MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro with Retina display: 2 great laptops, which should you get?

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro?  This was already a tough question, and now that Apple has added a Retina display to the 13" Pro while trimming down the body and lowering the price it's even harder.

The 13" Pro with Retina display is now only $200 more than the 13" Air.  So what does that extra money buy you, and is it worth it?  I'm ignoring the legacy 13" MacBook Pro (without Retina display) in this post because I think one of the other two 13" models is a better deal for most users and the old Pro will probably get discontinued sooner than later anyway.

MacBook Air vs Macbook Pro:

Price and specs are for the base model.  CPU, RAM, and storage can be upgraded.

Above are some of the main specs and also main differences.  There are a few other differences though.  The Pro has Intel's latest Iris graphics, which won't make it a full-fledged gaming laptop, but is a step up from the Air.  The Pro has an extra Thunderbolt Port and an HDMI port (although you can buy a Thunderbolt to HDMI Adapter for the Air.)  Neither model has a DVD drive. Finally, if you really want to spec out your laptop, the Pro can be upgraded to 16GB RAM and 1TB storage, while the Air only goes to 8GB RAM and 512GB storage.

When it comes to MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro let me just say that these are two great laptops and you probably can't go wrong with either one.  The Air stands out as a premier portable laptop:  it's light, thin, and has great battery life.  The Pro isn't far behind in any of those categories, and has a beautiful screen and faster processor.  If money were no object you could spend several hundred extra dollars to spec out an Air with a faster processor, more RAM, and more storage.  However, that would make an already expensive laptop prohibitively expensive and you still wouldn't have a Retina display.

As I recently advised a friend in this dilemma I think the MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro question comes down to portability vs performance.  If you're a student or someone that carries their laptop around in a backpack every day the Air will probably suffice and save you a little money.  If you're going to use your laptop as a 'desktop replacement' for work then you may want the nicer specs of the Pro.  I was surprised how nice the Retina display made text look on standard web pages.  I'd probably spend the extra money to get a Pro if I were choosing between these two laptops.

Where to buy: Apple Store or somewhere else?

The prices quoted above are Apple's suggested retail prices, and what they sell for at the Apple Store or on Apple's website.  Unlike iPhones and iPads, you can usually find Mac's at a discount through other retailers.  For example, Amazon currently has the MacBook Air for $1,050.  Before you buy check out this handy price guide from