Which is right for me? 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display or Maxed-Out 13-inch MacBook Air

I need to get a laptop that I will have with me almost all the time. So far, I've narrowed it down to the base 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display with 512GB Flash Storage or the high-end 13-inch MacBook Air with 2.0GHz i7 [Turbo to 3.2GHz], 8GB RAM, 512GB of storage. They're close [other than the processor, I'm not sure which will perform better] in specs when it comes to RAM, Storage, etc. I really want this to be a computer that will last a long time. I keep thinking about the air because of its weight but the Retina always lures me in with the extra ports [like the HDMI, awesome!] and I like its design a bit more. I'm going to be doing a little bit of everything with it but I have an external SuperDrive so I'm not worried about CDs. Thanks for any help!

2 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    My two bits ... the 13 inch Air might be physically lighter, but in reality takes up more real estate with its larger footprint and has a greater apparent heft because of leverage effect. The larger footprint of the Air was seen as a potential inconvenience when traveling by plane.

    Processor performance were seemed similar with 8 GB memory, and when running sample renderings via OpenGL assistance. As for the display .... that was no contest; the Air has a great display, but the Retina proved best for viewing high density images and computed renderings. The one noted caveat with the Retina was a noted momentary lag when displaying very large image files.

    With identical prices for my elected configurations, I returned the Air and went for the more compact and capable Retina display equipped model. Good luck in choosing ... I know it isn't an easy call.

    • Answered by Karel N from Escondido
    • May 4, 2013
  • My opinion on the matter is that seeing as you are thinking of getting a maxed out 13" air which is $1899 if i correctly did the configuration and you want the base 13" macbook pro retina which if you are really concerned about performance you could in fact get a faster i7 in it and it still has the same 8gb ram as the air you want which would put you at $1699 and then if you really feel you need space you could then upgrade that as well to 256 gb which unless you are doing a lot of big projects will be enough memory and would put you then at the exact same price as the air. So in my opinion it really just matters on what you want, the air which would still perform good and would be lighter(but not actually by that much if you feel them in person...) and would have more hd space or you could go with the faster a little bit heavier macbook pro retina that will have better graphics and be faster due to the i7 processor.

    • Answered by Nick C
    • May 5, 2013