After almost a week of owning an Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by PaulWog, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. PaulWog, Jul 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011

    PaulWog Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    Tomorrow will be my 7th day of owning a Macbook Air (11-inch i5/4GB/128GB). It will also be my 7th day of using my first Mac computer.

    Overall I'm very satisfied with the purchase. Unlike most purchases I make, I haven't thought about how much money I spent: I just think about the product itself. :D I love the screen, I love the keyboard, I love the touchpad (best part!), and I love the overall look and feel of the metallic build of the Air. I love how small it is, I love how much screenspace is given with OS X Lion, and I love the backlit keyboard (which I don't need but somehow it reminds me of holding a mickey-mouse glowstick toy from disneyland which has these bristles with lights on the ends that I had once... so it gives this nice little magical feel for me).

    So all the love and happiness aside for this product (and there's lots, it is a great product)... I'm still left feeling like there is something missing. I've seen all this Apple advertising year after year after year talking about how great Apple is. And every year they seem to get a little bit more cocky about it (sometimes I feel it's justified, and sometimes I feel the advertising gets a little overconfident). Anyways... maybe all this built-up suspense has left me feeling like Apple was not only going to deliver a great product... but that it would be so great, and so flawless, that it would feel "magical". And honestly... the Air doesn't feel magical on a whole.

    The points that really get to me (that would've really made this a home-run product) are these:
    - The bottom part of the screen has this bit of a gradient. I keep telling myself (and I've told another one or two people on these forums) that it simply isn't noticeable and doesn't matter. And usually it isn't. But I just can't help but have my eyes drawn to it. I think it's so evident because the whole screen is crisp and perfect-looking for the most part... and so any small defect is evident (as opposed to a screen which is just mediocre overall). It *REALLY* feels like Apple dropped the ball on this one.
    - The processor gets realllllly hot when games or intensive applications are going on. This isn't a big deal (especially since it's not something Apple can really do anything about since they buy their stuff from Intel - unless if they're skimping on their cooling solution in the Air). But this just slightly takes away from things. I hate sitting down for maybe 20 minutes in a day (maybe once every couple of days) to play a game of Starcraft 2, only to be sitting down listening to a 6500RPM fan going off, with the computer getting hot enough at the bottom to cook an egg.
    - The FaceTime camera isn't HD. I didn't think this would bother me... but it kind-of does. I feel like there might as well be no camera at all there. It's not a good camera that they put on the Air... it's just not good. It's passable at worst, but only decent at best. The Air is the way of the future apparently, and yet they seem to be giving us tidbits of improvements every year.
    - They didn't improve the battery life (this isn't such a big issue... 5 hours is great for productivity... but when it comes to higher-light or higher processor tasks, the battery life is a bit behind... I really wish with the increment they could've upped it)

    Finally, the OS... I feel like OS X Lion is great. It's nice. But they've been advertising saying that Windows is so much worse, that Windows is less reliable, etc, etc. I've actually never had Windows 7 crash on me ever... except when I am testing an over clock (which in that case, it's a given that crashing will occur). With OS X Lion, I've had to force a reboot four times in the past number of days I've owned it. Twice was just within the operating system, things froze up. The other two times may just be Angry Birds (the game) fault... it has frozen solid on me twice.

    The only and final thing that is sort-of leaving me wondering where all the magic that was promised is, is how superior OS X Lion is supposed to be. It's awesome. But I mean... I'm left with the "is that it?" feeling. It's a great OS, don't get me wrong... but Apple seems to claim it's so great that it could do your dishes and walk your dog if you asked it to. Magic! But no... really... it's just very nice (particularly with a small-screened laptop). OS X Lion definitely doesn't stand out as overtly superior to Windows 7 though. I'm happy with both. I wish Lion was so good that I could say goodbye to Windows 7. And I won't get into how I feel the app store is a tad bit overrated for the Mac... it's great, but again... I think it needs some time to get better before it's truly amazing.

    So that's my take on OS X Lion and the Air, from a new Apple customer. I'm very satisfied, but left with a taste for more "wow" than I've been served; there's just a few short-comings that, if they had been dealt with, I think I would be completely in love with this machine. For now... it's just a highly positive platonic relationship, my Air and me. :D
  2. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    You have the i5 or i7?

    You display might be faulty, it does happen, MBA displays are great. If there's a local Apple Store maybe go in and compare screens?
  3. PaulWog thread starter Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    I think it's in all the displays. There was a thread about it. If you open a full-screen Safari browser and view the bottom portion of your screen, you should see a bit of a gradient. It's also very evident if you switch over to your widgets page in Lion.

    If it's not in all the displays and it turns out that it's just a common defect, then I may very well decide to make a return. But it's to my understanding that this is just something that has to be lived with, at least with the current batches of Airs (both Samsung and LG screens).
  4. Obscurelight macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Yes definitely sounds like you should exchange your air for a real screen
  5. TJ391 macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2011
    Just as what you said
    they seem to be giving us tidbits of improvements every year.;)
  6. theRick119 macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2008
    You definitely bring up some great points. I've been using OSX at the office for 5 years and for personal use for 3.

    The three things primarily drew me to Apple and honestly almost do make it magical for me.

    1. Build quality. Their laptops aren't perfect, but there aren't many other options in the PC space that compare.

    2. Trackpad combined with OSX gestures. There is nothing else that compares. I can barely use a trackpad on a typical Windows laptop. I actually prefer using the trackpad on Mac laptops to a mouse for most tasks at this point. It is just so dang good. This is really my #1 by a mile.

    3. Built on top of unix. I could accomplish everything I need to with tools in a Windows machine, but it is so great to have everything excessible via the command line for development and remote conections.

    Other points: it is less susceptible to malware and immune to viruses at this point. That is magical for some users. Doesn't really help me because I know how to protect myself in Windows, but that is great for less tech savvy users.

    For me personally, outside of those things OSX and Windows 7 are a wash. It's all relative.
  7. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    paul; good read....

    -the screen thing would make me go into apple store to see if other's are same...if not i would exchange for another

    -at this point id give osx and win a toss em...both have good and bad points

    -as for starcraft...not sure the 11" is really cutout to play that game...least not on higher nefew just bought a ASUS U30SD-XA1 13.3-Inch laptop from amazon $799 and it plays scII on top settings great....
  8. revelated macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2010
    All MBA screens have that effect. I've noticed it. It's not a gradient per se. It actually looks like a lens flare or something. Strange thing is it's only noticeable on pastel colors and grays on mine. So if the browser is maximized, I can see it. If the browser's not up I can't. I've run a full black image to see if it was light bleed - nothing. Also, in general, the browser windows look rather subdued. Web page colors don't pop. MacRumors looks pale and "milky", and it doesn't look like that on the Pro.

    If I didn't know better I would swear that the screen wasn't able to blend colors properly for some reason.

    OP - good read, and I've agreed, but in all fairness, what you're experiencing has less to do with the OS and more to do with perception. The reality is that people who bash Windows are judging based on Windows ME, Windows XP and early pre-SP2 Windows Vista. They're not judging it on Windows 7, and I submit that most who actually use Windows 7 and take care of computers rather than abuse them will find a lot of intuition in 7 that just isn't there in Lion. Lion feels like it's trying to be too friendly. Windows 7 feels like it can be your friend and your co-worker at the same time and keep you confident that the job will get done.
  9. CapnJackGig macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2011
    Yeah Apple sells all their stuff as if it's magical. It's not. Their desire to control every little bit of everything leaves a lot of their stuff feeling hollow. I love my 2010 Air, but it's not magical. It has shortcomings, but so does most anything. As for Lion, I think its one of the worst OS I've ever used and certainly the worst MacOS. Just far too many stupid UI design decisions. Sadly for you I think the screen isn't defective, but is instead Apple Spec. I went through it with the iMac series and swore I'd never buy another one of those ever again. As for the heat, you can expect these little babies to heat up and for the fans to kick on if you're playing graphically intensive games, downloading a lot, or watching full screen videos. Nothing defective about that.
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    To be accurate, it's not immune to viruses. It's just that no viruses exist in the wild that can run on Mac OS X, and there never have been any, since it was released 10 years ago. The handful of trojans that exist can be easily avoided with some basic education, common sense and care in what software you install:
  11. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    mine has spotlights along the bottom. I think its actually a pity apple brought out the full screen apps because I probably wouldn't have noticed with the doc taking up that space :)

    it is VERY noticeable for me on light greys as you mention - macrumors design shows it up clearly.

    But on a full black image it isn't obvious - probably its smart enough to drop the backlight on a full black image

    Difficult to tell in an apple store as its so well lit, but I'll try and take mine back next week and swap it over. Hopefully I'll get the same samsung SSD..
  12. Moccasin macrumors 6502a


    Mar 21, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_5 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8L1 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I can sympathise with your comments. I have a 2010 11" MBA with all the trimmings which I love (even with the shinier newer 2011 model taunting me). I love the weight, the size and the (unlit) keyboard. I've not actually installed Lion yet as my NAS can't yet work with Lion. It seems like it's worth waiting until the first patch is released anyway.

    I agree with the other posters though that OS X is simply a joy to use, even compared to Win 7 (in my view) Especially the track pad and gestures. I find myself trying to use these gestures on my old, slow (and constantly updating) Sony Vaio. It's probably a little unfair to compare the two now as I rarely use the Vaio so every time I turn on there are numerous bug fixes to download. The thing I notice most about Windows though is the long boot up time. It takes so long!

    So I agree that there is possibly too much hype but overall Apple, OS X and the MBA deserve all their plaudits.
  13. jason.siegel macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2011
    I upgraded from a late 2008 13" aluminum Macbook running SL, and while I am definitely satisfied, I'm similarly not blown away. The Air is excellent, but when one removes a whole bunch of excess (even unnecessary) features, the inherent minimalism by definition offers less to appreciate. Also, I'm not thrilled with Lion. It's buggy and less productive for me. For many of Lion's new features, I find they actually cause me to think MORE to get the same result.

    That said, I don't regret the upgrade; I think when 10.7.1 comes out, I will be comfortable again. And we ought to stop thinking of computers as soul mates. They're tools, not people.
  14. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    You've offended Misty (my MBA). Tell her didn't really mean that...
  15. PaulWog thread starter Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    The second page of the Apple Macbook Air manual reads this:

    "Congratulations, you and your Macbook Air were made for each other."

    The preceding page says "Hello."

    I thought it was a tad bit odd to be greeted on page 2 of the manual saying that. It should've just read "Congratulations."

    But I guess what Apple is getting at is this: Your Macbook Air is your soul mate whether you like it or not. Because they implied so in the manual!
  16. Curren~Sea macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    I think you're expecting too much.

    A computer is a tool to get work done and occasionally entertain you.

    I chose a Macbook Air 13 because it has the absolute best form factor and feature set for the price point. It does everything that I need it to do and it looks stunning (bonus).

    I'm not saying that you should lower your expectations but perhaps you should keep in mind that this is simply a machine and a tool, not a soul mate.
  17. PaulWog thread starter Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    I don't expect it to be a soul mate, nor do I expect it to literally do my dishes or literally walk my dog.

    However I do expect more of it. Obviously it's a machine. You can say that obviously humans are flesh and bones and a brain, organs, electrical impulses, etc. You can say any object is an object, any colour is a colour, any this is this and any that is that. If we look at the world that way, we're looking at it objectively and with no subjectivity.

    When one buys a product such as an Apple Macbook, there is going to be a subjective take on it. The Air doesn't quite feel magical, and yet it could feel magical. It is a machine, but so what? That's not the limiting factor. The limiting factor is what Apple has omitted or messed up on, as I touched on in post #1. :)
  18. jackrv macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2011
    Very good post. I agree with all of your statements. However, just like any other platform, there sometimes are software solutions to many shortcomings. As for the heat, take a look at SMCFancontrol. Apple has their fans run VERY conservatively. This lets the heat build up considerably before the fans rev up the rpms. Smc lets you set the minimum speed, and can save multiple profiles.
  19. Ganksta1 macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2011
    I wont comment on the MBA but i think you need to use a few more Apple products to really get the whole expected experience which Apple projects through their commercials.

    Apples greatness for me is in their ecosystem which only grows stronger the more items you integrate into it. This will obviously take a huge leap when iCloud is available.

    Give it more time and maybe buy a Time Capsule or a simple Airport Express and you will see how well the whole system operates.
  20. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    I haven't made the switch yet but will in the next couple of months. For those that have made the jump, is there an equivalent on the for the window preview and option from windows 7? What I mean is if I have a bunch of browser windows open, I can go down to the bottom and hover my mouse over the stack and a small preview of all the windows show up and I can jump to anyone of them. I have played around with lion at best buy and couldnt find this feature.
  21. Patriot24 macrumors 68030


    Dec 29, 2010
    I switched last week from a Lenovo T410 with Win7 to a 13" Air. I wouldn't say that I have the "let down" feeling you've described, but there is an element while you're making your away around the product/OS of trying to compare all the marketing you've seen/heard with reality.

    Overall, I am very happy with the purchase. There are many things I like, but I would have to say that the gesture-based approach is amazing. I feel like it is so much easier to make inputs and manipulate what I am seeing on the screen.

    As far as Win7 vs. Lion, you have to remember that Win7 has been around a while longer. I didn't expect Lion to be perfect out of the gate. I suspect we'll see an update shortly to remedy some of the more obvious issues and incremental improvements thereafter. We'll just have to have a little patience on that front.
  22. Patriot24 macrumors 68030


    Dec 29, 2010
    Mission Control is probably the closest. The implementation is vastly different, but I think the concept is the same (exposing your apps quickly).

    The only rub is that currently Mission Control won't show apps that are minimized. I suspect/hope that will be remedied in a future release.
  23. nooaah macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2009
    Philadelphia, PA
    I have a Samsung screen. I don't know if that makes a difference. I can't see any gradient effect unless I go full screen and get my face right in front of the screen looking directly at the bottom. Even then, I barely see anything and I wonder if I'm just telling myself something is there. In other words, they don't all have this issue and I'd exchange yours.
  24. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    They still do that in your country? Over here, the direct comparisons to Windows were to Vista, and that ad campaign ended almost two years ago (Oct 2009).
  25. MilkMan4 macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2011
    yeah i just had mine freeze up on me today. tried restarting multiple times, tried safe mode, nothing worked.
    finally apple support had me just reinstall the OS which eventually fixed it. hope it doesn't happen again! don't really like the 5 hour wait ;)

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