11.6" vs 13" Display

Rory76

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 24, 2017
86
22
Hello everyone. Hoping to get some advice on a purchase I might be making. To preface, I currently have a '16 12" MacBook with an M5 and 512GB of storage. I also have a '15 13" MacBook Air with an i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB of storage plus a 256GB Transcend Jet Card in the SD slot.

Love both of these computers and will definitely be keeping the new 12" MacBook. The lack of legacy ports on it is definitely a hassle though, even with using a hub adapter. Also, it's not nearly as powerful as I need it to be in the instances I need to run CPU intensive programs. So, looking to get a top of the line/fully loaded Air to use as my main computer. I will be selling my current base model MacBook Air to help fund the purchase.

My question is this, I have two purchase options right now in terms of the Air. Both are 2015 models with i7's, 8GB RAM, 512GB of storage. One is an 11" and the other is a 13". Both are the same price, $1K. I've never seen nor used the 11" Air. However, the majority of my past PC's have been 11" notebooks. Never had an issue with the display size. Just not sure which display size to get for this Air though.

As a side note, I've considered the 2016 13" non-touchbar MacBook Pro. However, I'm not a big fan of first gen Apple products. Also, I just love the classic/iconic tapered build of the Air (even with its non-retina screen-a factor which really doesn't bother me at all).

Would love to hear comments and opinions from folks who have used both display sizes of the Air or have exclusively used the 11" Air.


Thanks so much in advance!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Scepticalscribe

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,195
1,875
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I went from a 2011 13" i5/4gb/256gb MBA to a 2013 i7/8gb/512gb MBA. Best move I ever made. Small, portable, powerful, great battery life. But of course it's a very personal thing. If you haven't ever seen one in person then you should try to find one because everyone who posts here will have their own prejudices.
 
Last edited:

Rory76

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 24, 2017
86
22
I love my 11" MBA, but I love it for the portability as I have a full size desktop at home for "real work". It mostly comes down to screen size preference, although keep in mind that going with the 11" you'll be giving up the SD card slot and a bit of battery life.
I'm willing to give up those two things for the size trade off. Is it tough using the 11"'s own display to do "real work"?
 

elf69

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2016
2,316
482
Cornwall UK
I used a 17" 2007 MBP and several 13" unibody MBs and loved all of them but now use a 11.6" air (2012 model) everyday at work.

screen res about same as my 13" MBs and I can cope with small screen.
Main reason for change is size/weight.

I visit customers houses sometimes for me work so an air is ideal for that.
my fiancee has a 13" air (1st Gen) she likes it but wants my smaller 11.6"

after work my main pc is a 20" imac.

Safe to say I used all sizes.

edit:
I use duet with my ipad 3 sometimes for extra room, but I can cope with just the 11.6" and swap between apps
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,195
1,875
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I love my 11" MBA, but I love it for the portability as I have a full size desktop at home for "real work".
Plug a monitor, keyboard and mouse into the MBA and you will have a "full size desktop". The 11" MBA has been my primary computer since 2013 and I have used it with demanding software like Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro, VectorWorks, FileMaker Pro, Photoshop, etc. The configuration the OP is looking at (same as mine) is a very powerful computer in a small package.

Now last summer I got a quad core 2012 Mini to dedicate to video editing, it renders twice as fast as the MBA and has all the ports I need for peripherals. But that is a specialized machine. I don't think you are doing the MBA justice by implying it can't do "real work". ;)
 

Rory76

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 24, 2017
86
22
I used a 17" 2007 MBP and several 13" unibody MBs and loved all of them but now use a 11.6" air (2012 model) everyday at work.

screen res about same as my 13" MBs and I can cope with small screen.
Main reason for change is size/weight.

I visit customers houses sometimes for me work so an air is ideal for that.
my fiancee has a 13" air (1st Gen) she likes it but wants my smaller 11.6"

after work my main pc is a 20" imac.

Safe to say I used all sizes.

edit:
I use duet with my ipad 3 sometimes for extra room, but I can cope with just the 11.6" and swap between apps
Thanks for your answer. I believe that spec wise there is a minor difference in display resolution between the 11" and 13" Air. Is the difference very noticeable in "real life"? May I ask why your fiancée prefers the smaller display? Is it tough navigating programs and the web on the 11"? Thanks!
[doublepost=1493047229][/doublepost]
Plug a monitor, keyboard and mouse into the MBA and you will have a "full size desktop". The 11" MBA has been my primary computer since 2013 and I have used it with demanding software like Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro, VectorWorks, FileMaker Pro, Photoshop, etc. The configuration the OP is looking at (same as mine) is a very powerful computer in a small package.

Now last summer I got a quad core 2012 Mini to dedicate to video editing, it renders twice as fast as the MBA and has all the ports I need for peripherals. But that is a specialized machine. I don't think you are doing the MBA justice by implying it can't do "real work". ;)
I have a tiny condo and, unfortunately, don't have the room for an external monitor setup. So, if I go with the 11" MBA, I'll solely be using its built in display.
 

elf69

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2016
2,316
482
Cornwall UK
she want smaller as she is a woman and want sit in bed, plus "it's cute" is her reply.

yes think is a res diffrence, but compared to my 13" macbook I prefer the air.

13" has better battery but for my needs it was size/weight over run time.
I have i5,4gb ran and 64GB ssd (bit small and will upgrade ssd soon)
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,195
1,875
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I have a tiny condo and, unfortunately, don't have the room for an external monitor setup. So, if I go with the 11" MBA, I'll solely be using its built in display.
Although I have plenty of room, I've started using my MBA like this most of the time now where I used it with external peripherals in the past. I like it, but you should definitely see one in person. For example, typing this post at MacRumors, unless I use full screen mode I have to horizontally scroll the edit window to see a full line. And the 16:9 aspect ratio (which is great for movies) gives you a very short page that cuts off a lot of information on the home page of many websites. I've gotten used to all this, but if you are accustomed to larger screens you may not be happy.
 

bodonnell202

macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2016
1,319
1,356
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I'm willing to give up those two things for the size trade off. Is it tough using the 11"'s own display to do "real work"?
I don't think it is that much different than using a 13" screen to be honest. In my line of work a multi monitor setup makes my life much easier (I often have excel and word open, or word and something else I'm referencing...) so doing "real work" on a single laptop screen is harder regardless of screen size). Your use case may be very different so I get that my comment may not be much help.
 

Pugly

macrumors regular
Jun 7, 2016
201
134
I use an 11" for mobile Logic Pro X. It works great for me. The screen is small but manageable from a resolution perspective. The physical size is more personal opinion, but I like the size. It's enough for me to focus on the work, and not feel like I'm squinting at the screen. It's a good size for watching video too. I find a small computer like this makes it easier to get into a creative flow than sitting at a large laptop or desktop machine.

Vertical space is harder to work with, so if you are editing text or reading long pages it can get tricky. But move the dock to the side, hide the menu bar and make good use of full screen and spaces and it is very usable. Two finger scrolling and all the multitouch gestures make it work just fine. I've used it to read books on, and it's not as good as a tablet... but it works.

The screen is large enough to watch a video on one half and use a webpage on the other half.

I also often have two windows for logic open at the same time, one for editing midi and another with sheet music or something else and it's just big enough to do this too.

Three documents or windows at a time would be more difficult to manage. But it would be just as difficult on a 13" screen I think.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,468
30,714
The Far Horizon
Hello everyone. Hoping to get some advice on a purchase I might be making. To preface, I currently have a '16 12" MacBook with an M5 and 512GB of storage. I also have a '15 13" MacBook Air with an i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB of storage plus a 256GB Transcend Jet Card in the SD slot.

Love both of these computers and will definitely be keeping the new 12" MacBook. The lack of legacy ports on it is definitely a hassle though, even with using a hub adapter. Also, it's not nearly as powerful as I need it to be in the instances I need to run CPU intensive programs. So, looking to get a top of the line/fully loaded Air to use as my main computer. I will be selling my current base model MacBook Air to help fund the purchase.

My question is this, I have two purchase options right now in terms of the Air. Both are 2015 models with i7's, 8GB RAM, 512GB of storage. One is an 11" and the other is a 13". Both are the same price, $1K. I've never seen nor used the 11" Air. However, the majority of my past PC's have been 11" notebooks. Never had an issue with the display size. Just not sure which display size to get for this Air though.

As a side note, I've considered the 2016 13" non-touchbar MacBook Pro. However, I'm not a big fan of first gen Apple products. Also, I just love the classic/iconic tapered build of the Air (even with its non-retina screen-a factor which really doesn't bother me at all).

Would love to hear comments and opinions from folks who have used both display sizes of the Air or have exclusively used the 11" Air.


Thanks so much in advance!
I have had both - that is, a 2013 13" MBA (8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, and Core i7) and a 2014 11" MBA with the exact same specifications (8/512/i7). (A complicated story as to how I came to have two of them, which - if you wish - I can relate).

First off, they are easily the two best computers I have had in my life - fast, reliable, portable, powerful; both also have excellent battery life, but, as several others on the thread have already pointed out, the battery life on the 13" is outstanding, whereas that on the 11" is merely excellent.

Nowadays, I am using the 11" as my sole computer; as a middle aged female, I love it for its power, and reliability, but, above all for its portability. Actually, this computer has - quite literally - travelled the world (including to some very challenging places) with me.

I will go so far as to say that if a maxed out (that is, 8/512/i7) 11" MBA appeared as a refurb, I would be sorely tempted to buy it, irrespective of the sweet retina screen in the rMB.

I think that the 11" MBA is a stunning computer - and one of the best that apple ever designed. It does what it says on the box - it works. Mine has never given me a minute's bother.
 
  • Like
Reactions: StoneyG

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,195
1,875
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I will go so far as to say that if a maxed out (that is, 8/512/i7) 11" MBA appeared as a refurb, I would be sorely tempted to buy it
As discussed in another thread, B&H Photo has been offering new 11" 8/512/i7 MBA's from time to time on their website at $999, a forum member picked one up and I've seen them listed within the past few weeks myself. Not sure if they will reappear, but that is a terrific deal - IIRC Apple was selling the refurbs for around $1300.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GSDLVR123

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,468
30,714
The Far Horizon
As discussed in another thread, B&H Photo has been offering new 11" 8/512/i7 MBA's from time to time on their website at $999, a forum member picked one up and I've seen them listed within the past few weeks myself. Not sure if they will reappear, but that is a terrific deal - IIRC Apple was selling the refurbs for around $1300.
I'm not in the US, but that does sound as though it is a great deal; the 11" (especially the 'maxed out' version) is a superb computer. It is what I am writing on this very minute.
 

Rory76

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 24, 2017
86
22
As discussed in another thread, B&H Photo has been offering new 11" 8/512/i7 MBA's from time to time on their website at $999, a forum member picked one up and I've seen them listed within the past few weeks myself. Not sure if they will reappear, but that is a terrific deal - IIRC Apple was selling the refurbs for around $1300.
That's the model I referenced in my initial post. I ordered it last week and received it today. According to the BHPhoto rep, they're not getting any more of the 11's. Even though I received the computer today, I haven't opened it yet. Trying to decide if it's stupid to keep it since I already have a 2016 12" M5 512GB Retina MacBook. However, I love Airs and at $999 with no tax, it just seemed to good a deal to pass up being that it's a new 2015 model and fully spec'ed out. Now if I could just decide whether to open it up and keep it or return it for a refund and get either a used and fully loaded 2015 13" Air (better battery life, SD card reader, better resale value?) or 2016 13" non-touchbar MacBook Pro (more "future proof"). Decisions, decisions...help!!! Lol.
 
Last edited:

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,468
30,714
The Far Horizon
That's the model I referenced in my initial post. I ordered it last week and received it today. According to the BHPhoto rep, they're not getting any more of the 11's. Even though I received the computer today, I haven't opened it yet. Trying to decide if it's stupid to keep it since I already have a 2016 12" M5 512GB Retina MacBook. However, I love Airs and at $999 with no tax, it just seemed to good a deal to pass up being that it's a new 2015 model and fully spec'ed out. Now if I could just decide whether to open it up and keep it or return it for a refund and get either a used and fully loaded 2015 13" Air (better battery life, SD card reader, better resale value?) or 2016 13" non-touchbar MacBook Pro (more "future proof"). Decisions, decisions...help!!! Lol.
How much do you travel? How much do you need portability? What lifestyle do you have in mind for that computer?

Why would you need a 13" Air - as well as a rMB? What does the Air do that the rMB does not?

In my case, I travel a lot for both pleasure, and, more importantly, for professional and work purposes - and, as a middle aged woman, portability is very important to me. Some years ago - it was my first Apple in fact - I used to have a 15" MBP - a great computer, but I found it a real nuisance - and uncomfortably heavy - to carry when travelling.

Nothing I have had in my life approached the 11" Air for power, portability, speed, sheer reliability and a very decent battery life. It is a fantastic computer.
 

Rory76

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 24, 2017
86
22
Do you still have it? Do you mind it having the non Retina screen? Have you thought about upgrading to something like the 2016 12" M7 retina MacBook?
 

Rory76

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 24, 2017
86
22
I liked it so much I recently found a 2015 i7 8gb model in refurbs and upgraded from my 2013. It will be my travel laptop for the foreseeable future.
Does the Apple site ever have 11" Airs for sale in their refurbished section? I've never seen any but yet I see 13" ones all the time.
 

Rory76

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 24, 2017
86
22
Haven't seen any for a couple of months when I bought mine. They sold out quickly.
Gotcha. Someone told me that the 11's are still for sale, in new condition, to the education sector. Wonder if that's true.
 

Tazoawake2016

macrumors member
Apr 13, 2016
57
36
Deep Space 9
Gotcha. Someone told me that the 11's are still for sale, in new condition, to the education sector. Wonder if that's true.
Yes, the 11-inch MBA is still available for sale at my university's IT store, and I assume, at most university run stores. However, the price is $850 for the base model (Core i5 1.6 GHz, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD). :confused:
 

Rory76

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 24, 2017
86
22
Yes, the 11-inch MBA is still available for sale at my university's IT store, and I assume, at most university run stores. However, the price is $850 for the base model (Core i5 1.6 GHz, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD). :confused:
Interesting. Is it the 2015 model? If so, I thought that came with 8GB RAM? Do they not sell a higher spec'ed version of the 11"? And just curious, being that I've been out of school forever, which Mac laptop model is most popular amongst students?