Gah! Anyone spent weeks deciding on 13 or 11, ordered 1, and still crave the other?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by NewbieToMacs, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. NewbieToMacs macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2013
    Gah! I spent weeks with this decision already and still can't make up my mind 100%.

    On one side you have the 13 inch with : 1) 3 more hours of battery 2) louder speakers 3) SD card slot 4) Bigger screen 5) Bigger trackpad

    On the other hand you have the 11 inch with : 1) 0.6 lbs lighter 3) 33% smaller physical footprint for better portability 3) $100 cheaper

    It looks like a landslide for the 13 inch, yet some of the advantages it has I don't know if they really apply to me (such as the SD card slot). Others, like the 3 additional hours of battery life (12 vs 9) make me wonder if I would ever really be on a computer 9 hours or more in a day to begin with, somewhat negating its advantage.

    I told myself before ordering "you're going with the 13 inch since its will be your only computer and you want the bigger screen to work with so that have enough space to multitask and you aren't straining your eyes working on a 11" screen for long periods of time. You are also going with the 13 inch due to the higher battery life, so that 3 years down the line you will still have good battery life while the 11 inch might have gotten worn down."

    Yet why is it then that I still want the 11 inch MBA? Why is the smaller machine so compelling to me? :(
  2. Mrbobb, Aug 18, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013

    Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    11" vs 13" is been discussed ad-nauseum. If u like, spend time browsing those many threads why people go for the one or the other.

    Am going a say a battle of sense (practical, numbers) vs sensibility (your right brain, that's saying small is beautiful.)

    There is a potential tie-breaker: If u travel with it a lot, go 11" No matter what those numbers are bigger, longer, blah-blah, the feeling of lugging a super-light, smallish notebook is unparalleled. Plus they fit better on that narrow tray on planes, trans etc. Keep it at home mostly? who cares about the weight or the big footprint.


    I have a 2011 Air, my God *only* 5 hours of battery and in reality maybe 3.5. Did I dump my 2011 and run out and buy the 2013 because the battery is *so* much better? NOPE. I use mine on the road daily and yet I know, after 3+ hours my eyes start to get tired, in 10 months I remember 1, ONE time when I felt if I had the charger I would had made use of it. ONE TIME. So this is about what your actual usage is.

    SD card slot. Is nice but I only have one use for it, that is to transfer my pictures from my point&shoot, which after I got my iPhone, I use it less and less, and if I decide to use it again, I can always get a USB-SD adapter, no biggie. So DO YOU use that SD slot EVERYDAY?

    I love my 11" - Carries like an iPad. I would like a bigger screen (who doesn't) but I make do with pinch-zoom which I use often and works smooth enough.

    I am a left brain guy but buying gadgets that I use everyday, I tend to place some emotion into it. I have to love my gadgets when I look/touch it. :)

    The future is not important to me. I have to be 95% satisfied without letting the future influence my now-buying decision. Your mileage may vary.
  3. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    When Steve Jobs announced the Original Macbook Air, which was 13" - He said there was no full sized light laptop at the time. Basically he said the 11 and 12" was a "no"... during the keynote speech.

    Then somewhere along the line they released it anyways. Wonder how they got Jobs to sign on to it. :p

    Get yourself a Macbook that Steve Jobs approves!
  4. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Is there really that big of a difference? It's not that much bigger or heavier. Stick with the bigger (better) screen, and man up about the extra weight.

    As anybody will tell you. Size does matter:p
  5. ValSalva macrumors 68040


    Jun 26, 2009
    Burpelson AFB
    The 11" MBA was designed when the netbook craze was still going strong. Most, if not all netbooks were garbage with horrible keyboards, unreliable trackpads, slow Atom processors, and chunky form factors. At the time it felt like Apple was saying: "We are the only company that can make a usable computer in this form factor." And they were right.

    I love my 11" MBA. It's hard to believe that something so small has a full sized keyboard and can do almost anything a larger Mac can do.
  6. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    The 11" MBA is a very compelling size. I had the 2011 13" MBA, so when I went to purchase my 2013, I considered the 11" long and hard.

    With both systems closed, the 11" wins hands down. The 13" is no slouch in the portability department, but the 11" beats is easily.

    The problem (for me) was using it. I spent some time playing with it at the Apple store, and although 30 minutes of playing with it is not a lot of time, having owned the 13" I realized I didn't want to stare at the smaller screen. I have a 27" TB display but find myself using the built in display more often than not. I just appreciated the extra screen space.

    The SD card for me was not a bid deal. Nice to have. And the 9 vs. 12 hours was also meh. I don't spend anywhere near that amount of time away from the charger. I can understand how other folks do, and see how the SD card and extra battery life might be more compelling reasons for them. For me it was the screen. And the size advantage was not enough to overcome that.
  7. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    The 13" is already so light, that I wouldn't consider size a problem. But I would miss the more screen area, if I went for the 11" instead.
  8. fark macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2013
    My first MBA was the 11" and I used it until the 2012 models were announced.

    I actually bought a 2012 MBA11, used it for a month and simply could no longer live with the battery life and the small screen.

    Granted, the 2013 MBA11 fixes the battery issue.

    I sold the 2012 MBA11 and ordered an MBA13 a month later.
  9. 77slevin macrumors member


    Feb 21, 2013
    So you can't choose between the 11" and 13"? Buy them both...problem solved.;)
  10. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I just sold my 2011 13" MBA and got a 2013 11" MBA two weeks ago. I was really happy with the 13" MBA for the past two years, but wished it was a little smaller when travelling.

    Very happy with the new 11" machine now. If nothing else, it's just cool to have such a powerful computer in such a tiny package (I got the i7/8gb/512gb model). At home I use a 23" monitor and extended keyboard, so the size doesn't matter.

    I really don't notice a difference in the keyboard or trackpad size on the 11" machine.

    I never used the SD card slot on the 13" machine.

    Battery life is really good on the new 11" machine. Have not run it all the way down yet, but the other night I was using it for about two hours and it still showed 90% left. My 2011 13" MBA was rated at 7 hours, the 2013 11" MBA is rated at 9 hours. But it sure feels like the new 11" has a much greater battery life (and I could easily make it through a 12 hour day on my old 13" machine).

    I will say that small text can be really tiny on the 11" screen, but I think it's a reasonable trade off for the portability.
  11. Reimer macrumors regular


    Sep 15, 2006
    The way I see it, if the Air is going to be a secondary computer then the 11" will be fine. I'd lean towards the 13" if it was going to be my main computer.

    You could always use a USB SD card adapter too so that's not a huge problem.

    At the end of the day, the 13", at only a $100 more, is the better pick except for portability. You just have to decide how important portability is for you.
  12. LeanneLand macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I spent a lot of time flipping between getting the 13" and the 11". I'm coming from a 13" MBP. I got the 11" and I'm so glad I did. I decided on that one primarily because of the portability, thinking I could throw it on an external monitor if size was an issue but it hasn't been yet.

    Battery life is negligible; both machines have excellent battery life. The SD card can be added with a USB peripheral if necessary, although I probably use this feature once every 1-2 months so I don't really miss it. It's not an inconvenience not having it. And under the hood both computers are the same.

    I also purchased the new Belkin Thunderbolt hub to go with the 11" for my desk and it's awesome. As for the Air, I love the size and weight and portability of the 11".

    I read a lot of people saying 11" is good for light surfing, 13" is good for primary computer and execution. But I disagree. If you're leaning towards the 11" it's a great option. If you really need screen size, you can attach it to an external monitor. But I still haven't needed to do that yet. Both machines can do things equally. It really comes down to size.
  13. sergioarista macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2010
    11" is a wonderful machine once you get used to

    I have had 13" and my current setup is 11" and Thunderbolt Display 27"
    on having the power to run any app there is no problem at all on the 11" size, as well on portability... it feels great!!!
    However if you are used to heavily multitask as of having to read on documents while editing another(i.e. research), video editing, or using multiple spreadsheets at once, the small screen lacks a little bit. To overcome this you can use full screen and desktops, but it takes a while to get used to.

    I have never regretted getting the 11"
  14. ritmomundo macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    No to be blunt, but dude just pick one and stop thinking about it and enjoy it. Its only a computer. That time you wasted deciding is time that you will NEVER get back. :eek: What will you do when you actually have an IMPORTANT decision to make?
  15. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    AND slice meat so thin you can see through it. ;)

    I’ve owned both. They’re BOTH awesome.

    If you want the smallest possible computer, go 11. Ditto if when you’re at home or work you hook up a second monitor.

    But for a really slight increase in size and weight you get much more screen real estate and longer battery life. You also get the SD slot if you care about that (personally I don’t)

    I can’t agree that you get “more” portability with the 11. The difference isn’t enough to create circumstances where one is convenient and the other isn’t. I have found that to be the case with my 15 rMBP.
  16. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009
    I don't like the 11" as it has a 16:9 aspect ratio which I am not fond of. Also the battery life is a factor because you don't need to charge it everyday I can use my 13 for multiple days on a charge which I like. Also the 11" has more pixels per inch which makes the text smaller which I do not like
  17. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    probably by showing him one. the 11" MBA rules
  18. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    I gotta admit. The 16:9 resolution is a good touch on the 11". Watching a movie (which they all come at 16:9) on the 13" probably ends up being the same size on screen as the 11"?

    But 13" is already the smallest sized laptop screen I have used. I guess I have to go down gradually. I wish they would cut the specs down a bit. Like maybe they could have gone with an i3 option for the 11"? And maybe Intel HD 4400?

    That way there is a bigger price difference between the 11" Air and the 13" Air.

    I could definitely see myself owning a $750 11" Air with i3/4/128 and hd4400 integrated graphics.

    Actually, THAT would be perfect for my hectic travel routine. Probably means an extra hour or 2 of battery life too with lower clock speeds and less graphics power.

    It would basically be half price of my i5/8/256 Air which was $1500 (no student benefits for me, and plus it is a bit more exp here than the US).

    At $100 difference for screen size, where the $100 wouldn't just give me more real estate but also 3 hours more battery AND sd slot (extra slot is always good for a machine with just 2 USB ports and 1 TB)... IT was automatic for me to get the 13". No thinking twice.

    They need to cut down the price of an 11" Air further. But then again I guess that would be a long shot, as they would have to drop their iPad prices as well.

    Actually, maybe not a long shot as I thought. With the Nexus 7 starting at $220, and charging just $40 for double storage... and only $80 on top of that for LTE.

    Basically Nexus 7 32GB LTE = $350, iPad Mini's 32GB LTE = $550.

    Chromecast - $35 (wtf right, this still shocks me everytime).

    Chromebook - Samsung: $250! Comes with SSD for OS and primary software (though only 16GB at this point), HDMI port, and USB 3.0!
    [This is also an 'everyday' laptop - Browsing, college homework... so on]
    +100GB online storage free.
    6 hours of battery

    Google is really taking it to the market. Gotta wonder how everyone else is going to react... not just Apple.

    The future is Google. Lets just rename it to Skynet already :p
  19. Ronnoco macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    United States of America
  20. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    I miss Steve, but even the insane one was just a human.

    From the Issacson's book [SPOILER WARNING]

    When Apple was building the Mac, Steve insisted on the Toshiba floppy drive, but his team didn't think Toshiba was going to make it, but they didn't dare to contradict the Zen Master. They kept working on the Sony drive behind Jobs, until when the deadline came did they disclose this mutiny to Jobs when clearly the Sony drive was ready to go and the Toshiba couldn't. Some time later Jobs admitted he was glad they ignored his order.
  21. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Yea and if Woz let Steve have his way in the early days, Apple wouldn't be around today.
    No one man can change the world so much, it takes a team... but one man can certainly take credit for all of it.

    Steve Jobs is really the modern day Thomas Edison.
  22. Booji macrumors 6502a


    Nov 17, 2011
    Of course any leader would make many mistakes over their career - its a by-product of leadership and decision making. You can't always get it right. The key is that you make more right decisions than wrong ones.


    I think Apple did a masterful job and creating two very distinct models, based on identical hardware but with relatively small variances in form factor. The decision between 11" and 13" is indeed a very difficult one.

    I went from a 2010 11" to a 2011 13" and now I recently got a new 2013 11".

    I really do like the 13" in many ways, and its been too hard to make the decision to sell it, so I've decided to keep both.

    I'm a road warrior travelling typically 3 weeks a year so the 11" is the ideal size for travellers. The smaller form factor really makes a huge difference in an economy class seat, and even a business class seat where you still like some room for other things. Its so easy to whip out in meetings to take notes and use in public areas like a coffee shop.

    However, I still love the 13" screen and I use it when I'm at home. I also have a monitor but frankly I like just using the laptop screen better.

    I know its kind of irrational to have two MBA's around at the same time, but I love them both! If I had to choose one though, it would be the 11". Its power for the small size I find just makes it a modern wonder.
  23. Interstella5555 macrumors 603


    Jun 30, 2008
    It's called buyers remorse, but I'm not sure why anyone would go below a 15" pro.
  24. Mockenrue macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2013
    I went back and forth quite a bit too, including several trips to a store to try both out. I expected to have remorse, but it's actually the opposite. I'm really glad I went with the 13". Three things sealed the deal: screen size, 16:10 aspect ratio, and bigger palm rest. All of these are subjective. I have poor eyesight, so the screen size helps. I hate 16:9 on laptops (especially a small screen with a big bezel). And I have big hands, so small palm rests are uncomfortable for typing - especially with the Air's sharp edge.

Share This Page