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View Full Version : 13" 2010 MBA vs 11" 2011 MBA




Xikum
Oct 19, 2011, 06:34 AM
Hey guys.

Im just on the borderline of joining the MacBook Air family, and I currently have two options;

A 11" 2011 brand new MBA from the Apple store (with student discount, so 750+65 gift voucher), or...
A 13" 2010 used MBA (700).

The 2010 is the 256GB configuration, while the 2011 MBA is the base model.

So basically, the difference is;
-11" vs 13" screen
-Battery life; 5 hours vs 7 hours (although the used 13" I would expect has worn down a little)
-i5 1.5 GHz vs C2D 1.86GHz (Obviously the new 2011 wins, but how much is the difference?)
-Backlight vs non backlight (although this isnt really a big deal if you ask me)
-Memory; 64 GB is actually plenty for me, but I guess extra isnt a bad thing.
-Warranty; the 2011 MBA will the years warranty, while the 2010 has none; is this a major issue?
-50 more for the 2011 11"

What do you guys think is the best deal? I really cant make up my mind, and struggling to decide. I think the 13" screen would be nicer, but is the difference in processor extremely noticeable? Is the C2D really out of date now?

Thanks for any opinions!



Quinoky
Oct 19, 2011, 06:36 AM
I think the 13" screen would be nicer, but is the difference in processor extremely noticeable? Is the C2D really out of date now?

The Core i5 is literally twice as fast as the C2D.

Xikum
Oct 19, 2011, 06:42 AM
The Core i5 is literally twice as fast as the C2D.

Thanks for the reply, thats what I thought. However, I own a very good PC at the house, which I can use for anything that requires alot of power. I intend to use this Air for word processing/browsing/watching videos when bored in lectures ( :rolleyes: ), etc. I would imagine the C2D is sufficient for this kind of workload? Would the upgrade to i5 be worth loosing 2" of screen, and 50 extra cost?

Saying that, I could try sell the gift card...

Quinoky
Oct 19, 2011, 07:05 AM
I intend to use this Air for word processing/browsing/watching videos when bored in lectures ( :rolleyes: ), etc. I would imagine the C2D is sufficient for this kind of workload? Would the upgrade to i5 be worth loosing 2" of screen, and 50 extra cost?

It's up to you whether the 11" screen real estate is enough. I'd recommend you visit an Apple Store to see whether it works for you. Personally I chose the 11", because I think this size benefits the superb portability of the MacBook Air more than the 13". I'm a university student, and I use it for taking notes during lectures or working on papers while on the go. Because of the 1366 x 768 resolution I've never experienced space constraints, but again, it's very personal.

s2dio
Oct 19, 2011, 07:09 AM
As regards screen sizes: 13" will be a lot move convenient than the 11", not only because of the screen size, but also due to higher resolution (1440x900).

I believe that you will eventually wish for more storage space - 64 might be quite a lot for the iPad, but real computer usage it would fill up quicker than you imagine.

Then there's more battery life, sd card lot etc.

The pro's of the 2011 11" MBA is the CPU and backlit keyboard, but all the other aspects make the 2010 13" model stand out.

And although Core2Duo is not as fast as the new i-series CPU, it doesn't mean that last year all the latest computers out there were sluggish as hell.

The 2010 13" mba is pretty snappy, in fact it's so good from the user experience that you would never think about it being too laggy or wish for more power (of course if you're not doing hard-core graphics rendering or hard-core gaming. These tasks could still be done quite decently on this machine).

And even if you have a powerful PC at home, you may eventually feel (like a lot of us here) that the MBA (2010 or 2011) is so capable that it could be your primary computer, w/ or w/o external screen.

Xikum
Oct 19, 2011, 07:26 AM
It's up to you whether the 11" screen real estate is enough. I'd recommend you visit an Apple Store to see whether it works for you. Personally I chose the 11", because I think this size benefits the superb portability of the MacBook Air more than the 13". I'm a university student, and I use it for taking notes during lectures or working on papers while on the go. Because of the 1366 x 768 resolution I've never experienced space constraints, but again, it's very personal.

Thanks for your view, Im lucky in the respect that there is an Apple store on my way home from University, so I'll stop by today and have a look. Its good to get some personal views from a University student as well, so thanks.

As regards screen sizes: 13" will be a lot move convenient than the 11", not only because of the screen size, but also due to higher resolution (1440x900).

I believe that you will eventually wish for more storage space - 64 might be quite a lot for the iPad, but real computer usage it would fill up quicker than you imagine.

Then there's more battery life, sd card lot etc.

The pro's of the 2011 11" MBA is the CPU and backlit keyboard, but all the other aspects make the 2010 13" model stand out.

And although Core2Duo is not as fast as the new i-series CPU, it doesn't mean that last year all the latest computers out there were sluggish as hell.

The 2010 13" mba is pretty snappy, in fact it's so good from the user experience that you would never think about it being too laggy or wish for more power (of course if you're not doing hard-core graphics rendering or hard-core gaming. These tasks could still be done quite decently on this machine).

And even if you have a powerful PC at home, you may eventually feel (like a lot of us here) that the MBA (2010 or 2011) is so capable that it could be your primary computer, w/ or w/o external screen.

I understand what your saying. Further research has led me to believe that you are very correct in what your saying with regards to the C2D processor, I guess I was just a little overly worried that it wouldnt be able to power the new Lion OS very well. Thankfully Im not going to be doing any hardcore activities on this, so I think the C2D will be perfectly capable of powering Safari/Office/etc. Right now I'm wavering over to the 2010 13" MBA, as the backlight keyboard is pretty much a useless but pretty luxury for me (its really not something I need), and the extra power on the processor wont be utilized to its fullest in my case.

Thanks for all your help so far guys.

s2dio
Oct 19, 2011, 07:35 AM
One more thing to bare in mind. Before you purchase your Macbook Air, try to check its chassis for build quality, some people experienced creaking, screen misalignment and other things. No need to obsess about it, just take it in your hands, try to lift it from the table while the lid is closed, and if possible, put it on your lap.

Better to check it before you purchase, so you could ask for a different model to purchase. It'll be harder (though quite possible) to arrange a replacement afterwards.

Stingray454
Oct 19, 2011, 07:43 AM
My personal opinion: The 11" form factor is much nicer when bringing the Air with you to work / school / holiday / whatever - much more portable and better looking. I also like the widescreen format of the 11" better than the 13", much better movie experience even if the screen is a bit smaller. Screen real estate might be less, but moving the dock to either left or right side helps a lot when surfing (less cramped vertically). Also, backlit keyboard is great - maybe you don't use your computer in badly lit rooms often, but the few times you do, you'll LOVE the backlighting. I would personally go for the 11" any day of the week.

johnhurley
Oct 19, 2011, 08:00 AM
Hey guys.

Im just on the borderline of joining the Mac family, and I currently have two options;

A 11" 2011 brand new MBA from the Apple store (with student discount, so 750+65 gift voucher), or...
A 13" 2010 used MBA (700).

The 2010 is the 256GB configuration, while the 2011 MBA is the base model.

So basically, the difference is;
-11" vs 13" screen
-Battery life; 5 hours vs 7 hours (although the used 13" I would expect has worn down a little)
-i5 1.5 GHz vs C2D 1.86GHz (Obviously the new 2011 wins, but how much is the difference?)
-Backlight vs non backlight (although this isnt really a big deal if you ask me)
-Memory; 64 GB is actually plenty for me, but I guess extra isnt a bad thing.
-Warranty; the 2011 MBA will the years warranty, while the 2010 has none; is this a major issue?
-50 more for the 2011 11"

What do you guys think is the best deal? I really cant make up my mind, and struggling to decide. I think the 13" screen would be nicer, but is the difference in processor extremely noticeable? Is the C2D really out of date now?

Thanks for any opinions!

The base storage on the 11 inch is small very small although if you never store any music or pictures or much of anything else it could be fine for ... well forever.

The base 11 inch will be much faster than the older 13 inch. Having only 2 gb of memory though is really problematic for running Lion ... it will run ... but ... you really don't want a new machine like that in my opinion. Does the older 13 inch also only have 2 gb of memory? Not so good if that's the case.

If this is a machine you will keep for a while I would seriously urge you to take a look at the new 13 inch.

alust2013
Oct 19, 2011, 08:18 AM
Eh, between the two, I'd say the 13. More practical for an everyday computer

Xikum
Oct 19, 2011, 11:34 AM
Both of the systems have 2 GB of RAM. 4 would have been nice, but I'm not willing to spend that kind money on it sadly. Overall, I think I'm beginning to think that that the 13" seems to be the better deal, as I think I'm willing to trade in the extra speed for slightly more battery life, the 4X bigger SSD and obvious 2" of screen. It is cheaper, too.

Thanks so far for the help though guys.

adamtj11
Oct 19, 2011, 01:00 PM
I use a base 2011 11" with 2gb of ram everyday for intensive work, it works faster than my Pro from last year with 4gb of ram and C2D, id highly recommend the 2011 11" also having no warranty is a worry surely? if it breaks down you could end up spending a lot of money trying to repair something that had you just bought a new Mac first time around , wouldn't of been an issue. 64GB is fine for me aswell, Have a 16gb memory stick incase I ever need it, but so far I still have 20 gigs free and thats with a windows 7 partition. Upto yourself at the end of the day but personally id go for the 2011 with backlit keys everyday of the week.

Titanium81
Oct 19, 2011, 01:19 PM
I use a base 2011 11" with 2gb of ram everyday for intensive work, it works faster than my Pro from last year with 4gb of ram and C2D, id highly recommend the 2011 11" also having no warranty is a worry surely? if it breaks down you could end up spending a lot of money trying to repair something that had you just bought a new Mac first time around , wouldn't of been an issue. 64GB is fine for me aswell, Have a 16gb memory stick incase I ever need it, but so far I still have 20 gigs free and thats with a windows 7 partition. Upto yourself at the end of the day but personally id go for the 2011 with backlit keys everyday of the week.

When you say "intensive work", can you give me an example of the programs you typically use daily?

Xikum
Oct 19, 2011, 02:39 PM
In the end I decided that the battery life, screen size and storage meant more to me than a faster processor and backlight keyboard.

And I even managed to knocked 50 off the price, so I got it for 650. So I present the newest addition to the family! :rolleyes:

s2dio
Oct 19, 2011, 04:56 PM
Great, congratulations! You and your Mac were made for each other. Have fun with it! :))

gdeputy
Oct 21, 2011, 12:59 PM
Grats! My 2010 13" runs wonderfully, I'm still a ways off from an upgrade :)

gman901
Oct 21, 2011, 02:07 PM
I love my 13"! I just got mine from Apple refurb and I think it must be brand new because it had only 1 or 2 cycles on the battery and came with the better Samsung 256 GB SSD. I may not have backlight, but it is extremely fast on Snow Leopard and boots up in about 12-15 seconds. Coming out of a long sleep is pretty much instant. What's cool is that this one has a good graphics card and I am able to run games like Batman, Black Ops and the Witcher 2 at decent enough framerates to be playable. I don't need 30 fps, I am fine with 20-30.

Xikum
Oct 21, 2011, 05:01 PM
I love my 13"! I just got mine from Apple refurb and I think it must be brand new because it had only 1 or 2 cycles on the battery and came with the better Samsung 256 GB SSD. I may not have backlight, but it is extremely fast on Snow Leopard and boots up in about 12-15 seconds. Coming out of a long sleep is pretty much instant. What's cool is that this one has a good graphics card and I am able to run games like Batman, Black Ops and the Witcher 2 at decent enough framerates to be playable. I don't need 30 fps, I am fine with 20-30.

Yep, the 13" is definitely terrific. I put Lion on it, and it doesn't lag or anything whatsoever. Something strange I found was that the laptop has only had 5 battery cycles, and still has 10 months warranty! I'm assuming that its a very recent refurb, which was something I wasn't expecting (it was advertised as used). And absolutely no aesthetic damage whatsoever.

But I'm delighted. Warranty I didn't know existed, and a pretty much brand new battery. Im using it for university, and before this MBA I used a very cheap advent 10" laptop. The bridge in difference and usability is just unbelievable.

calvol
Oct 21, 2011, 05:44 PM
Yep, my 2010 MBA 13 refurb came with 3 batt cycles, hardly used. Has the Samsung screen and Toshiba SSD, which has better garbage collection. It's great w/ SL.

gman901
Oct 22, 2011, 09:06 AM
I'll be honest, the first 13" refurb apple sent me had a very small dent on the top case; however they immediately ovdrnighted me another one and sent me a speck hard case, and two sleeves from the Apple store for my troubles. That's why I stick with Apple! Not only do they have the best hardware and OS, they also have the best customer service. I stupidly listened to some folks telling me to get a gaming laptop- which I did from Dellienware. I was welcomed to a faulty logic board, brick power adapter, USB 3 ports that always fail and ****** service that ping pongs you between departments for hours. Apple customer service compared to Dell is like night and day.

wrinkster22
Oct 22, 2011, 09:15 AM
congrats op! enjoy :)

Xikum
Oct 23, 2011, 06:22 AM
I'll be honest, the first 13" refurb apple sent me had a very small dent on the top case; however they immediately ovdrnighted me another one and sent me a speck hard case, and two sleeves from the Apple store for my troubles. That's why I stick with Apple! Not only do they have the best hardware and OS, they also have the best customer service. I stupidly listened to some folks telling me to get a gaming laptop- which I did from Dellienware. I was welcomed to a faulty logic board, brick power adapter, USB 3 ports that always fail and ****** service that ping pongs you between departments for hours. Apple customer service compared to Dell is like night and day.

Nice! The extra sleeves for your troubles is a really nice touch from Apple, definitely something you wouldn't get somewhere else. I bought my first Apple computer earlier this year (an iMac, which has impressed me so much that this is why I decided to get a MBA instead of a cheap windows netbook), and the customer service is great, no question about it. When I went into the Apple store, I told one of the store assistants that I was looking to buy the iMac. Then, after he brought it out the back room, he asked if I wanted him to set up the iMac (I bought it just after Lion had been released so it was shipped with Snow Leopard) for me. He did, and he must have spent about an hour and a half with me just going over the machine, installing Lion, setting up the computer, and making sure everything was ok. He never left us to go speak to other customers and then disappear for 30 minutes like you would expect from other shops, and he talked to us about his Mac collection, gave us a list of useful apps from his personal experiences, and just gave us a general introduction to Mac.

My brother was so impressed he went back the next day and bought the exact same iMac I did!

gman901
Oct 23, 2011, 11:14 AM
Good story! Just another reason I like dealing with Apple - you can easily go to the store for help. Try doing that with a Windows laptop. Actually, you could bring it in to BB, but you probably need to bring some KY lubricant with you.