First, here's why. You can skip to the part about what I notice I have a very powerful desktop I can do basically everything wicked fast on. Photoshop, video editing. It's a 2500k clocked to 4.5 with 16 gigs of ram. It was 400% faster (at least) than the ultimate. I wanted a machine to do on the run photoshop and general surfing... the ultimate, with student discount/ $100 iTunes gift card, applecare, etc.. $1920-ish. Problem is this: The air screen (either brand) is not good enough, it's not going to be a primary machine, I'm moving to subscription music, I have also a windows domain controller and a home server.. so I don't need storage. I decided I would forego applecare and try to upgrade within a year (my last mbp lasted 4 + years) hoping they get a thinner pro out. In the interim, that was just too much cash to have into a recreational machine. So I saved the $600 and dropped down. Things I notice between the two (it's early days and I will update this as time goes on a bit): When just web surfing, so far there is a tangible difference in battery life. I understand automated tests show it's not that much, that is not my experience thus far. It may change but for now it seems i'm getting 30-45 mins more on the i5 The mac app store is noticeably less responsive on the i5 - never really beach balled on the i7 I obtained Samsung SSD in both machines I have now had one of each panel. I don't really notice a difference in viewing angle - I do notice the LG seems to have more natural color vs more vibrant of samsung - this is after calibrating both. The wake from sleep issue doesn't seem to be hitting me on the i5 (I have a feeling that's a coincidence) After analyzing the space I need considering I cull photos quickly, require a 20gb boot camp partition - store encrypted docs on dropbox, use spotify and stream from my home server.. and will be getting iTunes plus - the space recs are irrelevant. I will be spending more time on the air than the desktop, but it won't be doing as much 'serious stuff' Obviously for tasks like word processing, internet browsing, email - there is no difference...none The i5 starts a couple of seconds slower - maybe this will change due to indexing. At idle, the cpu runs 5-9 degrees cooler (c) and the enclosure runs 4-7 degrees cooler (c) - the temps ramp up and fall considerably faster than on the i7, which seemed more linear. Neither machine is particularly suited to gaming. Photoshop CS 5 is very similar between devices. Without benching it, I'm guessing most people won't notice. Nor will I I'll add more if I think of it - if you have any specific questions I will try to answer. At the end of the day, I felt nearly 2k was too much money to sink into a machine that frankly wasn't that well suited to photo editing, didn't have the speakers for real multimedia, and the price difference is effectively an iPad..best of both worlds. I also bought 'the one' bag when there - which carries the air, iPad and has enough room for a compact camera. I will be starting another thread about bags and protection though! In case you can't tell - I feel the majority of people not video or photo editing will be just fine with the base model.