. #3

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by currywurst View Post
    I just thought that I could connect an external display to the Air. Is it possible, can the Air drive a huge (21"+) display?
    A 21" display is not huge. 22"- 24" external displays are very common. Apple iMacs are 21.5" and 27".

    Both the MBA and MBP can drive up to a 30" display (2560x1600).

    - Nick
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  4. #4

    Member Since
    May 11, 2014
    Thank you for your anwsers. Anyone else with coding experience on the Air?

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