Macbook Air Durability and General Use

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Sothos, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. Sothos macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    I have decided to buy a rev C macbook air this christmas. I just have to consult on some potential issues about the overall user experience that my friends point out a lot.

    1. How would you rate the durability of a macbook air? Do you need to be conscious of it or can you just treat it casually without fear of wrecking it?

    2. Is the hinge problem resolved in rev C MBAs?

    3. Does the gray line issue occur often and is it really disruptive?

    4. Does the MBA heat up often when watching flash video/ movie files? Please compare it to a Macbook's heating up (my sister has one.)

    Thank you. I would really appreciate your help.
  2. lucifiel macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2009
    In your basement
    1. get some sort of case and as long as you don't go throwing it around (literally), things will be dandy.

    2. I have yet to encounter a hinge problem on mine, so I say no?

    3. It's visible only if you look, really hard, otherwise: no.

    4. no idea how it compares to macbook, but it heats up a little bit, but meh? mine regularly goes up to 87 (celsius cos metric is cool) when I game, and I'm not fussed.
  3. Sothos thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    Please also comment on the rev C battery and its life.
  4. Dwanep macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2009
    Just get it, I had a 13 MB before and the only thing I miss is the glass track pad. the size and weight are perfect, I can throw it in my messenger bag and I don't even know its there. I have had none of the problems talked about on some of these threads. Cannot see myself ever having anything but an Air.
  5. GeekGirl* macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    I had a A,B and C they all had issues the B and C have lines and they will annoy you.

    Buy a macbook or MBP and leave the MBA alone.

    you will be lucky to get 2 hours of battery life on any one of them

    hinge is still a problem.
  6. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    1) No problems with durability; great little machine. Pretty sturdy. That is as long as you don't try to fix it. :eek:
    2) I don't have the hinge issue (well not before I broke it myself)
    3) I don't know the gray issue is and I'm going to try to find it.
    4) It gets pretty hot if you use for video watching a stuff; I just use it for email, work, and some web browsing.

    Battery life: I can go 4-5 hours of continuous usage over WiFi; if I watch a video this will drop considerably.
  7. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    1) The MBA is a very well built machine. As suggested a sleeve is a good idea (The Incipio Orion can be had for under $20 at Amazon and is a very nice case)

    2) I did not have any hinge issue with my RevA, I have none with my RevB, and Applecare would likely take care of it in the event that I did so I'm not too worried.

    3) I did not have any line on my RevA, nor do I on my RevC. In fact the MBA's both had the finest screens I've seen on any laptop (they are much better than the ones on the MB)

    4) I have a uMB and there is no doubt it takes more to heat up, cools easier at lower fan speeds, and is able to maintain speed under heavy load. The MBA builds heat very quickly, takes a lot more fan speed to dissipate it, and its not capable of fully dissipating heat under heavy load so it will slow down to reduce heat. So in everyday use my MBA is much faster than my uMB, but under heavy use the MBA will slow down and clearly not perform as well as the uMB under load. Watching a movie or something in Quicktime or VLC is not an issue. Flash using the latest player is usually not an issue but on some flash heavy sites (that drive my uMB to 100% too) the Air is not so good.
  8. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    i throw my macbook air from my backpack to my bed all the time, not like throwing a rock, but just put it in the way it will land from about 10cm off the air.

    i have yet to encounter a hinge issue, none appears on my all three macbook airs (1 rev A and 2 rev B's). btw i only have 1 right now, because i already sold my rev A.

    about the screen horizontal lines problem, it's not visible on the rev A, and i think my rev A has a better screen than my rev B. with rev B i can see the horizontal lines if i look hard, especially since snow leopard has 2.2 as a default gamma, it's almost unnoticed.

    the heat on rev A is driving me crazy, so i sold it. rev B has yet to show any slow down in flash, it's not happening, especially since i installed flash 10 beta, the temp is much lower when watching flash. i can't comment on HD videos since i never watch that.

    since this is a rev B machine, i expect the rev C to be much better than my air.
  9. GeekGirl* macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    I have to agree my A was the best of the bunch I had less heat with that one then my other two.
  10. Retops macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2008
    No Worries

    I am on my second MBA, bought the A when it first came out, then upgraded to the current model with SSD. Absolutely think it is the perfect computer for me. I take mine everywhere, toss it in my briefcase or my carry-on bag when traveling. I have written a book on mine, done thousands of powerpoints, taught multiple college classes, and run my consulting business all from this machine.

    Mine does not get hot, has had no hinge problem, nothing wrong with the screen that I can see. I wish it had two USB ports, but I carry a tiny USB hub with me wherever I go. The battery on the C model lasts longer and charges up much faster than the A model.

    My case is scratched a bit from so much carrying. Otherwise, perfect.
  11. chickadee macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2009
    Despite living in a small house with two huge dogs, my base model Rev. A remains rock-solid. It's been toted everywhere and, among other things, survived being knocked off of coffee tables, being sat upon, someone spilling wine into the air vent, and subsequent disassembly and swabbing. It has a couple of shallow dents in the lid and I never could get the USB door to sit perfectly flush after taking it apart, but it doesn't overheat, the hinge is solid, and all pixels are accounted for. Considering what it's been through, I think that's impressive.

    The Air is my favorite of a long line of Macs. Occasionally I play with other models, but nothing touches it aesthetically, and its lightness is indispensable to a smaller person.
  12. itou macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2008
    i use my rev. a like a notepad. i take it everywhere with me, use it whenever and wherever i need to, throw it in my briefcase, and apart from some scratches on the surface, mine's been good too. no broken hinges or anything (*touch wood).

    the slimness of the mba makes it quite tough as the tolerance between parts are very small. it's very solid.
  13. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    Revision C 1.86GHz here.

    1. Little bugger seems just as durable as any of Apple's other laptops. I haul it around with me all day every day, and it still looks brand new. As for slip cases or something, I've been putting it in a cheap paper file folder, then in my bag, and that seems to protect it from scratches and whatnot :)

    2. No hinge issues here at all.

    3. No grey lines here at all.

    4. It gets warm, but I'm amazed at just how *not* hot it gets. The hottest I've ever felt it get is vaguely uncomfortable on the lap, but nothing to make you wonder about the viability of future generations of your family.

    5. I typically get between 4-5 hours of life out of mine. If I don't use it for anything stressful, I can get 5 or more hours of life, but if I'm constantly switching around, compiling applications, etc, then around 4.
  14. colourfastt macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2009
    Love mine .. have the Rev C with the SSD. No overheating (I have sense enough to put it on something solid when I use it and NOT blankets, etc); 4-5 hours of battery life. It's pretty much replaced my 15" MBP for mobile use.
  15. Sothos thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    Are all the broken hinge threads on this forum about Rev A/B only? Did the hinge design change in the Rev C? I was really scared by the past threads I have read, and I'm just making sure that this was only for the past versions.

  16. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    All I can say is that a year of traveling every week with my RevA did not result in any hinge issues for me. The MBA will not open as far as many other Macbook s and don't know if folks are forcing them or if some percentage of the assembly parts were defective or if indeed there is a design issue. The design on my RevC seems the same as the RevA but if it was a parts issue it may have been corrected.

    I'm not worried about my RevC because I have almost two years of history with a MBA that did not have the issue. Course it did not over heat or have core shutdowns or have screen lines or any of the other issues you hear about either. I'm sure all these are real issues, I just think the nature of the boards is issues seem more prevalent than they are statistically. Of the several MBA owners I personally know none of them have had any issues with their MBA's either. Be nice to see some statistics but in the absence of that I'll stick with the empirical evidence I have and assume like most products a small number are going to have issues so ones chances are pretty good of a trouble free unit.
  17. hikeNM macrumors 6502a

    Sep 29, 2004
    Somewhere close to a dairy in East Texas
    The durability has been great for mine. It's ridden in the orange Pelican case you see on the back of my bike over 3000 miles on the Continental Divide Ride. I bought a sleeve for it and I just put it in there with all my clothes in that suitcase.

    I've had no issues with hinges or overheating either.


  18. Sothos thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    Thanks for your replies. :)

    I do hope that if someone has a rev C with hinge problems (even just a wobble or slop), please tell me. I want this air to last my entire uni life. :)
  19. Sothos thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    Last Query

    Just another question, or questions. If I bought the MBA from an apple store in a different country (I'm going on a vacation.), would the warranty still apply in my home country?

    Does the kernel_task problem occur in the new MBAs?

    I'm trying to avoid the ridiculous taxes here. (nearly 400USD)
  20. agaskew macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2009
    Remember there are some highly ham-fisted people out there who can break anything.
    And if you look for product reviews/opinions on the Intarweb, you always find an unnaturally high proportion of whiners.
  21. Frankae macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2009
    I can't help you with the kernel_task problem, but I can tell you that Apple's warranty (whether with or without applecare) is international.
  22. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    Since everyone here seems to love their MBA, I'll give you a quick overview of someone that enjoyed using the MBA (3 diff models over 18 months, 1 A, 2 B's). The MBA is hands down the most enjoyable laptop I've ever used, which is why I kept trying diff models :). The Rev B SSD was very cool, and very fast for the spec's it had in comparison to my MBP. However I moved to the latest MBP 13" for a couple of reasons.

    1) Hinge, while it did not break, after 90 days of daily use, being opened/closed several times a day. Screen/hinge had 1/4"+ of slop, imo unacceptable.

    2) When I did travel I used Hulu, Slingbox and streamed TV/Movies enough to find out the MBA's fans know one speed... overdrive. The Rev B SSD would stutter trying to play anything even 480p on Hulu after heating up, with the fans going full on, you had to wear headphones to hear over the fan noise.

    3) Everywhere I read people kept saying 5 hours of battery life... not sure how dim their screen was or what they were doing but on battery with 50% brightness you would lose your battery in 90 to 110 mins watching any sort of video, I'd get 3.5 maybe 4 if I was only surfing forums or text based sites. Any heavy use and the battery was not going over 4 hours period.

    When/if the MBA is ever redesigned to have a different cooling setup and a glass trackpad I'll be the first one in line for sure. Just for now, I'm not sold on the current generation of them.

    Good Luck with your decision!
  23. Sothos thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    Did you own a rev C? I think some changes were implemented in the current version. More battery, stronger(?) hinge?
  24. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    No sir, I did not buy a Rev C. I think they did improve the battery a bit. The hinge is the same as far as I can find. I get it, worlds thinnest, and imo the best looking laptop is going to have some limitations. The hinge and the fans kicking on high to keep things cool. I love the whole idea of the MBA but in the end just had to be honest with myself and know I stream alot of video and the MBA is not the machine for doing that. 13" MBP is quite, great screen, glass trackpad is something I'll never go without. Hinge is rock solid 6 months in.

    All it's short comings the MBA is still one BadA$$ machine, just not all things to all people. Just be honest with what you want to use it for and know it's not the all in one, do everything laptop and you will be happy with your choice. :)
  25. Sothos thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    Thanks, that helped a lot. I stream a lot but I never really use HD, will the MBA handle just standard definition? My internet connection isn't fast enough to stream HD well :(.

Share This Page