MBA 11 Owners: is the 11" REALLY big enough for working long?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Philflow, Oct 29, 2010.


MBA 11 Owners: is the 11" REALLY good for working longer hours?

  1. It's perfect and no compromise whatsoever

    35 vote(s)
  2. It's good, but for longer hours the 13" would be better

    33 vote(s)
  3. I love it but I wish it was a little bigger

    4 vote(s)
  4. I don't own a MBA 11.6" but I want to vote anyway

    36 vote(s)
  1. Philflow macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2008
    I am still debating between 11.6" and 13.3".

    My main concern is: will the 11.6" be big enough for comfortably working 3 hours on it, when I place it on my lap?

    I want to use it for browsing and typing when I sit on my couch. I'm about 6 foot 2.

    Please only answer the poll if you own a MBA 11.6"
  2. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    I'm 6'4"-5" and I'll say this..

    With my glasses on I have to pull it very close to me due to the resolution, which then means I get to chicken wing the arms.
  3. David the Gnome macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2008
    The high resolution on the 11.6" MacBook Air really makes the small screen feel a lot bigger. Yes, text is smaller than what you would get on a larger screen. Small text hasn't been a problem for me, but I am also in my mid-20's with good eyesight so that may not be the best comparison for everyone. Would I use one as my only computer? No, it's best use is filling the ultra-portable role to supplement a desktop or larger laptop machine.

    My MacBook Pro is basically working as a desktop now, with a 24" screen and a wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse. I take the Air with me when I need something portable, for those sorts of tasks it is perfectly adept. If I was still in college I wouldn't hesitate to use the MacBook Air as an all-day note taking machine, with its full-size keyboard I think that's probably the perfect role for it. Messing around on the internet on the couch would be no problem at all.
  4. ggf macrumors member

    May 24, 2008
    I am about 6 ft tall but have a long back and short legs so I am probably similar in size to you. I bought the 11.6" air to replace a 12" ibook g4 which I used on the couch all the time. The only real difference is that the default text size is a little smaller that the ibook because of the high resolution screen. So far I have only had the air for a few days and have been getting things set up as I want them so I have not spent long amounts of time sitting on the couch using it. In fact tonight is the first time I am actually doing this. I used the g4 all the time on the couch and as another poster said as long as your vision is good you would have no problem. Personally I am very confident that I would have no problem with using the air for extended periods. If you do find the text a bit small you can simply reset the display to a lower resolution (eg 1024 by 640) and then the experience is almost identical to the ibook (however, it would be a shame to do this as the screen on these babys is really beautiful.

    Having said all of that, unless I was doing a lot of typing I think the iPad is a better couch browsing device than the Air. I have both and generally would prefer the iPad for most browsing. I only post occasionally so your mileage may vary.

    My main reason for buying the air was that I travel a lot for work and there are times when I want to be able to run full applications rather than the iOS versions. I Stuck with my ibook for years because I find the screen height on the 13 inch machines is a problem on planes. When i saw the 11.6" Air i couldn't resist. It is a very nice machine and if all you are doing is browsing and running standard office type applications it performs very well. I am very happy and have no regrets
  5. Philflow thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2008
    Thanks for the feedback everyone.
    I tried the ipad but it wasn't very handy for me, as I tend to post and write a lot.
  6. Tazmaniac macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2010
    The ONLY problem I have is the constant scrolling!

    Browsing etc, it's great. Anything more serious, then its docked to a 22" monitor...
  7. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    May 13, 2010
    I have 13.3 inch on order. 11.6 inch is too small, period. You have to sacrifice too many things to get 11.6. SD card slot, processor speed and battery life are all downgraded on 11.6 inch.
  8. MACfemme macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2010
    Too small for me...I'm a late twenties girl, and about 5'6. I thought the 11 was SO cute, and it is. But i'll be using it as my primary and found the 11 too small for me, the font is small and if you make it bigger, you have to scroll a lot. SO i'm exchanging it for a 13. For me personally, I dont fly more than once a month, and the diff b/w 2.3 to 2.9 lbs isnt too bad, so 13 it is.
  9. Philflow thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2008
    Good points. I think you are right.
  10. wantmba macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2010
    Owned the 11.6 for 2 days. Nice machine but just a bit to small as my only computer. I realized that what really seems to matter for portability is the weight, rather than the actual dimensions. The 13 inch is still a small computer (i.e. fits into any bag) and it's light enough to take anywhere without thinking about it.

    If I had a nice big desktop at home or something, then I would definitely do the 11.6, but I find it simpler to just have 1 computer.
  11. NickFalk macrumors 6502


    Jun 9, 2004
    Obviously the 13'' would be better, but then again I'm never more effective than when working with my Apple 30'' cinema display. That said though, I haven't really thought about it at all when working with the Air '11. Probably because I'm so used to setting up spaces when working with a laptop anyway.
  12. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    Same. Found myself pulling it really close and/or having to hit CMD+ a bunch in Safari to make the text bigger all the time. And I'm only 30!
  13. Scott6666 macrumors 65816


    Feb 2, 2008
    Just saw the 11" for the first time in person.

    It's really nice. So light to pick up, felt much lighter than the 13" - I know it's not weight so maybe it's the moment give the larger size.

    The pixel dimensions on the 11 are higher than the 13" Air was and the current 13" standard Macbook so I don't know why people say they are scrolling too much. Pixels are pixels.

    The only app that seemed smooshed a bit was the new Office11 since the toolbars take up so much space.

    I have a high rez i7 15" MBP so maybe I am just used to higher dpi but it doesn't bother me any more.

    It was hard walking out without the 11. I don't think there is enough difference between my 15 and the 13 to make me go for a 13, but the 11 is like an iPad + OSX + keyboard. And I bought an iPad and love it so why not the 11?
  14. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    Pinch to zoom is a bit less cumbersome..but still required.
  15. Philflow thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2008
    Well 768 pixels vertical is less than 800 pixels, so that's already a little more scrolling.

    The pixels on the 11.6" are smaller, which makes people zoom, which makes letters larger, so even more scrolling.
  16. happyslayer macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    I'm 6'3" and I love the 11.6. I like to write fiction and I have done two 5 hour plus writing sessions on it with no feeling of eye strain and I did not zoom the display in or change my text size compared to my old Rev B, MBA 13.3 1200x800 screen.

    I have zoomed a few pictures when surfing, but text is very crisp and easy to read I think.
  17. powerbook911 macrumors 68040


    Mar 15, 2005
    For a sole computer, 13 is best.

    For an extra computer, I think 11 is best.
  18. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Agree completely. I believe the 13" is a great primary computer, especially now with the 1440 x 900 display! I love the new 13" MBA. I am not enjoying the 11" so much. For me, it's just too big of a compromise, but I want one computer to do everything. The good thing is either will run my 27" LED ACDs. I really like the 320m GPU.
  19. Cerano macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2010
    believe me 11.6" is way big enough

    i have a vaio P that is 8" now that is small
  20. FAsnakes macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2007
    I have the 11.6 and am using it as my primary productivity computer at work.. Today alone i spent all day with the computer. It's just fine and frankly, a breath of fresh air with the new office suite.. Also works just fine, on a projector.

    Now i'm at home and i'm trying out a couple of games.. So far i've run COD4, C&C3 & Need for Speed Most Wanted. no issues.

    I should also mention - i do have a 15" MBP for video editing and hard gaming..
  21. barefeats macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2000
    I've been using both the 11" and 13" side by side for a week.

    For light computing (Safari, Mail, TextEdit, Preview, Calculator), the 11" does a fine job. The screen is small but usable.

    However, if you plan to run games like Steam Portal, WoW, and Starcraft. The 13" screen is more desirable. Ditto for Photoshop and iMovie. Plus the CPU has more ummph.

    The only downside I see with the 13" is that the fans tend to run faster and louder than the 11" when being stressed.

    Having worked with both, I'd definitely go with the 13" -- but with 4GB of RAM for sure.
  22. Mac Composer macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2010
    Compared them both, and for long, daily use, IMHO the 11" is just too small.

    I bought the 13.3" and will use it 7-8 hours each day. The 11" would have been too much of a strain to use that long.
  23. CiccioAtSea macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2010
    Principality of Monaco
  24. CiccioAtSea macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2010
    Principality of Monaco

    I'm using a Vaio P as well and I HATE it :mad: my worst purchase ever..
    Now I'm wondering if I'd have the same feeling with a 11.6 screen, I could never forgive me making twice the same error, but I travel more than 9 months in a year, so the 11 one is a real tempation for me....!!
  25. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    +1 for the 13.3" over the 11.6"

    unless you really want a smaller form factor, the compromises are way too many.

    and when you spec the 11.6" up with 1.6ghz and 4gb memory then compare it to the 13.3" with 1.86ghz and 4gb memory, the price difference is a couple of bucks if that.

    as said, you've really gotta want the smaller form factor.
    I took one look at the 11.6" vs the 13.3" and knew that the larger screen is going to have to be easier on the eyes and with less scrolling over long periods of work/play time

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