Help me decide: maxed out 11" or base model 13"

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Neiche, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2010
    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?

  2. macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2007
    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.
  3. macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    San Jose (CA)
    The maxed out 11" will have slightly shorter battery life.

    The 13" should be fine for all your needs.
  4. macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2012
    Stockholm, Sweden
    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!
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 14, 2011
    Essex, england
    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.
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 2, 2008
    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.
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2010
    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?
  8. macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2011
    If you do get the 13" you should definitely spend the extra money and get the 8GB of RAM.
  9. macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2012
    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?
  10. macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2012
    What exactly are you doing that requires an i7?
  11. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2010
    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
  12. macrumors regular

    Dec 3, 2008
    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.
  13. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2010

    so you're saying get the base model 11"? how long does the battery last? how is it for multitasking?
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 22, 2011
    If you don't mind me asking, do you actually need a portable laptop?
    What will you use it for?
  15. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2010
    school work on the go mainly!
  16. macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    Cimmerian End
    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. :)
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 22, 2011
    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.
  18. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2010

    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!
  19. macrumors 68020


    Jun 16, 2010
    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.
  20. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2010
    and you think spending a couple hundred bucks to get 8gb ram and i7 would probably be worth it?
  21. macrumors 68020


    Jun 16, 2010
    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.
  22. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2010

    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)
  23. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 16, 2012
    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.
  24. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2012
    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.
  25. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2010

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

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