MacBook Pro Retina vs. MacBook Air

Although shopping for a laptop is much less confusing for Mac fans than it is for PC users, there is still one major decision to make: MacBook Pro Retina vs. MacBook Air? To help you make the decision, here are a few things you should consider when making your choice. For the sake of comparison, I’ll stick to the 13-inch models in both the Pro and Air lines but the Pro is available in a 15-inch model and the Air is available in an 11-inch model.


The 13-inch MacBook Air weighs a mere 2.96 pounds and is only .68 inches thick while the 13-inch MacBook Pro weighs in at 3.57 pounds and is .75 inches thick. As you can see, the MacBook Air takes the cake in terms of portability. That being said, it doesn’t take the cake by much so this certainly shouldn’t be the deciding factor in your purchase, read on for a few other things you should consider.


The MacBook Air supports a resolution of 1440 by 900 pixels, which gives you an impressively clear image. The backlit display makes colours quite bright and vibrant. However, the Pro’s Retina display is in a league of its own at 2560 by 1600 pixels. This makes text look sharper and images crisper. The display is also brighter and makes colours look richer.

For the average user, the display on the MacBook Air is more than satisfactory but for power users like gamers and graphic designers, the MacBook Pro with Retina display is the way to go. In addition, the MacBook Pro allows you to connect two external monitors while the MacBook Air only allows you to connect one.

Battery Life

One of the best features of the MacBook Air is its superior battery life. The Air can last up to 12 hours on a single battery charge while the MacBook Pro lasts about 7 hours. For those who are on the go and travel quite a bit, the longer-lasting battery of the MacBook Air makes a lot of sense.


In this department, the MacBook Pro is the winner. The MacBook Pro is much more powerful with a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM while the MacBook Air has a 1.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM. The MacBook Air can handle the average tasks a user might undertake quite well. It even handles gaming well though it can get quite warm. For users who do quite a bit of gaming, video editing, and graphic design, the more powerful MacBook Pro can be a better choice.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that if you’re shopping with portability in mind, the MacBook Air is the clear choice with its slimmer form factor and long-lasting battery. If, however, you need a more powerful system, the MacBook Pro is your best bet.

By Mike Agerbo

October 01, 2013