Is the new lowest specced Macbook 12-in better than Macbook Air 11-in?

Starfyre

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Nov 7, 2010
2,779
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I have a Macbook I gifted to a very good friend, an 11-inch Macbook Air since it's first release. Its been a while, and at times she tells me the speed is a little slow with all the tabs. I thought this year, I would give her a birthday present and surprise her with a new Macbook 12-in. She does not use the computer much for any heavy lifting, just to browse the net and watch videos on it.

Is the new Macbook 12-in:
https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/macbook/silver-256gb

The Macbook Air 11-in:
https://www.amazon.com/Apple-MacBook-MD711LL-11-6-Inch-VERSION/dp/B00746YZS6

Without any upgrades, is the Macbook 12-in of today faster than the 11-in Macbook Air? Is there noticable speed/performance improvement for browsing the web and youtubing?
 

ApolloBoy

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2015
734
246
San Jose, CA
The 11" MBA you linked to (an early 2014 model from the looks of it) edges out the rMB slightly in terms of benchmark scores, but the rMB has twice the RAM of your friend's MBA so that will affect performance quite a bit. I mainly use my 2015 rMB as a daily driver and it gets the job done quite well.
 

KashKave

macrumors member
Nov 3, 2016
49
33
USA
For the screen & speakers alone YES the MacBook Retina is better than the MacBook Air 11".
 

Dunbar

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2010
556
113
Los Angeles, CA
Those too, the screen is *far* better than the 11" MBA and the speakers on the rMB are some of the best on any laptop.
Yep, I had a 2011 MBA 13" before the 12" MacBook and the screen was the biggest upgrade. The MBA screen hasn't been updated since 2011 and it looks very fuzzy compared to the Macbook. I just got a 12.9" iPad Pro and it benchmarks slightly better than my 2015 Macbook.
 

- rob -

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2012
578
339
Oakland, CA
If you go for a Air you will probably get your friend a computer that works better longer.

Performance-wise you get a strong machine from the Air. 2015s can outperform the MacBook!

Also for a casual computer user it is better to have more of the older USB ports. MacBook has a single USB-c.

While the retina is def the way to go, most people do work on retina computers. If your friend is a casual user they may not mind it.
 

Phil A.

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 2, 2006
5,549
2,418
Shropshire, UK
The rMB has more memory which will help with any issues of slow down with lots of tabs open. It's also got a far better screen and a faster SSD

My wife moved from a 2015 11" air to a 2016 rMB and the rMB feels much faster in real life use
 

Starfyre

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Nov 7, 2010
2,779
996
Screen quality to me is good enough on the MBA, I remember when it first came out everyone thought it was was an exceptionally clear/low glare display. My concern with performance of the lowest specced 12in primary revolves around the ability to use the laptop (mainly internet browsing in chrome, youtube) with the best possible performance (speed in loading websites, it doesnt lock up/lag/can support many a tab) relative to each other
 

Dunbar

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2010
556
113
Los Angeles, CA
My concern with performance of the lowest specced 12in primary revolves around the ability to use the laptop (mainly internet browsing in chrome, youtube) with the best possible performance (speed in loading websites, it doesnt lock up/lag/can support many a tab) relative to each ot
The 12" MacBook will do all of that just fine. I have a base 2015 Macook and usually have about 15 tabs open in Chrome. I get the occasional lag but the vast majority of the time the performance is nothing to complain about. Most retailers have a return policy so you can always return it if you are unhappy with the performance.
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,217
1,606
The rmb can do what your asking without breaking a sweat.

BUT

The MacBook Air you listed can also do that too. Maybe it just needs a fresh install of the os which would bring it back to life.
 

nahkampfwombi

macrumors member
Jan 7, 2016
77
76
I agree.
Currently on my MBA 11" 2011 - i5 and 4GB RAM.
Its no spaceship, but it handles surfing/mailing/office with ease.
So you probably could just try a fresh-install?
 
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