Which MacBook Air Should You Buy? – MacBook Air Models Compared

Apples MacBook Air is ideal for travelers considering the thin, light weight and long lasting battery life – with hours of online charge and up to 30 days in standby. However, which model is more conformed to your style? There are many types of users out there all with different needs when it comes to a Mac so which Air is the one for you? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

MacBook Air Overall

Let’s begin with the overall selling points of a MacBook Air. I have already mentioned above some of the key elements but let’s review them in detail.

Flash Storage – The new standard in the MacBook is a lighter and thinner design, but what is Flash Storage? Flash chips are more compact ways to store data allowing for more mobility and less bulk. Flash is also a solid state; this means there are no moving parts – this allows more room for a larger battery and other great features that otherwise were not an option. In addition to making the MacBook Air lighter, Flash also runs more quietly, and let’s not forget about the speed. Flash ups the anty in accessing data so you can perform tasks at a much faster pace.

Battery Life – Thanks to the Flash Storage there is now more room for a more durable long lasting battery. You can milk about 5-7 hours out of a MacBook Air browsing the web and up to a full month when in standby mode. Battery life is the most important aspect of any mobile user and with MacBook Air you get the best.

Light-Weight – This is what makes the MacBook Air so desirable. No one wants to lug around a heavy bulky laptop through the airport or for hours through meeting after meeting. At around 2-3 pounds the MacBook Air is one of the lightest laptops on the market and even keyed the name “Ultrabooks”.

11-inch MacBook Air vs. 13-inch MacBook Air

The first thing we are going to look at is the obvious, the display; the 11-inch MacBook Air measures 11.6 diagonally with a resolution of 1366 by 768. The 13-inch MacBook Air is at 13.3 diagonally with a native resolution of 1440 by 900. As you can see the resolution doesn’t differ by too much.

MacBook Air 11-inch

MacBook Air 13-inch


Flash Storage

Second we look at the Flash Storage, which is very important to moviemakers, music producers and gamers. Both models offer two different sets of memory size with a price increase in-between. The 11-inch model offers 64GB at $900.00 or 128GB at $1,099.00. Alternatively you can upgrade the 11-inch 128GB to either 256GB or a whopping 512GB.

The 13-inch MacBook Air provides 128GB for $1,199.00 or 256GB at $1,499.00. The 13-inch MacBook Air 256GB can be upgraded to 512GB.


Next is speed and when we talk about speed we are talking about GHz. The 11-inch has 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 while the 13-inch has a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5.

Now the difference between the “native” GHz is not that much so you won’t see much of a performance deduction between the two when performing mediocre tasks. With the Turbo Boost however you’re going to get a lot more bang for your buck in both models, for the 11-inch the Turbo Boost will bump the 1.7GHz up to 2.6GHz. The 13-inch will be boosted to a nice 2.8 GHz.


Both the 11-inch and 13-inch model come with (Two USB 3 ports, Thunderbolt Port and MagSafe 2 Power Port). The 13-inch is suited with an SD Card Slot; both models are preinstalled with OS X Mountain Lion.

MacBook Air 11-inch

MacBook Air 13-Inch


Battery life is important to any user from the most basic to the hardcore, we want to be untethered as long as possible. You will be able to stay mobile for up to 5 hours on the 11-inch and 30 days whilst in standby mode. The 13-inch only offers a few more hours with up to 7 hours wireless web and 30 days standby. Remember the more powerful the program you’re running the faster your battery will drain.

MacBook Air 11-inch (5 Hours)

MacBook Air 13-inch (7 hours)

Bottom line

The MacBook Air 11-inch is ideal for your common tasks like web surfing, word processors and flash games, if you do opt for the 13-inch only to use it for the most basic functions you’ll see very little variations from the 11-inch. Now lets say you’re wanting to multitask, make movies, edit music or play more games then the 13-inch 256GB MacBook Air will be more fitting.

I am a gamer myself and the 13-inch runs relatively smooth playing games such as World of Warcraft but you’re going to find yourself sacrificing graphic detail to get your FPS to a more playable level.


MacBook Air 13-inch Pros – More flash storage, SD Slot, larger display, faster, higher performance, more ideal for gaming
MacBook Air 11-inch Pros – Perfect for basic tasks, great for travel
MacBook Air 11-inch Cons – Less memory, no SD Slot, lower performance

Before you go

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CleanMyMac is highest rated all-round cleaning app for the Mac, it can quickly diagnose and solve a whole plethora of common (but sometimes tedious to fix) issues at the click of a button. It also just happens to resolve many of the issues covered in the speed up section of this site, so Download CleanMyMac to get your Mac back up to speed today.


About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded blurtit.com which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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