Nearly 6 months ago I purchased a 15″ Macbook Pro with Retina Display, and after a few days of using it, I returned it to get a brand new 13″ Macbook Air.
At the time, I was madly in love with the Air’s lightweight design, and the portability that it had. To be honest with you, there was no doubt that I’d ever use another machine again. Here’s what I was thinking back then:
I'm starting to believe in this: "Once you go Macbook Air, you never want anything else."
— Brian Gardner (@bgardner) June 22, 2012
The Retina Display
One of the things I was most conflicted about was the pure beauty of the Retina Display. It was undeniable how much better the screen looked with it, and I tried my best to get over the weight different between the two.
Because I had purchased an iPad 3, I had some experience viewing on the Retina Display — which made the idea of having a 15″ Macbook Pro more appealing.
However, as you can clearly see, I just couldn’t let go of my Air:
Loving the retina display in the 15" Macbook Pro. Hating the fact that it's not, well, a 13" Air.
— Brian Gardner (@bgardner) June 22, 2012
So I brought back the machine and picked up a new 13″ Macbook Air. Life was back to normal, and I was a pretty happy guy.
The 15″ Macbook Pro with Retina Display felt heavy. Much heavier than the 13″ Air did. In the same way a 17″ PC laptop feels like a tank.
The Air Experience
A few weeks after the 13″ Macbook Pro came out with Retina Display I stopped by the Apple Store. I should have known better, because bad things happen when I do that. I brought my 13″ Macbook Air with me, just to do a comparison.
I walked into the store and went straight to the new Macbook Pro section. I pulled out my Air, and placed it next to the 13″ Macbook Pro with Retina Display. I had to do a double take, because for they looked practically identical. In fact, I think the Macbook Pro is a bit smaller, even though it weighs more.
There were two things that mattered to me — weight and screen display.
The Macbook Pro vs. Macbook Air
I picked up the 13″ Macbook Pro with one hand, and was impressed at how light it was. Then I grabbed the 13″ Air in my other hand, and tried to feel the difference.
The fact of the matter is there is a weight difference between the two. The 13″ Macbook Air weighs 2.96 pounds and the 13″ Macbook Pro weighs 3.57 pounds. However, with the 15″ Macbook Pro weighing in at 4.46 pounds, the 13″ Pro is much more comparable to the 13″ Air than it is the 15″ Pro.
After feeling a negligible weight difference between the two, I compared the displays. All I can say is that it literally took me 3 seconds before I asked the Apple employee to grab me the 13″ Macbook Pro.
The difference in display was outrageous. I knew the iPad 3 looked really good, but in the context of a laptop, and especially next to a non-Retina laptop, this was clearly a TKO.
The 13″ Macbook Pro Conclusion
The goal I had when I walked into the Apple store that day was to validate that I didn’t need (nor want) the 13″ Macbook Pro. I wanted to remind myself of the previous experience that I had so that I could put this one to rest as well.
I consider myself a display snob. Last week I went to the Apple store to check out the iPad Minis, and forgot that they weren’t retina when I went to buy it. Before I told the guy to get one, I picked it up and opened up Safari and nearly threw up when I saw how “horrible” the screen looked with it being non-retina.
Even though I dearly love my 13″ Macbook Pro with Retina Display, we have this agreement between us that it’s only a temporary thing.
I’m desperately hoping that the unveiling of the “perfect machine” will take place during the next Apple event. Please, please, please let it be so. I really don’t care if it’s a 13″ or a 15″, but the ultimate prize in my opinion will be an Air with Retina Display. I know that I’m not the only one holding out here.
And if for some reason it’s not in the cards, the 13″ Macbook Pro is a such a beautiful ride that I’ll be driving it for some time. Maybe even long enough to spin 100,000 miles on it.
Macbook Pro/Air Discussion Time
I’d love to know what you guys think about the 13″ Macbook Pro with Retina Display. Are you like me and had the 13″ Air and swore you’d never switch from it? Are you also like me and made the switch?
*Note — The Amazon links above are affiliate links, which means I make a small commission on anything you purchase. All money generated by these links support the ongoing costs of maintaining my website.