Retina Macbook 12" vs Macbook Air 11" 2015


June 05, 2015

So, i've had a few days to play around with the new Retina Macbook 12". I'll give you my thoughts on it.

Design

I'd be lieing if I said I didn't like it being thinner and lighter than the Macbook Air - even if its only by 0.0001grams - it feels the sort of device you can pick up anywhere without the weight, similar to an iPad. 

Specs

As nice as the design is, a lot has been sacrificed here. Out the box, the machine is useless until you purchase a USB-C adapter to use your USB devices. This is a huge pain. This was the first time I had to undertake the above video review by using the cloud to transfer files from Dropbox to this new Retina Macbook. Usually with my reviews, I put everything on a USB drive and simply drag them onto the machines that we do the tests on. I'm not saying this can't be done but its another needed jigsaw in the puzzle, an expensive one at that. Adding insult to injury - this adapter doesn't come cheap. If you add this adapter to your cart - theres a whopping £350 difference between the two machines - the only thing standing out is the colour variations on the new Retina Macbook and its gorgeous display. It's all about the display. It's true - once you go Retina, you don't / can't / won't go back. The colours (Gold / Space Grey / Silver) are just a gimmick - all that comes down to is the display. 

In terms of business, although this is an excellent machine to carry around and open at a coffee shop or business meeting - it can be a pain if you forget the adapter. In fact, you better make sure you have a copy of that file you 'really' need saved in the cloud and you better hope that place your visiting has WiFi. Battery life has been pretty good, similar to the Macbook Air I would say. I haven't noticed a ridiculous amount of difference between the two machines that would warrant me praising the Retina Macbook. Again, I would rather it [Retina Macbook] be the same size as the Macbook Air but have more juice and more functionality.

 

Gaming

I've not tested this for gaming as i'm not big into it.

Speakers

This warranted a section of its own. The speakers are awesome for this little machine. If your getting this for watching movies during your travels, you'll love it. The Macbook Air speakers aren't anywhere near it.

Camera

Oh boy. Can someone remind me we're in 2015. The iPad has a better camera! Poor play on Apple's part but this isn't the first time they've done it either. Remember the Macbook Air with no backlit keys - only to be introduced as a new feature in the next revision? Welcome to Apple. Camera is vital for the likes of myself who use FaceTime for business meetings. When your used to 720p or clear quality, you expect all new / future machines to either match or enhance on this - especially given the price tag of £1049.

Keyboard

A lot of controversy on the interwebs - it seems as if you either love it or you hate it. There's no middle ground. Me personally, I like it. There is a slight learning curve but when you do get past it, you fall in love.

2016

Ah, the year of the rebrand. When the Macbook Air was first launched in 2010, it was underpowered and over priced. 2011 came and they revised it, drastically. I see this happening with the Retina Macbook in 2016. 

Mark my words ladies and gents. Here's how I see the rebrand coming (not the first time its happened):

Macbook Air 11": discontinued
Macbook Air 13": discontinued
Macbook 12": revised, more ports (intel just announced Thunderbolt 3 capability with the same USB-C technology), better battery
Macbook Pro 13" Retina: more power especially with Skylake round the corner
Macbook Pro 15" Retina: total workhorse

Don't get me wrong, its a gorgeous machine to hold and look at (thanks to the Retina display) BUT I wouldn't pay over £1000 for it plus an accessory to use my existing USB devices with it. I'd rather pick up a refurb 11" from Apple refurbished store for around £500 and roll with that until 2016.

You may also be interested in this article: iPad Pro; laptop replacement for small business owners?



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