This is a direct comparison of the screen size and resolution of an 11″ MacBook Air to a 17″ MacBook Pro. The following images demonstrate the same webpage in Safari, the same photo and palettes in Adobe Lightroom, and the gloss and glare of the Air and Pro side by side. Don’t put too much into this comparison, as it’s just a quick and dirty photo shoot with poor lighting.
The resolution differences:
11″ MacBook Air: 1366 by 768
17″ MacBook Pro: 1920 by 1200
And the pixel per inch differences:
11″ MacBook Air: 135ppi
17″ MacBook Pro: 132ppi
The 11″ MacBook Air has a higher pixel density than any other MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac or iPad. I still don’t get why they need to make the bezel so large on the Air, unlike the iPad, no one’s going to be holding their Air by the screen. The 17″ bezel is nearly half the size.
In terms of my very subjective, brief and unmeasured opinion, the Air was a pleasure to use. The launch times for applications such as Lightroom, Word, iMovie, and Garageband were nearly identical to my 17″. However, I have swapped my 17″ stock drive with a hybrid Seagate Momentus SSD/HDD, so it likely launches much quicker than a stock 17″ 500GB HDD. Additionally, I have installed 8GB of OWC RAM which never hurts.
I don’t think the 11″ Air could be my primary computer, even when connected to an external monitor. I’ve become used to 8GB of RAM and am not a fan of USB 2.0. However, it would make a fantastic road warrior, and as long as you are prepared to pack an external drive (which I do anyway), I think it’d be a great supplement to something like an iMac. I personally would prefer an 11″ MacBook Air to an iPad (which we have) if I had to make a choice, as I love having a full blown computer at that level of portability. But to each their own.