MBA for a college student? 11" or 13"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by lego8, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. lego8 macrumors regular

    lego8

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    #1
    I'm looking to buy a laptop to bring with me to classes for taking notes, researching, and writing essays. I do a bit of photography and coding on the side, but nothing heavy.

    ...So I've got two questions: 1) is the Air a good choice for me? Can any other college students speak to this? 2) Should I go with the 11" or 13"? Considering the amount of reading and writing I plan to do on the machine, I'm leaning towards the 13" -- but then again, the Air is only attractive because of its small size, so isn't buying the 13" counterintuitive? The 11" is just so sexy! :cool: I feel like I'd be able to pull it out anywhere at any time. Maybe the 13" is just as small and portable though. I'd like to hear some opinions on this in particular. Thanks!
     
  2. miguueeel macrumors member

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    Dec 8, 2010
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    Chicago
    #2

    How about a macbook pro?
     
  3. easten700 macrumors newbie

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    Dec 28, 2010
    #3
    I'm a college student using the 11 inch air, and it's perfect. Sold my 13 inch pro for it and happy I did. Its perfect for taking notes and you wont even notice it in your backpack. And DEFINITELY go for the 11 inch, after a week of using mine I couldn't even notice the size difference coming from the 13 inch.

    The point you make about being able to pull it out anywhere at anytime is SO true with the air. I find myself pulling it out of my bag much more (for random things) than before.
     
  4. 1rottenapple macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    #4
    the 11 is perfect imo. has enough power for photo editing (so I've heard-don't personally do that), and perfect for those tiny desk they have in college lecture halls.
     
  5. potentpotable macrumors regular

    potentpotable

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    #5
    Agreed, those stupid desk-attached-to-chair things don't give much room, and the 11" barely makes the cut.

    I spend upwards of eight hours a day staring at (soaking in) the beautiful 11.6" screen, and I have zero complaints. From gaming to school work to more gaming, there's not a single criticism about it from friends that I haven't been able to rebuke (battery life, size, etc). Most of them have 13" Pros and claim superiority, but we all know who ends up complaining about back problems from lugging around a 4.5lb beast along with textbooks and food... :D
     
  6. Shasta McNasty macrumors 6502a

    Shasta McNasty

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Location:
    Southern Cali
    #6
    Im in college, and have the 13" air. For you, i would say its best. The difference in size is what 1.5"? Thats nothing. And weight? .6 pounds difference. The mechanical pencil you take to class will be like the difference in weight. Plus if you do some light photo editing or whatever, the 13" would be better. I would rather pay $100 more and get a better screen resolution and battery life. With the 11, if you are out and about all day you might need to take the charger. Once the "novelty" of the 11" runs out, i think a lot of people are going to be wishing they had got the 13" instead.
     
  7. Cerano macrumors 6502

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    Oct 28, 2010
    #7
    the 13" feels huge in comparison. i wouldnt take one even if it was given to me for free
     
  8. Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000

    Abyssgh0st

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    #8
    I am a student and have a 11.6" Air. I love it. However, I am a bit spoiled and I have a 21.5" iMac and 24" ACD as a base station at home, so one of the main reasons I don't mind the 11.6" screen (even though it is beautiful) is the fact that I have two large screens waiting for me at home.

    So if it's your only computer, and you don't want/cannot afford an external monitor (I'd suggest a used 24" ACD, if you could find one cheap paired with a 11.6" 1.4GHz, 4GB, 64GB MBA with a 500GB (or so) external harddrive), I'd have to say the 13" is best for you.
     
  9. Shasta McNasty macrumors 6502a

    Shasta McNasty

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    Southern Cali
    #9
    ^^My ass. Sure it "looks" huge but it really isnt. You must be a small guy to think it really is so different you wouldnt take one for free. :rolleyes:
     
  10. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

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    Location:
    baltimore, md
    #10
    Or consider dropbox. Great alternative to external.
     
  11. Cerano macrumors 6502

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    Oct 28, 2010
    #11
    well one man's meat is another's poison

    im 6"2 but it makes a world of a difference to me
     
  12. abuleban macrumors member

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    Nov 13, 2010
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia
    #12
    both are great

    but if its your only computer, go with the 13 and max it as much as you can

    If it is just for mobile use and you have another machine at home, the 11 will be fine

    either way, you are very happy!:)
     
  13. Shasta McNasty macrumors 6502a

    Shasta McNasty

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    Southern Cali
    #13
    Couldnt agree more!
     
  14. size100 macrumors regular

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    Dec 18, 2010
    #14
    The 13" is still small and considerably lighter than something like the MBP 13", along with having a higher resolution screen, SSD, and only slihgtly slower processor. It is still very portable. You don't need something you can fit in your pocket. You just need something that is easy enough to carry around.
     
  15. JaneEyre macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    #15
    I was in the same dilemma as you and in the end i chose the 13 inch. Why?

    - The battery life is 2 extra hours. If you're working with wifi on 5 hours is really what you are gonna get, and that was too short for me. If you're not planning to use wifi while outside then you can forget this because then you're able to get about 7 hours out of your 11,6".
    - I wanted at least the 1,6ghz. For the price of an 11,6 with that upgrade, I could get a 13,3 with an even faster processor and better display resolution. They're both about 1400 dollar; then the choice is easy.

    It's always a personal thing but I can oficcially announce here that after a week of using it, I'm still happy with the 13,3 ;)
     
  16. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    #16
    ...

    two reasons I like the 13 better than the 11. One is the battery life is longer on the 13 and the second is the 13 has a normal sized trackpad and because of the size of the 11" air its trackpad is much smaller. I like the big trackpad surface, its very nice for multitouch gestures, if they start bringing ios games to the mac when the mac app store comes I will want to have a normal sized touchpad and not a smaller one, however the 11" is nice and if it had the same battery life as the 13 I may have looked the other way on the smaller trackpad issue. There simply isn't room on the 11 for apple to put the bigger trackpad
     
  17. lego8 thread starter macrumors regular

    lego8

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    #17
    Thanks for everybody's opinions. I'm still vacillating though. I plan to go see the two machines in person soon. Hopefully that'll spark some feelings for one vs. the other. At this point these are my thoughts:

    11 --
    *pros: size perfect for desks, processor is nearly the same as 13", screen ppi is higher than the 13"
    *cons: processor can't be bumped up very high, screen might be too small & might strain my eyes, no ssd slot

    13 --
    *pros: a bit faster (noticeably though?), bigger screen better for writing essays and researching
    *cons: size might be too big for taking out in class and small lectures (still need to see it in person to determine), same size as a mbp but more expensive for worse performance

    One last question though to 11 inchers who use it as their main computer... is it enough? Screen-wise, processor-wise, etc. How does the battery perform? Well enough?
    And to the 13 inchers... is the size too obtrusive in class? Would you rather carry around the 11 inch?
     
  18. benjaminbr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    #18
    I went with the 11" for two main reasons: It fits perfectly in the in the hydration pouch of my cycling backpack, which is how I get to campus and, second, I have a keyboard and 24" monitor on my desk where I hook up for the longhaul papers. Since I'm upgrading from a G4 mac mini and Dell Mini hackintosh, so the this is massive step up from both of them (except in clockspeed, har har) Anyways, to me its invaluable to be able to write and edit two documents side by side so this set up works great for me. Hope this helps, and if you aren't tight for dough you won't regret either choice.
     
  19. feflower macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    #19
    I would try for the 11" if you can. I'm a grad student and I have a 13" MBP; but I wish I had the new Air.

    If you are also eyeing the iPad, you might want to consider the iPad and keyboard for heavy typing. It might do for lots of undergrads, and you get a good pdf reader when you want to lounge on the couch.

    If you are in humanities the 128G hard drive should be more than enough. I only use about 80G. I keep non-essential audio/video/photos on a external.
     
  20. Shasta McNasty macrumors 6502a

    Shasta McNasty

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    Jan 5, 2010
    Location:
    Southern Cali
    #20
    Notice how a lot of people who have the 11" say they have another machine at home to connect it to, or another machine when they want to do "heavy" work. This just goes to show you that if its your one and only computer, (like it is mine) the 13" is the best way to go hands down. I came from a 2010 uMBP to this 13" air and i can you the difference is night and day. Even though they are both 13".
     
  21. lego8 thread starter macrumors regular

    lego8

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    #21
    I do notice that a lot of people have other machines in addition to their 11 in. MBA. I wonder if somebody who uses the 11 as their primary machine can chime in?
     
  22. iRun26.2 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #22
    Except when I'm at work, my 11.6" MBA is the only computer I ever use (and I do use it for work-stuff at home, too).
     
  23. iRun26.2 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #23
    Graduate Studies

    I sure wish I would have had my 11.6" MBA back when I was in graduate school. Back then, I had to carry around a much larger laptop computer (a Dell PC) to the university. It made my back sore walking back and forth from school to my car.

    The 11.6" MBA would have worked out great to not only use to write my thesis but also perform the required thesis simulations in MATLAB.
     
  24. powerbook911 macrumors 68040

    powerbook911

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    #24
    I still think a 13 is a fantastic machine too. Great screen real estate.

    However, the 11 is great too. I have an air as a second computer. I wrote a review right when it came out saying I think it should only be a second computer.

    Some can actually make this a primary computer now that I have used it longer. It is a solid machine. You do probably need good eyes for either of the new airs, with the higher screen resolution though.
     
  25. hajime macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #25
    It depends on your work environment and work habit. You should check for availability of electric outlets at places that you go often. If you have the 13", maybe you don't need to carry the power supply? I compared the 11" and 13" side by side. When browsing the same website, there is a noticeable difference between the two. So, do you like to scroll often or prefer to see more things at once?
     

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