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Old Feb 28, 2010, 02:47 AM   #1
Imperil
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Lap usage

I need to pick up a notebook this week (so please don't suggest waiting I need one for a conference next Tuesday) so I am trying to decide between the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro 13". It won't be my main machine and will really only be used for travel and conferences... meaning taking notes, using keynote, and using XCode.

So really my main question is if you can sit the air on your lap during a presentation for taking notes, blogging, etc? Or would it get too hot? Would it be much different (or any different at all) from using a 13" MBP for this?

Last edited by Imperil; Feb 28, 2010 at 02:57 AM.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 05:45 AM   #2
maestrokev
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If you're not playing HD video the MBA only gets warm. No problems at all with using on lap.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 08:50 AM   #3
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No brainer, Air. The weight alone makes it worth it.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 08:59 AM   #4
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I've used an air mainly on my lap and had no issues. All Mac notebooks get warm regardless.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 12:34 PM   #5
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You posted this is the MBA thread section, therefore I must conclude you want an MBA. Just buy it! It will do everything you need it to do well.

If you had said you needed it to be your primary computer for five years, I would tell you to buy a MBP. The bottom line is the current MBA is stuck with 2 GB of RAM FOREVER! That's an aweful long time to be stuck with 2 GB of RAM. The 13" MBP will accept up to 8 GB of RAM and it will still do quite well several years down the road by just bumping the RAM. On the other hand, if you're rarely using it when traveling, maybe it's still a case for an MBP.

I would at least wait until Wednesday. For three weeks, my update date guess has been March 2nd. I will stick with that date... exactly nine months since last MBP and MBA updates last June 2 back in 2009! They're overdue considering how long its been. At least give Apple a chance to surprise you.

Lastly, consider that if there's an update within 14 days of your purchase, you can take it back and swap it for a new model. Based on that, I would wait until this Thursday, because Apple usually updates on Tuesday or Wednesday... so within two weeks they still could be updated.

Good luck.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 12:50 PM   #6
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Oh I agree with the update I'm waiting until Tuesday and if new models don't show up I'll be forced to buy the current one. I was just at the mall and so I dropped into the apple store and now I'm not sure I want the Air. The size and weight is just perfect and like I said performance is not an issue at all so it is the perfect computer.... except for two things really.

The trackpad compared to the MBP just feels so old and dated. I was going back and forth between the two and it seriously felt like going back and forth between an Apple and a Lonovo or something like that. Also the look compared to the MBP just looks seriously dated as well without the black bezel. Even though I know an update will be coming soon the MBP still feels new, whereas the Air felt like I was buying an old or used machine. The Apple employee was trying to convince me not to buy the Air and to get a MBP instead.

So I'm still not 100% sure but now instead of leaning 90/10 in favor of the Air I am not about 50/50. It is so close to the exact system I want, if only those two issues didn't exist If it had the same bezel/trackpad as the MBP I would have walked out of the store with it today!
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 05:01 PM   #7
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Oh I agree with the update I'm waiting until Tuesday and if new models don't show up I'll be forced to buy the current one. I was just at the mall and so I dropped into the apple store and now I'm not sure I want the Air. The size and weight is just perfect and like I said performance is not an issue at all so it is the perfect computer.... except for two things really.

The trackpad compared to the MBP just feels so old and dated. I was going back and forth between the two and it seriously felt like going back and forth between an Apple and a Lonovo or something like that. Also the look compared to the MBP just looks seriously dated as well without the black bezel. Even though I know an update will be coming soon the MBP still feels new, whereas the Air felt like I was buying an old or used machine. The Apple employee was trying to convince me not to buy the Air and to get a MBP instead.

So I'm still not 100% sure but now instead of leaning 90/10 in favor of the Air I am not about 50/50. It is so close to the exact system I want, if only those two issues didn't exist If it had the same bezel/trackpad as the MBP I would have walked out of the store with it today!
I hope that the MBA does NOT get the black horrid glass black bezel. I doubt it will, as it seems to be a "feature" of the glass itself. When the MBP gets a anti-glare display it has the same silver bezel as the MBA. I personally feel that when the MBA gets a true form factor revision, it will have far less bezel showing so it shouldn't be as big of an issue. I personally think the black is the fail part of the glass displays. The glass looks amazing to watch a video but the black area around has a terrible glare to it unless the room is pitch black.

I agree with you on the trackpad. The glass trackpad feels so much nicer AND the buttonless feature truly makes the newer tech much nicer. Apple will include a glass buttonless trackpad on the next update to the MBA. People say that the trackpad in the MBP will not fit in the MBA and therefore it will not fit in the MBA. That has nothing to do with whether the MBA could have the same tech fit with the same end result via a thinner application. Apple simply made the trackpad fit within the space requirements of the MBP which was greater than the MBA. When it needs to make a glass buttonless trackpad fit in the MBA it will look exactly the same to the user but will require less space.

Lastly, I will tell you that most people that haven't extensively used the MBA don't get the huge differences in weight and thinness. When looking at the two or using for 60 minutes in a store, you will not appreciate just how great the weight differences are... after a few weeks of usage, you will never want to go back to a 4.5+ lb. computer ever again!

I hope we have some answers in a few days.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 06:24 PM   #8
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get the air if you plan to use it mainly for conferences + light work, ie: no major multitasking. and get it with the ssd if you can afford it mba + ssd = ultimate portable machine.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 09:33 PM   #9
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Having owned a bunch of heavier laptops in the past I can definitely see the benefit of the Air. I could easily tell the difference in the store, and I'd be buying the top end one with the SSD. The 13" MBP feels like a brick compared to the Air.

Regarding the black bezel to be honest I actually do like it without, I just meant that when you sit it beside an MBP it looks old. I don't know why, maybe just because I know that is how the MBP used to look before the refresh? So I don't mean to add the bezel to the Air but to do something else with it to make it look newer.

If the Air had the same trackpad as the MBP I would pick one up right away, but right now I think that is a deal breaker for me unless they refresh it Tuesday, so I hope they do!
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 09:39 PM   #10
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Get it. You know you want to.
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Old Mar 1, 2010, 02:46 AM   #11
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If you had said you needed it to be your primary computer for five years, I would tell you to buy a MBP. The bottom line is the current MBA is stuck with 2 GB of RAM FOREVER!
What! What sort of MacRumors member keeps their computer for 5+ years let alone forever.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 09:43 AM   #12
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Well no updates and I need to pick one up for a conference next week so now I have to decide. Although I'm likely going to go with the 13" MBP this time, the only reason being the cheap trackpad on the Air. If it only had the same one as the MBP it would be a no brainer and I'd pick it up for sure.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 11:59 AM   #13
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While I agree that the trackpad on the MBP is nicer than the one on the air, once you're using the air, you'll get used to it and it'll be fine. You'll not have a MBP to compare it with all the time.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 01:32 PM   #14
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The trackpad compared to the MBP just feels so old and dated. I was going back and forth between the two and it seriously felt like going back and forth between an Apple and a Lonovo or something like that. Also the look compared to the MBP just looks seriously dated as well without the black bezel. If it had the same bezel/trackpad as the MBP I would have walked out of the store with it today!
I came off a 13" MBPro to the Air (2.13 with SSD and backlit keyboard)

I favor the trackpad on the Air over the glass thingy of the rest of the range.
I rarely use the 'button' (and rarely did on the Pro either) preferring the tap method on the rest of the pad area. For me, the button on the Air is so small anyways and at least one can see where the sucker is whereas on the Pro and my wife's MB it seems vague and clunky by comparison.

as for the bezel - it's fine and you'll get used to it after a while.
The Air is a head turner (not that I care about that) and is a sleek speedy notebook that'll do most whatever you need it to.

everyone carries on about having only 2gb of memory but remember it also has 6 mb of L2 cache which significantly increases performance in my opinion.

I've done my own 'bench tests' alongside the wife's current model MB with 4 gb of memory and my Air either comes out marginally in front or equal in most tasks

as for awaiting a product refresh - 2 things.

#1 the golden rule is if you can wait another month (3 months) then do so.

#2 don't bank on a refresh next week or anytime soon. it may happen but it may well not too. personally I can't see a refresh of the Air before the end of Q2 - but hey, what do I know
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 03:03 PM   #15
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What! What sort of MacRumors member keeps their computer for 5+ years let alone forever.
ME!

I have a G4 Powerbook still in service, and a 2006 iMac, which I'm sure will be in service for at least another 2 years (although I wish it had FW800).

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Old Mar 2, 2010, 03:10 PM   #16
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Air not ideal for lap use

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I'm likely going to go with the 13" MBP this time.

Good idea. If you really use a laptop on your lap, the Air presents a problem: the lower half of the machine is so light that it is actually unstable if you have to take your hands off of it for any reason when you're working on your lap. I worked with an Air for months, but was constantly finding myself catching it in midair on its way to the floor. This top-heaviness is particularly a problem if you change angles at all while working.

The 13" MBP is naturally much more stable, in addition to handling internal airflow much better and hence running much, much cooler and more quietly. It's just all-around a "real" machine. I always found the Air to be iffy. Wouldn't recommend it for all-day work. Great for toting, poor for real work.

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Old Mar 2, 2010, 07:59 PM   #17
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Yea at this time its a no brainer to get the 13" mbp rather than the mba.

The 13" mbp is much faster, same unibody enclosure, the wonderful big trackpad (cant live without it!!) and the display is of the same quality now. The best part of the 13" mbp is that you can add 8gb of RAM and put a 2.5" hdd/ssd drive. And the dual layer burner thrown in, aint a bad deal either.

Oh and not to mention the 13" mbp's hinge wont break in the future.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 09:18 PM   #18
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Hey thanks for the responses guys I really appreciate it, I've decided to pick up the 13" 2.53Ghz MBP tomorrow or Thursday and then give it an Intel X25-M.

Last edited by Imperil; Mar 3, 2010 at 01:26 AM.
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Old Mar 3, 2010, 11:04 AM   #19
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Hey thanks for the responses guys I really appreciate it, I've decided to pick up the 13" 2.53Ghz MBP tomorrow or Thursday and then give it an Intel X25-M.
Sounds like a good choice either way.
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Old Mar 3, 2010, 10:15 PM   #20
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and the display is of the same quality now
iIs this what most people think? I find the screen in the Air to be much better due to the lack of that abysmal, mirror-like glass!
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Old Mar 4, 2010, 08:34 AM   #21
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I still haven't picked it up yet as I was busy yesterday so I'm going later today. I'm still going back and forth between the 13MBP and the Air! I think I might buy the MBA and test it out for a few days (I don't fly out to the conference until Tuesday) and if I don't like the usability I'll exchange it for an MBP.

The MBP trackpad is amazing but as someone noted above I won't have one to compare it to so it will quickly be forgotten And since performance is a non-issue it's really about weight and size for me.
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Old Mar 4, 2010, 11:03 AM   #22
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... it's really about weight and size for me.
If it all boils down to this for you, then I think your choice is clear. Enjoy the Air.

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Old Mar 4, 2010, 07:22 PM   #23
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I still haven't picked it up yet as I was busy yesterday so I'm going later today. I'm still going back and forth between the 13MBP and the Air! I think I might buy the MBA and test it out for a few days (I don't fly out to the conference until Tuesday) and if I don't like the usability I'll exchange it for an MBP.

The MBP trackpad is amazing but as someone noted above I won't have one to compare it to so it will quickly be forgotten And since performance is a non-issue it's really about weight and size for me.
Someone else mentioned, in another thread that they were picking up a new white MacBook. They're $899 from several different sites that don't charge tax. That is actually the newest Mac notebook. It has a 7-hour battery, unibody design (although plastic), 2 x USB, Nvidia GPU (full not throttled), nice CPU, and 2 GB of RAM with Snow Leopard... That is the best value for any current NEW Mac notebook. I would say that it would still be worth $800 in 18 months too. That's probably the most affordable way to get into a Mac notebook. I would strongly consider that if you're not willing/able to wait for an update to the MBA or MBP.
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Old Mar 5, 2010, 12:02 AM   #24
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I finally got some time to visit the store and after trying them all out again I decided to bring home the MBA. Now that I have it here I am really glad that I made this decision as the size and weight is just perfect for what I need it for
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Old Mar 5, 2010, 01:06 AM   #25
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I finally got some time to visit the store and after trying them all out again I decided to bring home the MBA. Now that I have it here I am really glad that I made this decision as the size and weight is just perfect for what I need it for
You made a much better decision. The MBA was made for people like you.
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