Goodbye Thinkpads, hello MBA!

mattdocs12345

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 6, 2015
36
0
Hi,
Im new to this forum but I have been reading macrumors for quite awhile. I have been using thinkpads for 15 years but given the loss of 3rd trackpoint button, loss of keyboard, loss firm hinges and breakdown of 2 computers in 2 years or less I have finally given up this company. Recently I bought MBA 11" for my girlfriend and I was surprised at how well this thing is built. There is a huge improvement from several years ago.
So Im planning to buy MBA 11" next month... Anything that I should be aware of?
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,667
9,378
Prescott Valley, AZ
Hi,
Im new to this forum but I have been reading macrumors for quite awhile. I have been using thinkpads for 15 years but given the loss of 3rd trackpoint button, loss of keyboard, loss firm hinges and breakdown of 2 computers in 2 years or less I have finally given up this company. Recently I bought MBA 11" for my girlfriend and I was surprised at how well this thing is built. There is a huge improvement from several years ago.
So Im planning to buy MBA 11" next month... Anything that I should be aware of?
Congrats!

One thing that I've found with my MBA 11" is that making a few minor tweaks can help with the screen real estate.
- Put the dock on the (right or left)
- Set dock to autohide
- Use OSX's fullscreen mode when possible and use the multitouch gestures to switch between apps

If you are looking to expand the storage (I bought the 128GB MBA), I use and recommend the Sandisk Cruzer Nano Fit USB thumbdrive. It barely protrudes from the MBA's body and I've been able to keep it installed "permanently".
 

MarvinHC

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2014
762
222
Belgium
Hi,
Im new to this forum but I have been reading macrumors for quite awhile. I have been using thinkpads for 15 years but given the loss of 3rd trackpoint button, loss of keyboard, loss firm hinges and breakdown of 2 computers in 2 years or less I have finally given up this company. Recently I bought MBA 11" for my girlfriend and I was surprised at how well this thing is built. There is a huge improvement from several years ago.
So Im planning to buy MBA 11" next month... Anything that I should be aware of?
Make sure you get the RAM you need since it cannot be upgraded later. This is somewhat true for the SSD too - it can be upgraded but not with 'standard parts'. I guess you are planning to use it with Mac OS? As a warning: Windows works quite well with Bootcamp but the trackpad is not so great under Windows.

Oh and one more thing: If you look around there are many rumours that a new 12" (?) Air will be released soon. So if you can wait a bit....

I have had Thinkpads for the last 6 years from work and there were only two things I liked about them:
1. robustness. My X220 was literally indestructible.
2. battery life: with the extra big battery (protruding out quite far however)
But what a heavy beast compared with my 11" Air and how outdated it looked.
 

mattdocs12345

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 6, 2015
36
0
I had X230 and X200. Both crapped out on me in under 2 years. I had T60, T60p and T20 and all 3 are still going strong and were given away to my family.

The two newest notebooks failed. Both X series suffered from loose hinges in little over a year. X200 screen was one of the most horrible screens I have ever worked with. T60s had firm hinges for 5 years and T20's hinges are still firm! The difference in quality since lenovo acquisition is disheartening.

Anyways, I digress. I am planning to use MBA for 3 years as my main computer and then afterwards internet browsing only living room computer. Possibly permanently install Debian after updating to newest OS is impossible.

I already played with my GF's MBA 11" that I got her for xmass and I love it. Not to mention she loves it too, it was the best gift she got lol.

I will probably use OSX but I may install Debian 8 in VM. Debian doesn't require more than 256mb of RAM so I am still not sure if 8GB is worth the investment or not. I have read in here that OSX is pretty efficient with its RAM usage.
Im not worried about storage, 128GB will be more than enough, I do too use micro USBs.

And what's up with people calling me a fanboy for switching out of thinkpads for apples. I care less about apple as a company, I care about the quality of the stuff they make and I have to admit it's superb.
 
Last edited:

MarvinHC

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2014
762
222
Belgium
Before the X220 I had a T61 and this was one of the most horrible machines I have ever had to work on. Constant blue screens, terrible battery life.... So the X220 was a dream in comparison (the unusable touchpad aside).

But coming back to the Air: for most usage the 4GB RAM are plenty IMHO, and even if not the swapping on the fast SSD does not make a big difference. If you search here you will find plenty of threads around the 4/8GB question.

Out of curiosity: Why do you want to run Debian?
 

KiwiAdventure

Suspended
Dec 7, 2010
607
304
New Zealand
You can buy 3 years Apple Care for your air. I've found it really helpful with two hard drives replaced in previous MacBook Pro and MacMini so well worth it. The tech help was great as well.

I would recommend purchasing a time capsule to back up both airs. Other than that enjoy and don't read to much into problems some have just don't load junk on. Mine 2013 Air has been bug free.
 

mattdocs12345

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 6, 2015
36
0
Out of curiosity: Why do you want to run Debian?
My X230 came with Windows 8 and IMO the UI on Windows 8 was an epic fail so I switched to Linux. Snowden was another story that turned me off Windows. Not that Macs are better in that aspect either but at least OSX seems better UI wise than 8. Again personal and only personal opinion.

----------

You can buy 3 years Apple Care for your air. I've found it really helpful with two hard drives replaced in previous MacBook Pro and MacMini so well worth it. The tech help was great as well.

I would recommend purchasing a time capsule to back up both airs. Other than that enjoy and don't read to much into problems some have just don't load junk on. Mine 2013 Air has been bug free.
If my OSX fails will apple care take care of reinstalling it? I don't wanna mess with licensing issues, etc when installing it myself.
 

booyahbooyah

macrumors regular
Sep 11, 2011
128
9
Congrats!

If you are looking to expand the storage (I bought the 128GB MBA), I use and recommend the Sandisk Cruzer Nano Fit USB thumbdrive. It barely protrudes from the MBA's body and I've been able to keep it installed "permanently".
I've been meaning to ask a user of the Cruzer for a loooong time -- did you notice a battery hit? I somewhere read that USB flash drives draw power even when not being accessed. So, how noticeable is it?
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,428
150
I've been meaning to ask a user of the Cruzer for a loooong time -- did you notice a battery hit? I somewhere read that USB flash drives draw power even when not being accessed. So, how noticeable is it?
I have one of these. I used it to back up my laptop while traveling, and kept it in my pocket, in case somebody stole the laptop. It was okay, but painfully slow to back up. I was copying maybe ~6 GB to it on a weekly basis, and it had a write rate of around 3 MB/s, so it took more than half an hour. Not the end of the world, but seemed like it could be better. 3 MB/s should be fine to store songs and pictures but I wouldn't do much else with it.
 

Newtons Apple

Suspended
Mar 12, 2014
22,757
15,221
Jacksonville, Florida
Hi,
Im new to this forum but I have been reading macrumors for quite awhile. I have been using thinkpads for 15 years but given the loss of 3rd trackpoint button, loss of keyboard, loss firm hinges and breakdown of 2 computers in 2 years or less I have finally given up this company. Recently I bought MBA 11" for my girlfriend and I was surprised at how well this thing is built. There is a huge improvement from several years ago.
So Im planning to buy MBA 11" next month... Anything that I should be aware of?
Yep, After most of my comnputing life of using ThinkPads I gave up after getting a bad W530 and then several X1 Carbons. Lenovo has lost their way.

Still a Windows person and my two 27" iMacs and MBAir all are on BootCamp runiing Win 7 Pro. Apple hardware is the best but I still have got to run Windows 95% of the time!

You will not regret moving from Lenovo to Apple hardware!
 

MarvinHC

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2014
762
222
Belgium
Yep, After most of my comnputing life of using ThinkPads I gave up after getting a bad W530 and then several X1 Carbons. Lenovo has lost their way.

Still a Windows person and my two 27" iMacs and MBAir all are on BootCamp runiing Win 7 Pro. Apple hardware is the best but I still have got to run Windows 95% of the time!

You will not regret moving from Lenovo to Apple hardware!
Do you have any advice how to make the touchpad work better under Windows? Mine drives me mad. Also, is there any easy way to change the keys in Windows? Using either Command-C or Control-C on the same machine depending on the OS I am running goes beyond my intellectual capacities ;)
 

Newtons Apple

Suspended
Mar 12, 2014
22,757
15,221
Jacksonville, Florida
Do you have any advice how to make the touchpad work better under Windows? Mine drives me mad. Also, is there any easy way to change the keys in Windows? Using either Command-C or Control-C on the same machine depending on the OS I am running goes beyond my intellectual capacities ;)
I use a windows mouse on the desktops and the same but smaller portable Windows mouse on my MBAir. If you can not cope with the keyboard a good wireless keyboard/mouse will set you free! I tried the bluetooth mice but they are crap compared to a good Wireless USB mouse. The little transmitter is so small it stays plugged in to the MBAir all the time.
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,667
9,378
Prescott Valley, AZ
I've been meaning to ask a user of the Cruzer for a loooong time -- did you notice a battery hit? I somewhere read that USB flash drives draw power even when not being accessed. So, how noticeable is it?
If there is a battery hit, I haven't noticed one. But I probably should run a test to be sure. :)


I have one of these. I used it to back up my laptop while traveling, and kept it in my pocket, in case somebody stole the laptop. It was okay, but painfully slow to back up. I was copying maybe ~6 GB to it on a weekly basis, and it had a write rate of around 3 MB/s, so it took more than half an hour. Not the end of the world, but seemed like it could be better. 3 MB/s should be fine to store songs and pictures but I wouldn't do much else with it.
I agree that it is slow. It is noticeable when mass transferring files to it (I'll attach it to my iMac and bulk copy video and audio), but in day to day usage for accessing individual files (pages, numbers, keynote, pixelmator images, etc.) it is quite acceptable. Of course "acceptable" is highly subjective and a reflection of one's tolerance for pain. :D
 

Cheffy Dave

macrumors 68030
Congrats!

One thing that I've found with my MBA 11" is that making a few minor tweaks can help with the screen real estate.
- Put the dock on the (right or left)
- Set dock to autohide
- Use OSX's fullscreen mode when possible and use the multitouch gestures to switch between apps

If you are looking to expand the storage (I bought the 128GB MBA), I use and recommend the Sandisk Cruzer Nano Fit USB thumbdrive. It barely protrudes from the MBA's body and I've been able to keep it installed "permanently".
sweet SRACER, but there is a new 3.0 version too!
http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Ultra...Z43-064G-G46/dp/B00LLEODCK/ref=dp_ob_title_ce
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,667
9,378
Prescott Valley, AZ

mattdocs12345

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 6, 2015
36
0
Good to know that people moved away from Lenovo and are happy.
I used to be like you and completely unable to move out of Windows, I think what really pushed me over was the poor design of Windows 8 and then I jumped into Linux where you can re-design your UI to make it look conservative like Windows 95 (my favorite style) or like OSX.
Well Im saving my $$ to buy one hopefully this month.
 

John marts

macrumors member
Sep 20, 2014
79
3
Hi,
Anything that I should be aware of?
Yea, big one...... Its a really good computer.

Seriously though, maybe upgrade the ram and storage space. I have the base model and wished I got the 256gb model. I don't see any problem with 4 gigs of ram, runs very well. I can edit videos with iMovie with 3 tabs of safari open, messages app, and spotify with little lag. Pretty good for 4 gigs to me.

Bottom line is that this computer really is a power house for its size and stats. It can do a lot of things with relative ease, even some gaming.
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,667
9,378
Prescott Valley, AZ
I've been meaning to ask a user of the Cruzer for a loooong time -- did you notice a battery hit? I somewhere read that USB flash drives draw power even when not being accessed. So, how noticeable is it?
OK, I did some testing. I had the Cruzer Nano Fit installed since day-1 when I purchased my MBA 11" and didn't remove it until 2 days ago. Battery life was a bit short (5-6 hours) during those 7 months.

I used my MBA for a few hours doing "normal stuff"... working in keynote, pages, surfing the web, using Wineskin to run eSword. After 2 hours of solid usage, battery level dropped to 85%. I used it for a few more hours and it was dropping at about 7-10% an hour after that. (I'll need to take some meticulous notes next time)

I was impressed.

Today I re-inserted the Cruzer Nano Fit and battery usage is identical to what it had been over these past 2 days.

I think something must've gotten recalibrated by running without the USB stick. But battery life over the last 3 days has been stellar.
 

JHUFrank

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2010
645
54
You can pull my Lenovo X220 out of my stiff, cold hands. But that goes for my my macbooks too. Love them both. Just got done giving my 2010 MBA to my 8 year old daughter, and buying myself a late 2013 refurb rMBP. Love both platforms.
 

shadowbird423

macrumors 6502
Sep 8, 2009
277
133
Chapel Hill
My aunt has worked at IBM for a long time, so I grew up with the whole IBM is the greatest mystique. She had a T61p up until a few years ago when the company gave her a new Lenovo just because.

So of course, when I needed a computer, I bought a Lenovo expecting the same quality. I knew that IBM had sold their computer business to them around 2005, but I figured they'd still have the same rock solid build quality (seriously, old IBMs are tanks). I was wrong. My X230t gave me problems from almost day one. A faulty screen assembly, poor drivers for the TrackPoint and touchpad, poor battery life, blue screens, you name it, it happened. Now the screen doesn't work at all and is completely unhinged from its backing. I'll be using the Lenovo warranty to have it fixed free of charge and getting rid of it after that.

The X61t I ordered for my mom a few weeks ago works flawlessly and has better battery life than my computer. It's 8 years old. I think that says it all.

My next laptop will most likely be a Mac.
 

Ronnoco

macrumors 68030
Oct 16, 2007
2,568
522
United States of America
Can't go wrong with a late model MacBook Air. Best computer I've ever owned, and Ive owned a lot of them. The build quality was the first thing I noticed. Zero flex, so solid, all corners and seams lined up perfectly. I knew it was quality the first time I touched it. Next was the PCIe SSD. Jaw-dropping speed. I'd never experienced anything like it. It was light years faster than the SSD in my 15" 2010 MBP. I was very surprised that such a thin, light computer could have a hard drive that fast.

A beautifully designed portable computer built for the road that can easily double as your main computer at home. In my home office I connect my 27" ACD and Apple bluetooth keyboard and trackpad. A perfect setup.
 

JHUFrank

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2010
645
54
This is actually very interesting. I have heard that Lenovos really dipped when they went over to the chiclet keyboard models. I will probably go out soon and try to find a very clean x220 that I can just put away until my current one dies.

My aunt has worked at IBM for a long time, so I grew up with the whole IBM is the greatest mystique. She had a T61p up until a few years ago when the company gave her a new Lenovo just because.

So of course, when I needed a computer, I bought a Lenovo expecting the same quality. I knew that IBM had sold their computer business to them around 2005, but I figured they'd still have the same rock solid build quality (seriously, old IBMs are tanks). I was wrong. My X230t gave me problems from almost day one. A faulty screen assembly, poor drivers for the TrackPoint and touchpad, poor battery life, blue screens, you name it, it happened. Now the screen doesn't work at all and is completely unhinged from its backing. I'll be using the Lenovo warranty to have it fixed free of charge and getting rid of it after that.

The X61t I ordered for my mom a few weeks ago works flawlessly and has better battery life than my computer. It's 8 years old. I think that says it all.

My next laptop will most likely be a Mac.
 
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