MBA 11 or 13?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jakeonfiree, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. jakeonfiree macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2013
    I'm currently trying to decide between the two sizes. I will be using it for some music production, word processing and the like for school, and basic web browsing. I'm currently on a 13 inch MBP which I upgraded to from a 15 inch Toshiba laptop.
  2. Crimsoncrusade macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2014
    This is pretty subjective.But I find if you use music production software, it is better to get the 13" as these softwares ( Photo shop, video editing et al) have lots of onscreen menus and options and benefit from the real state.
    Best would be if you go to an Apple store and use it yourself.
  3. jakeonfiree thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2013
    I have gone to local Best Buy stores and such to test them out a bit. So far I've found no problems with the 11" but I haven't been able to use any type of recording software on them (I currently use Logic X) to see how the windows and menus are handled. Also, I do have an external monitor that I could use for editing and such. Would you think that the models in the Apple Stores would have Logic X installed? I'd love to compare both of them side-by-side.
  4. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    The real glory of the 11" is its astonishing portability; it is a fantastically portable - and, depending on the specs of your chosen computer - it can be extremely powerful as well.

    The 13" is a fantastic computer (I have had both); obviously, the screen is larger, and more comfortable for extended viewing periods (though I had no difficulties with the 11"), and the battery is exceptionally good.
  5. jakeonfiree thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2013
    Yeah. That's a lot of the appeal of the 11" to me as well. I will be using it quite a bit for school and at school and I feel like, for that, the 11" would be superior to the 13". Like I said earlier though, my main issue is how the GUI for Logic Pro works with the small screen; whether there is enough screen real-estate to comfortably track and record. Everything else (editing, mixing, etc. can be done on my external monitor with my bluetooth mouse and keyboard)
  6. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    My opinion is that I like the 11 but I find it hard to multi-task on it. The screen is so small that whatever program I'm running, the window is maxed out. On the 13 I can have a few things open and find it easier to switch between applications. That might not be important to some people but it is to me so I had to give up on the 11 and go 13.
  7. Crimsoncrusade macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2014
    Well I'd go for the 13 inch because
    a) That odd time when you need to use logic pro x. If it looks anything like this, it'll be a pain on 11" screen.
    b) 13" has a larger battery so higher battery life. Yey.
  8. jakeonfiree thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2013
    What is it that makes it harder to switch apps on the 11 vs 13?


    lol that's some serious plug-in usage. At the moment I don't have a lot of cash to spare, so would you say that an Apple Refurbished 13" would be alright?
  9. Crimsoncrusade macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2014
    You can resize one window and have another window next to it so that both are clearly visible.


    Whats your budget??
  10. jakeonfiree thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2013
    Ah. Gotcha. I usually find myself using mission control to switch between windows.

    I guess I don't have a definite price ceiling but it might be a little bit of a stretch at the moment to get a new 13", so probably a grand.
  11. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    My tuppence worth

    Living a relatively settled lifestyle right now, a Mac Mini is fine for me at present. However, with a more itinerant phase in the offing, I have checked out the Air in a shop.

    If I do go the Air way, the 13" will get my nod. The screen may not seem much bigger, but it is enough to make a difference for my middle aged eyes.

    If I was 20 years younger, with sharper eyesight, the more portable and and cuter 11" would probably be my choice.
  12. jakeonfiree thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2013
    Before I bought the MBP I have at the moment I was thinking about getting a Mac Mini as well. Portability is the name of the game at the moment however, considering as a college student I'm back-and-forth quite a bit.
  13. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    I have been in love with the 11" forever. Bought 50 2010 11" MBA with 64SSd'S and moved them to 256 and 512 OWC SSD's w/o a single fail;)
    All still working, including mine, when it goes RETINA, IM IN:cool::apple:
  14. Crimsoncrusade macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2014
    Well my friend there are two ways you can squeeze an MBA13 in a 1000 bucks.
    a) Get someone enrolled at a university to buy for you through apple eduction pricing. I think you will save upwards of a 130 dollars off from the MSRP.
    b) The refurb store shows this.

    If you do decide to get an older one, don't go below the 2011 air. I think if you spend upwards of 600$ on anything should at least last 3.5 years. But thats just my opinion.
  15. jakeonfiree thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2013
    My budget is going to depend somewhat on how much I can get for my 2011 MBP. Do you have any experience with Apple refurb laptops? I was looking at that Air as well.

    I'm fairly sure I'm going to get a Mid 2013 model.
  16. Crimsoncrusade macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2014
    Nope. This is my first brand new mac.If you want feedback on the refurb store you will find many people here. I have experience with PC's though. Mac's only caught my fancy when they shifted to x86 and I could afford them. Currently I write CFD code on my MBA'13.

    You should get at least 400$ for a 2011 MBP.

    I would like to say one more thing though , If you can squeeze out one more year from your notebook it would be great. Get the MBA with the release of Broadwell. Thats a straight 30% increase in power efficiency( due to shrink to 14nm) . Plus an expected 50% jump in graphics. Of course current gen MBA is amazing too. Just my two cents.
  17. MacGeekAZ macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2011
    I got my 13" MacBook Air about six weeks ago. I struggled with deciding which size to buy, too. In the end, I decided that, since I don't travel very often or carry the laptop to school or work daily, the 11" wasn't necessary. And I really LOVE the battery life on the 13"! It's still quite slim and lightweight, and because the battery lasts so long, I can put it in a sleeve and take it along to the coffee shop or wherever without worrying about the charger. I can't wait to take it along on my next cross-country flight; I can use it in the airport and on the plane to surf the web and watch movies.

    Mine is refurbished from the Apple website, and I saved over $300 on the "ultimate" version. (512GB, 8GB RAM, i7 processor)

    If you're not in a hurry, you might want to wait for the anticipated new model later this year. If you do buy refurbished, try to get 2013 if possible, or at least 2012. The 2013 battery life is much better than previous models.
  18. macs4nw macrumors 601


    The MBA is a great choice for that, with amazing battery life. If you were planning on upgrading it at all, your most bang-for-your-buck, in that order, would be to get the 8GB of memory upgrade, followed by the most flash storage you can afford, and lastly the processor upgrade. These upgrades can not easily be done later, keep that in mind.

    Now, size-wise, for an extra $100 --everything else being equal-- the 13" model, besides giving you the larger screen, also gives you the SDXC card slot as well as a 25-30% battery life increase over the 11" model.

    Hope that helps you narrow your choice!
  19. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    For music production, are you planning on using an external screen? If no, then go for the additional screen real-estate of the 13". If yes, get the 11.
  20. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
    Spend some time at an Apple store, test drive both and use that input to make your decision.
  21. Dsteller macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2013
    Hi Jaleonfiree, I had this same exact problem. I do a ton of music editing/production on Logic, I have to bring my computer to school (the school uses: evernote, pages, et al) and I also do a lot of arranging on my computer. I had very difficult time trying to pic between the 11 and 13 (air and pro) and after dealing with both, I went with the air. I first tried the pro (a friend's) and that wasn't portable enough, so I went down to the 11 air, and that was not svn close to powerful enough for doing said activities on the computer, not to mention the screen size, then I went to the 13 air, and found it to be perfect. It was portable enough for school, the screen size was adequate, and with an upgraded 8gb RAM and i7 processor, it kicks some big booty. This is why I think you should go with the air.
    However, some of this is personal preference, so you definitely should try them both and take some time with this decision!! Hope this helped!!
  22. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I loved the small size of the 11" MBA but I just couldn't deal with the tiny text in working on such small laptop. My advice is for the 13" MBA over the 11"

    Your eyes may be better at handling the smaller images/text but mine aren't
  23. Amplelink macrumors 6502a

    Oct 8, 2012
    I've had both and I just don't see the difference in terms of portability. Sure the 11" looks cuter and takes up less space in a bag, but the 13" is not a beast by any means. I've had no issues traveling with the 13" and I'm more often glad that I have the larger text and bigger screen. Not to mention the 3 extra hours of battery. I don't think I'll go back to anything below 13 again.
  24. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68020

    PBG4 Dude

    Jul 6, 2007
    I have a 2012 MBA 11" base model with the 128GB upgrade and run Logic Studio on it (version prior to X). I connect it to an external 24" 1080p display and use my iPad as a controller as well though.

    So basically, I have the 11" screen for utilities and windows I'd rather not clog up the big screen, the big screen for Logic's interface and configuring plugins, and the iPad for controlling track / mixer settings.

    I believe Logic X's iPad companion app is way better than the touch OSC app that I am using so you'll be able to do way more using an iPad as a companion interface.

    If I were using the MBA solo I wouldn't go below 13", but the 11" is way more "let me grab this too" than the 13" is.
  25. jakeonfiree thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2013

    What kind of music are you doing? How many tracks are you using typically?

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