11 vs 13 - Buying advice

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by djhomeless, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. djhomeless macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2008
    Hi Everyone,
    I'm in the market for an AIR and need some help deciding.

    Basically I commute a lot, 3 hours every day (1x train, 2x metros, 1x bus). Lugging around my beloved 15" MBP is killing my back so I've decided to get an AIR to help reduce my heft. :)

    I'm not terribly fussed about the size of the SSD as I store most of my "big" data in idisk, flickr, and others. Also I do most of my CPU intensive stuff in the cloud as well, so I'm hopeful that the base CPU for the 11 or 13" model should be fine for what I do. But, a few questions:

    - Does anyone use Keynote or Omnigraffle heavily? I'm writing documents, presentations, and wireframes pretty much all day and am slightly worried about the smaller screen size in terms of legibility/sanity.

    - Has anyone had any problems with Steam? Granted, I don't do high-end gaming anymore, but I do play Civilization occasionally to blow off some....erm...well...Steam.

    Also, I know everyone suggests bumping the RAM to 4GB, but I'd prefer to keep my pennies since I'll probably sell it once Apple refreshes the line with Sandybridge & Thunderbolt. Is this a good plan or should I upgrade anyway?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions or advice...

  2. leowyatt macrumors regular

    Dec 15, 2010
    I'd say your best bet is to get yourself down to an apple store and try the different sizes.
  3. djhomeless thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2008
    Thanks, I have. The problem is iwork aren't usually installed on the demo models and there is a huge difference between general writing and web viewing and monkeying around with Keynote and Omnigraffle...
  4. ranjitb macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2011
    If you aren't doing any heavy task both the 11 and 13 are more than capable machine, but personally I would lean over the 13" coz of the higher resolution.

    It's 2.4 lbs vs 3 lbs but the 13" in reality seems a bit more heavier, I agree do a hands on before you take the dive.
  5. Annerz macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2011
    New Jersey
  6. bitingtheapple macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2009

    I can happily recommend an 11" Air for daily use. I'm currently using this machine as my only machine, and can certainly confirm that it's up to what you're wanting to do with it.

    I am regularly writing Keynote presentations 30-50 slides with animations, heavy graphics etc, and have no problem with the screen.

    Remember, the resolution of the Air is much the same (slightly higher) than the current 13" MacBook Pro, and old air.

    My configuration has the additional 2Mb Ram - 4Mb in total, and the faster 1.6Ghz processor.

    Having owned a 13" Air (previous generation) I can confirm that the portability the 11" offers is fantastic, and I'm getting about 5 hours of solid use out of the machine.

    Check my blog at : www.bitingtheapple.co.uk
  7. Hands Sandon macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2008
    The 13" is very light. The trackpad involves less effort to click, especially the lower part. When I had the 11", I set it to tap to click but that was annoying sometimes because it would open links unexpectedly. The sound is much better on the 13" too and goes much louder than the 11". Either way though; both are excellent. Expect a good 8 hrs plus of light usage on the 13" too.
  8. djhomeless thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2008
    @all - Thanks I've been to the Apple Store a few times and definitely love the feel for both. I used to have an old Dell Mini9 so I'm pretty adaptable for using a smaller screen (it was a hackintosh as well). My main worry was that I would struggle doing presentations and diagrams which require a lot of precise mousing ;)

    @bitingtheapple Wow thanks for the feedback, just what I was looking for! I'm on the fence about upgrading the CPU and RAM though - normally I like future proofing stuff, but I'm really eager to get Thunderbolt and Sandybridge like with the current MBP's.

    @Hands Sandon I have a 2010 MBP and it has a similar trackpad, though I'm pretty old school and use a mouse anyway, still not entirely proficient :)
  9. Big D 51 macrumors 6502a

    Big D 51

    Jan 15, 2011
    Mobile, AL
    My vote is for a 13" because its still compact as well.

    Everyone has different opinions and needs though.
  10. djhomeless thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2008
    Has anyone tried using Parallels on the new MBA's?
  11. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    I would suggest going for 4MB of Ram as it will better future proof the machine, and you can't upgrade the Ram after you buy it.
  12. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    I, too, had a hard time deciding between the 11 inch and the 13 inch MBA but finally chose the 13 inch because I needed its 256GB of flash storage, which is not available on the 11 inch. As the OP has told us that (1) he's not terribly worried about storage space and (2) he travels three hours a day, it seems to me that the 11 inch might be the better choice. Really, though, the OP couldn't go wrong with either MBA.
  13. bowlerman625 macrumors 68020


    Jun 17, 2009
    Chicago, IL area
  14. Lava Lamp Freak macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2006
    I traded in my 11" for a 13" after using it for one week. I just found the 11" to be too small. The trackpad was kind of annoying because it is small. The 13" is great because it is still quite a bit lighter than a 13" MBP, plus it has the resolution of a 15" MBP.
  15. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2010
    I went with the 13 inch Air because of screen resolution, it was the ONLY reason I went with the bigger one.
  16. bubbagumpshrimp macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2008
    You mean you wanted a bigger screen? The pixel density between the two MBA models are very similar.
  17. benjones macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2008
    MBA 11.6" PPI: 135.09

    MBA 13.3" PPI: 127.68

    The 11.6" actually has the better screen in regards to pixel density.
  18. Bakari45 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2010
    I would say that if the MacBook Air is only/main computer, definitely go with the 13” for better real estate. I have the 11” because it’s a laptop I don’t use everyday, and I prefer the smaller, netbook, size.

    I also do Keynote presentations, but I primarily develop them on my Mac Pro, and do edits on MBA when I’m away from my office.
  19. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I have both and have used each one 'all day' as you mention for writing etc.

    I'm positive you'll appreciate the larger screen 13" ... for writing it's just better. The 11" is just a little lacking in screen real estate for long hours working ...

    I strongly you recommend getting 4gb ram as well, it will cost you just a little more and when you sell it, it's worth a little more too, meanwhile you get the benefits of the 4gb...

    Post back what you end up buying and how you like it.
  20. racer1441 macrumors 68000

    Jul 3, 2009
  21. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    I run Parallels 6 daily with an XP vm allocated 1.25gb ram and it runs better on my current MBA than it ever did on any or my previous Macs. It impacts my OSX apps less and consumes a lower percentage of CPU as well. I never would have thought this little 1.6 ghz wonder could be anywhere near this capable.
  22. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    My MBA runs Omnigraffle quite well and while my screen is small, it's very crisp and clear and about the same resolution as my uMB so it works as well for me when I'm mobile.

    I must confess that when desk bound I use a 27" ACD for a lot more real estate than any laptop offers and this little wonder drives that screen without a hitch and seems as fast and responsive as much higher speced machines that I've had in the past including my uMB.

    I would assume that the 13" MBA is even more capable so either could easily be an only machine for many as long as their ram and storage was sufficient. Hard to go wrong with either really.
  23. boymom75 macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2009
    I got the maxed-out 11" Air, and I'm beyond thrilled. Not to sound ridiculous, but this thing is magical.

    I went from an older 15" MBP, and my laptop has always been and still is my second computer. For sofa surfing, travel, meetings, writing (which I do a lot of), whatever, this is a dream. If I were also spending time commuting on a train, no question at all -11"! To me, the smaller Air is what best justifies the Air. It's so damn portable. Watched a HD movie on it last night in bed. I wanted to kiss it goodnight, I'm so happy.

    Had I gotten the 13" Air, I would've always felt like I should've just gotten the MBP.
  24. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    I switched from an MBP 13 to an MBA 11. The 11 feels so much more portable, I'm not planning on going back to using a 13.

    If I want more screen real estate at my desk, the 11 can drive a 27" monitor.
  25. nomad01 macrumors 68000


    Aug 1, 2005
    Birmingham, England
    I'll second this.

    I bought a 15" MBP i7 but as soon as I started using the 11" MBA, I decided that I really didn't need the MBP anymore.

    The MBA is the machine I use most and if I have to do anything a bit more intensive I just remote into my Mac Mini server and let that run it.

    I've not yet been frustrated by anything with the basic MBA 11". I'd say it was the apple purchase (of which there have been many) that I'm most happy with.

Share This Page