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View Full Version : Why aren't the MBA reviews as good as the MBP?




financeguy
Sep 2, 2009, 04:38 PM
I recently got a new rev B MBA and I am very happy with it. Initially I was a little hesitant getting it because of all the mixed reviews it got, but after reading this forum, I realized that rev B/C are a big improvement over rev A, and that most reviews were focusing on rev A.

With the new lower pricing and increased capacity, why doesn't the MBA get as good reviews as the MBP? I think a lot more people would start buying the MBA if they really knew how good it is.

I would pick the MBA over the 13" MBP for sure, yet the MBP gets a lot higher marks on almost every website. I understand that people have different tastes, but why are the MBP substantially better than the MBA in every review.



ayeying
Sep 2, 2009, 04:43 PM
Expandability and the more capabilities.

The Air has a limited heat displacement capability, therefore it is more prone to heat up and throttle back. That's what really gets people because the system cannot run at 100% top speed for a long time without throttling back very quickly. The MBP has a bigger heatsink, more surface area. With just a slightly higher clock speed, it can dissipate heat very quickly so it can run at 100% top speed longer. Under correct conditions, it can run 100% 24/7.

thejadedmonkey
Sep 2, 2009, 04:44 PM
Because if you want a computer that's has as much connectivity as the Netbook that I am using, you need a Macbook Pro. the macbook Air has almost no connectivity options.

Furthermore, the Air manages to overheat. Yes, it's been "fixed", but consider this is 2009 and consumer laptops have been out for 20 or so years, there's no reason why it should even have to throttle down a little bit.

Lastly, I bought a laptop from Dell with a 12" screen and it's about 1.1" thick and tapers to a point, and I paid $285 for it.

When you're paying an $800 premium for a keyboard, OS, and lack of connectivity, everything else better be 100% perfect, and when it's not, you whine.

**I am not saying that a netbook is the same as a MBA, but that they share a lot in common, and there's not a lot that you can do on a MBA (excluding the Win/OS X differences) that you can't do on a netbook. given that, an $800 premium means it better be darn near perfect.

ayeying
Sep 2, 2009, 04:57 PM
Furthermore, the Air manages to overheat. Yes, it's been "fixed", but consider this is 2009 and consumer laptops have been out for 20 or so years, there's no reason why it should even have to throttle down a little bit.

It's not fixed, it still throttles down after 75 deg C.

The only fix was the Core shutdown

financeguy
Sep 2, 2009, 05:12 PM
That's what really gets people because the system cannot run at 100% top speed for a long time without throttling back very quickly.

I guess different people have different needs. The MBA satisfies my needs just fine and I love the portability. I was just saying that if I went solely on the reviews, I would have never gotten it, but luckily I came accross this forum and found out that the "limitations" weren't going to be that bad for me.

Scottsdale
Sep 2, 2009, 05:44 PM
Because if you want a computer that's has as much connectivity as the Netbook that I am using, you need a Macbook Pro. the macbook Air has almost no connectivity options.

Furthermore, the Air manages to overheat. Yes, it's been "fixed", but consider this is 2009 and consumer laptops have been out for 20 or so years, there's no reason why it should even have to throttle down a little bit.

Lastly, I bought a laptop from Dell with a 12" screen and it's about 1.1" thick and tapers to a point, and I paid $285 for it.

When you're paying an $800 premium for a keyboard, OS, and lack of connectivity, everything else better be 100% perfect, and when it's not, you whine.

**I am not saying that a netbook is the same as a MBA, but that they share a lot in common, and there's not a lot that you can do on a MBA (excluding the Win/OS X differences) that you can't do on a netbook. given that, an $800 premium means it better be darn near perfect.

The MBA's connectivity is well thought out and excellent, it's just that it's wireless.

With MobileMe and a Time Capsule you have access to files from anywhere. With TC/AEBS you have file and printer access across your network.

Add a 24" LED ACD and you have the perfect docking station. Has USB hub, speakers, web cam, and power for the MBA.

The MBA is meant to be used as a system. Who the hell wants to plugin eight cables everytime they get to their desk. Who really needs more than one USB port when traveling.

Some people have no clue. I suggest that the vast majority that brag about the Pro don't need the extra power and would prefer the MBA if they gave it a chance.

ayeying
Sep 2, 2009, 06:24 PM
I guess different people have different needs. The MBA satisfies my needs just fine and I love the portability. I was just saying that if I went solely on the reviews, I would have never gotten it, but luckily I came accross this forum and found out that the "limitations" weren't going to be that bad for me.

For the vast majority of computer users, they don't need the top or full speed. But for the small number that sometimes do use the full power, they will feel restricted by the throttle.

The throttle comes in all directions, including watching HD movies (but SL gives GPU acceleration so that should be better)

caonimadebi
Sep 2, 2009, 07:08 PM
In the past 10 years, Apple has adopted an "all-in-one" mantra for their mainstream computers (with the obvious exception of niche products such as the Mac Pro) that appeals to both consumers and many professionals. Macs have always been well-endowed with a wide range of accessories and ports, such as isight, bluetooth, ethernet, DVI, S-video, line in/out, firewire etc. Whether or not it was intended to be a niche product, the Macbook Air adopted a design that deviated from the other Macbooks, one that pursues beauty in place of versatility, by dropping most of the ports. I think the "wireless" solution is incidental and rather make-shift, as other macbooks possess the same wireless connectivity.
People who would buy a MBA obviously understand the necessary sacrifices, but it's understandable why Macworld or the Consumer Reports may have a problem recommending it to most people.

MacModMachine
Sep 2, 2009, 07:33 PM
It's not fixed, it still throttles down after 75 deg C.

The only fix was the Core shutdown


my air never hits 75c....if it did i would be freaking....

im usually at 65C max.

coldmack
Sep 2, 2009, 10:49 PM
because there is no fiirewire. If they included a usb port and firewire it get a better review. We are vain like that. Plus, there is apparently a 13in device that weights the same yet has a dvd, more usv and firewire at the same price, and this whole netbook craze, with some having the same gpu as the air. So, that has to factor in their decision for some reviews I take it.

bossxii
Sep 3, 2009, 12:58 AM
I recently got a new rev B MBA and I am very happy with it. Initially I was a little hesitant getting it because of all the mixed reviews it got, but after reading this forum, I realized that rev B/C are a big improvement over rev A, and that most reviews were focusing on rev A.

With the new lower pricing and increased capacity, why doesn't the MBA get as good reviews as the MBP? I think a lot more people would start buying the MBA if they really knew how good it is.

I would pick the MBA over the 13" MBP for sure, yet the MBP gets a lot higher marks on almost every website. I understand that people have different tastes, but why are the MBP substantially better than the MBA in every review.

The MBA is a niche product that the business traveler will find works very well for what they need it to do. Having used the Rev B 1.86/SSD version I can say for "work" related tasks it was a great machine. The Pro's are it's lightweight and portability, and frankly it's just a cool laptop to use.

The downside (and reason I sold it) was the poorly designed hinge, and the heat issues. While it was a great work machine, at night I enjoy streaming video while the wife has her "reality fix" lol. Bottom line the MBA cannot handle prolonged use without heating up, fans blowing full blast and becoming annoying to deal with.

The 13" MBP has a battery that will last 2 or 3 times as long with basic web usage. Glass trackpad, hinge design 100x better and yes the DVD drive, although I rarely use it other then the recent upgrade to SL OS. I've own'd pretty much every size MBP, and the MBA over the past few years and this 13" MBP fits the size and capabilities I need very well. I hope to see a MBA some day with a glass track pad, a totally new hinge design. More ram, larger SSD drives but the overall design and connectivity is just fine. The whole point of making it portable they did very well, just needs some refinement.

tim100
Sep 3, 2009, 07:15 PM
The 13" MBP has a battery that will last 2 or 3 times as long with basic web usage. Glass trackpad, hinge design 100x better and yes the DVD drive, although I rarely use it other then the recent upgrade to SL OS. I've own'd pretty much every size MBP, and the MBA over the past few years and this 13" MBP fits the size and capabilities I need very well. I hope to see a MBA some day with a glass track pad, a totally new hinge design. More ram, larger SSD drives but the overall design and connectivity is just fine. The whole point of making it portable they did very well, just needs some refinement.[/QUOTE

Will the mba get a glass trackpad? I think the glass track pad is a great improvement like the magnet latch

stoconnell
Sep 5, 2009, 12:56 AM
I think that for the average person a 13" MBP is a better choice for the money as it is more flexible/expandable machine; however, if you know that the Air matches your usage patterns and understand the machine's capabilities, it makes for a very nice machine. In my case, it is my only machine. I have some issues with it, but nothing is perfect. Also, at the time when I was looking to buy (around 3 months prior to Rev C and the 13" MBP and price drops .. d'oh), it was between the MBA and uMB -- not really a contest. I guess to summarize this bit of rambling, the MBP is a safer buy for a larger audience meaning it will review better.

bcburrows
Sep 5, 2009, 01:13 AM
I suggest that the vast majority that brag about the Pro don't need the extra power and would prefer the MBA if they gave it a chance.

I have a MBP and I have to say, I am inclined to agree - not sure I want to pay 635 for a 24 inch monitor but the wireless options essentially make the system work......however the only problem is the cost of that wireless system

MBA
LED monitor
time capsule
keyboard and mouse

and you have spent a large wad of cash

alphaod
Sep 5, 2009, 01:41 AM
Why aren't the MBA reviews as good as the MBP?

Well it's not exactly an supercomputer, it has fixed RAM, it has almost no connectivity, the headphone doesn't support Apple's in-ear with remotes, and occasionally it gets really hot and throttles down.

That said, I love it.

Scottsdale
Sep 5, 2009, 01:46 AM
I have a MBP and I have to say, I am inclined to agree - not sure I want to pay 635 for a 24 inch monitor but the wireless options essentially make the system work......however the only problem is the cost of that wireless system

MBA
LED monitor
time capsule
keyboard and mouse

and you have spent a large wad of cash


Actually, refurbished you can get the whole setup for less than the MBA 1.86/SSD rev B cost just three months ago!

The MBA is a better buy now. It's incredible to get the speed and performance of a MBP in an ultraportable Mac.

Think about this... less than 18 months ago, it cost $3099 for an original MBA with a 1.8 Merom CPU, Intel craphics, DDR2 RAM, PATA drive controller, and a 64 GB SSD.

The MBA is getting more and more affordable. One day soon, the MBA will become the MB. It's just a matter of time before the costs become low enough to make this tech affordable for everyone.

jb1280
Sep 5, 2009, 09:58 AM
I've owned both.

I loved the Macbook Air, but I love the 13" Macbook Pro even more.

Reasons being:
1. Price. For the price of a new Macbook Air with SSD, I got a new Macbook Pro plus a refurbished 24" LED display.

2. Upgrading the internals. I can put a 500 GB hard drive now, and an SSD next year when it becomes more mainstream. I am not limited by memory.

3. The Battery. I can do a solid amount of work on my routine flights from Amsterdam to San Francisco without having to worry about running low on juice.

mac jones
Sep 5, 2009, 10:19 AM
I also have both and the guy above me is right-it's the price. The value.

I bought a new MBP 13" for about $1100 US. and it's a great value, really the best value i've ever seen in a while. Dell used to have great value and Apple was more high end. Now you can get both the high end (and value) with some Apple products.

The Air is great when you can get it at a substantial discount (which is do-able these days I gather) but full retail is not value oriented in the least.

Scottsdale
Sep 5, 2009, 11:02 AM
I've owned both.

I loved the Macbook Air, but I love the 13" Macbook Pro even more.

Reasons being:
1. Price. For the price of a new Macbook Air with SSD, I got a new Macbook Pro plus a refurbished 24" LED display.

2. Upgrading the internals. I can put a 500 GB hard drive now, and an SSD next year when it becomes more mainstream. I am not limited by memory.

3. The Battery. I can do a solid amount of work on my routine flights from Amsterdam to San Francisco without having to worry about running low on juice.

1. You get what you pay for. To lug around the extra weight and sell yourself the concept that it's more powerful is up to you.

2. So while you're waiting on your MacBook "PRO" to boot up, open apps, open files and etc for the next year, with your SLOW HDD, MBA owners with SSD will already be working or playing on their Air.

3. The MBA can get 5+ hours of battery with wifi and BT turned off and they're definitely not needed on an airplane anyways. Secondly, they sell power adapters for $29 that can be plugged into about 95% of airplanes especially by planes that fly those routes. I would definitely prefer less weight not more when traveling.

You can talk about how great your "Pro" is but don't oversell the capabilities or necessity to have those capabilities. We all have our preferences, and it's fine that you prefer the "Pro." I just question the capabilities as a necessity. Just say you prefer the Pro rather than trying to make others believe they need the Pro for any of those three lame reasons you have cited.

caonimadebi
Sep 5, 2009, 11:51 AM
2. So while you're waiting on your MacBook "PRO" to boot up, open apps, open files and etc for the next year, with your SLOW HDD, MBA owners with SSD will already be working or playing on their Air.

3. The MBA can get 5+ hours of battery with wifi and BT turned off and they're definitely not needed on an airplane anyways. Secondly, they sell power adapters for $29 that can be plugged into about 95% of airplanes especially by planes that fly those routes. I would definitely prefer less weight not more when traveling.


Let's get the records straight:

2. 2.13Ghz/SSD Macbook Air boots in about the same time as a 2.26Ghz/160GB HDD Macbook Pro, plus and minus 1 second. Both with a fresh install of SL. Source: I own both computers

3. 5+ hours from Macbook Air is wishful thinking. MBA will IDLE for 5+ hours, with the settings listed above. A more realistic time is 3.5 hours. The MBP gets 5 hours with similar usage. Fact is, MBA has a 40WH battery, vs MBP's 60WH. That's a whopping 50% extra capacity. With all else being equal (which we can rightly assume), the only power-conserving advantage of MBA is its 17W CPU, vs. MBP's 25W. That's a mere 8W of saving.

jb1280
Sep 5, 2009, 03:23 PM
1. You get what you pay for. To lug around the extra weight and sell yourself the concept that it's more powerful is up to you.

2. So while you're waiting on your MacBook "PRO" to boot up, open apps, open files and etc for the next year, with your SLOW HDD, MBA owners with SSD will already be working or playing on their Air.

3. The MBA can get 5+ hours of battery with wifi and BT turned off and they're definitely not needed on an airplane anyways. Secondly, they sell power adapters for $29 that can be plugged into about 95% of airplanes especially by planes that fly those routes. I would definitely prefer less weight not more when traveling.

You can talk about how great your "Pro" is but don't oversell the capabilities or necessity to have those capabilities. We all have our preferences, and it's fine that you prefer the "Pro." I just question the capabilities as a necessity. Just say you prefer the Pro rather than trying to make others believe they need the Pro for any of those three lame reasons you have cited.

The Power is not really the issue. I am the first to admit that the Macbook Air has all the power I really need.

I've always appreciated the weight of the Macbook Air, but in my travel bag, the macbook pro plus power is just slightly more than my old macbook air, ethernet dongle, power, and external hard drive.

2. Particularly with Snow Leopard the startup and shutdown times are pretty negligible. Since the upgrade, I have yet to say "Why won't this boot faster."

3. Maybe 5% of the fleet that flies transatlantically, particularly directly from the Europe to the West Coast have inflight power in economy. And trust me, the direct flight from AMS-SFO NEVER has inflight power in economy. If I had inflight power, my boss could buy me a couple macbook airs for each trip. Let's be realistic on this front.

The truth is there are less and less compelling reasons to get a Macbook Air.

When it was first introduced, it was the only aluminum 13" notebook. It also saved 2 lbs. of weight.

When it was refreshed in October 2008, it competed with the new aluminum 13" Macbook. The vastly superior display was a compelling reason to go Air.

When WWDC 2009 happened, despite the price cuts, a 13" aluminum machine with a great display, great I/O, and a great price was introduced.

The Macbook Air is a great machine, but the 13" Macbook Pro is a superior machine, not just by specs, but by usability.

let's not exaggerate the importance of the SSD in the Air or underestimate the vastly superior battery in the Pro.

NC MacGuy
Sep 5, 2009, 05:46 PM
The vastly superior display was a compelling reason to go Air.

When WWDC 2009 happened, despite the price cuts, a 13" aluminum machine with a great display, great I/O, and a great price was introduced.

The Macbook Air is a great machine, but the 13" Macbook Pro is a superior machine, not just by specs, but by usability.

let's not exaggerate the importance of the SSD in the Air or underestimate the vastly superior battery in the Pro.

I still much prefer the Air's display to the MBP. The glass has to go. Except for that major flaw - yes, flaw - the MBP is an excellent machine.

Dr_Maybe
Sep 5, 2009, 06:28 PM
There are certain things you have to sacrifice for the lower weight. Many techies don't care about the weight, so they don't understand it and criticize it for lacking things it was designed not to have.

I was very close to getting an Air, but decided against it, mostly because RAM is limited to 2GB. The additional nice things about the 13" Pro is longer battery life, glass trackpad, no screen-line-issues, and you can easily upgrade the hard drive. I'm getting the intel 160GB SSD, which is faster than anything else.

Next time I'm getting a new computer, I'll might get the Air. I like the low weight and don't need an optical drive.

Scottsdale
Sep 5, 2009, 06:30 PM
Let's get the records straight:

2. 2.13Ghz/SSD Macbook Air boots in about the same time as a 2.26Ghz/160GB HDD Macbook Pro, plus and minus 1 second. Both with a fresh install of SL. Source: I own both computers

3. 5+ hours from Macbook Air is wishful thinking. MBA will IDLE for 5+ hours, with the settings listed above. A more realistic time is 3.5 hours. The MBP gets 5 hours with similar usage. Fact is, MBA has a 40WH battery, vs MBP's 60WH. That's a whopping 50% extra capacity. With all else being equal (which we can rightly assume), the only power-conserving advantage of MBA is its 17W CPU, vs. MBP's 25W. That's a mere 8W of saving.

Well let's check these boot times. My rev C MBA boots in 21 seconds on average. When I have tried a MBP with even a 7200 rpm HDD it has booted in more like 45 seconds to a minute! So please do tell me how your MBP with HDD boots in 21 seconds now???

5+ hours from an MBA has been done by me on many occassions. Turn BT & WiFi off (which you would do on a plane if you had brains) turn display down to halfway brightness. With my normal use I can get 5+ hours - others have reported the same. When I am using it at home with WiFi and etc I still can get 4.5 hours! Forget your calculations and determine factual usage patterns.

You must not be comparing similar apps on boot to get an HDD MBP to boot as fast as MBA. And we definitely aren't agreeable on usage patterns. To each his own, I didn't say I couldn't get 7.5 hours off your MBP anyways. But either way I will guarantee you my MBA will boot faster than your MBP with HDD. I cannot help it if you have Skype or Ding or something slowing down your MBA's boot time!

jfyrfytr25
Sep 5, 2009, 07:19 PM
Well let's check these boot times. My rev C MBA boots in 21 seconds on average. When I have tried a MBP with even a 7200 rpm HDD it has booted in more like 45 seconds to a minute! So please do tell me how your MBP with HDD boots in 21 seconds now???


gotta agree, there is no way that guys spinning HDD boots as quickly as an SSD.

thats laughable. I have had an SSD for a year now. I exchanged my 13" MBP in for a 15" MBP last week. I bought my 2nd SSD at the same time (3rd party)

i always check boot times and shutdown times of a system BEFORE swapping drives.

after registering and shutting down and booting up about 10X to make sure there is no variables.

the HDD was hitting about 47 seconds. about 11 turns of the little wheel in the begining. and 5 seconds on shutdown.


after ssd and the same number of boots & shutdowns.


boot went to 14.5 seconds. and less than 1 turn of the wheel. and shutdown is under 3 seconds.



if his SDD is performing the same as a HDD. either he has the most advanced HDD in the world, or his SSD is a POS.