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st0p.
Mar 8, 2011, 01:41 AM
Hey Guys,

My MBA '11 arrived today, largely due to the advice/feedback I got on these forums, so I thought I would give back and provide some quick first impressions of the machine after some brief use.

Some brief but pertinent info about me, and my intended use of the machine: this is my first Apple computer, which I picked up to supplement a 15' PC laptop I use as a media center/gaming device. The intended use of the air is pretty spartan: writing, blogging, light internet browsing (considering never installing flash), occasional skype conversations and itunes.

My Specs
2gb ram
base processor
128gb hard drive

Design
Not sure I can say anything more about this that hasn't already been said: this machine is astoundingly beautiful. You have to see it to believe it, and even then nothing really compares to holding it in your hands. It is compact to the point of absurdity, but it achieves this without sacrificing durability. My 15' inch dell laptop is infinitely more fragile to the touch, with more give/flex at all points than the MBA.

Mac OSX
This is my first real use of OSX, so I thought I'd give a synopsis of what I've noticed so far. First of all, coming from a PC, the whole OS is incredibly intuitive. I could see myself buying a Mac for my parents, whose knowledge of computers is incredibly limited, because, compared to Windows 7, this strikes me as incredibly simple. There is definitely going to be an adjustment phase, but it won't be painful by any means, and I have the feeling that learning OSX from Windows 7 would be a lot easier than going the other way around.

First Impressions

Incredible trackpad. It was absolutely unbearable to use the trackpad on my PC; this is so useful I don't see myself ever wanting to use a mouse
The widescreen and resolution make for an interesting viewing experience. There isn't a whole lot of vertical scrolling room, which could be problematic once I start doing heavy writing, but the text, though small, is incredibly crisp, and a few hours of use produced no strain on my eyes
Heat...Uhoh. I skyped for about two consecutive hours, and there was noticeable heat on the underside of the computer. This is my biggest concern so far. It was absolutely stone cold during light web browsing (blogs/wikipedia), but within half an hour of skyping the bottom was hot enough to be uncomfortable on my lap.
I have 2gb of RAM, and while I am still confident that that will suffice for my needs, the very first thing I did with the laptop was open iTunes and transfer my music, and it struggled with this immensely, so the point that iTunes crashed and OSX froze.
The included software is great. What a difference to not have terrible bloatware pre-installed. iCal looks great, as does iPhoto, and I look forward to using both extensively
A lot of talk has been made about the backlit keyboard...and I can't see why. The screen brightness illuminates enough of the keys to make it useable at night. The biggest issue with any keyboard, especially any laptop keyboard, is the quality and depth of the keys, and I am ecstatic with the MBA keyboard. This is my first time using a chiclet keyboard, and the transition has been incredibly easy. Don't anticipate any problems with long typing sessions
Lastly, and this really needs to be said, as sturdy as this thing is, I highly recommend purchasing a case. The lid will scratch pretty easily from contact with a zipper or metal button.


Thanks again for helping me pick this bad boy out. If anyone has any experience with heat issues (am I the only one who has experienced this level of heat?), I would really appreciate a comment or advice.



firewood
Mar 8, 2011, 02:08 AM
The non-backlit keyboard only looks horrible to someone who has recently used a MacBook Pro keyboard indoors in a non-bright room.

After using my MBP for awhile, my MBA 11 keyboard look dull, dingy, and hard to see. Pretty bad...

But after a few days of just using my MBA (which I do a lot because of its fantastic portability) I don't even notice anymore. The MBA 11 keyboard looks great!

OceanView
Mar 8, 2011, 02:19 AM
Holding out til a new MBA comes with a back lit keyboard option.

st0p.
Mar 8, 2011, 03:04 AM
I guess maybe it's one of those things that, once you've had it, you can't live without. Hard for me to understand though: I am typing this in a pitch-black room, with the screen dimmed to 50%, and I can see the keyboard very clearly.

uniforms
Mar 8, 2011, 04:56 AM
Backlit keyboad is an excellent thing to have. I hope to see that in the next upgrade.

One thing I strongly recommend is exchanging your machine for one that has 4mg of ram. It makes a world of difference. You will see, you will only want to use the mac instead of that PC. If you think this is a remote possibility get the 13" with 4gig of ram. I bought the 13 and the 11. Both with 2 gigs of ram. Then exchanged both for the 4. The extra ram made me feel I had a faster machine than the mbp I had. After working with both I found that the 13" made the most sence.

Good luck with your mac!

impulse462
Mar 8, 2011, 08:55 AM
When you say "skyping" you mean video chatting right? This has happened to me as well. Using the front-facing camera just results in a high CPU-usage which, in turn, jacks up the CPU temperature.

JS77
Mar 8, 2011, 09:07 AM
Holding out til a new MBA comes with a back lit keyboard option.

Ditto. As soon as Apple update the AIR with a backlit keyboard, I'll be buying.

Patrick946
Mar 8, 2011, 09:31 AM
The intended use of the air is pretty spartan: writing, blogging, light internet browsing (considering never installing flash), occasional skype conversations and itunes.


Rather than installing Flash, you can use Chrome's Flash plugin.

Cheating With Google Chrome

But that doesn’t mean I never run into Flash content I wish to view but for which there is no HTML5 alternative. Google Chrome offers a workaround — Chrome includes its own self-contained Flash Player plugin. Removing Flash Player from /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/ prevents Safari and Firefox (and almost all other Mac web browsers) from loading Flash content, but not Chrome.

So, whenever I hit a page with Flash content I wish to view, I open that page in Chrome. As soon as I’m done watching it, I quit Chrome, which ensures Flash Player isn’t left running in the background.

I’ve also added a shortcut for opening the current Safari page in Chrome quickly. First, if you haven’t done so already, enable Safari’s Develop menu. (It’s a checkbox in the “Advanced” panel of Safari’s preferences window.) The Develop menu contains an “Open Page With” sub-menu, which lists all the web browsers you have installed on your system. Using the Keyboard Shortcuts section in System Preferences, I set a custom menu key shortcut for the command to open the current page in Google Chrome. Whenever I’m on a page in Safari with Flash content I wish to view, I hit that shortcut, and boom, Chrome launches and loads that page. (Hint: when you create the custom shortcut, and are asked for the name of the menu item, just use “Google Chrome” or “Google Chrome.app” (whichever appears in your Open Page With sub-menu).)

via Daring Fireball (http://daringfireball.net/2010/11/flash_free_and_cheating_with_google_chrome).

I have click to flash on my current macbook, but I'm going to use the Chrome plugin when I get my new air.

Rob.G
Mar 8, 2011, 10:40 AM
While I do miss the backlit keyboard, it's ONLY because it looks sharp. I touch type, so I don't actually NEED it. In fact, I think the MBA11's keyboard has a superior feel to that of my 17" MBP.

I love this little thing. It actually gets more use than my MBP, because it's so portable. I rarely touch my iPad anymore. The MBP stays at home hooked up to a second monitor and the Air goes with me almost everywhere. For 99% of what I do, the MBA is faster than my MBP. The key is the SSD. I can only imagine how freakin' fast the new Sandy Bridge MBP must be with an SSD in it.

Rob

The Catalyst
Mar 8, 2011, 12:42 PM
Holding out til a new MBA comes with a back lit keyboard option.

Backlit keyboad is an excellent thing to have. I hope to see that in the next upgrade.

I couldn't agree more. After owning/using a backlit keyboard on my previous MBA models, I couldn't see buying a new laptop without that feature. Do I need a backlit keyboard? Probably not, as I can type without one, but I do like the feature when I'm using a macbook in a dark meeting taking notes. I'll be holding out too.

WesCole
Mar 8, 2011, 01:06 PM
Ditto. As soon as Apple update the AIR with a backlit keyboard, I'll be buying.

+1

I can't believe they left this option out. Hopefully a revision will happen soon because I am starting school again this summer and would love to get one at an education discount. :)

Also wouldn't mind an i3 with dedicated graphics, either...

Monkey194545
Mar 8, 2011, 01:33 PM
+1

I can't believe they left this option out. Hopefully a revision will happen soon because I am starting school again this summer and would love to get one at an education discount. :)

Also wouldn't mind an i3 with dedicated graphics, either...

I hope it doesnt happen soon because my 11in 4gb ram just came in today! :cool: :D (but the wife is actually letting me sell it when the sb ones come out!)
I don't think the new ones will have a back-lit keyboard (battery life and room being the reasons). Also, it will have at least an i5. The SB i3's are just renamed Celerons (crappy). I really can't see a dedicated graphics card. The 320m isn't even dedicated, it's shared.

gglockner
Mar 9, 2011, 01:12 AM
It also doesn't come with a pony (or is that an iPony?).

The MacBook Air is a fantastic little computer. Weighs very little, very powerful, fits practically anywhere. Of course we expect more powerful models in the future. But to say that you won't buy one because it doesn't have a backlit keyboard is just silly.

My Mac Pro doesn't have a backlit keyboard either. And it's a very powerful machine.

JS77
Mar 9, 2011, 04:17 AM
It also doesn't come with a pony (or is that an iPony?).

The MacBook Air is a fantastic little computer. Weighs very little, very powerful, fits practically anywhere. Of course we expect more powerful models in the future. But to say that you won't buy one because it doesn't have a backlit keyboard is just silly.

My Mac Pro doesn't have a backlit keyboard either. And it's a very powerful machine.

Yeah, but I bet you don't ever take your Mac Pro onto a Flight, or place it on your lap while watching TV in the evenings :D

Before I switched to Mac a few years back, I never understood the excitement about back-lit keyboards. Now, I can honestly say it's a "killer" feature (in my opinion) and I couldn't buy another laptop without it! I'm so surprised more laptop vendors haven't started doing it.

Anyway, once the Air is updated with it, I'll be buying. Until then, my 2007 MBP is doing fine :)

Bye Bye Baby
Mar 9, 2011, 05:46 AM
I want core i7, 4GB RAM and backlit keyboard.
I will then be a proud owner of a Macbook Air.

artivideo.nl
Mar 9, 2011, 06:01 AM
and a 3G internal module !!!

I want core i7, 4GB RAM and backlit keyboard.
I will then be a proud owner of a Macbook Air.

gglockner
Mar 9, 2011, 02:15 PM
And a pink pony? Sounds like you guys will never be satisfied.

I had a Rev C MBA, which I traded for an 11" MBA when it was released. I thought I'd miss the backlit keyboard. I don't. Especially since I'm a touch typist.

The Catalyst
Mar 9, 2011, 02:35 PM
The MacBook Air is a fantastic little computer. Weighs very little, very powerful, fits practically anywhere. Of course we expect more powerful models in the future. But to say that you won't buy one because it doesn't have a backlit keyboard is just silly.

My Mac Pro doesn't have a backlit keyboard either. And it's a very powerful machine.

I had a Rev C MBA, which I traded for an 11" MBA when it was released. I thought I'd miss the backlit keyboard. I don't. Especially since I'm a touch typist.

Different strokes/different folks I guess. Sounds like you went to a newer model for a smaller footprint and more power, as those were big selling points to you. For me personally, I really didn't need the bump in speed/instant on feature on the new MBA models, so I choose to stick with a 2.13 Rec C for the time being. I think the backlit keyboard was a fantastic feature integrated into the original MBA's (and I think the only reason they took it out of the current line was profit margins).

The new 11" Air is a glorious little machine, I just wish they would have kept the backlit keyboard feature on it.

gglockner
Mar 9, 2011, 03:21 PM
Different strokes/different folks I guess. Sounds like you went to a newer model for a smaller footprint and more power, as those were big selling points to you.

Agreed, I just want the whining to stop. Just one point: the 11" is less powerful than the 13" (even the SSD-equipped Rev C). I was willing to make that sacrifice because I have a powerful desktop Mac.

liquid stereo
Mar 10, 2011, 11:22 AM
I've used the back-lit keyboards since they were first used in the Aluminum PowerBook G4. (On my last MBPro — 2006 vintage — I've turned it on maybe twice.)

All this "drama" about the lighting makes me wonder if the "potential buyers" actually (a) work on the machine and/or (b) need the machine.

Just curious.

The non-backlit keyboard only looks horrible to someone who has recently used a MacBook Pro keyboard indoors in a non-bright room.

After using my MBP for awhile, my MBA 11 keyboard look dull, dingy, and hard to see. Pretty bad...

But after a few days of just using my MBA (which I do a lot because of its fantastic portability) I don't even notice anymore. The MBA 11 keyboard looks great!

iRun26.2
Mar 10, 2011, 12:32 PM
I've used the back-lit keyboards since they were first used in the Aluminum PowerBook G4. (On my last MBPro — 2006 vintage — I've turned it on maybe twice.)

All this "drama" about the lighting makes me wonder if the "potential buyers" actually (a) work on the machine and/or (b) need the machine.

Just curious.

It was a very nice feature! I thought it was one of the things that made Apple computers stand out from the crowd.

I really miss the backlit keyboard. Whenever I use my 11.6" model in bed while my wife is sleeping I am angered that Apple took it out. I wonder if they will bring it back and put it in both models (or just in the 13.3" version). I sure hope it is offered in the 11.6" upgrade. I'd pay $200 for that option! :)

hamean
Mar 10, 2011, 01:04 PM
It was a very nice feature! I thought it was one of the things that made Apple computers stand out from the crowd.

I really miss the backlit keyboard. Whenever I use my 11.6" model in bed while my wife is sleeping I am angered that Apple took it out. I wonder if they will bring it back and put it in both models (or just in the 13.3" version). I sure hope it is offered in the 11.6" upgrade. I'd pay $200 for that option! :)

Are you guys 'hunt and peckers'? I don't usually stare at the keyboard while typing; that's why they put the notches on 'j' and 'f'....

Anyway, I'm glad it doesn't have a backlit keyboard as (1) it's one less thing to draw power and (2) it's one less thing to make the computer bigger and thicker. But to each his own i guess.

treynolds
Mar 10, 2011, 02:19 PM
Incredible trackpad. It was absolutely unbearable to use the trackpad on my PC; this is so useful I don't see myself ever wanting to use a mouse.

The track pad experience with the Air is one of the resons why the main input device on my iMac is no longer a mouse, but the 5" x 5" TrackPad. It's a thing of wonder.

As for the backlit keyboard, would be nice, but having never had a notebook with it, I don't miss it. I'm a hunt and peck guy, never have learned to type...

Oh yeah, the review by the OP was spot-on. Great job!

RockPortTech
Mar 10, 2011, 02:34 PM
Hi there and congrats on your MBA. How much of the actual SSD was available for your use? I have read that the OSX and paging defaults take up like 20Gb? Is this true?

relachs
Mar 12, 2011, 04:55 AM
Agreed, I just want the whining to stop. Just one point: the 11" is less powerful than the 13" (even the SSD-equipped Rev C). I was willing to make that sacrifice because I have a powerful desktop Mac.

Hi,

I have the same problem problem with my MacBook 13" late 2006. (I know its way older than yours). I searched for a solution but none worked for me. Last night I tried to fix this myself. I wrote a little java program that does nothing else than x++ every x miliseconds (you can pass x as an argument so you can adjust the cpu load). For me 1 milisecond works great (no fan rotation increasement, cpu whine is nearly gone (it still makes (another) sound but you can only hear it if you listen to it explicitly and its very quiet), while 0 milisecond makes the fans go crazy after a while.


Source (you can compile it yourself if you dont trust me):
import java.util.logging.Level;
import java.util.logging.Logger;

public class Dontwhine {

/**
* @param args the command line arguments
*/
public static void main(String[] args) {
int x = 0;
while(true) {
try {
Thread.sleep(Integer.parseInt(args[0]));
} catch (InterruptedException ex) {
Logger.getLogger(Dontwhine.class.getName()).log(Level.SEVERE, null, ex);
}
x++;
if(x > 10) {
System.out.print("."); x = 0;
}
}
}

}



OR download the attached zip (there you will find the code i posted in a .java file and the compiled java file .class

After that open up a terminal and navigate where you Dontwhine.class file is located.


Then type: java Dontwhine 1
or: java Dontwhine 2
any positive (including 0) and < 32000 or so will work.

greetings

tim100
Mar 14, 2011, 08:56 AM
anyone find 11 too small.

ZipZap
Mar 14, 2011, 11:55 AM
Yes, its why I got a 13.

cooldaddybeck
Mar 14, 2011, 12:04 PM
I thought I would find the 11" too small, but after using it for about a week, I'm finding myself very happy with it.

Qualify that with an external monitor in the office (21"), bluetooth keyboard and using my magic mouse (borrowed from my MBP 17" at home). Already flown with it and my shoulder is very happy for the decreased weight while walking through airports.

firewood
Mar 14, 2011, 12:30 PM
I have both an MBP 13 and an MBA 11.

The MBA does not seem too small. In fact, after using the MBA 11 for awhile, the MBP 13 now seems too big.

J&JPolangin
Mar 15, 2011, 01:22 AM
I have both an MBP 13 and an MBA 11.

The MBA does not seem too small. In fact, after using the MBA 11 for awhile, the MBP 13 now seems too big.

...I felt the same, got an 11" for $854 from our base PX and thought it wasn't powerful enough so I returned it and got a 13" for $1160 = after the 11", the 13" MBA feels like its way to big for the portability I got used to in 2 weeks with the 11" so the 13 will get returned and I'll see if I can find another "deal" on an 11" MBA...

entatlrg
Mar 15, 2011, 01:46 AM
I thought I would find the 11" too small, but after using it for about a week, I'm finding myself very happy with it.

Qualify that with an external monitor in the office (21"), bluetooth keyboard and using my magic mouse (borrowed from my MBP 17" at home). Already flown with it and my shoulder is very happy for the decreased weight while walking through airports.

Having the 17" MBP and the 11" MBA which one gets the most use?

Does the 17" MBP still play an important role in your set up?

Cheffy Dave
Mar 15, 2011, 02:31 AM
I want core i7, 4GB RAM and backlit keyboard.
I will then be a proud owner of a Macbook Air.

looks like you'll never have one:eek:

Cheffy Dave
Mar 15, 2011, 02:32 AM
OWC has 256 flash hard drives for the 11", and up to 320 GB:eek::cool::D

Psilocybin
Mar 15, 2011, 12:41 PM
looks like you'll never have one:eek:

Agreed.

foiden
Mar 15, 2011, 12:55 PM
Love my 13" MBA. I don't mind the missing backlit feature that much; however, I'm not sure the direction they traded it for. Now, they do have a very nice sounding speaker system under that keyboard making some spacial sound that's way better than my previous mac laptops. However, for the purpose of the Air, that's the last machine I'd expect big audio sound from the built-in speakers.

For the purpose of it's use, (which is usually a little more silent (that is, personal and not for everybody to hear)), I'd think the backlit would've been a feature more in demand instead of the sound system they kind of replaced it with. You generally don't buy an ultra-portable for the purpose of great spacial sound for the room to hear. You usually stick with headphones. Just an observation about why they decided to put such effort into laptop speaker audio, on the thing. Still, it is impressive. My old Gateway laptop, with full visible stereo speakers doesn't even compete with the sound out of the 13" MBA, and that machine was *made* with the intention of making loud noises as a desktop replacement and Crysis-playing machine.

gglockner
Mar 15, 2011, 02:23 PM
I have the same problem problem with my MacBook 13" late 2006. (I know its way older than yours). I searched for a solution but none worked for me. Last night I tried to fix this myself. I wrote a little java program that does nothing else than x++ every x miliseconds (you can pass x as an argument so you can adjust the cpu load). For me 1 milisecond works great (no fan rotation increasement, cpu whine is nearly gone (it still makes (another) sound but you can only hear it if you listen to it explicitly and its very quiet), while 0 milisecond makes the fans go crazy after a while.

Sorry, I was referring to the whining by the posters on this thread, not the sound made by the cooling fans. Seems like you should take your MacBook Air to a repair center to have it checked.

yly3
Mar 15, 2011, 02:53 PM
Yes. I am also impressed with the speakers quality. I mean, they are pretty loud and clear! Sometimes when you play some mkv movie it is even louder. Just wow.

rav16
Mar 15, 2011, 03:11 PM
i have the same machine as the OP just i got the 4gb ram , and this is my first ever mac and belive me iam just enjoying it i agree 100% with other posters who suggest of returning this if possible and getting one with a 4gb ram. i transfered many pics and songs and i dint have any problems.

my wife does skype everyday with her parents but we dont ever notice it getting hot at all.

with the backlit keyboard thing since i never used any laptop with tht feature i just dont know the advantage of it .

since iam not a heavy duty user anyway this machine is just more then enough for me.

i had 13 inch dell vostro was good looking machine but i sold tht because it used to get too hot and then battery life was horrible and though it was slim it was still akward for me to carry since i travel a lot. so for me the 11inch was the right one . i saw many 11 inches windows laptops and the latest sony vaio yb series all were abt 500$ cheaper and maybe more powerfull specs wise but after watching the 11 inch air in a apple store it was decided that only the macbook air will come home no matter what.

so far iam super happy with practically everything abt this bad boy the software the hardware just everything.

the next thing i will buy is a imac for sure and with the magic track pad.

but 1 thing is fore sure 11 or 13 both are just awesome machines no doubt about that.

adnoh
Jul 25, 2011, 02:03 PM
looks like you'll never have one:eek:

not true anymore!

GreyMatta
Jul 25, 2011, 02:42 PM
not true anymore!

Was just about to say the same ;)

calvol
Jul 25, 2011, 02:59 PM
If you install iStatPro you can check your CPU temp during Skype. I get 80C when using Skype.