11 vs 13 Air or 13 retina

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Intense, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. Intense, Mar 8, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013

    Intense macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2008
    if i can hold off buying until the 2013 models are released, i would, however, i do need a laptop within a week. i'm just a little lost to which machine i should go with, the 11 or the 13 air. I played with the 11" and liked the form factor and i don't mind the smaller screen. has anyone faced a similar situation on choosing between the 11 and 13 air. anyone noticed any performance lag on the air and would you recommend the 13" retina instead?

    i'd rather have the smallest and lightest machine.

    . illustrator, photoshop, dreamweaver, indesign
    . would like to dabble more with after effects and premier

  2. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    Let me admit my bias up front: I own a 2012 11" Air.

    There's no lag when working in any of the CS6 apps you've listed.

    As I've said before in response to similar posts, the 11" Air is just a sweet little machine. I spent the extra money for 8GB RAM, the i7 processor and a 256GB SSD. It's been well worth the investment.

    From time to time I think I should buy a 13" MBA or rMBP so I can increase my productivity. Then I find myself traveling and realize what a terrific little laptop the 11" is.

    I can't speak to Retina lag, but there are other threads on that topic. The 11" Air is a very capable little machine, especially for the uses you've outlined.
  3. Intense thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2008
    I initially tried to delete my post after noticing how many people have asked the same question. Couldn't find the "deleted post" button.

    thanks so much for your feedback
    Just purchased a refurb 11/ i7/8gb//256

    It says "Eligible for OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date Program" and Originally released in June 2012 for the hardware

    not sure what it specifically means ... doesn't already come with Mountain Lion pre-installed?
  4. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    It should do. And good choice by the way.

    For me the choice is clear, 11" Air or 13" rMBP. [Scratch the 13" Air.]

    Factor in ultraportablity and the 11" stands out. It's such a sweet machine.
  5. Jarre macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2012
    I found the 11 Air too small, so I bought a 13. It's a good machine and doesn't have any speed issues even though its basic spec. Seems to run CS6 okay too.

    At the time the retina wasn't out, however I was a bit gutted when released only a month later as I would have bought that instead!

    If you're using high end photo software you would probably benefit from the retina display, plus it isn't too heavy either!
  6. Intense thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2008
    Thanks Sanatbean2000, I visited the apple store today to confirm that I've made the correct choice and it's confirmed, so far so good.

    I'm still looking forward to installing illustrator+photoshop and seeing how I'll deal with the tools+layers windows on top of the canvas within the 11" screen.

    I'm looking into maybe buying the portable USB monitors to carry around in a bag if needed and as a second monitor for home.
  7. dgw2 macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2013
    I just passed my old MBA13 to my wife. Yes, I had no problems using Photoshop rather routinely but when I needed a new computer I went with the rMBP13. I can tell you that I hardly notice a difference in the size. As a matter of fact, the MBP is actually smaller from a length x width perspective and the thickness between it and the MBA13 is only on the one edge that is the thinnest. The thickness at the rear of each is virtually identical. On the performance side the biggest difference is that no matter what application I have run the fan has never kicked in. On the Air however, it would come on when using Photoshop and Lightroom. Some of this may be based on the 4GB RAM vs. the 8GB of RAM, but it still gives you an indication of the overall experience. Just my 2 cents. Good luck.
  8. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    I do find the 16:9 display a little wasted on such a small laptop (too little vertical space), but since portability was my top priority, I opted for that over the 13" air.
  9. Intense thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2008
    Jarre, likewise, not liking the idea of the new hardware release right after purchasing one by a short few months.

    dgw2, it's slightly concerning that overheating issue that I keep reading about. Shall find out how hot it gets after a few hours of use.

    Abazigal, the 16:9 gives me the illusion that I have more space on the screen that there actually is.
  10. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Retina isn't worth it, in my opinion, though, regardless of whether you go with a 13" Air, a 13" retina, or a 13" Pro, you're better off with a 15" in terms of performance as anything more than basic usage with most of those apps will be slow.
  11. Intense thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2008
    quick update, received it!

    first impression, although i spent lots of time with it at the store, screen's too small. However, many days with it now and the screen being too small issue is starting to disappear.
  12. cjohnson348 macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2013
    I had the same debate with myself this past week.

    I knew I wanted the Air with 8gb of RAM and a 256SSD. When I built it, it ended up being more money than a refurb rMBP with the same RAM and storage, so I opted for the retina. Still love the Air's form actor, though. If I could have found it refurb with the specs listed above I would have went for it.
  13. Jedi macrumors regular


    Apr 28, 2008
    Just my 2 cents , not relative to size:

    I looked at the 13" MBP before I decided on the 15" MBP-R , my main reason , was the separate GPU.

    Just a thought , also the 15" Retina is really not that big , it is fairly compact.

    Good luck :)

    Gary 

    2010 Mac Mini 4.1 & 2012 MBP-R 15" / 256 Gb SSD / 8 Gb - Ram
  14. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I've been watching the MBA space for years. I'm still using a 2007-era 15" MBP and while it's still actually going strong, I'm starting to want a newer, faster, lighter machine.

    The 13" Air seems to hit a sweet spot for me. The 11" seems a bit too small and the battery life is a bit too low. The 13" solves both of those problems without being a whole lot bigger or heavier.

    I'm probably willing to wait until Haswell, hopefully later this summer.

    I've also been checking out various Windows 8 machines like the Lenovo Yoga and Dell XPS 12. They have touchscreens, which are fun, but that might not be worth the trade off of going back to Windows from OS X ;)
  15. troy14 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 25, 2008
    Las Vegas (Summerlin), NV
    I was just in the same situation as you (OP). I bought the 11" Air, returned it. Wayyy to small for school and the widescreen did nothing for me (i'm not using my laptop to watch movies......I use it for schoolwork word processing / etc).. then bought a 2011 MBA and 2012 MBA both 13"... got great deals on both and liked them. Then went and saw the retina 13... took both the MBA back and am keeping the retina. Man, I love it.
  16. adamjb22 macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2013
    Thought id give my 2cents I was on the fence debating between the 3 models for about 2 months now. I was dead set on the 11" air with 8gb ram, but once priced including tax I had to give it a second thought...

    Luckily I held off cuz I found a killer deal on a BestBuy open box rMBP for only $1112. Absolutely no regrets with form factor or price!
  17. troy14 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 25, 2008
    Las Vegas (Summerlin), NV
    Yes, I got a killer deal at BestBuy for the open box rMBP as well! Once looking at it, it almost feels as thing/light as the 13" Air.......but well, the screen.... :eek::eek:
  18. yourtoys7 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2007
    Have 11" now and from time to time if hoping for 13",
    2013 model will be 13" as I'm using this as my over all laptop (home, school).
  19. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    If you can afford it, the 13in retina will, IMO, always be the better purchase - for one reason; that is, the ability to scale the resolution.

    You can scale it to a resolution higher than the 13in MBA, allowing you to have more desktop space (which is advantageous in having windows side-by-side, etc) on the same sized screen (let alone the screen quality, i.e. color gamut, is far superior).

    Additionally, it has a smaller footprint and only weighs ~half a pound more than the 13in MBA (fairly negligible). It also comes with 8GB of RAM standard, which is clutch.

    I can't wait to upgrade my 2011 MBA to a 2013 rMBP (once Haswell hits) :D

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