About six months ago, I needed to buy a new computer. I knew the MacBook Air was the right machine for me. Easily more portable than my heavy MacBook Pro, and powerful enough for just about anything. I struggled, however, over which model to buy: the 11-inch or the 13-inch. The 11-inch was clearly smaller and lighter, but I feared I would miss the increased screen real estate of the 13-inch. Those fears were misplaced. I went with the 11-inch and I love it. Compared to my wife’s 13-incher, it’s much easier to grab and go with one hand. As a result, I end up taking it with me much more often. The key is that the screen is quite wide due to the 16:9 aspect ratio (compared to the more typical 16:10 ratio of Macs past). While one might think that height is more important in this web-centric age, it’s actually width that is key for working with multiple windows simultaneously (e.g. a web page and a text file, or two text documents). The 11″ Air’s screen hits a sweet spot, and I have no trouble getting real work done on it. I should note, however, that when I’m at my desk, it’s hooked up to the massive 27″ Thunderbolt Display, so the calculus may be somewhat different for those who don’t plan to use an external monitor.
Despite that, I’m quite happy to work with this machine as a laptop alone. Do be sure to buy the model with 4 GB of RAM, as you can’t upgrade it later. I decided to stick with the standard 1.6 Ghz processor, however, given some complaints that the upgraded 1.8 Ghz model is prone to more heat generation and noise issues.