11" Adequate?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Mapp1122, May 1, 2012.

  1. Mapp1122 macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2012
    Hello, all. :)

    I've been contemplating buying a new Mac to replace my ancient iMac G5 for a while now, and the 11" Air undoubtedly fulfills all of my portability needs. It's light, small, and the screen size isn't a problem. However, I've seen conflicting reports about performance. I've seen reviews hailing it as the king of every day-use, but I've also seen reviews calling it nothing more than a glorified netbook. This would be my primary computer, and while I don't do any gaming or anything of that sort, I frequently work with RAW files in Lightroom. Nothing professionally, and not a very large volume of photos, but it can get a bit CPU-Intensive. So my question is will the i7 MacBook Air be sufficient enough to suit my needs, or should I go the heavier (Albeit less expensive) route with the 13" Pro? Thanks in advance.
  2. MattZani macrumors 68030


    Apr 20, 2008
  3. Mapp1122 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2012
    Oh my. XD. I must of read that five or six times, thinking to myself "What the hell is he talking about." And then I read the title again. Lmaooo.
    I might have to be a little more specific next time.
  4. PodPacker macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2006

    The MB air 11" is a fine piece of hardware. That being said it is not the power of the air that is the problem, it is the screen ratio. The 11" has a very rectangular screen, which in my opinion is not made for working on images or for graphic design. Get the 13". I opted for the i7, but I work on large Photoshop files and occasionally do some video editing.
  5. macrominnie macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2010
    If you can wait up to a few months, the 2012 MBP's may give a nice compromise between portability and power. It's possible that the 2012 MBA's will also be released in the summer or autumn. Rumors have the "ultralight" next gen chip being released later than the laptop Ivy Bridge ones. No one but insiders know the specs, but better chips/graphics are for sure and better screens and USB 3.0 are reasonable guesses.

    From the description, I'd buy the 11" MBA, if you need to buy soon.

    I have both the 13" MBP & the 11" MBA. I have the 2010 MBA and find it adequate for semi-regular video conversion & light video editing, as well as marking up large image or pdf (Adobe Elements) files. I expect the MBA would work fine. I'd go for the 4 Gb RAM model.

    It's easy for me to consider using the MBA as the primary machine. The extra machine is for sharing in the household.

    My MBP has a SATA drive, not an SSD. It's true that for heavy duty processor tasks, the MBP is noticeably zippier. For everyday tasks, the MBA is at least comparable (due to its SSD). A MBP with an SSD would clearly outpace a MBA.

    If portability is pretty important, go for the MBA. It's just easy to take almost anywhere. If firewire, internal optical drive, more internal hard drive capacity and longer battery life are important, go for the MBP.

    I actually like the MBA screen: better resolution than the MBP 13 & with a much less glossy screen. Practically speaking, if you work frequently at home, an external monitor is very helpful for either machine. Even a low end LCD will give more screen real estate and less strain than these laptops. Either machine can drive an external monitor well.

    here's a thread with a reader happy with the MBA for Lightroom:

  6. Nova Sensei macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2012
    One glance at the 11" in store was enough for me to know that it was too small for me.

    If you can't get to a store, get some cardboard and mock up an 11" and 13" screen. Just be sure to ask a parent or guardian before using scissors.
  7. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    The screen ratio/resolution PLUS the battery life.

    For those two reasons, the 13" is a better balanced purchasing option than the 11".
  8. motorazr macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2006
    The Frozen Waste...wait. Duluth, Minnesota.
    I think this has been pretty well answered ---- but.

    My 2¢ is that the 11" i7 Air I've got is usually better than my iMac. I love working with it. The SSD makes up for everything else, granted I still tend to do most final edits on the iMac, and try to keep my drive clean on here... but.. it's really snappy. I use Lightroom for most things, as well as adobe cs 5.5 and Photoshop CS6 (gotta love free trials ;) ..).

    Hope that adds any insight from a current user!
  9. throAU, May 2, 2012
    Last edited: May 2, 2012

    throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia

    hold off for the 8gb RAM refresh.

    for now it is fine, but with an ivy bridge model refresh no doubt not very far away, i'd hold off in the hope you can order one with 8gb option - which will seriously extend its usable life.

    unless you need one now... just bear in mind the RAM can't be upgraded beyond 4 gig (or after purchase at all - it is soldered in). personally i'd wait, or buy the 13" pro as a hedge against RAM requirements increasing going forward.

    and yeah, the 11" air has a 16x9 ratio screen which is a "meh" or "i can't stand it!" thing (depending on personal preference). I'm in the "I can't stand it" camp, hence I'd buy a 13" air minimum (which is 16x10)... the 11" in my sig is the girl's, and every time i use it the screen aspect ratio (short and fat) gives me the ******.

    for most things even the old core2 duo model is fast enough CPU wise (unless you're doing video transcoding or encryption), but the RAM is just a dead end...
  10. Confuzzzed macrumors 68000


    Aug 7, 2011
    Liverpool, UK
    The OP said screen size is not an issue (which I agree with from a personal point of view). Particularly with the Full screen feature which you will make use of when you are doing intensive work. The 2011 release brought the processing power of the 11" MBA up to speed with the 13" so I wouldn't hesitate to recommend buying the 11". For portability alone, it is peerless. And I say that having owned both 11" and 13" MBAs. As well as several mainly 15" MBPs
  11. Paulioo macrumors newbie


    Apr 28, 2012
    Ive been amazed by my mba 11 , fantastic piece of kit. So fast .
  12. Medic278, May 2, 2012
    Last edited: May 5, 2012

    Medic278 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2012
    New York
    I find the 11" perfect adequate for what I use it for. I have an 11" MBA with 128GB SSD and 4FB of RAM primarily use it for web surfacing and checking my email on the go. However there is plenty of power that also allows me to do some photos editing and movie editing in Final Cut Pro on there as well. So while its light weight and small its far from under powered!

    That being said when I do hardcore video or photo editing I prefer to use my MBP with 8GB of RAM and a 240GB SSD>
  13. Ubuntu macrumors 68000


    Jul 3, 2005
    That's true, the MBA 11's aspect ratio is 16:9 (which is common) whereas the 13 inch version has a 16:10 screen.

    Still, I'm happy with my MBA 11 inch for photoshop, Xcode etc, but had I known I'd be getting an iPad at some point too, I'd have gone for the 13 inch.
  14. DaveOZ macrumors regular

    May 13, 2008
    11" is more than adequate for you. I use it for Aperture, VM Fusion running Windows XP, business accounting software and all the usual stuff. Mine goes everywhere with me and plugs into a 27" TB display at work. Never had a problem with the size or proportions of the display.
  15. Flunkyturtle macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2011
    Is 11" adequate?

    My girlfriend seems to think so.
  16. soulston macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2012
    I'm in a situation where I need to replace a 15" 2008 MBP. I had a look at both MBA models and what clinched it for me was that 13 is too small to use without a screen for serious work which would mean I need an external monitor anyhow. The times I don't need the screen is probably when I'm emailing, browsing or just making small updates to code although I am sure some people can cope permanently without an external monitor.

    I also noticed that the 11 was much more rigid than the 13, probably just because it's smaller. As a test go to an apple store and gently flex it by holding it at the edges and moving each hand in an opposite direction, you'll notice the 11 is a lot more rigid.

    Of course I'll wait until they hopefully bump the ram up to 8GB on the upcoming release to give it a longer more lifespan. Now I just need to decide if I can warrant the 27" TB display as other TB displays are a bit thin on the ground.
  17. skuid87 macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2012
    I would strongly recommend the 13" Air.

    You mentioned editing Photos, for that reason alone I'd want a larger, higher Res screen. If you settle on the 11", you're gonna need to get a decent external monitor to connect to.

    I've used both, and I own a 13" Air (2011). Mine is i5 and 4GB RAM, and it handles Aperture and Photoshop just fine. My wife in an architect and has also used intensive apps like ArchiCAD and says that the Air is actually nippier than her 15" 2010 MBP!

    And then there is the added benefit of a better battery, as well as the SD card slot which is perfect if you're taking photos right off your camera.
  18. lil' brudder macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Man... the first time I read this, I definitely thought that said fantastic piece of something else. It instantly became 18x funnier.
  19. Zephryne macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2012
    My thoughts...

    I bought an 11" air (128GB, 4 gig RAM) specifically to do photo editing while traveling. I also have a 2010 17" MBP that was also purchased for photo and video editing, and has now become basically a desktop.

    I thought the portability of the air would make up for the 11" screen - turns out for me there was nothing to make up. The 11" screen is perfectly adequate for me :D , and for the type of editing I do - mostly lightroom touch-ups and exporting RAW files to JPEG to be used in video or posted to the internet, it more than meets my processing needs. I actually very rarely use the MBP for post process anymore. Or at all, actually. :S
  20. kooskoos1814 macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2012
    The only reason I'd buy the 13'' is for the battery life. If 4-5 hours is fine for you (vs 7hrs for the 13''), just go for the 11'', you'll see no difference in term of power.
  21. No-Me macrumors 6502a

    Jul 3, 2011
    Somehow I just hate the screen ratio on the 13".

    I have the "old" 11" and even that does the things that you do fine, I've hooked it onto a 27" at home. Maybe a 13" would be a little faster, but I love the size and weight of the 11" when on the road.

  22. Confuzzzed macrumors 68000


    Aug 7, 2011
    Liverpool, UK
    I'll echo that. Battery life and the SD slot are the only reasons I have 13" rather than the iPad-like (portability) 11" MBA
  23. Mapp1122 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2012
    Thanks for the input, everyone.

    I hadn't even thought about battery life. And you all do make a good point about screen size. Anyways, I think I'll wait untill the end of summer and see what the lineup will look like then.
  24. glhiii macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2006
    Needs more Ram

    I agree -- for me, the biggest limitation of the current gen of MBA's is 4gb RAM. I'm waiting and hoping they give an 8GB (or even 16 GB) option that doesn't cost too much (it's unlikely you'll be able to buy your own and upgrade).
  25. EthanMiller macrumors member

    Aug 15, 2011
    I've used both.

    The 11" is certainly adequate, but it's just that - adequate. I usually use the 13" because of the screen size. It doesn't sound like much, but on the 11", it's just too small to have two things open to reference, which I at least use a lot. (Ex: Writing something, have a web browser and a text editor open, or have a web browser and my chat client).

    In the end, be sure to at least get 4GB ram. It's entirely worth it.

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