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hello(again)

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 25, 2020
11
47
Aurora, CO
Hey guys! I've been enjoying MRumors for years but this will be my first time posting anything. I picked up an M1 MacBook Air, configured with 16gb of ram (more on that overkill later) and 512gb SSD. Some background: I'm coming from a late 2011 MacBook Pro, so... yes. Literally anything would be better than that, but I've also learned how to heavily lean on my 10.5inch iPad Pro, which is one of the best devices I've ever owned and covers a lot of my needs. I've been wanting to get a new Mac to get back into photo and (light) video editing, extensive journaling (I'm a lazy American and prefer a keyboard to a pen/paper), and general web broswery. I'm overall a pretty light user, but I don't mind spending the money to future-proof my machine when over a thousand dollars is involved. That's why I sprung for 16gb of RAM and the upgraded GPU that comes with the 512 model... I do occasionally like to run Sim City 4 and who knows what other games I'll get into. The goal of my post is to enlighten other users like me as to what to expect and maybe may your buying decision a bit easier (or affirmed, if you already purchased and are waiting for the fedex dude).

This thing in three words: Faaaaaaaaaast. Smooth. Enjoyable.

Out of the box, I'm blown away at how thin and light this thing is. I chose silver (my space gray iPad Pro shows little dents and scratches so much easier than the silver does), and it just looks and feels as premium and solid as I'd want it to. That new Mac smell. Opening the lid was magical - the Mac startup sound plays immediately.

Initial setup is super easy, like it always is. I chose not to restore from any kind of backup, but logged into my iCloud stuff and let it download all my photos from Library, music, notes and so on. This process was smooth with no hiccups, and the first time opening apps usually happened in one to two bounces.

Rosetta is as seamless as everyone says: the first time I installed a non-M1-optimized app, a dialogue box asked if I'm ok installing Rosetta, which only took seconds. The few non-optimized apps I've run since haven't felt the least bit unoptimized at all. They run smooth and fast like everything else.

At this point, I'm checking for things that might make me wish I'd gone to the M1 Pro, but I could think of nothing. The screen gets ridiculously bright, I imagine it'd be more than sufficient even if you're sitting outside. The speakers give a great feeling of stereo separation (not heavy on the bass, but they also never distort). MBP's Touch Bar, as polarizing as it is... I'm neutral on it. I don't yearn for it, and I really enjoy what they've done with the new function keys (and I'm using the emoji key on the lower left more often than I'm proud to admit). The Magic keyboard is soooooooo much more satisfying than the butterfly keyboard. *Nearly* as much key travel as the older ones, but it feels tight and precise.

Battery life: two days in, I haven't even charged it yet - it's incredibly power efficient. I've been keeping the screen between 33-66% brightness, playing iTunes almost constantly, watched a bunch of YouTube and a movie from my library. Leaving messages, mail, safari, activity monitor, FB messenger, Photos, and a few others open in the background. Not to mention it's indexing the several hundred gigabytes of crap in the background that's coming down from iCloud, etc. Yesterday, I ran it unplugged for 11 hours and 37 minutes, shut it down for the night, have been running unplugged today for 3 hours and 15 minutes as of the writing, and activity monitor estimates I still have 5 hours left (which I'd say is conservative, considering I'm still at 40%).

I don't have any power-user benchmarks for you to look at, but I can tell you that from a light-to-mid-level Mac user, this machine feels like it'll make me happy for years. Nothing I've done has been able to produce even the slightest hint of slow-down, lag, or jitter. I chose 16gb because (1) I'm privileged enough to be able to afford it, (2) nobody ever got mad about having too much RAM and (3) who knows what I'll use this computer for in the future? Maybe I'll get into some seriously intensive stuff and I'll thank myself for it. 512gb should be sufficient for my needs for the lifespan of the Mac. it's so easy now to dump huge files on externals or the cloud, and I chose to spend the money on AppleCare. That was an easy decision for me because I personally can't fix a single thing in this machine if it breaks. I don't consider this to be an entirely "version 1.0" system, as the body and screen haven't really changed. But I'll take 3 years of no worries and feel good about my decision.

Big Sur: I read a lot of negative comments about the layout, but my opinion counts for just as much lol, and I absolutely love it. I think it's clean, bright, and it feels premium. I'm a sucker for pretty presentation and it's super polished. One article I read pointed out that the app icons are strangely more shadowy and 3-D-ish than iOs, and now I kind of can't unsee that, but it doesn't really bother me, it still looks fresh.

Thermals: I ran Sim City 4 while playing iTunes and running all the aforementioned apps in the background, and it never got any warmer than room temperature. It's also nice to be able to throw it on the sofa or bed without worrying that the fabric is going to block fan intakes.

Randoms: I'm totally spoiled by TouchID, which isn't all that new anymore, but it's new to me and works so fast it doesn't even seem to need to process it. The screen somehow "feels" larger than a 13 inch, can't really explain that. I'm super glad it's got P3 Retina, and TrueTone (because, little details make me giddy. Photos look just as good on here as they do on my iPhone X). Yes... the webcam is still poopy. But if you're using your webcam for more than the occasional FaceTime (which I rarely do), higher quality setups are easy and cheap to grab. I'm not bitter about it, but that's just in my particular use case.

Final thoughts: I've experienced zero issues with my Mac so far, everything out of the box has been an insanely positive experience, and I feel confident that my investment in an M1 chip means it'll run for years before feeling aged. I also give kudos to Apple for keeping the price the same (that R&D certainly cost a lot). A higher-res webcam would be great, but my needs don't scream out for one. The battery life is absurdly good and if you're choosing between this or a MBP based on those couple extra hours, I really wouldn't let that sway you. Of course Apple is going to release a bunch of new Mac hardware the next two years, but I don't see myself having any remorse. I love the style and build of this machine and it's already proven to be exceptionally powerful. I love my new M1 MacBook Air!

This ended up being more wordy than I expected, but hopefully it's helpful. Thanks for letting me yap about my new Mac. I'm excited for everyone else who orders / has ordered to give theirs a try and hopefully love it as much as I do.
 

hello(again)

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 25, 2020
11
47
Aurora, CO
Accessory update: I miss Magsafe a LOT and picked this up from amazon. It snaps on strong and seems to have zero issues charging. I haven't tried data transfer with it yet, but the reviews swing mostly positive. If you're missing the mag feature and / or don't want to worry about wearing out the port, give this a try.

Link to the item: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0816PV1YZ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

tempImageAZVE7K.jpg
 

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matrix07

macrumors 604
Jun 24, 2010
7,472
4,283
Hey guys! I've been enjoying MRumors for years but this will be my first time posting anything. I picked up an M1 MacBook Air, configured with 16gb of ram (more on that overkill later) and 512gb SSD. Some background: I'm coming from a late 2011 MacBook Pro, so... yes. Literally anything would be better than that, but I've also learned how to heavily lean on my 10.5inch iPad Pro, which is one of the best devices I've ever owned and covers a lot of my needs. I've been wanting to get a new Mac to get back into photo and (light) video editing, extensive journaling (I'm a lazy American and prefer a keyboard to a pen/paper), and general web broswery. I'm overall a pretty light user, but I don't mind spending the money to future-proof my machine when over a thousand dollars is involved. That's why I sprung for 16gb of RAM and the upgraded GPU that comes with the 512 model... I do occasionally like to run Sim City 4 and who knows what other games I'll get into. The goal of my post is to enlighten other users like me as to what to expect and maybe may your buying decision a bit easier (or affirmed, if you already purchased and are waiting for the fedex dude).

This thing in three words: Faaaaaaaaaast. Smooth. Enjoyable.

Out of the box, I'm blown away at how thin and light this thing is. I chose silver (my space gray iPad Pro shows little dents and scratches so much easier than the silver does), and it just looks and feels as premium and solid as I'd want it to. That new Mac smell. Opening the lid was magical - the Mac startup sound plays immediately.

Initial setup is super easy, like it always is. I chose not to restore from any kind of backup, but logged into my iCloud stuff and let it download all my photos from Library, music, notes and so on. This process was smooth with no hiccups, and the first time opening apps usually happened in one to two bounces.

Rosetta is as seamless as everyone says: the first time I installed a non-M1-optimized app, a dialogue box asked if I'm ok installing Rosetta, which only took seconds. The few non-optimized apps I've run since haven't felt the least bit unoptimized at all. They run smooth and fast like everything else.

At this point, I'm checking for things that might make me wish I'd gone to the M1 Pro, but I could think of nothing. The screen gets ridiculously bright, I imagine it'd be more than sufficient even if you're sitting outside. The speakers give a great feeling of stereo separation (not heavy on the bass, but they also never distort). MBP's Touch Bar, as polarizing as it is... I'm neutral on it. I don't yearn for it, and I really enjoy what they've done with the new function keys (and I'm using the emoji key on the lower left more often than I'm proud to admit). The Magic keyboard is soooooooo much more satisfying than the butterfly keyboard. *Nearly* as much key travel as the older ones, but it feels tight and precise.

Battery life: two days in, I haven't even charged it yet - it's incredibly power efficient. I've been keeping the screen between 33-66% brightness, playing iTunes almost constantly, watched a bunch of YouTube and a movie from my library. Leaving messages, mail, safari, activity monitor, FB messenger, Photos, and a few others open in the background. Not to mention it's indexing the several hundred gigabytes of crap in the background that's coming down from iCloud, etc. Yesterday, I ran it unplugged for 11 hours and 37 minutes, shut it down for the night, have been running unplugged today for 3 hours and 15 minutes as of the writing, and activity monitor estimates I still have 5 hours left (which I'd say is conservative, considering I'm still at 40%).

I don't have any power-user benchmarks for you to look at, but I can tell you that from a light-to-mid-level Mac user, this machine feels like it'll make me happy for years. Nothing I've done has been able to produce even the slightest hint of slow-down, lag, or jitter. I chose 16gb because (1) I'm privileged enough to be able to afford it, (2) nobody ever got mad about having too much RAM and (3) who knows what I'll use this computer for in the future? Maybe I'll get into some seriously intensive stuff and I'll thank myself for it. 512gb should be sufficient for my needs for the lifespan of the Mac. it's so easy now to dump huge files on externals or the cloud, and I chose to spend the money on AppleCare. That was an easy decision for me because I personally can't fix a single thing in this machine if it breaks. I don't consider this to be an entirely "version 1.0" system, as the body and screen haven't really changed. But I'll take 3 years of no worries and feel good about my decision.

Big Sur: I read a lot of negative comments about the layout, but my opinion counts for just as much lol, and I absolutely love it. I think it's clean, bright, and it feels premium. I'm a sucker for pretty presentation and it's super polished. One article I read pointed out that the app icons are strangely more shadowy and 3-D-ish than iOs, and now I kind of can't unsee that, but it doesn't really bother me, it still looks fresh.

Thermals: I ran Sim City 4 while playing iTunes and running all the aforementioned apps in the background, and it never got any warmer than room temperature. It's also nice to be able to throw it on the sofa or bed without worrying that the fabric is going to block fan intakes.

Randoms: I'm totally spoiled by TouchID, which isn't all that new anymore, but it's new to me and works so fast it doesn't even seem to need to process it. The screen somehow "feels" larger than a 13 inch, can't really explain that. I'm super glad it's got P3 Retina, and TrueTone (because, little details make me giddy. Photos look just as good on here as they do on my iPhone X). Yes... the webcam is still poopy. But if you're using your webcam for more than the occasional FaceTime (which I rarely do), higher quality setups are easy and cheap to grab. I'm not bitter about it, but that's just in my particular use case.

Final thoughts: I've experienced zero issues with my Mac so far, everything out of the box has been an insanely positive experience, and I feel confident that my investment in an M1 chip means it'll run for years before feeling aged. I also give kudos to Apple for keeping the price the same (that R&D certainly cost a lot). A higher-res webcam would be great, but my needs don't scream out for one. The battery life is absurdly good and if you're choosing between this or a MBP based on those couple extra hours, I really wouldn't let that sway you. Of course Apple is going to release a bunch of new Mac hardware the next two years, but I don't see myself having any remorse. I love the style and build of this machine and it's already proven to be exceptionally powerful. I love my new M1 MacBook Air!

This ended up being more wordy than I expected, but hopefully it's helpful. Thanks for letting me yap about my new Mac. I'm excited for everyone else who orders / has ordered to give theirs a try and hopefully love it as much as I do.
This is very useful because your old Mac is the one my wife’s using so I know pretty well how it performs and what I should expect from my M1 Air when it arrives.
 

hello(again)

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 25, 2020
11
47
Aurora, CO
This is very useful because your old Mac is the one my wife’s using so I know pretty well how it performs and what I should expect from my M1 Air when it arrives.
Ahh right on! It's nothing short of amazing coming from hardware that old (by computer standards).
 
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