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MacBook Air First Impressions and Notes

arn

macrumors god
Original poster
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,527
4,060
For all new MacBook Air owners. Please post your first impressions here.

At the moment, impressions are scattered, so it might be nice to consolidate new owner impressions in a single thread.

thanks
arn
 

mashoutposse

macrumors 6502
Dec 13, 2003
340
0
First impressions: Packaging is notably high quality, the computer is the definition of sleek, the screen is bright and vivid, initial boot-up was pretty fast (1.8/SSD), and the keyboard is marvelous given the form factor.

That's all I got for now, just got home 15 minutes ago :p
 

arn

macrumors god
Original poster
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,527
4,060
post by bearwise

Not really a review, just random impressions so far

I agree with everything being said, amaing build quality and design, I'm carying mine around all day with a leather portfolio, I oftne forget that I'm carrying it......

Wonderful keyboard and screen. Compared to other macs they are good, compared to most PC's they are great, compared to other ultra-portables they are miracles......a joy to use

For the person that asked: the preloaded software + Office 2008 (full install) left about 51Gb free on the 80Gb drive, would leave ~35 Gb on the SSD drive, all things being equal....

I am intriuged what may (or may not) be Apple's, deeper, longer-term plans for this platform. I like how it came in what was essentially a wider longer iPod box, same internal design and materials. For me it reinforced the notion of this as an accessory to our other computers: a more transportable carryalong with 80% of the capability of our major computers, perfect for running from meeting to meeting, or airport to airport. With the usual things I do during my work day (surf websites, read and reply to email, review and edit documents) the speed was peppy (I have the 1.6/80), never noticed much lag. Would I use it for heavy-duty photo editing, or hard-core gaming? No, but I've never used any lap-top i've ever owned for those purposes, only my more pwerful and much less transprotable desktops.

The use of shared disk drive for loading software was very straightforward: I loaded Office 2004 then upgraded to 2008 in about 20 minutes.

So , so far wonderful machine for my needs.
 

arn

macrumors god
Original poster
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,527
4,060
posted by gear02

First impressions. The box is heavier than the machine itself but it's the nicest packaging for a Apple product that I've ever seen.

The laptop itself is very nice. It was very cold when I got it but that's because it's been traveling in an unheated plane container and truck when I got it. I've seen lighter laptops but this is the thinnest I've held. It's almost feels like holding a legal pad as if you could carry it with you all over the place. I was afraid of it being too thin where I could snap it in two, but it's not that fragile. Just think of a macbook pro that was flattened.

The latch on the side snaps up and down and it's a lot less visible than I thought. The magsafe adapter is strange since the locking part is cylindrical rather than rectangular than before.

The keyboard itself feels like the macbooks rather than the macbook pro.

Trying to figure out how to use the remote disk is a little more challenging than I was expecting. The manual says to go into the sharing preferences and enable the CD/DVD sharing, but I don't see that option on my macbook air. The Disk sharing software that you're supposed to install on other computers is on the disc 1 of the backup disks you get which is a little disappointing because I don't want to be carrying that disc with me anywhere since it's so valuable.

Lots of updates to run as it wasn't updated with the latest iTunes and the security update.

Oh the lid closes like the macbook and doesn't really have a latch like the MBP.

I ordered the USB ethernet adapter but nothing worthy to note.

Anything else you need to know?
 

arn

macrumors god
Original poster
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,527
4,060
bitty417

No photos unfortunately -- I'm sure you've seen enough by now!

First impressions:

1) The machine is definitely quick (base model). I've never experienced a significant lag, or anything bouncing on the dock more than twice.
3) As everyone else has mentioned the screen is beautiful!
2) My AT&T USB Air card works perfectly. Sits in the USB slot when the MBA is on a desk without a problem.
3) Quality and build is impeccable.

Other than that -- nothing. No complaints, no gripes. I'm in love.
 

arn

macrumors god
Original poster
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,527
4,060
samcheezay

alright so went down to sf downtown on stockton st to check out the new MBA during lunch and I must say w/my gf, I am quite impressed by the design and how thin this thing is. Literally, this thing is super thin. its like little sheets of paper stacked together.


The Design - very impressed, very thin, well structured and overall, durable

The Speed - I was playing with both normal HDD and SSD MBA's. The HDD is okay. wasn't expecting that much because of the 1.6ghz speed of the core 2 duo's but nonetheless, still functioned pretty well.
The SSD was nice and fast. Opened up safari, itunes, and other programs pretty fast. Was quite shocked. However; garageband and etc. took awhile to load.

Overall the speed was okay but still impressed by them for sticking in a core 2 duo in the MBAs

The Sound - okay, this is the moment I've been waiting for because reading and hearing that it was only mono instead of stero (which killed me) I had to find out how well the sound was going to output on 1 speaker. I was very well impressed, but I could tell that it was only coming out from right side of the speaker. It gave me a =\ perception on it and wished they would've done more.


Overall, get this laptop if you're just going to use internet, word, and itunes. It really is cool but not for me.
 

knelto

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2007
175
0
Haven't posted on here in ages, but I'm here at an Apple store tinkering on one and thought I'd post my thoughts.

-I'm on the 1.8, 64GB SSD unit and it's definitely snappy... haven't compared it to the 1.6, 80GB unit yet... Not sure if this store has one
-The screen is very bright and crisp. Glossy doesn't bother me, so it looks great
-The trackpad is a bit larger than the MB and MBP. I compared it to my iPhone and it's as tall as the iPhone is wide and almost as wide as the iPhone is long.
-The 3 finger page back in Safari is SIMPLE and works really well
-There is a Sudden Motion Sensor
-This unit in the store is running 10.5.1... Not sure if I remember people saying the demo units at MWSF had 10.5.2 or not.
-The eject button doesn't do anything... than I can figure...
-The rotate gesture works well... I haven't watched the demo videos but I could only get it to work in Preview instead of iPhoto

Since there's only two units here I won't hog it... but that's all I've seen so far... very beautiful unit...
 

arn

macrumors god
Original poster
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Apr 9, 2001
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arn

macrumors god
Original poster
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,527
4,060
bjdraw

I just hit the Apple store and downloaded the same 10,000 BC 1080p trailer on the 1.8 SSD. Although the CPU wasn't 100% utilized the video did not play back smoothly. I had it set to the fit to window setting.

It was watchable, but by no means smooth. I'd put my money on it being the video card. Also, there were no other apps running at the time, but it wasn't after a clean boot.
 

richard371

macrumors 68030
Feb 1, 2008
2,791
879
Was the xbench run on power/maximum performance?

Was the xbench run on power/maximum performance?
 

Jimmie Geddes

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2007
392
104
I got my MacBook Air (1.6GHz, 80GB HD) and SuperDrive this morning at the Apple Store in Short Hills, NJ.
I posted unboxing pics to my blog:
http://gadgetsonthego.net/2008/02/macbook-air-unboxing.html

From the second you begin opening the box of the MacBook Air you know you're in for something good. It's packaged in typical Apple fashion, it's in the detaulsl, the box even has soft fabric on the top making sure to cushion the MacBook Air (only Apple would pay this much attention to the box). Enough about the box..

You truly have to hold a MacBook Air in your hand to appreciate what Apple did in terms of design, and making this laptop so thin and solid. Looking at it in pictures, videos, etc. doesn't do it justice. The cool aluminum case feels great, the thinness is unbelievable. For the few hours I've had it I keep closing it, opening it, carrying it, I've said out loud "wow" a few times, it just looks and feels amazing. I'm just in awe of this machine.

The screen is so bright and clear, I have a 17" iMac (1st gen Intel) and the MacBook Air's screen blows it away.

The backlit keyboard "knows" when to come on. The Multi-touch trackpad is much cooler than I thought it would be. It just makes sense to swipe your fingers to go back and forward in apps like Safari. Pinching to zoom is awesome, you can view much more of a webpage without scrolling, or changing the resolution of the screen. iPhoto also is amazing with the Multi-touch trackpad, it's that "wow" feeling when you first did it on the iPhone.

The mono speaker sounds better than I thought it would. My iMac sounds better of course.

Battery life is almost on par with Apple's estimates, it definitely outlasts my previous 12" PowerBook.

Performance wise it feels fast, I think the 2GB of RAM make up for the processor. It does take longer to bootup than my PowerBook or iMac.

All in all, I am extremely happy with my purchase. OS X on something this thin and beautiful is amazing. You just can't help but love holding, carrying, and using the MacBook Air. It almost seems fake.
 

netdog

macrumors 603
Feb 6, 2006
5,759
37
London
It would be great if all posters could make clear what configuration MBA they are reviewing. Thanks and congrats to all who are reviewing their own MBAs!
 

hlcsco

macrumors newbie
Feb 1, 2008
9
0
underwhelmed

I placed my order the second you could at apple.com. Received my Air yesterday (Thursday) from Fedex.

The packaging was beautiful, and the AIR itself really is amazing. Very beautiful. I know this may sound silly, but it is larger and heavier than I had expected. And I believe I was more sold on the idea, then its actual practicality.

I purchased the standard base model with Apple Care being the only addition I added to my order.

I want to use this AIR for my email, web browsing, and music/video use. The problem is, when I ran the migration assistant, I realized that I was 11 GB over in available space. I tried cutting things down. But realized that this computer just isn't going to work for me. I will be contacting the online store to send it back. I'll just wait until they release a generation of the laptop with more space.

:(
 

joemarioz

macrumors member
Jan 16, 2008
93
0
First Impressions:

iPhone-like box
In a Few words: SLIM as Hell
Booting 20-30 secs (80 hd 1.6)
The superdrive works fine
The keyboard is awesome
Backlit good as MBP
Booting programs is regular
Good notebook (still prefer macbook)
 

Appler

macrumors member
Sep 24, 2006
47
0
I placed my order the second you could at apple.com. Received my Air yesterday (Thursday) from Fedex.

The packaging was beautiful, and the AIR itself really is amazing. Very beautiful. I know this may sound silly, but it is larger and heavier than I had expected. And I believe I was more sold on the idea, then its actual practicality.

I purchased the standard base model with Apple Care being the only addition I added to my order.

I want to use this AIR for my email, web browsing, and music/video use. The problem is, when I ran the migration assistant, I realized that I was 11 GB over in available space. I tried cutting things down. But realized that this computer just isn't going to work for me. I will be contacting the online store to send it back. I'll just wait until they release a generation of the laptop with more space.

:(
If space is your only nuisance, why dont you get a portable hard drive (lets say 80-120GB since you dont need that much)? I know it will defy the whole purpose of the Air, but remember, this laptop's purposes are few (at least on the fewer side), and not intended as a media powerhouse. I for one, although I am absolutely mesmerized by it, am waiting for the MBP update, as I have the very first one (first switch to intel) and it is time to switch. Just like another reviewer said, it really is the IDEA that is winning you over, not the specs. I read this great article, where the author compared the Air and one of the TZ series side by side, and from an objective point of view, the TZ is alot better in so many ways (of course the key is the OS, which tilts the picture) as a portable device.
 

ob81

macrumors 65816
Jun 11, 2007
1,406
356
Virginia Beach
I placed my order the second you could at apple.com. Received my Air yesterday (Thursday) from Fedex.

The packaging was beautiful, and the AIR itself really is amazing. Very beautiful. I know this may sound silly, but it is larger and heavier than I had expected. And I believe I was more sold on the idea, then its actual practicality.

I purchased the standard base model with Apple Care being the only addition I added to my order.

I want to use this AIR for my email, web browsing, and music/video use. The problem is, when I ran the migration assistant, I realized that I was 11 GB over in available space. I tried cutting things down. But realized that this computer just isn't going to work for me. I will be contacting the online store to send it back. I'll just wait until they release a generation of the laptop with more space.

:(

Thanks. My main concern was the space. I had to hold off buying the model until I hear more real life space issues. Other than space, everything else is smooth?
 

icoffee

macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2008
117
0

Half the weight, half the speed. Wow, those xbench scores are really low. My imac and macbook scream past those. I understand the "Air" concept, but that isn't very impressive, especially for the price. Thanks for posting that xbench score!
 

barefeats

macrumors 65816
Jul 6, 2000
1,055
17
SSD reads faster than it writes

I was looking at the transfer speed ratings on NewEgg for the OCZ 64GB SSD. They rated it as 58MB/s sequential READ and 35MB/s sequential WRITE. In other words, the read speed is quite good. The write speed is average.

The Xbench sequential and random 256K results appear to show the same tendency. The SSD write speed was slightly slower than the HDD, while the read speed 2x to 3X faster.

Of particular interest is the small 4K random results. Note the read speed of the SDD is 20X faster and the write speed is 4X faster than the HDD. That bodes well for virtual memory and Photoshop scratch area since those tend to be vary small block size transfers.

What would really be interesting is to see the results for QuickBench 4.03 from SpeedTools. which measures both sequential and random from 4K to 1MB block sizes. If any of you with access to the MacBook Air with either the HDD or SDD would contact me, I can arrange for you to test with QuickBench at no cost to you in exchange for posting your results here as well as letting me publish the results on BareFeats.com.
 

iIra

macrumors member
Oct 19, 2005
49
0
Atlanta, GA
The Manila Envelope Test

I decided that Apple's advertising claims needed some independent verification, so i got some 10x13 manila envelopes and headed to the local Apple Store. When I pulled the envelope out of my pocket, the employee guarding the table started laughing. As you can see, The MBA does indeed fit inside a manila envelope. I could have closed the envelope, but then you wouldn't know what was inside. For comparison purposes, I tried the envelope on a normal MacBook. The MacBook was certainly thin enough to fit inside, but the last picture shows it crammed in as far as it would go. I don't think I could have closed the envelope. It was a tight squeeze to begin with, though, and probably wouldn't have made a very good commercial.

One other thing I don't think I've seen anyone else mention is that the new multi-touch trackpads are a little screwy. The cursor seemed to jerk around a lot on all three of the store's display models. I made a point of only touching the trackpad with one finger at a time, with nothing else (shirt sleeves, etc.) touching it, and the cursor still jumped around. It made it difficult to open the Apple menu, and I had trouble launching applications from the dock. Hopefully it's something Apple can fix via Software Update soon. Other than that, I don't have anything new to contribute. I agree with most of the other first impressions.
 

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Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
8,500
5,373
Canada
I'm curious:

Can you fit the hard disc and the SSD RAM together or are they exclusive ( one or the other - not both)?
 
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