11" or 13" MBA -- Thoughts and Input

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ChopinGuy, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. ChopinGuy, Sep 6, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011

    ChopinGuy macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2011
    So, I am a long time Mac user -- always been in the MacBook Pro camp and am thinking about moving over to the new air given the performance it offers. I am only going to be using this as a work computer, and will be bringing to the office and will use it at home to work on documents, emails, and edit some audio as I am director of music for a large church (basic stuff -- not huge mulitracking or anything of the sort).

    I am on the fence about two things -- and this is where I could use your thoughts:

    1) Going with the base i5 13" or getting the i7 11"??

    2) What route to take to use an external monitor at the office -- I will purchase the monitor new (new Thunderbolt display is way more than I need)?? Want an easy connection -- can I connect the monitor with one clean cable and use the minidisplay port to HDMI cable to do this -- or is it not good to connect a monitor with HDMI??

    I would appreciate any thoughts and help on this -- thank you so much...
  2. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    The batterylife is better on the 13", the i7 11" is more powerful.

    If your going to carry it in a bag with all your other stuff and mostly use on a desk, the 13" would be the better choice as long as you don't need the slight bump in performance, if your going to be using away from a desk and carrying the laptop by itself, the 11" is more mobile, it's just slightly longer than an iPad.
  3. ChopinGuy thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2011
    Went to the Apple store earlier and now know I am going to go with the 13" -- the performance bump of the i7 is marginal (in the 3" line) and I don't think it's something I would benefit from...

    My main concern is the external monitor -- it's hard to find detailed confirmations of how people are setting up their new MBA's with external monitors.

    My main question is to use HDMI(which gives you a wide selection of monitors) or to use a display-port capable monitor (this gives far less choices). I don't want to have to use an adapter (one more thing to carry) and just want to be able to use the mini-DP to HDMI or mini-DP to DisplayPort cables -- any thoughts??
  4. Pipper99 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2010
    Fort Worth, TX
  5. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    I've got the 11" i7 and love it. Super portable and very fast. My wife just ordered the 13" i7 - she prefers a larger screen (it's her main computer) and doesn't require the same level of portability as I, though I suspect there isn't that much difference, really.

    As for adapters/cables... if you're going to carry around a cable, may as well carry around an mDP to _______ (VGA or DVI) adapter if you need max compatibility.
  6. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    HDMI should be fine for you, assuming you're only going to use 16:9 widescreen monitors, it can display a maximum resolution of 1920x1080, so that's maybe something to consider if you use higher resolution monitors, or anything in a 16:10 format.

    I'd do as xraydoc said, the mini dp > dvi connector really is the best option, it gives you a bit more flexibility with regards to which monitors you can use.
  7. ChopinGuy thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2011
    Exactly -- any of the monitors I am looking at are 16:9 1920x1080 monitors...not using it for anything ground-breaking -- just would like the extra space while at the office working on it. Which is why I was hoping to get away with a HDMI connection...
  8. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
  9. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    I have an 2010 MBP 13 and a 2010 MBA 11. Seldom use the 13" MB any more. The 11 works just great for documents, email, audio editing, etc., and it's super mobile. And if I need more screen real estate, I can plug in an external monitor much much larger than 13".
  10. kulimer macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2011
  11. dmk1974 macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    I have a 24" Samsung P2450 that can take HDMI, VGA, and DVI. I use a dongle and DVI connection. Looks really sharp! Have used it with my 2010 MBP, 2011 MBP, 2011 MBA 13, and currently my 2011 MBA 11. Looks great and is fast and sharp in all cases.

    Here's the one that I use:

    Looks like they have a single dongle that can do HDMI and DVI now (no reviews yet though):

    While the 13" MBA is probably a "better" machine due to more pixels, better battery, and SD slot, I think I may be sticking with the 11" since it's even more portable and when at my desk at home, seems to work just as well with the monitor connected.

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