2011 13" Macbook Air is Dead...Apple is Offering a Replacement..Please Help me Decide

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by stfwayne, May 23, 2014.

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  1. stfwayne macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2011
    My 2011, 13" Macbook Air 4GB/128GB, i5 is dead and Apple is offering me a replacement.

    They are giving me $1000 in credit (same as what the 2014 13" MBA costs right now with my identical specs)

    They are pushing me to upgrade to the Retina Macbook Pro but I still have the option to get a MBA with upgraded specs 8GB/i7

    The basis of the upgrade is my useage (watching flash lectures online and on VLC and doing heavy web browsing and Microsoft Office)

    That's literally all i do, browse the web, watch videos for class on the web or VLC (I only use Opera/Chrome not Safari), and use Microsoft Word/Powerpoint

    What should i do?

    Pay $150 for MBA 11 with i7 and 8GB of Ram

    Pay $250 for MBA 13 with i7 and 8GB of Ram

    Pay $400 for rMBP 13 with i5 and 8GB of Ram

    Right now Im leaning toward the 11" bc of how cheap it is but I am scared that the 11" would be too small for my constant web browsing, PDF viewing, and Word/Powerpoint use im a student.

    I have a 13" MBA and I love it but the 11" has always intrigued me

    Also the 13" retina screen has peaked my interest but basically i would be upgrading for the screen only since the i7 in the 11" or 13" should give me very similar performance to the i5 in the Retina Pro.

    Is the Retina screen that much better than the MBA to necessitate the extra $150? Or should I go for the 11"??

    Regardless, I plan on waiting until June 30 when my loan goes thru and hopefully the new hardware could be released at WWDC

    Anyone and everyone please help!
  2. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    No one can give you advice, it is all up to you, your eyes and your usage. All that I can tell you, is my story:)

    I started with mac mini, followed with two 21.5 imacs and then, I made decision to go portable. Bought macbook air 13 and absolutely loved it, then made decision to switch to rMBpro, but because of image retention, returned back to air - this time cheaper 11 incher - that is my current machine.

    My experience - 11incher is best for me - I really love form factor and portability (use it mainly at home, but portability is great - surfing on couch, in bad.. ec.). My usage: surfing net, listening to music, from time to time little iWork usage, storing my files and photos... so my advice, try 11incher in store, compare to 13 incher and then make decission, and never look back:)
  3. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    I would recommend getting an SSD upgrade before anything else based on your consumer needs. Also, as a student, you should add in the student discount. So really it is 380$ for the MBA and 400$ for the rMBP. If you decided to go with the 256GB SSD (which really is the best option) they are nearly dead even in cost. The extra 20$ will get you a nicer screen and more ports. The SSD and the processor will be almost exactly the same. So do you want a computer that weighs 0.5 pounds less and 30% better battery life, or a computer with a nicer screen. I would personally go with the rMBP, but that is just me. Think about the 256GB upgrade though!

  4. brilliantthings macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2011
    Base 13" model with 256gb.
    You don't need the extra ram or CPU for what you do.
  5. stfwayne thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2011
    Apple Advisor will only give me a student discount for the AppleCare not towards the system itself.

    I know the difference between a maxed out Air and the Retina Pro (without the 256GB dont need that) is only $150 my major concern is how much NEGATIVE things ive heard about the Retina screen over how many POSITIVE things ive heard.

    For example:
    -Image Retention
    -Yellow Screens
    -Issues with lagging esp with scrolling or basic activities

    However the Apple Care Advisor alerted me that since i was having problems with overheating with my Air 2011 he could make the case to his supervisor to upgrade me to a Pro based on my useage needs

    I honestly think that an i7 MBA would perform just as well as an i5 lower end 13"

    Meanwhile on the other end of the spectrum (the 11") all my friends say that for my work needs --- reading PDFs, Word and Powerpoint files, and browsing the web that the 11 inch is WAYYYY to small but i use my laptop alot in bed on my lap and on my chest lying down in bed wouldnt the 11 be better??
  6. ewils19 macrumors 6502

    Oct 15, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    In my experience, whether or not you'll like the 11 inch depends on whether or not you like to have two programs open side by side. I got an 11 inch in February because of the portability. My other computer is a 15 inch dell laptop and I was just tired of lugging a 5 lb computer everywhere. On my 15 inch I would usually have a browser, word document, or PDF taking up about 2/3 of the screen with a video on the other 1/3. Because of this, transitioning to the 11 inch was pretty easy since I wasn't using all of my screen for the main work anyway. On my 11 inch I just don't usually watch videos.

    The 11 inch is fantastic for using laying down or reclining.
  7. stfwayne thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2011
    I rarely have two windows open side by side on my Macbook Air 13" 2011

    Usually I have two full screen windows, Browser, iMsg, Spotify and just swipe from screen to screen that is what was making me thinking of choosing the 11

    Another thing that was making me consider the 11 was that i do the majority of my computing in my bed lying down with the Macbook Air sitting on my chest / stomach or propped up against my legs and I thought the the 11'' would be better suited for that use

    However after talking to my friend who has similarly sized hands as mine (not gigantic but definitely above average) he said that his brother's 11'' MBA really cut into his wrists
  8. ewils19 macrumors 6502

    Oct 15, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    I don't have problems with the 11 inch cutting into my wrists but I've heard of others having that. I'd suggest going to the apple store and trying them out yourself
  9. SDColorado macrumors 68020


    Nov 6, 2011
    Highlands Ranch, CO
    The two issues I had with the 11 is the edge cutting into my wrists ( I know that is subjective and a lot of people don't have the issue) and scree size drove me nuts when working with Office Apps and in Swift Publisher. If you aren't a heavy office user, you may be able to pull it off. Heck, even if you are, maybe it won't bother you. It sounds as though for your needs, you can definitely get by without the retina display and be happy with a MBA.

    You really should visit the store and spend some time doing what you would be doing with the computer. Open up iWorks documents, view your lectures if you can access them from their WiFi. Try to spend some time emulating what you will be spending the majority of your time doing, and see if you can live with the 11"
  10. JerTheGeek macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2014
    I use mine mainly at home too; and I completely agree! The form factor of the 11" is just so amazing. Plus, if you get an external monitor, you don't ever have to worry about wanting more screen size. And i also agree with trying them both put in store: use the 11" next to the 13", see which one you like better.:)

    to the OP I would absolutely recommend the 11" Air. Just be sure to use it in store to see if the 11" will be too small based on what you want to do with it. If it isn't too small for you, I would definitely recommend it over the 13". Not only will you appreciate the extra portability for school, you'll also enjoy the awesome form factor and extra portability at home as well. Of course, I wouldn't get the 11" if you think the screen size is too small, so be sure to really compare the two in store before you decide, in order to see which one you like better.
  11. stfwayne thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2011
    Thanks for the responses.

    It seems like everyone really loves the 11" form factor. I am going to get some files off Dropbox and try them on a MBA in store

    Only problem is it is very hard to try the MBA 11 and 13 next to the MBP Retina as they are in different sections both in Best Buy and Apple Store

    Also it will probably be kind of hard to lie down and prop the MBA against my chest to simulate how i use it in bed at home lol

    I will definitely wait until June 2 and WWDC before making any decision just in case they decide to lower prices or introduce new Retina Pro / Airs
  12. rambo47 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 3, 2010
    Denville, NJ
    When I got my 13" MBA I originally showed up at the Apple Store fully intending to walk away with the 11". But when I tried the 11" and did a side-by-side comparison with the 13" I changed my mind. For me it was the best/only decision. I use it enough that the 11" would have been cramped and I'd miss the extra screen size. Deciding between the MPB and MBA is a question of what you use your laptop for. Any serious graphics/video work points to the MBP. For light duty and sheer portability the MBA is awesome.
  13. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 25, 2014
    Keep in mind the 13" MBA offers longer run time than the 11" given the larger battery.

    I have the 11" MBA (first generation Haswell) and love it. I also have a fully loaded early 2013 rMBP. The rMBP does the heavy lifting (attached to an external monitor / keyboard...doesn't really move) and the MBA is the portable system.
  14. enigmapl macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2013
    go for "Pay $250 for MBA 13 with i7 and 8GB of Ram"
  15. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    This. Sensible advise straight to the point.
  16. stfwayne thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2011
    After reading a bunch of reviews and thinking about the fact that i do alot of PDF reading on my laptop I realized that the 11" would not be good for me especially considering I only use one computer and spend alot of time in front of the screen per day. Ill have to go in the store and check again just to be certain I just wish they would put out this damn 12 inch Retina with no fan already


    The thing that is keeping me away from the Retina at this point are horror stories of yellowing in the screen, image retention, bad lag in the UI (which would drive someone as OCD as me CRAZY), and blurry websites when browsing the internet.

    I could really use the Retina screen if it would be better on my eyes considering I use my computer 5-8 hours a day and read alot of PDF textbooks on it but I am scared that I will pay more only to see a drop in performance from my current 2011 MBA


    That's my top choice at this point. I am definitely set on 8GB of RAM but what I am not sure about is the i7 and if it is really worth spending the extra money on. Alot of people say to stay away from the i7 because it adds extra heat and decreases the battery life. Then others say it will future proof my machine more in the upcoming 3-4 years and allow me to stream video with less CPU performance issues
  17. Chatran macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2013
    As I understand, those machines you would get are not new.

    For me, I will get the option that requires no extra money.
  18. stfwayne thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2011
    All options require me to spend money as Apple is only giving me $1000 of credit (the price of the newest MBA 13")

    If i choose to add 8GB and i7 which i definitely was thinking about doing I would be forced to pay extra
  19. PowerPCFanGurl macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2014
    I can't be without the HDMBP's screen. Get the HD MacBook Pro; it's incredible.
  20. Raffi macrumors 6502a


    Oct 1, 2013
    Get the 11 inch how you want it. The 13 really doesn't offer anything that the 11 doesn't.
  21. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    For the form factor and sheer utter portability, the 11" cannot be beaten.

    For an incredible combination of speed, power, and battery life (as well as excellent portability) the 13" is outstanding.

    However, if you want or feel you need a retina screen, choose the rMBP. It really depends on what your priorities are in a computer.
  22. stfwayne thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2011
    That's the thing I dont know if i want or need the Retina screen.

    I do spend 5-8 hours on the computer every day so that is why I have been moving away from getting an 11 and choosing a 13 since i do not use an external display and i do not want to hurt my eyes with a small screen. If anyone that has an 11 and uses it as many hours as that can comment on their eye fatigue that would be great. I keep seeing that everyone that has an 11'' has another primary computer or display they use with the 11''. Since I only have one laptop as my main computer that is why i am shying away from this model even though deep down i love the small footprint of the device.

    I have also heard that if you use a computer for long hours the Retina screen is excellent esp if you are reading PDFs / other text based documents

    However the thing that is scaring me away from the Retina Pro is all the problems with image retention and lag issues. I dont want to go from a Macbook Air that i had to send in 4 times in a 3 week period for repairs to ordering another Macbook that has image retention problems and UI lagginess.

    At this point I am pretty much set on getting another MBA 13" which is not really what I want I would like to UPGRADE in the sense of getting a better processor and screen but if there are so many issues with the Retina Pro I do not want any part of dealing with that garbage.

    What about getting an i5 vs i7 in the MBA either 11/13? I have read many comments and articles online that says while you get an increase of performance of 15-20% with the i7 it really isnt that noticeable and often leads to hotter CPU performance and thus the fan turning on to higher speeds. That is the sole reason from upgrading my old 2011 MBA in the first place I CAN NOT TOLERATE A HOT LAPTOP AND BLARING FAN NOISE.

    Im just really in a hard spot because the difference between a 11 and 13 is $105, the difference between the 13 MBA and Pro is $160. And these $ amounts I am able to afford so it is just a matter of picking what laptop suits my needs best.

    Can anyone with a Retina comment on issues with lag/image retention? Can anyone recommend what model they think suits my needs best? And to all those that did respond i thank you
  23. Meister, May 26, 2014
    Last edited: May 26, 2014

    Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    :confused: ... Why you are even considering a cpu and ram upgrade is beyond me, but if it makes you happy...

    Some people claim that there is no scrolling lag on the rmbp. I tend to differe.
    I on the other hand have never seen image retention.

    Just go to the apple store and try the machines out. See if the retina is worth it for you.
  24. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    this thread seems to be stuck in the loop:) no one can tell OP whether he should buy retina MB or air... upgrading memory and cpu on air are lost money for OPs intended usage, but, in the end those are his bucks:)

    as air 11inch owner - i do use this computer as my only without any addition display, and I am just fine.. but thats just me.

    retina MB - I had two 13 inchers, both had IR and were little bit laggy in comparison to air, but, if there was no IR I could have lived with those small lags
  25. stfwayne thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2011
    Do your eyes fatigue looking at an 11" all day? How long do you use it?

    When did you purchase your Retina Macbook Pro? Was it recently? Did you end up returning it and going with the 11" MBA?
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