Decision time -

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Pretorien, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. Pretorien macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 28, 2014
    #1
    I am a recent convert to the Mac world - bought a 2014 15" MBPro last May. It has worked out well (although I miss Windows facile handling of legacy printers). I want something smaller and lighter for traveling. My on-the-road use will be mostly email and web browsing. My HDD requirements are modest - I am only using 90G of the 500 on the MB.

    I began looking at iPads given my requirements. Anything from the iPad Air (9.7") and up means carrying it in something due to size. Cell phone connectivity is not important to me and the various photo/video capabilities are only marginally attractive - I carry a camera and when i really want photos I rely on a pro level DSLR. I looked carefully at a recently discounted offer on the 9.7" pro. By the time I added a keyboard/case ( I don't do well typing on a screen) I was over $800. The connectivity of the iPad is also limited (I am sometimes places where the only internet is wired - an issue with the iPad)

    So I stopped and considered the 11" MB Air - no longer current but readily available - not that much bigger or heavier and it will be in a briefcase - ample processing power and better keyboard and connectivity and, looking at offerings, less expensive than a kitted out iPad. Cons: no photo/video capability and, by today's standards, low resolution screen. The former is not really an issue nor, given the intended use, is the latter.

    So - have I missed any factors that should be considered? With offerings from 2010 to 2014 is there any particular version that should be avoided or is especially recommended?

    Comments or suggestions greatly appreciated.
     
  2. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #2
    Get the newest you can afford, and try and avoid pre-2013 Airs, simply because the battery life will be much better.

    I got myself a 2011 11" Air a year or two ago and fell in love with it; it quickly replaced my 2012 13" Retina MBP as my main laptop. I loved it so much that I recently purchased myself a 2015 11" Air. They are wonderful laptops for those looking for ultimate portability without sacrificing ports or legacy.

    2015 11" Airs are all over eBay in the $600-800 range, so happy hunting!
     
  3. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #3
    2013 will be the best "bang for the buck" and the newer ones don't offer much more. But, of course, it's a 4 year old computer. I still love my 2013 11" i7/8gb/512gb MBA and have no plans to replace it. Would not even consider one of the core2duo models (2010 or older?), they will be much, much slower. 2011 does not have USB 3 and that would be a deal killer for me - max external disk speed will be limited to about 30MB/sec as opposed to 400MB/sec with a USB 3.0 SSD on the 2013 and newer models. 2011 and 2012 have much shorter battery run time due to a less power-efficient CPU chip. Again, this would be a deal killer for me. What's the point of a laptop if it doesn't have decent run time?

    In 2013 the battery run time is far greater - approaching twice as much as 2012. And it also has the very fast 802.11ac wifi. This is a big advantage if you use network disks on your LAN. Probably doesn't matter much if you are just accessing the internet though. Apple also went with a much faster SSD design in 2013. The speed advantage is more significant with the 256 and 512gb models however. In everyday use, many people won't notice this difference though.

    The 2014 machine has a slightly faster cpu, not sure if there are any other improvements. Same for 2015… in fact, IIRC, there were no changes at all to the 11" MBA in 2015. And there is no 2016 model.

    Personally, I would want an 8gb model but they can be harder to find. I like the Apple certified refurbs since they have a full one year warranty. The selection can vary quite a bit for the 11" MBA. Yesterday they had a couple of the high end models, including the 8gb/512gb i7 model (which is getting hard to find). Price was around $1300, maybe more than you want to spend. Today they only have 4gb models.
     
  4. Pretorien thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 28, 2014
    #4
    My thanks to both responders - this is a great help in narrowing my search field - will look in the 2013-2015 range, making a decision on price and, when available, # of battery cycles.
     
  5. Macgyver1 macrumors member

    Macgyver1

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    #5
    Can't beat the 11 for portability. I was looking to buy new, 8g, 256 when it was suddenly axed into unavailablity after the November keynote(Writing was on the wall, my bad). Ended up with a 4gb, 128 new. Not quite the specs that I wanted but fine for my usage.

    Alternatively I was looking at almost twice the price for a macbook configuration I wanted. Keyboard woes and lack of ports kept me away from the MacBook dongle.

    Refurbs may be the way to go for you, if you don't mind paying the premium over used(So easy spending other people's money).

    Happy New Year!
     
  6. Mainsail macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #6
    It sounds like you are looking for a portable device for light computing that compliments your 15 in MacBook Pro. I wouldn't necessarily give up on the idea of an iPad. I agree the the iPad pro with accessories can be pretty expensive, but what if you went minimalist....just iPad Air 2 32GB. I bought one for my wife for xmas: $275 @ BB + $30 for a nice case.

    Steve Jobs envisioned the iPad as a device that sits between the laptop and smartphone, which is actually better than a laptop at some common activities: email, web, photos, video, music, ebooks...etc. This sounds like what you want, and you don't need a pro model.

    I don't know what to say about the wired internet connection issue. Wifi is so ubiquitous now, and you can use your smartphone as a wifi hotspot. I can't remember the last time I saw someone use wired internet connection outside of an office. However, there are always exception.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #7
    That is very subjective. I would consider an iPad far inferior to a laptop computer for e-mail and most of what I do on the web since it involves typing. I'm a fast touch typist and the 11" MBA has a very nice keyboard. I just hate typing on a touchscreen and an iPad with a keyboard seems very kludgy.
     
  8. Mainsail macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #8
    I agree that it is very subjective. If we are talking about light computing, including short email replies, then the iPad Air 2 should work just fine.

    I am not a touch typist so the software keyboard doesn't really slow me down very much. But, I can see how it might frustrate other people.
     
  9. samcraig macrumors P6

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    I was able to get a 13" NIB Air for 799 - 8gb ram/128gb HD from 2015. Well worth it. Definitely go for 8gb.
     

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