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View Full Version : IF I had a choice between MBA and "netbook"...




PracticalMac
Aug 13, 2009, 11:20 AM
I would easily buy a netbook for $199 over a $1999 MBA (both with SSD).

After all, both deigns are deigned for non intensive applications (email, word processing, web sites, chat, video-conf), but a NB is so cheap, I can get a iMac and NB for same price as MBA.

And yes, I definably prefer Mac much more then PC, and prefer all my PC have FW, but with the NB storage about 16~32GB, its not that much to backup (versus 500 GB).

(PS, I already have a MBP, so do not need a NB, but maybe in 2 or 3 years..?)



thegoldenmackid
Aug 13, 2009, 11:23 AM
As someone who is typing from a netbook right now. The Air does have a tad bit more stability with updates. But I wanted something smaller then the Air.

remobot
Aug 13, 2009, 11:54 AM
is there a reason why you started this thread ?

question fear
Aug 13, 2009, 12:59 PM
I would easily buy a netbook for $199 over a $1999 MBA (both with SSD).

After all, both deigns are deigned for non intensive applications (email, word processing, web sites, chat, video-conf), but a NB is so cheap, I can get a iMac and NB for same price as MBA.

And yes, I definably prefer Mac much more then PC, and prefer all my PC have FW, but with the NB storage about 16~32GB, its not that much to backup (versus 500 GB).

(PS, I already have a MBP, so do not need a NB, but maybe in 2 or 3 years..?)

I 100% understand your logic. I have a Toshiba NB205 netbook and an older macbook. I plan on replacing my macbook with either a mac mini or an iMac in the next 6-12 months, and using the Toshiba as a web machine and for uber-portability.

For me, I wanted portability and a more powerful "home base", and it would have been prohibitively expensive to go MBA+mac mini. I thought about going for the 13" macbook pro, but then decided that was an awful lot of computer to carry around when all I wanted was to quickly jump on the web, IM a bit, etc.

Best part is that the Toshiba was $400, so if in a year macbook pros are even more compelling, the MBA has changed dramatically, pigs fly and Apple starts cranking out netbooks I won't feel guilty about upgrading/changing my plans. But it makes a nice satellite/stopgap machine while I determine what its other half will be. :)

Scottsdale
Aug 13, 2009, 01:02 PM
An MBA with 128 GB SSD and Core 2 Duo 2.13 GHz CPU is only $1799 brand new.

The thing is that if you are not a "power" user who needs raw power for games, tons of memory for intensive apps, or big display as desktop replacement, the MacBook Air is an excellent choice as a PRIMARY MAC!

I would guess that half of Air buyers use it as an expensive netbook like surfing "secondary" Mac.

The other half, like me, are using this as their Primary Mac. And I must say that it runs very strongly and works perfectly for all of my needs.

If I needed a netbook or secondary computer, and had a lot of money, I would buy an MBA. Or, if you are a normal "consumer" who can live with wireless connectivity, and love extreme portability, the MBA is a nice choice as a primary Mac!

Knock the MBA all you want, but for those of us who have really used one, it all makes perfect sense. It is the most fun I have ever had with a computer. It's super portable yet becomes an instant desktop when plugged into a 24" ACD! Honestly with 2.13 GHz CPU, and SSD, it feels like a Mac Pro for all normal tasks when plugged into my 24" LED backlit Apple Cinema Display!

question fear
Aug 13, 2009, 01:30 PM
An MBA with 128 GB SSD and Core 2 Duo 2.13 GHz CPU is only $1799 brand new.

The thing is that if you are not a "power" user who needs raw power for games, tons of memory for intensive apps, or big display as desktop replacement, the MacBook Air is an excellent choice as a PRIMARY MAC!

I would guess that half of Air buyers use it as an expensive netbook like surfing "secondary" Mac.

The other half, like me, are using this as their Primary Mac. And I must say that it runs very strongly and works perfectly for all of my needs.

If I needed a netbook or secondary computer, and had a lot of money, I would buy an MBA. Or, if you are a normal "consumer" who can live with wireless connectivity, and love extreme portability, the MBA is a nice choice as a primary Mac!

Knock the MBA all you want, but for those of us who have really used one, it all makes perfect sense. It is the most fun I have ever had with a computer. It's super portable yet becomes an instant desktop when plugged into a 24" ACD! Honestly with 2.13 GHz CPU, and SSD, it feels like a Mac Pro for all normal tasks when plugged into my 24" LED backlit Apple Cinema Display!

Speaking solely for myself, I'm not knocking the Air at all. They are ridiculously gorgeous. My issue is that I'm trying to juggle what I need now in a computer, what I might need in a year, AND I have a mortgage, car payments and a wedding in a year...so while money isn't tight, I'm trying to budget my techno-lust...which puts the MBA out of my range, because I'd want the nicest one. :)

PsyD4Me
Aug 13, 2009, 02:02 PM
I am a doctoral student and part time day trader.
I have a Mac Pro at home at my main hub for everything.
I got the MBA because i needed a primary "portable" notebook.
I need to run SPSS, read .pdf research articles and write my own .docs, do ppt, surf, listen to music, watch a little apple tv, and run TDAmeritrade ticker in the background. AND i need to run many of these things simultaneously without straining my eyes or hands.
My MBA does all this perfectly.

bottom line
-Netbooks have smaller screens
-Cramped keyboards
-Less power

Oh yes, the resale value of the MBA is pretty darn good.

jdechko
Aug 13, 2009, 02:24 PM
-Less power

Sure if you're doing intensive tasks, a netbook wouldn't cut it. But for a lot of people (myself included), the netbook has enough power to do what they want in a laptop/desktop.

-Surfing the web (facebook, myspace, twitter, and "normal" sites)
-YouTube/Hulu (in HD, no less)
-Music
-The occasional Word Document

I would agree with your other issues against netbooks though.

stockscalper
Aug 13, 2009, 02:35 PM
Wait until the screws start dropping out of the bottom of your netbook or the the keyboard comes loose. These are true instances that happen over and over. Do a search and look at the experiences of some of the popular magazine editors who went the netbook route. You gets whats you pays for.

question fear
Aug 13, 2009, 03:09 PM
Sure if you're doing intensive tasks, a netbook wouldn't cut it. But for a lot of people (myself included), the netbook has enough power to do what they want in a laptop/desktop.

-Surfing the web (facebook, myspace, twitter, and "normal" sites)
-YouTube/Hulu (in HD, no less)
-Music
-The occasional Word Document

I would agree with your other issues against netbooks though.

Exactly. Netbooks as a secondary/travel computer work great, and there's no reason to knock them for not being more powerful (and more expensive) than they need to be.

I brought my netbook with me on a trip to Seattle and it was perfect as a way to keep tabs on the world, check flights, research day trips, etc without dealing with a tiny smartphone screen. And I was able to have 8 gb of movies on a flashdrive for the plane...my toshiba gets 9hrs of battery life so I didn't have to worry about running down the battery and I didn't have to deal with running the battery down on my phone too.

Wait until the screws start dropping out of the bottom of your netbook or the the keyboard comes loose. These are true instances that happen over and over. Do a search and look at the experiences of some of the popular magazine editors who went the netbook route. You gets whats you pays for.

And yet there are plenty of people who have had netbooks for over a year with no problems, and plenty of people who had similar issues with $3,000 laptops. Nothing is perfect.

GoCubsGo
Aug 13, 2009, 03:12 PM
I am a doctoral student and part time day trader.
I have a Mac Pro at home at my main hub for everything.
I got the MBA because i needed a primary "portable" notebook.
I need to run SPSS, read .pdf research articles and write my own .docs, do ppt, surf, listen to music, watch a little apple tv, and run TDAmeritrade ticker in the background. AND i need to run many of these things simultaneously without straining my eyes or hands.
My MBA does all this perfectly.

bottom line
-Netbooks have smaller screens
-Cramped keyboards
-Less power

Oh yes, the resale value of the MBA is pretty darn good.

I'm not a day trader or a student BUT, I have the same setup with similar power needs. For me it's an MBAir over a netbook any day and yes kids, a 12" PB before a netbook for me as well.

Miker2k
Aug 13, 2009, 03:36 PM
I did have a choice and I chose to send back the netbook and go with what I really wanted. The netbook was too small for me to use an anything other than a ultra portable novelty. My MBA is a fully functional computer.

My 2 cents.

bloodycape
Aug 14, 2009, 03:07 AM
Well there is a class that is kind of in-between a netbook and notebook.There is devices like the 11in Sony Vaio TT, Lenovo U110(has the same exact spec as the first gen MBA, as it came out the same time), and Asus U2. However, these are pricey as they can start at $850. However, there is a device the Acer Timeline 11.6in model may fit your needs better than a netbook. It is similar a little larger than a 10in netbook, but it comes with an Intel Core 2 Solo cpu and a intel 4500hd video card. This means if you watch hd video you can, however the C2S cpu, like the Atom cpu, because of its low power won't allow you to play flash HD files if you require that. Rumors are a base price of $475, and if the battery is the same as the 13in model, battery life should be in the 8 hour range. Plus you have to remember the MBA only has one usb port these all have at least 2, which can be nice and come in handy.

Rondue
Aug 14, 2009, 03:45 AM
This thread is pointless, why even start it? You have zero facts just a another person who doesnt see the value in the MBA news flash if there wasnt a market it for it apple wouldnt have ever created.

chrono1081
Aug 14, 2009, 06:47 AM
If I had to use it as a work machine (word processing, internet, music, basic photo editing, etc) I would go the macbook air route. The larger screen would help a lot with those tasks.

If I was just using it for internet and messenger I would go the netbook route.

I love my netbook. I've had three of them. First a 7 inch (too small) then a 9 inch (Nice travel size! Keyboard was a tad hard to type on) and then a 10 inch (perfect size for me! Still small enough for easy travel.)

stockscalper
Aug 14, 2009, 07:58 AM
Well there is a class that is kind of in-between a netbook and notebook.There is devices like the 11in Sony Vaio TT, Lenovo U110(has the same exact spec as the first gen MBA, as it came out the same time), and Asus U2. However, these are pricey as they can start at $850. However, there is a device the Acer Timeline 11.6in model may fit your needs better than a netbook. It is similar a little larger than a 10in netbook, but it comes with an Intel Core 2 Solo cpu and a intel 4500hd video card. This means if you watch hd video you can, however the C2S cpu, like the Atom cpu, because of its low power won't allow you to play flash HD files if you require that. Rumors are a base price of $475, and if the battery is the same as the 13in model, battery life should be in the 8 hour range. Plus you have to remember the MBA only has one usb port these all have at least 2, which can be nice and come in handy.

Yes, but you're missing the big point - IT STILL RUNS WINDOZ! :eek:

the Helix
Aug 14, 2009, 09:23 AM
I would have had no hesitation in buying a MacBook Air if it had a battery life of at least 7 hours.

In my opinion, the Macbook Air's relatively short battery life (taking into consideration that MacBook Pros have around 7 hours and net books from 7 to 10 hours of life), somewhat defeats its utility for being an on-the-go computer.

What is the use of the freedom of a light computer if you always need to be worried about needing to find an outlet to plug it in? The strong point of a net book is that you truly have the freedom of an on-the-go, all-day computer.

question fear
Aug 14, 2009, 10:12 AM
It occurred to me this morning that we're all arguing over MBA vs Netbook, etc...but 3 years ago if you stopped by this forum and posted the dimensions of an MBA or a 10in netbook, we'd all have laughed you out of the forums for predicting anyone would pay less than $3500 for either computer.

So really, no matter what device you choose, just be happy with the steady march of progress!

entatlrg
Aug 14, 2009, 10:19 AM
LOL, netbooks suck imo

try one for a week, then try a MBA for week, then I'd like to read your feedback !!

low low low quality screen, keyboard, parts, construction even QC ... they're a mistake, fast and easy profit for pc companies is all....

but if you only have $199 budget or whatever, they'll do I guess, but don't compare it to a quality computer with a full a full size screen, keyboard and construction.

Engineering hours to create a 'netbook' would be 1/10th what it's taken to develop the MBA, then look at the quality of parts used in each product.... there's nothing to debate after that :)

hell, i like my iphone more than any netbook I've tried so far at least the screen is crystal clear :)

coast1ja
Aug 14, 2009, 10:29 AM
I switched from an HP 2133 mini-note netbook (one of the nicest ones around a year ago) to a Rev. A MBA 1.8 80gb (used on ebay). I would have to say that having owned and used both extensively, I would never go back to a netbook. Even for simple web browsing and office apps, the MBA is much, much faster and more reliable. I have found that I can actually get work done on the MBA that when I tried on the netbook, it would freeze up or just take forever. It wasn't even that intensive, it was only some data analysis in SPSS and other statistics packages. Just having the option of doing work anywhere is worth the extra cost for me.

another plus... I had to have the huge 6 cell battery on my netbook to get over 4.5 hours of runtime. This huge battery made it weigh considerably more, and made it even less portable as compared to the MBA. My MBA gets 4.5 hrs while maintaining its thin and light profile.

bloodycape
Aug 14, 2009, 08:58 PM
I switched from an HP 2133 mini-note netbook (one of the nicest ones around a year ago) to a Rev. A MBA 1.8 80gb (used on ebay). I would have to say that having owned and used both extensively, I would never go back to a netbook. Even for simple web browsing and office apps, the MBA is much, much faster and more reliable. I have found that I can actually get work done on the MBA that when I tried on the netbook, it would freeze up or just take forever. It wasn't even that intensive, it was only some data analysis in SPSS and other statistics packages. Just having the option of doing work anywhere is worth the extra cost for me.

another plus... I had to have the huge 6 cell battery on my netbook to get over 4.5 hours of runtime. This huge battery made it weigh considerably more, and made it even less portable as compared to the MBA. My MBA gets 4.5 hrs while maintaining its thin and light profile.
You have to remember your netbook ran an older Via cpu which isnt as battery efficient as a atom cpu which some get 8 hours out of a 6 cell.

Again a netbook(pretty much all single core cpu, even the Core 2 Solo) cant do flash hd and the intel gma950 will struggle with hd videos in general. Something to think about. But a device like the 11in Lenovo U110 which as the same specs as the rev a MBA might fit your needs and the right site can teach you how to make it more like a mac.

gman901
Aug 14, 2009, 09:21 PM
I use my MBA as my primary mac for work and play. My Dell Mac Mini 9 is what I use when I want to do light web browsing or if I want to take it outside without worrying about it getting a little beat up. Plus I let my 3 year old play on the Mac Mini Netbook, but not my Air. The Air is a full blown laptop that does everything I need... my Dell Mac Mini is severely limited, cramped and a screen that limits my viewing.

PracticalMac
Aug 17, 2009, 10:32 AM
An MBA with 128 GB SSD and Core 2 Duo 2.13 GHz CPU is only $1799 brand new.

The thing is that if you are not a "power" user who needs raw power for games, tons of memory for intensive apps, or big display as desktop replacement, the MacBook Air is an excellent choice as a PRIMARY MAC!


Primary Mac?

What, have a PC in the house too?

And with the $99 DVD drive that hogs the entire USB bus, the Display Port adapters so you can use eternal screens, and the remote, BAM, its just about $1999.

Oh, and you MUST get a USB hub is you want to hook up more then one device (printer, scanner, iPod/s, Backup-drive, etc).

I would get a MUCH better BANG/$$$ with MB, for a not too large size increase.

Its perfectly OK that you love the MBA, but a lot of others do not even have half the money to afford a MBA.

Meanwhile, despite the tiny screen and keyboard, a lot a people will ignore those shortcomings for a mere $199 price.

OH, and you CAN hook up a 19" lcd and keyboard/mouse on those netbooks

For the record:
I love the old PB Duo series (240, 2300), and the Comet (PB 2400) are some of the best small notebooks ever designed.

jdechko
Aug 17, 2009, 10:52 AM
I'm pretty sure Scottsdale understands that the Air isn't for everyone. If you need an optical drive, ethernet, printer, and a few other USB peripherals (not to mention Firewire drives), then of course the Air won't be good for you. But for those of us who rarely use the optical drive and are primarily wireless (WiFi + wireless print hub + bluetooth) and occasionally plug our iPhones in long enough to do a backup/sync, the Air is just as capable of performing the duties of a primary computer. Fortunately for all of us, Apple makes more than 1 laptop; they actually make 5!

PracticalMac
Aug 17, 2009, 05:36 PM
I'm pretty sure Scottsdale understands that the Air isn't for everyone. If you need an optical drive, ethernet, printer, and a few other USB peripherals (not to mention Firewire drives), then of course the Air won't be good for you. But for those of us who rarely use the optical drive and are primarily wireless (WiFi + wireless print hub + bluetooth) and occasionally plug our iPhones in long enough to do a backup/sync, the Air is just as capable of performing the duties of a primary computer. Fortunately for all of us, Apple makes more than 1 laptop; they actually make 5!

Well, the latter half of Scott's post does not come across that.


If I needed a netbook or secondary computer, and had a lot of money, I would buy an MBA. Or, if you are a normal "consumer" who can live with wireless connectivity, and love extreme portability, the MBA is a nice choice as a primary Mac!

Knock the MBA all you want, but for those of us who have really used one, it all makes perfect sense. It is the most fun I have ever had with a computer. It's super portable yet becomes an instant desktop when plugged into a 24" ACD! Honestly with 2.13 GHz CPU, and SSD, it feels like a Mac Pro for all normal tasks when plugged into my 24" LED backlit Apple Cinema Display!

So, Scott says you need a lot of money.
Something I eluded to in the beginning.

Let me put it this way:
For $899, I might purchase it.
For $699 I very likely get.

No doubt the MBA is a superb piece of hardware, its almost like sex just to touch it, but while it is really sexy, it lacks, well, substance.

You still need DVD's every once in a while, no way you can get away from that, and your choice of drive is fixed to only one.
That DVD drive hogs your only USB port. You have 0 ability to hook another device in, and to use a USB hub mean you cannot use the DVD drive.

Wireless is great, but when you realize it is limited in speed, it suddenly is not all the great as a sole connection.

Wi-Fi <<< USB2 < Giganet*/ FireWire 400* << FireWire 800 < eSATA
*In actual lab tests FW400 and Giganet was about same speed.

And one of the great features of the Mac, Target Disk mode, is gone in the MBA.


In short, it lacks too much stuff for the $$$$ asking.

jdechko
Aug 17, 2009, 06:54 PM
The thing is that if you are not a "power" user who needs raw power for games, tons of memory for intensive apps, or big display as desktop replacement, the MacBook Air is an excellent choice as a PRIMARY MAC!

...

if you are a normal "consumer" who can live with wireless connectivity, and love extreme portability, the MBA is a nice choice as a primary Mac!

Well, the latter half of Scott's post does not come across that.



So, Scott says you need a lot of money.
Something I eluded to in the beginning.

Let me put it this way:
For $899, I might purchase it.
For $699 I very likely get.

No doubt the MBA is a superb piece of hardware, its almost like sex just to touch it, but while it is really sexy, it lacks, well, substance.

You still need DVD's every once in a while, no way you can get away from that, and your choice of drive is fixed to only one.
That DVD drive hogs your only USB port. You have 0 ability to hook another device in, and to use a USB hub mean you cannot use the DVD drive.

Wireless is great, but when you realize it is limited in speed, it suddenly is not all the great as a sole connection.

Wi-Fi <<< USB2 < Giganet*/ FireWire 400* << FireWire 800 < eSATA
*In actual lab tests FW400 and Giganet was about same speed.

And one of the great features of the Mac, Target Disk mode, is gone in the MBA.


In short, it lacks too much stuff for the $$$$ asking.

I snipped Scottsdale's post to the relevant parts, and highlighted the word "if". He isn't saying it's one-size-fits-all, or even most. Yeah, it is more expensive for less performance.

I rarely use the DVD drive, and would put installers on a USB drive for the future, making it even more unnecessary. Also, there are other USB CD drives, not just the ones from Apple, and they all seem to work through Hubs (including the Apple one from some reports). WiFi and USB 2.0 are the fastest connections that most people use anyway, and while I don't discount that some people wouldn't appreciate the speed, most people just don't care.