Anyone using MacBook Air solely as a desktop?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Kendo, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. Kendo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    #1
    I'd really like to get the MacBook Air but I don't think I would carry it around with me very often. I work in a corporate environment so I'm essentially using my company PC during the day and my laptop at home at night. I don't think I would use it much for the portability factor.

    I have an aging Core 2 Duo laptop with a 15" screen as my primary PC and want to replace it with the MacBook Air. Does anyone else own a MacBook Air and have it essentially sit at their desk all the time?
     
  2. PaulWog Suspended

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    #2
    First thing is first: Don't get the 11-inch Air if you aren't carrying your laptop around often. It simply will not be useful. It does provide that "wow-factor", and the screen is definitely large (or feels large, rather), but in the end it will be a not-so-ideal purchase. The love for the look and size of the device will ware away and what will be left is a buyer's remorse that longs for a larger screen. I purchased the 11-inch, and I must say I love it! But I'm a college student who does carry his laptop around often. I haven't gotten a chance to really appreciate the size yet though, as I'm on vacation, so this device really is just sitting in a room serving as a desktop on super slow internet service.

    So what I would recommend you look at, if it's a laptop you want, would be one of the following (presuming you only are looking at Apple products):
    - Macbook Air 13-inch
    - Macbook Pro 13-inch

    I presume if you were even considering another 15-inch, you would've mentioned it (or you'd be looking at the Pro 15-inch yourself).

    The thinness of the 13-inch Air is quite nice, but the Pro also is quite form-factor. The quality of the screen on the Pro 13-inch is superior to the Air 13-inch, so take that into consideration.

    Anyways, really... your best bet is to go to your local Apple store (or whatever store is around you that demos Apple products, such as a Best Buy) and take a look at the stuff on display. If you can, book an appointment to test out a Macbook Air; but don't rule out the 13-inch Pro, as it really does sound like that might be better for you. I purchased the 11-inch Air, but I would definitely prefer the Pro if I were around the house more... again... it's all about initial love of a product versus how long that initial love lasts. An Air is impressive, but it won't impress you forever with that thin form-factor: if you aren't using the thin form-factor for practical purposes, you may very well be left wishing you had a Pro instead.
     
  3. iExpensive macrumors 6502

    iExpensive

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    Oct 18, 2010
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    #3
    Yes, my 13" sits on my desk all the time. I find that it's convenient if I ever needed to be on the go, I can just pick it up and go.

    I didn't buy it for the portability, I bought it for the "what if"
     
  4. TornadoLowLevel macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    I was using an Intel Atom netbook as a desktop for 3 years, and took it on holiday as and when.

    I picked a 13" MBA last week and it mainly serves as a desktop hooked up to a 40" LCD. It's quick and works well for the usual Office/Interweb/Media.

    I knew I didn't want a Pro as the 15" was too big, the 13" Pro display had a poorer resolution, and sure, the form factor.

    As has been said, it's about what you find desirable. Both the Pro and MBA will be good for the majority of things you want to do with them.
     
  5. seepel macrumors 6502

    seepel

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2009
    #5
    I got the 11" to be an ultra portable desktop. It's really convenient to bring back and forth to work and home where it gets plugged into a monitor in both locations. And with th i7 it has enough oomph to get the job done.
     
  6. PaulWog Suspended

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    Jun 28, 2011
    #6
    Implying the i5 doesn't have enough oomph?
     
  7. seepel macrumors 6502

    seepel

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    Dec 22, 2009
    #7
    I didn't really mean to imply that, but the i7 is a significant upgrade for the 11" and I'd recommend it personally.
     
  8. PaulWog Suspended

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    #8
    I'm just ragging on you for fun. :p

    I'd say it's not a bad upgrade. But I'm satisfied without it. Gets all my stuff done. Photoshop. Games. What-have-you.

    It's really hard to tell if it does more than the i5 in even a power-user's scenario. It seems as though the main scenarios is does better in are ones where you really have to measure... for example, a 10 minute movie encoding or something of the sort: Then you can measure the minutes in difference. But in most cases, it seems like it's just nice to say you have an i7. Especially in the 13-inch, since the i5 1.7GHz treads SOOOO closely in performance to the i7 in the 13-inch.

    Just saying.

    I could argue on your side too :p
     
  9. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    Other
    #9
    Your in a very mischievous mood Paul ;) your last couple of posts in threads were defensive/argumentative/wind up...

    Did someone steal your handbag at the disco last night :p :D j/k
     
  10. WardC macrumors 68030

    WardC

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #10
    I am using my 13" 2010 Air (2.13GHz model) currently at the office solely as my desktop machine. I have it hooked to a 22" Samsung Monitor (using MiniDisplayPort to DVI adapter), and I am using an Apple Wired Keyboard and Logitech mouse. Mainly use it for web research, Office, printing, iChat, etc...it serves me very well and is a very fast machine given that it has an SSD. I have a small USB hub connected and I am driving two printers from the MBA (An HP Personal LaserJet, and an Epson Stylus Inkjet). I use the LaserJet for most of my heavy printing duties, and use the Inkjet for printing maps and very limited color items. The MacBook Air works very well as an office computer, and is much faster than my HD-based Mini was.

    Yes, I use the MBA downtown in the office, and I keep my Mac Pro at the house :)
     
  11. PaulWog, Jul 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011

    PaulWog Suspended

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    #11
    :D what can I say. I enjoy varying the tone of my posts up from time to time. Lol.

    If by handbag you mean my marvellous Macbook Air carrying-case (which incidentally has a shoulder-strap which can be added on which makes it look a little purse-ish if carried that way), then nope... luckily not stolen! :p
     
  12. alecgold macrumors 65816

    alecgold

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Location:
    NLD
    #12
    I have the 13" MBA 2010 ultimate as a desktop and only machine for work at this time. And it does everything I ask from it. Video encoding can be a bit slower perhaps, but if I do such tasks, it's not that I'm sitting there and waiting for it. The extra pixels on the screen over the 13" MBP is nice.
    I now ordered the 2011 MBA 11" ultimate to be my next one and only machine. I'm going to travel a lot in the next months and it might not look like much of a saving between the 11" and the 13" but I know all to well that on your shoulder every inch and every 100 grams is a lot when walking an hour or so.
    At the end of the year, when I get back sitting in my office, I might get a thunderbolt display and have a 27" laptop :D.

    So for home use? I think that the fact that apple stopped selling the white MacBook and made the 11" MBA the new 999 pricepoint laptop says that it is perfectly suited for using it as a main computer. Or at least that seems to be apples idea.
     
  13. adnoh macrumors 6502a

    adnoh

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    #13
    I have to disagree.

    The entry laptop crown should have gone to the 13" MBP with its DVD drive and extra ports. This will ease people into the Apple ecosystem more than Macbook netbook.

    Also, not everyone likes the high resolution/small screen of the air whilst the 13" MBP screen is far better for most people.
     
  14. Asmod4n macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    #14
    Will use the i7 11" air as my only computer and get a very large screen for home use :)
     
  15. Moccasin macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

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    Mar 21, 2011
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    Newcastle, UK
    #15
    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)

    Not sure it's entirely your question but I currently use my 2010 11" MBA as my sole machine. I do have an old (3 years!) Sony Vaio but it's so slow and frustrating it's hardly ever used.

    I'm still debating whether to get a desktop to complement it. I do have a cheap monitor but am wondering whether to buy a mac mini or iMac. Not sure what I'd use it for at the moment though!
     
  16. adnoh macrumors 6502a

    adnoh

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    Nov 14, 2010
    #16
    How do you find using the 11" screen? Do you your eyes hurt after a long time?
     
  17. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    #17
    Geez, we're not all blind like bats. 135 ppi isn't high at all. :rolleyes:
     
  18. Moccasin macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

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    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Newcastle, UK
    #18
    No not at all - have it on my lap typing and surfing. Never had trouble. If it was on a desk and further away from my eyes without an external larger screen then I daresay I'd struggle, but on my lap now its equvalent to an iPad screen. I do wear glasses/contact lenses, have done for years, so my corrected eyesight is very good.

    To my mind, portability is very important and the 5 hour battery life is more than enough for how I use it. If I was travelling long haul with it and no means of charging, it might be a different story.

    I have no regrets buying this and using as my main computer. That may change if I start needing to do more demanding things but at the moment it suits my needs well. The only concern -as with any sole computing device - is if it fails for some reason. I do though have Time Machine set up and both a work laptop and my old Sony if the worst were to happen.
     
  19. surjavarman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    #19
    I have used an 11-inch laptop for years as my desktop computer and I slowly increased the size of the screen with each new purchase of a laptop. Now I arrived at the 13-inch MBP and I can tell you that I still have not found the right combination. I want to go for a 15 inch MBP in the next redesigned version. It's not about the power. Anything with a SSD and a C2D or higher is fine for me. But its about the combination of screen real estate on one hand and weight on the other hand. I haven't found the sweet spot for it.

    If this is between the MBP13 and the MBA13 solely for desktop use then I would get the MBP. I configured my MBP with a 256gb aftermarket SSD and an optibay and it still came out to be a cheaper than the 256gb MBA13. For that price I get a faster SSD, a faster processor, additional ports, 5x as much storage and arguably a better screen.
     
  20. #20
    I've used the 11 exclusively for over a year and just purchased the new maxed out version. I run a small restaurant chain and travel frequently. I use the MBA for all my business needs including presentations, spreadsheets, LogMeIn, etc. as well as personal usage for web surfing, photos, Net Flix streaming, etc. I have encountered no limitations at all for my needs and it is the only computer I own.
     
  21. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #21
    It sounds like the 13" MacBook Air would be perfect for you. The screen has the same resolution as the 15" MacBook Pro. I have used an 11" Air for the past few months but had various models of 13" Air since 2008. I use it mostly at home but also take it on the road a bit, so I got the 11, but since you are coming from a 15" model, the 13" is probably a better bet.

    Note that Apple's $999 Thunderbolt display that will ship early this fall is a little like a "dock" for new Thunderbolt-equipped Air (or Pro). It has gigabit Ethernet and Firewire ports, and sort of transforms your MacBook Air into an iMac at home (sans the optical drive).
     
  22. alecgold, Jul 30, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2011

    alecgold macrumors 65816

    alecgold

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    Oct 11, 2007
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    NLD
    #22
    A lot of young people really don't buy CD's anymore. If they do, they don't keep them, they just rip them. They hardly buy any DVD's and never rent them. They either download them (il)legal or they watch on the internet.
    And they literally take their laptop everywhere, to school, to a friend, to a party. I'm getting old, I know, (I'm 37) but I was at a birthday party of a nephew. I couldn't make it on the "family day" so I got their while his friends where there. There where 8 people in the room and 8 smartphones but 11 laptops. Don't ask me why, I have trouble enough working one, so I must be getting old.
    So if you're hauling around that laptop every day and you have a tiny dorm to live in, small workspaces at school, an 11" laptop with SSD, but a full sized keyboard and nice performance is what you like.

    OTOH My parents had a white macbook and used the DVD drive just a few times, certainly not more than 5 times in the 4 year life of the macbook. They, however will never buy a 11" screen, its just too small, so for them the 11" is out of the question.
    When I asked them what new laptop they wanted (they didn't know the price, just the features, I paid), they didn't choose the MBP in any size, they choose the MBA 13". Reason is simple, it's much lighter, the display is much nicer, the battery time is really good, if they ever wanted a drive, I have a superdrive (I live nearby) but most important was that it was soooo much faster than the HDD in the MBP. And that the display does have more pixels and gives smaller letters doesn't bother them: they increase every letter type to 140 (or so it seems to me, I think it is 14) just like they did on the macbook. It just looks a bit sharper on the 13" MBA. And I know you can choose an MBP with SSD, but that will cost you $1449 for the 128Gb drive, where the MBA 13" costs 1299. Or it is 1849 for the 256Gb SSD MBP but $1599 for the MBA with 256Gb.

    So I think for some the 11" is a perfect entry level laptop, but for some other people it might not have the features they like or need. And then is $1299 a lot of money.

    That's the plan I have: a super small very portable notebook for when I'm on the road and a super-huge display with thunderbolt, firewire, USB and ethernet for when I'm in the office!
     
  23. Moccasin macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

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    Mar 21, 2011
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    Newcastle, UK
    #23
    This is the only reason why I'm considering whether to upgrade my 2010 MBA as I only bought it in April but like the idea of having a big screen as well and having Thunderbolt would future proof it a little. Given the cost though, its more likely I'll just get an iMac and then use the MBA for travelling and for internet browsing in front of the TV like now.

    I know that you can plug an MBA/MBP into the iMac to use as an external screen - can you do this with a Windows laptop as well?
     
  24. alecgold macrumors 65816

    alecgold

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
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    NLD
    #24
    I had something similar. My Mbp dropped on concrete and it didn't become him well. So I bought the 13" because I need 256gb, but I wanted the 11".
    Now the 11" has enough grunt and space.

    I really didn't know you could do that with an iMac and mbp, so I have no idea if it would work with a windows laptop.
     
  25. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #25
    Quite frankly, if you are not a portability-conscious user, you should not buy a portability-aimed laptop. If you're laptop is going to be sitting on your desk 95% of the time... why not buy a MBP?

    PS: I have a 13" MBA hooked to a large external monitor in my desk, and it works like a champ. It's my sole desk computer indeed.
     

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