First week with Macbook Air: Return to Amazon

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by LinMac, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. LinMac macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    Well after a full week with the Macbook Air I have tested every possible function and put it through everything that I would expect a portable to do.

    The Macbook Air is a respectable machine and seems like a good first step towards a thin light general purpose ultraportable. The current design of the Macbook Air just can't fit that bill and has several problems that severely hinder the overall utility of the machine.

    The Good:

    1) Thin and light

    I noticed myself just picking up the Macbook Air to carry off and work with anywhere I happen to go. I did not do the same with the Macbook Pro and I think it is because of the size/weight difference. This is a big plus as I noticed I used it more than any of my other portables.

    2) Battery life

    The Macbook Air seems to have very good battery life compared to some of my other portables and I never seemed to need to worry about battery life when I carried it with me throughout the day.

    3) Screen quality

    The quality of the Macbook Air's screen seems to be far superior to the current Macbook (Note: Not Macbook Pro) screen.

    The Bad:

    1) CPU/HD speed

    The system performs well when doing a single intensive task such as ripping a DVD or watching Hulu, but it seems to have more performance problems than expected with more general tasks. I have never had a problem with the core shutdown issue, but I have seen many beachballs when going through lighter tasks. This puts a damper on the "pick up and use" mentality when you need to consider how many browser windows/tabs, word processor windows, or other programs (email/IM/etc) you may need.

    2) Criminal lack of ports:

    One USB port does not cut it. I thought this would be a minor inconvenience, but it is one of the most annoying issues about the machine. I find that 2 USB ports (coming from a Macbook Pro) on opposite sides of the machine is plenty, but one USB port can be very limiting in unexpected ways. A USB hub could solve this, but I like the Air for the "pick up and use" factor. Anything that pulls me away from that is a deal breaker.

    3) Port positioning:

    The USB port is positioned in just a way to make a less than narrow USB stick drive lift the computer off of a flat table. This in itself isn't a big issue as that is easily solved with an extender, but I found myself needing to lift the computer to open the port latch which can be irritating.

    The Ugly:

    Parting with your Macbook Air...

    I love the Macbook Air and I still think it is a great machine. The problems will slowly be worked out as Apple refines the line, but for now it does not do what I expect an ultraportable to do.

    I will be keeping a very close eye on the Macbook Air line and I will buy one to (hopefully) keep with me at all times when the problems are all sorted out.
  2. prophetx2 macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2008
    Good post!

    What were you doing that caused it to be sluggish by the way? Were you ripping something with the superdrive? Also was this your primary or secondary machine? It may sound like you used it as a primary which could suggest the issues with the speed issues.

    I've tried several ultra portables (including sony's and fujitsu's lines) and the macbook air is definitely much quicker due to the use of a intel notebook cpu and not the ULV cpus. I can't imagine getting much better performance with the battery life that we are expecting out of the Macbook Air with current technology.

    In all the years I've used my laptops, I don't think I've used more than 2 usb ports at the same time, and that's only because (1) of the ports is for my non-bluetooth mouse. The only downer I could see is using a usb drive + a usb modem, but I guess I haven't ever had that unique situation yet..
  3. LinMac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    I use every machine as a "primary" machine, but it is not the only machine I use. Ripping a DVD with Handbrake plus browsing really didn't cause any performance issues that were unexpected. The real problem was attempting to browse many pages at once while researching data, checking email, keeping up with several IM conversations, and having data open in iWork. The tasks I expected to be heavy such as ripping a DVD or keeping up with high quality streaming flash a la Hulu weren't a problem. The problem was using it for what I expected to be lighter tasks.

    The Air will improve and not everyone will make the same demands of the computer, but I hope it will eventually end up being the successor to the Macbook. :)
  4. prophetx2 macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2008
    very good insight thanks! I'm currently using the Air and have experienced the core shutdown problem but it only occurs when i have the macbook air on top of my blankets. On a real environment where the vents aren't blocked and the air sits in a place where it doesn't trap the heat i don't see any real difference between this and my old macbook 2.4 that i sold.

    I haven't run into any issues with multiple browsers + tabs + iWork and fusion running at the same time yet, but I'll have to see. Of course speed is relative I presume. I came from a g4 powerbook but my main PC is a quad core work horse that i use for testing/compiling..
  5. saxman1969 macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2008
    It would be helpful to know which MBA the OP returned---HD or SSD? Thanks.
  6. LinMac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    80GB HD version with the 1.6GHz processor.

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