Macbook Air 11 inch or macbook pro 15 inch

Macbook air 11 vs macbook pro 15

  • Macbook Air 11 + Monitor

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lokster

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 7, 2010
364
2
Hi guys,

Would like some opinions. Im planning to buy refurbished macbooks from 2014 to 2015, before the rentina / butterfly key ones because they are cheap and easy to fix.

Im having a hard time deciding between macbook air 11 inch or a macbook pro 15 inch.

I need the portability but i would also like a big screen when im home. Should i maybe get the 11 inch and a nice monitor to dock the 11 inch at home? Or should i just get two separate machines? Sometimes when i go out for a meeting id like a big screen as well but that happens 3-4 times a month only.

I can afford both but if i can save money on one or the other then that would be best.

I actually found a pretty good price for a 17 inch one haha which would be cool. But the 15 inch is easier to fix and maintain in case anything happens.

Thanks for any opinion and help.
 

theramod

macrumors member
Dec 2, 2015
63
55
Bigger screen always for me - Bigger than 11" that is. Currently rocking on a 13" MBA and I love it!
 
Last edited:

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
3,939
4,325
15" Pro has considerably more power and a much faster SSD which should stand it in better stead as 2014/15 era machines are now entering into their latter OS versions. The Air will probably be OK, but the Pro will be more fluid (less beachball) and more performant if you're doing anything heavier than basic browsing and word processing.
 

akash.nu

macrumors 604
May 26, 2016
7,811
8,756
Personally I always go with the 13” because that seems to be the happy medium between screen size, usability and portability. At work I connect it with a monitor and at home or out and about the 13” screen itself does the job for me.

Since you don’t have the 13” option, if definitely recommend the 15” Pro instead. Mainly for the following reasons -

- Pro is more powerful and if the price of the air is similar to the Pro or nearby then you’ll get more bang for your buck with the pro.

- 11” is really no good other than some basic work. Depends on what you’re going to use it for. 15” will be more versatile for my usage.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,229
1,897
New Jersey Pine Barrens
11” is really no good other than some basic work.
I really disagree with this. Still using my 2013 11" i7/8gb/512gb MacBook Air as a primary machine. Yes, the screen is small, but it's terrific for travel and I plug it into an external monitor when I need more screen space. Now, I use a 2012 quad core Mini for more intense tasks, like Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, etc. But the 11" MBA with the i7 processor is a pretty fast little machine (for its age) and I've also used as for video editing.

Would I buy one today? Probably not. But it's served me well for more than six years, which is longer than any other laptop I've owned.
 

akash.nu

macrumors 604
May 26, 2016
7,811
8,756
I really disagree with this. Still using my 2013 11" i7/8gb/512gb MacBook Air as a primary machine. Yes, the screen is small, but it's terrific for travel and I plug it into an external monitor when I need more screen space. Now, I use a 2012 quad core Mini for more intense tasks, like Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, etc. But the 11" MBA with the i7 processor is a pretty fast little machine (for its age) and I've also used as for video editing.

Would I buy one today? Probably not. But it's served me well for more than six years, which is longer than any other laptop I've owned.
I mean if you’ve already got a 11” then it makes sense to use it to it’s full potential. Personally I feel the screen is too small for most work. And by that I mean achieving things comfortably. If I had a 11” then I’d do the same to be honest.
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
48,620
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The Far Horizon
I really disagree with this. Still using my 2013 11" i7/8gb/512gb MacBook Air as a primary machine. Yes, the screen is small, but it's terrific for travel and I plug it into an external monitor when I need more screen space. Now, I use a 2012 quad core Mini for more intense tasks, like Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, etc. But the 11" MBA with the i7 processor is a pretty fast little machine (for its age) and I've also used as for video editing.

Would I buy one today? Probably not. But it's served me well for more than six years, which is longer than any other laptop I've owned.
This is exactly my position, as well.

I'm writing this on a 11" MBA, a CTO maxed out (i7/8GB/512 GB SSD) that I ordered in 2014; I travel a lot and this is easily the best computer I have ever had, and it has, quite literally, travelled the world with me.

The OP needs to ask what it is that he or she wants form the computer; if you are using a glorified desktop, if the computer doesn't move around much, then, obviously, a 15" is he way to go.

However, if you travel, if you value portability - as I do - then, a light, fast - and powerful - machine such as the 11" cannot be beaten.
 
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akash.nu

macrumors 604
May 26, 2016
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8,756
This is exactly my position, as well.

I'm writing this on a 11" MBA, a CTO maxed out (i7/8GB/512 GB SSD) that I ordered in 2014; I travel a lot and this is easily the best computer I have ever had, and it has, quite literally, travelled the world with me.

The OP needs to ask what it is that he or she wants form the computer; if you are using a glorified desktop, if the computer doesn't move around much, then, obviously, a 15" is he way to go.

However, if you travel, if you value portability - as I do - then, a light, fast - and powerful - machine such as the 11" cannot be beaten.
Well said. Although I wonder if it’s really that much of an issue between the 11” and 13” MacBook in terms of portability. Personally I use a 2019 13” MacBook Pro. Powerful and portable at the same time. Kind of depends on what you do on the laptop as well I guess.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
48,620
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Well said. Although I wonder if it’s really that much of an issue between the 11” and 13” MacBook in terms of portability. Personally I use a 2019 13” MacBook Pro. Powerful and portable at the same time. Kind of depends on what you do on the laptop as well I guess.
Well, I am middle aged and female and - for me - there is a difference; I used to have the 13" MBA, - which was a wonderful computer - but the 11" is easily the most portable (and powerful) computer I have ever had.

If Apple ever fixed the keyboard issues of the 12" MB - which they have now discontinued, though I don't doubt some sort of replacement may eventually be designed where function is not entirely sacrificed to form and aesthetics - then, I will leap upon that in an instant.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
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New Jersey Pine Barrens
I wonder if it’s really that much of an issue between the 11” and 13” MacBook in terms of portability.
I found the difference to be very significant. I got a 13" MacBook Air in 2011 to replace my 2008 15" MacBook Pro. That was a HUGE difference in terms of size, weight, battery life and processing power of course. But I switched to the 11" MBA in 2013 and it is really much more portable. You can carry it around all day and not even realize it's there. :)

Mine is really showing its age, trackpad is all messed up, battery life continues to diminish, so its days are numbered. Thing is, I'm retired now and travel very little. I live in a beautiful place and spend most of my time working at home or wandering in the woods. So, it's hard to justify a laptop purchase at all. Will be interested to see what Apple offers over the next year or two though - hopefully with better keyboards.
 
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JamesGoodman

macrumors member
Dec 3, 2015
60
20
Hi guys,

Would like some opinions. Im planning to buy refurbished macbooks from 2014 to 2015, before the rentina / butterfly key ones because they are cheap and easy to fix.

Im having a hard time deciding between macbook air 11 inch or a macbook pro 15 inch.

I need the portability but i would also like a big screen when im home. Should i maybe get the 11 inch and a nice monitor to dock the 11 inch at home? Or should i just get two separate machines? Sometimes when i go out for a meeting id like a big screen as well but that happens 3-4 times a month only.

I can afford both but if i can save money on one or the other then that would be best.

I actually found a pretty good price for a 17 inch one haha which would be cool. But the 15 inch is easier to fix and maintain in case anything happens.

Thanks for any opinion and help.


this is an old thread, I know, but the new OS has given it a bit of new life. Today the owner of an 11 inch Macbook Air running Catalina can use an iPad as a second screen, allowing incredible portability on the road and a bit more screen space at home. Just a thought.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
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this is an old thread, I know, but the new OS has given it a bit of new life. Today the owner of an 11 inch Macbook Air running Catalina can use an iPad as a second screen, allowing incredible portability on the road and a bit more screen space at home. Just a thought.
Sidecar doesn't work on 2015 and earlier machines, unfortunately (last 11" Air vintage). There's always Duet Display, but that's extra cost, and I've heard it can be a little flaky...
 

JamesGoodman

macrumors member
Dec 3, 2015
60
20
Sidecar doesn't work on 2015 and earlier machines, unfortunately (last 11" Air vintage). There's always Duet Display, but that's extra cost, and I've heard it can be a little flaky...
Thank you very much. I did not realize that. I looked only to see which models were Catalina compatible and which iPads were Sidecar compatible. I use Duet Display and it works okay, but compared to Sidecar, which I’ve used now on my 12 MacBook and my 12.9 inch iPad Pro, it is really clunky.

So Sidecar would work on a 2017 13inch Macbook Air? I know keyboards are an individual thing but three years into it I still haven’t and don’t think I’ll ever get used to the MacBook/MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards. So I am thinking of buying an old Air while waiting for the completely redesigned keyboards said to be coming, but probably not until next year.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
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Thank you very much. I did not realize that. I looked only to see which models were Catalina compatible and which iPads were Sidecar compatible. I use Duet Display and it works okay, but compared to Sidecar, which I’ve used now on my 12 MacBook and my 12.9 inch iPad Pro, it is really clunky.

So Sidecar would work on a 2017 13inch Macbook Air? I know keyboards are an individual thing but three years into it I still haven’t and don’t think I’ll ever get used to the MacBook/MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards. So I am thinking of buying an old Air while waiting for the completely redesigned keyboards said to be coming, but probably not until next year.
It will work with the 2017 Pro, but not the Air. I think the Intel chips started supporting HEVC from Skylake (2015 iMacs, 2016 MacBook Pros) and this is the key difference. The 2017 Air was still using Broadwell - list of supported models found on this page:


So unfortunately you'll have to wait to avoid the butterfly Keyboard (I'm 100% with you on that) - the good thing is it looks like redesigned models without it will start launching from the spring, so within about 6 months they should start appearing. I'm not sure of the exact dates, though, it might be this new 16" Pro that launches first.
 

JamesGoodman

macrumors member
Dec 3, 2015
60
20
It will work with the 2017 Pro, but not the Air. I think the Intel chips started supporting HEVC from Skylake (2015 iMacs, 2016 MacBook Pros) and this is the key difference. The 2017 Air was still using Broadwell - list of supported models found on this page:


So unfortunately you'll have to wait to avoid the butterfly Keyboard (I'm 100% with you on that) - the good thing is it looks like redesigned models without it will start launching from the spring, so within about 6 months they should start appearing. I'm not sure of the exact dates, though, it might be this new 16" Pro that launches first.
Thanks so much again. I should have checked this page. The way the announcement came with the arrival of Catalina, it never occurred to me to check the hardware requirements of the Mac as well as the Ipad.
You have saved me some trouble. I’ll just have to be patient until the spring. I’d prefer a smaller model than the 16, but I am so eager for the keyboard if it comes months before I’ll buy it and than trade it in the the 13inch. (I actually prefer the iPad’s Smart Keyboard to the MacBook 12 keyboard, but I also use Bluetooth keyboards with the MacBook, with Karabiner I can actually disable the MacBook keyboard and lay the bluetooth keyboard right on top of it.). Anyway, thanks again for taking the time.