Is the Macbook Air still a good buy?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by thebeachbum, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    I have spent days reading and searching this site for the answer but still have a question.

    I’m looking at my first Mac purchase in the next few days and trying to decide if the MBA 13 is still a good buy. I plan to upgrade to the I7, 8GB, and 512GB. My use is personal and work from home using Parallel or Fusion. I'm moving from a Toshiba 17" laptop the size of a small ship.

    In the Apple Store, the MBA 13 looks like it would do the job, but I'm concerned about screen size and website readability. It appears that when visiting a website they stay within a certain "frame size" even if you maximize the screen. There is always lots of space on the screen not being used by the site. Do you have better readability if you go with a rMBP 15?

    A loaded MBA with Apple Care is approximately $2,500 with the rMBP 15 a few hundred more. This is why I’m asking if the MBA still a good buy at this time.

    Appreciate any comments.
     
  2. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    #2
    Everything else ignored, if you're spending that kind of money, you might be as well to get the rMBP unless having something ultra portable is of utmost importance to you.
     
  3. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #3
    Nobody here thinks $500 bux from 256 to 512 SSD is a good buy.
     
  4. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    #4
    What will you be using the laptop for?
     
  5. macrumors 68030

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    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #5
    I am waiting for Broadwell to hit the 11" MBA's hopeful that the battery life will get closer to the 7+ hours we now get on the 13" models...I was trying to decide between a 13" 2012 MBA open box @ $1,070 and a 13" 2011 MBP open box @ $806...

    With the MBA I get a higher res screen, lighter machine and USB3 but I'm limited to a 128Gb SSD and 4Gb RAM.

    With the MBP, its heavier by 1.5 lbs, the screen resolution is the same as my 5,2 9400m Whitebook its replacing (but its a little lighter), the CPU is faster than the MBA or my Whitebook, I can upgrade the RAM to 8Gb (with RAM I have) and use the MBP RAM in my 2011 iMac so that both machines will have 8Gb RAM in them and lastly, I got a 512Gb M4 Crucial SSD for $349 = I'll have a more powerful CPU, double the RAM and 4 times the internal storage over the MBA for $85 more than the cost of the open box 2012 MBA with the open box 2011 MBP = this machine will tide me over until Broadwell hopefully meets my mobil computing needs fully.

    I'm also hopeful that the screens on the 11.6" MBA's get bumped up to ~12.3" with a reduction in bezel size and can then accommodate the 1440x900 resolution that the 13" MBA has right now vise the current 1368x768 they use:D
     
  6. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    #6
    I was and still am currently a Windows User. However I'm now mainly a Win user on Mac equipment so I can actually have the best of both worlds. The super beautifully made, and high quality of a Mac but with Windows on it.

    I came over from a 15" Sony Vaio, and before that had a 14" Sony Vaio. I previously owned a 2011 11" Macbook Air and honestly had some problems with the screen size being a bit too small. So this time around I now have a full-spec 2012 Macbook Air 13" model that I just purchased in the ending of September that came pre-installed with Mountain Lion.

    I run Win7 Ultimate through Bootcamp (mainly so Windows is running at native speed and isn't *virtual* or *simulated like*) and I enjoy every bit of it. I use it mainly at home and for personal use aside of having a 2010 27" iMac.

    I've always been happy with my Apple purchases and the same can be said about my full-spec 2012 MBA. I mainly purchased my MBA's for the pure looks of the darn thing because of how thin, yet quality construction of it. I know that I could never go down from a 13" as these screen sizes seem almost micro when always being in front of a 27" iMac monitor. But if I was to compare this with my previous Sony notebooks, both the 14" and 15" ones that I've had I would say that the screen size would not seem so micro-ish and small-ish when using it. It's just that now personally I look at it as being small-ish and micro-ish because I'm always behind of a 27 monitor. But you I would say you won't have any regret what so ever with either a MBA or a RMBP. Though the RMBP's won't allow you to use Windows via Bootcap because of driver support not being available for Windows because of how high a resolution the new RMBP's is. Though you can still install Windows using other software out there but it won't run at native speed. This is also mainly why I went with the MBA because of knowing I could install Windows using Bootcamp.

    If the newer RMBP's was able to support Windows via Bootcamp I would have most likely gone that route but in the end either way you go you will lose the Optical Drive so that would only leave to a much higher resolution screen to have desire for which you would get on a RMBP. I personally would still take the Air over the RMBP because of it's pure beauty and thinness. Just a plain awesome computer and I'm not saying that the RMBP isn't awesome I just would still prefer an Air over it. :p
     
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Location:
    Texas
    #7
    It will be my only home computer that will also double as my work-from-home computer. It will not be connected to a larger monitor.
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    #8
    You might want to consider lowering the storage and save some money.
    And also forget Applecare. Not worth it in my opinion.
     
  9. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    #9
    I disagree. Applecare is extremely important if you intend to keep it for a while. Macbook repair is very expensive.
     
  10. macrumors 68030

    Steve121178

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Bedfordshire, UK
    #10
    MBA is still a great purchase. There's nothing else available that can match it really. The Vaio Z is a great machine but the MBA is a great piece of engineering. I would personally avoid upgrading to the i7, it's waste of money and you will see very, very little real world benefits from it (also bear in mind it's the ULV CPU's).

    The best config for value/performance is i5/8GB/256GB SSD, but if you have the money to upgrade to 512GB then don't let anyone persuade you that it's "a waste of money". It's your machine and you know how much storage you need. If you plan on running VM's then 8GB RAM is essential and you can never have enough disk space.

    However, if you do plan on smashing the machine's CPU & RAM daily, then perhaps one of the MBP's will be a more wiser choice.
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    #11
    2 years warranty should be fine
     
  12. macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #12
    The Vaio Z and the MBA are laptops that should appeal to a different audience. The Vaio Z is more powerful, thinner and has a higher resolution than the MBA. And it is priced accordingly. The closest competitor to the Vaio Z would be the 13" rMBP. The Vaio Z is also a wonderful piece of engineering: Sony was able to put a quad-core processor inside a case which is even lighter than the MBA.

    The competitors to the MBA are the ultrabooks; some of them, such as the Asus Zenbook Prime, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and the Samsung Series 9 may be considered better than the MBA in several aspects. The best overall is, of course, up to the weight you give to factors such as case materials, lightness, thickness, processor speed, screen, keyboard, trackpad, battery life, and so on.

    If you value things such as processor speed and screen quality, you should get the 13" rMBP. It is faster than the MBA and its screen is much better. However, if you need storage and is not willing to spend much more, then the MBA may be the solution.

    ----------

    If the rMBP is an option, then there is no contest. If the size and weight of the 15" rMBP are not a problem for you, then it simply smashes the 13" MBA in all other aspects.
     
  13. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    #13
    I did not buy Apple care, instead I bought my i7 loaded Air on my AMEX card that doubles the warranty to 2 years at no cost.

    My Air is the best portable computer I have EVER owned! It is a mid 2011 loaded i7 and I have no plans to upgrade for a long time, it does everything I want including playing X Plane flight simulator with no prob.
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    #14
    The Air really got no competitors, since MBA is the only one running OSX :)
     
  15. macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #15
    Yeah, if the intention is to run OS X, then the only alternative would be other Macs... in this case, the rMBP might be a competitor depending on the configuration of the MBA.
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    #16
    Of course the most if us want to use OSX. Sure, if money is no object and you wanna pay overprice for a rMBP then yeah. Otherwise Air is the only laptop running OSX offering most value (beside 15"rMBP)
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    #17
    I'd argue that if you're looking for something with power, but don't mind a bit more weight to move around the house, the classic 15" MBP would be a much better buy - you can upgrade the RAM, and put a speedy SSD in the optical bay while keeping a large HD.
     
  18. macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #18
    Well, it seems like people have their own view in what would be the greatest value in buying Apple laptops. Everybody's got his own point, of course. But what must be pointed out is that users are in search of different features.

    The rMBPs seem to pack most of the features, including a fast processor, SSD storage, a high-resolution IPS display, besides being thin and light. They're also the most expensive ones. The 13" and 15" cMBP are heavier, have traditional HDs and have much lower resolution displays; still, they have an optical disk drive and more storage, features which may be useful for some. And the MBA is the lightest of them all. In the end, that will depend on the specific needs of the user.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #19
    I bought an i7, 8GB, 256SSD + 2TB USB 3.0 for about $1700 ( I don't remember exactly)

    I use the external for all my media files + archived work files. I use a separate, older drive for Time Machine backups.

    As far as web readability, I find the real estate more than usable (I'm coming from a 2007 MBP with the same resolution). Viewing Macrumors at full screen leaves white margins on either side, and you can zoom in twice before going out of bounds.

    It sounds like you should actually visit in-store and try the different sized laptops for web readability in Safari. You might also want an Apple employee to show you how to change the 'effective' size of the UI in Retina screens, so you can be more confident in your decision. $2500 is a lot!
     
  20. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #20
    MBA = my favorite piece of Apple gear. End thread. I have the 2011 13" model and i want to upgrade to the new model for usb3 and a larger SSD. Just do it!!!
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    #21
    Definitely. Just to answer the question whether MBA is a good buy or not; it really depends in your usage. I'd say it's a good buy offering a lot of features at a reasonable price.
     
  22. macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #22
    When you say "reasonable price", you're probably putting that in the context of Macs, right? I say that because there are Windows machines which are priced more reasonably than the MBA.
     
  23. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2000
    #23
    Actually, it really "got" [sic] a number of competitors, all of which are running OS X. 15" MBP, 15" rMBP, 13" MBP, 13" rMBP just for starters. I have a DJ friend that opted for a 17" MBP just recently because he needs the screen real estate, and that model was the last 17(and he's not alone, lots of folks opted for the 17" MBP just as the new models minus a new 17" came out).

    All of these as well as the MP, MM, and iMac are great machines, and are in competition with each other for you to take them home, and it is terrific that even though they all overlap in certain different areas, each has strengths that would make one of them the just-right model for you.

    And at the same time, each of them has 85% at least of what would be perfect, meaning you can buy the model that fits you up to about 98% of what your requirements are, but if you buy a model that is not the perfect fit, you still really can't go wrong (read: do only as much research as you are comfortable with and you will still come out OK).

    What a great time to be a Mac user.
     
  24. macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #24
    Again, it doesn't work for everyone. For me, for instance, a MBA would not do.

    ----------

    Weird. I just don't feel this way...
     
  25. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    #25
    Well, I just got my first Mac (2012 13" Air).

    100% happy with it, love the speed, the screen looks great etc. I'll upgrade in four years or so, and I'm sure at that point I'll be blown away again. Some people always have to have the latest and greatest, but for me it's much more fun when you can really "notice" and upgrade.

    Gotta love tech.
     

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