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Old Apr 24, 2012, 03:57 PM   #1
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traveling in June, don't want to buy last years MBA

Ok here is my dilemma (first world problems..)

I'm going to be backpacking europe in June. I travel light, but would really like to have a laptop with me for photo editing and uploading. My 15" 2010 mbp is just too big - every inch of space in my backpack is needed, and I'll be on foot a lot so every pound matters.

I'm all set to sell my mbp and buy an 11" air, but i feel like it's the worst time to buy right now as apple will soon be updating the line.

What are the chances of the Air being released before June? how much money will I lose out on if I buy the Air before the refresh and then try to sell it after the refresh? are there rental options?

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Old Apr 24, 2012, 05:41 PM   #2
Lawrence Jones
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Last time I traveled overseas, I bought a Windows netbook and left the MBP home; it was good enough, very light, >300GB storage. Pack thumb drives for redundant storage of critical data. You'll be merely irritated if the netbook is bonked, stolen or confiscated at a border; don't risk your main machine and everything in it.

I traded the netbook about 6 months later, recovered most of the cost.

Rumor is the MacBook line will be upgraded in 3rd quarter, not by June. Buy your new mac after you're safely home.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 08:13 PM   #3
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can't you do that with the brand new iPad and a camera kit? Or you could always get a netbook like the other poster mentioned.

If you're going to be backpacking you could be someplace dodgy. I personally have never had a problem but I know people that have lost all their valuables.

The loss of a a 300 dollar netbook is a lot easier to eat than over a grand.
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Old Apr 25, 2012, 09:10 PM   #4
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It depends on your needs. If theft is a major concern, LJ's idea of a cheap netbook is good.

Alternatively, as a cheaper spin on plumosa's suggestion, if you can deal with slower processing speed, you could go for an iPad 2 refurb, plus peripherals. The iPad 2 is workable, though the screen and processor are nicer on the iPad 3. The theft of an iPad 2 would be hundreds of dollars less of a setback.

If ultralight is not needed, I would go for the MBA 11 inch. You can get a low end refurb July 2011 model for US $850 or so. The MBA is fairly close in weight to the iPad. iPod touch and iPhone are super lightweight options, and workable but a strain for extended browsing or reading.

The October 2010 low end MBA may be a better value. When it appears as a refurb, you can find it for less than $800, and used from reputable sellers for even less. Since the 2010 MBA has depreciated somewhat already, it may lose less resale value than a newer machine.

Though not as fast as the 2011 i5 model, the 2010 MBA is quite functional for routine uses (web, media, word processing and keynote/powerpoint, etc.). It is noticeably faster than the iPad 3 on my casual testing at an Apple store.

Two drawbacks to the MBA: battery life is short, about 4 hours. Also, the MBA power adapter adds some weight, so the package is less portable than the iPad. I find the MBA very convenient for travel, though I am not doing Alpine mountaineering with it.
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Old Apr 25, 2012, 11:30 PM   #5
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I studied and traveled around Europe and a laptop is the last thing you really need for your travels. How long are you going to be gone? Do you really need to 'edit' photos on the go? Of course you don't.

Honestly, the best bet is to take 2-3 SD cards and a decent USB drive. Most of your internet usage can be satisfied with an iPod touch with most hostels these days having free wifi. If not, most have free or cheap computer stations.

An iPad (2 even) would cost more than a refurb MBA or netbook and be even less functional.

Just go without a computer or go with the cheapest functional netbook around until you return.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 11:36 AM   #6
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thanks for the good replies. My only thing with the netbook is that I think it would be pretty slow when processing images, plus I use Aperture, which is osx only. But I'll look into my options with the plan that no new macbook air will appear before June.

The reason I'd like to bring a laptop with me because I'll be updating my photo blog daily. It's really become part of my identity and I'd feel like taking this trip without updating my blog would be a waste of a trip
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 11:53 AM   #7
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If you're backpacking to the extent you're staying in hostels or camping, then clearly security will be a concern. If you're staying in dorms or shared rooms, short of sleeping with the computer in your sleeping bag, it's going to be pretty difficult. If you can ensure every place you stay has a locker then that might help as you will obviously also have your camera to keep safe.

An iPad sounds like a possibility as its a bit easier to hide and keep safe. My brother finds it easy to upload photos from his with a camera connection kit. iPhoto for iOS makes it even easier.

Make sure you get whatever you take insured properly and ensure you keep your memory cards separate from everything else.

Having an iPad or computer obviously helps with your data security if you upload to online storage
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 12:34 PM   #8
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Given that Intel has started shipping Ivy Bridge. There are some decent odds a new Air will come out by June.

Ivy Bridge was mostly about switching to the new 22nm process. It uses a little less energy when running so that will mean either slightly longer run times or slightly thinner and lighter Air. The only big advance is the integrated GPU. Though it still gets creamed by the cheap discreet GPUs and AMD's integrated GPU.

That being said get it when you need it. If you can wait till just before the trip do so then. Otherwise get the current one.

Given what other posters have said about a cheap computer. Due to the possibilities of theft, damage, &c while backpacking. Have you considered getting an older MB Air? That way you'll have a cheaper computer and need to fret less about it. You can still use the programs you want. Plus when you come back you can resell it for little or no loss and get whatever the new Air is at that time. Since after the first year or two the value drops at a much more gradual rate.
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