First Impressions: 11.6" MBA from i7 MPB

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by diablo2112, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. diablo2112 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2010
    #1
    I submitted a review of the new MBA to another website, thought some folks here might like my observations, in comparison to both my i7 MBP and W7 laptops.

    Here you go:

    I purchased the new 11.6" MacBook Air (MBA) on release day. I also have a 15" Macbook Pro, and several W7 laptops. My main use is browsing, videos, and critically, powerpoint presentations which I project in various locations for teaching.

    I used Apple's migration assistant to move my Macbook Pro settings, applications, and documents to the MBA. This is a very-long process, it took almost 12 hours. However, when finished, I was very impressed. The MBA literally replicated my Macbook Pro. All settings, all applications, all documents. Stunning, really. This element also puts the Windows "Easy Transfer" to shame. Powerpoint started right up, and I used the MBA for 2 presentations yesterday, flawlessly.

    I've been using the MBA for about a day and half now, and it's simply shined in everyday applications. HD video is seamless, no dropouts or stalls. The built-in speakers are surprisingly loud and full-ranged, far better than any other netbook sized speakers. Mail and web browsing are seamless. I was quite concerned that the paper-specs of the new MBA were fairly weak (2GB Ram, 1.4GHZ C2Duo, etc.). In practical application, its a non-issue. The machine works well, is quick, and I've gotten about 5.5 hours of battery life the one time I drained to near-zero.

    As I also use W7 based laptops (Dell Inspiron and Toshiba), the feature on the MBA (and MBP) I most appreciate is the trackpad. It's huge, instantly responsive, and the multi-touch gesture quickly become indispensable. 2-finger inertial scrolling is so natural, I find it difficult to go back to my W7 laptops, honestly.

    I had not intended the 11.6" MBA as a replacement for my 15" MBP, but after some solid use, I've found it does everything I need in everyday use. Given this, am seriously considering making the MBA my primary laptop, and selling the MBP.

    The new MBA is a significant advance for Apple, and ups the game in the ultra portable category. They got everything nearly perfect. My only complaints are lack of an SD slot (which is solved by an SD/USB converter, just another dongle to carry) and lack of a keyboard backlight. Even here, the silver labeling on the keys is reflective, and pickup just enough light from the screen to be visible in a dark room.

    My best advice: ignore the specs, use the laptop for your everyday tasks, and see if it doesn't improve your productivity. It has for me.
     
  2. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #2
    So…5 stars?
    Sounds like a fantastic buy if you are a student and have a few hundred more than what an iPad costs. It's like an iPad+
     
  3. diablo2112 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2010
    #3
    Oh yes, 5+ stars out of 5. I've been skeptical of some recent Apple releases, good as they are (re: ipad). But the new MBA, especially the 11.6", is a real winner and I think Apple is right this will redefine ultraportable computing. The thing just works, and works well, for everything I use a portable for.
     
  4. Billy Hoke macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #4
    Shame on you.
    Reading your post has taken my wallet to a place it should be avoiding.
     
  5. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #5
    It definitely doesn't cater to the market that are going to be buying $300 netbooks though. As good as it is, it is still a premium priced product. I was very glad to see how fairly priced it was though (the solid state memory specifically).
     
  6. miata macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, Earth
    #6
    [...

    I used Apple's migration assistant to move my Macbook Pro settings, applications, and documents to the MBA. This is a very-long process, it took almost 12 hours. However, when finished, I was very impressed. The MBA literally replicated my Macbook Pro. All settings, all applications, all documents. Stunning, really. This element also puts the Windows "Easy Transfer" to shame. Powerpoint started right up, and I used the MBA for 2 presentations yesterday, flawlessly.

    ...[/quote]

    I'm curious. This seems really extreme. Were you use using WIFI? I've been thinking about going the 13" MBA route using an external USB drive that I would mirror from my old MBP. I'm thinking that I would be able to move 200 GB of data in no more 4-5 hours.
     
  7. diablo2112 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2010
    #7
    Yes, a WiFi transfer from my MBP, about 40GB of combined data and apps. And yes, it took about 12 hours. This is apparently quite normal; I've heard of larger transfers taking well over 24 hours. 200GB would take forever, at least over WiFi. I'm told the quickest transfer is from a Time Machine backup, which I don't have ready access to until next week.
     
  8. miata macrumors 6502

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    Oct 22, 2010
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, Earth
    #8
    Great news. I've been backing up my MBP over an Airport Extreme with an external USB drive that works for Time Machine. Sounds like I can just pull that drive and connect it directly to the MBA via USB to get a quick migration.
     
  9. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #9
    I have restored from a backup twice. Once from a Time Machine backup and again from an old HDD with a bootable OS on it.

    Time Machine: 3 Hours
    Migration Assistant: < 1 Hour

    Both over USB, both transferring about 90GB of data. Even over Wi-Fi it shouldn't take as long as it did.
     
  10. diablo2112 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 16, 2010
    #10
    My migration was neither of your scenarios. It was a computer-to-computer migration over Wifi. And a quick google search shows that this is a very slow process, many hours for just a few 10s of GB.
     
  11. miata macrumors 6502

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    Oct 22, 2010
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    Silicon Valley, Earth
    #11
    Sounds like I'm better off using the mirrored image of my MBP.
     
  12. macbook123 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    #12
    Graphics performance of MBA 320M compared to MBP 9400M/9600M GT

    My question might fit into this thread so I won't have to open a new one.

    I'm currently using a previous generation MBP with 9400M and 9600M GT graphics. I'm using this mostly on a 30" HP monitor. For a long time this setup had been horribly sluggish, especially when editing in iPhoto or watching HD on Youtube, Netflix streaming, etc. Even browsing would eventually become slow, and I assumed I had to send it in to Apple. This week I had a revelation in that I realized that switching on the 9600M card hugely increased performance in every day tasks, so I'm assuming the burden of the 30" monitor was too much for the 9400M graphics.

    Now I'm hoping to also drive this monitor from the Air (not sure about selling the MBP yet), and am wondering about the 320M performance. I did a search in Macrumors forums and saw some claims that the 9600M GT is better than the 320M, but not much detailed information. I'd be curious to hear people's feelings about the two cards, i.e. if I should be able to use the 30" setup and do moderate iPhoto/Aperture editing and HD watching without it completely stalling the laptop, as was the case with the 9400M. The 320M should be better, no?
     
  13. gecis macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    #13
    320m performance benchmarks: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-320M.28701.0.html
     
  14. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030

    ReallyBigFeet

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    #14
    If you guys read around the boards enough you'd know better than to use the Migration Assistant. While I agree that its a fairly idiot-proof way to get up and running on your new machine, the process often whacks hidden settings on the new device by replacing them with older, obsolete settings.

    I never use the Migration Assistant. All my iTunes stuff is already backed up to a home server, and DropBox has all of my day-to-day documents in place as well. Just install DropBox on the new machine and then copy over your iTunes library manually.

    Good luck....hope you don't run into any of the issues commonly associated with using Migration Assistant in the weeks/months to come!
     
  15. miata macrumors 6502

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    Oct 22, 2010
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, Earth
    #15
    Maybe so, but manually re-installing applications, passwords, drivers, etc. is a PITA. I wonder if there is an idea compromise where you migrate some things -- but not others. I've done a clean install and it literally took weeks before I had everything back. Some of the things you don't realize until weeks or months later.

    I have generally had very good luck with the Migration Assistant, so that is the route I will take unless somebody can provide a more reliable method.
     
  16. PuckDaddy macrumors regular

    PuckDaddy

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    #16
    ...should probably go somewhere else

    .......but can you boot into an external drive ?
    I plan on starting from scratch , but every once in awhile I'd like to get into my old environment, which currently sits on a 500gb HDD in my MBP
     
  17. SteinMaster macrumors 6502

    SteinMaster

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    Feb 28, 2009
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    USA
    #17
    What about using a SuperDuper clone from an external HDD?
     
  18. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 16, 2010
    #18
    As long as it's bootable, it will work.
     
  19. macbook123 macrumors 68000

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    Feb 11, 2006
    #19
  20. miata macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, Earth
    #20
    I'm a little confused. If you clone your disk from a MBP I don't think it will be bootable from and MBA. However, you should be able to mount the drive via USB and do the Migration Assistant.

    The problem isn't getting the data to the MBA. The problem is replacing the hundreds of files in a bunch of directories. That is where the Migration Assistant simplifies matters.
     
  21. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #21
    The question was if you could clone your MBP to an external drive and then use that with Migration Assistant. Doing so will bring your restore time from 20 hours to just under 2.

    I should have been more specific. If you can boot the external drive on the MBP as if it was your internal drive, you can use it with Migration Assistant.
     
  22. miata macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, Earth
    #22
    Yes. I use Carbon Copy Cloner to a FW800 drive that also has USB 2.0. Sounds like the way to go.
     
  23. bowlerman625 macrumors 68020

    bowlerman625

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago, IL area
    #23
    Thanks for your thoughts! They helped me very much. I'm probably going to buy the 11.6 tomorrow. I'm going to get the faster processor and 4 gig of ram. I currently have a rev C with SSD. I've been on the fence. I really want the 11.6 but kept thinking that in moving from my current MBA that I'm downgrading and should just stick with the 13.3 model for the new one. I just love the smaller one and have been in Apple stores the past 2 days trying them out. I keep thinking the 11.6 will not do something that the 13.3 will. Your comments make me realize my thoughts are not much to worry about. I really like the form factor of the baby Air and realize I should get that one and not look back. My plans will be to sell my rev C to help offset some of the cost of getting the new one.

    Thanks for your insights!!
     

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