11" or 13" Macbook Air?

ThaRagingAsian

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 28, 2014
376
32
I'm about to purchase an 11" or 13" macbook air and not sure which one to go with. I will be using this for programming classes and hopefully creating apps for ios devices.

I already have...
iPhone 6+
iMac 21.5" (LATE 2010)
Dell 15" Laptop dubbed the Beast because it's maxed in specs and heavy.
iPad Mini

I just need something that has good battery life, light weight and portable on the go.

Thanks for the help.

ThaRagingAsian
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,317
118
I'm about to purchase an 11" or 13" macbook air and not sure which one to go with. I will be using this for programming classes and hopefully creating apps for ios devices.

I already have...
iPhone 6+
iMac 21.5" (LATE 2010)
Dell 15" Laptop dubbed the Beast because it's maxed in specs and heavy.
iPad Mini

I just need something that has good battery life, light weight and portable on the go.

Thanks for the help.

ThaRagingAsian
Lightweight + portable = 11"
 

joshlalonde

macrumors 6502
Jul 12, 2014
422
0
Canada
As a programmer, I would suggest the 13" instead. You'll want more space to work with, trust me. And longer battery life, too.
 

Kramer7

macrumors newbie
Feb 7, 2015
12
0
I would prefer an 11", but I think the 13" is much better value. Better battery, more screen space, nicer trackpad and keyboard, an SD slot and all that for 80 something Euros...
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,317
118
I would prefer an 11", but I think the 13" is much better value. Better battery, more screen space, nicer trackpad and keyboard, an SD slot and all that for 80 something Euros...
Er, isn't it the same trackpad and keyboard? Except the trackpad is slightly smaller?

Flip side, the 11" model is 22% smaller and 20% lighter and instead of costing more for this extra portability, it actually costs less. :)
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,311
30,627
The Far Horizon
In truth, either will serve your needs exceptionally well, but they each excel at somewhat different things.

Your answer will depend on whether you want power (plus awesome battery life) or portability.

For portability, nothing, but noting, touches the 11" MBA; it is a stunning and amazingly portable - fast and powerful - computer.

The 13" offers unparalleled battery life, blazing speed, and a powerful computer. Obviously, the screen is a lot larger than that of the 11".

To my mind, the 13" offers the best of all worlds in that it is an amazingly fast, powerful, beautifully built very portable machine.

However, if you are someone who travels a lot, and you value portability (and have another computer with a larger screen as a main computer), the 11" is fantastic. I have had both, and both were outstandingly good, reliable, and beautifully built computers.
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,317
118
...
Your answer will depend on whether you want power (plus awesome battery life) or portability. ...
You keep talking about how much faster and more powerful the 13" model is than the 11".

They have the same processor, memory, drives, etc. They are exactly as powerful as each other.
 

HalfLife

macrumors newbie
Feb 13, 2015
12
0
I had this dilemma as well, but decided on the 13. The 11 is hands down the best for taking with you everywhere, using on a plane, using it anywhere. It's portability can't be matched, but that said as much as I wanted it, it was not practical for me. I travel to and from work, I won't use it on the train, and I don't get on planes often. I think most of the time, it'll remain on my desk, or I'll use it on the couch, and in both cases I'd prefer the extra screen real estate. If I did travel all the time, I wouldn't have hesitated to pick up the 11. Full screen apps were made for the 11".
 

MarvinHC

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2014
756
221
Belgium
I would prefer an 11", but I think the 13" is much better value. (...) , nicer trackpad and keyboard, (...)
That one is in your imagination. The trackpad is a tiny bit smaller but otherwise the same and the keyboard is also the same apart from the smaller row of the function keys.

11" all the way for me when it comes to portability. Do I sometimes miss the bigger screen? Absolutely! But how great is it to have a full powered laptop which is almost as portable as an iPad? And try to use the 13" in an economy class airline seat....
 

Dweez

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2011
1,246
9
Down by the river
This topic seems to come up almost weekly. My advice is to go testdrive both models and choose the one which suits you best. I did just that and took a 13" home with me.
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,317
118
Huh? The 13" fits wonderfully in an economy class airline seat. I've used my 13" rMBP over and over on airplanes with no issue at all.
Must be the airlines you're on. The last couple of flights I took in coach class, I could barely open my 11" MBA on the tray table. There's no way I would have been able to open a 13" MBA to a useful angle.

I suppose I could open the laptop on my lap and not the tray table, but then to type I would have to splay my elbows out at an awkward angle and that annoys the neighboring passengers and becomes very painful to type after 10-20 minutes.

Maybe you are just using your laptop to watch movies or something, I guess that would be fine with either size.
 

PDFierro

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2009
3,932
111
Must be the airlines you're on. The last couple of flights I took in coach class, I could barely open my 11" MBA on the tray table. There's no way I would have been able to open a 13" MBA to a useful angle.

I suppose I could open the laptop on my lap and not the tray table, but then to type I would have to splay my elbows out at an awkward angle and that annoys the neighboring passengers and becomes very painful to type after 10-20 minutes.

Maybe you are just using your laptop to watch movies or something, I guess that would be fine with either size.
I've flown on a variety of different airplanes. The only time I ever had a problem was when I was flying on an extremely low-budget carrier with extremely restricted legroom.

But for every other time, and I'm talking 20+ flights, I always put the laptop on the tray table and am able to open it all the way. This is really the first time I have ever heard of 13" laptops not being small enough to use on airplanes. Now the 15"? Yes, that's a little tough.

Most airlines offer between 30-32 inches of legroom in their economy cabin seats. Some budget airlines will only give you between 27-29 inches, and in that case, then yes a 13" laptop is a no go. But 95% of the planes you fly will have that 30-32 inches of legroom.
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,233
2,276
East of Eden
Huh? The 13" fits wonderfully in an economy class airline seat. I've used my 13" rMBP over and over on airplanes with no issue at all.
I have the same problem Motrek is talking about. It may be a combination of other factors like how tall you are in the seat and your vision needs. Different people could have different reactions to the same seating dimensions.
 

viorelgn

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2013
295
3
Romania
I chose the MBA 13 because of the battery life. That's the huge one for me. I like to be able to use my machine anywhere without plugging in. Having that extra 3 hours over the MBP with Retina is important to me. Plus I really don't need all that power on the road. I have an iMac at home which I use for my more power hungry tasks.
 

HalfLife

macrumors newbie
Feb 13, 2015
12
0
Also, what factored into my descision besides the fact It'll either be on my desk or couch, was the programs I'm going to use. I do a lot of Citrix/Windows Remote Desktop for work and trying to view my windows desktop at work on RDP, it get's cramped on the 11". And look's tiny.

But... if you plan to be on the go a lot more, and most of the apps you use work great on the 11" then I'd take that one. It was designed for multiple desktops and full screen apps. It's a beauty in that regards.
 

PDFierro

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2009
3,932
111
I have the same problem Motrek is talking about. It may be a combination of other factors like how tall you are in the seat and your vision needs. Different people could have different reactions to the same seating dimensions.
Putting a laptop on a tray table is pretty universal.
 

David58117

macrumors 65816
Jan 24, 2013
1,205
498
I have the 15" cMBP, my wife has the 11" MBA.

I'm very jealous of the portability of the MBA.

Most likely my replacement for my MBP in the future..