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Neiche
Aug 31, 2012, 03:17 PM
Alright so I'm a freshman in college, I already have a solid spec wise HP pc laptop that I probably won't get rid of. However, it is big, clunky, runs hot, and sucks to take around.

So I want something small, portable, and somewhat powerful and capable, got a little money to spend so seriously considering a macbook air.

I need help deciding:
Through best buy I could get the base line 13 inch macbook air for $1039 (4gb ram, 1.8ghz i5) with the $100 student discount, plus an already 60 dollar discounted price.

OR I could get a BTO macbook air 11inch from Apple with educational pricing for $1,274. (8gb ram, 2.0ghz i7, 128gb hard drive). I'm fine with the smaller hard drive.


What would you recommend? I could spend 200 dollars less for more battery life and bigger screen, or 200 more for lots of power in a small size with less battery?

It's hard for me because 5 hours of battery life sounds okay, if I actually get those 5 hours. Am I gonna regret not having the bigger screen/better battery life?

Will the maxed out 11inch run a lot faster?


Thanks
Nick



polotska
Aug 31, 2012, 03:20 PM
I’d go with the 13", simply for the additional screen real estate; the form factor of the 13" is small enough for me, so I’d gain little by going with the 11". But YMMV.

alphaod
Aug 31, 2012, 03:20 PM
The maxed out 11" will have slightly shorter battery life.

The 13" should be fine for all your needs.

Wokis
Aug 31, 2012, 03:23 PM
Depends if some of the uses you have for the computer would benefit of 8GB RAM. For me personally 4GB is such a deal breaker I'd have gone with the 11" instead in that case. But there are a lot of usage scenarios where it doesn't matter.. yet!

macmastersam
Aug 31, 2012, 03:30 PM
like wokis said above me, what are your uses for the macbook air? you won't notice any difference in speed in the higher spec macbook air if you are only going to use it for internet browsing and simple word processing. But my personal opinion? i think you should get the 13" macbook air. you will find it more comfortable to look at when you do lots of typing and video watching for long periods of time.

daveishere
Aug 31, 2012, 03:42 PM
I had the choice of the 11" or 13", but chose 13" because I felt that the 11" would become a bit of a gimmick over time whereas although the 13" is physically bigger, the screen is the size of a normal laptop.

Neiche
Aug 31, 2012, 05:24 PM
But in terms of power and speed....
I'm gonna be multi tasking, and word processing, maybe use some photoshop too. Would the 13in be a lot slower?

fleawannabe
Aug 31, 2012, 06:57 PM
If you do get the 13" you should definitely spend the extra money and get the 8GB of RAM.

plucky duck
Aug 31, 2012, 07:06 PM
13" is rated for 7hrs, so for you to consistently get 5hrs under non CPU/GPU intense conditions shouldn't be hard to acheive at all. On the other hand, 11" is rated for 5hrs, so in real life unless under most ideal conditions 5hrs is not to be expected, especially if you have screen brightness up there. ML supposedly reduces battery life compared to Lion as well. Do you have easy and frequent access to a wall plug?

m.demian
Aug 31, 2012, 07:27 PM
What exactly are you doing that requires an i7?

Neiche
Aug 31, 2012, 07:43 PM
alright so-

my use: lots of word processing, office 2010 stuff, note taking in class, some light adobe CS6 stuff (photoshop and flash... i'm not a power user but I want to be able to use CS6 to edit and whatnot sometimes), tons of web browsing, streaming movies/watching movies, music.
so seems like a lot but i'm not gonna be like doing heavy video editing and stuff.

I'm a college student, have a little money to spend but obviously need to keep a somewhat tight budget. Like i said earlier, I want a laptop that I can throw in my backpack with my books and take wherever and use in the library or wherever I go.



someone mentioned I should just get a 13" with 8gb of ram, but the thing is then I would have to get through apple, not get the same best buy discount. so 13" with 8gb of ram would end up costing me about 200 dollars more. and for that price I could get an 11" with 8gb of ram AND the i7.


It's a tough decision!!! Help me! haha but thank you all for the input so far

kierennyc
Aug 31, 2012, 07:54 PM
If I were you I'd for for the i5 11" - Its the ultimate grab and go laptop. You don't need the i7 judging from the usage you described.

A lot of people go on about how the 11" screen is too small, but i've been using it as my main computer for over a month now and absolutely love it. With full screen apps in Lion and the different gestures its more than ok, in-fact, it's great.

I can get about 5 hours out of my machine with normal usage.

Neiche
Aug 31, 2012, 08:03 PM
If I were you I'd for for the i5 11" - Its the ultimate grab and go laptop. You don't need the i7 judging from the usage you described.

A lot of people go on about how the 11" screen is too small, but i've been using it as my main computer for over a month now and absolutely love it. With full screen apps in Lion and the different gestures its more than ok, in-fact, it's great.

I can get about 5 hours out of my machine with normal usage.




so you're saying get the base model 11"? how long does the battery last? how is it for multitasking?

mcman77
Aug 31, 2012, 08:05 PM
Alright so I'm a freshman in college, I already have a solid spec wise HP pc laptop that I probably won't get rid of. However, it is big, clunky, runs hot, and sucks to take around.

So I want something small, portable, and somewhat powerful and capable, got a little money to spend so seriously considering a macbook air.

I need help deciding:
Through best buy I could get the base line 13 inch macbook air for $1039 (4gb ram, 1.8ghz i5) with the $100 student discount, plus an already 60 dollar discounted price.

OR I could get a BTO macbook air 11inch from Apple with educational pricing for $1,274. (8gb ram, 2.0ghz i7, 128gb hard drive). I'm fine with the smaller hard drive.


What would you recommend? I could spend 200 dollars less for more battery life and bigger screen, or 200 more for lots of power in a small size with less battery?

It's hard for me because 5 hours of battery life sounds okay, if I actually get those 5 hours. Am I gonna regret not having the bigger screen/better battery life?

Will the maxed out 11inch run a lot faster?


Thanks
Nick

If you don't mind me asking, do you actually need a portable laptop?
What will you use it for?

Neiche
Aug 31, 2012, 08:07 PM
If you don't mind me asking, do you actually need a portable laptop?
What will you use it for?

school work on the go mainly!

Dark Void
Aug 31, 2012, 08:15 PM
It's a toss up really - you just have to decide if you would prefer the extra screen space or not, take the resolutions into account, and keep the footprints/form factor in mind too for storage and placement if you are going to be "on to go" as you say. I can't really offer a suggestion, just thought I would offer what I would take into consideration at least. Good luck. :)

mcman77
Aug 31, 2012, 08:17 PM
school work on the go mainly!

Hmm...personally i'd use my money elsewhere since you already have a device that will get the job done.

I don't think you can really be productive on the go as much as you think you can.

Anyway just to advise you from my experience, I have a 20" imac and a 11.6" laptop. I can easily get on with my life without the 11.6" and I do work on the imac much better and faster. It is so much more productive.

If you were sitting at a desk all day i'd understand why you'd want a 11.6" to use on sofa, in bed and get that work done but being a student. I'd say keep you money or have fun with it.

Just my opinion!

Conclusion, both will do the job just fine. 11.6 is 'easier' to use in more comfortable positions, ie sofa/bed.

Neiche
Aug 31, 2012, 09:43 PM
Hmm...personally i'd use my money elsewhere since you already have a device that will get the job done.

I don't think you can really be productive on the go as much as you think you can.

Anyway just to advise you from my experience, I have a 20" imac and a 11.6" laptop. I can easily get on with my life without the 11.6" and I do work on the imac much better and faster. It is so much more productive.

If you were sitting at a desk all day i'd understand why you'd want a 11.6" to use on sofa, in bed and get that work done but being a student. I'd say keep you money or have fun with it.

Just my opinion!



Conclusion, both will do the job just fine. 11.6 is 'easier' to use in more comfortable positions, ie sofa/bed.


yeah that all makes sense! I made a few thousand dollars this summer, and computers are my thing, I know if I got a MBA I would probably use it all the time...the 11 inch is appealing because it's not too much more and it would be such a small computer with pretty damn good specs...

but still can't decide!

Fernandez21
Aug 31, 2012, 09:43 PM
The 11" is the ultimate grab and go laptop, if portability is the most important to you, get the 11". Plus if you need the bigger screen, you still have your HP you can fall back on.

Neiche
Aug 31, 2012, 09:50 PM
The 11" is the ultimate grab and go laptop, if portability is the most important to you, get the 11". Plus if you need the bigger screen, you still have your HP you can fall back on.

and you think spending a couple hundred bucks to get 8gb ram and i7 would probably be worth it?

Fernandez21
Aug 31, 2012, 10:33 PM
and you think spending a couple hundred bucks to get 8gb ram and i7 would probably be worth it?

If you can afford it, sure, just in case your usage changes after a while of having it. Though I suggest the 8gb of ram more than the i7.

Neiche
Sep 1, 2012, 12:35 AM
If you can afford it, sure, just in case your usage changes after a while of having it. Though I suggest the 8gb of ram more than the i7.



alright!
like i said, the two main options i'm considering right now would be:

$1,279 - 11inch MBA, 8gb ram, 2.0ghz i7, 128gb ssd
$1,039 - 13 inch base model (4gb, i5, 128)

nightlong
Sep 1, 2012, 12:45 AM
RAM is always a priority for me when getting a new computer, I always get more than what is considered to be adequate at the time, for some future proofing but also to get the best performance from the computer ... but it's a no brainer with an Air, when you are stuck with what you get at purchase time So I got 8GB for 13inch base model, and I'm so happy with it, it's so fast. I'm not a power user but even so, when i'm multitasking with several apps and I check iStat ...I'm glad I got 8GB, there's heaps free but there wouldn't be with 4GB, there would be adequate amount free for now, but maybe not next year.

Blackberryroid
Sep 1, 2012, 12:59 AM
Maxed out 11 Inch. Trust me, you won't regret it. It's not small either, you'll adapt to it. 13 Inch will seem gigantic after a few weeks with the 11 Inch.

Neiche
Sep 1, 2012, 01:08 AM
Maxed out 11 Inch. Trust me, you won't regret it. It's not small either, you'll adapt to it. 13 Inch will seem gigantic after a few weeks with the 11 Inch.



yeah i'm thinking about it for sure. Will the battery life be worse than 5 hours since it has upgraded specs?

Orlandoech
Sep 1, 2012, 01:09 AM
If you have $1279 to spend on the 11" why not get the 13" with 8gb ram for $1239? Makes 0 sense to me to go with the 11".

Neiche
Sep 1, 2012, 01:13 AM
If you have $1279 to spend on the 11" why not get the 13" with 8gb ram for $1239? Makes 0 sense to me to go with the 11".


the only thing about that is then I'd be paying a similar amount, and not getting the i7 like I would with the 11.

Orlandoech
Sep 1, 2012, 01:15 AM
For what you're doing it won't make any difference. I have a crappy Lenovo T420s with a dual core i5, 8gb ram an 160gb SSD and it screams through photoshop cs6 and such. I only notice slow downs when I do DVD ripping.

Neiche
Sep 1, 2012, 01:18 AM
For what you're doing it won't make any difference. I have a crappy Lenovo T420s with a dual core i5, 8gb ram an 160gb SSD and it screams through photoshop cs6 and such. I only notice slow downs when I do DVD ripping.


Yeah totally see what you're saying. Like i said though, I could get the 13" base model for $1,039 from best buy...if I were to get 8gb I would have to get from apple for $1,239. So it would be 200 bucks more for 8gb of ram..

Orlandoech
Sep 1, 2012, 01:21 AM
Yeah totally see what you're saying. Like i said though, I could get the 13" base model for $1,039 from best buy...if I were to get 8gb I would have to get from apple for $1,239. So it would be 200 bucks more for 8gb of ram..

I still would get the 13" but that's me. Why not 2011 13" refurb for $919 and save more money?

http://store.apple.com/us-hed/product/FC965LL/A

ChrisA
Sep 1, 2012, 01:39 AM
Alright so I'm a freshman in college, I already have a solid spec wise HP pc laptop that I probably won't get rid of. However, it is big, clunky, runs hot, and sucks to take around.

So I want something small, portable, and somewhat powerful and capable, got a little money to spend so seriously considering a macbook air.

I need help deciding:
Through best buy I could get the base line 13 inch macbook air for $1039 (4gb ram, 1.8ghz i5) with the $100 student discount, plus an already 60 dollar discounted price.

OR I could get a BTO macbook air 11inch from Apple with educational pricing for $1,274. (8gb ram, 2.0ghz i7, 128gb hard drive). I'm fine with the smaller hard drive.

I just started college too. But I'm 50 years old and going into grad school. I looked at the 11" MBA and thought that if only my eyesight were better I'd get the 11". Weight and size are my #1 concern but I ha to go with the 13". If your eyes are good enough to see tiny fonts then get the smaller computer

CPU speed just does NOT matter at all. You will not be using this to play first person shooter games. Just taking notes and doing papers and so on even a slow 1GHz machine is over kill.

In fewer words: "Buy the smallest screen you can still read."

PS: So far EVERY and I mean EVERY notebook computer I've seen on campus has been an Apple Mac. There is no rule about computers. People bring what they want but so for it is 100% mac. The library has rows and rows of public use iMacs

----------

the only thing about that is then I'd be paying a similar amount, and not getting the i7 like I would with the 11.

For your intended usage the CPU does not matter. Prove this to yourself by watching the "activity monitor" display CPU usage. You will almost never see it pegged at 100%.

Different story if you were to say you were a film major and wanted a notebook to edit video. Then go for the 15" MBP.

One more thing: the 11" MBA can drive a large LCD monitor. Keep a monitor on your desk

happyslayer
Sep 1, 2012, 01:39 AM
My laptop, and main machine that I do most of my work on, is the 11.6 Air. This is my second. I had the 2010 model and than upgraded to the 2011 model (mostly for the backlit keyboard) and it has been a great machine!

Previously, I had the 2009 model 13" and I did not notice a big difference other than weight. I carry this laptop everywhere I go and getting the smaller model was better for me.

I don't really notice any issues with the screen size. Also, it can handle being plugged into a larger monitor: using the 29.00 dollar adapter I have tried it with a 23" ASUS LCD and a 26" Visio monitor and it worked great. So, later, when you've saved more cash, you can always get a larger screen to keep in your dorm/apartment/house or whatever for when you are doing work that a larger screen might be beneficial for.

Just my two cents...

And again, I love the 11" Air!

Blackberryroid
Sep 1, 2012, 01:48 AM
yeah i'm thinking about it for sure. Will the battery life be worse than 5 hours since it has upgraded specs?

I have a maxed out (except SSD) 11 Inch Air, and it still does the promised 5 hours. Surprisingly, it goes up to 6 Hours and 30 minutes when doing small tasks.

Neiche
Sep 1, 2012, 02:02 AM
I have a maxed out (except SSD) 11 Inch Air, and it still does the promised 5 hours. Surprisingly, it goes up to 6 Hours and 30 minutes when doing small tasks.


And would you recommend that over a base 13 model?

throAU
Sep 1, 2012, 02:30 AM
If money is an issue - go for the slowest CPU spec 13" machine you can, and spend the money on upgrading RAM / storage as appropriate.

The difference in day to day use by jumping a speed grade will be minimal. The ram will help if you work with large data sets. Obviously an i7 will be faster at some things but the i5 is still fast and for most day to day stuff you won't notice.

However, you WILL notice things listed below:


In terms of 13" vs 11" display, the 11" is 16x9 and the 13" is 16x10 aspect.

16x9 looks way too short and wide, 16x10 is a much "nicer" size for actually using for work, imho. the 1440x900 screen res on the 13" will give you more space to work with as well.

In terms of physical size, there's not a hell of a lot in it.

class77
Sep 1, 2012, 02:46 AM
You cannot upgrade the RAM in a MBA, so I would go with the 8 GB 11" or get a 8GB 13" with the i5 instead of maxed out.

mcman77
Sep 1, 2012, 04:13 AM
the 11.6" is a 16:9

the 13" is a 4:3


List your actual tasks to give a better suggestion. Most students I see have the 13.3" but then again that is cause they don't have any other laptop or pc.

It is portable enough and for the same money i'd rather have more screen than better procesor.

jltj
Sep 1, 2012, 04:30 AM
I would go for the 13" unless that little bit of extra portability is such a big concern that you are willing to give up a more comfortable screen and battery life.

Blackberryroid
Sep 1, 2012, 07:10 AM
And would you recommend that over a base 13 model?

Yes, I'd definitely recommend that over the base 13.

----------

the 11.6" is a 16:9

the 13" is a 4:3


What. The. Hell.

The 13 Inch is, in fact, 16:10. Where did you get that information?

ImperialX
Sep 1, 2012, 07:11 AM
I had a 13" 2010 MacBook Air before I switched to the 11.6 2012 MacBook Air, the exact computer configuration that you're looking at getting.

I'm also a College student. Let me tell you I regret nothing.

iamsen47
Sep 1, 2012, 08:03 AM
In your situation I would get a base 11" and use the remainder for a 2nd screen or food/rent. You don't even need to upgrade the RAM because you already have a dedicated work horse. And you probably don't use photoshop frequently enough to need 8Gb, just wait a few seconds more.

MacLappy
Sep 2, 2012, 05:18 AM
Alright so I'm a freshman in college, I already have a solid spec wise HP pc laptop that I probably won't get rid of. However, it is big, clunky, runs hot, and sucks to take around.
So I want something small, portable, and somewhat powerful and capable, got a little money to spend so seriously considering a macbook air.
It's hard for me because 5 hours of battery life sounds okay, if I actually get those 5 hours. Am I gonna regret not having the bigger screen/better battery life? Will the maxed out 11inch run a lot faster?


Hi Nick given the same scenario as you I would go for the 11” max macbook air, meaning the 11”/i7/8Gb/128Gb. Here’s why.

Coming for an old HP laptop to a new mac is going to offer you a couple of paradigm shifts, that will considerably change the way that you interact with your computer from now on. Mac OSX is a completely different animal from windows. Mac OSX is extremely intuitive in comparison to windows. The first few weeks is going to be quite difficult, concepts such as file management will be challenged as you embrace Mac OSX, interface interaction will be vastly improved as you swipe, zoom, slide you way around on the mac, it will be difficult to go back to windows once you get the hang of it.
Killer features on the macbook air will appeal to you, things like instant on, extreme portability, huge all glass trackpad, amazingly fast flash storage, build quality, the way that it interacts perfectly with the OS, will change the way that you expect a laptop to work. It will be very hard to go back to a hard disk based laptop, much less one with all the flaws that you stated.
In short everything that you do, you would probably want to do it on your new macbook air. Trust me, it is that good.
What it does mean is that you should not consider the HP laptop as a practical fallback, since it will most likely no longer produce a satisfying computing experience, in light of your involvement with the macbook air.
It also means that you want your mac to be able to do as much as possible, is the 8Gb ram upgrade important in this scenario? Most definitely Yes. Is the i7 also a worthwhile upgrade if it is your main and only computer? Depends, is a 21-25% increase in performance doing cpu intensive stuff important to you? For me it is and I have absolutely no regrets upgrading the processor. Does it matter much in day to day stuff? Not really. But when I need to do some heavy lifting, i.e. encoding videos, I am glad that I do have the fastest processor available in this tiny form factor.

The main thing that I notice you had issues with, on the HP Laptop, seems to have a lot to do with portability. As such, I am of the opinion that you are really looking for an ultraportable, and if that is the case, the 11” is as portable a mac as you can get. The difference between the 11” and 13” in portability is HUGE, not so much because of the weight but rather the form factor. The 11” just begs to be taken everywhere. It’s so easy to carry around and to use that sometimes i feel like, it treads the border of something more akin to an iPad while maintaining the full functionality of a laptop. It is the super hybrid, a chimera of portability, function and ergonomics.

Battery life is easily 5 hours with wifi on, basic web surfing at 3 to 4 bar brightness. Of course if you were streaming videos or gaming on the go you would experience a noticeable drop in battery life. At the same time if you had your wifi/bluetooth off, sound muted, brightness set at either 1 or 2 bars and basically typing, i.e. taking notes in a lecture hall, you could stretch your battery to anywhere from 7 to 8 hours on the 11”. Here is the thing, with the charger the 11” weights about as much as the 13” without the charger. So really it is a give and take on the battery issue. Are you able to survive with 5hrs of connected uptime? If yes, take the 11”. Can you perhaps manage your battery life by turning off/down functions that are not absolutely necessary on longer days and are those days constrained to about 8hrs? If yes, take the 11”. Do you by any chance have access to a charging point thereby giving you more uptime on an 11” with a charger than the 13” without a charger, for the same amount of weight? If yes, take the 11”.

So here is where I conclude this stupendously long post. Get the 11”. Get the 8Gb upgrade. Get the i7 upgrade. If you need more space, get a usb 3.0 external hard disk drive. If you need more desktop space, get an external monitor. Yes you will love your new 11” macbook air. No I don’t hate the 13”. I still have both my 13”s the late 2010 and mid 2011 base models. Both 11” and 13’ are fantastic, I just like the 11” that much more. :D

Neiche
Sep 2, 2012, 01:42 PM
Hi Nick given the same scenario as you I would go for the 11” max macbook air, meaning the 11”/i7/8Gb/128Gb. Here’s why.

Coming for an old HP laptop to a new mac is going to offer you a couple of paradigm shifts, that will considerably change the way that you interact with your computer from now on. Mac OSX is a completely different animal from windows. Mac OSX is extremely intuitive in comparison to windows. The first few weeks is going to be quite difficult, concepts such as file management will be challenged as you embrace Mac OSX, interface interaction will be vastly improved as you swipe, zoom, slide you way around on the mac, it will be difficult to go back to windows once you get the hang of it.
Killer features on the macbook air will appeal to you, things like instant on, extreme portability, huge all glass trackpad, amazingly fast flash storage, build quality, the way that it interacts perfectly with the OS, will change the way that you expect a laptop to work. It will be very hard to go back to a hard disk based laptop, much less one with all the flaws that you stated.
In short everything that you do, you would probably want to do it on your new macbook air. Trust me, it is that good.
What it does mean is that you should not consider the HP laptop as a practical fallback, since it will most likely no longer produce a satisfying computing experience, in light of your involvement with the macbook air.
It also means that you want your mac to be able to do as much as possible, is the 8Gb ram upgrade important in this scenario? Most definitely Yes. Is the i7 also a worthwhile upgrade if it is your main and only computer? Depends, is a 21-25% increase in performance doing cpu intensive stuff important to you? For me it is and I have absolutely no regrets upgrading the processor. Does it matter much in day to day stuff? Not really. But when I need to do some heavy lifting, i.e. encoding videos, I am glad that I do have the fastest processor available in this tiny form factor.

The main thing that I notice you had issues with, on the HP Laptop, seems to have a lot to do with portability. As such, I am of the opinion that you are really looking for an ultraportable, and if that is the case, the 11” is as portable a mac as you can get. The difference between the 11” and 13” in portability is HUGE, not so much because of the weight but rather the form factor. The 11” just begs to be taken everywhere. It’s so easy to carry around and to use that sometimes i feel like, it treads the border of something more akin to an iPad while maintaining the full functionality of a laptop. It is the super hybrid, a chimera of portability, function and ergonomics.

Battery life is easily 5 hours with wifi on, basic web surfing at 3 to 4 bar brightness. Of course if you were streaming videos or gaming on the go you would experience a noticeable drop in battery life. At the same time if you had your wifi/bluetooth off, sound muted, brightness set at either 1 or 2 bars and basically typing, i.e. taking notes in a lecture hall, you could stretch your battery to anywhere from 7 to 8 hours on the 11”. Here is the thing, with the charger the 11” weights about as much as the 13” without the charger. So really it is a give and take on the battery issue. Are you able to survive with 5hrs of connected uptime? If yes, take the 11”. Can you perhaps manage your battery life by turning off/down functions that are not absolutely necessary on longer days and are those days constrained to about 8hrs? If yes, take the 11”. Do you by any chance have access to a charging point thereby giving you more uptime on an 11” with a charger than the 13” without a charger, for the same amount of weight? If yes, take the 11”.

So here is where I conclude this stupendously long post. Get the 11”. Get the 8Gb upgrade. Get the i7 upgrade. If you need more space, get a usb 3.0 external hard disk drive. If you need more desktop space, get an external monitor. Yes you will love your new 11” macbook air. No I don’t hate the 13”. I still have both my 13”s the late 2010 and mid 2011 base models. Both 11” and 13’ are fantastic, I just like the 11” that much more. :D




fantastic reply, thanks so much. I bought a base 13" for a thousand bucks, have 30 days, I'm gonna see how I like it, speed wise and portability wise. Maybe will get the 11" in a couple weeks but trying this out for now :)

Thanks!!
Nick

Klingi
Sep 2, 2012, 02:58 PM
The 13" model for sure! The screen real estate, battery life and nicer form factor is the deal for me atleast ;)

MacLappy
Sep 2, 2012, 08:45 PM
fantastic reply, thanks so much. I bought a base 13" for a thousand bucks, have 30 days, I'm gonna see how I like it, speed wise and portability wise. Maybe will get the 11" in a couple weeks but trying this out for now :)

Thanks!!
Nick

Congrats, you will love it. :D

A Hebrew
Sep 2, 2012, 11:20 PM
If you are on a tight budget, like you have said, and already have a powerful laptop, just get the base line 11 inch. Word processing and casual browsing will be perfectly fine on it. Photoshop should be too, unless you go crazy intense with it.

stchman
Sep 3, 2012, 04:50 AM
I still would get the 13" but that's me. Why not 2011 13" refurb for $919 and save more money?

http://store.apple.com/us-hed/product/FC965LL/A

With a 2011 model you don't get USB 3.0 or Ivy Bridge processor.

----------

Hi Nick given the same scenario as you I would go for the 11” max macbook air, meaning the 11”/i7/8Gb/128Gb. Here’s why.

Coming for an old HP laptop to a new mac is going to offer you a couple of paradigm shifts, that will considerably change the way that you interact with your computer from now on. Mac OSX is a completely different animal from windows. Mac OSX is extremely intuitive in comparison to windows. The first few weeks is going to be quite difficult, concepts such as file management will be challenged as you embrace Mac OSX, interface interaction will be vastly improved as you swipe, zoom, slide you way around on the mac, it will be difficult to go back to windows once you get the hang of it.
Killer features on the macbook air will appeal to you, things like instant on, extreme portability, huge all glass trackpad, amazingly fast flash storage, build quality, the way that it interacts perfectly with the OS, will change the way that you expect a laptop to work. It will be very hard to go back to a hard disk based laptop, much less one with all the flaws that you stated.
In short everything that you do, you would probably want to do it on your new macbook air. Trust me, it is that good.
What it does mean is that you should not consider the HP laptop as a practical fallback, since it will most likely no longer produce a satisfying computing experience, in light of your involvement with the macbook air.
It also means that you want your mac to be able to do as much as possible, is the 8Gb ram upgrade important in this scenario? Most definitely Yes. Is the i7 also a worthwhile upgrade if it is your main and only computer? Depends, is a 21-25% increase in performance doing cpu intensive stuff important to you? For me it is and I have absolutely no regrets upgrading the processor. Does it matter much in day to day stuff? Not really. But when I need to do some heavy lifting, i.e. encoding videos, I am glad that I do have the fastest processor available in this tiny form factor.

The main thing that I notice you had issues with, on the HP Laptop, seems to have a lot to do with portability. As such, I am of the opinion that you are really looking for an ultraportable, and if that is the case, the 11” is as portable a mac as you can get. The difference between the 11” and 13” in portability is HUGE, not so much because of the weight but rather the form factor. The 11” just begs to be taken everywhere. It’s so easy to carry around and to use that sometimes i feel like, it treads the border of something more akin to an iPad while maintaining the full functionality of a laptop. It is the super hybrid, a chimera of portability, function and ergonomics.

Battery life is easily 5 hours with wifi on, basic web surfing at 3 to 4 bar brightness. Of course if you were streaming videos or gaming on the go you would experience a noticeable drop in battery life. At the same time if you had your wifi/bluetooth off, sound muted, brightness set at either 1 or 2 bars and basically typing, i.e. taking notes in a lecture hall, you could stretch your battery to anywhere from 7 to 8 hours on the 11”. Here is the thing, with the charger the 11” weights about as much as the 13” without the charger. So really it is a give and take on the battery issue. Are you able to survive with 5hrs of connected uptime? If yes, take the 11”. Can you perhaps manage your battery life by turning off/down functions that are not absolutely necessary on longer days and are those days constrained to about 8hrs? If yes, take the 11”. Do you by any chance have access to a charging point thereby giving you more uptime on an 11” with a charger than the 13” without a charger, for the same amount of weight? If yes, take the 11”.

So here is where I conclude this stupendously long post. Get the 11”. Get the 8Gb upgrade. Get the i7 upgrade. If you need more space, get a usb 3.0 external hard disk drive. If you need more desktop space, get an external monitor. Yes you will love your new 11” macbook air. No I don’t hate the 13”. I still have both my 13”s the late 2010 and mid 2011 base models. Both 11” and 13’ are fantastic, I just like the 11” that much more. :D

While I do agree that Apple makes a better laptop from a build quality standpoint, OS X is not the computing nirvana you claim it to be.

OS X has its faults, Finder sucks badly, no SSH integration into Finder, archive management pretty much sucks as well. Only saving grace is that you have the command line.

Flash storage is not an Apple exclusive either, other devices have them.

All this being said I still like Apple laptops and think that their build qualty is excellent.

Stingray454
Sep 3, 2012, 06:18 AM
I'd go for the 11", mostly for the 8 GB of ram. It's really a relief not having your memory constantly maxed out (which is not unusual with 4 GB, especially if you're using CS6 apps and surfing a lot).

I use an 11" myself and love it. Much better than the 13" for bringing to school / friends / trips and whatnot. The only problem is the battery life though - you get 5:ish hours of not-that-active surfing (add some flash and youtube on that and you get maybe 3 hours). If you use it a lot by day, I'd recommend bringing a charger. You usually have access to a power outlet no matter where you are anyway.

I use the 11" a lot on the road, but at home (when sitting for hours at a desk) I have a keyboard, mouse and external screen that I plug it in to. That really helps, feels like working on an iMac instead of an ultrabook :)

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While I do agree that Apple makes a better laptop from a build quality standpoint, OS X is not the computing nirvana you claim it to be.

OS X has its faults, Finder sucks badly, no SSH integration into Finder, archive management pretty much sucks as well. Only saving grace is that you have the command line.

Flash storage is not an Apple exclusive either, other devices have them.

All this being said I still like Apple laptops and think that their build qualty is excellent.

I agree, OS X has some weak points, especially Finder. There are however nice options - I myself use Path Finder, a finder replacement with a lot of features missing from normal finder (dual view, tabs, subversion support, hex view and tons of other stuff). And for SSH, I usually mount FTP/SFTP connections as disks with Transmission. There are several other similar nice-to-haves too. I like the "base" of OS X, but once you add some small tweaks to get those small annoyances away it's, in my personal opinion, better than the alternatives out there.

Neiche
Sep 3, 2012, 07:50 PM
I'd go for the 11", mostly for the 8 GB of ram. It's really a relief not having your memory constantly maxed out (which is not unusual with 4 GB, especially if you're using CS6 apps and surfing a lot).

I use an 11" myself and love it. Much better than the 13" for bringing to school / friends / trips and whatnot. The only problem is the battery life though - you get 5:ish hours of not-that-active surfing (add some flash and youtube on that and you get maybe 3 hours). If you use it a lot by day, I'd recommend bringing a charger. You usually have access to a power outlet no matter where you are anyway.

I use the 11" a lot on the road, but at home (when sitting for hours at a desk) I have a keyboard, mouse and external screen that I plug it in to. That really helps, feels like working on an iMac instead of an ultrabook :)

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I agree, OS X has some weak points, especially Finder. There are however nice options - I myself use Path Finder, a finder replacement with a lot of features missing from normal finder (dual view, tabs, subversion support, hex view and tons of other stuff). And for SSH, I usually mount FTP/SFTP connections as disks with Transmission. There are several other similar nice-to-haves too. I like the "base" of OS X, but once you add some small tweaks to get those small annoyances away it's, in my personal opinion, better than the alternatives out there.



thanks, great answer! I'm liking this 13", I'm still thinking though about getting the upgraded 11". 8gb of ram would be nice, and it's very portable. The only reason I'm hesitating is battery life. 5 hours might be alright though...the time I would need it to last the longest would be word processing, and I wouldn't even need wifi on for that

sveintj
Sep 4, 2012, 04:51 AM
I have spent a long time pondering this myself. Then I tried a 11" for a few moments and discovered that my hands could not "fit" on the space below the keyboard. So, half of my hands was below they keyboard when typing.

This fact plus that I am not getting any younger led me to the 13 ", no experience with it yet as it is still underway...

So, go to a apple store (or similar) and try them out, cpu is not so much an issue as it used to be...

PaulKemp
Sep 4, 2012, 02:50 PM
Since everybody's pitching in, I am going to do so as well. To me higher resolution is always better. So I would definitely go for the 13 inch. You get above average resolution and thats good. Also, 8 gb ram for the future.

However, the argument 'get the 11" and and second screen' is also a good one.

And as a side note, the price increase up to the 2012 version is worth it due to the USB 3.0. Think, one year or two years down the line. Neat, external USB 3.0 drives will be cheap. And they will definitely come in handy for saving school work. Saving virtual machines etc.