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MauerFan
Mar 14, 2012, 12:07 PM
I'm starting college in the fall, and have started to look at laptops. I'm going to go with a macbook, and I was wondering if the Air would be fine for my needs. I'm probably going into economics, and would use office a lot. My only question is if I got the Air how would I install office without a disk drive? I don't watch a ton of movies, so a disk drive isn't needed. With free time I would probably use Aperture now and then. I'd like something that's light, but that has sufficient memory. I am planning on waiting until the next update occurs before I make a purchase.



Stewart21
Mar 14, 2012, 12:25 PM
I'm starting college in the fall, and have started to look at laptops. I'm going to go with a macbook, and I was wondering if the Air would be fine for my needs. I'm probably going into economics, and would use office a lot. My only question is if I got the Air how would I install office without a disk drive? I don't watch a ton of movies, so a disk drive isn't needed. With free time I would probably use Aperture now and then. I'd like something that's light, but that has sufficient memory. I am planning on waiting until the next update occurs before I make a purchase.

The Macbook Air will be fine for MS Office, I'm not sure about Aperture, never used it. If you have access to another Mac with a DVD drive you can install MS Office using that by enabling DVD Sharing. You can actually share DVD drives in Windows machines as well. Alternatively you can connect an external DVD drive to your MBA and install from that. It's explained in the MBA manual.

Stewart

pgiguere1
Mar 14, 2012, 12:32 PM
I think a MBA would be perfect for your needs.

A 15" MBP would be too heavy and pricey for college and I guess you wouldn't need its performance either. I think the 13" MBP is a little awkward right now and has nothing over the MBA unless you need a lot of storage or more than 4GB or RAM.

The MBA will offer a better screen resolution, faster boot/loading times, more convenient USB placement and would be lighter to carry around.

Rumors are that the MBP could get updated this summer though, but chances are that the 13" MBP could disappear. Time will tell what will happen, but if you're in the market right now I say definitely grab a MBA, it's a fantastic computer that seems perfect for you.

As for Office, if you don't currently own it you can choose to buy and download it legally from Microsoft's website. You can also download the full version for free here (http://www.microsoft.com/mac/trial) and it will expire after 30 days. After that, simply enter the serial number from a boxed version and it will activate permanently.

If you already have it on disc, you can use another computer's disc drive and wirelessly share the disc using Remote Disc (instructions here (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1777?viewlocale=en_US)).

PS: I constantly use my MBA to edit 18MP photos with Photoshop CS5 and it's plenty fast. You should be fine with Aperture too.

clactonian
Mar 14, 2012, 05:32 PM
Why not download OPen Office, it's free and just as good, if not better.

KylePowers
Mar 14, 2012, 06:14 PM
My only question is if I got the Air how would I install office without a disk drive?
DVD sharing, or an easier way could be to just download it from Microsoft's website, then input your serial/CD-key to activate it.

kulimer
Mar 14, 2012, 06:42 PM
Why not download OPen Office, it's free and just as good, if not better.

I think Open Office is nowhere close of a match up to MS Office. MS Office has a better user interface, and lots free add-ins.

People just don't develop these add-ins for Open Office.

Open source is a good start, but it is way underdeveloped.

talmy
Mar 14, 2012, 06:46 PM
Microsoft has huge discounts for college students. Don't buy Office until you get on campus or at least check to see about software availability there.

jojoba
Mar 15, 2012, 06:05 AM
I think a MBA would be perfect for your needs.


Agreed. It's a great machine.

Snarlyow
Mar 15, 2012, 02:06 PM
Does your college have computer recommendations? (some require a certain model)

I would think that a 13" MacBook Air would meet your needs. I'd be tempted to get the larger SSD. You should still have some sort of external hard drive for backups, though. (I think the 11" screen is a bit small for doing extensive work - lots of scrolling for large spreadsheets, e.g.)

DON'T buy software until you get to school. Most schools have the software that they want you to use, and you can install (legally, education copy) for free (included w/ the cost of your tuition :).

If not, then you should be able to get education copies of the software for less $$ (will need student ID, tho)

External DVD drive could be useful to read / make DVDs

If Wifi doesn't cut it for downloading large software (can be SLOW - might not complete) you can get USB-to-ethernet adapter

pavvento
Mar 15, 2012, 02:10 PM
I got a MBA this Christmas and have completed more graduate work with it than I thought I would. I had no problem bouncing between Excel and Word for my thesis (80 pages of typing and 45 pages of spreadsheets). At first I was afraid that the monitor (13 inch) would be too small but with spaces on OS X it was easy.

halledise
Mar 15, 2012, 02:14 PM
I'm probably going into economics, and would use office a lot.
My only question is if I got the Air how would I install office without a disk drive?


I don't get the fixation everyone has about MS Office.
iWork is more than adequate imho and is an inexpensive download from the AppStore


I am planning on waiting until the next update occurs before I make a purchase.

if you're awaiting the next update, you could be waiting a while

talmy
Mar 15, 2012, 03:37 PM
I don't get the fixation everyone has about MS Office.
iWork is more than adequate imho and is an inexpensive download from the AppStore


iWork is fine if you don't have to collaborate. If you need 100% compatibility with Office, then Office is the one to get (especially with extremely low student pricing it's typically less than iWork).

MauerFan
Mar 15, 2012, 03:44 PM
If the new update isn't out by July I'll buy one, but I don't mind waiting.

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I got a MBA this Christmas and have completed more graduate work with it than I thought I would. I had no problem bouncing between Excel and Word for my thesis (80 pages of typing and 45 pages of spreadsheets). At first I was afraid that the monitor (13 inch) would be too small but with spaces on OS X it was easy.

So the screen size isn't a problem then?

halledise
Mar 15, 2012, 06:26 PM
iWork is fine if you don't have to collaborate. If you need 100% compatibility with Office, then Office is the one to get (especially with extremely low student pricing it's typically less than iWork).

you could well be right about the pricing - I hadn't realised MS Office is so cheap.

I guess it also depends on the level of collaboration.
I have no issues going to and fro with my Windows pals and their presentations, spreadsheets, etc - then again I'm not talking complex files here.

chrono1081
Mar 15, 2012, 06:27 PM
+1 for the Macbook air. Its a perfect computer for most college students. Thin, light, great performance, etc.

Also as others stated, buy office from your school. It'll be dirt cheap usually.

pavvento
Mar 15, 2012, 06:32 PM
If the new update isn't out by July I'll buy one, but I don't mind waiting.

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So the screen size isn't a problem then?

Correct. I don't know if I could stand the 11 inch but the 13 is great, especially with Lion's ability to easily pinch to zoom.

jw123
Mar 15, 2012, 07:25 PM
you could well be right about the pricing - I hadn't realised MS Office is so cheap.

I guess it also depends on the level of collaboration.
I have no issues going to and fro with my Windows pals and their presentations, spreadsheets, etc - then again I'm not talking complex files here.

When I first bought my MBP I bought iWork and I soon realised there is problems when transferring files to the office formats, for example I had some huge problems when sending colleagues a word document with some tables in, the formatting was all over the place.

Not sure what country your from but here in the UK we can get office for about 50% discount for students, Apple also offer a little discount on iWork which makes the prices fairly similar ~40.


Anyway back to the matter, yes I think the MBA would suit your needs perfectly, you have the portability of taking between class/college accommodation/home, more than enough power for word processing and spreadsheets, and its also pretty good for Aperture too.

P.S. about the disk drive, office is now downloadable (legally), as is A LOT of software