Skip to main content

MacBook Air 11" vs 13": my take!

Well, there seemed to be two camps debating loudly over the Internet as to which is the better choice - a MacBook Air (MBA) 11" or 13". These are my thoughts.

Some background. I come from using a Windows notebook for years, notably the Lenovo ThinkPad. A few years ago, I used a T400, a 14" power horse that runs at a resolution of 1440xsomething. It was a pretty good machine. But I hated it. The reason I hate it was its weight and size. It's not a big monster, mind you. 14" at that time was state of the art. The weight, though, is a killer.

I decided to ask for a change. My company changed it to a X200. The X200 is noticeably lighter but I have one reservation. I am not sure if I could accept the smaller screen and smaller screen real estate. The X200 has a resolution of 1280x800. I use Excel a lot. Can I see my whole spreadsheet?

When I finally got the X200, I thought it was the best ThinkPad I ever had! Best ever! It was so light at 1.5kg. The 12" didn't bother me at all. The smaller 1280x800 resolution didn't reduce my productivity. I love it that I could carry it around as I move from meeting rooms to meeting rooms.

So, when I decided to consider a MBA, my first choice was 11". Light and small is my mantra now. In reality, it is actually 11.6". What's more, during the CNY red day sale, it just cost RM2,788. Cheap right? I placed my order online. Then as I was waiting for it to ship, fate had it that I stopped by machines and saw the MBA 13". Hmm, I thought to myself then. 13" seems to be nicer. Yes, it is heavier and it feels bulkier compare to the MBA 11" but I get more screen real estate. Not only that, you get longer battery life (MBA 11" has 5 hours while MBA 13" has 7 hours). Isn't 13" a better choice? Did I just made a mistake?

For days I researched the Net. I read articles and articles and visited forums (MacRumors). I found that this question was what's troubling many potential MBA buyers. In forums poll, though, the results are pretty even. Maybe the MBA 13" leads by a mere 1%-2% but it is still a very small lead.

I struggled with this question. I could still cancel my order. I still have time. Should I do it?

Finally I found peace.

I went back to basic. Why did I order 11" in the first place? It was the price. The lowest MBA 11" was RM2788. But I can't settle for a 2GB machine and 64GB storage, so I have already forced myself to bear the additional cost of RM600 for the upgrades. It is beyond my budget already. I can't see myself plonking an additional RM300 for another 13" and 2 hour battery life. So, it was the price that was the main factor, I reminded myself.

The second thing is portability. Yes, 13" gives a more screen real estate. But 13", when you clam it shut and carry it around, feels like carrying a A3-size folio paper. It does. When you compare carrying the 11" and the 13", 13" is gigantic. And this reminds me of my T400. How I hated carrying that monster around! The 11" though is just right. It feels like carrying an iPad. You could easily hold it between your arm pit while you carry your coffee or while peeing (LOL!) So yeah, the size worked for me.

What about the screen real estate? You know, the 11" has more screen real estate than my X200. Excel was able to show me 3 more columns compared to when I opened it in X200. How did they do it? The MBA has very high res screen.. and there in lies a problem though. The fonts are tiny! I had to do 150% zoom in Excel to see comfortably. The font are crisps and sharp - so is the display.. but they are just too tiny for my middle age bespectacled eyes.

Aha... you said. 13" is better then! Actually, it is not. The 13" is physically bigger but remember that it has higher resolution as well. So it is still the high res screen. The font is still tiny but you get to see more windows.

So, as many people in the Net will end up advising you, it's really up to personal preference. Do you want portability (size) vs  lugging a A3 folio? Do you move about a lot? Is price a factor? Remember, you are choosing the Air and not the Pro and not other laptop for one very good reason. You wanted light and portability.. that's why you are considering an Air, right? So, why not choose the lightest of them all?

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

One million daimoku

In April 2008, Anne and I started our resolution to chant 1 million daimoku in one year. It's already Jan - and I am only one-third of the way. I really need to WORK HARDER - coz I made another 1 million resolution from Jan - Dec 2009. The chart you see on the right of this post is a chart that we put beside our butsudan. It tracked our chanting progress. Every 20 minute, we coloured one box. Mine is the one on top, Anne's at the bottom - you can see that she made much better progress than me! Hmmm.. come to think of it, I am not even at one third!! --- Edit 22 March 2009: Thanks to Google, a couple of friends in faith found this post and they want to know how many hours of chanting is required to achieve one million diamoku. Here it is. Based on our publication in Malaysia, 20 minutes of chanting is equivalent to 1,000 daimoku. So, one hour is 3,000 daimoku. 1 million would take about 333 hours. --- Edit 8 April 2018: Checking my blogger stats, this post is pretty hi

Amazon Alexa in Malaysia - does it work well? A review...

Feels like Christmas in September. Thanks to Doktor Cinta, my friend who live in Australia. Back in July, Amazon Australia had a Prime Day. I joined the trial using my usual Amazon account and ordered an Echo Dot, Echo Plus (the taller one with a built-in hub) and a Kindle Paperwhite, shipping them to a dear friend in Australia. My friend visited Malaysia and brought the Echos with him two weeks ago. You can imagine my thrill to get my hands on Alexa and start using it... in Malaysia. As a side story, sometimes, you can't believe how events are aligned properly to prepare my place to be a connected home - I bought a superb new mesh network router, eero (by the way, I'd say it's one of my best electronic purchases after an iPhone! It is that good), which acts as a strong WiFi backbone as it blanket my double storey house with a reliable and fast WiFi. Then, maxis launched Fibernation program which let me to upgrade my internet from 6 Mbps (pathetic) to 100 Mbps wit

Why did we choose Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Megah?

Which school did we transfer Jane to, that's probably what is in your mind? The graphics and the title above would have informed you the name of this school. But why this school? We first heard of Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Megah from a friend. Her 8 and 11 year old daughters are now studying there. Typically, she doesn't really talk much about the school but when probed further, she told us all about the school. There are few things she said which struck me really hard. The first being that the kids and the staff in the school are a happy lot. Yes, even the staff. She said when you go to the school and talked to the teachers, the Headmistress Puan Khoo or even the office staff, you will feel an ambiance of  warmth and politeness from everyone. It's a very pleasant feeling, unlike many schools where the atmosphere is cold. And she also said that the children there, her own two daughters, are always looking forward to school. The second thing she said which also left