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Old Aug 10, 2011, 05:33 AM   #1
Macbookair2011
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Post My Macbook Air Experience: LG vs Samsung comparison also

Hi everyone...so I do not have my own macbook air yet and plan on getting 11inch 2nd config or 13inch base 2011 next week.

However, I spent about 5hours playing with two friends' laptops...one being the 11inch 2010 model and the other being the newer 13inch 2011 model.

2010 Model:
11inch base
2gb RAM
64GB SSD
core2duo processor (1.4ghz or whatever the base model is)
Toshiba SSD brand
Samsung screen panel

2011 Model:
13inch 2nd config
4GB RAM
256GB SSD
1.7ghz core i5 (not upgraded to i7)
Samsung SSD brand
LG Phillips screen panel

Was interesting to be able to compare the 11inch 2010 to the 13inch 2011, especially since they have difference screens. Obviously the backlit keyboard was a huge differing factor between the two and is a great addition. When it comes to the screens: I actually ended up preferring the LG screen, however this may be because it was on the larger 13inch screen. I found at 50% brightness the LG 13inch was very viewable, and to save power you could even drop it down a couple of notches. Full screen brightness is completely unnecessary. The 11inch samsung was very crisp (but I can imagine this was also because the 11inch has a higher pixel density, right?), however, at 50% brightness this computer was not very nice to use (combo of 11inch screen and samsung? not sure). So upping the brightness on that would definitely end in more battery suck. Battery on the newer 13inch model was noticeably better than the 11inch model over the 5hours I played with both models.

13inch is 25% heavier, and it is noticeable. Picking them up with one hand/two hands/ holding under shoulder you definitely can tell the difference. In a backpack this may be less noticeable. The 13inch still feels light, but looks HUGE compared to the 11inch model.

The screen on the 13inch is great, it fills to the corners of the bezel and the 16 10 aspect ratio is great. Obviously only had the opportunity to play with Lion on the 13inch and love the new swipes, full screen apps, mission control etc. 13inch screen is huge, so much room to play with especially in full screen. 11inch screen annoys me because it doesnt fill to corners of bezel as nicely, has the weird 16 9 screen ratio. However still very useable even without lion full screen apps (for what I do: which is just emails, web, word docs, excel, occasionaly video watching. Nothing intense).

Boot-up tests (not saying it is accurate at all), just my experience: 13inch 2011 started up quicker by a few seconds, however the 11inch 2010 has about 10gb of personal stuff on it, and the 13inch 2011 ssd was fresh out of the box (nothing but Lion). 11inch shut down faster than the 13. I definitely see the bug with Lion on the 13inch 2011 in terms of 'instant on'. It is not instant, sometimes takes 2seconds sometimes 4 seconds (a lifetime) and even then you dont get immediate access to mouse, takes a bit to get the usage. The 11inch with SL was much more instant. Hopefully they fix this with a new version of Lion...because although it is not terrible...I wanted instant on (which the older models provide!)

The 13inch heated up a tiny bit in the top left hand corner (seems to be where everyone reports heat). It heated up after a few hours, on 50% screen brightness, 6-8tabs on safari, playing some youtube, etc. By heat up I mean you can touch and feel warmth, but NOTHING bad at all. So for light use I would say the newer 13inch model does not heat up too badly at all (i5 processor on this one though). 11inch model with old processors did not heat up at all. Maybe the 11inch new model heats up more than the 13, but Im not sure.

I have been deciding between 11inch and 13inch for so long. It was nice to have both (even though one was 2010 and one was 2011), to play with and see what the form factor is like. Definitely can say that the backlit keyboard is cool and worth getting the new model for, also Lion is awesome and prefer it to SL. Even enjoyed the 'natural' scrolling after 10mins of scrolling the wrong way haha. Cannot say with my usage (safari like 4-8tabs, word document, excel, some youtube, some online lecture watching. NO photo editing, NO video editing, NO anything else really) that I notice any difference between the 2010 11inch 2gb RAM 1.4ghz core2duo and the 2011 13inch 4gb RAM 1.7ghz corei5. However, Lion is cool and recommend it over SL, so with Lion on the 2gb 2010...I think you may encounter some issues in the long term (with my sort of light usage).

Conclusion is: 2011 is worth it over the 2010 (even if you are a light user like me), because of backlit keyboard, Lion is cool (and people say it doesnt run nicely on the old 2010 models), you have the extra processing power if you ever need it etc. I was going to get a 11inch model, until I played with the 13inch and enjoyed its screen so much. So who knows now! Comes down to the good old portability vs screensize+batterylife debate.

****.

(PS: I dont know computers well, this is an AMATEUR review of my personal experience, sorry if I get stuff wrong)
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Old Aug 10, 2011, 05:55 AM   #2
OSMac
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Nice write up.

I agree the 13" Air is a nice machine, only downside is the small fonts but that's an issue on both models. One question to ask is would one be better off with the 13" Macbook Pro instead when you decide that is the size. The screens being a key difference, expandable ram, remote, and extra ports etc.

If one prefers the 11" model its a easier choice.
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Old Aug 10, 2011, 05:59 AM   #3
Macbookair2011
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Originally Posted by OSMac View Post
Nice write up.

I agree the 13" Air is a nice machine, only downside is the small fonts but that's an issue on both models. One question to ask is would one be better off with the 13" Macbook Pro instead when you decide that is the size. The screens being a key difference, expandable ram, remote, and extra ports etc.

If one prefers the 11" model its a easier choice.
That is a good point. The only 11inch comparison would be heading towards iPads...not my thing.

With the Pro vs Air debate (if you are looking at 13inch): I would say one would definitely think about whether you use CDs + DVDs much (a superdrive would be a hassle and ruin the air's portability somewhat). Also: does one use extra ports and perform tasks requiring 8gb of RAM? For me personally the answer to all these questions is no. So it is easy for me. What is hard is the 11inch vs 13inch Air debate
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Old Aug 20, 2011, 03:14 AM   #4
sukanas
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bump for great review!

i got the 13" and it has the samsung SSD
the screen is whatevers compared to my dell ups monitor.. plus you can't expect much from a laptop screen anyways, which is why i didn't care about laptop screen reviews so much
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Old Aug 20, 2011, 03:54 AM   #5
Nioxic
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Hehe.. the screen on these small laptops certainly aren't the top of the cake, or whatever its called. But its certainly not bad at all. I see only slight color changes when viewing from the sides (white becomes yellowish) but everything is still sharp and perfectly viewable... (wonder if yellow then becomes white?) :P

My 11 inch has the 256GB samsung ssd as well and i really think its faster. seems slightly faster than my PC's old 80GB intel ssd. Of course that SSD is quite old.. since its one of the first on the market...

i only ever booted up this mba twice.. (when i got it and after i installed 3 updates for the iLife programs) and i must say, boot up is indeed fast. must have have meant a lot for apple... It's not that important to me. my desktop boots up in 30 seconds and thats blitzing fast compared to what i've been used to (2ish minutes have been the worst though)

the reason i went for the 11 inch is because its smaller.. battery life is rarely an issue for me. 5 hours is more than enough.. and i can charge it anywhere anyways. If i bring it to a friends house, or family, I'm sure i can borrow a power plug from them.

if i was to get the 13 inch it would be because i needed the more battery life and the memory card reader... (or the bigger resolution)

Still i'm very happy with my purchase <3
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Old Aug 20, 2011, 10:08 AM   #6
IngerMan
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I had the 2010 13" MBA, I upgraded it to Lion the last few weeks I had it. I think Lion is great.

I traded in my 13" for a new 11" i5. I am pleasantly surprised of how much little difference I am noticing between the 2 on screen real-estate. Sure, side by side I would see the difference. But my actual use with this new machine, I am not wanting to go back what so ever.

They are both great machines, but Lion seems made for the 11" with it's new features. And I am really digging the form factor and carrying this machine around on my daily work schedule.

Either way they are both GREAT!
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Old Sep 3, 2011, 09:18 PM   #7
iBreatheApple
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Sorry, but I how do I know what type of display I have? I am assuming it is under "About My Mac" but I'm not sure what to look for. Thanks.
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Old Sep 3, 2011, 10:04 PM   #8
jcg878
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sukanas View Post
bump for great review!

i got the 13" and it has the samsung SSD
the screen is whatevers compared to my dell ups monitor.. plus you can't expect much from a laptop screen anyways, which is why i didn't care about laptop screen reviews so much
I wouldn't say that. The screen on my now-dead 13" MBP was fantastic. But, I could also blind passersby with the reflections coming off of it and I don't miss that.
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