Which laptop size for the "Work From Home" folks?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Sounds Good, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Sounds Good, Aug 15, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011

    Sounds Good macrumors 68000

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    #1
    Hi guys,

    I know many of you have owned both sizes of MBA, so I'm looking for your opinions and insight on this particular scenario...

    I work from home, and my laptop is usually hooked up to a 24" monitor (and a wireless keyboard and mouse). When not hooked up, I float around the house from kitchen table to coffee table to whatever. I don't travel much these days, so my laptop doesn't leave the house too often.

    Now... with that in mind, what size laptop would you guys suggest (11.6 or 13.3) and why?

    All thoughts and shared information would be appreciated.

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #2
    If portability is not a concern, get the bigger one. I find myself spending a lot of time on the kitchen table and not needing to connect to a monitor.
     
  3. Sounds Good thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #3
    I hear ya, since I do that myself with my current laptop (16.4"). I'm just wondering if the 11.6" will be "enough" for that purpose, or if I'd wish I had the larger 13.3" screen. Hard to say by simply looking at them in the Apple store (which I've done several times).
     
  4. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #4
    I had the exact same problem. The 11" is sooooo cool because its soooo small. Carrying it around must be a breeze.

    But since I USE it more than I carry it around, usability was more important to me. I played with both of them, and the screen size, trackpad size, and overall comfort of the 13" won me over. And I've been using it non-stop and glad I got the 13". I spend waaaay too much time in front of the computer, so I need to get the biggest screen I can within reason. I imagine if they made a 15" or 17" Air, there is a point where its TOO big. But since I carry my MBA on a sleeve inside my briefcase or my backpack, having the 11" didn't really buy me anything extra in mobility. For some people, the smaller size is more important. Its really up to how you use the computer the most.

    When I put the 11" on top of the 13" at the store, the 13" looks HUGE!!! It is big. But it is so thin that it really can go anywhere. Unless you plan on putting it in your cargo pants pocket. Then you need the 11".... ;)
     
  5. Sounds Good thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #5
    I just did EXACTLY this, less than an hour ago. Yep, the 13 looks huge in comparison.

    The 13 obviously has the bigger/better screen, and heck, it's only an inch by an inch and a half larger than the 11. But something about the 11 seems SO desirable, and heck, the screen isn't that much smaller! :)

    Tough call -- especially since I'm mostly attached to an external monitor.
     
  6. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #6
    Keep going back, and keep playing with them side by side. It helps! :apple:
     
  7. Sounds Good thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #7
    You know I will. ;) Thanks for the help!
     
  8. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #8
    I own both 11" and 13" MBAs. I vastly prefer the 11". The extra size is nearly irrelevant when traveling. Once it is in a bag... it really does not matter too much.

    I think the 13" is vastly inferior in terms of handling during use. If you simply keep it on the kitchen table or desk... then the 13" is fine. If you use it on the couch, recliner, bed, etc... then the handling of the 11" is so superior.

    My wife only uses hers on a table. For her 13" is best. I personally use it all over the house... usually in a casual reclined position. For me, the 11" is much better. Both of us travel a lot... and the two machines are nearly identical during transit.

    /Jim
     
  9. BENJMNS macrumors 6502

    BENJMNS

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    Dec 28, 2005
    #9
    13 hooked up to 27 acd

    11 is tempting but batt life makes it not as nifty
     
  10. Sounds Good thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Can you maybe expand on this a bit? I'd really appreciate it.

    Thanks!
     
  11. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

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    Glasgow, Scotland
    #11
    I found it totally the opposite, with the 11" I found myself hunched over it all the time. The 13" I find more comfortable to rest my hands on, type on, read from, it's noticeably more powerful than the 11" when using applications like Logic, better for image editing in photoshop. The list goes on.
     
  12. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #12
    Yeah, me too. With the 13" I found more space to balance on my lap, more space to rest my hands, and much more comfortable position to angle the screen.

    This, of course, works differently for different folks. Choice is good. The 13" isn't "better" than the 11", its smaller. And smaller isn't better or worse, its ... smaller. Size doesn't matter. Except when talking to the ladies.... :cool:
     
  13. urkel macrumors 68030

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    Nov 3, 2008
    #13
    Theres something about the Apple Store that makes the 11" seem tiny. I bought the 13" originally thinking the 11 was too small, but after trying the 11 also I realized that the screen resolution actually makes it very comfortable and I returned the 13". I even have a 24" monitor at home but I dont bother with it as much because i just love using this thing on my lap.

    Obviously its all personal choice, but Im very glad I got to try the 11" in a real world environment because I find it to be the perfect blend of portability and usabilty.
     
  14. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

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    #14
    I own both as well.

    I too like how the 11" Air handles when sitting on couch, recliner, patio ... you don't have to keep your legs flat, more fun to use in any position.

    For that reason, even though I 'should' be grabbing for the 13" due the added screen size which is beneficial for my design work, I opt for the 11" 7 maybe 8 times out of 10.

    I'm not suggesting that's the best for being the most productive but for me I just love to use the 11" ... and hey maybe I'm actually more productive on the 11" in the long run, since I get more done by using it places and for longer periods where I don't normally work.

    Looks to me the 13" is what I 'need' but the 11" is quickly proving itself to be the one I 'want'.
     
  15. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #15
    The 11" is easier to handle. Example... when I am sitting on the couch... I generally grab it with one hand (two fingers, one thumb) and move it around. Sometimes it is on my lap, other times on the arm of the couch, other times on the coffee table in front of me... other times on the seat next to me.

    The 11" is just easier to move around for two reasons. a) it is lighter, b) it's smaller and hence has a smaller moment (i.e. less "lever effect").

    Back when I had a 15" MBP and a 13" MBA... I loved the 13". Once I got the 11" MBA... the 13" started feeling large.

    Currently I own 3 MBAs. Two 11" and one 13". My wife is satisfied with the 13"... but she uses hers in one location... a table. It is small enough for her travel... and when she gets to her destination, she uses it on a table or desk. She does not move it around during use.

    By contrast... I am almost always moving mine around. The 11" is just a lot more comfortable.

    My recommendation is to consider how you will use it and then buy accordingly. It is personal choice.

    /Jim
     
  16. DieterRams macrumors regular

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    Aug 3, 2010
    #16
    Exactly... I'm trying to decide between the two myself and although the 13" is more practical and makes more sense for my needs.... argh, I cannot pull myself away to make a firm decision to order it because the 11" is SO desirable by its size and fun factor alone. I think the same way...

    As for you, you'll be attached to an external so screen size is even less of a worry for you. Why not go 11" then? For me, I won't be using an external monitor at all so I suppose I should go 13".... but damn, that 11" is mighty attractive. I'm stuck.

    ----------

    But do you do serious work on the 11"? Would you still prefer the 11" when doing work, and you didn't have an external monitor to plug into and had to use the smaller palm rest keyboard and smaller trackpad for hours?
     
  17. bill-p macrumors 68000

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    Jul 23, 2011
    #17
    I had a chance to toy with an 11" before plunging for the 13".

    There is just something about the smaller profile of the 11" that I don't quite like. The 11" feels very awkward to use when putting on my lap or when I'm lying down because I always seem to need higher elevation. I'm 6' 1" it might just be my height.

    Screen resolution is also a huge factor because texts on the 11" seem very tiny, and I write codes, read books a lot on my computer. Having to resize everything to adapt to the smaller screen size of the 11" is tedious work to me, and not to mention I get less of the screen to play with that way.

    Last but not least, I do travel quite regularly, and the battery life of the 11" is too short for me. I'm accustomed to a full day without a charger on my MBP, and after a day of using the 11", it quickly proved to me that the smaller form is only so that I have more room for a charger. I went for an iPad 2 instead at the time.

    Now I just exchanged the iPad 2 for a 13" and can't be happier.
     
  18. Sounds Good thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #18
    Awesome info guys, thanks -- please keep it comin'. :) It's interesting to see some totally opposite results!
     
  19. JSalig macrumors 6502

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    Oct 30, 2010
    #19
    A what now?!!! Maybe the 11" is superior when it comes to handling but to imply that the 13" is best suited for sitting on a desk is mind-boggling. I feel sorry for anyone's legs/arms that are so darned fragile that they can't bear the incredible weight/dimensions of a 3 lb. laptop.

    The 13 is perfectly okay to use while lounging around the house.
     
  20. Sounds Good thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #20
    Ahh, I get it. Makes sense. Thanks for explaining!
     
  21. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #21
    I have a 27" iMac that I use when sitting at a desk. It is also the place where I do my most serious work. For my MBA, I have a 30" 2560X1600 monitor at home... and a 27" 2560X1440 monitor at work. Still... for my MBA... it is mostly used for more casual tasks.

    When traveling, the MBA becomes my primary and only machine. I traveled for 10 weeks this spring with only the MBA. No problems at all.

    Regarding height (a different reply)... I am 6'7"

    /Jim
     
  22. parapup macrumors 65816

    parapup

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    Oct 31, 2006
    #22
    OP - your requirement is quite similar to mine. I ended up with a 17" hooked up to 20" ACD - I use both screens. And for the couch/bed I have a ThinkPad x220 (totally awesome btw) and for the kitchen I got a Galaxy Tab 10.1 sitting on universal stand.

    Not that I recommend you doing this - I just gradually ended up going this way as I needed 2 nearly 20" displays, dual disk drive mod and I hate to attach/detach cables too often!
     
  23. Sounds Good thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #23
    I guess I just wanna make sure it won't be too small for when I'm not attached to the monitor. And I'm guessing that once I have something this small and light, I'll probably be attached to the monitor less and less often.
     
  24. DieterRams macrumors regular

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    Aug 3, 2010
    #24
    Thanks for describing your experience. Although I'm a little surprised you didn't mention anything about the size of the keyboard and its palm rest or the smaller trackpad, given that you are 6'1" tall. What I mean is that I assume you'd perhaps have larger hands and, from my own testing in the store, even I had to curl my fingers a bit inwards to both keep my fingers on keyboard homerow (F and J) and to keep my palm/wrists above the edge so that it didn't cut into them (I'm 5'11"). And the trackpad is shorter/more stout than any other Macbook so I noticed I had to narrow the gap between my fingers and thumb to mouse around and click, versus even the 13" MBA. What about you?

    ----------

    You're a mighty tall guy :) Even for me, I had to curl my fingers inwards more while typing to keep my fingers on homerow (F and J) while maintaining my palms/wrists above the edge so it doesn't cut into them - you didn't have this issue? I'm only 5'11" and I had this issue, I'd imagine at bigger guy like you might?

    And what about the smaller trackpad? I noticed I had to narrow the gap between my fingers and thumb in order to mouse around and click. While the 13" MBA's trackpad was just fine. Do you have to narrow the gap too yet you are ok with that? Or do you not even need to narrow at all?

    I'm just thinking that your hands may be as big or bigger than mine, given your height (sorry for the incorrect assumption, if so).
     
  25. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

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    #25
    Certainly is! Relax. We're just talking about what we 'prefer'.
     

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