Is this product suitable for my A levels

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Marriott97, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. Marriott97 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    #1
    I am currently in year 12 (UK) doing my A levels. I always wanted to have an Apple product but they have always deemed to be too expensive for a product that doesn't really have anything unique to other products rather than its popularity. However now I can afford one for myself I am thinking about getting the MacBook Air.
    The main reasons I will need it is for my Business studies and Physical Education A levels and from what I have heard about iWork, it works pretty well.
    However for my physical education studies I am expected to produce essays (just like business studies) but I may need to add the occasional video to my powerpoint.
    Also all the work I have completed to date has been saved on Microsoft word 2013 so will I be able to transfer that to iWork?
    Is this laptop suitable for my work?
     
  2. John marts macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2014
    #2
    A MBA is very fast for its specs. Forget being able to write essays and adding some video. I edit video with iMovie and record music with garageband on this thing and its still super fast. Its beyond capable of what you said and easily capable of the things I do with it. I also only have the base model.(4 gigs of ram, 1.4 ghz, 128 gb of storage) Hell, its even pretty capable for gaming too. I'm typing this with 3 tabs of safari open, spotify, iMessage, and garageband open playing a song.

    This isn't an iPad, its a fully capable machine.
     
  3. bryan.cfii macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2011
    Location:
    Iowa City, IA
    #3
    Hello Marriott97!
    I'll chime in as I just helped a nephew with this very thing. We stepped through it pretty meticulously, but I'll give you the bullet points. What I get out of your post basically are these points:

    (1) I am thinking about getting the MacBook Air.
    (2) The main reasons I will need it is for my Business studies and Physical Education A levels and from what I have heard about iWork, it works pretty well.
    (3) However for my physical education studies I am expected to produce essays (just like business studies) but I may need to add the occasional video to my powerpoint.
    (4) Also all the work I have completed to date has been saved on Microsoft word 2013 so will I be able to transfer that to iWork?
    (5) Is this laptop suitable for my work?

    So for (1), great! The Airs are pretty light so you will appreciate this fact carrying one around in your bag all day. The 11 inch is even lighter. My nephew went with the 13 though because of more battery and bigger screen as it's pretty much his primary computer. The girlfriend has the 11 and loves it. She just loves how light and compact it is for carrying.

    (2), iWork is not too bad, but later on you mention Microsoft word and powerpoint and I have to ask, do you need to change?
    I know my University gives me office for mac for free. Pages and Keynote are great in their own right. I've used both, however I have to stick to MS office because of school and submitting things to certain professors. I'm also pretty familiar office now, so I'm a little lazy to change to something like iWork under the load of school. I also alternate between Prezi, and powerpoint for variety. Prezi is pretty good if you haven't used it yet.

    (3) Whether you want to add a video in keynote, or powerpoint, it shouldn't be a problem. A new machine will do it just fine. I've only ever had the occasional codec compatibly issue in powerpoint and that was a video I pulled off of the web without realizing it was a goofy format.

    (4) You can open your .doc/.docx files with pages. Saving though is the issue. Research this per YOUR workflow. Seriously. From my experience, this is the catch with iWork. You can always save or print to PDF and hand your work in that way, but you won't be opening MS word files, working with them, and saving them like normal. If you want that capability, you might want to just stick with MS office. My nephew stuck with google docs because, and I quote his words, "cause I'm cheap." Well,.. free is pretty cheap.
    It depends on how your school is set up really. Some prefer one over the other, some are broad in the formats they accept. The point is, if you need MS programs, they are available on the mac.

    (5) Yeah, the Air's are good little machines. If you're worried about future proofing, then maybe consider getting the faster processor.
    Technically, 4GB of RAM should do you, but I don't personally know anyone at school with 4GB that is happy about it. We are students though so we have all kinds of stuff going at once so in my opinion, OS X needs at least 8GB, but that's an opinion. I'm just thinking of the environment you're going into and think yeah, you're probably going to lose track of how many programs you have open and how many windows or tabs are open... but I could be wrong. My personal MBP has 8GB and seems fine, I can see how 4GB works. On the rare occasion when researching papers and putting presentations together I have sent Safari and powerpoint and a few other things to crawl because my memory pressure was yellow going into the red. That is pretty extreme though.

    The non Retina display thing for me, and this is an opinion, but for me and all my textbooks in PDF, unless something is super tiny, I'm not really bothered. Sure, the retina's look sharper, so for reading they will be better over time, but if you physically go and look at these computers anywhere, take a flash stick with a PDF or a few files on it and try them out and see how the machines look when compared...

    You should be fine with an Air. I see so many at my university I can't even begin to count them, just remember to budget for the HD, RAM and maybe CPU that YOU NEED and you should be fine.
     
  4. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #4
    Insightful post.

    One comment though, the processor upgrade to the i7 is basically a waste of money. It's only a small percentage faster than the i5. Maybe like 15%. I can't imagine a scenario where it would be worth the money.
     
  5. wordsworth macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    The MacBook Air sounds like a good option for you. Try out the eleven-inch and thirteen-inch in a store if there's one near you. I have the smaller model (and a thirteen-inch MacBook too) and I love it, but you may prefer the larger screen and extra battery life. For sheer portability and 'dinkiness' the eleven-inch is wonderful (with pretty impressive battery life too).

    If you can afford it, the extra memory might provide you with reassurance over the coming years that you won't otherwise find the base memory inadequate, though I have to say I went for the base model Air because the price was excellent, and for what I do memory shouldn't be an issue. (I still have only the original base memory in my MacBook after five years of use and never felt that its performance was hindered in any significant way. Indeed, I've found that every Mac I've bought lasts a very long time and remains functional until I can't resist a shiny new version.)

    Should you decide that the MacBook Air is what you want, and you choose the memory configuration that makes you happy (personally I wouldn't worry about the processor speed, considering how you suggest yours would be used), then definitely consider getting Microsoft Office for your Mac.

    I prefer Pages rather than Word, but because I interact with others who use Word for Windows, all sorts of minor cross-platform anomalies can creep in, even with basic text files, and of course, your being able to 'talk' effectively with Windows PCs will be necessary. (PowerPoint versus Apple's Keynote may have similar potential issues.) I like to work as often as I can in Pages but usually resort to Word at some point, when swapping files.

    The Apple experience, however, is in my opinion well worth any such minor difficulties – and the troubleshooting to compensate for these – that can result from interfacing with the Windows world via a Mac, and you'll still come out way ahead of the game in terms of overall user satisfaction, I reckon. But the software aspect is important and you should choose carefully.

    You can even run Windows on your Mac, of course, if you wanted to do so, for full versatility, as well as benefiting from Apple's OSX. In such a situation I'd certainly recommend having the extra memory.

    Just remember that advice such as this may seem more complicated than one would look for (re software), but the actual user experience, once one gets the hang of it, is well worth any learning curve involved. And MacRumors is a great forum for learning more about how to get the best from your Mac.
     
  6. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #6
    Yes for the MBA, beautiful computer and surprisingly powerful. If you're studying at higher-education, buy Apple education -- you'll save 15% on the machine & you'll get free 3-year AppleCare (so a saving of nearly £400 depending on which model you'll be buying).
     

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