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Old Aug 2, 2009, 03:24 PM   #1
Jobsian
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The Phenomenal MacBook Air - Post the little things you like/dislike about it

I'm smitten. Have been reading this forum with a lot of interest for quite a while, have to say i'm very intrigued by the Air (and even moreso by giga-optimist Scottsdale!), really enjoyed reading a lot of your posts, esp Scottsdale and the guy with Brian in his avatar who seems to know his stuff, and other regulars.

I'm seriously considering the Air with a savage combo of trepidation and immense excitement. Will the RAM limitation ever become apparent, will the heat profile make it unusable for .avi videos/youtube/surfing in bed, will a newer 256SSD/4GB RAM/Processor bump appear in the next few months etc

I absolutely adore the hardware to a degree I haven't seen conveyed here bar Scottsdale and maybe a couple others.

So what are the little things about it that have changed your lifestyle or the things that niggle?
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Old Aug 2, 2009, 03:29 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobsian View Post
I'm smitten. Have been reading this forum with a lot of interest for quite a while, have to say i'm very intrigued by the Air (and even moreso by giga-optimist Scottsdale!), really enjoyed reading a lot of your posts, esp Scottsdale and the guy with Brian in his avatar who seems to know his stuff, and other regulars.

I'm seriously considering the Air with a savage combo of trepidation and immense excitement. Will the RAM limitation ever become apparent, will the heat profile make it unusable for .avi videos/youtube/surfing in bed, will a newer 256SSD/4GB RAM/Processor bump appear in the next few months etc

I absolutely adore the hardware to a degree I haven't seen conveyed here bar Scottsdale and maybe a couple others.

So what are the little things about it that have changed your lifestyle or the things that niggle?
lol. The guy with brian in his avatar.

Likes:

Weight, Portability, the speed of the SSD

Dislikes:

Fan is on literally 24/7 at 6200RPM (then again, I do use virtual machines a lot)
The bottom casing gets hot
Battery life could be better (I'm getting 3.5 hours w/ VMs or 4 hours regular or 5+ if I really conserve the battery)
The 1 USB can be somewhat hard sometimes but majority its okay
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Old Aug 2, 2009, 03:41 PM   #3
Jobsian
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I personally can't wait to surf with this around the house. Especially on my bed without it making my chest numb.

The processor is slightly slower than my current WinXP-driven laptop and half the RAM but as many of you keep saying, I hope that the combo of the SSD and Snow Leopard will drive it even faster. Plus as Scott keeps saying, the RAM limit shouldn't be a problem for someone like myself who wouldn't play intensive games or do a lot of vid editing.

I do intend to do some video editing - any advice on whether I should get Final Cut with this? Will it run ok?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ayeying View Post
lol. The guy with brian in his avatar.

Likes:

Weight, Portability, the speed of the SSD

Dislikes:

Fan is on literally 24/7 at 6200RPM (then again, I do use virtual machines a lot)
The bottom casing gets hot
Battery life could be better (I'm getting 3.5 hours w/ VMs or 4 hours regular or 5+ if I really conserve the battery)
The 1 USB can be somewhat hard sometimes but majority its okay
Uber-rapid response appreciated!

I was just going to ask about the heat - does it bother any others here? It's one thing I'm not looking forward to - I watch quite a few .avi files and use youtube a bit.

And that battery life should be ok for me - I currently get around 2.5-3 hours on my laptop.

About temps - I surf on bed a lot before i go to sleep - anyone else use this on a duvet etc without too much overheating?

Another question - if someone gets this with a student discount - is it true that you get stripped-down software, no quicktime etc?

Any difference between student discount vs full-price?

Last edited by kainjow; Aug 3, 2009 at 05:04 PM. Reason: merged posts
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Old Aug 2, 2009, 03:42 PM   #4
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I personally can't wait to surf with this around the house. Especially on my bed without it making my chest numb.

The processor is slightly slower than my current WinXP-driven laptop and half the RAM but as many of you keep saying, I hope that the combo of the SSD and Snow Leopard will drive it even faster. Plus as Scott keeps saying, the RAM limit shouldn't be a problem for someone like myself who wouldn't play intensive games or do a lot of vid editing.

I do intend to do some video editing - any advice on whether I should get Final Cut with this? Will it run ok?
Final cut runs fine on it.

As I'm fond of pointing out, the first version of final cut came out in 2001, and we were editing on 500mhz g3's.

The macbook Air is a good 10-20 times faster than those machines. The current version of final cut may be a bit more demanding than that original one, but certainly nowhere near 10 TIMES as demanding.

Bottom line, the macbook air will edit like a breeze on Final Cut ... the only exception to that is for people who are used to editing on a Mac Pro, then it might feel a tad slow. Functional for sure, but just a bit slow.
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Old Aug 2, 2009, 04:40 PM   #5
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Thanks Rob, great to hear Reading some views on the MBA, you'd think it was no more powerful than a netbook.

Anyone know the answer to the student discount question above?
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Old Aug 2, 2009, 05:40 PM   #6
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[QUOTE...student discount...[/QUOTE]


Student discount and retail should be same. I bought mine from an "educational program". You're good to go. The Air is a fantastic little machine, SSD is a real beast on the Air, even when compared to others notebooks 1/2 Ghz above Air's specs.

The problem is: once you're addicted to SSD, you will want to empty your life saving to swap out all HDDs in the house...$$$ ouch.
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Old Aug 2, 2009, 05:44 PM   #7
zedsdead
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Love
- Weight
- Design
- SSD
- Backlit Keyboard
- 13" Screen

Hate
- Line Issue
- Hinge Issue
- 2 Gigs of RAM limit
- Wi-Fi Issue
- Trackpad since it scratches the bezel, although it was a cool idea since it lead to the Glass Trackpad
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Last edited by zedsdead; Aug 2, 2009 at 06:13 PM.
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 03:46 PM   #8
Jobsian
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Cheers guys, love to hear your inputs!

Thread awaits Scottsdale Would I be right in saying that I'm detecting a tinge of enthusiasm-drop? I remember you used to post months ago with a lot of great stuff. Love your enthusiasm. Perhaps forlorn at this lines issue? (which seems to have fixed for you - but it must surely be utterly frustrating for you not to know why despite all the effort.
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 04:25 PM   #9
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The student version is the exact same, you just pay less.

For me, I like the idea of the Air. A lightweight, no-frills machine. Sure you sacrifice some performance for the portability compared to full-blown laptops. But I think that the Air is the premier ultra-portable computer. I've come full-circle from where I was 7 years ago when I bought my last laptop. I bought a VAIO R505-GL, a 4.5 lb/12.1" laptop. Yes it was underpowered and seems anemic now, but I was in college, commuting, and wanted something capable of being toted around all the time. I sacrificed the ability to play games on my computer, when I was big into gaming. Since then, I've wanted a PowerBook/MacBook Pro and a MacPro because I was attracted to the power. As every generation grew stronger, I wanted it more. But I've finally realized that a thin and light, ultra-portable computer is for me.

I do have a desktop, but when I finally get an Air, I'm almost certain that the desktop will be re-purposed into a home/media/backup server.
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 04:31 PM   #10
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The Macbook Air needs to be as thin as paper.
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 04:38 PM   #11
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I love my Air as I have said before on here.

I have a MacPro for work and in the office at home. The Air lives in by bag and I use it out of the office, at the race track (data logging on race car in Windows over VMFusion) and mostly at home for surfing on the couch or in bed.

I love it because it is thin and light. I can pick it up with one hand and it slips easily into my bag. It's not a chore to carry around so I don't think twice about taking it everywhere.

I don't miss the Superdrive. I have the Air USB superdrive and have used it once when I setup the Air.

I have the SSD Rev B and it's easily fast enough for me.

I have never had a problem with the number of USB ports. Most time I only need one at a time but I carry a small Belkin 4 port hub.

There is room on the SSD for all my data and a stripped down version of my iPhoto and iTunes library. I can easily drag movies from my main library on my MacPro if I need them.

There is nothing I dislike about my Air. While I sometimes find myself looking at the new 13" MacBook Pro, I'm not sure I could live with the extra weight in the way I use my Air. I know people will say it's only 0.7kg but it does make a difference in the way you handle the computer.

HTH
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 06:21 PM   #12
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Student discount changes nothing about the hardware or software. You simply pay less and get a $224 credit for getting an iPod. You don't have to get the touch - I got the 120 GB classic and have it full of every song and SD movie I own.

I love the air. Things I like:
- speed of the SSD. Really astonishing. There is no "bounce" when you launch apps from the dock. SSD makes the "real world" speed of the computer 2-4 times faster than my iMac with 2.8Ghz and 4GB ram and 500GB 7200 RPM drive.

- I realize that in benchmarking the rev C is supposedly slower than MBP and rev B but that is not my experience.

- I have had NONE of the screen line or heat issues mentioned by others. I do not do that much HD youtube but when I have no heat or stuttering. Sure it warms up, but the fan is quiet, even at 6200 RPM and rarely gets that hot.

- I do a lot of "light" video editing. By that I mean 1) Editing my own SD content in iMovie and QuickTime, 2) Converting toddler's content for backup to protect the DVD's from tiny fingers, and 3) Converting both 1 & 2 .mpeg and other formats for iPhone, Keynote presentations, etc. The speed difference between the air and the other Mac mentioned above is noticeable but slight - 20-30%, much less if ElgatoTurbo is being used. Also, no heat issues doing this either.

- I have had none of the air port issues mentioned by others. I have 3 macs, both of the others are older (2-3 years) MBP 15". The air has noticeably better reception and speed.

- Have external superdrive - you need it but only very rarely

Things I don't like:

- Really wish it was easy to get SD or HD video off the machine. No easy way to get S-video or even simple coax video out. Of course, this is true for all the new mini display port mac

- Occasionally would like more than one USB. Pain carrying hub. Still, rarely ever matters.
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 07:45 PM   #13
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I had Rev A Air with 80gig HD, and then got Rev B with 128 SSD. I LOVE the weight. Never had an issue with the ram, but really need a larger hard drive. 256 SSD and I'm sold!!!! I also never had an issue with heat with the B. I found the air to be faster than my 13" pro with 4 gig of ram and speedier processor. Must be that SSD. Sadly, I had to get the pro because of needing a larger hard drive. I say when ever possible, get an air. It's an incredible machine. I still keep my air and use it when I need to fly and don't need everything.
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 07:57 PM   #14
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Forgot two things,

Like: form factor, so obvious I didn't even mention it before. Light, sleek, goes with me everywhere.

Dislike: Only 128GB. Of course, that was huge 2 years ago, but now takes aggressive management of SSD space. It isn't hard to do once you get used to doing it. I keep a small 320GB external drive with me that has many of the larger video files on it (including all the HD). More space would of course be great, but 128 is sufficient to make the air more than worth it. I've used monolingual, and eliminated lots of stuff I never use (like garage band) and have about 15GB free to work with right now despite all the SD video on board. Supposedly Snow Leopard will free up another 6GB or so. We shall see.
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 10:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jrwmba View Post
but 128 is sufficient to make the air more than worth it.
My take on this is that 128 is fine as long as you prune you video library. My iTunes and video library is well over 1.5Gb so no laptop is suitable for all that. I keep all my music and a selection of videos on my Air and use that to sync with my iPhone. My full collection lives on my MacPro and it's backups. Same with photos.

Once you get that working then 128 is plenty, and I have some serious programs on there like the full Adobe Design suite and some CAD software (VetorWorks) which all run fine.

I keep all my data on my Air and use File Syncronization to keep them all in sync with my MacPro.
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 10:24 AM   #16
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My iTunes and video library is well over 1.5Gb so no laptop is suitable for all that.
I think you mean 1.5TB.

Honestly, I don't really see the drive space being much of an issue for me. I'm not really a digital packrat, and most of the files I have could go on my desktop which I could access remotely. I'd probably only keep 3/4/5-star songs on my Air, and a couple of movies just to have. Honestly, I think I could get away with having the 64GB drive since I've got my desktop.
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 10:41 AM   #17
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Considering I use VMware a lot for business programs I would give the computer close to a 10 for mobility if it had 4GIGs of RAM. That is my only issue with the MBA.
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 10:53 AM   #18
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Loved my Rev B but sold it due to deteriorating hinge before the Rev C update. I had the hinge fixed but didn't want to risk it happening again outside of warranty (and I don't buy applecare)
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 11:17 AM   #19
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I am a writer who lives in a small NYC apartment and works all over the city and at the college I teach at in NJ. I have had my air for just a few weeks. The size and weight are everything for me. I can't believe I was too stupid not to get one of these eighteen months ago. All those months of carrying around 4.5 or 5 pounds plus an adapter will take years off my back. (Now it would just be 4.5, and no adapter, to be fair: the new 13" pro goes a whole day easily without the need for a charge, at least for a writer.) Yesterday I was working in the park. Got up, started to walk home, and a couple of blocks into my walk, I had a jolt of panic. I had left my computer behind. I hadn't. But my backpack felt as if it were empty. I reached around a sure enough my Air was in it, safe and sound. It probably weights less than my pretty structured pack.

I have the default programs, Scrivener, Firebox, Office, iWorks, and everything I've written and all my notes and online documents for the past twenty or twenty five years on here. I have 90gb left on my SSD. I leave the photos except what I need for research, and the music, to my wife and sons.

I back up wirelessly or with the USB Port. I've used the External Drive once, and it will be great in an emergency but I'll keep it in the box most of the time and will never take it with me. I'll probably drop $79 for an extra adapter for my office at school. And live happily ever after.
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 11:38 AM   #20
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After waiting months to buy my first macbook, i finally got mine a few weeks ago. Purhased a refurbished macbook air 1.6ghz, 120 HD. Have never left in house since, take it with me wherever i go. I love everything about, weight is just brilliant and in my experience so far is faster and better than the macbook 13" unibody i had been using from work. Best purchase i have ever made and am now hooked on macbook air. Also, no probs at all with it, also actually seems like a brand new one!!!
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 01:04 PM   #21
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I too think that my Air (rev C, SSD) is much faster than the Unibody 13" 2.4 that I sold to buy it.
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 02:57 PM   #22
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What's more, the only time the fan is on for me is when I am backing up to my portable hard drive or hooked up to the external optical. Even in a ninety degree top floor apartment, it hasn't gone on all day today.
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 03:04 PM   #23
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Even in a ninety degree top floor apartment, it hasn't gone on all day today.
What about in a 90 degree basement apartment?
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 03:58 PM   #24
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Ha! Give me a few hours and I'll take it down to the laundry room, which may be 95.
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Old Aug 4, 2009, 05:48 PM   #25
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I find the Air pretty appealing; I'm running on an early '08 15" MBP and really like what the UniBody look has since done to the whole lineup, pioneered of course with the MBA.

I would really like them to do the new MBP glass cover screen and black frame with the MBA – one of my biggest irritations with the old style is the rim under which dust builds in large quantities. Of course the Air design gets rid of the unfortunate plastic rims, mechanical latch and associated holes, and the speaker grille holes for the 15", which I think makes the MBA better looking overall.

It would be nice to be able to get 4GB RAM in the Air, and I would say that's not far off. If all that comes about I would say my next laptop will be an Air with SSD .

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What about in a 90 degree basement apartment?
Heh, I had forgotten about Fahrenheit and was picturing you people living at right angles.... Surely that would keep the Air cool!
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