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Old Jan 6, 2013, 06:45 AM   #1
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Thinking of buying a refurb MBA

I currently have a 15" Macbook Pro from 2010 (the one in my signature), but I want something smaller, so I'm thinking of selling it on eBay and buying a MBA. The two models I'm looking at are the 13" w/ i5, 4GB RAM (http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD...-intel-core-i5), and 128GB SSD and the 11" w/ i5, 4GB RAM, and 128GB SSD (http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD...-intel-core-i5). The main uses would be programming, web design/development, photo editing, small video editing (5 minute projects, so nothing to hard on the GPU or CPU), essay writing, and online college test taking. The MBA will be a secondary machine, as I also have a desktop (the one in my signature) that I will be using for the majority of my hardcore tasks (gaming, 3D rendering, long video editing, etc...) so it won't have to be able to do everything imaginable. As far as portability needs go, I will be taking it to college 4 days a week (commuter) and taking it to friends places on weekends. I do travel 4+ times a year, so that's something to take into consideration, but I've been able to do it fine with my MBP so a couple inches isn't going to affect that.

I've always had either 13" or 15" laptops so I'm kinda leaning towards the 13" MBA, but I have used an 11" MBA (my dad has a few for his business and I set them up, but I'm not sure how easy photo editing and programming is on them) and I'm always open to new things. So anyway, help me with this decision please. It'd be awesome if people that own one or both of the models and have similar uses to me could weigh in here with their experiences.

Current computers: 15" MBP, 2.4ghz, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD | Custom desktop, i7, 16 GB RAM, 1TB HDD, GTX 570, 24" display
Current devices: Galaxy Nexus, iPad 1 3G 64 GB,
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 11:34 PM   #2
A Hebrew
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13". 11 is too limited screen size.
2012 13" MacBook Air | 2012 27" iMac | iPad 3 | iPhone 5
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 12:33 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by guavacode View Post
but I'm not sure how easy photo editing and programming is on them) and I'm always open to new things.

Programming definitely screams for the biggest screen possible. Photo editing u can get away with it as long as you don't mind zooming in and out and panning constantly.

11" is for people who prize portability (me) about all else. I take my 11" out 5 days/week. I often remote desktop to my Windows server that has a slightly bigger desktop than the Air's screen and it's getting annoying, but my priority is portability so I made my choice.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 05:39 AM   #4
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I think the 11" could be fine, provided you have an external display for your particular line of work. I am a computational biologist, so I program a lot as well and by far the most important factor in a display is the # of vertical lines, which frankly, is not very much with only 768 available. That said, the 11" is more than suitable for coding on the go and I use it roughly 50% of the time disconnected from my display (though granted, my display is a monstrous ATD so I generally do my "heavy" work there).

What I love most about this setup is I can have an ultraportable when I want to, and it's powerful enough to use as a sort of mini-desktop when I want to dock it to my bigger display. For when the Air's CPU isn't powerful enough, I usually offload the code to another computer or my server.

You mention that you already have a desktop, so in my opinion, I think the smaller Air could suit you well, and by selling your MBP, you could basically get one for free (or even make money?). It really just depends on how much you value the portability. I can't stand the 13" because personally, for all of its thinness, the footprint is too big in my opinion, but to each his own.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 09:19 AM   #5
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I say go for the 13. I've been thinking about doing the same thing with my wife's MBP. Please give your impressions of how the two machines compare after your purchase.
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