Testing 11-inch MacBook Air


There she is.

I’ve been meaning to take the 11-inch for a serious road test but I’ve never gotten around to it. Finally, with the newest update to the line recently and some good timing with a vacation to see my brother I’ve decided to give it a serious spin.

I picked one up from the Apple Store yesterday and spent most of the day configuring it for my workflow and applications. I purchased the fully-loaded version as you can see via my receipt here:


Fully loaded.

The online customization panel would have looked like this (it’s worth noting that if I do convert I’ll be replacing this a cheaper model as I don’t need 512GB of storage for example):

Top 'o' the line.

Top ‘o’ the line.

Why test? That’s easy:

  1. The performance of the 11-inch now competes directly with the 13-inch and easily clocks in better speeds with the upgraded chipsets. As a result you have a lighter and faster machine. Win? I think so.
  2. Distance from keyboard to edge. This might not sound like a big deal but the way that I hold my wrists and the way that I type makes this a really big deal. Over extended periods of use I’ll find that the 13″ starts biting into my wrists at the edge. I’ve theorized that the 11″ would not have this occur, which is a very painful experience. This can be seen in the screens below:




It might not actually look like much but it’s a world of difference for my physiology. That centimeter or so may make a world of difference.


There they are.

I will try it this week and then report back in a few. I’m excited about this test and I’m hopeful for the results! There will be no greater test than drafting and working in the seat of my car as my family travels up north.

Here’s hoping.

If you’ve made the switch in either direction I’d love to know your experience! Let me know.

  • David Welch

    I’m definitely interested in how your experience goes. I currently have a 13″ MacBook Pro that is nearly 4 years old. When I bought it, I was doing a lot of photo editing and video editing. But now I do more web development and I’ve thought that a MacBook Air might be a good switch. Can’t wait to hear your review of the new model.

    • http://John.do/ John Saddington

      sure! should be later this week or early next.

  • http://www.brucecat.com/ Bruce Cat

    John, I’m looking forward to read about your experiences with the new Mac Air 11″.

    I have the Macbook Pro 15″ Retina and Mac Air 13″. Though both are great I am looking for something smaller and lighter to carry about town.

    I was thinking of getting the Macbook Air 11″ last week, but will hold off purchasing until I read your reviews.

    I am also looking to purchase an Ultra-book 13″, any recommendations?

    • http://John.do/ John Saddington

      man, are you made of money?


      i don’t have an idea for ultrabooks i’m afraid…

      • http://www.brucecat.com/ Bruce Cat

        LOL I’m just the biggest Apple fanboy there is

        • http://John.do/ John Saddington


  • trevorknelson

    John, I’m curious why you would opt for the top of the line for testing if you already know that you’d be replacing it with a lesser model if the test is successful. Why not get the machine you would stick with if it worked, rather than go through the purchase, test, return, purchase process.

    Unless that was all they had in stock?

    • http://John.do/ John Saddington

      just because i wanted to stress test it completely to feel the power!

      no, just kidding.

      the baseline models with the new chipsets are just fine for me. honestly, it was a random decision. the biggest issue was with the wrists.

  • http://threethirtypm.com/ Jim Gray

    I’ve been using the 11-inch Air since early 2011.

    • http://John.do/ John Saddington

      which means……?

      • http://threethirtypm.com/ Jim Gray

        …I’m not sure…that was 11 hours ago…sorry.

        I almost lost it when I spilled coffee on the keyboard last year. But it came back.
        How’s that?

  • http://www.hansschiefelbein.com Hans Schiefelbein

    John, from a science geek to a computer geek, I have to point out that the 11″ is better for your anatomy, not your physiology :)
    That is all.

    • http://John.do/ John Saddington

      oh. ok… :P

    • http://threethirtypm.com/ Jim Gray
    • http://danl.im/ Daniel Lim


  • http://www.jcisonline.com JC

    Love the idea of the air. Afraid to pull the trigger with the amount I use Adobe.

    Any thoughts on this? Stick to pro or the air will work?

    • http://John.do/ John Saddington

      designers need a lot of visual space, so if you go with the 11″ make sure yo uhave an external lcd….

  • David Huey

    After reading this, I ordered it.
    My 13″ was always digging into my wrists too!

    Went with 8 gb RAM, 128 hard drive
    everything I do is in the cloud, dropbox, spotify, sfdc, wordpress, google apps – so figured I didn’t need a big hard drive

    • http://John.do/ John Saddington

      rock on!

  • http://danl.im/ Daniel Lim

    So freakin’ envious John! I’m still stuck with my 4 year old MacBook Pro from 2009.