Another 11" vs. 13" Post...

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by A4orce84, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. A4orce84 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    #1
    Hey Guys,

    I currently have a 15" Retina Macbook Pro as my main work (and personal) machine. While it is a great machine, and the retina screen is AWESOME, I'm needing something a bit more portable since I will be traveling more in the coming months (airports, airplanes, etc.).

    Thus, I am trying to figure out what would work better for me....the 11" or 13" MacBook Air? I had bought an Asus Zenbook 13" Ultrabook a few months ago, and wanted to give Windows 10 a shot, but the trackpad was horrible...and I knew the Apple trackpad had spoiled me too much. I returned it, and now have started my search on Macbook Airs.

    So, what would you all recommend for a good portable secondary machine? This will be used primarily when traveling on airplanes and airports. Also, probably some light use on the sofa or bed....light usage meaning email, surfing the internet, and some occasional movies (netflix, hulu, etc.).

    Any kind of input regarding which I should/shouldn't go with would be to a great help. Thanks!

    --Asif
     
  2. navaira macrumors 68040

    navaira

    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    #2
    I was originally going to go with 11" but after a visit to Apple Store I realised the 11" was REALLY small. Ended up going with a 13". I thought it would feel too large but it doesn't, at all.

    While it's not a solution for me (price + keyboard + one slot), perhaps the rMB could be the best choice for you?
     
  3. A4orce84 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    #3
    Thanks for the response navaira. To make things simple, let's only keep this to Macbook Air 11" vs. Macbook Air 13". Since, my work computer is a rMB 15", I can't really justify the extra cost on a slightly smaller rMP 13" laptop.

    Hopefully, that makes sense. =)
     
  4. navaira macrumors 68040

    navaira

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  5. Breaking Good macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I have this curiosity about buying trends. So one day while waiting for a genius bar appointment I asked one of the sales staff what is the ratio of 11" to 13" MacBook Air sales. She responded that the overwelming majority of MBA sales are for the 13" size. She went on to say that she has seen many cases where someone buys an 11" MBA and then returns it for a 13".

    It's a tough call for you because you already have a 15" rMB. I could see how you would want to go as small as possible.

    Do you have an iPad and do you take it with you when traveling? If you do, I would recommend giving serious consideration to the 13" MBA over the 11".

    If you don't have an iPad, perhaps you may want to consider purchasing one along with a 13" MBA. You could then use the iPad for those times when you need to do something quick and don't have time to mess with a laptop.

    I have nothing against the 11" MBA. But reading your intentions, I don't think you are going to be happy traveling with just an 11" MBA considering you are use to using a 15" rMB.

    Just my US$0.02.
     
  6. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #6
    The 13" Air is indeed smaller than an rMB 15, but it is still fairly large for the kind of mobility you're looking for. Since you're looking for a portable option, I heartily recommend the 11" Air. I have one and I'm still amazed that for a device slightly larger than an iPad Air, I have a full OSX device.

    Two things that could alter my recommendation... how important is an SD card slot and a less widescreen aspect ratio? My wife and daughter both have 13" Airs, and I've purchased short SD card adapters so that they can expand their storage and wished that the 11" had an SD slot. I've also had to modify my work habits on the 11" due to the widescreen AR.
     
  7. A4orce84 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 17, 2012
    #7
    Define modifying your work hobbits please sracer! Thanks for the detailed reply!

    --- Post Merged, Jan 5, 2016 ---
    Hey Breaking Good, thanks for the reply! I do NOT have an iPad....I actually had an iPad mini for about a year, but sold it due to it sitting on my desk for a year. If I had to do something quick, I would pull out my iPhone, or actually grab my Retina Macbook Pro 15" to do any 'quick' things on. I'm the kind of person who would rather have a computer with several tabs open, than use an iPad if that makes sense.

    Unfortunately, purchasing an iPad + a Macbook Air would be over my budget. I'm mainly looking for just a portable laptop to use for light usage while traveling + being able to watch movies and videos on.

    Thanks,
    Asif
     
  8. nightcap965 macrumors 6502a

    nightcap965

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Location:
    Cape Cod
    #8
    This reply is coming from my 13" MBA, which I also got as a travel computer. (The 15" MBP is upstairs.) My old eyes just can't manage the 11", and the weight difference wasn't worth it to me.
     
  9. sracer, Jan 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016

    sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #9
    Those work hobbits are pesky little creatures. They're so demanding... and they eat... a lot! Oh, and the one with the ring, he's always disappearing on me. :D

    As for "work habits", they're just little things...
    On my iMac, (and 15.4" MBP when I used them) I would have the dock always visible on the bottom. On the 11" MBA I set it to autohide and have it appear on the right side. On larger screen devices, I make heavy use of overlapping application windows. On the 11" MBA, I make heavy use of fullscreen mode whenever possible and either Cmd+Tab or swipe the trackpad to switch apps.

    I use iWork pretty extensively (in addition to LibreOffice and MS Office). I use both the latest version and the last best version (iWork '09). Because of the smaller screen and widescreen aspect ratio of the 11" MBA, I like the newer inspector sidebar rather than the floating inspector window of the older versions. On larger screens, I prefer the old style inspector.

    And because I bought the low-end model 4GB/128GB (killer sale @ Best Buy Summer of '14, $450 brand new out the door) I find myself supplementing the onboard storage with a low profile 64GB USB thumb drive that I keep permanently installed.

    I use a few important browser extensions and cookie/history/bookmark syncing capabilities of Google Chrome but was not pleased with the hit to battery life so I ended up switching over to Opera (offers all of that and more). Love it. Performance. Battery life. Memory footprint. Just better. It's not directly related to the 11" MBA, but it is indirectly since the battery life of the 11" isn't as long as the 13". Still great IMO.
     
  10. dingster1 macrumors regular

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    MD
  11. sunapple macrumors 6502a

    sunapple

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    #11
    I'd buy the 12" MacBook. Once you go Retina, you'll never want to go back.
     
  12. Algus macrumors regular

    Algus

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    Jun 8, 2014
    Location:
    Arizona
    #12
    I really like 11'' computers. I keep my old chromebook around because it is just so nice for travel. It's like carrying nothing at all! 13'' Pro is my laptop of choice though so if I were to downsize, it wouldn't be to a 13'' Air!

    The 11'' Air might be my favorite Apple computer (even though I don't own one). It is an extremely good value and my only complaint is that it still ships with only 4 GB RAM.
     
  13. SmOgER macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 2, 2014
    #13
    Let me get this straight.
    You want them to increase the base price and stop letting the people choose themselves if they want 4GB or an 8GB model? Also, 8GB is kinda overkill for ultra-portable with SSD.
     
  14. Algus macrumors regular

    Algus

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    #14
    I see you've stumbled onto my fiendish plan to force all Macbook Air users to pay an extra $100 for their computers. You may have foiled me this time but I shall return with another evil plan to enrich Cupertino's coffers.
     
  15. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #15
    You sir owe me a new computer monitor! I was mid-sip of coffee when I read this... spewed it all over the screen. LOL :D
     
  16. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 29, 2011
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #16
    If you travel a great deal, the 11 inch MBA is the only way to go. It's very light, and the smaller size fits better on an airline seatback tray table.

    I placed a 13" and 11" side by side at the Apple Store and found the 11" screen a bit sharper than the 13". Obviously not retina quality, but better. It has a few more ppi than the 13" I believe.
     
  17. Closingracer macrumors 68000

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    Jul 13, 2010
    #17

    IDK about OS X but for Windows 4GB of RAM is a joke imo but then again my Laptop has 8GB of RAM so i might just be used to it. Microsoft Edge browser took on average around 150 MB of memory to operate so a few more tabs would just make it sluggish. One of the reason why I returned my Surface pro 4 which had 4GB of RAM. I do have a rMBP with 8GB of RAM and don't notice any slow down at all but perhaps OS X is better with RAM allocation then windows?
     
  18. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #18
    It definitely is. I have "only" 4GB of RAM on my MBA, and it easily handles every task that I've thrown at it including video rendering.
     
  19. halledise macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    #19
    I'm with sunapple.
    I went from a 15" rMBPro to an 11" Air, which was perfect for the work I was doing at the time - presentations, for public speaking - brochures, etc.
    as soon as the 12" rMB came out I upgraded and have never looked back.
    my Chiropractor friend bought a 15" rMBPro for his business and when I demoed my 12" rMB with his Chiro software on it he changed over within a week!
    Retina is the go …
     
  20. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #20
    If screen resolution is the sole factor in purchasing decision, then I would agree.

    However, for a device that will be portable, the rMB is not the best overall choice. At the very least one would need to buy the port adapter if one needs to attach it to monitors/projectors or to access thumbdrives, portable harddrives, etc.
     
  21. sw1tcher macrumors 65816

    sw1tcher

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    Jan 6, 2004
    #21
    I would have no problem if they increased the price $50 so the based MBA had 8GB of RAM. Asking $100 for 4GB more RAM is a rip off. Probably doesn't even cost them $25. Ridiculous margins.
     
  22. Closingracer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    #22

    Well then you can argue why is Apple charging $899 for the Air 11 inch and why are they charging $1,299 for the base model of the Pro 13 inch base models. You pay a premium for Apple devices and it is what it is for RAM. 4GB of RAM for a windows device upgrade would be around $40 depending on the RAM type like DDR3 vs DDR4 and etc.
     
  23. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502

    cincygolfgrrl

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    Apr 2, 2012
    Location:
    Somewhere In Time
    #23
    MBA = 11", RAM = 4GB, SSD = 128GB. It's a great computer for travel. My primary uses are writing in a good text editor (I highly recommend Byword) and do photo editing in Lightroom. I have an iMac at home so I keep content in Dropbox so everything is synched whichever machine I use.

    A 13" MBA is a great computer, and there are times I wish I had one (SD Card reader mostly). But you'd have a tough time getting me to switch to anything else due to portability, and it just works with everything I do.
     
  24. Shanghaichica macrumors 603

    Shanghaichica

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    Apr 8, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #24
    I just prefer the 11 inch. I had a 15 inch Windows laptop before getting my MacBook Air. It was too big and too heavy even for home use. I now have an 11 inch MBA and I love it. I think 11 inches is the perfect size. I don't do any significant work on my Mac so the screen size is not an issue. It's light and easy to just pick up and use. It's also portable of I ever needed to take it out. The screen resolution on the 11 inch MBA is passable. On the 13 inch I think the low resolution and TNT display would become an issue for me. I also prefer the wide screen aspect of the 11 inch display. The fact that it doesn't have an SD card slot is irrelevant imo. I bought a SD card reader for less than £10.
     
  25. sw1tcher macrumors 65816

    sw1tcher

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #25
    That's why I think the 11" MBA isn't as good a value as the 13" MBA.

    The 13" rMBP is fine at $1299. $300 more than base 13" MBA gets you a better IPS vs TN display, a retina display, a faster processor, more RAM, a better GPU, a Force Touch trackpad, 2 more connectors (1 extra thunderbolt and a HDMI),


    Hence why I said I wouldn't mind paying $50 more for a 13" MBA with 8GB RAM
     

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