MBA dilemma

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by fizzler, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. fizzler macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Hi all,

    Sorry for yet another '11" or 13" macbook air' question, of which there are already many posted.

    After significant deliberation, including multiple trips to the apple store, I eventually elected for an 11" MBA over the 13" model. I also decided to upgrade to 8Gb of RAM, so had to wait for my laptop to be shipped.

    It arrived yesterday. I really like it, however I am now concerned that I have made the wrong decision. I am primarily struggling with the size of the text, particularly in Mail & Safari. I also think that the display is probably not as good for word processing etc. I also have a 24" iMac, however I intend to do quite a bit of my work (generally work/excel/powerpoint) on my MBA.

    My dilemma is, do I return my 11" 8gb for a 13" 4gb model?

    The 11" is a fantastic machine, however I worry that i have bought with my heart (form-factor), rather than my head (practicality).

    Any comments, experiences or opinions would be welcome. Particularly from anyone who has had a similar experience, or uses an 11" MBA as their main computer or for a lot of word-processing etc.

    thanks in advance.
  2. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    Well fizzler... tough choice here. I use a 4gb 13" and to me, it is easier to do my writing on it - easy on the eyes. I did have the opportunity to use an 11" for a few weeks prior to my purchase and while I do like everything about it, I didn't enjoy writing on it. I like to see more of the screen and when I glance at it, I like for it to be easy.

    Whatever you go with, you will eventually get used to it. When I went from 11 to 13 I thought it was too big and that I had made a mistake! After a few days all was well and I think I made the right choice for my preferences.
  3. fizzler thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Thanks for that Ben. I am kind of paralysed in my decision making. I am going to stick with the 11" for a few more days and see how i get on.

    I i didn't have the comfort of the returns policy, i would have probably moved on by now!
  4. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    I had trouble with the text size in Safari too. I found that this helps a lot:

    Safari - Preferences - Advanced

    Never use font sizes smaller than whatever.

    There are similar options in Mail too, but I found that I didn't need to change the defaults.

    Attached Files:

  5. l0gikb0mb, Oct 16, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013

    l0gikb0mb macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2012
    I had this same dilemma too. It helped that every new 13" I got (3 in total) were defective right out of the box with bad quality control issues. The 11" is flawless and has a Samsung screen which is VERY noticeably better to me.

    I love the 16:10 and overall size of the 13" but not the footprint. I was also worried about going 11". Got the base 11" 2013 for really cheap refurb and I'm very surprised on how good it is. The screen doesn't bother me at all. It is a little small on text but the 13" was 95% the same. Let's not forget the PPI difference here is very little.

    I'm honestly surprised I don't miss the size of the 13" screen. Also, and this might be the different panel, but I find the viewing angles are much more tolerable with less vertical screen to worry about.
  6. fenneberg macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2013
    Capital of Denmarica
  7. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2011
    I've had the luxury of owning both MBA and used it for one year since I couldn't decide myself. I found that over time, I used one more than the other. So every iteration forward, I bought that size. The hint is in my signature.
  8. cedwhatev macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2011
    It's all about preference, plain and simple. I LOVE the 11", but my wife is partial to the 13". Everyone is different. I've always preferred more compact computers... before getting on the MBA bandwagon, I had three netbooks, all 10". But if I were you, and couldn't decide, I'd have bought the 11", like you did. If I were questioning myself like you are right now, I'd be swapping it for the 13"... but that's just my opinion.
  9. yosemit macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2013
    Have you thought about using it with an external display? A 24" display is about $150-250 nowadays. Then the 11" MBA is even more practical (much more) than the 13". That's how I use my 11" MBA for 85% of time. For the rest 15% of time, the 11" does a perfect job for web browsing, checking email, taking notes, and giving presentation.

  10. fizzler thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2010
    thanks folks. I think that i am going to stick with the 11" and see how i get on for at least a couple more days.

    I have now adjusted the text size in mail to 14pt, which is much better. I have also started to use google chrome, in which you are able to automatically set the zoom to 110%. This means that I no longer need to keep using 'CMD+' all the time.

    I can already tell that my MBA is going to make my iMac a bit redundant. This is why in the back of my mind I am still thinking about exchanging to a 13" model.

    I will let you know what i decide. Thanks again.
  11. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I went from a 2011 13" MBA to an 11" 2013 MBA and am very happy. You are right, the text can be very small in some programs and that isn't so much of an issue on the 13" machine. I had to change some settings myself - increasing the size in Mail was definitely needed.

    For me, the smaller size is a reasonable trade off for the additional portability. On paper, you wouldn't think there was much difference, but the 11" machine really is noticeably smaller and lighter.

    I use a big screen and external keyboard most of the time, so the screen issue isn't a big deal for me. But it's hard to beat the 11" MBA when you travel.
  12. Mike Oxard macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

    Oct 22, 2009
    If you ever need to do something where you must have the larger display, you can boot the Air in target disk mode, connect it to the iMac with a FW800 cable and select it as the boot disk. Then reboot the iMac and it'll run using the Air's system.
  13. fizzler thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2010
    getting to grips with the 11" now. Pretty sure i'm going to keep it. Another useful thing that I have found for maximising screen usage is selecting 'presentation mode' for browsing in chrome. This hides all of the tabs and top menu, dedicating the entire screen to each web page (unlike 'full screen mode' alone).

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