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View Full Version : Is the Air built to last?




ardent73
Mar 26, 2013, 08:02 PM
I've just had my second MBA I've owned die. I'm wondering if I should get a Macbook Pro, if it has better design / materials.

I'm also wondering if I should go back to a PC, like the one I'm on right now. :(

I'm gentle on a computer, I just need a high MTBF



Mrbobb
Mar 26, 2013, 08:19 PM
Short Answer: Not known Air to be lower quality than Pros.

Long Answer:

Do u have a history of things dying on you?

Care to specify what died?

Care to disclosure further info as to enable intelligent responses, like how old this Air is? U bought it new? How often do u take it out? Have you open it? Have u done any hardware modification?

urkel
Mar 26, 2013, 08:26 PM
I've just had my second MBA I've owned die. I'm wondering if I should get a Macbook Pro, if it has better design / materials.

I'm also wondering if I should go back to a PC, like the one I'm on right now. :(

I'm gentle on a computer, I just need a high MTBF
What do you mean by "die"?

To me when I hear of people breaking the same product multiple times then I tend to wonder if its more the user than the product? My brother and mother are notorious with destroying every tech product they touch while my gear tends to last forever despite me treating them very much like "tools". So I really believe that there is some weird cosmic karma that affects gear like this.

Im not trying to defend Apple and if you're even thinking of Windows then theres no reason to stick with Apple if they make you unhappy/unconfident.

TheRealDamager
Mar 26, 2013, 10:01 PM
Thats some bad luck. Having owned several Airs, I've found them tough as nails.

ardent73
Mar 27, 2013, 10:58 PM
Short Answer: Not known Air to be lower quality than Pros.

Long Answer:

Do u have a history of things dying on you?

Care to specify what died?

Care to disclosure further info as to enable intelligent responses, like how old this Air is? U bought it new? How often do u take it out? Have you open it? Have u done any hardware modification?

First MBA had OS user partition died because of HDD fault caused by logic board failure

Current MBA (with SSD) died due to memory RAM failure.

I don't upgrade until I have to so these were/are older models. Do you have to upgrade at say the 3 year mark, before the MTBF catches you?

ardent73
Mar 27, 2013, 11:15 PM
What do you mean by "die"?

To me when I hear of people breaking the same product multiple times then I tend to wonder if its more the user than the product? My brother and mother are notorious with destroying every tech product they touch while my gear tends to last forever despite me treating them very much like "tools". So I really believe that there is some weird cosmic karma that affects gear like this.

Im not trying to defend Apple and if you're even thinking of Windows then theres no reason to stick with Apple if they make you unhappy/unconfident.

I did a lot of air travel with the first one, but none with the second which has never left my home. Bought both new, only one owner, first via Amazon, second via MacMall.

----------

Thats some bad luck. Having owned several Airs, I've found them tough as nails.

Do you leave them on/sleep or shutdown?

I'm in the northeast USA cold winter/hot summers.

l.a.rossmann
Mar 28, 2013, 01:02 AM
It is not built to last at all.

A Lenovo is built to take a spill head on and work. The air will die in a second.

A Lenovo is made to be dropped from 7 ft and keep trucking.. An air will be done for.

An HP, Dell, even any other Mac, when memory fails, you can replace it. When memory in your air fails, good luck BGA soldering new RAM onto it with a $20 kit from radioshack.

If you want to buy an air because it fits your workflow and you won't be tough on it, by all means, do so. But don't buy it under the idea that it has better long term potential than other laptops.

seveej
Mar 28, 2013, 03:51 AM
It is not built to last at all.

A Lenovo is built to take a spill head on and work. The air will die in a second.

A Lenovo is made to be dropped from 7 ft and keep trucking.. An air will be done for.

An HP, Dell, even any other Mac, when memory fails, you can replace it. When memory in your air fails, good luck BGA soldering new RAM onto it with a $20 kit from radioshack.

If you want to buy an air because it fits your workflow and you won't be tough on it, by all means, do so. But don't buy it under the idea that it has better long term potential than other laptops.

I agree that any machine, which solders all critical components on one logic board is quite prone to catastrophic failure/costly repairs.

On the other hand, I disagree with the praise you shovel onto other brands.

It's true that lenovo's have "fluid channels", so that liquids are supposed to run through the machine, but that's plain bs in real world scenarios. The most the machine is able to channel without seepage into internal components is about a tablespoon. Also, if you dip a glass of water on the table, chances are your machine is screwed, as it does not stand high enough off the table.

In my experience, real thinkpads (read IBM) are quite sturdy, but no way near indestructible, most lenovo designs are far less sturdy. Fact of the matter is that laptops simply are not baseball bats.

Regarding the OP's point: Sure, MBA's have some design compromises, which render them more prone to failure, while OTOH, they have less moving parts.
On the whole, I'd say: "MBA's have less component failures than MBP's, but MBP's allow you to replace the broken components easier."

RGDS,

TheRealDamager
Mar 28, 2013, 08:22 AM
I did a lot of air travel with the first one, but none with the second which has never left my home. Bought both new, only one owner, first via Amazon, second via MacMall.

----------



Do you leave them on/sleep or shutdown?

I'm in the northeast USA cold winter/hot summers.

I leave it on sleep.

wolfpuppies3
Mar 28, 2013, 08:54 AM
Mine are both solid as rocks, practically indestructible given reasonable protection in a BookBook case. I do turn mine off when not in use.

My experience with Macs has been that MBAs are no more or less fragile than my MB Pro which is built like a tank as well. It is Mac's build quality that helps to differentiate them from the very fragile Toshiba, Gateway, and HP laptops I have worn through.

GeekGuys
Mar 28, 2013, 09:00 AM
I have had a number of Macs of all descriptions and there are some devices (not just Apple but any electronic device) that will have failures. A Friday built machine if you will.

However, there is also the way you treat a machine. I had a 2008 MBA Mk I that I used to travel all the time. It was used daily and open/closed about 20 times per day. I replaced it in early 2012 with my current MBA. Same treatment.
The 2008 MBA never failed me once. Never crashed. Never overheated. Never broken hinges or failed components. I sold it in 'as new' condition.

I am not kind to my computers when it comes to software. I expect the machines to work heard for a living. However, I always treat the externals well. I don't use a case or cover but it always travels in a laptop bag (with padded internals). I open/close it carefully. I place it on a table, rather than dump it down.

I wouldn't say I was delicate but you just don't treat a laptop like you do a lump of Oak !

I have older laptops that are still working well and all my iphones have not had scratches or marks yet I don't use a case or cover on them either.

I'm not saying you have treated it badly, just that the life of a device is as much to do with treatment as it is with luck!

blndcat
Mar 28, 2013, 11:16 AM
I have a MBA 11" and have had MBP and iBooks before this one. Since there is no longer a spinning hard disk in it, the points of failure are:

- logic board
- hinge
- ssd
- screen

I guess in that order of probability. Logic board failures are very common, I wonder if it is to do with heat. iBooks, iMacs have a history of logic board failures and you are so out of luck if your warranty/AppleCare is over as it is very expensive to replace.

Using this MBA and ibooks, thinkpads before, the hinge seems likely to get looser and looser with use.

SSD are better than hard drives but use them long enough and they will fail too.

Screen will either get dimmer with use or just pop.

But they are fairly sturdy, well built machines. I hope mine lasts long enough until the retina version comes out :)

Kissaragi
Mar 28, 2013, 12:06 PM
You just got unlucky. They are no more prone to failure than a MBP

fatlardo
Mar 28, 2013, 01:00 PM
I have the 2009 11 air and its still going strong.

excommie
Mar 28, 2013, 01:26 PM
I don't think the design of the hinge and the way screen is attached to MBA and MBP is very sturdy.

When you open these laptops all the way, what stops the laptop at about 55 degree angle is the outer screen cover. This screen cover and the LCD are glued together. When you do that often, the glue will eventually fail causing "screen separation". This is common enough on MBP, I'm not sure about MBA, but MBA appears to have similar design.

The point I'm trying to make is that not only the internal components can fail (and you're out of luck when RAM is soldered). The design of the hinge and screen is not very sturdy.

My MBP 15" had screen separatation occured immediately after I had it for 3 years. Thankfully, Apple has a campagin (EM209) where they agree to replace the screens free of charge.

Their customer service is pretty good. If things fail, chances are they'll make you happy with replacing things, even outside of warranty coverage.

Azathoth
Mar 29, 2013, 05:01 AM
I've just had my second MBA I've owned die. I'm wondering if I should get a Macbook Pro, if it has better design / materials.

I'm also wondering if I should go back to a PC, like the one I'm on right now. :(

I'm gentle on a computer, I just need a high MTBF

Based on my experience (real world), I would say that the older Thinkpad T series (e.g. T60), are(/were) better built. Look at the youtube videos of people literally throwing them around and surviving.

Having said that, as a HW designer, the macbooks are reasonably well built, but not really designed for long MTBF in real world use (consider things like drain holes for spills, roll cages, which the higher level Thinkpads have).

OTOH the Thinkpads, at least until 2011 generally had awful screens, poor colour depth, poor viewing angle, though they have IPS panels in some of hte models now.

Riker88
Mar 29, 2013, 03:29 PM
I would say no.

I have a top of the line MBA 2011 and experienced a logic board failure after only 18 months. Since it was out of warranty, Apple charged me >$500 to replace the logic board despite expressing my unhappiness. Some people will say AppleCare but this is not cheap and needs to be factored into the original cost. I would expect any laptop I buy to last at least 2 years and not to have such a catastrophic failure.

I like the MBA but I'm afraid Apple lost me as a customer for my next laptop (and I have multiple Apple products in my household)

maxosx
Mar 29, 2013, 03:39 PM
I'm on my fourth 13" MBA in three years.

The only reason is because I gave the other three to family members that needed a great computer.

I take my MBA when traveling on long flights across the continent. Traveling like that always subjects your things to bumps and so on.

While I carry it with me and never put it in my luggage, nonetheless when one has a lot of luggage to deal with, everything get's disturbed a bit.

In addition, even without the much hyped retina display, I really like the current display Apple uses.

I would rate the MBA's highly durable, and strong. It's most certainly one of my all time favorite laptops.

iNotion
Mar 29, 2013, 08:32 PM
Mine still running strong since late 2010. :D

ardent73
Mar 29, 2013, 09:47 PM
You just got unlucky. They are no more prone to failure than a MBP

I blame the environmentalists, lead free solder is crap.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_(metallurgy)

Either way I'm leaning towards getting the 13" MacBook Pro probably Retina, too. :cool:

I'm also spending $400 to fix the MBA Logic board (solder re-flow).

AppleDApp
Mar 29, 2013, 10:25 PM
I blame the environmentalists, lead free solder is crap.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_(metallurgy)

Either way I'm leaning towards getting the 13" MacBook Pro probably Retina, too. :cool:

I'm also spending $400 to fix the MBA Logic board (solder re-flow).

How is a retina macbook pro made to last longer than a MBA?

expatrsch
Mar 29, 2013, 11:14 PM
The MBA is the most durrable and rugged computer I have ever owned. Have mine for 2 years now, global air travel from N.America to SE Asia Europe and Central asia every 2 months. twice a month it goes from sea level to a mining camp at 14,000 feet being bounced around in my luggage in the back of an old russian truck. Never a problem. Battery life is starting to dwindle but thats normal.

Radiating
Mar 30, 2013, 03:01 AM
I've just had my second MBA I've owned die. I'm wondering if I should get a Macbook Pro, if it has better design / materials.

I'm also wondering if I should go back to a PC, like the one I'm on right now. :(

I'm gentle on a computer, I just need a high MTBF

Why not get Apple care?

bahndoos
Mar 30, 2013, 04:10 AM
It is not built to last at all.

A Lenovo is built to take a spill head on and work. The air will die in a second.

A Lenovo is made to be dropped from 7 ft and keep trucking.. An air will be done for.

An HP, Dell, even any other Mac, when memory fails, you can replace it. When memory in your air fails, good luck BGA soldering new RAM onto it with a $20 kit from radioshack.

If you want to buy an air because it fits your workflow and you won't be tough on it, by all means, do so. But don't buy it under the idea that it has better long term potential than other laptops.

Hey now, I wouldnt dismiss the physical integrity of an Air so easily. Take a look at this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_0CN-12npY

sostoobad
Mar 30, 2013, 06:04 AM
Hey now, I wouldnt dismiss the physical integrity of an Air so easily. Take a look at this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_0CN-12npY
This is a pretty impressive demonstration for the durability of an Air.

They completely abuse the pulp out of it, freeze, it bake it drop it, spill a full glass of water on it, still turned on after the water spill, but killed the battery.

I am just wondering the few who have had failures, were they dropped ?
even multiple times ?

I have a 2011 Air and a 2012 13" air, also have a 2006 MPB, works fine, bought it used, made sure it didn't have any dents= dropped etc, heck thats now 7 yrs old.

Kissaragi
Mar 30, 2013, 07:07 AM
I blame the environmentalists, lead free solder is crap.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_(metallurgy)

Either way I'm leaning towards getting the 13" MacBook Pro probably Retina, too. :cool:

I'm also spending $400 to fix the MBA Logic board (solder re-flow).

I would suggest your being conned

DesertEagle
Mar 30, 2013, 07:11 AM
Apple computers in general are more durable than any other brand, the Air being no exception.

ritmomundo
Mar 30, 2013, 10:30 AM
I have the 2009 11 air and its still going strong.

Do you have a prototype or something?

I've had the 11" air since it came out in late 2010, and its still going strong.

fatlardo
Mar 30, 2013, 04:20 PM
Do you have a prototype or something?

I've had the 11" air since it came out in late 2010, and its still going strong.

sorry meant 2010. The duo core one.

eric/
Mar 31, 2013, 12:57 PM
I've spilt a Red Bull on my keyboard, and dropped my MBA from 3-4 feet onto concrete twice and I've had 0 problems other than a little dent on the corner.

As far as hardware goes, it's really not better or worse than anything else. If you're looking at it from (will this serve my purposes in 4-5 years) I think it depends on those purposes. at 256 SSD, 1.7 i5, and 4gb ram, my air serves me perfectly, and has since I bought it July 2011.

ardent73
Mar 31, 2013, 10:43 PM
Apple computers in general are more durable than any other brand, the Air being no exception.

Well they must just hate me then, right? :eek:

----------

I would suggest your being conned

By who?

:confused:

----------

How is a retina macbook pro made to last longer than a MBA?

Bigger is usually better, isn't it? ;)

l.a.rossmann
Apr 7, 2013, 12:35 AM
This is a pretty impressive demonstration for the durability of an Air.

They completely abuse the pulp out of it, freeze, it bake it drop it, spill a full glass of water on it, still turned on after the water spill, but killed the battery.

I am just wondering the few who have had failures, were they dropped ?
even multiple times ?

I have a 2011 Air and a 2012 13" air, also have a 2006 MPB, works fine, bought it used, made sure it didn't have any dents= dropped etc, heck thats now 7 yrs old.

It does not take much water to destroy an air. The motherboard components are unprotected and the water goes right through the keyboard.

----------

I agree that any machine, which solders all critical components on one logic board is quite prone to catastrophic failure/costly repairs.

On the other hand, I disagree with the praise you shovel onto other brands.

It's true that lenovo's have "fluid channels", so that liquids are supposed to run through the machine, but that's plain bs in real world scenarios. The most the machine is able to channel without seepage into internal components is about a tablespoon. Also, if you dip a glass of water on the table, chances are your machine is screwed, as it does not stand high enough off the table.

In my experience, real thinkpads (read IBM) are quite sturdy, but no way near indestructible, most lenovo designs are far less sturdy. Fact of the matter is that laptops simply are not baseball bats.

Regarding the OP's point: Sure, MBA's have some design compromises, which render them more prone to failure, while OTOH, they have less moving parts.
On the whole, I'd say: "MBA's have less component failures than MBP's, but MBP's allow you to replace the broken components easier."

RGDS,

If you're talking about Lenovo Ideapad/new crap, correct. It's as bad as the $324 + tax Toshibas/HPs in Best Buy.

If you're talking Lenovo's Thinkpad T series... these are as indestructible as the IBM days. Throw some water into one and see for yourself. The entire board is covered in protective tape anywhere that water can land, it slides right off and goes under the machine before it can actually get to crucial motherboard components.

roxxette
Apr 7, 2013, 01:04 AM
Mine are both solid as rocks, practically indestructible given reasonable protection in a BookBook case. I do turn mine off when not in use.

My experience with Macs has been that MBAs are no more or less fragile than my MB Pro which is built like a tank as well. It is Mac's build quality that helps to differentiate them from the very fragile Toshiba, Gateway, and HP laptops I have worn through.

In what world toshibas are fragile ? Those brand can probably survive a drop with no issues while the aluminum macs are going to fall pretty damm hard.

Anyway in regards of the OP my mba have been very reliable with no issues so far, its the 2011 base model fwiw plus my other mbp and previous mac have been legit :) blame it on bad luck i guess.

Btw i consider myself a machine abuser and the weather well i live in the caribbean.

CapnJackGig
Apr 7, 2013, 02:40 AM
I've been using my MBA 2010 model for years now, hours a day. Many hours of Diablo 3 and WoW. Still runs like a champ. The only issue I've had is the idiotically designed power cable, that frays at multiple points. I duct taped them, but it still looks bad. For the price Apple charges for the power cables (80 bucks), you'd think they'd have the decency to build them well.

JHUFrank
Apr 7, 2013, 07:07 PM
I have a 2010 C2D MBA still ticking away as my main computer. I travel extensively and it goes into some challenging locations. Does a great job.


I've been using my MBA 2010 model for years now, hours a day. Many hours of Diablo 3 and WoW. Still runs like a champ. The only issue I've had is the idiotically designed power cable, that frays at multiple points. I duct taped them, but it still looks bad. For the price Apple charges for the power cables (80 bucks), you'd think they'd have the decency to build them well.

LeeM
Apr 7, 2013, 07:57 PM
Hey now, I wouldnt dismiss the physical integrity of an Air so easily. Take a look at this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_0CN-12npY

very impressive, but id have liked to see a keyboard test. a friend of mine had a 2009 air that took a drink to the keyboard, it worked on mains power once we took the back off and unplugged the battery but the keyboard didnt fully work so he had to use an external one

kulimer
Apr 11, 2013, 11:35 PM
They say Ford is "built to last", but that car gave me so many problems that I call it FORD (Fix Or Repair Daily).

I don't think it will die, but it will take longer and longer to run the same program, and it will show it's sign of age in that way.

TC25
Apr 12, 2013, 05:34 AM
...but it will take longer and longer to run the same program, and it will show it's sign of age in that way.

Electronics are not like people, electronics do not slow down with age. :rolleyes:

ardent73
Apr 18, 2013, 12:27 AM
My old MBA has been repaired (logic board). FINALLY!

saberahul
Apr 18, 2013, 11:18 AM
Personally I think a pro and an ipad are more useful than a single Air. Depends on use of course.

Beachguy
Apr 18, 2013, 12:01 PM
hat car gave me so many problems that I call it FORD (Fix Or Repair Daily).


"Found On Road Dead"

My Macbook Air gets jumbled and bounced and keeps on chugging along. Wouldn't trade it for anything. For the uses I had in mind, it is perfect.

bahndoos
Apr 18, 2013, 01:09 PM
Personally I think a pro and an ipad are more useful than a single Air. Depends on use of course.

We're discussing the physical attributes and longevity of the Air here, not whether its a useful computer.