MacBook Air 11" or 13"

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by OwenMeasures, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. OwenMeasures macrumors 6502


    Jan 17, 2011

    I am going to buy a MacBook Air before i go away to New Zealand in May, i really cant decide on what model to get. Im not sure if the 11" screen would be too small! but there is a £250 price difference between the 2 models so its quite a big decision!

    i suppose what i need to know then... is the 11" screen too small and do many people use the SD Card slot on the 13" model.

    Cheers guys.

  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Go to an Apple Store and look at them & decide for yourself. London has several.
  3. diggy33 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 13, 2011
    Its going to boil down to your personal preference. Hands on use of both of them would give you a better idea about what would suit you, rather than what we could recommend. As for me, I went with the 13" because the 11" was too small for me.
  4. GekkePrutser macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2005
    If you compare the ones with roughly the same spec (4GB/128GB), the price difference is rather minimal, actually (100 euro, not sure how much it is in pounds). Especially if you consider that the 13" also has a faster processor. So it really comes down to what you prefer in terms of screen size and portability. Although if price is more important than specs, the 11" is a lot more interesting of course (and if you're travelling a lot the portability advantage could be interesting too).

    By the way if price is an issue you could consider a refurb, there's an excellent site called that tracks the availability of those on the Apple website (so you can see the price of the different models even if they're not in stock right now).. I got a 2010 Air recently (the one in my sig) for 649 euro and it was as new.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Get the one that best fits your needs. We cannot make the decision for you.

    Both are excellent machines that have different strengths and weaknesses. Only you can decide which should be purchased.

    Some people think the 11" screen is too small, others have no problem with it
  6. JackHobbs macrumors regular


    Nov 1, 2009
    Make a list of what you are going to use the macbook air for. Go through your list and decide which things are the deal breakers and what would be nice to have but not essential. This will lead you to think about what software you are going to use a lot. Factor in whether or not this is going to be the only machine you are going to use, be that on the trip or afterwards.

    I have a macbook air 11" that I use for work. I use spreadsheets and word documents. At home I surf the web and view the odd photo. On holiday I take my air to store photos and surf the web. The screen is pretty easy to read I find. It is very portable and is great for trips. I use my main MBP 13" for aperture and photoshop work. That works for me. I know someone who uses an 11" air for aperture.

    There is no right or wrong machine, just the machine that suits you best for your purposes. The difficulty is deciding what you are going to do. The decision on 11" or 13" follows from that initial process.

    Good luck.
  7. psxp macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2008
    G'day mate!
    Get the 13" - I stressed out thinking I was going to get a 11" model but then couldnt decide - I went with the 13" and love it. Specially traveling.. you have enough desktop space to photo edit and read SD cards. Weight and size is no issue.


    a fellow NZer
  8. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I would say try it for yourself. Most people here will say 13" because they are either blind or programed to believe bigger is always better. I have the 11" and wouldn't want anything bigger! It is truly portable in every way!
  9. jeremyshaw macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2011
    Or you are merely projecting your own concerns :rolleyes:
  10. lc25 macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2009
    I went for the 11 and haven't looked back, In fact the other day someone brought in a 13 and i couldn't believe how big it was. But each to their own.
  11. Jnardis macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2010
    I think it all depends on what you use it for. For me, I use all the time since I need to take over my computer at work from home or from traveling. The 11" was just too small for me even though I wanted it bcs it was a bit lighter. The 13" isn't great, but works well and I haven't thought twice about getting the 13" especially after buying an easy to hold case for it.
  12. aery macrumors member


    Nov 27, 2009
    I have the 11" and I love it. It is absolutely phenomenal for portability. In saying that though, I have an iMac as my main computer. While my 11" air is awesome, I don't think I could handle using it as my main or only machine, especially for a long period of time.
  13. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    Or he could just get a 12-core Mac Pro, a couple Cinema Displays, and a portable diesel generator, I think it would do the job...

    But flying to New Zealand and lugging that around might not be too fun.

    Ha, just kidding. I would get the 13", I have both and the 11" is quite portable but also quite tiny. The 13" gives longer battery life and a larger, higher resolution display for editing photos and surfing the web, plus the PPI is not as bad on the eyes with the 13" -- I have both, so I know!
  14. lolwut89 macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2012
    For me, that $300 went a long way for improving performance and adding better battery life.

    The Core i5 1.6Ghz seems only 100Mhz slower at first, but when you take into consideration Turbo values, it maxes out at 2.3GHz for single core and 2.2GHz for dual core.

    The 1.7GHz maxes out at 2.7GHz for Single core and 2.6GHz for dual core. More performance that's macbook pro like. So to get this you look at the $1199 macbook air 11" then all you need to do is spend an extra $100 to get more battery life and bigger screen.
  15. jspaladin macrumors newbie


    Aug 4, 2011
    Currently South Korea
    I have the 13" Air and my girlfriend has the 11".

    I find that the 11" is a little bit frustrating because I have big hands and its size feels a bit uncomfortable when I use Pixelmator or run any kind of game (Civ 5 mainly). I do get used to it after a while though.

    Personally, I would go lower than 13". Its a great size and it weighs must less than my old 2010 Pro 13". I got the Air because its perfect for traveling (which Im intending to do for at least the next few years).

    I would say go for the 13", but go to an Apple Store and play about for a while.

    Either way, you will be happy (but I'm more happy with the 13" haha)
  16. TheJing macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2011
    Somewhere in Europe
    I have the 11" and love it.

    What I wanted was for it to be as portable as possible since I only use it when I travel, at university and in bed.

    The screen size doesn't bother me at all. It is perfect for me.

    Also, I have never used the SD card slot but that's because I never take pictures. If you do then you might be better off with the 13". Well you could always get an adapter if you only use it occasionally.

    It really comes down to personal preferences, go check them out at the Apple store and decide for yourself.

    Those who have the 11" are going to say how much they love it and the same for the 13".
  17. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl

    Also, if you absolutely must have an SD slot, for $29 buy the iPad camera kit that converts the charging slot into an SD/ USB slot, and yes it works!:eek:
  18. David085 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 9, 2009
    I say the 13" since thats what I would get since the 11" is way too small for me
  19. jonomo macrumors regular

    Apr 28, 2005
    I've had both 11" and 13... When I had the 11 I was traveling alot b/c I was commuting to Manila for week days and spending weekends at home in Singapore.. so it was fantastic... I pretty much lived with it, using it on the plane to work, watch movies, etc... My iPad became a nightstand ornament after I got the Air...

    Now I don't travel as much, but still make my rounds around the world and the 13 inch is fine too... It's probably b/c I don't travel as much, but I don't really notice the weight too much.. although if I was traveling as much as I was before, then size and weight would be a big factor...

    If I had to choose between the 2 now, then I'd go with the 13 for a couple of reasons...

    1. Obviously larger screen just makes things easier... spreadsheets, reports, just switching back from one app to another
    2. Longer battery life.. I don't think this is something that everyone considers all the time... but that 2 extra hours or so makes a big difference
    3. Weight and size really doesn't seem like a factor anymore.. however, if I traveled like I used too, then the 11 is what i'd get... the smaller factor also makes it easier to use in tight spaces, like on a cramped plan seat

    When I was first comparing, I thought the SD card slot was pretty cool, until I realized the card does not fit in flush... I was thinking you could use it as permanent extra storage, but apparently Apple doesn't feel that way... I used to use one of those super small micro SD cards with my 11 and it did me fine.. I didn't use my MBA as my main and never did any photo or music work on it...

    Only thing that kills me about the MBA is the lack of games available on Mac platform... I'm a game company exec and would be great to try out some games from time to time without havin to reboot to PC...
  20. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    My 11" MBA was $1199. I didn't and still don't want a 13"....its too big. The 11" is the perfect size. The reason I've never owned a laptop is because of how huge they tend to be. The 11" is the perfect combination of small footprint, great screen, and power. It is an amazing little machine. I take it with me to screenings all day and use it to take notes.
  21. Chairman.Jobbie, Jan 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012

    Chairman.Jobbie macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2011
    Both are great. I tried both for 2 weeks and ending up keeping the Ultimate 13 as the 11 as a main laptop is alittle small. Its brilliant as a portable device, but doesnt feel right as main & keyboard a touch cramped for me.

    SD card slot is irrelevant - it shouldnt influence what you buy unless its a big part of your work flow. And now with cloud storage physical media, no matter how small, is becoming less important - obselete already for me & average user.

    Ive owned the 13" for 5 months and not a single problem (touch wood) & super fast. The only thing i want better - in this model - its a better battery life. I get around 5 hours average. Not bad but 7-8 would be good. I use its for around 12 hours a day! .... amazing device.
  22. Buck987 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2010
    for my business apps and traveling my 11" is perfect.

    Your needs may be the same or different, and there is certainly no issue traveling with a 13"

    go and evaluate side by side as has been suggested.
  23. Kaiser Phoenix macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2005
    Ive had the 11inch for over a year now, i initially thought the screen will be too small as my main computer but now its pretty much my main pc! The small size makes it super handy to carry about and its just perfect, would really recommend the 11.
  24. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I know a number of people have one and they love the small size. For me, and perhaps its my eyes. The screen is too small. One may use for my computer is to remote into my work computer. Its resolution is sufficiently high that the scaling down to the 11" MBA makes it completely unreadable.

    I do admit the small size of this laptop makes it an uber-mobile laptop
  25. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Try using Splashtop remote, thats what I do. It will change the remote computers resolution to your resolution so everything becomes perfectly readable and its as if you are running locally.

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