Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 22
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Somewhere in the Hills
    Posts
    913

    REQ: Reviews of current MacBook Air

    I would appreciate it very much if participants in this forum who own and use the newest (Fall, 2010) generation of Apple's MacBook Air would post their reviews of this product line.

    Some things I would like to know from Air owners:

    1: What kind of tasks do you perform with your Air, and how do you like it compared to your previous laptop machine?

    2: Do you use your Air as a kind of satellite machine of your desktop, or is your Air also your primary computer?

    3: How do you like video display quality and sound quality of your Air? Its battery life and computing performance?

    4: Do you run MacOS 10.6 only, or do you run Windows on your Air?

    5: How well does software run on your Air?

    6: Compared to other laptops, how silent/noisy is your Air?

    7: What configuration is your Air in terms of overall size, CPU speed, RAM, and storage? (Note that I did not say "hard drive size") How much did you pay for your Air? Also: did you purchase Apple's ultra-portable SuperDrive with your Air, and what do you think of it?

    8: What is your appraisal of the Air in terms of its portability? How do you like its relatively light weight and small size compared to other laptops?

    9: How do you carry your Air? How often do you carry your Air? What do you pack with your Air when you travel/commute with it? What is your preferred packing solution for your Air?

    10: What do you think about your Air's connectivity? Do you like going all-USB? What kind of USB accessories do you carry with your Air and how do you use them? Have you ever plugged a USB hard drive and some other USB accessory into your Air at the same time and been less-than-enthusiastic with the results?

    11: Do you use an external monitor with your Air?

    12: What are your most positive experiences with your Air? What do you feel are the Air's most prominent vulnerabilities/shortcomings?

    Photos and video demos also welcome in this thread.

    Thank you!

    --The Mountain Man
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    2,150
    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    I would appreciate it very much if participants in this forum who own and use the newest (Fall, 2010) generation of Apple's MacBook Air would post their reviews of this product line.

    Some things I would like to know from Air owners:

    1: What kind of tasks do you perform with your Air, and how do you like it compared to your previous laptop machine?
    i use terminal to for running scripts, sshing to other machines; chrome for web browsing, mail for email, adium and skype for instant messaging, yojimbo for information management, iphoto for managing my photos, imovie for video productions, address book for contact management, ical for time management, itunes for music, garageband for recording audio, remote desktop for connecting to windows machines, coda for editing scripts, html, etc., iwork and ms office for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, and omnigraffle professional for diagraming.

    i used a 15" macbook pro and switched to the 11" macbook air for the smaller form factor.

    besides size and weight, the differences between the two are that the macbook air doesn't have an sd card slot, firewire and an optical drive. i use a usb sd card reader when i need it. i haven't had the need for an optical drive. and when i need to capture video from my video camera over firewire, i can do so on the macbook pro which i still have. though i'm looking at updating my camera (it's 5 years old).

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    2: Do you use your Air as a kind of satellite machine of your desktop, or is your Air also your primary computer?
    it's my primary computer.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    3: How do you like video display quality and sound quality of your Air? Its battery life and computing performance?
    performance, battery life, and video display are all great. the built in speakers are not as bright as the ones in the macbook pro, but i use in ear monitors with it so it's a non-issue for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    4: Do you run MacOS 10.6 only, or do you run Windows on your Air?


    5: How well does software run on your Air?
    runs great.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    6: Compared to other laptops, how silent/noisy is your Air?
    it's quiet, though i had no complaints with the macbook pro.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    7: What configuration is your Air in terms of overall size, CPU speed, RAM, and storage? (Note that I did not say "hard drive size") How much did you pay for your Air? Also: did you purchase Apple's ultra-portable SuperDrive with your Air, and what do you think of it?
    11" with 1.6ghz processor, 4gb ram, 128g storage - purchased at the apple store.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    8: What is your appraisal of the Air in terms of its portability? How do you like its relatively light weight and small size compared to other laptops?
    love it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    9: How do you carry your Air? How often do you carry your Air? What do you pack with your Air when you travel/commute with it? What is your preferred packing solution for your Air?
    in the ristretto for the 11" macbook air or in the cache inside the imago. this and this video show what i usually carry with the air.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    10: What do you think about your Air's connectivity? Do you like going all-USB? What kind of USB accessories do you carry with your Air and how do you use them? Have you ever plugged a USB hard drive and some other USB accessory into your Air at the same time and been less-than-enthusiastic with the results?
    usb peripherals i use include a flash drive, an sd card reader, hard drives, audio interface (mackie blackjack), mouse, and keyboard. they all work great with the air.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    11: Do you use an external monitor with your Air?
    at work, when i'm showing something to others i'll either connect to my 23" lcd if folks are huddled behind me at my desk or to the projector if we're in a conference room.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    12: What are your most positive experiences with your Air? What do you feel are the Air's most prominent vulnerabilities/shortcomings?
    it's well executed. the ipad gives me the portability i want with the functionality i need.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Somewhere in the Hills
    Posts
    913
    Wow! Thanks for the quick response.

    I hope to see more feedback like this from Air users!
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Southeastern NC
    Posts
    389
    I have been using the 11" MB Air for about 4-5 weeks now and I love it. To answer your questions:
    1 - I use the MB Air daily to do electronic medical records in a number of facilities I work in. I also use it for email, web surfing, some skype-ing, watching video (HULU, Netflix, etc)

    2 - It is a secondary computer. I use Windows machines in the office, an iMac at home. There are instances where, both in the office as well as at home, I do the same as my desktop machines, but I do not think it could be used as a full time replacement for me.

    3 - Video is excellent - the resolution is the same as that of the 13 in MB Pro it replaced. The sound is acceptable - surprisingly good actually for the speakers on board. Like Maverick, I use earphones when I really need good sound. Computing performance is adequate to good for almost all of what I need - it is a bit laggy if you are a gamer or need high performance video creation/editing. For playback, it is fine. Battery life is decent to good - I have consistently gotten about 5 -6 hours with regular daily use. If I am in the air watching video (movies, TV shows), 3-4 hours has been normal for me depending on the brightness of the screen.

    4 - I am running 10.6 as well as Windows 7 (via Parallels) - No issues for my Windows software - except for my billing software - requires Win XP Pro on a dedicated machine - It will not even run in bootcamp or virtualized XP run thru Windows 7 - got to update one of these days....

    5 - all software I use runs without hiccups or lags. Photoshop is a tad bit slow but not really a problem for me since I no longer use it.

    6 - it is silent. I do not think the fan has ever come on - even after 3 hours of a movie. If it did come on, I did not hear it.

    7 - 11" with 1.6GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 128 G SSD, purchased at Apple store. I use an existing external DVD player via USB for CD/DVD use. I already had this for an old netbook and saw no need to get something new. Works with no problems.

    8 - It is the best thing since sliced bread - it is amazingly light - almost like I am not even carrying a laptop.

    9 - currently carrying it in a Waterfield Design laptop sleeve for the 11" MBAir inside an ID. The Ristretto for MB Air just arrived 2 days ago. I have done a few dry runs - I know that as soon as it leaves the house, the bag will become unreturnable - just the nature of the places I go to. The Ristretto is really nice but it seems a bit small in terms of what I often carry - have to decide if it will work for me in real world practice.

    10 - Connectivity is not a problem - wifi is strong and connects easily to all the access points I have needed. Bluetooth works reliably. The 2 USB ports are all I need since I rarely need to connect to something other than a printer or external hard drive for storage of EMR.

    11 - I have not needed to use an external monitor. I keep a lot of material in the cloud (dropbox) and can easily access that. If I do need to connect to a projector, I am guessing it will be no more or less difficult than it was with my MB Pro.

    12 - The MB Air is a very solid machine - does not at all feel flimsy or delicate. One of the best features, is no more lap-burn. It is a very cool running machine and that is wonderful!!

    For me On-board storage limitations is the biggest shortcoming..Built-in 3G connectivity would be nice but I can always use my phone as a hotspot - although this kills my phone's battery life.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Posts
    13
    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    1: What kind of tasks do you perform with your Air, and how do you like it compared to your previous laptop machine?
    I used to be a MBPro user, then 2.5 years ago, I switched to a MB, which was fine for my needs (web, email, writing, photoshop, excel). The MBA performs better than the MB due to the SSD. It's very zippy.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    2: Do you use your Air as a kind of satellite machine of your desktop, or is your Air also your primary computer?
    It's my primary computer. I store all of my music on a time capsule.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    3: How do you like video display quality and sound quality of your Air? Its battery life and computing performance?
    Video display is excellent, sound is adequate. Battery life is very good.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    4: Do you run MacOS 10.6 only, or do you run Windows on your Air?
    I only run MacOS 10.6.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    5: How well does software run on your Air?
    Runs as well or better than on my MB.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    6: Compared to other laptops, how silent/noisy is your Air?
    Completely silent.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    7: What configuration is your Air in terms of overall size, CPU speed, RAM, and storage? (Note that I did not say "hard drive size") How much did you pay for your Air? Also: did you purchase Apple's ultra-portable SuperDrive with your Air, and what do you think of it?
    11", 1.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB hard drive. With various dongles, a time capsule and a new Ristretto, my budget was just under 2k.

    I didn't purchase a SuperDrive and there is no need. There's a Remote Drive utility that works very well.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    8: What is your appraisal of the Air in terms of its portability? How do you like its relatively light weight and small size compared to other laptops?
    Super light weight and small. Makes a big difference in where I'll take my computer.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    9: How do you carry your Air? How often do you carry your Air? What do you pack with your Air when you travel/commute with it? What is your preferred packing solution for your Air?
    Right now I'm not sure about this. I normally travel with my Brain Bag and my computer in a cache, but I'm thinking about checking a bag and just taking my Ristretto onboard. Remains to be seen what I'll do, but I travel a fair bit, so I'll have more to say, soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    10: What do you think about your Air's connectivity? Do you like going all-USB? What kind of USB accessories do you carry with your Air and how do you use them? Have you ever plugged a USB hard drive and some other USB accessory into your Air at the same time and been less-than-enthusiastic with the results?
    All cloud/USB is fine so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    11: Do you use an external monitor with your Air?
    I use a 23" Samsung and it works just as it did with the MB. I've also hooked it up to projectors and it's been fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    12: What are your most positive experiences with your Air? What do you feel are the Air's most prominent vulnerabilities/shortcomings?
    This is the first piece of technology I have *loved* in a while. I really REALLY like it. Shortcoming is certainly the anxiety I have about the HD space. I have 80 GB available and wince every time I make a big file or install a piece of software with a large footprint.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Hawaii
    Posts
    41
    My review is gonna sound fairly similar.

    1. Only had the 11" MBA for a few weeks, so I haven't really fully used it to its utmost. Use, or will use it for photo editing, web browsing and communication, watching videos, basic graphics, and video conversion. Compared to my previous Mac(s) it's a definite favorite. Speed and performance is a surprise as it handles everything I can throw at it. It does lag on larger photoshop files, but for normal daily use, it handles everything quicker. I don't do any video editing (yet) so I can't say anything performance wise to that topic.

    2. Still use the 13" Macbook Al as my main computer, but I am beginning to rely more and more on the 11" MBA, it's just more enjoyable to use.

    3. Graphics are very clear even for its limited size. It is much sharper than my 13" Macbook Al, even though both are similar, the glare on the 11" MBA is noticeably less. I use a G5 desktop at work connected to a 26" monitor, and have previously owned a 15" powerbook, and imac, and several other older G4 and mac desktops. Out of all of these the MBA is a favorite. Sound quality is limited, but as others have stated, just use ear monitors or headphones. Battery life is very good, true to listing. Performance is excellent.

    4. Right now, just running Mac OS only as I don't really use any Windows applications both personal and at work.

    5. Software runs just fine ...have Photoshop and Illustrator CS3 installed, as well as Photomatix Pro, Filter Forge, and some video conversion software installed. No problems at all.

    6. Scary silent.

    7. 11" w/ 1.4ghz, 2gb ram, 128 storage. Don't really need a Superdrive, as the Remote Disk feature is great.

    8. In terms of portability... it's a dream come true.

    9. Will be carried using a Radtech Sleevz, inside a Ristretto for the 11" MBA. All I need is the MBA and my MiFi and I'm good to go. Ipod touch as an accessory along with card reader and flash drive.

    10. Connectivity is great, Mainly just use it with the Mifi. Have various external drives, but mainly use a 16gb sandisk drive for added storage (just purchase a 32gb one but don't have it yet). No problems at all.

    11. No, but I am looking at connecting it to my TV

    12. It's what I've been looking for, as I wanted a lighter weight travel computer, and just didn't see using the ipad for what I wanted it to do. Came close to going with a Vaio P, but luckily was able to get this. Will get to put it through its paces on my 1st business trip since getting it, in less than a week. Main shortcoming would be battery life, and lack of peripherals for additional power. I've always had an extra battery for my portables, but the MBA does not allow for it. HyperMac, had a perfect external battery, but due to a lawsuit was required to stop making them. I believe they worked out a way around the suit with their new device introduced at the CES show, but it's still not out yet.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Somewhere in the Hills
    Posts
    913
    All I can say is WOW. And thanks, everyone!
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  8. #8
    mjb
    mjb is offline
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Denton, TX
    Posts
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    1: What kind of tasks do you perform with your Air, and how do you like it compared to your previous laptop machine?
    I'm a (rock band) tour manager and sound engineer, and I bought the 11" to reduce my load while on tour. The weight and size are perfect for touring.

    I do Excel/Word, Quickbooks, other office-y apps, and some light audio work (Reaper, Cubase, Pro Tools).

    2: Do you use your Air as a kind of satellite machine of your desktop, or is your Air also your primary computer?
    My home iMac has my iTunes library and personal finance files. I also do any heavier Photoshop or audio work on the iMac. All my other files are either in Google Docs or Dropbox, so I don't really have/need a "primary" computer -- I can get at anything from pretty much anywhere, including my iPhone.

    3: How do you like video display quality and sound quality of your Air? Its battery life and computing performance?
    Video display is great. Speakers are a bit of a let-down (too quiet, compared to my MacBook), headphone jack is fine, of course. Battery life is excellent so far.

    Processor-intensive stuff (rendering audio files) is noticably slower, but for regular office stuff/web browsing, it's perfectly fine.

    4: Do you run MacOS 10.6 only, or do you run Windows on your Air?
    Just Mac OS.

    5: How well does software run on your Air?
    Haven't had any compatibility problems yet.

    6: Compared to other laptops, how silent/noisy is your Air?
    Dead silent. I do not miss the sound of hard drives and DVD drives spinning up.

    7: What configuration is your Air in terms of overall size, CPU speed, RAM, and storage? (Note that I did not say "hard drive size") How much did you pay for your Air? Also: did you purchase Apple's ultra-portable SuperDrive with your Air, and what do you think of it?
    2 GB RAM, 64 GB SSD, 11".

    Paid $956 or something at MacMall including shipping (via the aadvantageeshopping.com shopping portal, so I earned triple AA miles.)

    I don't have a SuperDrive, and don't want one.

    8: What is your appraisal of the Air in terms of its portability? How do you like its relatively light weight and small size compared to other laptops?
    I love it. Wouldn't trade it for anything else on the market right now.

    9: How do you carry your Air? How often do you carry your Air? What do you pack with your Air when you travel/commute with it? What is your preferred packing solution for your Air?
    In a TB Cache, inside my Empire Builder.

    In "tour manager" mode, I carry a Canon ip90 printer, a stock of blank paper, money bags, documents, lots of receipts, etc. In "sound engineer" mode, I carry a bunch of microphones, headphones, and other stuff.

    10: What do you think about your Air's connectivity? Do you like going all-USB? What kind of USB accessories do you carry with your Air and how do you use them? Have you ever plugged a USB hard drive and some other USB accessory into your Air at the same time and been less-than-enthusiastic with the results?
    I kinda wish it had a FireWire port, only because I have some FireWire-only audio interfaces I'd like to use. I also wish it had a line input. Otherwise, I use external USB hard drives and have no problems.

    11: Do you use an external monitor with your Air?
    No.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Somewhere in the Hills
    Posts
    913
    I noticed one obvious pattern immediately upon reviewing the comments upthread: Every one of you chose the 11-inch model.

    What was it about the 11 inch that made you choose it over the 13-inch?
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  10. #10
    mjb
    mjb is offline
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Denton, TX
    Posts
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by holoholo View Post
    12. It's what I've been looking for, as I wanted a lighter weight travel computer, and just didn't see using the ipad for what I wanted it to do.
    Same here. I bought an iPad last summer and while I loved it, there are certain things I need to do all the time (making PDFs, printing/editing Excel and Word docs with proper formatting) that were just too much of a pain w/ the iPad (at the time).

    As I was mostly interested in losing weight/footprint, the Air is perfect for me.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    134
    I echo what the others have said, though I do miss the lighted keyboard (I also have a first gen MBA).

    I'm a writer and that's what I use my MBA11 for with Scrivener, Dropbox... a few other apps (Evernote is a must, and MacJournal), nothing processor intensive since I keep this gem for writing only. I have an iMac (with a 1TB hard drive) so have plenty of room there for other stuff.

    Let's see, my MBA11 is the same as most of the other ones mentioned: 1.6, 4GB, 128GB SSD. I adore the SSD! I've been around tech far too long and come from a tradition of fragile hard drives, so it's wonderful to not have to worry about it.

    Mostly I carry it in a TB Cache, tucked into either a Synapse or another bag. (Note that I have one of the first Ristrettos for my first gen MBA (13") but I find it's too small for all the stuff I like to carry with me. The newer Ristrettos look much bigger (at least deeper (front to back)).)

    I carry the MBA11 to my office (where I have an old HP 1220 laserjet set up with an Airport Express) and carry it home and carry it around the house. I also have a portable Canon i80 (a model older than the one mjb mentioned) with bluetooth and a battery, so I'll take that with me if I think I'll be needing to print in color (usually I only do that with research photos and pics, so rarely need it) or am going somewhere other than my office and will feel the need to print.

    When at home, I use print sharing on my iMac so I don't need to hook it up to anything to print. I still have my SuperDrive from when I bought one for my first gen MBA and it works fine though I think I've only used it once. The two USB ports are nice (the first gen MBA has only one), especially when I need to plug in my cell modem or mifi.

    I usually keep it on in sleep mode, so I just open the lid and I'm ready to go. Love it. I have far too many electronic gadgets (which is probably clear from all the gear I have mentioned... I won't list all the stuff, but will add that I also have a current-but-soon-not-if-rumors-prove-true MBP 13" and the iPad) and the MBA11 is definitely at the top of the list.

    I can't speak for others, but imo there's not that much of a difference between the MBA 13" and the MBP 13". Some weight, of course, but the big difference comes in with the MBA11. It's just a jewel of a computer.

  12. #12
    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    349
    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    I would appreciate it very much if participants in this forum who own and use the newest (Fall, 2010) generation of Apple's MacBook Air would post their reviews of this product line.

    Some things I would like to know from Air owners:

    1: What kind of tasks do you perform with your Air, and how do you like it compared to your previous laptop machine?
    I use it for downloading photos on trips, and as a traveling companion to my larger laptop. Ironically, I bought my 13inch MBP before this came out as a 'travel laptop', but this is so much better. So yes, I have two laptops.

    2: Do you use your Air as a kind of satellite machine of your desktop, or is your Air also your primary computer?
    satellite - There's not enough space on the hard drive for it to be my primary computer.

    4: Do you run MacOS 10.6 only, or do you run Windows on your Air?
    I bet it would run Windows OK but haven't yet bothered to install it.

    5: How well does software run on your Air?
    Lightroom is OK, sometimes it is slow. But for my purposes it is fine. Other software (my database program, iTunes, genealogy programs) are fine.

    6: Compared to other laptops, how silent/noisy is your Air?
    The MBA is quieter.

    7: What configuration is your Air in terms of overall size, CPU speed, RAM, and storage? (Note that I did not say "hard drive size") How much did you pay for your Air? Also: did you purchase Apple's ultra-portable SuperDrive with your Air, and what do you think of it?
    11inch, maxed out

    9: How do you carry your Air? How often do you carry your Air? What do you pack with your Air when you travel/commute with it? What is your preferred packing solution for your Air?
    In a Waterfield sleeve, which is very protective but probably overkill, and too heavy and bulky. That goes in either my Imago or another similar bag I have.

    10: What do you think about your Air's connectivity? Do you like going all-USB? What kind of USB accessories do you carry with your Air and how do you use them? Have you ever plugged a USB hard drive and some other USB accessory into your Air at the same time and been less-than-enthusiastic with the results?
    I use portable hard drives with USB connections; no issues. I carry an SD card reader that plugs in to the USB port. The no-optical-drive thing is a pain, but since I have a second computer and a strong wireless connection in my house, software installs fine by using the optical drive on the 2nd computer.

    11: Do you use an external monitor with your Air?
    Yes, when I am home and need the extra screenspace.

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Hawaii
    Posts
    41
    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    I noticed one obvious pattern immediately upon reviewing the comments upthread: Every one of you chose the 11-inch model.

    What was it about the 11 inch that made you choose it over the 13-inch?
    For me, I already have a 13" Macbook Al, so the form factor and weight between the 13" MBA was not significant, the 11" was.

    I also forgot to mention, that a previous favorite of mine was the 12" powerbook, which I used to lug everywhere with me. The 11" model seemed more closely related to that old friend.

    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy Morn View Post
    I echo what the others have said, though I do miss the lighted keyboard (I also have a first gen MBA).
    Agreed, forgot about that.

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Greater Boston
    Posts
    136
    I bought the 13 in Air (2.13 GHz CPU, 4 GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD). I wanted the Air as a travel machine because of the weight, thinness (makes it easy to pack), and battery life (which is great as long as you avoid Flash). I wanted a machine that I could program on (mostly dynamic languages like Python and Ruby), create XML/OWL, and use Tinderbox (a "personal content assistant" for writing, analyzing, managing, and visualizing notes). I also remotely connect to work via Citrix (there's a great Citrix client app in the MAS). I felt that the screen size of the 11 in Air was too limiting. The 13 in Air has the resolution of my 15 in MacBook Pro, and to a large extent it has replaced the MBP.

    At home we have an iMac which houses our documents and iTunes library, has our scanner attached, and serves as the print server for our iOS devices. Usually my partner uses it, and I had been using the MBP. Now I find myself using the Air. It is light and doesn't get hot, so it's a perfect laptop machine (perhaps the first!). I can carry it from room to room. It wakes up instantly from sleep. And the performance is amazing (probably because of the SSD storage). I don't run Photoshop or Lightroom on it (they're on the iMac and MBP), but everything else, from databases to web browsing to Tinderbox, is fine.

    I don't mind it being only USB, but that's because the iMac and MBP have FireWire (I download raw files from my Nikon over FireWire). Although at some point I might miss not being able to put the Air in FireWire target mode, or mount another computer on the air.

    I have the USB -> Ethernet connector for the places I go to without WiFi. I also bought the SuperDrive; I've checked it out by installing some software but got mainly to be able to play DVDs when not at home (haven't actually done that yet). And I have a USB hard drive for making cloned backups with SuperDuper!

    And to bring things back to Tom Bihn... I carry the Air in a cache which is either in my Imago or Swift (usually with my iPad, in its cache).
    Owner of Crimson/Steel Western Flyer, Forest/Steel Zephyr, Olive/Cayenne Ristretto for iPad, Olive/Cork/Steel and Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Linen/Steel and Conifer/Steel SCB, Steel Breve, Plum/Black Swift, Steel FJN, Horizontal Freudian Slip, black Brain Cell, Iberian Packing Cube Backpack, Ultraviolet Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, and various organizer pouches, caches, and other odds and ends.

  15. #15
    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    544

    11 inch versus 13 inch Macbook Air

    I think everyone else has said everything that needs to be said about the Late 2010 Macbook Air(s). I love mine: the only con I can think of is the small storage size of the SSD, but by keeping my photos on a portable hard drive the size of a deck of cards, that's not a big issue either. I bought the 128GB 11-inch air, and I was able to install all the apps and docs and data I normally use, as well as my entire iTunes library, with more than 60GB of free space leftover. So when I travel, I'll have plenty of room to download photos off my camera; I just have too many photos from prior years to keep them all on the Air.

    I went with the stock 2GB of RAM and 1.4 gHz processor, a little nervously. But I've been blown away with how well and how fast the Air performs regardless. I also have a 2.53 gHz 15-inch Macbook Pro with 4GB of RAM, and for most tasks, I can't tell a speed difference between them. The Air is remarkably fast and powerful; I don't feel any compromise in performance at all. (Though I don't do things like video or music editing which might tax the Air, and I use iPhoto, not Aperture.)

    I was also concerned about the small size of the 11-inch Air's display, and about pixel density, but the clarity of the screen is astoundingly good, so it hasn't been a problem even for my post-LASIK monovision eyes. The viewing angle is excellent; much better than on the 13-inch Macbook Aluminum Unibody that I sold in order to purchase the Air.

    MtnMan asked why we chose the 11 inch over the 13, and the answer is simple: size size size. The 13-inch Air weighs more than the 11 inch, and perhaps more importantly, its footprint is much larger as well. (Important when you're trying to fit your laptop and your tea on one of those tiny tables in Starbucks etc.) For years I've been looking for a lightweight portable laptop that I could carry around in my purse if I chose (OK, so I carry large purses!), and my shoulders wouldn't start to ache in ten minutes. The 11-inch is finally the answer to that search. When I saw it sitting next to the 13-inch Macbook Air at PeachMac, I didn't even have to think about it. I fell in love with the 11-inch, and in the month I've owned it, I haven't regretted that for a moment. This is the perfect laptop for me. Its works so well that I could use it as my primary machine, and its so lightweight that I don't even remember I have it when I carry it around with me.

    I had considered the iPad, but ultimately rejected it because the apps I depend on every day, both for work and play, are crippled in their iPad versions, and I couldn't do everything I needed to do on the iPad. Plus I'm a keyboard person. Yes, I could carry a Bluetooth wireless keyboard around with the iPad, but that would be one more thing to carry. Why do that when I can have a keyboard integrated into a sleek machine?

    I'm still experimenting with how to carry it. I use a LittleSwift as my daily purse, and there's already so much stuff in it that there's no room to spare for my Air. (Though I can tuck it in there; it will stick out over the top of the Little Swift, but it does fit. I wouldn't want to do that on a regular basis, however.) I also have a full-size Swift, and the Air in its slipcase will easily fit in that, but that's too big for everyday. So like Goldilocks, I've been looking for something in between. I own both an Imago and a 1st-generation Ristretto. Both will readily accommodate the 11 Air, but the Imago has ended up becoming my dedicated camera bag. Maybe it's time to buy another Imago, but my budget is still recovering from the purchase of the Air. (Still waiting for that Tom Bihn camera insert; I bought a small one from another company and I've got that in there along with several lenses and other camera accessories.)

    So for now at least, the 1st-generation Ristretto is it. I sewed my own envelope-style slipcase for the Air after seeing some great designs on Etsy.com. I wanted something that would preserve the slim profile of the Air, but give it some protection from bumps, scratches, and water. By using 3mm industrial felt, I was able to do all that. (I may post photos later.) I had to use Velcro to close the flap, which isn't ideal, but it works. And I sewed an Ultrasuede "grip" on the bottom, to add visual interest, but also as a soft cushy place to hold the case. When the Air is in its slipcase, it adds a little length, so when I place it in the laptop portion of the Ristretto, it does stick up a tiny bit. I'm still easily able to fold and tuck the flap over it, however, and there's no problem closing and latching the outer flap, so it works pretty well.

    Oh, and I didn't purchase the Superdrive. The Air comes with a tiny USB flash drive that has the restore software on it. To move everything from my Unibody to my Air, I first made a bootable clone of the Unibody to an external USB drive, then connected that to the Air and used Migration Assistant. I can do something similar to install new software if it comes on CDs or DVDs, so I don't see the need of a SuperDrive. However, should I ever want one, Samsung makes a small portable DVD drive that sells for around $45 on Amazon.

    That's about it. Hope this helps, MtnMan. Have you decided what you want to do yet?

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0