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View Full Version : Writing on the MBA 11" (and 13")




MultiBat
Jan 13, 2011, 02:17 AM
After having snooped around this forum for quite a while, I decided to register and actually post a thread. :)

I do not yet have a mac, but have decided to get one this year.
I am leaning towards an MBA for a few reasons: Fits my needs performace wise (writing, writing, writing and the occational Handbrake run), SSD, Can't get enough looking at it... (has never happened to me before, I'm really a numbers kind of guy)

What I would like to get more input on is the actual experience on writing extended periods of time on the MBA.
I have been to stores and tried it out, but I couldn't really sit there for several hours and just type. Besides, they were placed on tables at an akward height and with no chairs.
What I could tell was that I really like the keyboard and the look of the MBA. Today I sit and write on a Dell laptop and that works just fine for me. I imagine that the thinness of the MBA would be even better for the angles of the wrists when typing.
I searched the forum and found a post regarding writing on a 13" MBA by a writer, and someone (maybe the same person, can't remember) talking about having trouble writing on the MBA 11". That person kept accidentally touching the touch pad when typing. I would like to hear from more of you guys out there.

So please post your experience regarding typing for longer periods of time on the MBA (both sizes).

Hopefully this could also help med to decide between 11" and 13". I had decided for the 13" before going to the store and actually trying them, but now it is an open race... :)



tersono
Jan 13, 2011, 03:01 AM
The keyboard & trackpad on the MBA is a joy. You'll have no worries there.

Moodikar
Jan 13, 2011, 04:05 AM
There is actually an extra key between the "L" and the "return/enter" key on a PC laptop. It does throw users off when typing (like me) when used to a Mac. I prefer a Mac over a PC keyboard.

I do like the flat low profile and actually found it tough to use a wireless Mac keyboard due to the angle. Funny, I remember using older keyboards that were bigger (like the imacs and Power PC of the past) but guess I've since gotten used to and love the low to the desk design. Less bending around the wrist.

I love writing with an 11 inch. I find the compact size is nice to lug around and have on tables (that are usually pretty small at coffee shops). I'm sure a 13 inch is handy but for me, I don't need the extra monitor space when writing. I think the 11 inch is really all you'd need to write and surf the web.

MultiBat
Jan 13, 2011, 09:36 AM
There is actually an extra key between the "L" and the "return/enter" key on a PC laptop. It does throw users off when typing (like me) when used to a Mac. I prefer a Mac over a PC keyboard.

I do like the flat low profile and actually found it tough to use a wireless Mac keyboard due to the angle. Funny, I remember using older keyboards that were bigger (like the imacs and Power PC of the past) but guess I've since gotten used to and love the low to the desk design. Less bending around the wrist.

I love writing with an 11 inch. I find the compact size is nice to lug around and have on tables (that are usually pretty small at coffee shops). I'm sure a 13 inch is handy but for me, I don't need the extra monitor space when writing. I think the 11 inch is really all you'd need to write and surf the web.

Thank you for your input.
I just started using a regular keyboard this week at work again and after several months of laptop usage it felt really weird. The keyboard felt clumsy, big and very old...

I am not worried about the changes in keyboard layout. You learn pretty quick when you start using them.

Retops
Jan 13, 2011, 09:49 AM
I wrote on my 11inch MBA yesterday all day and into the evening, running through two complete cycles of the battery. I find it very comfortable to use for extended periods and incredibly responsive.

Yesterday I was doing lots of research as I wrote so I had more than one program open, plus several browser windows. This thing is a joy to use.

thelookingglass
Jan 13, 2011, 09:57 AM
I completely agree with the posters above. This thing is a joy to write on and I never have any issues whatsoever with the keyboard, trackpad or anything else. Your mileage may vary, of course, but here's at least another vote in favor of this little guy as a great companion for writing.

iRun26.2
Jan 13, 2011, 10:04 AM
I completely agree with the posters above. This thing is a joy to write on and I never have any issues whatsoever with the keyboard, trackpad or anything else. Your mileage may vary, of course, but here's at least another vote in favor of this little guy as a great companion for writing.

Agreed! I find the keyboard of the 11.6" MBA great to type on.

Bakari45
Jan 13, 2011, 10:50 AM
Though I have an iPad, I got the MBA particularly for writing. I just couldnít find a way to use the iPad for longer pieces of writing.

I too have the 11Ē MBA, and I find the keyboard is just right, except for that the Delete key seems a little too far away. And yes, the 11Ē screen is a little small, but I wasnít ready to pay for the extra 13Ē. So I deal with it.

So far Iíve decked out my MBA for writing with:
Typinator (TextExpander is also)
Spirited Away to keep the desktop clear of un-used windows
ClipboardSharing
Drobox
Evernote
Hazel (also for keeping stuff organized)
Butler and Default Folder X for file and folder management

I really like how small and portable the MBA is. I can just close it and put in the bag when Iím on the go. So far thereís no spinning beach ball, and itís fast enough for me as a writer.

Ronnoco
Jan 13, 2011, 10:53 AM
agreed! I find the keyboard of the 11.6" mba great to type on.

+2

Drezin
Jan 13, 2011, 11:14 AM
i got a 13'' and its the best laptop i've ever had the experience to use. and at the university i get to help lots of friends with their laptop's issues (everyone uses PCs here in brazil).

I used to have a Dell mini in which i did all the typing during classes and etc. While extremely useful, it always felt a little irritating and uncomfortable after a few hours.

with my new macbook air however, i never get tired of it, not even when typing lying on bed with the laptop on my lap (which would be like a torture with a mini 9)

mcdonaldtosh
Jan 13, 2011, 11:18 AM
Writing on a 11" should be a joy. I bought it a week after launch, and it has never let me down. The only problem it won't solve is a writers block. Else, portability and performance is flawless, even Photoshop CS5 delivers for on location quick look and editing. Even with 2GB ram base model at 1,4 Ghz. Don't worry, just write.

major7
Jan 13, 2011, 01:37 PM
I have a 13"and believe me....its better than any other laptop i ever seen....dont know why but for example, i have a friend with a Sony Vaio that costs 2 MBA`s and it feels better to write on this one....and the trackpad.....i always hated trackpads and never ever used one until i bought this one. It's so smooth and the gestures are amazing for navigating! I'm still on the honey moon phase :D

Xeperu
Jan 13, 2011, 03:23 PM
I write tons and tons and tons (about 50-60 pages a week) and I'll give you my gist on it.

When I first got the Air (13) I hooked it up to my Ergonomic keyboard (Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, by far the most superior keyboard ever created on the face of earth).

However after a while I just dropped it and work straight on the MBA (more and more working away from home). I've gotten used to it by now. However, I do need to take a typing break every 30 minutes to give my wrists some rest. This might be a good idea anyway to prevent RSI.

What I love most about it, because it's so thin, it's very friendly on the palms.

rhinosrcool
Jan 13, 2011, 04:39 PM
This is my question, too. At present, on the 11" mba, I have had only minutes of typing experience. Per day, prolonged use would be my routine.

On my 15" mbp, so that the screen is higher and more at eye level, I use a foldable laptop stand. Since the 11" mba's screen is smaller, do you get neck fatigue looking down?

foiden
Jan 13, 2011, 06:55 PM
My 13" works really well. As other people said, the thin dimension of the machine actually makes the palm rest more comfortable to use. Otherwise, it types at least as well as my 13" MBP does.

I can't really answer for the 11" for neck strain. However, I do often type on the internet using the lower half of my 13" screen. So I would imagine it isn't that different than using the 11".

mcdonaldtosh
Jan 13, 2011, 07:26 PM
When I move my eyes from my 22" screen to the Macbook Air 11" connected, my eyes does the moving, not my neck. Ergonomics are more centered around your chair. The chinese use hard chairs, straight wooden backpiece and actually they have one of the lowest statistics on injuries related to sitting on your ass.

jsilas
Jan 13, 2011, 07:33 PM
I recently made the switch away from PC to the Mac. While I've not done extensive typing on either my MBP or MBA, I can say that the keyboard on the MBA is an absolute joy to type on. I love everything about it - the keystroke feels so pleasant, the sound of the keystroke is gentle and quiet, not harsh and distracting. I have very few miskeys despite not being accustomed to the keyboard design.

My guess is that, based on your description, a MacBook Air will meet your needs in spades, and then some. Still, it would be nice if you could locate a friend or family member with one that you could borrow briefly and try out in more natural settings than the tables at the Apple Store.

My personal opinion: Buy with confidence, and love your new notebook!

thelookingglass
Jan 13, 2011, 08:07 PM
The chinese use hard chairs, straight wooden backpiece and actually they have one of the lowest statistics on injuries related to sitting on your ass.

Lol, you mean all 1-point-however-many-billion of them? That's a hilarious generalization. I was over there recently for work and I didn't see many hard chairs with straight wooden backpieces.

KPOM
Jan 13, 2011, 08:35 PM
I've had a MacBook Air since 2008, and I have the current 13" model. Apart from the lack of backlight in the new models, the keyboard is just as good as on any other Mac. My mother has a 15" MacBook Pro and I have no issues going back and forth.

Since you are new to Macs, there are a few things that will be different. For instance, you will often used the "command" key in OS X where in Windows you might use the Control key (e.g. CMD-Q instead of CTRL-Q to quit an application). The command key is where the ALT key is on a Windows keyboard. With no right mouse button, you can use CTRL-click, or a two-finger click on the trackpad. "Delete" is more like the backspace key on a Windows keyboard. To get the "delete" function, press fn-delete. Once you get past those differences, it's a breeze. I use a Windows notebook at the office and have no issues going back and forth.

MultiBat
Jan 14, 2011, 02:38 AM
Thank you all for all the great keyboard input. Get it? Sorry, couldn't resist... :p

I have decided to reward myself with a MBA after finishing the current novel. I think I will actually get the 13" model. Compared to the 15.4" I have today it will still feel tiny and I don't really need ultra portability.

Only thing to try to decide next is the SSD size, but thats a topic for another thread...

foiden
Jan 14, 2011, 06:13 AM
The 13" MBA actually seems surprisingly large in screen-size. Yes, it's definitely smaller than the 15", but it seems bigger than a 13" thanks to its 15"-sized native screen resolution.

MultiBat
Jan 14, 2011, 07:03 AM
The 13" MBA actually seems surprisingly large in screen-size. Yes, it's definitely smaller than the 15", but it seems bigger than a 13" thanks to its 15"-sized native screen resolution.

Oh, I see that I was not at all clear with what I meant. :)
I am looking for a physically smaller laptop than my 15.4".
So the 13" will have a smaller footprint , be thinner and lighter. So the 13" is tiny enough for me (comparing to the 11"). The high resolution of the MBA 13" is also a bonus of course.

ghostwriter
Jan 14, 2011, 08:28 AM
I enjoy writing with the MB Air 11, more than any other computer, except perhaps my iMac :)