Can't Decide: 2015 11" or 13" MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by RealityM, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. RealityM macrumors newbie

    RealityM

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    #1
    My 2012 MB Pro 13" died last October and I've been using 2011 iMacs at home and office. I want a laptop for portable use but will mostly use it with one or two external monitors in my home office and work office.

    I want to get an i7 with 8GB and 512GB SSD. Any thoughts about 11" or 13" would be appreciated.

    Funny that I still use my 15" 2008 MBP to do my taxes because it has Windows XP on it.

    Thanks.
     
  2. dacreativeguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    #2
    I recently bought an i7/8gb/512gb 11" and it is great. I love its small size for travel, but wouldn't want it as my only computer as the screen isn't good enough or large enough for that. It sounds like you have other computers and intend to use an external monitor, so it should be great for you. Set up a search on this site and you'll get an email when that config appears on Apple's refurb site. That's how I got mine. https://refurb-tracker.com
     
  3. Non-Polar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2017
    #3
    I found the 11" too cramped. If you liked the screen size on your 13", go with the 13" MBA. It offers better screen resolution, better battery life... The only reasons to go with the 11" are: 1) You found a better deal for it, 2) You really want that size decrease over screen size and battery life.
     
  4. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #4
    If you travel a lot, and really need the portability, nothing beats the 11", it is fast, powerful, portable, reliable and also has a very decent battery life.

    However, if screen size matters to you, and you still want a potable computer (and even better battery life), I'd recommend the 13".

    I've had both (they each were CTO and were i7, 8 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD) and both were outstanding computers.

    For now, as I travel a lot, I have the 11" - a superb and reliable computer.
     
  5. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #5
    What I bolded should pretty much address the screen size difference. What you might want to consider is the SD card slot. The 13" MBA has one, the 11" MBA does not. That might not be an issue if you end up with a 512GB SSD or don't need to transfer files from SD cards.

    Other than that, the 11" MBA can't be beat for portability. It DOES take a bit to get used to the smaller screen, but with a few minor tweaks in how one uses it, it is manageable. I have a base 2014 4GB/128GB 11" MBA and love it (though it isn't my primary system)... an i7/8GB/512GB model would be amazing.
     
  6. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #6
    Trust me, it is.

    And - for now - it is my primary system, too.
     
  7. dacreativeguy macrumors 68000

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    Jan 27, 2007
    #7
    Apple just dumped a bunch of new 11" configs on the Refurb site. Get em while they last!
     
  8. RealityM thread starter macrumors newbie

    RealityM

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    #8
    Thank you all for your great feedback. Greatly appreciated.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 14, 2017 ---
    When Apple refurbishes the MBA 11" do they install a new battery?
     
  9. dacreativeguy macrumors 68000

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    Jan 27, 2007
    #9
    I've heard that they do. Mine seemed new. The machine was flawless without a mark on it.
     
  10. omihek macrumors regular

    omihek

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    Salt Lake City, UT
    #10
    An 11" laptop just seems so small now that iPad Pro is 12.9". I'd go with the bigger screen every time.
     
  11. Ace2617 macrumors regular

    Ace2617

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2016
    #11
    I used my old 11" MBA for about 2 years, but eventually the screen became too small for me to use all the time. Eventually I moved to a 13" MBP. I will say though that I loved the portability of the 11" MBA. And seeing as you plan to use a couple of external monitors, screen real estate will not be a problem in those instances. If you were using the laptop screen a majority of the time, I'd recommend the 13". But if it'll be plugged into monitors a lot, the 11" should be fine, imo.
     
  12. Pugly macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2016
    #12
    I'm really happy with the portability/dockability of the 11" Air.

    It's since become my main home computer, supplanting my windows PC I keep around for games... (I now only turn this on like twice a week) .I dock it to a TV sometimes and a regular monitor, it's a great docking computer. The size helps that too, because you don't need to have a large footprint to store it while docked.

    The size is great for carrying around too of course. It can fit in sleeves designed for large tablets. And I like the size when going out and about and using the computer... it just seems to fit in places where other laptops would be too large.

    Of course the 13" might be the right one for you, it's the better conventional laptop. Larger screen, SD card slot and extra battery life are all great. The 11" is more of a niche product.

    It's really hard to tell how it can fit into your life without carrying it around for a couple of weeks.
     
  13. madrich macrumors regular

    madrich

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    #13
    I had had 15" MBPro early 2008. I now have MBAir 13" early 2015. I love it, and I do not notice screen size difference!
     
  14. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a

    ApolloBoy

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    #14
    Probably because the old 15" MBP used to have a 1440x900 screen, which the 13" MBA has.
     
  15. Boyd01 macrumors 68030

    Boyd01

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    #15
    You need to research this a bit if you want to drive two external monitors. I have an 11" 2013 i7/8gb/512gb MBA that I love, but it really only supports one external screen. There are "kludges" to support a second screen, such as a dock but it's not quite that simple. You can only connect one monitor to the dock, then you can connect another thunderbolt device like a disk and plug a second monitor into its pass-through port.

    I got an OWC dock but could not get the video to work reliably on my 2013 MBA and returned it. Ended up getting a Quad Mac Mini for my video editing machine since it already has all the ports needed to support my screens and peripherals.

    The 2015 MBA has a newer graphics chip, so maybe it's easier to use two external screens, but I think Apple expects you to get a MBP if you want multiple screens.
     
  16. RealityM thread starter macrumors newbie

    RealityM

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    Jun 27, 2012
    #16
    Anyone using a 2015 MBA 11" i7 with two external monitors? How did you do it?

    I don't need dual 4K monitors now except in my dreams...especially with a setup at work and at home. Just want to know my options. Thanks.
     
  17. dacreativeguy macrumors 68000

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  18. Boyd01 macrumors 68030

    Boyd01

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    #18
    Thunderbolt displays were the best way to do this in the past but they are hard to find and expensive since Apple discontinued them. The dock is also a rather expensive way, and as I said above, it won't be enough by itself. Docks may have multiple ports but only directly support a single display (plugging into the second port will just mirror that display).

    You need an additional thunderbolt device to plug into, such as a disk drive with a pass-through port, if you want a second independent screen. Again, this gets expensive and is rather kludgy.

    Matrox makes the "dualhead2go" device that will allow you to connect two screens but there is a big caveat. The two screens behave like one big screen. So if you connect tow 1920x1080 monitors, it is treated as a single 3840x1080 screen with the menu bar spanning both. This might work for some applications but not others that want separate monitors, and again it is expensive.

    You can also use a USB monitor adapter but then you will have some latency that could be a problem.

    You could also use airplay with an AppleTV. But again, there will be significant amount of latency.
     
  19. RealityM, Jun 19, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017

    RealityM thread starter macrumors newbie

    RealityM

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    #19
    I didn't expect it to be easy or cheap. What is easy is attaching an external monitor to an iMac which is what I'm doing now. Which is why I'm used to having two large monitors. For the first time since '96 I don't have a portable computer. The MBA will likely be the solution for that but now I'm looking at having one big external monitor and the little 11" screen.
     
  20. Isamilis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    #20
    Go with 13" for larger screen, more comfort typing and less hassle (because longer battery life). I heard, 11" will be discontinued soon, replaced by 12" and iPad Pro, but I may be wrong.
     
  21. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #21
    The 11" is already discontinued.
     

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