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View Full Version : Does anyone actually use an 11" MBA as a full time work notebook?



Alec Fraser
9th August 2012, 06:11 PM
So it's bonus time, and I'm considering switching my mid-2010 unibody MBP out for something a little more svelte. It's only a dual core model, with the 8gig of ram doing most of the heavy lifting for me...so speeedwise either the highest spec 11" or 13" would do.

What I'm really curious about is if there's anyone out there who finds the 1366x768 on the 11" usable as an all day every day work machine?

I contact out to clients, so live on my MBP without an external screen. Physical size doesn't bug me, going from a 15" to a 13" at the same res is fine. Just curious if anyone has found it feasible to go ultraportable.

Orestes
9th August 2012, 10:39 PM
the 1280x800 resolution is usable on the 13" MacBook Pro so thats not the problem. What IS the problem for me at least is the half sized trackpad on the 11" Air and the fact that I think 1366x768 is to high of a resolution for an 11" screen. I have good eyesight but almost everything about the 11" Air is too small. If you're going to go with the Air, go with the 13" otherwise at this stage look at the 15" Retina.

I have thought about the 11" Air in the past, but I think its just a bit too small and more aimed at the Netbook market, but with much higher specs. I found after playing with one for a while that I couldn't give up the full sized trackpad and that the trackpad size and resolution of the 11" Air are actually compromises vs. my 13" Pro.

Lutze
9th August 2012, 11:06 PM
I use the 13 Air all day, but in one office I have a 24inch display - the other nothing.

Now that it's out and available I'd go for the Retina MBP (I went from a 17 inch MBP to the Air)

teej
9th August 2012, 11:35 PM
I've got last years 11" in the 4gb / 1.8ghz i7 config. I've not found the screen to be an issue but I have sometimes wished it had more RAM and a couple more hours battery life.

Geoff3DMN
10th August 2012, 10:54 AM
I've got an 11" Air and my partner has got a 13" Air, I've used the 13" pretty often and whilst I like the extra screen real estate of the 13" the extra size makes it significantly more unwieldy than the 11" to the point where I won't use the 13" unless I've got a desk or table handy.

I guess it depends upon how and where you'll be using the laptop, if it's in a car sitting on your lap as you type up a job description the 11" is a better fit, if it's in an office or on a table then go for the 13".

changa
10th August 2012, 01:15 PM
I moved from an 15" Macbook Pro to the 11" Air last year. I love the Air, but do find that it is too small. If I had my time again, I would have got the 13" Air instead. For me the screen is too small (although full screen apps does help)

Orestes
10th August 2012, 11:21 PM
It seems the way of things, if I didn't get a free replacement for a new 13" MacBook Pro last year I probably would have a 13" Air, but well, I think I'd have been unhappy considering I'm looking now at putting 16gb of RAM in my pro vs. 8gb in the Air which is only marginally enough if you're using a Win 7 VM and a few apps as I am.

nibbles
11th August 2012, 08:07 AM
I find the 13" perfect. 11" would be too small for me.

Alec Fraser
11th August 2012, 01:55 PM
It seems the way of things, if I didn't get a free replacement for a new 13" MacBook Pro last year I probably would have a 13" Air, but well, I think I'd have been unhappy considering I'm looking now at putting 16gb of RAM in my pro vs. 8gb in the Air which is only marginally enough if you're using a Win 7 VM and a few apps as I am.

I use a Win 7 VM everyday just fine with 8gig...what apps are you running that you actually need 16gig of RAM?!

nibbles
11th August 2012, 02:11 PM
I run a VM perfectly fine with the 4gb in my MBA, it runs Access and lightweight software quite well.

The SSD makes a pretty big difference.

bartron
11th August 2012, 06:34 PM
If work hadn't insisted I get a 13" air I'd still be using my 11".

Great little machine and did everything I wanted it to do (using it for photography, x-code and some general web development). Will happily push a 24" monitor when you want to do more stuff and now it has thunderbolt it'll do all the thunderbolt goodness. I don't have big hands but they aren't small either and I found the keyboard and trackpad on the 11" quite serviceable. As a bonus, it fit into my stm ipad carry bag.

If you were to never ever hook it up to an external monitor then I might suggest going for a 13" air instead (the 13" MBP actually has slightly less screen real estate than the 11" air). The bigger screen is a lot more comfortable, but it costs more.

I'm on my 4th Air and two of them were 11". I wouldn't hesitate getting another :)

Orestes
11th August 2012, 08:32 PM
I use a Win 7 VM everyday just fine with 8gig...what apps are you running that you actually need 16gig of RAM?!

Firefox chews gigabytes of RAM after a while, then photoshop, word, a few PDFs in preview, itunes in the background, a Win7 VM with 4GB of RAM for specific windows apps voila...

Alec Fraser
11th August 2012, 09:23 PM
Again, I've gotta ask what apps need 4Gig of RAM on Win 7?

I run Firefox all day, every day, along with word, safari, outlook, lync, a bunch of stuff in preview and the Win 7 VM with 2gig of RAM and I've got RAM to spare...

Thingme
12th August 2012, 09:17 AM
Again, I've gotta ask what apps need 4Gig of RAM on Win 7?

Well, talking games, Skyrim won't run stably in 4GB especially if your Win 7 is 32-bit. Just saying ...

Geoff3DMN
12th August 2012, 09:24 AM
Well, talking games, Skyrim won't run stably in 4GB especially if your Win 7 is 32-bit. Just saying ...

Yes... but most people aren't going to be playing Skyrim on a MacBook Air!

Skyrim needs a 6850 to get high settings and a 7850 to really get the game playing well.

Alec Fraser
13th August 2012, 01:55 PM
Well, talking games, Skyrim won't run stably in 4GB especially if your Win 7 is 32-bit. Just saying ...

As Geoff3DMN pointed out, I'm talking specifically about apps running in a Windows 7 VM here.

Anyone trying to run Skyrim in a VM on an Air is batshit insane! ;)

5280420
7th January 2013, 12:57 AM
The 11" MBA does have a full size trackpad.

alvin
10th January 2013, 09:39 AM
The owners of 37signals apparently find the 11" MBA perfect as their only machine:

Jason Fried: A few product recommendations by Jason Fried of 37signals (http://37signals.com/svn/posts/3237-a-few-product-recommendations)
DHH: The MacBook Air could easily be the only machine by David of 37signals (http://37signals.com/svn/posts/858-the-macbook-air-could-easily-be-the-only-machine)

Once my macbook pro fails I'll get one! :)