11" or 13"? + More questions. Help me decide!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by anotherjoey, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. anotherjoey macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2012
    Hi everyone!
    I sold my MacBook Pro mid-2011, 13" 4GB Ram, 320 GB last week because I wanted something lighter/more portable to carry to school in the fall. I had/have my eyes set on the MBA 11" i5, 128 SSD but with 8 GB of ram, but after reading reviews/this forum it seems like most people prefer the 13" due to the screen resolution, battery-life, SD-slot etc, which has made me confused/wonder if I should put an extra $100-200 and get the 13" option instead?

    To help you help me decide, what I used to to with my MacBook Pro was basically surf, download/watch HD movies and tv-shows (by plugging the MBP to my TV), editing RAW-pictures from my DSLR in Photoshop/Lightroom, listen to music.

    BUT I don't plan on using my future MBA for the HD-movies as i'll also be buying a Mac Mini that will function as a media center using XBMC and being plugged in to the tv constantly.

    So the question is, which MBA should I get if i want to do schoolwork, surf, listen to music, edit photos from my DSLR in Lightroom and Photoshop? It feels weird buying another 13" since I sold my 13" MBP, but on the other hand, the MBA is much lighter.

    Another thing i'm considering is if it's worth upgrading to the i7 or is it overkill? I'm kind of on a budget and prioritized the 8GB ram instead, is that the right decision or should I upgrade to the i7 instead? Not sure how much good that will do if I don't have the ram though. But 8 GB ram instead of the standard 4GB on the i5 should work flawlessly without the i7 right?

    Appreciate any input! Thanks :)
  2. green junkie macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2012
    I don't think it is worth it from everything everyone is telling me 90% of the people won't notice the difference.

    I decided to go with the 13' because of battery life and it will be my main computer.
  3. tigert07 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2010
    better battery life is a pretty good reason to go with the 13 inch air alone. When picking out my air I felt like the 11 inch model would be too small for my uses. Especially with school work, I felt like i wanted the extra screen space. It's ultimately up to you, but I would suggest the lower end 13 inch air for your uses.


    oh and also I would suggest the i5 with 8 GB ram. I don't feel like the i7 upgrade will be worth it for ya. just my opinion though.
  4. kodeman53 macrumors 65816

    May 4, 2012
    I had a 2010 MBA11 and bought a 2012 MBA11 which I will sell since I've replaced it with an MBA13. My biggest issue with the MBA11 is the battery life.
  5. anotherjoey thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2012
    Thanks for your replies! Yeah, the battery life and maybe the SD-slot for my camera-use is what's making me doubt the 11", although it's perfect for me in all other ways. While the size/bigger computer to carry around is making me doubt the 13". Gosh, this is a luxurious problem to have but I just can't make up my mind :(

    Anyone used photoshop or lightroom on both the 11" and 13" and have any opinions on the sceeensize? I assume the 13" is ideal, but maybe the 11" isnt too bad? I guess I have to go to the store and see them in real life again..
  6. green junkie macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2012
    You can return any MacBook you have after receiving it, within 14 days. So try the smaller on first then the big one
  7. Aniseedvan macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2012
    Sd slot is probably more useful if that's what your SLR takes.

    However i'd guess the consensus will be to go for the 13" as it'll be your main computer and doing any photo editing you need as much real estate as possible.

    I went for the 11" but i have a 17" laptop for my photo editing both plugging into a decent dell monitor. I wouldn't have personally gone for an 11" if I didn't have an external monitor.

    Of course I may hate it when the thing finally turns up!!
  8. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Don't underestimate the impact of the 1.5lb difference. Even at 13", the Air will feel a lot more portable than the Pro. The 11" is definitely more portable, and I prefer it for use on airplanes, but if you are using in on a desktop or classroom, the 13" might be better because of the larger screen.
  9. Indigovalley macrumors regular


    May 14, 2011
    Minnesota, USA
    I have an 11" 2010 Macbook Air and a brand new 13" 2012 Macbook Air. I am a teacher and I love the portability of the 11" for typing and taking notes at meetings. It's just perfect for that. I've also used it for making an occasional iMovie for my classroom and general web surfing.

    When I upgraded a couple weeks ago I was torn between the two sizes and ended up buying the larger model. I am finding that the 13" is much better for visual tasks due to the larger screen size. It's much easier working with photos and iMovie than on the smaller one where screen space is limited. I also like web surfing with the
    13 inch version as you don't have to scroll as much.

    I think that overall both sizes work fine and neither is really better than the other--it just depends on what your needs are for the device.
  10. million7 macrumors regular

    Nov 19, 2011
    my 11inch air 2011 is fine for all my college stuff and would probably be alright for your school needs too. But if photoshop is a big deal to you the large 13 inch screen might serve you better.

    I may be in the minority but I just love the 16x9 aspect ratio of the 11inch, after looking at other MacBooks they all look like they have square screens eww :eek:
  11. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    If photography is very important, from what I heard neither air will be fine because of the quality of the screens. To me my air looks fine, but I have seen photography professionals on this site complain about color accuracy and so forth. You might want to stick with a pro, or if you can wait try to get the 13" retina pro that is suppose to come out in the fall.
  12. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    My MacBook Air history is as follows:

    2009 Rev C: 13"
    2010 Rev D: 11"
    2011 Rev E: 11"

    I am about to buy my 4th MBA (I always pass down my 1yo machine to family members) and this time I think I'll be going back to the 13". The biggest reason is when I travel... my MBA is now the only laptop I take with me. Up until this last machine... I would always travel with a work-supplied PC laptop, plus my personal MBA. For the past year, I've been using my MBA as a combo personal+work machine... the extra weight/size is less important when only carrying one machine.

    Still... the difference is handling "during use" is significant, which is the only reason I am still a bit on the fence. I tend to move my machine around a lot while sitting on the couch, laying in bed, reclining in a chair... etc. I seldom use my MBA while sitting at a desk... because I also have a 27" iMac for that use. The few times that I do use my MBA at a desk... I plug it into a 27" ATD.

    The larger screen of the 13" is certainly an advantage... as is the battery life. In the end... I am about 90% sure that I am going switch back to a 13".

  13. anotherjoey thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2012
    Thanks for the new input :) It helps clear some of questions I had, but at the same time i'm now more on the fence than ever haha. I think i'm going to a retailer today to compare the MBA's in real life and see which one I like the best.. but i'm sure it won't be easy! I mean, for my everyday use (surfing, music, schoolwork etc.) i'm sure the 11" is more than fine, and i'm by no means a professional when it comes to photography/editing, it's just a hobby i'm getting more into now, and i'm thinking the 13" might be the best option for that (and better screen to surf on, battery life etc.) so I will just have to see how it is to carry around and feels in comparison to the 11" :)
  14. Glockron macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2012
    I got my 13" last week - and I regret nothing. You'll definitely appreciate the extra screen space, bigger trackpad and improved battery life.

    And the 13" is definitely still very portable!
  15. rbrian macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2011
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    The 11" Air has basically the same screen resolution as your old 13" Pro, so although the screen is physically smaller, you'll be able to fit the same amount of stuff on the screen. It'll be just like the computer you came from, but small and light and a joy to choose. I still smile every time I look at my 11"!

    The 13" Air has a higher resolution screen, so you'll get about the same amount of space on the screen as you would on a 15" Pro, in the same footprint, but lighter, than your old machine.

    What's more important to you?

    Battery life is not that important - sure, more is nice, but neither can last a whole day, so you'll need to carry a power adapter.
  16. anotherjoey thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2012
    You know, that was just what I needed to hear, LOL. I have been secretly rooting for the 11" due to its portability and size, and I didn't even think about it having almost the same screen resolution as my previous computer (the 13" MBP was enough). And it's true about the battery life! I'll hopefully have made up my mind by the end of the day after visiting the store.
  17. Fattytail macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2012
    Well said. Different strokes for different folks, of course, but I'd carry the adapter for my MBA 11 around even if it had the MBA 13's battery life. Which makes the difference in battery life a moot point for me when comparing the tow. Few laptops these days have batteries that last long enough to give me enough piece of mind that I'd just leave the adapter at home.
  18. kodeman53 macrumors 65816

    May 4, 2012
    There you go OP, battery life has been rendered all but irrelevant, regardless of how you plan on using your MBA or how long your day is. One more point of comparison you can cross off your list of differentiators.
  19. Tfb macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2012
    If you were secretly rooting for the 11" you should probably go for it. I think that's how I was feeling too. I loved the idea of the super light super portable computer. But I talked myself into the 13" for the easier side by side documents and the longer battery life. I had the 13" for a week and it was truly beautiful but I kept wondering wondering whether I'd made the right decision.

    I finally decided to return it and get the 11" (actually I got a refurb). It just felt more right for me, I felt right at home and settled with it right away. I'm sure there are moments when I will hanker after the longer battery life or bigger screen, but overall, *this* one is *mine*, warts and all :)
  20. plucky duck macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2012
    My heart is set on the 11", it's the perfect form factor. OSX makes it so pleasant to use, everything is so smooth. The trackpad is buttery smooth. I only use Windows 7 to game, but notice that gaming on Windows 7 is a real battery killer. I can at most hope for two and a half hours of gaming, with the CPU running at max speed. Kind of disappointing in that regard.

    Have yet to see how long the battery lasts under OSX for mainly web browsing.

    But in the end this computer will be used mainly by my wife (she uses Windows for her QQ sessions), and hopefully I can ween her off of Windows and onto OSX. The storage flexibility will aide in this regard.

    But the selfish side of my want to be able to game on it as well, and the 2012 13" Mac is a welcomed performance improvement. Aargh....maybe a 12.5" Mac Air with a 650m? lol
  21. MacLappy macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2011
    I had both the 2010 and 2011 macbook air 13", switched to the 11" 2012 last month. The difference in portability is amazing. When I was using the 13" it barely left the house, in fact, it was mostly a fixture at my desk. The 11" roams with me everywhere! The difference in portability is quite astounding. On paper it looks like a pretty insignificant difference but in actual practical usage, it is night and day. Get the 11" you will love it.:D
  22. anotherjoey, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012

    anotherjoey thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2012
    Again, thanks for the input everyone! :)

    I went to the store yesterday and spent a good 40-50 minutes just staring at the 11" and 13". I compared them with open/closed lids, putting them on top of each other to see the difference in size, and then comparing surfing in Safari, opening iPhoto, etc. and it just made it worse for me?! :confused: It didn't seem like a significant difference in size at the store at all, but maybe when I actually use the computer in life it will be more apparent if the size matters, just as MacLappy suggested above?

    Since this basically will be my primary computer (I will buy a Mac Mini for my HD shows/movies/media uses though) the 13" screen might be the best choice since I will use it a lot at home, but then again, I will need to bring it to school quite often to take notes etc. I think I just need to make a decision and stick with it, otherwise i'll never make up my mind...
  23. spravtek macrumors member

    Jul 17, 2012
    I went with the 11"... Never looked back, if need be I can connect it to a monitor for a bigger screen, but never really needed to.

    It's not my primary work machine though, since I need a bit more horsepower for that, but it can handle basically 95% of what my main computer can... And when really traveling, guess who stays home ;)

    11" FTW :D
  24. tim100 macrumors 65816

    May 25, 2009
    even though this thread is pro 11 inch mba. in another post in this forum re 11 vs 13 mba the 13 has 70% vote. it seems to me that this gen the 13 popularity has increased maybe due to macbook pro users transitioning to the 13 inch air.
  25. plucky duck macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2012
    Both are very capable machines, neither will last you your whole work day. Do you prefer the larger screen and resolution and don't mind the larger footprint of the 13"? Or are you more of a minimalist, don't mind the smaller display and resolution?

    Will you bring with you an iPad alongside your Air whenever you travel? If so I think the 13" compliments with the iPad better imo. Will you be bring with you your work laptop? If that's the case then I'd go with the smaller 11". Consider the user.

    I want to be able to game on it once in a while and like the ultraportable 11" form factor, but it'll be stationary for the most part and I'm not the primary user, whom I beleive will benefit from a larger display. I'm thinking about myself when I really should be thinking about her needs.

    Can't I just have both? heh

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