MBA 13" as my only computer

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by DudeMartin, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. macrumors regular


    I got frustrated with waiting for the MBP 13" to be refreshed, soo... I looked into other alternatives.

    After looking at the specs of MBA 13 and comparing them to MBP 13, I laughed off the idea of buying a MBA. Now, about a month later, I looked up benchmarks comparisons and found that the MBA performs better than the MBP in almost all areas (if not all).

    Now, another factor that makes me consider the MBA over MBP is the fact that MBP with 128gb SSD will cost like $350 extra (I don't want to mess around with aftermarket stuff, if there is a computer that comes default with it).

    So ultimately:
    - Higher res screen
    - SSD by default
    - Thinner
    - Cheaper (if you add Apple's SSD to the MBP13)
    - Appears faster, and often is faster than its MBP counterpart
    - Stronger CPU
    - Bigger hard drive, but it's not SSD
    - Backlit keyboard
    - More ports, like USB
    - Longer battery

    I think the MBA has more of what I need. Now there is a problem. My mom offered to pay for the computer as I have been wanting a computer for years (I am only 16). When I try to mention the idea of the MBA she considers the thing a toy because of how thin it is. Can any of you give me any suggestions to convince her otherwise, or is the thing a toy?
    (Also, I don't really care for the portability of the MBA, but I guess it's a nice little perk to it)

    Thanks a lot in advance to everyone who contributes!
  2. macrumors 6502

    I bought a 13 MBA (1.86ghz, 4gb ram, 128gb ssd) not expecting to use it as my main machine. I also have the latest gen Mac Mini (same exact specs as the current 13 MBP), and the MBA so far has blown the mini away in performance. Now, granted the most intensive stuff I do is photoshopping 30mb raw photos, it is a much snappier system than the mini, and presumably the 13 MBP.

    Really the only downside is storage space. Personally I just keep a 500gb usb drive with me in my laptop bag for my photos, and I utilize MobileMe for iDisk for documents. Even after installing CS5, Office 2011, and a few other small apps I have 96GB of storage left. Not too shabby.

    As long as you can manage your documents, pictures, movies, music, etc on some other type of storage, the 128GB drive is plenty for most apps. (Unless you plan on installing a ton of games).

    After having my MBA for less than a week, I've already decided to loan my mini to a developer friend so he can start playing with xcode and making iOS apps.

    Edit: As for convincing your mother, the simplest way is trying to show benchmarks and explaining that it is a powerful system and beats out the 13 MBP. I'd also maybe try and show her some resell value numbers of the MBP verse MBA. And I'd explain the MBA is only 3 months into its life cycle, where the MBP 13 will be refreshed soon.
  3. macrumors regular

    Okay, I have to give you 'props' for giving the most direct, useful, and on-topic response I've ever seen on forums.

    I actually think that's a good idea, plus 128GB is plenty - I only have some games from Steam and just do programming on Java.

    But, erm, does the MBA feel like it could break? As in like, because it is so skinny, does it feel like it is prone to some sort of physical damage. My mom thinks that the thing is a toy because it's so thin, and is prone to breaking.
  4. macrumors 68040


    Check it out in an apple store. To me, the machine is solid and the only weak point I can find that scares me is the hinge. It can possibly snap if you aren't too careful.
  5. macrumors 6502

    I was a little worried about it feeling flimsy when I ordered it, but so far it feels very solid. You can grab it by any corner and pick it up and it does not flex or feel like it is bending at all. The build quality looks and feels high quality. Keep in mind I've only had mine for less than a week, but so far it is great.

    I put mine inside of a 13in incase laptop sleeve (the one designed for MBP) before placing it in my laptop bag just to make sure it is safe from my books banging against it. My security+ and other networking books are rather large and have some heft to them, but so far so good at them not hurting the MBA.

    I wouldn't call it a toy due to its size at all. Because it is small I can easily pick it up and show people in my classes things on the screen, where as doing that with a MBP would obviously be a bit more annoying and risky.

    If you live near a apple store, a trip to show the device to her might be a good idea. Just so she can physically see it is a sturdy device.
  6. Moderator


    MBA is amazingly strong machine. It's made of aluminum, not from plastic like most laptops. I haven't had a moment where I was afraid of it breaking. Like said above, you can grab it from any corner and it won't flex or anything.

    I suggest you to take your mum to an Apple store and show her the MBA. 13" MBA is just a thinner 13" MBP. I understand if she sees 11" as toy because of its small display but 13" is not a toy by any means.

    The biggest drawback is only 128GB of storage but if that's enough for you, then MBA should be perfect for you. I've been thinking about buying a high capacity USB flash drive or two for my MBA to increase its storage if I ever need more. There are plenty of them which are as small as the flash drive included in MBA so they don't even stick out too much. Sure, an external HD is fine as well and costs less.

    I've had my 13" for about 2 months now and I have to say it has been an amazing computer. It's not a toy like those netbooks or tablets are, it's an ultraportable fully featured laptop.
  7. macrumors regular

    Alright. I think I'll get that, that is after I present the pros and cons, etc.

    Also, I noticed that upgrades are a lot cheaper on the MBA, like going from 2 - 4gb ram is like 100 bucks, but going from 4 - 8gb RAM in the MBP is like 400 bucks. Anyone know why that is?
    (From Apple Store)
  8. Moderator


    RAM prices have gone down quite a bit since MBPs were released. Nowadays you can get 8GB of RAM for less than 100$
  9. macrumors regular

    As far as convincing your mom that the MBA is not a toy, just tell her that it is not a toy by any means. It is simply the way things are headed as far as (Apple) laptops are concerned. Eventually they will all share a similar thin yet powerfully efficient design. It is "the future of notebooks."
  10. macrumors regular

    Okay, lastly (and I'll leave ya'll alone :)) - has anyone particularly tried to play any some-what demanding games? Like Team Fortress 2, Counter Strike : Source, Half Life 2 on the 13" MBA (with 4GB RAM)? When I do play games, I plan to play those, so has anyone tried to play them? If so, did it run smooth on medium graphics?
  11. macrumors member

    I have one computer MBA 13'' ultimate. I am running LR, Aperture and PS without any issues. Planning to get refurb 24'' ACD.

    Computer is nice and fast. Love the 1440 by 900 resolution:D
  12. macrumors 6502

    Using one as my main machine, yeah internal storage sucks, but I have 2TB raid nas attached, which I would use for any computer simply for data safety.

    The only real negative I would say is lack of USB ports.
  13. macrumors G4

    Remember, a big reason why the Air is thinner is that it does not have a built in optical drive. The logic board is about the same size on the 13" Air as on the 13" Pro. The Pro also gets a slightly bigger battery. On paper, there isn't much different about the current Pro other than it has a slightly faster processor. That's likely to change when the Pro does get upgraded, likely to the new Sandy Bridge processors.

    I use a 4GB 13" 2.13 GHz MacBook Air as my sole home computer and it is definitely not a "toy." The processor is by no means cutting edge, and the SSD isn't the fastest in the world (but it's a lot faster than a hard drive), but it is a very capable computer.

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