I still think the MacBook Air 13" is the best laptop on the market for the price

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by kevinkyoo, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. kevinkyoo macrumors 6502a


    Feb 5, 2016
    There are still deals for the baseline 13" (2015) for around $800 shipped on eBay. The battery life is one of the best (13+), the keyboard is one of the best, the trackpad is amazing, the screen is bearable (900p, not as bad as people make it out to be), has plenty of ports and an SD card reader, has MagSafe, a replaceable battery, and is great in the size/weight compartment. Seriously, while the new MacBook Pro 13" (The Air replacement) is faster and has a "nicer" trackpad, here are the things it loses against this computer:

    1) Smaller battery and battery life
    2) Much more controversial keyboard (Whether you like it or not, up to you)
    3) Only 2 ports, all of which are TB3
    4) No SD card reader
    5) No MagSafe
    6) Compared to these common $800 deals for the MBA, it is almost DOUBLE the price (Excluding taxes, so most likely will be doubled and more - not including the dongles!)
    7) Replaceable battery (Which can easily be done, for $100 - no need to pay Apple $200-300 every time your battery goes out!)

    I think I will someday find a need for a new laptop, but it is a shame that Apple has shifted away from one that I think has been king since the 2012 model.
  2. sicariis macrumors member

    Feb 21, 2013
    I'm personally waiting for a Maxed 13" air on Apple refurb. As a Sys Admin covering multiple buildings, ports and weight are much more important than screen resolution, touch bar, etc.
  3. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    MacBook is no pro anymore. That simple.
    They are not designed for pro.
    Apple just stick to their own ideas. They choose to ignore customers most of the time cause this is the best way to push company forward, for them.
  4. Macgyver1 macrumors member


    Oct 18, 2016
    Well said. You save a lot of bananas going air, I mean apples.
  5. Subhumanguy macrumors member


    Jun 12, 2007
    I agree 100%! I've been trying to find a new laptop to replace my aging 2013 MacBook Air (which only has a 128 GB SSD). It's a secondary computer, so I don't need a ton of power--but the 128 SSD is starting to really limit me. Anyway, tonight I finally bit the bullet and purchased a new MacBook Air from Best Buy since they have the 256 GB model on sale for $999...which I was able to get for $925 with my education coupon and Amex offer. It might not be as gorgeous as the new MacBooks, but in my eyes it's still a great notebook computer.
  6. kevinkyoo thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 5, 2016
    Nice deal. Another thing i like about the MBA is the replaceable SSD
  7. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    The MBA is a fine entry-level computer, but the screen was badly outdated 3-4 years ago. Buy a new one today and it will be like looking at a 13" CRT feels today in a few more years.

    Battery life with the new entry level pro appears to be as good if not better than the Air's despite the much better screen (Ars Technica actually got 2.5 hours more life from the new model than last year's 13" Air).

    Even if the price is $800 more, it's 2009 technology vs. 2016. For a computer you'll use every day and keep for 5 years, that's a difference of $160/year or .44/day.
  8. kevinkyoo thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 5, 2016
    1. The screen is 900p. I don't understand people's hyperbole of saying it is like a "CRT." This is from me using the MBA, MBP, and monitors ranging from 1080p to 4K. It is noticeably worse, yes, but to say that it is like a CRT is stretching it to the extreme.

    2. It's not 2009 technology. It's Broadwell, which fares competitively well against Skylake, which is a slight update.

    You just sound like someone who reads tech articles and try to come up with rash conclusions, rather than knowing the tech that goes into them.
  9. Ender17 macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2005
    If only the screen were IPS....don't even care about retina, but the viewing angles are terrible
  10. asoksevil macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2010
    Taipei, Taiwan
    Not talking about resolution only, but the TN panel compared to IPS is just night an day difference.
  11. 8692574, Nov 11, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016

    8692574 Suspended


    Mar 18, 2006
    Personally I agree, the Air is the best!

    But for me the 11 was even better (well still is and will be till it dies), the screen is a non issue as whne at home it is plugged to a 21:9 monitor :D
  12. 2ilent8cho macrumors 6502

    Mar 9, 2016
    Yep, i have a 15" 2013 Macbook Pro, but i still prefer the Air . I don't care about the retina screen, the resolution of the Air is still way above every laptop i have ever bought before 2011 and i went through a lot of laptops.

    Its just a really good all round laptop, with battery life and portability being excellent.
  13. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Quite the contrary. It sounds like you are trying to justify why something so outdated is still actually cutting edge. You can feel free to peruse my post history. I'm actually one of the increasingly few here who takes the time to think about tech, and generally posts rational thoughts rather than the chorus of knee-jerk reactions to drive up ones post count.

    The problem with the Air's screen is far more than just the fact that it's low resolution. It's TN with poor off angle viewing, poor brightness, and poor range of color. When we spend hours and hours every day with our computers, and the screen is the primary interface, I want it to be the best that it can be.

    I realize that the Air is significantly cheaper than anything else currently in the Mac lineup, and that for some users price is the primary driver in making their purchasing decisions, but I have never been one for cheap tools. Especially not with a device that I spend most of my day working on. It just doesn't pay in the long run.
  14. Subhumanguy macrumors member


    Jun 12, 2007
    I do agree that for use as a primary machine where the notebook screen is used heavily then it would be worthwhile to look at one of the MBPs with a better screen and amortize that price over several years. But if the MBA is primarily connected to an external monitor or used a secondary computer then, in my opinion, it's a great value for what you get.

    Even though most people scoff at the resolution of the MBA, I like that it provides greater native screen real estate than the MBP's effectively 1280 * 800 (of course it can be scaled--with some performance penalty). Which makes the MBA *feel* faster to me (at least faster than the previous gen 13-inch MBP--which I returned because the scaled resolutions made the MBP feel slower than my MBA), and makes it better when running Windows since there's none of that resolution quirkiness that goes with scaling problems in Windows.

    Just my opinion-- even though I can afford the ~$550 difference between the new MBP and MBA-- I can't justify the value proposition for myself. But, I can definitely see the use cases where there is value in spending the extra money.
  15. Mainsail macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2010
    I understand your perspective, which is based (as it should be) on your use case. However, imagine someone with different needs. For example, a student that is strapped for cash and needs a good reliable laptop to get them through 4 years of college...$800 price difference is a big deal! Perhaps, the MBA would be just the thing.

    Now, if I got my way (which never happens), Apple would refresh the MBA so they had an updated entry level laptop in their line-up:

    • Routine Processor Updates
    • Replace TN with 1080p IPS display for better viewing angles
    • Force Touch Track Pad
    • Replace the thunderbolt 2 port with USB-C port
    • Perhaps offer a color option like Space Grey
    They could keep the iconic body shape (bezel and all) and backlit Apple logo and call it MacBook Classic for $999 entry point. Right now, Apple does not make a newly designed entry level computer, which is a big mistake. They absolutely need to have one in their lineup if they hope to bring new users into the ecosystem.
  16. BaccaBossMC macrumors regular


    Jul 8, 2016
    Nursing Home of the U.S.
    If you want more power and ports with a higher screen resolution, you can get the Razer Blade Stealth, then Hackintosh it. It is the same price as the MBA and is the same thickness as the Retina Macbook, but comes standard with an i7. Note, however, that the battery is not as good as the MBA's beast.
  17. kevinkyoo thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 5, 2016
    1) It's not "so outdated." Yes, I will admit that the screen is at or below average, and especially poor with the viewing angles. However, I can still hook this monitor up seamlessly with a monitor ranging from 1080p to 4K no problem.

    2) I still find it humorous that you bash on the MBA. The Broadwell processor is still very good in all fronts (i5, i7, non/overclock), and the Skylake models are not much more powerful, although more efficient.

    3) The usage case for the MBA of course is different for everyone. That was not the point of this post. It was to reiterate the fact that despite the new release of the MBP, I find that for the price, MBA for most people (Ex. students) is a clear choice for the various reasons I stated. However, if you are in the position to pay twice as much for a device that clearly has positives AND negatives over the MBA, go ahead.

    4) The MBA is never a "primary" device. I am perfectly content with having both this device and a built PC with a GTX 1080 and an overclocked i7 6700K. I do most of my hard work on the PC, while doing light editing (1080p) on this laptop, and it works perfectly well.

    In conclusion, the MBA is not "so outdated" and I am not trying to justify it being "cutting edge." Rather, for half of the price of the base model of the new MacBook Pro, which is a MacBook Air replacement, there are surprisingly PLUSSES of the MBA over the MBP. That was my main point. And again, I will say that the Broadwell chip is still up there (And not "2009" technology lol), and the battery is significant in every-day usage.

    If you are trying to make an argument on side of a primary computer, then don't bother, because that's not what I'm defending the MBA to be.
  18. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    An 11" i7/8gb/512gb MBA has been my primary computer for the past three and a half years and I have no plans to upgrade for awhile. Its more than twice as fast as my 2008 15" MBP - more like five times as fast for a task like ripping a DVD. I am working with a lot of legacy SD footage in Final Cut Pro and it's perfectly fine for that (although the lack of ports is a problem - but that would be just as bad or worse on the new base MBP).

    Yeah, the screen isn't great, but whatever, I can accept the compromise considering the amount of power in such a small package. At home it's connected to a big monitor anyway. I don't see myself needed anything better in a laptop for a couple more years, my next Mac will be a more powerful desktop to dedicate to video editing.
  19. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009
    the air would be the perfect computer if they just put in a better display...IPS with better colour and the same resolution would be great

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