Which lower-end portable: MBA 11/MBA 13/rMB 12?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dmk1974, Mar 7, 2016.

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Which lower-end portable: MBA 11/MBA 13/rMB 12?

  1. A.) MBA 11" 4/128: $730

    9 vote(s)
    16.7%
  2. B.) MBA 13" 4/128: $810

    8 vote(s)
    14.8%
  3. C.) rMB 12" 8/256: $875

    26 vote(s)
    48.1%
  4. D.) Wait

    11 vote(s)
    20.4%
  1. dmk1974 macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #1
    I'm feeling a bit limited by my Samsung Chromebook which I use in addition to my Mac Mini. I'm looking at the 3 base models for each version. Mainly for use on the couch and some rare use out of the house. I don't need a lot of storage since most of my files are on the cloud or on the Mac Mini.

    I know these are all towards the end of their life cycles and maybe should hold off, but there are some decent deals on these at Best Buy at the moment. With open box and a coupon and RZ points earned, here's what the following should cost after taxes.

    A.) MBA 11" 4/128: $730
    B.) MBA 13" 4/128: $810
    C.) rMB 12" 8/256: $875
    D.) Wait

    Which do you think is the best choice? As noted above, I'm currently using a $150 11" Chromebook with a 1166x768 display. Nice and cheap and not too bad, but just not Mac OS.
     
  2. pbasmadj macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #2
    Personally, if given the options I would definitely go with the 13" Air. That being said, I am in the exact same boat as you looking for the same type of computer. My current status is most definitely, wait. I really am hoping a new Air is released with Retina Display. That would be the near perfect computer for me. I am not a fan of the rMB as its functionality is just so sub par, and you really can barely do anything with it as far as connectivity, external drives, or even charging your phone while having the computer plugged in! Not for me. I am definitely in the wait camp as it will be probably ~3 months or less before we know. I hope they really do some great things with Mac soon, I am not caring as much about the phones as the Mac right now.
     
  3. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #3
    My wife has a 13" MBA and I would say it's the best "compromise" of the MacBooks. Great battery, good enough power, good ports and connectivity...just kinda large footprint with a non-retina screen. But at 1440x900, not bad at all for browsing, spreadsheets, or whatever.

    I love the form factor of the 12" rMB and the screen on it a lot. Not in love with the single USB-C port. And the battery life and CPU power are no better than the 11" MBA. rMB has twice the RAM though which is a plus.
     
  4. Mr Kram macrumors 68000

    Mr Kram

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    #4
    for a direct replacement, of your chromebook, i'd take the 11" MBA. i am a non-power user and i've gone from MBP to MB to MBA and from 15" to 13" to 11". the new 12" MB interests me as i'm buying something new soon, but the single USB C port bugs me also.
     
  5. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
  6. r6mile macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #6
    At those prices, I think the rMB seems like the best value because you are getting twice the RAM, twice the storage, and a retina screen for only $65 more than the 13 MBA (which I have and I love). That said, you have to contend with a single USB-C port (which might be all right since this is not your main machine), and getting used to the new keyboard.
     
  7. SmOgER macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    #7
    Let's not forget that rMB is a much less powerful machine than MBA. An extra RAM won't help you here.

    But yeah, this just goes to show how much overpriced rMB really is, even at this massively reduced price it's not a straight forward winner against MBA.
     
  8. jmoore5196, Mar 8, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016

    jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Location:
    Midwest US
    #8
    I've been a fervent MBA advocate over the past few years. I bought a refurb MB last week (the 1.3/256 configuration) and absolutely love it. It's quite a change from my 'ultimate' 11" MBA, but the improvement in the display is incredible. I can get used to the keyboard and work around the limitations of the single port.

    As others have noted, an MBA with a retina display would really defeat the purpose of the MBA. Adding the display would tax the processor, which now handles almost anything with aplomb, and it would dramatically shorten the battery life. Everything that could be added to the MBA as a 'new feature' brings with it a compromise of sorts. I trust Apple will not 'gimp' the MBA by saddling it with a retina display.

    I fully agree with the OP's notion that the MBA represents the best 'compromise' laptop. However, the best compromise is also a compromise: Display quality is sub-par by modern standards, and the broad bezel and overall design are aging.

    My key criteria is portability, and perhaps the 11" MBA is less of an obvious choice. As I've said, the MB is certainly the laptop of the future ... just how far in the future remains an open question.
     
  9. organic bond macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #9
    I owned a rMB 12" and returned it. Main reason: battery life, which is actually almost half than that of an MBA 13". That's why you'd better wait if you can. If not, an MBA is good, up to you which one, I prefer the 13": more powerful, longer battery life, bigger screen. But that's a matter of tastes/needs.
     
  10. whittywife macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2016
    #10
    I am in a similar boat to you. But I currently have the 12" rMB. I can't get used to the keyboard, despite typing approx. 20 page papers per week on it. I've had it for over 6 months. I am learning towards the 13" MBA due to the size of the screen and how much I loved my old MacBook with 13" screen.
     
  11. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #11
    Thanks for all of the comments so far. It sucks when there is no "perfect" MacBook :) I think if the rMB 12" was a hair thicker, had all the same ports of the rMBP 13, and the battery life of the MBA 13, they could sell a million of them.

    For now, I went ahead and ordered an open box 11" from Best Buy. I don't love ordering one for delivery without seeing it (since open box) but I can always return it if no bueno. With the coupon and certs earned, it will come out to $680 actually so not too bad. Downside that I can tell already though, per the order status and serial number on it, it only has ~4 months warranty left on it. But I'll have it in hand in a few days and see if it's decent.
     
  12. SmOgER macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
  13. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #13
    Not sure. Bought online and it said "Open Box Excellent". However, I just contacted Apple with the serial number and after being passed to a few folks, they updated the purchase date on it! Even though it may be 8 months old, I will still get the full 1-year warranty to March 2017.

    Now I hope when I get it Thursday it doesn't look like a beat up floor model.
     
  14. r6mile macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    #14
    Great news about the warranty! Did they need any persuading?
     
  15. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #15
    Nope, just explained it and uploaded a pdf of my online receipt which had the serial number on it. Did take about 1/2 hour of online chat and phone call time. When it arrives, I'll of course double check and make sure it matches! :)
     
  16. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Location:
    Midwest US
    #16
    Not trying to hijack the thread, but I'd love to know what Whitty Wife and Organic Bond have experienced in terms of MB battery life. I'm embarking on my first 'road trip' with my new MB tomorrow, so it's kind of a shakedown cruise for the little notebook. This was also my first experience with Apple refurbished product, which I'm happy to say was top-notch.
     
  17. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #17
    I actually did own a 12" rMB for a couple weeks late last year. Very cool, but to me it was a little slow (despite the 8 MB RAM). Mainly returned it because I couldn't justify that battery and weak power for the "new" price at the time. Screen was awesome though!

    I did pace out the battery over a few extended periods and in my real-use testing (of mostly web browsing, some MS Office apps, and occasional iTunes, photos, and videos) I got a 100% usage pace of 5:35 (H:MM). Screen was at 12 "dots" and backlit keyboard at 2 "dots".

    I'm curious how the 11" MBA compares.
     
  18. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a

    jmoore5196

    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Location:
    Midwest US
    #18
    Nearly double, I think ... 10 hours was not uncommon for me. My time is a combination of web usage, Adobe CC apps and the occasional iTunes movie.

    I'll be interested to see how my MB performs! At least I haven't sold my MBA and I'm well within the 14-day return period.
     
  19. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Shanghai, PRC
    #19
    An easier way to get the full 12 month warranty would have been to order a refurb from Apple directly. Right now there is non in-stock but you can get a 11" 4/128 for below $700 there.
     
  20. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #20
  21. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Shanghai, PRC
    #21
  22. RodeoLinebacker macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2015
    #22
    Based on your intended usage, I would opt for "C" or "D". I'm in the same boat in that these days, I mostly use Office apps, surf, play music, etc. and occasionally use Adobe CC apps. I'm waiting for the next iteration of the rMB 12 to see if Apple adds another USB-C port and/or bumps up the memory and SSD specs. I really would like 1TB in my portable.

    As an alternative in the meantime, I'm using a new iPad Pro in conjunction with the Logitech Create folio keyboard. It works really well, gives me the Retina screen (slightly larger than the 12 as well) and long battery life, and I have access to MS Office apps. I have an Anker PowerCore+ that I sometimes use to extend the battery on the iPad and also charge my iPhone. If I do end up getting a MacBook, I can still use the iPad Pro as an external display via the DuetDisplay app. If you don't need specific OS X apps, the iPad Pro might be a good solution too.
     
  23. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #23
    Got the 11" MBA and all set up. So far so good! Seems faster than a MBA 11 that I had in the past. No issues so far with just the 4 GB RAM and my limited use.
     
  24. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #24
    Congratulations!

    No idea why people always believe that there might be issues with 4gb ram. Even with non-limited use 4gb will suffice for quite a lot.
     
  25. SmOgER macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    #25
    Well Apple made them feel that way by stuffing 8GB into rMB as if it were gonna make up for the much slower CPU... :D
     

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