2011 MBAir VS 2015 MBAir.... will I notice a difference?

Turnpike

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 2, 2011
422
224
New York City!
I only browse and do emails- no heavy work. I have the chance to buy someone's mint-mint 13" MBAir, it's a 4GB SSD and 2011 model, and I'm wondering if I will notice a difference in internet surfing between that and a 2015 MBAir, which those come with 8GB of RAM and also probably a different SSD.

I only go on forums, do research, that type of thing.... using wifi from an iPhone hotspot. Anyone think (or know) if I'd notice much of an improvement if I paid the extra $$ to get a newer MBAir?


Thanks!
 

capathy21

macrumors 65816
Jun 16, 2014
1,366
538
Houston, Texas
You would probably only notice a difference if you had them side by side. For what you will be doing, the 2011 will be more than adequate. The read/write speeds of the ssd will be much faster in the 2015, and if you have more than several programs open, the 8gb of ram will be smoother. How much of a price difference are you looking at? Also, do you just plan to use it for a couple of years, or are you thinking long term?
 

marioman38

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2006
886
69
Elk Grove, CA
There was a huge improvement in battery life on the 2012 and newer models as intel transitioned to newer and more efficient processors. It's going to depend on the price difference. An extra $100 or $200 for a machine that's 3 years newer with twice the ram and longer battery life sounds great in my book. If you're short on cash the 2011 will do email just fine.
 

Bart Kela

Suspended
Oct 12, 2016
865
593
Searching...
For surfing the Internet, you should not expect to see major differences from the two systems. For sure, a newer model will probably have better battery life.

The bigger differences you'd see later, not today.

Looking at battery cycle counts will give some indication of how much use the system has had over the years, but won't tell the whole picture, like ambient temperature. Batteries deteriorate quicker in warmer environments, so if the previous owner was ripping DVDs frequently, the system would have been running at a hotter temperature for more time than if the owner had simply been surfing the 'net, reading e-mail or other non-CPU intensive tasks.

Batteries eventually die anyhow and six years is a long time for a notebook battery regardless of usage. If you plan on keeping the 2011 notebook for more than a couple of years, you should factor in the battery replacement cost.

The other thing which you will eventually notice is that the MacBook Air 2011 will get dropped from the compatibility list for the latest macOS version. The current macOS Sierra supports MacBook Airs from late 2010 and after. That means that the end of official macOS support is looming for the 2011 model.

You don't mention whether or not compatibility with the latest and greatest macOS is important to you, but it is something to be noted when considering the purchase of an older model.

Will Apple drop support from macOS 10.13 for the 2011 MBA model? No one knows yet, but at the June WWDC, they will release the 10.13 beta to developers and the picture of what systems will be supported will become clearer.
 
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santidog

macrumors newbie
Sep 24, 2014
5
5
I want from a 2011 to a 2014 due to a cracked screen. The only real difference I noticed is the keyboard on the 2014 was less responsive/mushier than the 2011.

You also get support for handoff and some other macOS features that aren't technically supported on the 2011 model. If you have a wireless setup that supports it, the new air should also have 802.11ac instead of 802.11n on the 2011 model which should speed browsing/file transfer up.

Forgot to add you'll also have MagSafe2 instead, so you'll need to by adapters for any extra power adapters you may have.
 

bingeciren

macrumors 6502a
Sep 6, 2011
868
729
The most significant benefits are:
1) A very noticeable difference in disk speed, which will make the machine respond quicker, load programs faster and yes surf the internet faster.
2) You will have better battery life.
3) You will have USB3, which is a significant improvement when you use USB3 disks.\
4) 8 GB ram is obviously beneficial if you open more Safari tabs and have few programs open simultaneously. It is a significant improvement but you only begin to notice the difference as you start pushing the machine to its limits.

Unless your modem support 802.11ac, you won't notice any increase in WiFi speed.
 
Last edited:

asoksevil

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2010
467
148
Taipei, Taiwan
The 2010 MBA is my daily driver and I saw a huge difference using the 2014 MBA. It was more fluid, faster and overall snappier. For daily usage such as opening Safari, email, etc you'll probably save what 1-2 seconds at most but that's like a 100-200% improvement over what you are accustomed but still very noticeable.
 

tentales

macrumors 6502a
Dec 6, 2010
771
1,184
I only browse and do emails- no heavy work. I have the chance to buy someone's mint-mint 13" MBAir, it's a 4GB SSD and 2011 model, and I'm wondering if I will notice a difference in internet surfing between that and a 2015 MBAir, which those come with 8GB of RAM and also probably a different SSD.

I only go on forums, do research, that type of thing.... using wifi from an iPhone hotspot. Anyone think (or know) if I'd notice much of an improvement if I paid the extra $$ to get a newer MBAir?


Thanks!
I wouldn't buy anything older than the 2013 models.
Better battery life, faster RAM & SSD, much new CPU gen. (Sandy bridge vs Broadwell)
and longer support cycle from Apple on a 2015 vs 2011 in 2017 and forward.
better future resell value, etc..

Unless you can get it for a steal, like $300 or less, I'd consider something newer, possibly from Apple's refurb store.
No matter how "mint" someone claims it is, unless you're certain that battery health is still above 80%, you'll be forking over $150+ for a new part pretty soon.
 

dingclancy23

macrumors regular
Nov 15, 2015
154
155
The 2010 MBA is my daily driver and I saw a huge difference using the 2014 MBA. It was more fluid, faster and overall snappier. For daily usage such as opening Safari, email, etc you'll probably save what 1-2 seconds at most but that's like a 100-200% improvement over what you are accustomed but still very noticeable.

The 2010 MBA was still slow using a Core2Duo. It really only improved starting with 2011 and since then the speed improvements have been incremental to the point that you will notice little difference between 2011 and 2015 in day to day use. 2011 MacBook Air was a big jump.
 
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Guzz Nizz

macrumors newbie
Aug 17, 2015
3
0
I´d like to retake the post, I´ d been offered a Mac air 2011 hd 700 gb I 7, 4 gb ram, should I take it, what price?, how many cycles of battery should I accept?. Thanks in advance
 

Macdctr

macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2009
638
306
Ocean State
There are a few improvements you will note between a 2011 and 2015 macbook air. First will be battery life. From the 2013 on there was improved battery life over previous generations of macbook airs. With the 13inch having as much at 13 hrs of battery life on a single charge and the 11inch airs having as much as 8 hrs on a single charge. Then there will be architecture changes in that with the 2013 and later Airs, you can use NVMe M.2 storage drives and have as much as 3x drive speed improvements from the original Apple storage drives.

If you have the chance to get the 2015 model I say do it. If anything you have the ability to change out storage drives and have as much as 2TB if you choose and improved battery life. That alone would make the change worth it in my opinion.
 
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