MacBook Air or MacBook for University?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by tlinford, May 4, 2009.

  1. tlinford macrumors regular


    May 4, 2009
    Hi, I'm currently using a borrowed MacBook white for an entry to University course. I will be starting an undergraduate University course later in the year.

    I need a small computer for type lecture notes. I am 42 years old and am returning to Uni after a career in Engineering and IT of 20 years. Now going to be studying theology! Bit different I know.

    Anyway, the reason I need the computer for note-taking is that I have inflammatory arthritis that has (brit speak) knackered my hands.

    I like the white MacBook things I like:-
    - great software and usability.
    - Small,
    - Good workhorse,
    - Uses the battery well, with blue-tooth and airport switched off, will go
    all day.

    Things I don't like :-
    - Feels a bit 'flexi' sometimes,
    - Little heavy when books added to bag.

    I will be buying my own MacBook, I like the look of the Uni-Body Aluminium one, bit the MacBook air at only 3 lbs looks really good.

    - How will the battery compare to the White MacBook?
    - Is the air, simply a netbook, will it be conservative with power running
    Office and Circus Ponies 'notebook' software?

    Hey, can anyone help me make a choice?
  2. j.earnshaw macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2009
    Hope this helps...

    I am currently at university also, and at the moment the white generation macbook has served my needs perfectly. On average i get about 3hrs battery life on mine - but often i will be switching into the Adobe suite which can be quite intensive on the battery. The new Aluminium macbook does admittedly look great and i have been debating whether to upgrade, akin to what you are doing.

    The macbook air probably has a weaker battery than the Aluminium one due to the size constraints involved in building it, but it will probably be comparable to the current white macbook in battery life.

    However - since you mentioned the arthritis it may be worth asking if you can practise typing on it at your local apple store. The macbook air is super slim and as such may force you hands into an awkward typing height if on a desk. It is unlikely to be an issue for most but it could be worth checking for the Air and the unibody macbook.

    Hope this helps...
  3. Airforcekid macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    United States of America
    :apple:If your talking about the rev B macbook air (LATEST) it will be fine Rev:A will have various problems you can live with but it would be better to get a MacBook. You best choice is the Refurb macBook Air 128SSD its stays cool and opens apps faster than any other macbook!:apple:
  4. tsubikiddo macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2008
    Melbourne, AUS
    I bought my Air (rev.B, base spec)for Uni
    The battery life is on-par (if not longer) than my neighbour's MacBook (White),
    as you mentioned, with BT off, WiFi (11g) on, Word, pdf, Fx3,, OutlinerPro

    IMHO, the Air has more pwr than a Netbook, (esp if you have a SSD in it),
    the battery certainly will not last long if processor intensive tasks are churned to it, but that is unlikely to be the case

    a little of my personal exp sharing, as an Uni student who takes notes on the Air, what I really need is a full-size keyboard.
    I don't have fast fingers, but @60wpm, I certainly type a lot faster than I write. I am satisfied with my touch-type accuracy, and for that reason, I don't even need to turn up the mon at all, I keep it on 'one block' just for the sake of knowing where and what I am typing on, the rest of time, I look at the main projector scrn or other notes and let my fingers & reflexes do the work

    I chose the Air over the MacBook (White/Alu) because they weight almost like another txtbk, and I wasn't happy abt that, hence decided to go with the Air.

    My final tip as an uni student who takes notes on an Air, besides from the battery concern, you may as well want to look into a solution when the lecturer/tutor draws a graph or (insert an academic prefix here)-gram
    this may vary with the course you are doing, but I think you have the idea on whether this will be a potential case or not.
    Afterall, you are taking notes on a PC (okay... a Mac), but this solution has got to cater all likely, potential situation, ain't it?

    hope this may help a little.
    besides, welcome back to sch XD
  5. Eyedn macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2009
    If i were you i would go for the base spec Aluminum Macbook or the MBA 1.6 with SSD, (you can get it as a BTO from the online store). Sorry to hear about your arthritis by the way.

    P.S get AppleCare as you save loads.
  6. BittenApple macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2008
    You're going to be in college for a couple of years right? Then get the regular MacBook, it will last you longer than the MacBook Air will.
  7. Sdancott macrumors regular


    Mar 9, 2008
    Sheffield, UK
    Sounds silly. The MacBook Air will last just as long as the MacBook. No problem at all.

    if portability is the highest of your priorities, get the Air - If it isn't, save some cash and get the base MacBook
  8. r6girl Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Sep 6, 2003
    I think a MacBook Air will be perfect for you given what you'll be doing with it. I switched from a black MacBook to a MacBook Air as my main computer. I have a white MacBook for work and find it to be far clunkier and unattractive (;)) in comparison, and the way it can flex also bothers me. I would say that the white MacBook does get better battery life than my MacBook Air, but it gets too hot to be comfortable in my lap when using Photoshop Elements, which is not the case with my MacBook Air.

    I'm sure a MacBook Air will suffice for you for several years at university, and the only downside is the lack of a built-in DVD drive. You haven't mentioned that you'll need this, but you'll have to carry a separate drive if you do. However, I still think that the combination of the MacBook Air and the SuperDrive to go with it weigh less together than the MacBook. I have the SuperDrive and find I only use it perhaps once a month, if that.
  9. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    Tough choice

    Both machine will give you between 3-4 hours battery life so neither can stay away from a plug all day long under use.

    The MBA is significantly more mobile but features a non replaceable slow charging battery. The MBA is significantly more powerful than a Netbook (particularly the revB) and will have no problems with those apps.

    The MB is less mobile but still pretty good and you can swap a fresh battery if needed or its battery at least charges faster.

    I'd bet the MBA if you think battery life is not going to be an issue and the MB with an extra battery if you think it is.
  10. andrewp macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2008
    I bought MBA for my college and it goes far beyond college needs...photoshop, HD movies, parallels applications all run perfectly...

    Another thing is that everyone seems to have the Macbook so it's cool to be the only one having the MBA :)

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