Buy a current MBA 11" (2013) before it's too late!?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by mortenandersen, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. mortenandersen, Oct 17, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013

    mortenandersen macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2011
    Hi all, and especially MBA 11" users!

    I will shortly state my case and my dilemmas about buying the MBA 11" (2013), and have a deep hope that some of you experienced Mac-users here can help me:

    1) I am new to Mac OS X and Mac machines. (I have, though, and enjoy using, my iPhone 5, iPad Mini and iPad 4, with iOS 7.)

    2a) For me portability is my first and most important priority, given that the unit will be capable - in a good way - of performing simple computer tasks such as writing Word documents, email and net-browsing. At this point I must stress that I have no problems using a rather small Windows keyboard, as that's the one I am familiar with - a soon seven years old VAIO TZ with an 11,1 display. Nor have I problems with using this little screen, and I actually prefer the 16:9 ratio, which I have learnt is different from many other on this Forum, who prefer 16:10 ration with more pixels in the height direction.

    2b) Further regarding portability: Because of different most practical reasons, I prefer the length and depth of the machine to be max 30 cm and 20 cm. (The MBA 11" is within these measures; the 13" is not so.) Also the weight of about 1 kg is great, and it shouldn't be much more either.

    3) Battery time is also of much importance, and here the MBA 11" is great, IMO. No problem - on the contrary!

    4a) Will be using Office (most Word) 2011 a lot. Is also using Word 2003 in Parallells possible?

    4b) Partly because of the narrow screen (oh, yea, I see your point of many of you preferring the 13" - but still I prefer the 11" 16:9 ratio!), I dislike the all to big ribbon on the top of the screen when using Word 2011 (or 2010 og 2013). What a horrible waste of estate of the screen! Especially using a little screen, this is on the verge of being a problem. I would prefer to rip it all away and just having the option of a pure totally blank white screen, and being able to use the ENTIRE screen for writing, not just a limited space in the middle of it, with large columns on both the left and right side. (And in fact, that was an option using Word 2003 - but this "real full screen" option has been taken away, for not-understandable reasons.)

    5) The display of the MBA 2013 is by today's standards somewhat sub-optimal, I have read. But for my simple needs, will be more often than not also using the MBA 11" (2013) indoors, will it be good enough? I prefer that the screen is glossy. More specific: Is it a bright and crisp screen? Are the contrasts good? Is what is supposed to be black, rendered black (enough), etc.? Are the color rendering good and vibrant for writing and browsing (not working with pictures)? Is the letters on the screen easy to read, and can the text (for instance in a Word document) be made bigger (perhaps pretty much bigger) without loosing its sharpness?

    6) The Windows 11" alternatives are almost not present. VAIO Pro 11 (as well as Pro 13 and all the Flip models so far) has got a reputation of having a really annoying fan noise (even high pitched, a fan that even kicks in on far to low temperatures). WiFi-connection dropouts have also been reported, and even some other issues.

    It's very uncertain that these (for me: serious problems and bummers) have been corrected. My impression from reading on several forums, is that there are still such problems.

    I can add that for me, who often work in silent rooms, fan noise (and/or a too loud clicking keyboard) will put me in such a situation that I must have placed my machine outside, and could not have used it in that setting.

    7) Because of my pessimism of being offered a VAIO 11" in the first half of 2014 that do NOT have such problems, I really now (again) are looking seriously to the 11" MBA. It seems to me that hardwarewise, this is a very solid and well-founded device, and it has been out for some generations, and take even the benefits from this fact. Most important, in addition to build quality and its very beautiful and elegant looks and small size, it the fact (?) that it runs VERY SILENT with a low and moderate work load? As I wrote above, this is tremendous important for me.

    8a) I think therefore that MBA 11" (2013) will be great for me, but is a bit unsure about how good (or: not-so-good) the display is, and how I will like (get accustomed to) the keyboard and OS X, unfamiliar to Mac as I am.

    8b) And what about waiting for the possible 12" MBA next year, with a size that I think will be within my limits? The one thing I fear, is that the display of this possible 12" MBA will have the ratio 16:10, and that may be a deal breaker for me. I don't think I will like the 16:10 ratio in the long run.

    And it is perhaps possible or probable that this possible 12" MBA will sport a display with the 16:10 ratio?

    To end this up: It seems to me that the present 11" MBA also in the next months (perhaps till next summer?) will be the device that will suit me best? Or what do you think? (You Forum-users who have much more experience and knowledge of Macs than I have...)
  2. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    I wish it had a taller screen but it's still a fantastic machine. I say go for it.
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Hands down, I would grab one today if I could.
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Glad that you kept it short! :D

    Seriously, I don't see very many questions in your post aside from wondering about the screen quality. I had a 2011 13" MBA and now have a 2013 11" MBA. The screen is not the greatest, but it doesn't bother me personally. However I mostly use the machine connected to a big monitor and external keyboard at home.

    When I travel though, it's fantastic to have such a small and powerful machine. So I view the screen as an acceptable trade-off. If I used the the built-in screen most of the time, I might not be so happy.

    My eyes can get a bit tired if I stare at the built-in screen for a long time. Some text is very small, although there are settings in some programs that can help. Apple Mail is one program with really tiny text but there was a way to improve this in the settings. The 13" screen is definitely more readable in term of default text sizes.

    The keyboard doesn't bother me at all. Really, I don't notice any difference between my new 11" keyboard and the older 13". I guess it may be smaller, but not significantly. Again however, I mostly use an external keyboard.

    I have found both the 2011 and 2013 machines very silent. The only time I hear the fans is if I do something CPU intensive like video rendering.

    I use both Windows and MacOS but greatly prefer the Mac. So I never considered a Windows ultrabook as an alternative. I wanted a very portable yet powerful machine and have not been at all disappointed with the 11" MBA.
  5. Hadron macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2010
    Remember that the 12" model is only a rumour. If it arrives at all it will be next year (6-9 months' time), so if you need a computer now it's not relevant.

    It's your eyes will be looking at the screen, so if you are unsure it would probably be a good idea to have a look at one before ordering. Of course that's not going to tell you what it's like in extended use, but it will give you a general impression. It's not just Apple stores which stock them.

    But from your description of what you want I'd guess it would be a good fit to your requirements (I'm not an MBA owner myself, though might be buying a 13" if they don't announce new MBPs soon!).
  6. mortenandersen, Oct 17, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013

    mortenandersen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2011

    Thank you for thoughtful points of view.

    I must admit that this four year old model has acquired some special kind of iconic value in my eyes, esp. the 11", which I like so much also because of the screen ratio (16:9). This "icon attitude" of mine is perhaps a bit weird, but so it is. It is also so incredible small - and light.

    One specific question, though: Will it be possible, with Maverick on the 11" MBA 2013, to use Parallels and use MS Office 2003 for Windows?
  7. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I have some of the same feelings about the 11" model. I also like the 16:9 aspect ratio, maybe because I have been shooting widescreen video for many years. But the whole form factor of the 11" model seems very appealing, it's just cool to have such a powerful computer in such a small package.

    I don't know anything about Mavericks, but I can't see any reason why you couldn't run an old Windows version of MS Office. I was running MS Office (2004 I think) under Windows XP and Parallels on my 2008 MBP with no problems. Why do you want to use 10 year old software though?
  8. mortenandersen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2011

    Boyd01 wrote:

    "But the whole form factor of the 11" model seems very appealing, it's just cool to have such a powerful computer in such a small package."

    I so agree with you!

    I am aware of the fact (?) that many people dislike the rather big bezels (and also I have the opinion that "the bezel space" could and should be used to enhance the screen) - but nevertheless: There is some strange beauty - perhaps almost nostalgia even already now - about the special look of the bezels.


    Especially with such a small screen as 11" (but also on any screen) I love having all real available screen space to put what I write. And it is a fact, as far as I know, (and many don't know, notice or even care?) that Word 2003 was the last version of Word that REALLY "gave real life" to the entire screen, that what you can write from bezel to bezel, WITHOUT any crap ribbon, without any vertical columns, or whatever "noise" that now occupies the screen, and you can't even get rid of it!

    So for me, Word 2003 (using "full screen" mode) is the closest the screen comes to a paper white sheet. As a writer this is of great importance to me.
  9. MaxinMusicCity, Oct 17, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014

    MaxinMusicCity macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2013
    Parallels WILL run on an 11" MacBook Air, but I very highly recommend 8GB of RAM. While i have been able to get by with 4GB, it's quite marginal requiring memory to be constantly freed up to avoid crashing.

    I also recommend 256GB of SSD space. You can never have too much space.

    The 11" screen is a personal choice for most people, but the larger model will provide more battery time. :)
  10. mortenandersen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2011
    Thanks a lot for good advise!

    This sounds like very sweet music in my ears! I will follow your wise advise about 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD.
  11. Buran macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    Why not go for the 512GB SSD? I ordered one with 8GB and the 512GB drive. $1600 might seem like a lot for a tiny laptop, but for one I'll use vs. one that sits idle, as my MBP does now, it's worth it.

    My 11" Air arrives at the local store on Monday. I'm looking forward to lying in bed with it on my lap writing up documents in Google Drive (I'm an MMO roleplayer, and do lots of worldbuilding). Plus, it'll be great for instant messaging and browsing and some photo editing.

    I have a Macbook Pro, but I no longer need the weight and heft of a big laptop. The only real downside of the small screen for me is my photography hobby -- but I can still do photo editing in Aperture by connecting it to my big 27" LCD on my desk. All of the reviews I've seen show that the Air will do that just fine; I just need to pick up a DVI/USB KVM switch.

    Why the MBP in the first place? I thought I'd play World of Warcraft on it, hence the bigger laptop with a discrete Nvidia graphics chip. I never did that, though, even though it does run -- I stuck to my desktop for that. I'll just stick Hearthstone (their electronic card game) on it instead. That will be just fine for light gaming and chat, since it can send messages to my Warcraft friends list.

    The 11" will be great to put in a slipcase and toss in my backpack so I have it wherever I need it. I have a 5.11 Rush 12 backpack (tons of pockets, very modular) and the MBP will fit, but not too well. A 13" Air would fit, but the 11" will nestle in there perfectly with room to spare, and the power adapter (is it the same size as the MBP adapter?) will fit in a side pouch I bought for the purpose. Plus, weight matters!

    Including, sometimes, just being lazy on the couch and watching movies.
  12. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    have you gone to an apple store and played with them?
  13. jido macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2010
    I use the 2011 MacBook Air. The current version has the same screen, but it has more processing power and more battery life. It will do everything you are thinking without problem. A virtual machine requires a lot of memory though.

    The only things I avoid are websites that bog the CPU (Flash...) and 3D games. Speaking of which, the fan is quite noticeable but not too noisy.

    It is a lovely laptop very well built and comfortable to use. For the display, you should know that it doesn't have the best viewing angles, text is small and colour is 6 bit only. But it is still good quality and rather accurate (Mac OSX profiling tool works well).
  14. mortenandersen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2011
    I have tried to play with one at a local Apple store in Norway, but Word was not installed (and it had very few programs installed), so I didn't get a good or "deep" enough experience with the beautiful machine. I will make another attempt in another store, though.

    I hope that the one a will buy during late Fall or Winter will have the Samsung screen. Otherwise I must try and configure it, as I have read about. But I am no tech person at that level. Still am think I will appreciate a good screen and be unsatisfied with an uncrisp or otherwise not-so-good screen.

    I have now checked out the price difference between 256 GB and 512 GB SSD. It's about $400, and that's a lot of money. But perhaps it's worth it.

    I will almost exclusively use the MBA 11" (2013) for rather light work, like word processing and light browsing - no gaming, coding or photo-work. I really hope that this way of using it, NOT will cause much fan noise, because I am very sensitive to such noise. And after having reading a lot about the little or almost non-existent fan noise, I became a bit worried when jido wrote: "The only things I avoid are websites that bog the CPU (Flash...) and 3D games. Speaking of which, the fan is quite noticeable but not too noisy."

    Well, there is no reason for being worried, I hope...
  15. Y So Jelly macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2013
    You can get rid of the ribbon in Word. Use Focus View.
  16. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    I too came from a VAIO (12.1) which I pronounced it the perfect size for me, but I think you are overthinking just a little.

    Because of the my old VAIO 4:3 is taking me some time to get used to 16:9, or 16:10 whatever but what's there to do? Nobody makes 4:3 screens anymore.

    The VAIO keyboard was also cramped by comparision but I used it for 10 years and feel the Air's keyboard keys is a bit too spread out for me, but again, the alternative is to get an Ultrabook. I looked and I don't like what they are selling.

    Too late? No-no-no-no-no. Apple is still selling 2012/2011 refurbs, so if 2014's turn out to be not of your liking am sure you can still get a 2013 next year.

    Can't help you with Word, talk to Ballmer about that ;)
  17. mortenandersen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2011
    Coming in fact from an old VAIO TZ with 11.1" screen

    I am coming from an old VAIO TZ with 11,1" screen (16:9) which I like. In fact, the screen ratio of the 11" (16:9) is just what I prefer, in contrast to very many others, who prefer the 16:10 ratio.

    Thanks a lot for good words in the process of finding a new machine to take over after the very old VAIO TZ.
  18. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2009
  19. macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2012
    I switched from the MBPr 15 inch to the Macbook Air 11 inch (2013 model).
    I didn't like the big bezel around the 11 inch but i bought a black bezel sticker that makes the macbook air look much better
    I also wanted a very quiet laptop, therefor i bought the lowest CPU option (this one is still more then powerful enough) but i upgraded to 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage.
    The screen quality is pretty bad compared to other modern screens. Out of the box my screen was very bad (I got the AUO brand screen instead of LG or Samsung), but after i did the display calibration setup in OS X it now is much better!

    I've been using this Macbook Air 11 inch now for a couple of months and it is a powerful, long-lasting, quiet laptop that is perfect for my needs (web surfing, remote desktop, virtual desktop, no gaming, media consumption, light photo editing,...)
  20. ValSalva macrumors 68040


    Jun 26, 2009
    Burpelson AFB
    Although the 12" MacBook Something is still just a rumor, it's an ominous one. Yes, the display on the 11" isn't fantastic but it doesn't have to be for such a small and useful computer.

    I'd rather have Apple wait a year until they could double the current MacBook Air's display resolution than for it to have a 12" Retina display with a lower native resolution than the current 11". IMO, the 13" and 11" shouldn't be combined into one 12" laptop.

    I'd buy now.
  21. mortenandersen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2011
    Have to buy MBA 11" before the next model comes

    There are many reasons for buying the current (2013) model of the MBA 11".

    One reason for me is that the current model sports a 16:9 ratio screen, and I very much prefer this part of the form factor also, instead of the 16:10 ratio screen. I know BTW that there are many other people who I disagree with on this matter.

    So then, I really fear, so to speak, that the rumored coming 12" model will come with a 16:10 ratio screen - and that is an additional reason for me to buy the current model.
  22. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    The best thing about the 2013 11" Air is that the battery finally lasts long enough to truly be a portable machine. The ~ 4 hours I got out of the ones I had was never quite enough, especially when compared to the 6-7 hrs of the old 13"
  23. Atrin1 macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2012
    Wow that bezel sticker makes it look a lot better!
  24. stract macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2013
    you can minimize the ribbon (right click on the ribbon for this option). You can also double click in page margin area (i.e. the footer of pg 1 and the header of pg 2) to hide that margin if you're working with a multi-page document; this will hide all the dead space.
  25. Mike Oxard macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

    Oct 22, 2009

    What is your reason for sticking with Word? I understand if you are a power user or need it for compatibility, however for pure writing there are plenty of "focused writing" apps, such as IA Writer ( ) that leave you with a white screen and your thoughts, no distractions. There are plenty of similar apps available for the mac (and the iPad if you fancied something even smaller and quieter!)

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