11" Owners, how do you like it?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ayeying, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. ayeying, Feb 6, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012

    ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #1
    So, I'm looking in grabbing a 2nd laptop since I got rid of my iPad and wanted something a bit more portable on the go then my current 15" MacBook Pro.

    I've used to be an owner of the 13" MacBook Air, loved it but always felt it's lacking quite a bit on when it comes to performance and such.

    So, as a second, companion, or even as primary computer for the basics of tasks such as: Watching TV Shows, Surfing the Net, iTunes Sync w/ iPhone, E-Mail, etc.

    I want opinions from users, How does it perform? How is the battery life? I don't expect 5 hours, not with the way I use it. I barely get 3 hours out of my 15" MacBook Pro. Is there anything you don't like about it? Nothing's perfect, just want an honest opinion. Is there anything that you've noticed, on the go, that the Air couldn't provide? Such as Optical Drive or SD card slot, etc. How's the charging time? I noticed that this was my biggest gripe. I don't mind a short battery life at times but if I can't get my system charged to relative 50% within a reasonable (say 1.5 hours) time, then it might cause a problem for me. Do you use any virtual machines on it? If so, How well does it run? Please state how much ram/cpu you give too.

    Obviously, I won't be doing any type of gaming on the Air. Maybe civilization 5 because I enjoy playing it on my spare time but I believe it would be a slight cripple for the 11"? Prove me wrong.

    Last note, the system I'm looking for is 1.8GHz Core i7, 4GB Ram with 256GB SSD. If anyone should state why I should change my specs, please let me know. Saving money isn't a bad thing :). However, I believe the 256GB would be one thing I probably cannot change. I'm running 240GB SSD, 1/2 by 1/2 for Mac and Windows, and I only have approx 15GB free on the OSX side. For the Air, I would require a small windows virtual machine installed, so that would take more room. However, the Air having only 4GB ram would free up an extra 4GB thats used for hibernation, so maybe it would work?
     
  2. Joshintosh, Feb 6, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012

    Joshintosh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs
    #2
    Not sure how old the 13" Air you used, but if you thought it was too slow and it was a recent model with an i5, you might want to reconsider.

    To answer some of your questions..

    It performs much better than I thought it would. The i5 I have in my 11 inch is able to handle pretty much any task I throw at it. It runs aperture extremely smoothly, and this library is hooked up to a usb hard drive, so I'm very impressed there. I can play 1080p videos on youtube and there are no hiccups.

    Battery life is probably the only thing I can complain about, almost on the verge of being abysmal. I get about 3 hours doing moderately intensive things, 5 hours when just typing, surfing.

    Anything I don't like about it? See above ^

    I don't notice it not having an optical drive, mainly because I never used one in the months leading to my purchase. If this really bothers you, you can always buy a cheaper one on amazon.

    Charging time is surprisingly impressive. It's almost dead and I plug it in for what seems like a short time and it's already at around 80%! Kinda nice in that it makes up for the bad battery life (sort of).

    I don't use any virtual programs on it but I don't see it being a problem at all. I would recommend going with 4 gigs of RAM, unless this is going to be lightly, lightly used. 4 GB is just 'future proofing' it in my opinion.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. iKIKO macrumors regular

    iKIKO

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2011
    #3
    i have mine since last monday, its the 11''/i5/4g/128 and coming from a pro 13 i can honestly say that i don't miss the 13 and not gone go back to pro any more. its heavy and bulky, and also i don't need all that power of the pro.

    this 11 i5 model 4g its plenty power. i use the same apps of the 13 pro and the mba run them the same, maybe because the pro was core 2 duo and the 11 is i5.

    but it is fast, sleep wake is instantly. power and off is very very fast, it is damm portable, just a little bit bigger than an iPad, the weight almost the same..

    well i think i said enough, my point is that its kinda like a mini macbook pro :D

    you won't regret
     
  4. ayeying thread starter macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #4
    Thanks Joshintosh for your input.

    I think I chose a poor choice of words when I mentioned I felt my old one being slow. The original air I've owned are the:

    1st Generation 1.6GHz/2GB Ram/80GB HDD
    3rd Generation 2.13GHz/2GB Ram/128GB SSD w/ 9400M

    When I meant the system felt slow, I was talking about my experiences when using a lot of intensive programs such as Virtualization and Aperture. However, during that time, the 3rd generation was my primary and only machine. I used it literally as my only computer with no back up. This time, it would be a bit different since I would still have the 15" MacBook Pro to serve as my workhorse and still remain mobile if I needed it on the go.

    About 3 hours battery life is something I'm expecting. I remember I only got 2 hours while gaming on the 3rd generation Air, which was better than I expected but still less then what's rated. I've come to accept that rated battery are not something I should expect.

    The only time I've used my optical drive was when I installed Windows via Boot Camp and to burn my mom's MP3 cd. However, since then, I haven't seem the need for an optical drive. However, I wanted to see if there was something I might have missed. Expect the unexpected lol
     
  5. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
  6. M-5 macrumors 65816

    M-5

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #6
    I have the 2011 MacBook Air 11" 1.6GHz i5 with the 250 GB SSD and 4 GB RAM

    This machine is very very capable in my opinion. It replaced my 2009 13" Pro with a Core 2 Duo, and the Air blows it away. It runs everything smoothly, such as Safari, iTunes, Mail, iPhoto, Pages, editing RAW files in Photoshop CS4, as well as when I created an 18 minute video in Final Cut Pro X.

    I've also played "The Movies" game on my MacBook Air, and it runs well. The battery life isn't exceptional, but it's not as bad as I had originally intended it to be. I mostly use it plugged into the wall when I'm at home, but when I use it at school I'll simply lower the brightness most of the way, and it can last between 4 and 5 hours of word processing. That's my estimate with gauging the percentage, but it's at least that much. It charges really quickly as well.

    The criticism I would give the Air is that I had started having a problem develop with my Trackpad where it would seem to be extra sensitive (even with tap-to-click being disabled as it has always been) and clicks being registered even though I didn't depress the trackpad. It would happen sporadically, and I'd generally be scrolling through a page with two fingers and all of a sudden text would begin to highlight and drag as if I was clicking the trackpad and dragging.

    I was thinking that it had to do with how thin the Air was and how thin the trackpad area was that might have been affected with pressure being applied if the air wasn't completely flat (such as if you used it on your lap). I took it to Apple but they couldn't reproduce the problem so I'm stuck with it. It stopped happening these past few days however, but I'm just worried it will develop into a bigger problem, especially considering how thin the Air is and the possibility of the trackpad area being bent if you perhaps lift the computer up by where the palm-wrest area is.
     
  7. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #7
    I have the mid-range 11" MacBook Air model. It's the one with 1.6GHz Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD. Today I upgrade the SSD to a 240GB OWC Aura.

    How does it perform?
    Before the upgrade, it performed spectacularly. I partitioned half of the old SSD to Windows 7, so it was 60GB for each OS (8GB I guess is unavailable for use due to over-provisioning I would imagine). I did not have any slowdowns, boot into both OSes were very quick and waking from sleep is very close to instant. I don't do a lot of work on this MacBook Air as it's primary just a computer I use when I need to travel light or I'm on the couch watching TV and need to check something (I still prefer a mouse/trackpad and keyboard vs. using my iPad); it's great in the car, or whatnot. However, I do have Microsoft Office 2011 installed and that runs without any hiccups. Photoshop CS5.5 works for basic needs, but it'll be limited if my images get too large. Luckily the SSD works great as scratch, but nonetheless performance is much lower compared to my MacBook Pro (Early 2011, 2.3GHz). For viewing movies, and other media viewing, everything is fine.

    How is the battery life?

    For rudimentary use like checking stuff on the web or typing up something in Word, I have no trouble lasting through 5 hours on 50% brightness and WiFi—I have auto brightness off, so my screen is at 50% all the time no matter the condition. As usual anything that requires extensive CPU (ie: Flash, etc.) use will decrease the battery life, but overall I can go a day without a problem (sleeping the computer whenever I don't need it). If I watched a movie or something, especially 1080p, I would see a slight drop, to about 3.5-4 hours which still isn't bad.

    Is there anything you don't like about it?
    There are several issues I would prefer Apple remedied. One of these is connectivity. USB 2.0 is ancient by today's standards. I have FW on some computer, eSATA on others; Thunderbolt is a still a lagging standard, so I'm stuck with USB on this machine. Sometimes I need files to transfer faster and USB 2.0 does not do. I also do not like glossy displays and this is one of the things I do not like very much on the MacBook Air. Although compared to the glass covers of late MacBook Pros this isn't bad, compared to a true antiglare display, the MacBook Air display looks like a dull mirror to me. Lack of better RAM options is also quite a drawback for me. I would prefer an 8GB option as it's not really that expensive anymore, but I don't mind paying for more RAM. So I guess the lack of upgradeability is a drawback, but since we need to compromise somewhere I can forgive Apple for making everything integrated.

    Is there anything that you've noticed, on the go, that the Air couldn't provide?
    As I mentioned already, I find the lack of a fast and common connectivity option to a big drawback. I sometimes work in the field and someone gives me a 20GB file to transfer. I have to wait a long time when a faster interface would have helped. The wireless performance on the MacBook Air can also use some improvement. I have a Thinkpad that can discover a zillion networks and the MacBook Air barely sees one or two. That's a bit ridiculous for a computer that's designed to be "wireless." The lack of an optical drive doesn't really bother me, and I usually have to carry a card reader as my DSLR uses Compact Flash.

    How's the charging time?

    I haven't really ever timed it, but I feel it never takes more than an hour to fully charge my computer. It seems pretty fast. When I run low on power and I plug it in, it seems that when I come back later to the computer it's almost done charging. Just a heads up if you're looking for 100%, I'm not sure, but usually 96% is when fast charge stops and that 4% takes a while.

    Do you use any virtual machines on it? If so, How well does it run?
    I do not use VMs and do not plan to, so I cannot comment on it. However rebooting into Windows 7 via BootCamp is seemless and works very well for me.

    ~~~~~~~~

    Other thoughts:
    I upgraded my SSD because I was running on space. With half of my drive partitioned to Windows, I had only about 5-8GB of free space which isn't a lot if you think about how big many video files are these days. So I doubled my capacity to 240GB and allocated 60GB to Windows, leaving 180GB to OS X. It doesn't really feel much faster, but the additional space is nice to have.
     
  8. robvas macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    I have a base model C2D 11" Air (2GB, 64GB, 1.4GHz)

    How does it perform? How is the battery life?
    It's fast at some things because of the SSD but there are times when I realize I'm not on my i5 Air. It boots up in 10-12 seconds, Firefox starts in a second or two, etc. But it's slower at things in Xcode like 'Build project, open iPhone simulator, run app" than a brand new one would be. It's not slow by any means, but something that takes 8 seconds might only take 3 on my i5 Air.
    The battery lasts about 4 hours in most cases.
    Is there anything you don't like about it?
    Battery life could be longer, and the screen could be bigger. But then it wouldn't be 11"....
    Is there anything that you've noticed, on the go, that the Air couldn't provide?
    Not really.
    How's the charging time?
    It charges okay with the included adapter, but the bigger adapters from a Pro will charge it faster.
    Do you use any virtual machines on it? If so, How well does it run?
    Once in a while I run a Linux server VM (256MB/1vCPU), and it's fine. But if I run a 1GB, 1vCPU Linux desktop VM it's pokey. It works, but again it flies on my 4GB/i5 machine. You should never give a VM any more than 1 vCPU anyway, especially on a dual-core machine.
     
  9. r6girl, Feb 7, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012

    r6girl Administrator/Editor

    r6girl

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #9
    I absolutely love my 2011 11-inch MBA (base model). It replaces a 2008 13-inch MacBook Air (the Ultimate version at that time) and complements a 27-inch iMac, which is my main machine.

    How does it perform?
    Fantastic for my needs: email, writing, web browsing, Excel spreadsheets and other document editing and creation and light photo editing.

    How is the battery life?
    Great. I feel like I'm getting 4 to 5 hours out of it at a time along with fairly quick recharging. A noticeable improvement over my 13-inch MBA.

    Is there anything that you've noticed, on the go, that the Air couldn't provide? Such as Optical Drive or SD card slot, etc.
    I'd gotten used to these limitations with my last MBA so nothing stands out to me.

    How's the charging time? I noticed that this was my biggest gripe. I don't mind a short battery life at times but if I can't get my system charged to relative 50% within a reasonable (say 1.5 hours) time, then it might cause a problem for me.
    Pretty quick. I'd say I definitely get 50% in less than 1.5 hours.

    Do you use any virtual machines on it? If so, How well does it run?
    No, only do this on my iMac (Parallels).

    I find that the 11-inch MBA feels way more portable than my old 13-incher. Though the weight difference isn't that large, the length and width differences are more significant than I expected when it comes to portability in day-to-day use. To be honest, I didn't consider the 11-inch as a real option thinking that the screen size would be too small but I'm glad I went with it in the end and did not simply go to a newer 13-inch MBA. It's a perfect complement to an iMac where I get the power and screen real estate I need to multitask better. Personally, I don't see the value in having two laptops but that's just me - I really only need one portable system and would rather pair a laptop with a more powerful system and a large screen.
     
  10. Jezak macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    #10
    Macbook Air 11in i5 1.6Ghz, 4GB RAM, 128GB HD.


    How does it perform?

    This is probably my favorite Mac ever, and I've owned a ton.

    For the most part very well. I use it for websurfing, small bursts of coding, a ton of scripting, writting, email, occasional game.
    I have a 27inch iMac at home that stores my iTunes library and a few other VM's. Since Christmas I've been attempting to use my 11inch as my primary machine. It's been an interesting but fairly positive experience. I have a 27inch Cinema Display I connect it to when at home, which alleviates any screen constraints.

    While I haven't tried any newer versions of Skype (within last two months) previous versions would cause my fans to crank. Minor annoyance.

    How is the battery life?

    Around four hours moderate use. If I want longer I'll kick the brightness down to 1 to 2, turn off the keyboard backlight and kill any VM's or big applications I have running.

    How's the charging time?

    I've never really timed it, but somewhere within two hours I think is safe.

    Do you use any virtual machines on it? If so, How well does it run?

    Yes, I've had two running at once. One Win 7 one CentOS. Cent VM had half a CPU and 512mb of memory. Win 7 had half a CPU and 1GB.

    Both machines ran fine for the tasks I needed. Fans did/do tend to kick up.

    Is there anything that you've noticed, on the go, that the Air couldn't provide?

    Not for my needs.

    Is there anything you don't like about it?

    I wish the bezel around the screen was smaller. I know it's a pipe dream but I find the formfactor of this laptop perfect and at times the 11inch screen feels cramped. When I upgrade I'll be getting the larger SSD and hoping the GFX capability is better.
     
  11. blow45 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    #11
    yeah the 11" screen is cramped and you spent a lot of time scrolling, I too wish at some point they made the bezel smaller if they could technically.
     
  12. ayeying thread starter macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #12
    Thank you all for your inputs. It's better reading from actual user inputs then reviews online. Reviews just tells me how much engineering is put into this machine and how it performs but not on a day-to-day basis.

    I'm deciding more on the $1199 model. Specs are: 1.6GHz Core i5/4GB Ram/128GB SSD. I figure if I really need, I can always drag around an external USB hard drive and still be cheaper than getting the 256GB model.

    Since it's going to be an on-the-go system and system for items such as: Web Surfing, E-Mail, iTunes, Netflix, etc, I believe the 1.6GHz Core i5 should be sufficient.

    I ask about virtual machines because I do have a specific homework assignment that can only be run on Windows. That site is also linked with work but I do not want to lug around a Windows laptop just for that specific task. As long as it can run a Windows 7, 1GB/1CPU in fairly good speed, I'll be okay.

    I'm planning to visit the Apple Store some more within the coming week and hopefully seeing in person would allow me to lock in my decision. :D
     
  13. yetieater macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 6, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #13
    Love it, love it, love it.

    I got the 1.8GHz Core i7 / 4GB / 128GB SSD model. Its part number per Apple is z0mg0000b, and it's a screaming machine.

    You can buy it for $60 over the config that you're looking at right now if you purchase from Adorama: http://www.adorama.com/ACMC969LLA1.html

    Now if you don't declare Use Tax on your returns this year, you'll probably come out with an awesome machine for less money than the 1.6GHz i5 that you're looking at right now. More power for less money ... How do you like them Apples?
     
  14. robvas macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #14
    You can almost fit the 13" screen in the 11" Air.....that would be killer.
     
  15. Nioxic macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    Location:
    Denmark
    #15
    How does it perform?
    Fast. Loads games faster than my desktop windows pc
    its completely silent when just browsing or using text programs (word)
    ive had no problems with anything except a few tiny programs that didnt want to start. a reboot solved that. np. (nothing is bug free anyway)

    How is the battery life?
    Batterylife for me, is somewhere between 3 and 5 hours. i mainly use mine for browsing and typing in school, so i dont really play or watch videos a lot on it.

    Is there anything you don't like about it?
    I'd prefer if it had one or two more usb ports.. 2 ain't a lot.
    But ive never had to plug in more than two so far, so.. :)

    Is there anything that you've noticed, on the go, that the Air couldn't provide?
    Nope. it even runs my games np!

    How's the charging time?
    MAX ive seen is 1 hour from like 10-20% to 100%
    That was while using it. its a bit faster while not using of course.

    Do you use any virtual machines on it? If so, How well does it run?
    No experience in that area
     
  16. ayeying thread starter macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #16
    So I've made my purchase of the 11" MacBook Air yesterday and I have only one thing to say about it.

    I love it.

    It's just as fast as my MacBook Pro, which also has an SSD drive. The system is light, the battery life seems a bit short but okay. The keyboard seems to takes some getting use to especially the top function keys. The screen is a bit small but nothing that warrants too much attention.

    The system is quiet. I haven't heard the fans go off yet. I'm not done completely transferring my files and installing apps yet though so we'll see what happens later on.

    It's truly amazing how much power they packed into this such small system.
     
  17. stu.h macrumors 65816

    stu.h

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    Location:
    West Midlands, England.
    #17
    Im a long time windows user, and to get the macair is a breath of fresh air tbh.

    Ive got the same spec as you (maybe would have paid the extra £150 for the i7 but w/e)

    I intend to get the thunderbolt display and dock it when i want to sit down and use it and get a really nice real estate.

    I'm also paranoid about damaging my MBA so having my air off the desk and using a BT keyboard and trackpad is perfect....
     
  18. 808? macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #18
    No real complaints with my 2nd MBA, it is easy on the shoulder and gives great battery performance, so it it ideal for travel.
     
  19. auhlixer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #19
    does it have hyperthreading?

    about to purchase one and curious about it
     
  20. ayeying thread starter macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #20
    Yes. I have the Dual-Core i5 and it shows up as 4 Cores in OSX
     
  21. auhlixer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #21
    Thanks for clarifying that
     
  22. rjsbass macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    #22
    responding to the original question (posted in the title)

    i'm coming from a 15'' macbook pro. i now have the 11'' mba and it does everything i need it to do. regarding the screen I think it is perfectly sized. i'm currently a senior in college majoring in physics so i mostly use this to latek (word process), code , terminal things, web browse, spotify, etc. i don't use the computer for video or photo editing.

    a lot of the time people think they require a more powerful, larger computer than what they actually need.

    give the 11'' a try - you have 14 days to return it in case you really think you need something more powerful / larger.
     
  23. Jobsian macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #23
    Ah good old Ayeying, remember your cordial self from the old MBA days :)

    Glad you like it, it simply is the best notebook I'm aware of. J'adore!
     

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