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michelle89
Dec 4, 2010, 02:02 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm a college student and I'm considering to buy the new macbook air. I've heard that a lot people criticize the macbook air for its performance and some of its features. The only things I will use/do on my laptop are: words, powerpoint, excel, STATA, picasa, skype, facebook and to listen to music on grooveshark. So I would consider myself to be a 'light' user. I also travel a lot, so the weight of my laptop is important to me. It's however not the main reason why I would want to buy a laptop. I want a durable laptop that is going to last for at least 3 years. I've never had a mac before.

Do you think the macbook air is suitable for me? And what are the issues with the wireless internet connection?

Thank you! :)



Hellhammer
Dec 4, 2010, 02:06 PM
Which MBA, 11" or 13"? How much storage do you need? MBA seems to be fine for you as long as you don't need more than 256GB of storage.

Some people have reported slow WiFi but that doesn't seem to be very widespread issue so I wouldn't worry about that.

michelle89
Dec 4, 2010, 02:09 PM
I don't think I need more than 256GB and I want the 13" model. I heard that the macbook air does not have an ethernet port. Is that a major drawback?

Hellhammer
Dec 4, 2010, 02:12 PM
I heard that the macbook air does not have an ethernet port. Is that a major drawback?

No, not at all. Or do you connect your computer to the Internet via Ethernet? At least in my opinion, it kinda kills the idea of an ultraportable if you need to connect it via cable in order to access the Internet. Besides, you can get USB to Ethernet dongle if you really need an Ethernet port but I doubt you do, nearly everyone has a router nowadays.

Pete A
Dec 4, 2010, 02:13 PM
You can buy an Ethernet-to-USB adapter from Apple for $30. It's small and light.

michelle89
Dec 4, 2010, 02:18 PM
Right now I use wired internet, but that is only temporary. So I guess it's not that big of a problem to me then.

tunerX
Dec 4, 2010, 02:25 PM
Everything you said you wanted to do can be done on the MBA.

If you want gigabit speeds then I guess the MBA is not a choice but not many people need that fast of a connection and the WiFi will work just fine for everything you mentioned.

I would sooner get a cheap wireless access point to keep the ultraportable, portable. If you hunt, you can find them for the same price as the USB to Ethernet adapter.

Neolithium
Dec 4, 2010, 04:10 PM
You can buy an Ethernet-to-USB adapter from Apple for $30. It's small and light.

I thought the new MacBook Airs came with the USB/Ethernet adapters? :confused:

Edit - My bad. Apparently I was mistaken, could have SWORN I saw one come with a 13.3" in a video unboxing.

gwsat
Dec 4, 2010, 04:28 PM
I don't think I need more than 256GB and I want the 13" model. I heard that the macbook air does not have an ethernet port. Is that a major drawback?
The only limitation caused by the MBA's lack of a dedicated Ethernet port is that in order to use an Ethernet cable you would have to buy a USB to Ethernet adapter. Even Apple charges only $29.00 for them and you can find them for less than that with a little patience. By the way, Apple's USB to Ethernet adapter works well.

InsanelyApple
Dec 4, 2010, 05:28 PM
Let me give you advice. People in the Air forum will say the Air. People in the Pro forum will say the Pro. Your best chance of unbaised people answering is the Buying Tips and Advice forum. ;) (http://forums.macrumors.com/forumdisplay.php?f=54)

ABG
Dec 4, 2010, 05:36 PM
I thought the new MacBook Airs came with the USB/Ethernet adapters? :confused:

Edit - My bad. Apparently I was mistaken, could have SWORN I saw one come with a 13.3" in a video unboxing.

You did see it ;)

I watched that video today - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou-2_AFVQmY
at 1:55 the adaptor is in the box

Could be he ordered it - I know when I specc'ed a non-standard wireless keyboard on my 08 iMac it was supplied in the pack.

smetvid
Dec 5, 2010, 08:59 PM
Keep in mind the MBA is also missing the FW800 port for external storage. This may not be a huge deal to some people but FW800 and gigabit ethernet can make a big difference when you have to transfer a lot of files at home or at work. There are also some streaming video services that just do not work as well over wifi as they do ethernet.

gwsat
Dec 5, 2010, 09:26 PM
Let me give you advice. People in the Air forum will say the Air. People in the Pro forum will say the Pro. Your best chance of unbaised people answering is the Buying Tips and Advice forum. ;) (http://forums.macrumors.com/forumdisplay.php?f=54)
I echo your recommendation that prospective Mac buyers look at the Buying Tips thread for advice on choosing between the MBP and the MBA. I disagree, though, that the advice of MBA owners who post to this forum should be disregarded. Within the past couple of days in another thread in this Forum I recommended to a young man who is a teenaged student on a budget that he get an entry level 13 inch MBP rather than an MBA. As much as I love my MBA I am convinced that, all things considered, the entry level 13 inch MBP is a far better value than any MBA and offers a path to upgrade both RAM and storage that are not available for those of us who have MBAs.

We MBA owners have to understand that there is a price to be paid not only in dollars but also in computing power and flexibility for having chosen an MBA. I bought my MBA because I thought that the new 13 inch Ultimate MBA offered a nearly perfect combination of sufficient power to do my work in a remarkably small and lightweight package. I paid a premium for that but I am not constrained by a teenager's budget and have now reached an age where buying a 13 inch MBP, which is 50 perent heavier than my MBA, is a more serious consideration that it would likely be for a healthy young student.

KPOM
Dec 5, 2010, 10:11 PM
I echo your recommendation that prospective Mac buyers look at the Buying Tips thread for advice on choosing between the MBP and the MBA. I disagree, though, that the advice of MBA owners who post to this forum should be disregarded. Within the past couple of days in another thread in this Forum I recommended to a young man who is a teenaged student on a budget that he get an entry level 13 inch MBP rather than an MBA.

True, and I also recommended that another poster consider purchasing an SSD for an existing MacBook Pro rather than purchase a MacBook Air.

Despite the price drop, the MacBook Air is still a bit of a "luxury" item. However well-intentioned and valid the reasons, it still sports an older processor, fewer ports, and less storage than other notebooks. It also is pricier, and not the right computer for everyone.

millerb7
Dec 5, 2010, 10:19 PM
Well I went MBP. I was gonna get MBA 13" ultimate, but for the same price I could get the MBP 15" with i-5 processor... 2x the machine spec-wise as the mba for the same price.

I had a OWC SSD that I installed in it, and now it BLAZES... the aftermarket SSD is faster than the one apple is using in the MBA.

Just get what's right for your needs. End of story.

I wanted the MBA VERY VERY badly, but in the end, getting 2x the machine for the same price (plus a little after I put a SSD and optibay in it) it was an easy choice for me. I'm thrilled with my choice (BUT ONLY after I installed the SSD).

The first day I bought it, I was disappointed, after the SSD install, this thing is NUTS.

wirelessmacuser
Dec 5, 2010, 10:24 PM
Despite the price drop, the MacBook Air is still a bit of a "luxury" item. However well-intentioned and valid the reasons, it still sports an older processor, fewer ports, and less storage than other notebooks. It also is pricier, and not the right computer for everyone.

I concur. I really enjoy my MBA's, yet it's all about choosing the right laptop for the job. It hard to beat the current 13" MBP. All too often people are overly critical because it's equipped with a C2D, but it's a great machine that is long lasting & easily upgradeable. There's a lot to be said for that.

jenzjen
Dec 5, 2010, 10:30 PM
Well I went MBP. I was gonna get MBA 13" ultimate, but for the same price I could get the MBP 15" with i-5 processor... 2x the machine spec-wise as the mba for the same price.

I had a OWC SSD that I installed in it, and now it BLAZES... the aftermarket SSD is faster than the one apple is using in the MBA.

Just get what's right for your needs. End of story.

I wanted the MBA VERY VERY badly, but in the end, getting 2x the machine for the same price (plus a little after I put a SSD and optibay in it) it was an easy choice for me. I'm thrilled with my choice (BUT ONLY after I installed the SSD).

The first day I bought it, I was disappointed, after the SSD install, this thing is NUTS.

Nice, but if you want to compare apples/apples, since your SSD is 120GB, it really is the 1.86 MBA vs your MBP so ~$1300 vs $2400 with your extras. That's an 27" ACD price difference :)

deedas
Dec 5, 2010, 10:59 PM
Sounds like a MBA would be just about perfect for you. The only factor I'd imagine would give you a hard time is deciding whether you need to go for the cheaper 128GB or the more expensive 256GB. Either way definitely opt for the higher 4GB RAM. Quite frankly I'm shocked at the amount of people not bothering to get such an essential future proofing upgrade.

millerb7
Dec 6, 2010, 08:45 AM
Nice, but if you want to compare apples/apples, since your SSD is 120GB, it really is the 1.86 MBA vs your MBP so ~$1300 vs $2400 with your extras. That's an 27" ACD price difference :)

Well that's not exactly apples to apples ;) No more so than price wise ;)

That's JUST SSD size... if we went apples to apples with that machine then my MBP is WAAAAY better, with a much higher processor.

Apples to apples with the two machines is pretty much impossible. They are meant for 2 diff. niches. The MBA is ultraportable, the MBP is more of a workhorse. Goth fantastic for their niche.

But... my ONLY thinking on the MBA were 2 things:

1. Size
2. SSD

I got the SSD for my MBP which is better than the stock SSD apples uses speed wise.

I still am bigger though. I do wish the MBP was smaller, not gonna lie. But for my work load and coding and the fact that I want future proof for 3 years at least, I think the MBP was the better route for me.

Again, it's all depending on your use. Get the right machine for the job.
Tough call, both great machines.

jenzjen
Dec 6, 2010, 05:11 PM
Well that's not exactly apples to apples ;) No more so than price wise ;)

That's JUST SSD size... if we went apples to apples with that machine then my MBP is WAAAAY better, with a much higher processor.

Apples to apples with the two machines is pretty much impossible. They are meant for 2 diff. niches. The MBA is ultraportable, the MBP is more of a workhorse. Goth fantastic for their niche.

But... my ONLY thinking on the MBA were 2 things:

1. Size
2. SSD

I got the SSD for my MBP which is better than the stock SSD apples uses speed wise.

I still am bigger though. I do wish the MBP was smaller, not gonna lie. But for my work load and coding and the fact that I want future proof for 3 years at least, I think the MBP was the better route for me.

Again, it's all depending on your use. Get the right machine for the job.
Tough call, both great machines.

Right, I meant apples looking specifically at the storage space since you were comparing an Ultimate 13" to your MBP + 128GB SSD. Since Apple is charging a hefty markup for that Ultimate 256GB, IMHO it wasn't as tight of a comparison as possible hence pitting your MBP vs the MBA with 128GB seemed more fair, that's all.