The MBA 13" is my favorite computer I've ever owned. I throw it in a bag and don't notice it's there. It has all the power I need to do extensive graphics work (I run a web development company), surfing, watching videos, emails, etc. I've never needed a CD/DVD and I rarely use the ethernet-to-usb adapter I bought. I bought a Apple Cinema Display for home and one for the office so I carry the MBA back and forth and have a full 27" screen in both places. On the road, the 13" screen is perfect. I can't recommend the 13" MBA highly enough.
I have to admit, that Cinema Display is amazing. The price tag is a shocker but it is hard to take your eyes off that thing in the store. Given how cheap monitors are these days I'm not entirely sure the difference in price is worth it but it is amazing.
Originally Posted by apbailey
I did a system in S.Florida and it has 2 of those babies in the guys Home Office.
Originally Posted by pretzelb
When I work there in the off season and stay in the house I use them for my email stuff there and first thing in the morning they are too bright for me to work with!
Like looking into the sun.
Last night I finally bit the bullet and bought my new Mac. In the end I got a refurbished 13" MBA. It's the 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 with 4 MB memory and 256 GB SSD (basically the top configuration in the previous model iteration, which was released in the summer of 2011). The price was the same as the entry level 13" MBA in 2012, so some nice savings. Just felt like too good a deal to pass up, and gives some more breathing room with regards to funding the extras (TB cache, adaptors, apple care, Microsoft offfce suite, etc.). In the end, I reached the conclusion that there was no "perfect" computer for my needs--it would always come down to certain tradeoffs. For me the lighter weight, non-glossy/ higher resolution screen, and SSD were the key factors. Would have really liked the expandability and adaptability of the MBP, but wasn't willing to give up the rest, nor spend more $. Thanks again to everyone who weighed in-- it's been enormously helpful.
Congratulations I am sure you will love it!
A couple questions about the external CD/DVD "superdrives" that plug-into the MacBook Airs and late-model Mac Minis:
1: I'm wondering if these external drives are as good as the ones that are built-into the MacBook Pros. How is their reliability track record, to date?
2: Has anyone ever installed Windows on an Air or Mini, then plugged it into a BluRay drive to burn BluRay DVDs? Just wondering if that would work.
I have Windows installed on several Mac Machines and it works somehow better than on any native Windows machine I own,I don't really understand how or why but I am not kidding!
Originally Posted by MtnMan
I even run USB to Serial converters routinely to program Windows devices and have very few issues with this either,it just works as it is supposed to.
You have a choice whether to run Windows natively through BootCamp at startup in which case the machine would need to be rebooted to switch from Win to MacOS or you can run Virtualization Software like Fusion or Parallels or the SUn free one where you can freely switch between Win and MacOS with no rebooting. I use both and both work for me,I use Fusion.
If you are asking then if you could burn BluRay in Windows the answer is yes,they are real windows machines when running a windows environment. The only real caveat is that you still need a powerful enough machine to actually encode BluRay which can be a huge load on any machine but otherwise they will preform like any other Windows machine.....unfortunately!
I install and maintain Automation and AV systems and need a single machine solution that will let me run both Windows and MacOS every day often at the same place,not a simple task in the past.
I have finally been able to rely on my 17"MBP or 13"MBP when on the road without needing a PC with me at all as they do run Windows reliably and quickly enough to be my only machine.
I sometimes still do need an actual Windows machine to interface to some system that needs a true serial port but this is getting more and more to be the exception to the rule.
I second what has been said about Windows on the Mac. I currently have it (Windows 7) installed on an iMac (via Fusion) and on my new MBAir 13 (via Parallels). Each works with no problems. (I have used a bootcamp partition where the machine boots directly into Windows in the past and have found no avantage to using it.) The drives sold by Apple are solid and as reliable as their other machines. You also can use most any external optical drive. I use an inexpensive one I purchased a number of years ago and it operates flawlessly - although you do have to actually plug it into a usb port rather than using a wireless connection. The only times I now use a "true blue" Windows machine/PC is in my office where some software I need to use requires that I use Windows XP pro on a true XP era device because of some of the specific buss requirements of the software. I could ( and will eventually have to) update the software when the XP machine dies but the software is very pricey and I am searching for a more reasonably priced alternative that will work with current and more generic hardware. Congrats on the new Mac.
A few more questions came to mind about late-model MacBook Airs:
1: I see there's a BTO option where you can get a 13-inch MBA equipped with a Core i7 processor. Does anyone actually do that? Does an i7-equipped MBA really scream like a jet? What would someone use an i7-equipped MBA for?
2: I see that the new MBA's and Retina MBP's now come equipped with hybrid USB 2 / USB 3 super-high speed ports. If you plug a standard USB thumb drive into one of these new ports, will you see any difference in performance over older USB 2-only connections?
3: How well do the SD-card readers work on these late-model Apple laptops? If you use a camera or camcorder that records large amounts of photos or video, do these slots offer good read/write performance? Anybody use these SD slots as a kind of "modern floppy" to transfer large files between machines?
The other 2 questions I can't really answer; but the first answer I semi-can though I don't have the computer in my hands yet. Yes, people upgrade to the i7; and it's uncommon, which makes the computer that much more valuable for resale should you ever go that route. By a stroke of luck, I actually ended up buying the exact same computer lightly used on eBay 2 days ago that Boyfriend bought brand new last year. It's a 2011 11" i7 MBA with 4 gigs of RAM. I bought it for work and travel because my 2009 white Macbook, although I love it, is getting old and heavy and showing some issues. According to him, the i7 is extremely fast (and you are better off getting a refurbished 2011 because there is next to no difference betwen the 2011 and 2012 models as far as processing power and speed goes). Forget circles, the MBA runs entire orbits around his MBP. It is one of the fastest machines he's ever owned thanks to the processor and the SSD. The MBA will handle just about anything you throw at it, multiple programs (photoshop, 20 zillion tabs in Safari, maybe a few games on the Steam network) with some slowdown but not much. As long as you don't do heavy games with it, you will be fine. My work is mostly writing, so I won't be using much processing power; but getting a $1200 computer for less than $900 AND a free SuperDrive ($80 on its own) was a good deal...though it unfortunately ate up my trip money so no Florida for me. :( :( :(
1-I program an Automation system that uses iPads in the wall or not to control the home.
Originally Posted by MtnMan
I started doing this with a 13" MBP 2.4 C2D2 with 6 gigs of ram and when I made any changes at all to the layout of the iPad screens it took the machine 46 minutes to recompile the program each time. This got old very fast.
So I got a 17" MBP I7 with 8 gigs of ram and the same recompile takes under 3 minutes,every time.
If I can learn to live with the smaller screen again the 13" MBA spec'd as you asked about seems like the ideal machine for me as don't you think?
2-Not really,the interface speed of the thumb drives max's out at USB2 speed right now I think.
3-I have and do use SD cards from some cameras directly in my 17" MBP and transferring movie files it is pretty fast.
I use USB thumb drives more though for this sort of thing.
If there was a CF slot I would be happier as my DSLR's use that.
I also use Lacie RIKKI drives for Backup and really like them for use as "Floppies" too.
They are very small 1 Terabyte drives powered through USB and built like a tank out of aluminum. At about $100.00 they are cheap security for Peace of ind to me.
In my 17" I also have a 256g SSD drive that I boot from and a 750G spinning drive where the DVD was.
The SSD backs up to a partition on the spinner all the time making a bootable clone of itself. In the event the SSD has a bad day I don't have to as I can boot from the spinner and keep going.
This is the other thing I will miss if going to the 13" Air and I am not ready yet to make that leap.
My parents own an aging first-generation (2006) Intel white Macbook. It is definitely getting long-in-tooth. The display flickers and sometimes the backlighting fails for a few seconds at most. Adjusting the angle of the display usually corrects the problem. I take this to be a sign that it is time to replace the old white MacBook. (I have no such problem with my 2007-vintage 15-inch MacBook Pro.)
Money is really tight right now, but I may be starting a new job soon and that should alleviate the ridiculous belt-tightening we've all had to undergo here. If the money situation loosens up, I may want to look at buying either a 13-inch MBP or a 13-inch MBA for my parents. Their current white MacBook is their primary computer. The only reason I'm looking at the MBP is because they want a built-in CD/DVD drive because they do occasionally play discs and may want to burn a disc once-in-a-blue moon.
Does anyone know if the newer MBPs or MBAs have any screen flicker issues, or is that a thing of the past?
What about battery life? Is there a difference between the 13" MBP and the 13" MBA?
The White plastic MB had issues with the screen due to the way the cables ran through the crappy hinge they used in that thing.
They run a million tiny hairlike wires individually through a pot metal hinge in a groove and after a while the hinge wins.
I fixed 2 of them this last week and it is one of the worst repairs I have ever had to do.Getting the million wire re-routed into the groove is almost impossible and every time you move anything in there it all comes apart.Then there is some strange tape that is supposed to hold it all in place that can not be re-used or purchased to make the fix.
I have probably done 10 of them all together and the parts are just so cheesy it feels like it will break again from being put back together.
The Unibody machines do not seem to suffer the same layout,wiring or fate with the screen as the plastic MB's do.
There is a actual harness laid out nicely running in a track that can be nicely fastened in place,big improvement.
I understand about the parents and the MBP V Air,I would likely put my Mother into a pro before an Air except she loves my Air too much and covets it now. They really don't need a built-in drive but then "Change is Bad" too! There is also a lot to be said for just having the drive there for when needed but then the machine is a lot bigger and heavier.
The MBP get better battery life as they are just a bigger battery and it is noticeable for sure.
I feel it a worthy trade off though for me when traveling by air for the lighter weight,it seems to make a bigger difference to me as time goes by.
Last month I was stuck over in Boston for 5 hours between flights and my 11" did fine just surfing on the airport ATT supplied WiFi and I never went into suspend or had to plug it in.
There were plugs everywhere if I needed them but I wanted to see just how the battery would hold up.
In comparison I have used a 13" MBP all day long without charging for the same kind of use.
They are all just really great machines.