Does one need to "baby" the macbook air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by WillMak, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. WillMak macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2005
    My 2006 MB literally melted two nights ago from the power cord being so hot the plastic side melted and forced me to pickup a new emergency laptop ASAP to finish some projects. I decided to pickup the base MBA 13 and this thing screams with speed compared to my 2006 MB.

    I honestly don't know too much about the MBA but was wondering if this laptop needed to be babied (It's so thin!) to avoid damage because I like to stuff things in my backpack. I had the plastic case before which bends, but the unibody frame in the MBA will dent if their is too much pressure no?

    Also, since its a SSD, does this mean the Hard drive will not breakdown since it doesn't have to "spin?" most people here enjoy the new MBAs? There is lots of complaining on this board it seems. I was put in a situation where I had to pickup a new laptop ASAP and thus missed the back to school promotions, but even with that, I'm really enjoying the new MBA and haven't had any of the issues people here complain about.
  2. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    Last question first. I love the new MBA. and for anyone complaining of issues (Flash, Lion, etc.) I have yet to encounter any of those problems. So far, my work on it is light, and I kinda plan on keeping it that way.

    Not entirely sure about the breakdown of the SSD. The MBA is my first piece of hardware with a solid state drive!

    As far as babying goes, I tend to take care of it. Yes, it's just a computer, but seeing how much my SO has dropped her 15" 2009 MBP and how the body is bent at the point where the ethernet port is, I'd rather not have the same thing happen. Resale value is nice on this (though I don't plan on selling it), so the better it can stay in great shape, the more it will hold its value.

    So yes, throw a good case on it, but it's up to you on how you want to handle it.

  3. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    IMO, the metal scratches, so you don't have to "baby it", but you don't want to put things next to it that can scratch metal, just like you wouldn't put things next to your plastic MacBook that can scratch plastic.

    The metal shell also isn't "super strong", meaning if you have 20lbs of text books in your backpack, and place your backpack down so that all 20lbs are resting directly on top of the Air, that's probably not a good thing. Again, don't baby it, but don't think that the metal makes it literally uncrushable. I've subjected my Air to the same stuff I've subjected my 15" Apple notebooks to over the last 5 years, and it's held up just as well.

    IMO, the SSD is less likely to break down than a spinning HDD, but it's made of circuits and stuff, and they still can break. So I wouldn't say something definite like "it will not break down". It's less likely to break down, but it can still break down.

    I love my Air. I've got the 2011 13".
  4. solo118 macrumors 65816

    May 16, 2011
    I would highly suggest a slim sleeve like an Incase or something along those lines. Just so you know the top half can get dented being aluminum.
  5. Poindexter333 macrumors member


    Jul 6, 2010
    NYC metropolitan area
    In my experience, as an owner of several MBA's starting from the very first one, the only truly critical weak spot is the screen- which you can break if too much pressure is placed on the top case. I never carry the MBA around without- at minimum- a neoprene sleeve, and I actually added a thin layer of soft foam inside on the side where the top case would be. I would never put in naked into any bag with anything else in it.

    The top case is so thin in this area there simply is not any "crush room" before you end up breaking the LCD- and this is VERY expensive- and AppleCare does not cover screen breakage. That's why I would suggest you investigate SafeWare and Square Trade warranties. They cover everything from theft to water damage to screen damage. Do a bit of research and I think you'll agree it's the best $100 you can spend.

    Do not try to pick up the MBA by the screen during use or you can damage the hinge, and this damage may not become apparent for a long time. Apple has always had some issues with their hinge designs. The new MBA's are a bit too new I think to know if they finally solved this problem.

    The other weak area is actually the charger- especially where the cord comes out of the charger case. You must leave some slack before winding the cord around the charger block. Google this and you'll see what I mean. Apple actually issued has a Tech Bulletin on it.

    Finally, be careful when you insert headphones. I mistakenly stuck my headphone plug into the USB port, easy on first version of the MBA if done while not looking- and it instantly triggered a shutdown! No apparent damage but a short circuit is not something to mess with on these machines. Best of luck.

    I LOVE mine, and can't imagine anything better for what I need.

    For the record I have no connection whatsoever to any corporation or product mentioned herein. :)
    Currently operational: G4 Cube, IIsi, TiBook 667DVI, MBA Rev A(semi-retired) & Rev. E/2011(13"/i5 1.7Ghz/4GB/128SSD Samsung/10.7.1), G5 tower 10.5.8, iPhone 3GS/JB/4.0.1
  6. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Remember that people are more likely to go onto a message board if they have a complaint. I think the vast majority of people here are quite happy with the MacBook Air, and an even higher percentage of owners in general are. This product has sold well since last year's redesign.

    I've had MacBook Airs since 2008, and the redesigned version is pretty solid. The main thing I'd worry about is spillage damage (since I had an incident of my own earlier this year). If you frequently have liquids near your MacBook Air, I'd recommend getting a Moshi or Rearth keyboard cover. See also if you can get a personal articles policy on your rental/homeowner's insurance to cover accidental damage. It was pretty cheap for me ($33/year) and expands my existing coverage to include accidents (as well as theft, etc.).

    Beyond that, the new design is pretty solid. I put it in a Neoprene sleeve when I travel with it, but that sleeve has been in the document pocket of a traditional notebook case, the front pocket of a suitcase, and stuffed into a briefcase, all without any issues.
  7. alecgold macrumors 65816


    Oct 11, 2007
    Just quick, I have had the 13" for a year and now have the 11". I needed the 256Gb, i wanted the 11" already in 2010.
    It is an aluminum case, so it can bend, nick and scratch. What it doesn't do, or at least very minimal, is that it does flex. That a big difference and that is what you feel when you pick a plastic laptop in one hand and an MBA in the other.
    I carry mine everywhere, to work (it's now paired with a thunderbolt display), to church, to friends, if I'm there, 98% of the time my laptop is too. I have a sturdy leather briefcase. In the back of the briefcase is a thin sleeve, meant for papers but I inserted a 10mm dense foam pad. Then I have my MBA11 in a La robe sleeve, it has some kind of memory foam that protects it nicely IMHO. [​IMG]
    then there is always some paper between the laptop's sleeve and the rest of my stuff, evening out any protruding things.

    So I do baby it, but I expect it to be in use for at least 2 to 3 years of heavy EDC use.

    SSD's have their weaknesses as well. They are strong because there are no moving parts, they are weak in that there is a limited number of write cycles they can go trough. However, typical consumer use will give an SSD a technical life of around 8 years, IIRC from Anandtech. They are using less power compared to HDD, so there is a lot to gain from SSD's.
    Ow and the blades are minute, compared to the 2.5" HDD and blazing fast.

    Enjoy. Hmm, i don't know how to put it, but this has been my best laptop ever.
    - it's small
    - it's light
    - it's blazing fast
    - it's relative cheap (yes, it's a lot of money, but ask Samsung to make such a notebook and I don't see them starting at €949...)
    - it's got a very nice display compared to other 11" laptops I've seen so far (no not for photog's, DTP-ers or movie editing perhaps, but for consumer use it's really good).
    - thunderbolt works really nicely for me: when I'm in the office I connect one thunderbolt connector and hey presto, I've got a 27" display, sound, USB, Firewire, Ethernet and I can daisy chain thunderbolt (which I might not use for some time as the drives are still ridiculous expensive).

    Less ideal:
    - batterylife is not as good as I hoped, the 13" 2010 model got me over 9 hours of really careful use (that is handy when you really need it) or 5 hours of careless use doing what I wanted to do, the 11" has given me around 6 hours tops with everything off, (no scanner-detecting-programm, no istat, no BT, no Wifi, no music, brightness to 3 notches down, just reading or typing plain text.) I am hoping the battery will get in shape a bit more, it is said that they gain when being used.

    And as it has been said before in this thread, complainers are always making more noise (and often understandable and their good right, although I see some threads that make me feel a bit annoyed).
  8. vitzr macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    While these are reasonably sturdy, the thinner profile as compared to a MBP, leaves them more vulnerable in the event you dent the aluminum. So just use common sense & be careful. Packing it in a fully loaded backpack with heavy books can be risky.
  9. Roller macrumors 68020

    Jun 25, 2003
    My 11" core I7/256GB SSD is hands down the best laptop I've ever owned. I have an Incase hard case on it - thicker and more industrial-looking than the Speck, but I like the protection and feel. I regularly toss the MBA in my bag with papers and folders, though would be wary about putting too much weight on it.

    As long as I avoid Flash and am judicious with backlighting, I get 4-5 hours on the web, reading and composing email, and writing.

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