MBA 13 vs 11

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by macproguy77, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. macproguy77 macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2009
    Ok, I know you guys hate these threads, and I tried to refrain from posting one, I really did.
    But I have to vent, because the question here is really difficult with no clear winner in my mind.
    Now lets throw out NEED a laptop here, because I've got enough computers, so we're firmly in the WANT, luxury item purchase camp here. Its been almost two years, its time for a new mac.
    As far as using what I do with it to help determine, I do a little bit of everything and have other devices, so no help here.

    Which MBA to purchase, as a second or third (counting IPAD) device?

    -- 13 --
    - Faster CPU, Faster FSB, More Stock HD, Bigger screen, Better battery!, SD card slot!
    - Still very thin and light (Not that much, about an inch, bigger than the 11in).
    - Better Value?
    - Similar to 13 MBP. More like traditional laptop.
    - Slightly more money, but close enough not to matter.

    -- 11 --
    - Intangible. SWEET form factor. WOW factor. Smaller, Makes the traditional netbook look like a relic.
    (Isn't the whole point of getting an MBA to be small and light and wow but still powerful?)
    - Slightly cheaper then the 13
    - Incredible screen for the size. (but screen on 13 is killer too)
    - Less powerful, loses to 13in in all categories.
    - I already have an IPAD (and love it!), what do i need this for?

    (Easy decision for the 13 on paper right?)
    Now, all rational classic computer logic points to getting the 13in. Big wins here are better battery and SD slot and more power while still retaining small form factor.
    But I'm still very much conflicted between what I know is the smarter choice, and the cool new hotness choice. If I'm going small and light, why not go 11. But the 13 is also small and light and on paper the smarter choice.
    However, if I get the 13, why not just wait and look at the MBP refresh.

    Anyone else struggling with this? I'm not buying anything till I resolve this.
    Advice, comments or jabs welcome...
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Lets start with what other computers and devices you got. What is it going to be used for?

    It's impossible to recommend anything without knowing the background and details. You already listed the pros and cons but we still need to know more about you in order to make recommendations.
  3. macproguy77 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2009
    Ok, if you must know.

    I've got:
    - macpro 2009 quad core 8 gig. Love it. Fastest thing I've ever seen.
    - Ipad. Love it.. can't watch TV without it. (LOL) Can't game without it (got my FAQ right next to me!!)
    - Iphone 4

    What I do with them:
    Really everything.. Surf internet, VMware fusion virtualization, iphoto, imovie, idvd, itunes, handbrake, VLC, Ripit, Netnewswire, Read Blogs, Evernote, Calibre, Photoshop, Rapidweaver, Write code, Personal WIKI, watch movies, download stuff.

    But bear in mind, I've got the macpro for the power stuff.... so I'd use this device for whatever...a little bit of everything and whatever I was working on at the time.. but obviously won't be ripping on it, or editing movies or keeping an itunes library on it.

    So I thought long about usage cases, but considering my other devices, the two MBA's are close enough in spec to not tip the scales in either direction for me.
  4. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    age old answer - if you have no need, no buy.

    example in a different field:

    I have a 4 year old Honda that I've looked after from day 1.
    my peers trade up after 2-3 years.
    my car is still current, reliable, comfortable and performs exceptionally well.
    I envisage it'll easily meet my needs for another 2 years - then I'll upgrade.

    if it was underpowered, unreliable and looked outdated then I'd upgrade now.
    but being a Honda, there's no need.

    now apply that logic to your computer situation - I always buy Macs for their reliability, speed factor, ease of use and the fact that they have longevity.

    if you have the spare $ and you want a new Air, then go for it (13" would easily be my preference).
    if what you have still ticks all the boxes, take your spouse on a nice short vacation instead with your excess $ ;)
  5. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    I would (and did) go with 13". Sounds like you will appreciate the extra screen estate and IMO 11" might be too close to iPad territory.
  6. MultiBat macrumors member


    Jan 12, 2011
    Yes, I am really struggling with this as well.
    Even though I will use my MBA as my main computer I have a hard time deciding. Logic says 13" with memory upgrade. Possibly the Ultimate setup.
    I still have a really hard time letting the thought if the 11" go.

    It's not very logical, but is there logic in buying an utra portable computer in the first place when you have no portability needs? :)
  7. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    Unless you are planning on taking your MBA with you all day, everyday, anywhere/everywhere you go, then the 13" is a better workhorse machine. I too was tempted with the 11 but went with the 13.
  8. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    May 13, 2010
    I chose 13 inch for my mother who wants to take the laptop from room to room. She might carry it around from time to time but she really doesn't.

    MBA 13 inch is much better value for your money than 11 inch. You get faster CPU, bigger screen and more memory.

    It has SD card slot and 2 hours longer battery life.

    But, I am getting a 11 inch for portability.
  9. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    If you already have a Mac Pro with a large monitor, then go for contrast and get the MBA 11 for maximum portability at a lower cost.

    Or just keep using your iPad when away from the Mac Pro.
  10. macproguy77 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2009
    Thanks for sharing my pain. I can't help myself, but maybe I can help you.
    You don't have a Mac yet, so your answer is easy.
    Drop BOTH AIR's off the table. You need a 13" Macbook Pro. preferably after the refresh in the next 2-4 months.
    You don't have a workhorse MAIN mac yet and need one...something to keep your itunes, videos, pics, etc..

    The 13" MBP is still super light compared to other laptops, and ridiculously powerful, wicked screen, big hard drive... really that or 27" IMAC are the ones you want for first MAC out of the gate.
    Once you experience the beauty of OSX, you find you'll be doing all sorts of things you didn't do before with the computer.
    THEN a year later, you'll have enjoyed it so much, you'll want ANOTHER mac, thats when you go for the air, or ipad, or macmini or next new hotness.
    (Just my humble opinion)
  11. MultiBat macrumors member


    Jan 12, 2011
    Thanks for the input. I had the 13" MBP in my sights until i actually tried the MBA hands on in a store. It is so... nice. Once I started reading reviews for the MBA I was hooked. But mostly it boils down to that SSD.
    I won't get my first mac in about 2-4 months, so an upgrade of the MBP could make it interesting. What I would like to see is SSD in the MBP. I know it is an option today, but it is a bit pricey. If it is a Sandy Bridge in there or not doesn't matter to me.

    I always thought the iMac would be good starting mac. Feels like a lot of mac for your money. The big con for me is that it is big and stationary. Not that I need portability, but being able to fold a laptop and tuck it away is nice. I also don't know if I have a good spot at home for an iMac. There are the mrs and the kids to think of. :)

    But thanks for making my choice harder. It was just two options, now I have to rethink and compare all four. ;)
  12. Bakari45 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2010
    This is exactly my case. I have a Mac Pro with dual monitors. I didn’t feel the need to splurge on a 12”. The 11” is enough for what I need, which is mainly writing, giving Keynote presentations, and browsing the web.

    I have the iPad as well, which feels somewhat redundant, but the iPad means that I hardly ever have to print out documents.

    Personally I think if you’re accustomed to using larger screen and Mac Pro, then a 13” is not going to make that much of difference to you. The screen is going to feel small compared to the Pro.

    So save the money and go with the 11” unless you’re going to be doing a lot of multitasking. Also, you know you can use your iPad as a second screen with your Air.
  13. Ronnoco macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    United States of America
    If my Air was my primary computer. I'd have most definitely gone with the Ultimate 13...since I have a 15" MBP i5, the 11" does exactly what I need from it...something I can take everywhere with me...
  14. ZenoVT macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2009
    It really sounds like you think the 13" is the logical choice, but the 11" is what you really want. In my opinion and experience, go with what you want for this luxury item. You won't regret it :D
  15. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
  16. macproguy77 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2009
    Well, thanks for all the input.. I believe I'm leaning toward the 11" Air base model with a 4 gig memory upgrade.

    Its got the cool unique factor, and with the stock SSD it is cheap enough to not break the bank.
    I'll have to deal with the small SSD later... I suppose I'll start carrying around USB sticks for my media files. Or network shares off my MP.

    The 13, while very nice, it too similar to the MBP for me.
    Now I just need to resolve my redundancy fears, with having both an IPAD and a MBA.
    See, I really love my IPAD too, I think its actually more unique than the air, and I'm not sure there's room for both in my work flow.

    What amazing products are these, that make you really really want to buy something that you know you don't need. I never do this. Only with apple products.
  17. Ronnoco macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    United States of America
    What is even more amazing is that in this terrible economy (the worst in over 80 years), Apple Stores are packed with people buying luxury products, many of which are priced well over $1000.00...:confused:
    Watch the lines wrap around the Apple and Verizon stores to by a $300 phone and a $2400 two year phone plan or the new iPad 2 when it is released this quarter...
    Truly enigmatic...Apple is one of the VERY few high-end retailers that is STILL opening new stores...
    They truly have some sort of magic...:eek:
  18. Aatos.1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2010
    I just bought one at my local Mac Store yesterday.

    Overall it's ideal for the tray table on the rear of the seat back, in the air liners I fly in each week.

    The only BIG dislike, is the UGLY & rather unacceptable bezel around the screen. Yet it wasn't a surprise as I knew prior to driving to the Mac store I would have to live with that if I bought the computer.

    Oh well, one day Apple will catch up with the times. They need to emerge from the walled compound & smell some fresh air. Look around, get a grip, and get current. :)
  19. rjbruce macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2011
    St. Louis, MO
    Similar for me as well, although I've resolved to waiting on the 13" MBP. I have a feeling the stuff I use my main workhorse for will bleed into the MBP when I'm just too lazy to get off the

    Besides that, when the MBP refresh comes out, it will be the new "hotness". Really the only way to solve the issue is buy both. :p
  20. Bakari45 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2010
    This is a seriously good point. I'm always amazed at how crowded the Apple Store is. Last it was packed like they were having a Black Friday sale.

    I think there's two reasons for this. First off, Apple hardware appeals to people with expendable income. They can affor to drop a couple of grand on a computer and not sweat it.

    Other people like myself simply choose to purchase equipment that is stylish and is more likely to last. To be honest, though, I got my Air using the Best Buy 18 months interest-free program. I've paid off three high ticket items that way. Plus I don't buy expensive items to just play with. I buy and use them to make money with.
  21. oakie macrumors 6502


    Oct 16, 2008
    the only reason i would ever go into an Apple Store and deal with all of the trailer trash fingering everything is if i'm stuck with a warranty issue.

    regardless, this point is kinda off. people with expendable income order their stuff or deal with a personal shopper (at least myself and my social group do, and we love Apple's personal shopper service). the people inside the stores walk out empty handed. just sit back and watch sometime. it's because Apple is an "aspirational brand" and all of the people within the retail stores are people who cant afford to buy, but are hoping to someday afford it.

    therefore, it doesnt just appeal to those with expendable income... it appeals to people with all incomes. i would agree with you when it comes to actual ownership (beyond ipod/iphone) though. plus, despite a wide range of products and prices, their margins are ridiculous but worth it due to the level of service they provide with their products. but it's these margins that ensure that every paying customer is actual profit, further fueling their growth even in lean economic times.

    but the amount of whining in Apple based forums are also very telling, as people are complaining more and more over "non-issues" like, "should i trade in my (insert iProduct) for one that isnt scratched?" it's telling in that more and more people who cant afford Apple products are buying them anyways... they get overly concerned with non-issues like that because they've spent a "large sum" in their world so they feel entitled to perfection. poor people do the same thing when they stretch for expensive shoes and clothing accessories, too... the first thing out of their mouths is always, "i paid X amount for this so i demand/deserve to be treated better."

    cliff notes: Apple is an aspirational brand to most incomes, somewhat disqualifying your first point.
  22. Ronnoco, Jan 23, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011

    Ronnoco macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    United States of America
    Apple just reported a record $6 Billion profit in Q1 2011...
    Retail stores: Record 851,000 Macs sold, up 24%. About half were to customers new to Mac. International stores grew even more strongly than U.S. stores. Opened six new stores in the quarter...323 total with 87 outside U.S. Average revenue of $12 million, up 69% over year ago. Record 75.5 million visitors during the quarter.
    Nearly 1 Million Mac computers sold through the retail chain alone...not counting iPhones, iPads, iPods, Apple Cinema Displays, Time Capsules, Airport Extremes, Apple Tv's, gift cards and anything else sold in those 323 retail stores...
    This hardly looks like an "aspirational brands" profits...More people than ever are buying Macs, and more people than ever are buying them from Apple retail stores...
  23. topmounter macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    FEMA Region VIII
    Where do you live? All of our "trailer trash" is waiting in line to play Guitar Hero at Best Buy. Regardless, our local Apple Stores appear to move a ton of product, of course that could just be a big ruse that they put on when I stop by once every couple of months.
  24. snapper2323 macrumors member


    May 8, 2009
    any one want to trade their 11 for my 13? I went back and forth over which one i wanted. I got the 13 from bestbuy at the beginning of december with 2gb ram and 256gb ssd. I like it but using it while laying in bed is almost like me using my 2 year old Macbook.
  25. f00f macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2009
    New Yawk
    Ordered the 11" MBA via the online Apple store with the specs in my sig. Never even considered the 13". This MBA is a replacement for my iPad (which I never use) and I simply needed to retain that form factor as much as possible.

    Not much going on on my MBA except some SSH, vim, and an X session here and there (frankly I could meet these needs w/ a Linux-based netbook, but I am hooked to the Apple ecosystem). Most of the number crunching / horsepower requirements are fulfilled by remote systems.

    If you need the horsepower boost and the increased size is a non-issue, go 13". Otherwise the 11" is a sexy and capable machine worthy of a purchase. :)

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