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View Full Version : I think the Air would fit me. Could I get some input?




Couture
Aug 15, 2009, 06:52 PM
Hi Everyone,

Longtime lurker of this forum, and am looking to purchase my first Mac computer. After plenty of research, I'm pretty confident that I'm going to go ahead and pick up a Rev C 2.12 SSD Air, based on my needs at the moment.

I'm a college student currently, and will be going into my junior year next month. I am majoring in Information Systems and Operations Management, which both fall under the Business School at my University. During my first two years, I never did any gaming, Photoshop, coding, compling, or anything of that sort. My current computer is a 2.0 Dell with 1GB RAM (edit: it's a desktop). Aside from starting to feel kind of slow, it has always done what I want to do, even watches HD video without a skip. (Also I'll be hooking up the Air to its display when I'm home).

This is what made me gravitate toward the Air. I was leaning toward the 15" Pro, but realized alot of the power would go unused. A few other facts about my self:

-I'm a commuter, and I drive about 45 minutes to school each day.
-During the school day, I move around quite a bit, from classes to meetings to hanging out with my GF to extracurricular commitments
-I find myself staying on campus well into the evening often. I am the President of a student organization, which takes up a lot of my time. I move a lot between meetings with our exec board, faculty, and students.
-I am also in an Honors program, and am heavily involved in a cultural organization. (Which conveniently meets on the other side of my campus, and I go to a huge state school)

I also work one day a week (9-5), and the location is about 45 minutes from my house as well. I am allowed to use my own laptop for work, so I plan on taking and using my MBA there as well. I'll have to boot Windows though, since it is a government agency (No big deal).

Thanks for reading my tome of a post. Once again, just looking to get some input on whether the Air will fit me well. I feel like it'll be a great productivity booster as well as a gift for myself. Also a quick thanks to ayeying and scottsdale, you guys have been very helpful already. :)



jmann
Aug 15, 2009, 06:55 PM
I think the air is a good choice, but also the 13.3 MBP can't be a bad choice either, for a bit extra power, I don't really think you will notice the difference in weight after a while. It will most certainly be lighter than your previous windows computer.

entatlrg
Aug 15, 2009, 07:26 PM
I think you'll LOVE your MBA ... while there may be some times you'll wish you had a little more power the pure pleasure of using it and not carrying and brick will far out weigh it ....

Enjoy!

NewSc2
Aug 15, 2009, 10:14 PM
Keep in mind that carrying only one textbook will pretty much undo the benefits of having the Air vs. a MBP. I was pretty much all over the place in college too, and carried around a 17" Powerbook. My Chemistry textbook alone dwarfed the laptop (in size and weight), not to mention the other things I'd carry around in my backpack (notebooks, water bottle, maybe a snack, etc.). Some days I'd be on campus till 10pm or later... didn't really notice a difference.

My advice would be to get a good backpack. I was going to go for a Booq bag, but found an Incase one at the Apple Store for much cheaper (around $60 iirc). Good organization and solid straps are important. But with a good backpack, I don't think you'll notice a difference between the MBA and MBP.

Just some food for thought.

redkamel
Aug 16, 2009, 03:48 AM
just bought the air as my second computer (to an imac). I love it. I got the same model you are looking at. The MBP 13 was not worth the weight for me. Like you, I needed it only for "regular" work.

Plusses
-fast enough for any work besides heavy video/music/image editing. Not slow AT ALL on pages, word, keynote, ical, iphoto. Plays video fine as far as I can tell
-super light; I never think twice about taking it. It nice to have one less thing that weighs you down. You can never "lose" a weight advantage.
-the thinness make it very similiar to typing on the new apple keyboards
-the ports and stuff are enough, as long as you have wireless internet and keyboard.
-battery life is like 3.5 hours
-I enjoy old school games, so Defcon and Braid are perfect for me and the Air

Minusses (I am a perfectionist, be warned)
-the screen DOES tend to wobble a bit when typing. Just a bit. Remember mine is new!
-The SSD version is the way to go. But with my iphoto and itunes, I only have 30 gigs left. So I hope you aren't a photo/"store all my movies on my HD" kinda person. I don't think its upgradeable. So as a primary computer, that would be my main concern.
-you'll need the external CD/DVD drive, esp if you rip and burn a lot of discs.

I say get it. I love mine. I use my imac at home, but only cause its there. I love my air. If I didnt have photography as my hobby, it would be all I needed.

Also, make sure you get the SSD, and download Dropbox. It obviates the need to email yourself documents, use a thumbdrive, etc. You can also use it to get stuff from buddies, like uploading their files to your dropbox from their computer, then downloading it from there.

phoobo
Aug 16, 2009, 09:40 AM
College takes its toll on computers: a lot of schlepping, and opening and closing, and moving the machine -- in short, a lot of stresses on the physical body of the computer.

The Air's construction is not ready for prime time. The main problem is the hinge, which tends to loosen and often break. Also the balance of the Air hasn't yet been worked out: it's screen-heavy, rendering it unstable, and easily knocked over in dicey college situations (off the edge of a table, for example -- anywhere there are lots of people milling around).

A third consideration is a limiting factor in the ventilation system of the Air: you *must not* put it down on a bed or a couch, etc. -- student surfaces -- for any period of time while you are using it, because this blocks the already-insufficient ventilation of the Air, whose intake is essentially on the bottom surface of the machine, with no provision to keep this surface free and clear.

I'd keep the Dell -- you say it does everything you need. Wait for the appearance of a new, design-improved Air in the next year or so. Or get a 13" MBP. It will be much more stable for you, and last you the rest of college and beyond.

zedsdead
Aug 16, 2009, 09:57 AM
Go with a MBP. The battery life alone and far better construction is worth it.

JasG
Aug 16, 2009, 11:18 AM
I am a MBA lover --it is easily my sole computer -- and father of two college students. The only advantage of the AIR for a college student is the weight, and it is simply not enough of an advantage unless a physical disability makes the 1.5 pounds really matter.

Most of what I have to say has already been said but, hey, that's never stopped me or others:

1) The MBA is, compared to the MBP, delicate. Not what a student needs in the dorm or around campus. It isn't that the MBA is fragile, but more that the Pro is built like a tank.

2) The screen is virtually indestructible and brighter and sharper for the work and play that college students do.

3) The memory allows for every imaginable application.

4) The hard disk can be as large as made for laptops, either solid state or regular.

The optical drive is built in, and kids find all sorts of uses for it--for my kids that would be huge. They are watching movies and loading music from cds etc etc etc

It really isn't a close choice unless the weight matters.

Cynicalone
Aug 16, 2009, 11:43 AM
I think the MacBook Air is a great second computer.

If you are okay with it's limitations then I suppose you could use it as your main machine. At home I use a Mac Pro, but on the road I use the MacBook Air. It is good for office apps, email, web browsing. I have put HD videos on there to watch on the go, but it really eats the battery very quickly.

To me if I was getting a laptop as my primary machine I would get the MBP. Either the 13" or 15" with the SSD. It is a better long term investment imo.

majiktt
Aug 16, 2009, 02:03 PM
I am an IT director at a university and use the 2.13 SSD now as my primary machine paired with a 24" cinema display in my office. (The air sits on a stand and I use a separate keyboard and mouse.) I love the extreme portability of the air. It's so easy to disconnect the three cables and take the machine to meetings or home.

Previously I used a 15" MBP with a 20" display. I rarely took the laptop to meetings as it was clunky and took up too much space on our small conference room tables.

I haven't found the air to be fragile as others have suggested. I do treat it kindly though.

Speed wise it's great for what I do: mostly web-based applications, Office, email, iCal and remote desktop into Windows machines. I also do simple photo editing tasks in Photoshop CS4 without any trouble. I was expecting some slow down cutting my available ram in half (I had 4GB in my MBP), but I can't say I've really noticed a difference. And I tend to keep most of my apps running all the time.

I've been quite pleased with my Air. Having the 24" display really helps in the office, but I'm still able to get the things I need done on the Air alone wherever I happen to be. I wish I'd had something so light back when I was in school!

lixuelai
Aug 16, 2009, 02:11 PM
The MBP 13 may be better if you want to use it for a whole day due to the better battery life however.

SnowLeopard2008
Aug 16, 2009, 02:21 PM
My friend's MBA works for her. She doesn't clean it or any way handle it with care. No scratches, no dings, no dents. Her keyboard is oily, greasy and gross in every way but it still works. She even spilled some soda on it once in class. If that's not "built like a tank" I don't know what is.

JasG
Aug 17, 2009, 07:37 AM
I repeat. I love the Air. It is my only computer. But I would neither buy one for my college age kids or recommend that they buy one. Why would you? For some people it is a very close call. But for a 18-22 year old, who can easily handle the 1.5 pounds.

If the price were the same, maybe it would be a closer call. But the SSD version is 500 dollars more than the MBP and even with a 250 GB hard drive and 4GB memory still several hundred dollars cheaper.

It is my favorite computer in years, but that doesn't make it right for a student living a rough and tumble life on a budget.

racer1441
Aug 17, 2009, 08:07 AM
13" mbp is the way to go.

The air is a great second mac. You need something beefy before that though.

Nimiety
Aug 17, 2009, 08:20 AM
If the price were the same, maybe it would be a closer call. But the SSD version is 500 dollars more than the MBP and even with a 250 GB hard drive and 4GB memory still several hundred dollars cheaper.

Take another look - configure a base 2.26 gig 13" MBP *and add the 128 SSD* and it's $220 less than a similarly configured MBA. Use the 2.53 gig 13" with 4 gigs of RAM and it's $70 more than the MBA.

For argument's sake, they are basically priced right around each other assuming you configure them roughly the same.

I'm flipping between the two, however, I think the extra portability of the air outweighs the extra power of the pro (which I wouldn't be using in my case).

phoobo
Aug 17, 2009, 08:49 AM
Take another look - configure a base 2.26 gig 13" MBP *and add the 128 SSD* and it's $220 less than a similarly configured MBA. Use the 2.53 gig 13" with 4 gigs of RAM and it's $70 more than the MBA.



Don't buy the RAM from Apple, for goodness' sake -- that's an extra $100 at least compared to a reputable memory specialist.

Ditto for the SSD - now you're talking many hundreds of unnecessary dollars, compared to a market price.

And just ignore the difference in processor speed. It's negligible, and you should get the slower processor in a notebook anyway -- produces less heat (and even then you might want to underclock it further with Coolbook).

JasG
Aug 17, 2009, 09:23 AM
Fair enough qualifications to my arguments on the price. I concede the difference there.

But I still insist that unless the weight is everything, a young active person is better off with the low end MBP.

And that comes from someone who will never buy a computer that weighs more than 3 pounds again in my life. The Air is all I need.