I'm Thinking About Purchasing a MacBook, and I Have Some Questions

Hardware & Accessories

Hi all,
First, I know some of these questions have been asked before, so apologies for any redundancy but I'd love any feedback for my particular situation. I'm a longtime Windows/Jaws and iPhone/VO user but finally have had the time to learn the MAC properly. I am going to be purchasing a new laptop and I'd like it to be a Macbook of some kind. My questions are as follows:
1. Is there a difference (in terms of speed, power) between the MACbook Air 11 and 13 inch version? I have no usable vision and am trying to determine whether, other than screen size, there will be a noticeable difference between the two. I do know the 11 inch has no SD slot, but I'm more curious about performance. I should note that I am not a gamer nor do I do any video editing/anything else like that on my computer. I use it for email, internet and documents, though I use those three things intensively for work/school.
2. On that note, will an Air meet my needs? Some people are suggesting that Macbook Pro is better, but given it's larger size/weight, I'm wondering how much of this I will notice?
3. Does running VMware fusion or bootcamp and Jaws drain the battery very quickly? I will still need Windows for certain tasks so would like it on my laptop as well.
4. Is MS Excel and Powerpoint supposed to be accessible on the MAC? I tried using it earlier today and couldn't get it to work. I haven't tried Numbers yet though.
I think that's it! Thanks



Submitted by Tyler on Sunday, August 7, 2016

The performance of your MacBook Air will depend on which processor speed you go with; so the screen size shouldn't matter. For documents and other related tasks, the air should be fine. I have an 11 inch MacBook Air that I use with Pages for documents and Numbers for spreadsheets. They seem very accessible, although my needs are fairly basic.


Submitted by mehgcap on Sunday, August 7, 2016

As I recall, the base model of each is a little different. The 13-inch starts with somewhat better specs and, as you said, includes an SD slot. It also has full-sized function and arrow keys, whereas the 11-inch has half-sized keys for those. Most of the keyboard is identical, it's just the very top row and arrows that are smaller on the 11-inch.

As was stated, though, you can get the same specs in either machine if you're willing to spend more. For your purposes, I highly recommend 8GB of ram, or VMWare may be slow and annoying to use.

If your needs are basic, have you looked into the 12-inch Retina MacBook? I only bring it up because it has better battery life, is the size of the 11-inch Air but is even thinner and lighter, and is finless. I don't know how VMWare would run on it, but your other tasks seem like they would be no problem. I know it has one port only and a new (some say bad) keyboard, but it may be worth considering. Just a thought.

Submitted by Nathan Stocking on Monday, August 8, 2016

I would advise against the MacBook retina, as its processor is less powerful than that of the air and the price is higher. For running windows, I tend to prefer boot camp, assuming your need for windows doesn't need to be simultaneous with using OSX. That allows windows to run independently with full specifications, and therefore reduces your need for faster and more expensive components. That said, if you intend to run a virtual machine for windows, you will want the higher processor speed and memory option. The 11-inch size should not matter, as the only major difference is the size of the function keys and arrows, but assuming you don't have a MacBook already, you would need to become accustomed to a new keyboard no matter what size you chose.
I can't speak for the accessibility of office products on OSX; I just use iWork, which is accessible. I believe others have experience with office on OSX, and you could also use it on windows if you set that up.

Submitted by Chris Bruinenberg on Monday, August 8, 2016

I personally have a macbook pro retina but the big difference between the air 11 inch and 13 inch now is the 13 inch comes with 8 gb ram by default! I personally thought the 11 inch air was a bit small, the keyboard on the pro and air 13 are very nice. The macbook is nice but one port just wasn't enough for my needs. Good luck with whatever decision you make.

Submitted by Greg Wocher on Monday, August 8, 2016

I just this past Saturday purchased a 13.3 Air and so far I am really liking it. I too am going to be putting Windows on my machine. There are some things that are just better done in Windows that I need. I am deciding on either doing Windows in a virtual machine or in boot camp. For this reason I bought the top of the line Air. Mine has a 2.2ghz quad cor I7, 8gigs of ram and a 512gig SSD. It was pricy but since I am going to be using Windows on it as well I spent the extra to get it. Let me tell you this thing flies and it is really thin. I can now see why people buy cases for these machines. Now back to figuring out how to use my new machine. Happy computing all.

Greg Wocher

Submitted by Natalina on Friday, August 12, 2016

Hi everyone, thanks for your feedback. I have officially purchased a MacBook Air 13 inch model. It has 8gigs of ram (that's the default now), and I've upgraded it to a 2.2ghz quad cor I7 and a 512gig SSD. Excited for its arrival.

Submitted by Natalina on Friday, August 12, 2016

Have any of you purchased a case for your MacBook Air? If so, did you go with the soft sleeve or the hard case that you keep on the laptop all the time? I'm wondering whether the hard case is necessary and whether it makes the Air much thicker/heavier. Thanks

Submitted by Jake on Friday, August 12, 2016

The Air itself is more durable than it first appears, so no extra hard-shell case is needed. For carrying it, I'd get either a sleeve or, my preference, a laptop bag with a dedicated, padded compartment designed for laptops. In that case (bad pun, sorry), no sleeve is needed either.