Some of you are wondering – “Should I upgrade my MacBook Air 11 to the MacBook Pro 13 Retina?”

I’ve had the MacBook Air 11 inch computer for about a year and a half. I’ve had the MacBook Pro 13-inch retina screen computer for about two weeks.

I had often thought about upgrading from the 11-inch to the 13-inch retina, but the money was an issue, and even more so the issue was – is it worth it? If it was definitely worth it, then the money doesn’t remain an issue – right? Without owning them both and comparing them side by side in my office where I’ll be using them, I couldn’t know.

Now I know which I prefer. You’ll probably be surprised.

Here are the major differences between the 11 inch Air and the 13 inch Pro retina:

MacBook Air 11 Advantages

1. Very slightly smaller keyboard. The keys are spaced more closely together.
2. Slightly firmer keystroke pressure needed to type.
3. Slightly less key travel to cause a keystroke.
4. Considerably quieter keyboard while typing fast.
5. Thinner height. More comfortable to type on because palm rest is lower.
6. Angled keyboard. It angles down toward the wrists. This makes it easier to type.
7. Considerably lighter and thinner overall.
8. Smaller touchpad, which I found is a plus because I don’t need all that space on the Pro 13.
9. Slightly less glare to the screen.
10. Smaller and lighter AC cord and converter.
11. Remains cooler more than the Pro.

MacBook Pro 13 Advantages

1. Larger screen.
2. Sharper retina screen.
3. Brighter screen.
4. Faster in rendering graphics and video editing. For video – substantially faster.
5. Better ports.

The MacBook Pro 13 retina’s claim to fame is the retina screen. Is it that much more amazing to make it worth the upgrade? I’ll say no. Even when I’m doing photo editing and video editing – I don’t notice an overwhelming difference. The difference is with small photos and very small font text. Then I notice a substantial difference. Still, the sharpness of the Air 11 is quite good and I haven’t had any trouble reading anything I need to. Typing this article out in 11pt font on the Pro, I can see a big difference in the clarity of the words. I’m a writer (sometimes) and I don’t even need the font to be more clear than it is on the Air.

The major differences that I’m surprised about come with the keyboard. I MUCH prefer the MacBook Air 11’s keyboard.The differences above, added together, make for a much better experience with the Air’s keyboard. The Pro feels spongy and soft. This might be because I’m already used to the Air’s tighter drop, but I much prefer it now. Your experience may differ. I strongly suggest you consider the points above when choosing whether to upgrade to the MacBook Pro with retina, or any of the other MacBook Pros.

Battery life is about the same. I have the late 2012 Air, so my battery life is shorter, of course. Comparing the new Air 11 and the new Pro 13 with retina, battery life is about the same. Similar enough that it probably isn’t a big deciding factor for most people.
The weight is a big factor. The Pro feels like any other 13-inch computer. Sure, it’s lighter than my six pound HP brick I’ve had for five years, but in comparison to many other ultrabooks, it is average in weight. The Air 11 is feather-light. Ideal for students, and weak people (like me) who travel or take the computer in a backpack often.

If there is a 12-inch Air with retina screen coming out – with a similar keyboard as the 11-inch Air and decent 8+ hour battery life – would I buy it?

Definitely. Assuming I could sell both of these computers, I’d buy that in a second. I do like the larger size screen on the retina, but it isn’t much of a difference really. I was quite used to the 11-inch, and wondered constantly – would I prefer the larger 13-inch screen? No matter. In the end, it isn’t even a deciding factor for me.

So, that’s about it. For me, I won’t be keeping the MacBook Pro 13, I’ll sell it and revert back to the 11-inch Air. If/when the 12-inch Air with retina comes along, I’ll sell the Air 11 and buy it.

I have to also say… there is something magical about the Air 11. It is so damn small, so damn light, and just works SO well, that even the amazing Pro 13 retina couldn’t make my jaw drop. The Air is Magic. The Pro is a good computer, minus the Magic. I do hope the next iteration blows us all away. It should be retina or better, super lightweight, 12-13 inch, great battery life, and include a slot for SIM card. lol.

Hope that helps someone. Either way, you’re not going to “go wrong” with buying any of the MacBook Air or Pro notebook computers from Apple. Get one and your life will change. Windows PCs, though they are getting better, have left such a bad taste in my mouth, I’ll go Android before I ever go back to Windows.


Here is the MacBook I currently recommend (1/2018) for writers – nothing beats it IMHO: