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Old Jun 15, 2013, 07:25 PM   #1
Zauberer
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"Downgrading" to a 13" from a 15" Laptop

I'm currently using a 2011 Macbook Pro 15" and I love it. However, for my needs, I definitely could get away with a Macbook Air. My biggest concern is whether or not it will "feel" like a downgrade to go from a 15" screen to a 13" screen. I realize that my web browser or any office docs will likely use a greater percentage of the screen (right now my browser/office windows usually take up maybe 70% of the screen on my 15"), but will I really feel like I have a lesser computer? Thanks for any input, especially from those who have gone from a 15" to a 13" computer.

I'm also considering buying an external monitor for the moments when I do want to multitask with multiple windows open.
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Old Jun 15, 2013, 07:31 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Zauberer View Post
I'm currently using a 2011 Macbook Pro 15" and I love it. However, for my needs, I definitely could get away with a Macbook Air. My biggest concern is whether or not it will "feel" like a downgrade to go from a 15" screen to a 13" screen. I realize that my web browser or any office docs will likely use a greater percentage of the screen (right now my browser/office windows usually take up maybe 70% of the screen on my 15"), but will I really feel like I have a lesser computer? Thanks for any input, especially from those who have gone from a 15" to a 13" computer.

I'm also considering buying an external monitor for the moments when I do want to multitask with multiple windows open.
I already did this past week, I was using a 2011 Macbook Pro 13" and I bought a Macbook Air 11" that I'm attaching to an external Monitor, I love it, so far the little Macbook air is about 5 times faster than the 2011 Macbook Pro, best purchase ever and I run Mamp, Pohotoshop, Coda, about 10 Safari Tabs, Mail, Tweetbot, iMessage, iTunes, etc at the same time.
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Old Jun 15, 2013, 07:41 PM   #3
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I already did this past week, I was using a 2011 Macbook Pro 13" and I bought a Macbook Air 11" that I'm attaching to an external Monitor, I love it, so far the little Macbook air is about 5 times faster than the 2011 Macbook Pro, best purchase ever and I run Mamp, Pohotoshop, Coda, about 10 Safari Tabs, Mail, Tweetbot, iMessage, iTunes, etc at the same time.
Which model did you go with?
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Old Jun 15, 2013, 07:43 PM   #4
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Have a 20" iMac. Not a huge deal for me moving down to a 13".
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Old Jun 15, 2013, 07:52 PM   #5
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lesser computer?

Bigger if not always better, not anymore. These days, kids are going mobile all the way.
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Old Jun 15, 2013, 08:13 PM   #6
Zauberer
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That's why I chose to word my post as does it "feel" like a downgrade to lose the screen real estate. I know portability is an important factor and I certainly don't do anything where I'll notice any less computing power. In fact, I'm sure an SSD will make the computer much faster. The problem is testing out in an Apple store can only tell you so much and certainly tells you nothing about the value of greater portability.
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Old Jun 15, 2013, 09:02 PM   #7
LeeM
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i went from 15 to 13, 13 felt perfect. ive now got an 11 as well as the 13 and go for the 11 first unless im doing work.
in an ideal world id have the 15" pro spec in an 11" body. that would be perfection
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Old Jun 15, 2013, 10:27 PM   #8
curtoise
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Which model did you go with?
I'm writing this on a base 11" i5/4gb/256ssd right now.

I have an "ultimate" i7/8gb/512ssd that is going to be delivered on Tuesday but I'm not sure about the extra $600, this base model is running around in circles to my early 2011 MBP with 16 gb ram, extremely impressed about it with only 4gb of ram.

I've been on battery for 4 hours and is still telling me that I have 6 more.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 12:09 AM   #9
HiDEF
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I'm writing this on a base 11" i5/4gb/256ssd right now.

I have an "ultimate" i7/8gb/512ssd that is going to be delivered on Tuesday but I'm not sure about the extra $600, this base model is running around in circles to my early 2011 MBP with 16 gb ram, extremely impressed about it with only 4gb of ram.

I've been on battery for 4 hours and is still telling me that I have 6 more.
Good stuff! I've got a 13" base model I'm itching to open but not sure if I want to keep it or return it; I've been advised to upgrade the RAM to 8GB at least.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 12:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Zauberer View Post
I'm currently using a 2011 Macbook Pro 15" and I love it. However, for my needs, I definitely could get away with a Macbook Air. My biggest concern is whether or not it will "feel" like a downgrade to go from a 15" screen to a 13" screen. I realize that my web browser or any office docs will likely use a greater percentage of the screen (right now my browser/office windows usually take up maybe 70% of the screen on my 15"), but will I really feel like I have a lesser computer? Thanks for any input, especially from those who have gone from a 15" to a 13" computer.

...
The 15" MBP has the same resolution as the 13" MBA so you won't lose any real-estate. The only thing you'll probably notice is that text is a tad smaller on the Air. If you do end up feeling like its a downgrade, that feeling will more than likely be temporary. Eventually you'll get used to the Air.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 04:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zauberer View Post
I'm currently using a 2011 Macbook Pro 15" and I love it. However, for my needs, I definitely could get away with a Macbook Air. My biggest concern is whether or not it will "feel" like a downgrade to go from a 15" screen to a 13" screen. I realize that my web browser or any office docs will likely use a greater percentage of the screen (right now my browser/office windows usually take up maybe 70% of the screen on my 15"), but will I really feel like I have a lesser computer? Thanks for any input, especially from those who have gone from a 15" to a 13" computer.

I'm also considering buying an external monitor for the moments when I do want to multitask with multiple windows open.
have you considered going to an Apple store and trying one out?
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 04:26 PM   #12
Zauberer
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have you considered going to an Apple store and trying one out?
All a store visit told me was that a 13" screen is smaller than a 15" screen. It's not that I don't think I can get used to it, but I was looking for some input, especially from people who have made the switch so I do appreciate all the responses. The store experience doesn't say much about portability; I never had a problem with carrying my 15" MBP. However, the MBA is a lot cheaper and the primary reason I'd pay for a 15" MBP over a 13" MBA is the screen size. The extra power does nothing for my particular needs, but I also don't want to buy a new machine and have it "feel" like it's less.
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Old Jun 17, 2013, 12:05 AM   #13
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I went from a 2011 MBP 15" to a 2012 MBP 13" Retina. The smaller screen is definitely noticeable but it just made so much more sense based on portability and needs.

I'm quite satisfied with the switch.
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Old Jun 17, 2013, 06:31 AM   #14
DisplacedMic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zauberer View Post
All a store visit told me was that a 13" screen is smaller than a 15" screen. It's not that I don't think I can get used to it, but I was looking for some input, especially from people who have made the switch so I do appreciate all the responses. The store experience doesn't say much about portability; I never had a problem with carrying my 15" MBP. However, the MBA is a lot cheaper and the primary reason I'd pay for a 15" MBP over a 13" MBA is the screen size. The extra power does nothing for my particular needs, but I also don't want to buy a new machine and have it "feel" like it's less.
well, it's a thousand dollar difference between the two so unless you specifically want the pro, i personally wouldn't spend that kind of money for a 2-inch larger screen. you could always get an external monitor with the substantial amount of money you would save choosing air over 15" pro - especially retina.

i have been using 13" monitors for years without ever "feeling" like it was a downgrade from the far larger laptop screens of yesteryear... of course, i've never "downgraded" in terms of specs with subsequent computers either.

that being said, even going from the MBP to the current MBA should hopefully feel like a power upgrade for you as well, unless you do specific tasks that would preclude a non-air machine which it doesn't sound like is the case for you.

My wife on the other hand hates "small" computers. she wants a lot of real-estate. Her work provides her with computers (as does mine) and she has held out getting a new machine for the past 2 years because she is frustrated with the removal of the 17" option. i think she's nuts, and i'm sure the feeling is mutual when she sees me with my 11" "calculator"

we're both scientists....
so really it comes down to personal taste. i apologize if my previous post was a bit snarky, but really - i think you can learn a lot more than "is it bigger or not" from using it first hand.

i walked in wanting the 13"mba. sure that's what i was going to get. walked out wanting the 11" and strongly considering the 15" rMBP...i know, i'm all over the place. but i was shocked at how light the SSDs and lack of optical drives made the new retina machines.

i really do think it is essential to use them in person up front. especially when you're looking at a $2K+ purchase in the case of the 15" machines.

good luck

Last edited by DisplacedMic; Jun 17, 2013 at 06:40 AM.
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Old Jun 17, 2013, 08:27 AM   #15
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I have a hi-res glossy 2011 i7 MBP with an aftermarket SSD that I use at work. I also regularly use my trusty late 2010 13" MBA when traveling, working in coffee shops, or watching movies at home during week nights.

When both machines are at home (on weekends) there is no way I'd pick up and use the MBA for work. In part it's the screen size and in part it's the lack of IPS screen. Both count against it. I do prefer the MBA for writing though. The keys are softer. Realizing that you have a lower resolution MBP with a spinning hard drive the comparison will be diffferent. Ignoring the gain in SSD speeds an ppi, you may indeed feel you have downgraded.
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Old Jun 17, 2013, 09:31 AM   #16
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I'm sure you realize that feelings are subjective and no one here can tell you how you'll 'feel.'

Yes, 13" is smaller than 15". Yes you will notice it at least at first. Whether or not that will be a problem for you, no one can predict. The MBA is lighter and more portable. If that's important to you then it's a win. A 13.3" notebook is considered a nice size by many people. Whether it will meet your particular needs only you can say.
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