Buyer's Remorse: New versus old, 1 versus 2

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Tfb, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Tfb macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2012
    I need a new computer, no question.

    I got the new 13" MBA with 8gb RAM. I love it but I have doubts:

    It's heavier and bigger than I'd like (I'm a bit of a wimp, commute by transit and foot, and often need to carry a handbag that is less comfortable for weight-bearing than a backpack, and would love to be able to use a broader variety of my bags.

    I got the 13" because it will be my only computer (I live in a tiny NYC apartment where I have to choose between a guest sofa and space for a monitor) and a lot of the writing that I do would require two documents side by side or a document and a browser window side by side.

    I am thinking of returning it and replacing it with two used MBA's from ebay, one 13" for home and limited commuting and one 11" for travelling and on the go days.

    Does anybody do something like this? How does juggling two computers work out? Do you end up just not using the bigger one at all (my worry)?

    If I did do this, which years/models should I aim for?

    Reading here, it seems like people are very happy with their 11" 2010 models. Does the same go for the 13"? Would 2gb RAM be sufficient or should I hold out for enhanced models? (I think my main use of RAM is keeping lots of browser tabs and apps open at the same time, which is something I'm pretty dependent on for research and don't see changing. One of the things that made my old (windows, not chosen by me) computer unusable was taking 60+ seconds to switch between apps and browser tabs. My last computer had a 64gb hard drive, and while that got tight I could live with it.

    I have about 8 days left to return my new MBA if that's the route I choose to go.

    If I find a sufficiently lucky deal on ebay for an 11in, I could conceivably keep the 13" I've got and add an old 11". That wouldn't be great for my budget but it would be just do-able. But is there any point if I don't really need the newest model? Or are there possible resale benefits I'm not thinking of?

    At the back of my mind is thinking that possibly a new and more exciting version of the MBA will come out in the next year or two (for me, the most exciting thing would be losing weight), and I'll kick myself if I'm not in a position to benefit from that.

    Anyway, as an insecure (the last time I bought a new laptop was my ibook G4 in 2004) and slightly neurotic buyer of computers, I'd love to hear people's thoughts. Thanks!
  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    If it's side-by-side that you are looking for, consider using an iPad as a second monitor in a pinch.

    It obviously isn't as good as a real external monitor, but it will work if you have a stationary image on one screen that you need to refer to. It probably would be less of a hassle than 2 Macs. Also consider purchasing an HDMI adapter to use a TV as an external monitor.

    2GB of RAM gets a bit tight with lots of browser windows open. 4GB is a lot better. There's a big difference in processor performance between the 2010 and 2011 (and certainly the 2012) but it doesn't seem as if anything you do is particularly processor intensive.
  3. rocknblogger macrumors 68020


    Apr 2, 2011
    New Jersey
    I'm confused about how having two computers would be a benefit. Is it because you would use them side by side? If so wouldn't an iPad be a better idea? You can use the iPad as the "read only" screen and the MBA as the production screen.

    Also I don't know what your budget is but it sounds like the Retina MBP would be ideal. It's a bit bigger and a bit heavier but you can have two documents side by side. It just doesn't make sense to me to carry around two computers even if they are MBAs.
  4. Tfb thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2012
    KPOM: The iPad/monitor idea is ingenious but not for me, unfortunately. I do need to be able to use all the docs/browsers open. (I don't have a TV/room for a TV either).

    You're right that I don't think I need much processing power. So then it sounds like a 2010 model with 4gb RAM could work.

    rocknblogger: I would definitely only carry one computer at a time! If it were a day that I had to carry a handbag, or if I knew I'd be running around a lot and needing to carry lots of things, or if I was travelling and needed to carry everything for a week on my back (at least to the train station and back), then I'd take the 11". If I were just working at home, or if I knew I was going to one cafe/office/friend's house to stay and work there all day, then I'd use the 13".

    I did have a brief moment of longing after the MPBr but i know that if I'm feeling the weight of a 13" MBA, going heavier is not viable.

    Thank you both!
  5. kylera macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2010
    I do dual Macs myself. At home, I have a 27-inch iMac and on the go, I use a 13-inch Air, or occasionally an iPad. I am a translator, so while I don't need the horsepower, I do need the screen to keep all manners of windows open.

    When I'm on the move from one place to another (I freelance), that's when the Air's biggest advantage comes into play: near-all day usage. I have numerous times where someone needs a rush job, so my Air helps in that regard.

    As such, since I need to see documents on both Macs, I use Dropbox for that.

    Maybe for you, if two Macs is much, you could get the 11-inch and the Thunderbolt Display. Space may be an issue, but you'd gain more productivity from a larger screen.
  6. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    The difference between the 11 and 13" is ounces. If I handed you a backpack with either of the Air's in it I doubt you'd notice much difference at all.

    That being said, if you're out and around all day working with the 11" the battery life may be a concern and if you end up needing to bring the power supply as a result the 13" may be better, it's battery lasts longer so you may be able to do leave the power supply at home.
  7. TPadden, Jul 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012

    TPadden macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2010
    I have both airs; a 2010 11" w 4GB and a 2012 13" w 8GB. My usage is counter intuitive in that the 13 is my road warrior. Around the house, where I have both power outlets and a MacPro (tower) the 11 is perfect for lap/ couch/ bedroom use, but I found it's battery insufficient for travel.

    So far the 13 battery alone makes it my choice outside my home. :)

    The above reply was posted while I was typing ..... so I obviously agree :D.
  8. Rockoar macrumors regular


    Mar 8, 2012
    Paris (France)
    Like they already said, the weight difference between the 11'' and the 13'' MBA is really small. I don't see how you'll benefit from having two separate MBA computers. If I was you I'll get a cheap external display to hook my Air to and have more display space. At least that option would be cheaper than buy a second computer.
  9. Satnam1989 macrumors 65816

    Nov 16, 2011
    You can trade it in for a Decently high end MBAir 11" (1.8GHz i5/8GB Ram/256GB SSD) and get a cheap 23" Monitor for when your at home so you can use it in ClamShell mode and work without straining your eyes/crunching down to view everything at once. Get a 1920x1200 monitor if you can....

    However again as mentioned by many the weight difference between 11" & 13" is only in ounces that you will not will be more of an illusion than anything else.

    I don't think going older is wiser....with time the OS is only going to grow and require more computing power, if today you have the option to get the latest that will last you a few years into the future without breaking a sweat so why not? It doesn't make sense to go back in time and try to make that hardware last 3 or more years from today.

    Also having 8GB is an amazing option, You may not require it all today or even notice the benefits today but if you like a lot of people out there that do buy a computer that you will for sure keep to last a few years then you will definitely see the benefits of it in the long run.

    not to mention having 2 MBAir's....that are only different in size by a mere 2".....makes no sense what so ever.

    As for having a small apartment....there are 100's of desks you can find that are small enough to fit in a corner and have enough room for up to a 24" monitor.....when you put your MBAir in Clamshell mode its going to take next to no room because you can just stand it up vertically as long as you get a trackpad+wireless keyboard
  10. evil0ne macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2004
    Could wallmount the monitor or use the TV as the monitor with a wireless keyboard.
  11. Satnam1989 macrumors 65816

    Nov 16, 2011
    Yup always an option, But i mentioned Desk as its a little more comfortable but ya, I mean from a futon or something similar one can definitely use a keyboard and mouse with a wall-mounted Monitor/TV...

    Get one of those table things that go over your lap in bed if it makes the experience any easier for placing the Bluetooth Keyboard+Trackpad.....then you can even go as big as you want with a monitor/TV....
  12. Tfb thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2012
    Thank you everyone! Your thoughts are really helpful. It was really interesting to hear so many of you think that the weight difference between the two is negligible. Out of 3 pounds, half a pound seems like a lot. But maybe it *is* more in my head.

    The desk thing is really not going to happen any time soon. I do have one place where a mounted screen could work though. But even if I had a proper set up at home, I'm not that I would actually spend more working time here as it tends to not be great for my productivity (or diet).

    I see in some of the 11 vs 13 inch threads that some people really do feel that they can be as productive with the 11" as with the 13", but I don't have any reason to think that would be me.

    I think you all make a strong case for keeping the 13" and dealing with the size/weight. Thank you! (I may still keep an eye on ebay for a really cheap 11" for trips and 'maybe' work days though...)
  13. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68030

    PBG4 Dude

    Jul 6, 2007
    I always thought my 13" MBA was small and light until I got my 11" MBA. :)

    Is it not possible to use a backpack? This may be an easier solution than your other options.

    As for your side by side comment, couldn't you run both applications full screen and use the 4 finger swipe gesture to move between the two? I do this with Xcode in one window, safari in another and Preview in a third and it works great for me! :) may not work for you though.
  14. ixodes macrumors 601


    Jan 11, 2012
    Pacific Coast, USA
    I have both and find their are a few disadvantages to the 11" that I did not expect to be annoying, until I used it for awhile. 2 hours less battery life is a big disadvantage if you are going to run it from the battery. I do, and the 13" with longer run times and a more spacious screen makes a very big difference. Also the keyboard is a lot nicer too. Initially I didn't think the smaller modifier keys would be a big deal, but it is, at least for me.

    Then there's the issue of it having such a short (front to rear) palm rest that when using it on a soft or small surface as opposed to a desk, it's very hard to balance without it wiggling around. The balance of the 13" is just perfect, making it very easy to use under all conditions. Given the fact it's only 1" wider and a bit deeper, the size is a non issue when carrying it. I don't notice the weight at all, but in fairness I'm a very serious and highly active fitness enthusiast. I carry my 15" MacBook Pro without a second thought so my feedback is most likely useless when it comes to ergonomics of carrying it.

    At the end of the day for your usage I would think the 13" is just great. I've decided to keep my 11" even though It has the drawbacks I've outlined, simply because there are times when a super light, tiny grab and go, laptop is fun. As far as using more than one, I've been doing that for years. I keep all mine (I have four current models at the moment) synced no problem.

    I'll admit I'm addicted to choices, and variety. I hate using the same laptop day in and day out year after year. So I change them up at each refresh :)
  15. Mike Oxard macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

    Oct 22, 2009
    It could be worth checking out the Apple refurbished store as well as eBay if you do intend to buy a second MBA, the cheapest 11" at the moment is $759 for the 2011 model, and this will probably not even be refurbished but the last of the old stock. Also it will come with the full Apple warranty of a new computer:
  16. hfg, Jul 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012

    hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    Wow ... the Apple Refurbished Store is currently showing 0 (zero) refurb computers available of any category! :eek:

    edit: sorry ... seems to be a problem with my Safari browser tonight.
    I see stock when viewing with Firefox, but not with Safari.
  17. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    Known issue for some customers..

    Also I can't believe I just read a thread where someone has to "deal with" the size and weight of a 13" MBA.. no offense intended.
  18. Jhowland macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2012
    If you're going to go down the route of a 11" MacBook air and another MacBook for home use I would recommend getting a 11" MBA with the same specs as your 13" and a old 15" or 17" MPB from eBay
  19. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Get used to it, though. I saw a Samsung Series 9 at a Microsoft Store, and it is even thinner and lighter (though Samsung limits it to a 128GB SSD for some inexplicable reason). It's also $100 more expensive, though, although it has a 1600x900 screen and includes an Ethernet adapter.

    I was an original MacBook Air buyer back in February 2008. I later traded up to a late-2008, but when the 11" model came out I decided that was the one for me and haven't looked back. The thinner and lighter the better, as far as I'm concerned. Also, as many people pointed out back in 2008, the 13" MacBook Air has the same footprint as the 13" MacBook Pro, so it can be nearly as tight on an airplane tray table.

    I think it would be nice if Apple can squeeze a 12.5" screen into the 11.6" case when and if it goes "Retina" in a year or two.
  20. cedwhatev macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2011
    If you're looking for portability, 11" is the way to go. You will notice that many people who trade in their 11" and go 13" tend to regret their decision. I personally don't think it's a bad idea to have two Macs, let alone MacBook Airs :D

    The 2010 11" Ultimates are a steal now. I have been keeping an eye on used ones on eBay, and I've seen them going as low as 500.00, which is insane! That's like a 60% decrease. I bought used last year and mine worked like a gem, not a problem with it whatsoever. I sold it for 650 (after the AppleCare ran out), and bought one on the refurb store last week for 800, and am planning on throwing the extended care on it and keeping the sucker for a while. I have no interest in the 2011's... battery performance is not near as good, and I could care less about the backlit keyboard. The 2010's are snappy and if you can grab one on eBay for 500-600, you're doing pretty good.

    My advice - Get a 2010 11", and save some $$.. here's a good "on the go" bag for it too..

    Bottom line though? No matter what you decide on, it's a Mac.. they're all good. :cool:
  21. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    I always have loved the 11" form factor since they arrived in 2010 but refused to purchase a C2D laptop in 2010...two days ago I came across a "last unit" 2011 i5 4Gb RAM 128Gb SSD 13" MBA for $923.50 which ended up being cheaper than the :apple: refurb store for the same model (and :apple: won't ship to US armed forces addresses so a reshipping service would have cost ~$85 more also)...

    Coming from my 2009 nVidia 9400m Whitebook with an M2 128Gb SSD in it, this MBA feels substantially faster and its ~2+ lbs lighter.

    I also have an HP DM4 (Arrandale i5) in my sig that's 4.2 lbs in a 14" form factor with an intel 80Gb G2 SSD that feels fast for a win7 machine but even at 4.2 lbs its not fun to carry on business trips when trying to get thru airport security and check in with just carryon baggage...

    I have ~12 more days to play with this 13" MBA but I feel like the 11" is still calling my if I decide to return this 13" deal on the 2011 model, I'll probably wait for Haswell or after to get a faster 11" MBA and just hang on to my machines above.

    Decisions, decisions = what to do?
  22. Tfb, Jul 14, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2012

    Tfb thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2012
    Thanks again to all.

    J&JPolangin: I'm curious as to what you'll do! (What's haswell?)

    ixodes: I really appreciate hearing about the specific and surprising things you noticed!

    Cedwhatev: I hadn't noticed (about the regrets) but it's helpful to hear! I'm curious about your decision to 'upgrade' to the refurb 2010. Do you think that the one year warranty is really worth the extra $200 or so difference from ebay?

    PBG4 Dude: Sometimes it's totally possible to use a backpack, but sometimes it's not 'professional' enough (so frustrating), and sometimes it would be nice to be able to just bring it along in whatever purse I happen to be carrying. Also thanks for the swiping info - I am still trying to get the hang of all that.

    Jhowland: Your suggestions is very intriguing! Do you have any recs as to specific models of the 15" or 17" MBP I should keep especially look for or especially avoid?

    I can't say I've made up my mind. Turns out my neighbor just got an 11" and has been happily using it for her writing intensive work for a couple of weeks without issues or frustration, and seeing it made me want it. But then I got home and newly appreciated the huge screen on the 13".

    Anyway I've verified that I have until a week from tomorrow to make up my mind so that's helpful. I'm really appreciating the generous 14 day policy.

    Thanks all for the refurb store info. I had been showing all sold out but visiting with Firefox worked.

    I'm very tempted to save the bit of money now and get the refurb 2010 for $789. I feel like that leaves me more flexible for the future - although I guess getting a higher end 11" now and selling that could also help. Also if for some reason it becomes worth spending the extra money later for either a newer 11" or a 13", the new models will still be around and maybe even available refurb, while the 2010s may no longer be in the refurb store. On the other hand they might be even cheaper on ebay. Yes, I'm going round and round and probably overthinking... thanks for your help and patience!
  23. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Haswell is the planned 4th generation of Intel's Core processor line that is expected to be released next year. It is supposed to bring a significant increase in CPU and graphics power, but given your usage patterns it likely won't make much difference.
  24. Mike Oxard macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

    Oct 22, 2009
    With regard to putting a desk in a small room, my wife has her computer in her photography studio, but needs to be able to make space when she is shooting. The solution we came up with was to fix her 27" iMac to the wall (Apple sell brackets to enable the iMac and Thunderbolt displays to be wall mounted) and put a folding desk under it. This has been a very good solution for her.

    The folding desk is this one (it's actually an occasional table):
  25. Kirixis macrumors member


    Jun 4, 2012
    Buy an iPad.

    It's that simple. They make a great toy and casual typing machine. It'll also be cheaper in the long run. They've got the foot print for a handbag to boot.

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