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View Full Version : Is the Macbook Air okay to have as your only computer




icydog
Nov 19, 2011, 10:33 AM
I have a MBA and I like it. But I am not sure I would want it as my only computer. I can do more with my iMac than with the portable that much I know.

My SIL wants a Mac Laptop for Christmas. I am steering him towards a Macbook Pro since it will be the main computer in the house. It is substantially more expensive so the decision should be well thought out.

Am I correct in my advice?



jackc
Nov 19, 2011, 10:42 AM
It depends, obviously.

But I think for many people, it would be fine as a main computer.

aph3x
Nov 19, 2011, 10:48 AM
For me it is my only computer. Last week I sold my '08 Unibody MacBook Pro. It had the 2.4GHz Core2Duo w/ 8GB RAM and a 120GB OCZ SSD.

After selling that I purchased the 13" Air with the i7 processor, 4GB RAM and 256GB SSD.

I couldn't be happier. I never used the optical drive and when I need to I have a little external that I had before. The resolution on my MBA is the same as my MBP was and the screen is LESS glossy on the Air which is great.

For me I don't miss the discreet GPU on the MBP - I never really used it.

Lastly - the battery on the air lasts so long that even though I take my air with me every where I go I never need the charger because it lasts practically a full work day (7 hours).

So yes, I think it can easily be your only computer.

MacDawg
Nov 19, 2011, 10:49 AM
I have yet to find anything I want to do that my 13" MBA can't do for me
I replaced my 17" MBP with the Air and never looked back

cedwhatev
Nov 19, 2011, 10:54 AM
In one word: Yes. It's my only computer and is capable of even more than I need. :D

scarred
Nov 19, 2011, 11:55 AM
The only thing it can't do is play the latest 3d games. Otherwise yup, absolutely, this is just great as an only computer. It is a very capable machine and would easily recommend it to anyone.

blevins321
Nov 19, 2011, 11:58 AM
I was hesitant, but I moved from my 20' iMac to an 11' Air for portability. The Air is excellent for mobile use, and weighs almost nothing. However, I would suggest a cheap external monitor for desk use simply to reduce eye strain. Overall, the Air is perfect for anything except probably for hardcore gaming. It does perfectly for media viewing, even full-quality blueray rips.

KPOM
Nov 19, 2011, 11:58 AM
It can definitely be an "only" computer. Remember, it has a Core i5 or Core i7 inside. Unless your sister-in-law is running something RAM-intensive or graphics-intensive (games, advanced photo editing), the MacBook Air is likely fine. Do you know what the intended usage is?

snowwhite007
Nov 19, 2011, 12:40 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

I only use my 13" Air my bro is now selling his imac and following in my footsteps external monitor for wen needed just makes it that bit more excellent

Fazzy
Nov 19, 2011, 12:43 PM
I have a MBA and I like it. But I am not sure I would want it as my only computer

it works for me. i use it for pretty much everything, even light web browsing over my slow iPhone 3g.
If it is the small sad storage putting you off, get an external portable hard drive

miggitymac
Nov 19, 2011, 01:35 PM
Yes. As long as your SIL isn't a hardcore gamer, programmer, photographer or video/audio editor.

She may want an external hard drive eventually (probably would need one to back up a MBP anyway) and an HDMI cable to hook up to a TV if she wants to watch movies etc on a larger display. Maybe an external optical disc drive too, depending on her needs.

szolr
Nov 19, 2011, 01:44 PM
For someone like me, an out specced Air would suit for most things. I could run Dreamweaver, Flash Pro and Photoshop well enough. Office, Skype, iLife and about 1 video conversion per week are also hardly strenuous. I could then get an external HDD of about 500 GB, which would cover me for everything. Except Civilization 5 might not like running on an Air. But that's not a modest game by any means.

So for basic usage an Air would satisfy me, and I do web development and reasonable photoshop use as a hobby. It's just a single demanding program-Civ 5 that tipped me towards a Macbook Pro. And that's it. If there's the chance that either now or in the future you'll need 1 program that wants a slightly speedier processor or something, you'd regret the Air decision. If not, the Air's a great choice. :D

jamesr19
Nov 19, 2011, 02:00 PM
Yes. As long as your SIL isn't a hardcore gamer, programmer, photographer or video/audio editor.

From experience MBA is powerful enough for a programmer and amateur photographer (who hasn't got picture files that are GBs of size). Don't think I could go back from my air to any other Mac/PC

convergent
Nov 19, 2011, 07:13 PM
Absolutely. I retired my MBP when I got the 13" i7 MBA and it does everything I want to do faster. I also have the Thunderbolt display that gives me the extra ports that I lost. I do heavy office work, as well as a lot of photography work with Lightroom and CS5 and am quite pleased with the MBA. I see no reason why I'd want a second computer to have to sync with.

heyloo
Nov 19, 2011, 07:14 PM
My MBA is more than sufficient for what I need to do :) As long as you aren't doing some serious graphics or video work, or gaming, I think you'll be just fine. :)

thekev
Nov 19, 2011, 08:00 PM
It all depends on what they want to run. Without more of a description there I find it too difficult to make a suggestion. The most important factors to satisfy for a typical user are gpu, ram, hard drive capacity, and display size. Unless he's running heavier computationally intensive software or working with large files, he won't choke the cpus.

Stein357
Nov 19, 2011, 08:46 PM
Yes. As long as your SIL isn't a hardcore gamer, programmer, photographer or video/audio editor.

This.

Mine works perfectly as my only computer.

jsgreen
Nov 19, 2011, 08:56 PM
This.

Mine works perfectly as my only computer.

Another vote in this direction - I have used my 11" 2010 MBA as my main machine (10 hrs a day give or take) since April 2010, and I love it. I'm not a gamer and my computing needs are not cpu intensive - mostly writing, email, internet and light excel use. I will say that I also have an iMac which holds all the home's media (30k iTunes tracks and 25k photos) which would be fine on an external HD if your SIL has similar storage needs.

Good Luck!

torbjoern
Nov 19, 2011, 08:57 PM
Yes. As long as your SIL isn't a hardcore gamer, programmer, photographer or video/audio editor.
Exactly what are the shortcomings of the MBA for a hardcore programmer?

Risasi
Nov 19, 2011, 09:18 PM
Exactly what are the shortcomings of the MBA for a hardcore programmer?

LOL. As long as I don't see "coding rockstar" or "coding ninja" come up in this thread I'm fine. I'll start to think I'm in the help wanted section on elance...


I know several Ruby coders who use nothing but a 13" MBA now. And they report most of the guys in their sphere are on some sort of Mac.
All the Delphi guys I know are still hanging on to their PC homebrew kits and some Thinkpad/other laptop users, but I haven't checked with them in a few years.


Anyway to answer the OP; "Yes".

torbjoern
Nov 19, 2011, 10:02 PM
I know several Ruby coders who use nothing but a 13" MBA now. And they report most of the guys in their sphere are on some sort of Mac.
I do a lot of programming in Java and Objective-C, and I don't see why I would need a more powerful computer than my Air for that kind of work (within its expected lifetime, that is). I guess I'm not hardcore enough, he he.
Anyway to answer the OP; "Yes".
+1

M a t t
Nov 20, 2011, 06:51 AM
This.

Mine works perfectly as my only computer.

..and is 2 gb of ram enough for everyday light tasks (web surfing, email, writing etc..)?

Moccasin
Nov 20, 2011, 06:56 AM
I'll add to the chorus saying that an MBA is more than enough for a sole computer. The only reason I'm considering anything else is as a media server. Even then I'm still hoping (with low expectations) that Apple will release a home media device that doesn't need iTunes running on acomputer

Risasi
Nov 20, 2011, 07:23 AM
I'll add to the chorus saying that an MBA is more than enough for a sole computer. The only reason I'm considering anything else is as a media server. Even then I'm still hoping (with low expectations) that Apple will release a home media device that doesn't need iTunes running on acomputer

I think you can shoot that hope in the head and move on in life...

drsox
Nov 20, 2011, 07:26 AM
The issue w the MBA is the lack of GB networking.
If you deal with BIG files, then a GB LAN connection is a must. This usually means Video files.
Apart from that, my 2x home made Win7 PCs are unused. Until there is a stand-alone TBolt GB LAN box a TBD is the only solution.

deepakvrao
Nov 20, 2011, 07:33 AM
I'll add to the chorus saying that an MBA is more than enough for a sole computer. The only reason I'm considering anything else is as a media server. Even then I'm still hoping (with low expectations) that Apple will release a home media device that doesn't need iTunes running on acomputer


Newbie here so not really sure, but can't you do that with a NAS HDD like a Seagate Goflex Home?

Moccasin
Nov 20, 2011, 07:42 AM
Newbie here so not really sure, but can't you do that with a NAS HDD like a Seagate Goflex Home?

No all the NAS things run an iTunes server emulator like Firefly and that isn't recognised by ATV etc. I have a ReadyNAS which I started using with a Squeezebox but it doesn't recognise Apple's audio formats.

Sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong!

blevins321
Nov 20, 2011, 09:31 AM
Newbie here so not really sure, but can't you do that with a NAS HDD like a Seagate Goflex Home?

Those NAS implementations can only handle audio. And even then, they cannot play DRM media (which in iTunes Match days might not matter). But for video, the ATV2 needs Home Sharing, which no NAS supports. Also nobody has cracked the DRM video protection.

convergent
Nov 20, 2011, 09:48 AM
If you jailbreak the ATV2, it can access your NAS content. Not sure about stuff you bought through iTunes, but you could also throw up a Mac Mini to do that. I would never plan to use any laptop as a media server anyways... but that's just me.

Smileyboy
Nov 20, 2011, 08:56 PM
I'm thinking of getting rid of my iMac and MBA 11... and getting a 13 maxed out....
I just find myself using my iPad so much and my MBA for work, I would just like to have a bit bigger screen.