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HolidayBuyer's Guide

MacBook Air (left) vs. MacBook Pro with Retina Display (right)

MacBook Air (left) vs. MacBook Pro with Retina Display (right)

MacBook Air (left) vs. MacBook Pro with Retina Display (right)

MacBook Air (left) vs. MacBook Pro with Retina Display (right)

MacBook Air (left) vs. MacBook Pro with Retina Display (right)

MacBook Air (left) vs. MacBook Pro with Retina Display (right)

Adding the high-res Retina Display to a new 13-inch MacBook Pro, Apple has created a new midway point between the slim ultrabook-like MacBook Air and the traditional 13-inch Pro. By eliminating the long-standing optical drive and platter hard drive, the new Retina 13-inch Pro slims down greatly, and even has a smaller desktop footprint than the 13-inch Air.

We took the just-delivered 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display and lined it up next to a current-gen 13-inch MacBook Air. The results left us feeling that each design has its advantages, but at the same time, there's still a big difference in the hand between the two.

While the new Retina MacBook Pro is not as thin and light as a MacBook Air, it actually has a slightly smaller footprint. The Retina Pro is 12.4 inches by 8.6 inches, while the 13-inch Air measures 12.8 inches by 8.9 inches. The gallery above shows several of the key angles, but we've called a few notable comparisons out here.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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