Ode to the 11" Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by MultiFinder17, Nov 20, 2016.

  1. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #1
    I love small laptops; always have, probably always will.

    My first laptop that I could 100% claim as mine was a 12" PowerBook that I saved up for in high school and finally bought when I graduated. That little laptop lasted me all through college (computer science, a lot of coding, way too many papers) being carried everywhere I went, going through two batteries, and serving me well as a reliable, portable computer. It finally started showing its age to me around 2010, and I felt that it was time for something new.

    Looking at Apple's lineup at the time, I was drawn towards the Air, but they were simply too expensive for a poor college student. I ended up settling on a used 2009 Air, and fell in love with it. The machine shaved 1/3 of the weight off, gave me a higher-res screen, and was faster in every way. Except the HDD. After a year or so I purchased a replacement SSD for the Air, and it absolutely screamed! That machine ended up serving me well for the next five years, until it too started to show its age to me around 2015.

    My main gripes about the Air were the limited ports (that little door was a PITA), and the fact that it rarely ever hit its top speed due to heat. I was absolutely infatuated with the size and weight though. I wasn't super worried about extreme CPU or GPU performance, although I did want considerably more storage than the 120GB SSD that I had in the Air. As a beginning teacher, price was once again an issue, so to the used market I looked. I found a 2011 11" base model Air (1.6 i5, 2GB RAM) with a 256GB SSD here on MacRumors, and ended up getting it for $400.

    I was tepid about the 11", thinking that it might be too small for my liking. My goodness was I wrong. This little notebook has traveled everywhere with me all day every day, and I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with it! The form factor is perfect for me, it has a wonderful keyboard, all the features of a much larger notebook, and the size and weight of something that should be far less powerful than it is. This little 11" Air has gotten me hooked on the form factor.

    Alas, it is limited. Having only 2GB RAM, it works for much of what I use it for at school, tasks that generally revolve around basic productivity. But going much beyond that, the machine begins to struggle. Despite that, the machine has certainly exceeded my expectations as a primary notebook. Much to my dismay, Apple chose to discontinue the 11" Air, seemingly closing my options for a new notebook in the future.

    After a bit of eBay hunting, I came across a 2015 11" Air with an i5, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD. It seemed like a solid deal at $800, so I nabbed it. It is on its way here as I type, and I plan on making it into my primary personal notebook, relegating the 2011 to school-only duty. I can see this new 11" Air serving my needs as a laptop for quite some time to come, and I look forward to a long and productive life with it!

    What're your 11" Air stories? Feel free to share below :)
     
  2. Boyd01, Nov 20, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016

    Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #2
    First computer was an Apple ][ back in 1978, got a 512k "Fat Mac" in 1985. First Apple laptop was a PowerBook Duo 210 somewhere around 1994 and there have been many after that, along with many desktop systems. In 2011 I upgraded my 2008 15" MBP to a 13" MBA i5/4gb/256gb and it was a huge increase in power and battery runtime. In 2013 I got an 11" i7/8gb/512gb MBA and it's been my primary computer ever since then. It is by far my favorite Apple laptop and should continue to meet my needs for several more years.

    Although it can certainly handle Final Cut Pro and Logic, I recently setup a dedicated machine for video editing - a 2012 i7 2.6ghz quad core Mac Mini Server with 16gb RAM and 256gb SSD (plus 20TB of external disks and a number of peripherals).

    Apple likes to kill off their babies, but such is the way of the world I guess. Will move on to whatever best meets my needs when my 11" MBA starts to show its age. The Mini is even more curious, the current models are seriously crippled IMO. My 2012 Mini is 1.5x faster than the current top of the line model (they discontinued the quad core models and now only offer dual).
     
  3. Brammy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    #3
    I wrote about the Air when I got it here.

    I still like it. I also have a 2011 MacBook Pro 15" that I like a lot. I have eyes good enough I can tell the difference between the PPI on the Air and 15. The Air is slightly better.

    I love I can throw it in my Tom Bihn Ristretto. Most days, my iPad Pro is my primary mobile device but I can toss the 11" into the Ristretto with the IPP without a second thought. The 15" requires me using a second bag which is a PITA.

    That said, I'm not sure I'd get one again. I've thought about replacing it (although with two serviceable laptops, replacing them is more of a want than a need). I'm equally split on the MacBook 512g or the 13" Pro without the touchbar (512g). I think if the MacBook had two ports it would be a slam dunk. I'm a student so I can get the EDU pricing which helps a tad.

    My only real regret is not getting the 512g model of the 11". I did get a 128g nano flash drive to help with the storage. It sits almost flush so I don't have to worry about it snapping off in my bag.
     
  4. elf69 macrumors 65816

    elf69

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Location:
    Cornwall UK
    #4
    Just bought a 13" macbook air for my fiancee, on route to me as we speak.

    2GB ram and 120GB SSD.

    I like the air design but just too much to buy even a used decent model.
    I would need 4-8GB ram for work and a decent cpu.

    My fiancee can cope with a 2009 model ok as it only to be used for backing up iphone as her ipad air is primary computer.
     
  5. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68030

    Ulenspiegel

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    Nov 8, 2014
    Location:
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
  6. markusberger macrumors member

    markusberger

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    #6
    I just recently bought a "refurbished" MBA 11'' 2015 model, i7 & 8GB RAM. I was debating for a long time, if I wanted to replace my aging MBP 17'' 2011 i7 SSD + HDD or just needed something to complement it on the go.

    A iPad was never enough for me, as I own an iPhone 7 and I didn't really see the point of having an iOS device with a larger screen. I absolutely love my 2011 17'' MBP, it cost me a fortune back then, but the matt screen, the sheer screen real estate and just everything about this "old timer" keep me from selling or retiring it. It never let me down and is still a fast machine. It is big and heavy though, so I was really in need of something portable.

    I was considering getting a 2016 13'' MBP but since they got rid of the classic keyboard (I type a lot and am reluctant about changing my habits), the (for me) useful ports, price increase etc. I opted for the 11'' Air ... what can I say: I adore this machine, it is very fast for all that I need, the screen is much better than I anticipated (pixel density is actually not bad at all) and I actually like its "quirky" looks with the large bezels ;)

    So now I have two "one of a kind" Mac models, a 17'' MBP and a 11'' MBA ... they complement each other perfectly, and for everything really demanding (Sony A7 RAW photo editing) I use my self built hackintosh (gaming on the windows partition lol) and enjoy the beautiful curved monster of screen called 34UC98-W.

    For me, my two MacBooks have something that I miss in the new models. These are all sexy, thin, spacegrey, industrial designed ... but for me they lack something the 11'' and the 17'' have: character! Both are very capable young "old timers" and they stand for an Apple era that almost seized to exist.

    I can only recommend the 11'' Air, especially since they have as pretty much just the same processing power (see geekbench in signature) as the 13'' 2016 MBP - at half the price! For the saved money I'll get a new lens and travel somewhere nice and take pictures!

    IMG_0306.jpg
     
  7. Brammy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    #7

    My 2011 is a 15", but other than that we have the exact same story. I have had my Air for 18 months, but I'm not feeling the need to upgrade.

    That said, it would be nice to have a retina screen.
     
  8. InuNacho macrumors 65816

    InuNacho

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Location:
    In that one place
    #8
    Back in 2012 I bought one of the last of the refurb 17 inchers only to promptly have it stolen a few months later. That quickly ended the part time video work me and my buddies were doing; we weren't making much money off of it anyhow, lol. Luckily insurance covered it and I bought an 09 3.33 Mac Pro and was content with life as the 17 inch was desktop 90% of the time.

    Fast forward to November last year. I find a Sony Tap 11 for a paltry $150 on craigslist and re-enter the mobile world. Fortunately I no longer did video and just did photo stuff. Unfortunately the Tap 11 is cool looking trash.
    After a year of soul searching and fate I was able to pick up a 2015 11 inch 4gb/128 from my old community college bookstore for $550.
    I've run it pretty hard the past week and a half I've had it and I'm pretty impressed by it. It handles large PSDs pretty well and plays Bioshock decently. Size is definitely a plus as I am far more mobile than I used to be and this thing is ridiculously light.

    I don't like where Apple is headed with their "Pro" lineups and am disappointed that there will be no more of these little Airs that I've just recently fallen in love with. The portless MacBook is expensive junk and not a replacement for this little 11.
    I'll rock this little one for as long as I can.
     
  9. alex.marton, Nov 21, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016

    alex.marton macrumors 6502

    alex.marton

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2015
    Location:
    My House
    #9
    I used to have a 2012 13" cMBP. I got that in Februrary of 2013.

    I loved that MacBook, but the problem was that it was just heavy and bulky when I was travelling. I then bought an 11" MacBook Air to replace that, and I loved (and still love) my MBA. It is probably the best small laptop Apple has made. Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, and a full Intel i5-XXXXU processor.

    I do plan however to buy a Kaby Lake (2017) Macbook Retina (12"), because of the screen, and I would also like to give my 11" to my mom.

    The three things that REALLY attract me to the rMacBook, are the screen, the thinness (how it's thinner than the 11"), and the lack of a FAN. Sometimes the fans spin up, and they sound like a jet taking off (lol).

    I'm glad that this awesome piece of tech will stay in the family!!! ❤️

    Honestly, I will really miss the 11" Macbook Air, with it's low-res TN screen! :p :)
     
  10. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #10
    At the times when your old MBA fans spun up, your new rMB will slow down. :D
     
  11. Ender17 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    #11
    Good riddance. Huge bezels, 16:9 ratio screen. o_O
     
  12. markusberger macrumors member

    markusberger

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    #12
  13. alex.marton macrumors 6502

    alex.marton

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2015
    Location:
    My House
    #13
    I know haha!! :D

    I probably won't run any of those apps when I get it, so I don't think it'll be a problem... :p
     
  14. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #14
    So, really there are only two things you like about the rMB, since you could also stop running those apps on your MBA and there would be no fan noise. :)
     
  15. alex.marton macrumors 6502

    alex.marton

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2015
    Location:
    My House
    #15
    Haha, you have a very good point there! ;) :D
     
  16. Patron_Saint Suspended

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2016
    #16
    Had a 2013 maxed 11". I mostly loved it, but eventually sold it due to the screen's quality...or rather lack of quality. It caused severe eye strain for me, and while I enjoyed the size and power of it, the screen was a deal breaker.

    Now on a 2016 MBP, which gives me the thinness and portability, the power I need, and a gorgeous screen.
     
  17. MultiFinder17 thread starter macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #17
    I just got my new 2015 Air in the mail earlier today, cloned it over from my 2011 (Thunderbolt + SSDs = awesome), and it's up and running! The new graphics are noticeable. I use my laptop for occasional bouts of WoW while out in the road, and it runs so much smoother on this new machine. I don't notice the SSD or CPU speed increases as much, also much of my time is spent typing on this machine, but I do notice the new keyboard! I never realized how worn my old one was getting :p

    Looking forward to many happy years with this little computer!
     
  18. Acronyc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    #18
    My first Mac was a 2010 11" 128GB/4GB model with the base C2D CPU. It was my introduction to OS X and Macs after being a Windows only person all my life. I loved that machine, and it was because of how great it was that I've stuck with Macs since. I gave it to a family member after a few years when I traded up to a 15" rMBP and have since used various Macs, but I'll always have a soft spot for the 11" Air.
     
  19. Pugly macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2016
    #19
    I'm late to the MacBook Air game, but I was seriously missing out on a great computer the last couple of years.

    I use Macs to make music using Logic Pro, and I'm always looking to get the best Mac performance for my money. Back in 2011 when the quad core mac mini server came out, I got one to fulfill my music needs at home. And that was a really powerful machine, and I planned on using it for a long time. It really needed an ssd upgrade, but besides that it was good. Around the sometime the iPads were coming out, and the thought of using a touch interface and creating music on the go with that was on my mind.... it was just so enticing all the fun creative possibilities.

    But fast forward, and I just wasn't as fast or good using the iPad to make music. It was certainly possible, and there were lots of good options... but nothing compared to using Logic. My brain and flow just works better with a mouse and keyboard interface...

    So I decided to sell the iPad and mac mini and get a portable Mac to do music. But which one to get... the MacBook Pro is good, but I really wanted more portability.... and the cost to get it and the 256GB ssd was just too much. So I wanted to get an Air... the 13 inch was just upgraded to 8GB ram. Which made the value of the 11inch less... But portability is king, and so I got the 11inch.

    Using it has really been a revelation to me. I think it was easy for me to ignore just how great computers have gotten in the last 5 years, because they aren't as flashy as tablets and other strange computer designs. The 11inch is nearly as portable as an iPad, if you factor in using an external keyboard and stand... but with all the power of using Logic I was used to. The screen size has it's limitations, but with the right setup it can work really well. All those features to make the Mac more like an iPad really benefit the 11inch... full screen apps, multitouch gestures, spaces and whatnot.

    I really feel like I want to keep this machine running for as long as I can, and just keep repairing it and repairing it, because I don't see Apple releasing another computer like it.
     
  20. kevinkyoo macrumors 6502a

    kevinkyoo

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2016
    #20
    It's the best ultrabook Apple has (And will) ever make. I got the baseline 13" (2015) for $700 new, and I haven't regretted it ever.
     
  21. simonmet macrumors 65816

    simonmet

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Location:
    Sydney, New South Wales
    #21
    The 13" Air still looks surprisingly modern and cool. The 11" I always thought was a compromise, most notably typing comfort.
     
  22. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #22
    Hey! This is a thread for the 11" MBA. Take your bloated, gargantuan 13" MBA to another thread! :mad::p:D

    (obviously I'm joking)
     
  23. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #23
    I'm a fast touch typist and have owned both the 13" and 11" MBA. Greatly prefer the 11" (which is still my primary computer). What "typing comfort" issues did you have? Honestly, I don't think there is any significant difference between the keyboards.
     
  24. simonmet macrumors 65816

    simonmet

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Location:
    Sydney, New South Wales
    #24
    It was the size of the palm rest. Probably could've adjusted but I'm used to a 15" so prefer to rest them on the laptop.
     
  25. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #25
    Have seen that complaint before, but never noticed it myself. I went from a 2008 15" MBP to a 2011 13" MBA to a 2013 11" MBA.
     

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