Resolved MacBook Air - real world experience

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by revmacian, Nov 29, 2018.

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  1. revmacian macrumors 6502

    revmacian

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    Oct 20, 2018
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    USA
    #1
    I was trying to decide whether to buy the MacBook Air 2018 or the MacBook Pro 2017. So, as part of my research, I hopped on youtube and watched video after video detailing the pros, cons and every review I could find. Most of these reviews focus on benchmarks and many of them made a point of pointing out how bad the MacBook Air is using Final Cut Pro to work on a long video project. These videos had me smiling that I would be able to make a MacBook Air cry "uncle" so easily.

    So, I went down to my local Best Buy store and spent some time actually using both machines for a comparison.

    What I did on the MacBook Air 2018:
    1. Launched and ran most of the apps that come with the machine
    2. While those apps were running, I launched Safari and opened websites in 15 different tabs - including NASA, CNN and a few other content-heavy websites. I even watched a few youtube videos in one of the tabs
    Keep in mind that this quite a bit more than I would be doing on a laptop at any given time and I rarely use third-party apps. I may use GIMP once a month or so, but I don't think that's going to hurt anything.

    What I found on the MacBook Air 2018:
    • No lag to speak of
    • No jittering during scrolling
    • No buffering videos
    • No pinwheels
    • The screen is beautiful - never owned a Retina machine before
    I was actually surprised that I wasn't able to bring the machine to its knees. According to most of the reviews I watched, I should have been able to make this machine scream for help by making it do so much work.

    Well, I closed all of the apps and returned to the desktop.. and I stood there admiring my next laptop. I had intended to compare the MacBook Air 2018 to the MacBook Pro 2017 (I don't want that silly Touch Bar), but I found that a comparison was unwarranted.

    I still don't understand why many people throw Final Cut Pro on a MacBook Air and then complain that the machine isn't up to the task. I suppose there is a reason that the MacBook Air doesn't contain the word "Pro" in the name.

    Note: Your mileage will most likely vary, I was working only according to my needs.
     
  2. Ghost31 macrumors 68020

    Ghost31

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    Jun 9, 2015
    #2
    Thanks for that. Most of the “real world” tests is high end stuff that doesn’t apply to a crap ton of people. You see these you tubers reviewing the new air like it’s gonna be a hardcore 8k video editing machine or something when the people watching it are probably doing basic web browsing, media consumption and file managing.

    People overestimate their uses. Take me for example. Last year I bought an iPad Pro 2017 and just to be on the safe side I got the 512 gb model because i was so worried after reading all the threads on here and reddit that if I bought a smaller size, I might run out of space and be screwed. Turns out? I only used up about 30 gigs and wasted a ton of money for nothing. I remember doing the same back in 2012 when I spent more than $2k on a MacBook Pro I didn’t even need. All these threads were like doomsday scenarios like “it’s pitiful apple would include 8gigs of ram! In this day and age? That’s just not enough!” Well let’s just say I did fine

    Moral of the story: MacBook Air will be fine for most everybody and if you even have to ask the question “is it enough for me”, it probably is because someone that genuinely needs a more pro machine would know it
     
  3. revmacian thread starter macrumors 6502

    revmacian

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    #3
    Exactly! I used to build desktop machines for years but never built a laptop, so I wanted to do a hands-on test. And, it’s a very good thing I did. The 2018 MacBook Air is a very nice machine that should prove enjoyable to most people.

    Moral of the story: don’t let the word “Air” in the name fool you.
     
  4. feard macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    #4
    And most of the reviewers will also say you have to have at least the 256 SSD upgraded the ram etc. For most non pro users the entry level Air is more than enough and same with the iPad. I have also found they tend to hold value better for resale since most used buyers are not looking for higher end specs.
     
  5. revmacian thread starter macrumors 6502

    revmacian

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    #5
    Yes, another good point.. resale value.

    For me, 8GB seemed to be fine. And, I use iCloud for so much that I don't think upgrades to the SSD would be much of a benefit.
     
  6. Ghost31 macrumors 68020

    Ghost31

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    Jun 9, 2015
    #6
    It’s actually funny that you say this because you’d think over time we would all require MORE ssd space but for me and a lot of others it’s the opposite. I remember back when I had my first MacBook I had like a 80gig music library, I stored all my movies on there and I always HAD to have all my stuff downloaded. Or else. I remember filling up a 500gig hard drove and I was a pretty light casual user.

    With everything being cloud based and streaming, needs have changed across the board. All my documents and files are in the cloud and any movies or music I’ll consume is streamed from Apple Music or iTunes movies I bought or Netflix or Hulu. A few years ago I honestly didn’t predict how ubiquitous streaming would be and how much better it would make things

    And am I crazy or does the screen on the new air look really good? I hear on here and everywhere else “ahhh it’s so dim and terrible quality blah blah blah” but I’m super impressed by it. I think it looks great. Then again, I’m not putting it side by side with a MacBook Pro and testing brightness levels
     
  7. Wags macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I think external storage is very cost effective and decent speed now. Large internal ssd drives are unnecessary for most and expensive.
     
  8. ZipZap macrumors 603

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    Dec 14, 2007
    #8
    The cloud is fine as long as you are accessing via LAN or WIFI. But, impractical if have to access via cellular (as well as potentially costly and inconvenient). This is the reason I get more storage. Also VMs chew up lots of space.
     
  9. Jimmy James macrumors 601

    Jimmy James

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    Oct 26, 2008
    #9
    Now that I have a large capacity external ssd I can wrap my head around getting less onboard storage.

    I’ve long put my offline video collection on an external drive. I still want music and pictures on-board. However, if I need to connect an external drive any time I’m interacting with those, so be it.

    What really gets me is Apple's pricing. Paying a mint and still getting low storage is hard to swallow. Their upgrade pricing is completely disjointed from the market.
     
  10. revmacian thread starter macrumors 6502

    revmacian

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    #10
    You're not just buying a computer, you're also getting a lot of backend services and compatibility (iCloud integration, device location/locking/erasure, Continuity, Handoff, fast updates, free upgrades, free classes at stores etc.). The prices for hardware alone would indeed be outrageous, but we're getting much more than that.

    But, I digress.. this thread isn't about Apple prices.
     
  11. Wags macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Seems like Apple sets their base prices and designs barely under the most consumers might be willing to pay but still gets upgrades at much higher profit margins.
     
  12. Jimmy James macrumors 601

    Jimmy James

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    #12
    The
    Interesting perspective. I like that. Thank you.
     
  13. Robertjan88 macrumors regular

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    Oct 30, 2018
    #13
    I fully agree with you on this. However, was still hoping for a proper processor. Of course, this would potentially threaten their Pro line as well as be hit by thermal throtteling. Nevertheless, it's sad to see that the performance didn't really increase over the old models and even the new iPad Pro (2018) is 2-3x faster. Especially for this price... :(
     
  14. revmacian thread starter macrumors 6502

    revmacian

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    #14
    Folks, if you don't like the prices, then don't buy the products. Complaining on these forums isn't going to change the prices, it's only going to negatively affect the moods of others. Learning to find something positive in everything will vastly improve your attitude and it will eventually become a habit so that nothing brings you down anymore.

    I created this thread because I found something good in a product despite the rising prices. Please, follow my lead.. and feed the right wolf :)
     
  15. EugW macrumors 601

    EugW

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    Jun 18, 2017
    #15
    The good news is that Apple's apps are generally better optimized than average. The bad news is a lot of third party apps are not as well optimized. PowerPoint 2016 comes to mind. It feels a little bit laggier at times on my 2017 12" m3 MacBook (with 16 GB RAM) than it does on my 2017 27" i5 iMac (with 24 GB RAM). It's not bad actually, but I was expecting theoretically low impact applications like PowerPoint still to be better than this. I betcha some people wouldn't notice it, but since I have a iMac to compare against, I notice it. (At home I edit my PowerPoint presentations on my dual-screen iMac, but do final edits away from home with my MacBook.) It's not a dealkiller by any means, but nonetheless I was a bit disappointed to find this out, because PowerPoint 2011 does not have that lag on modern machines.

    The MacBook Air uses a faster version of the chip I have in my MacBook so perhaps the slowdown is less, but you just have to keep in mind that Apple app performance may not be representative of third party app performance.
     
  16. revmacian thread starter macrumors 6502

    revmacian

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    #16
    When I moved from other platforms to Apple's offerings, I found that some of the third-party apps still worked, they just didn't seem optimized. I found that if I changed my habits/methods/expectations to use the Apple equivalents of my desired third-party apps, I was able to get the required work done. I feel that, as we grow older, we cannot allow ourselves to arrive at a point where we feel we are no longer required to change ourselves.

    I'm reminded of a quote from a person that I considered a mentor:
    "A test is not designed to destroy the student. Rather, a test is designed to reveal weaknesses so that they will not remain weaknesses."
    I began to implement this quote as a tool that would allow me to view challenges as tests rather than roadblocks.
     
  17. YaBe macrumors 6502

    YaBe

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    Oct 5, 2017
    #17
    It's amazing that in 2018 we consider this a PRO and not given.....especially with a 1200+ $ machine.
     
  18. revmacian thread starter macrumors 6502

    revmacian

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    #18
    Well, I did expect some jittering during scrolling given the specs of the machine. I was happy to be proven wrong.
     
  19. YaBe macrumors 6502

    YaBe

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    Oct 5, 2017
    #19
    No I did not mean anything against you OR the computer itself, I am just amazed that we (and i mean general public) is amazed by that, I mean it should be a given with any computer in 2018, let alone one that is that expensive.
     
  20. lambertjohn macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 17, 2012
    #20
    But...Apple didn't get to where they are on the world stage by being "jointed" to the market. Completely the opposite, actually. Apple carves its own path in life, and being the first trillion dollar company in the history of this planet, proves it's doing something right.
     
  21. EugW macrumors 601

    EugW

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    Jun 18, 2017
    #21
    For example, Apple's replacement for PowerPoint, Keynote, is not a perfect solution. If you want the best MS Office compatibility, you use MS Office of course.

    BTW, I used Keynote for years. It works well, but what irritated me about it is that the yearly updates of Keynote necessitated updates of the presentation files as well for some strange reason, and these updated files usually weren't backward compatible. Furthermore, there are weird conversion and compatibility issues between Keynote and PowerPoint. This is important, since most major conferences these days ask you to give them files to present on their computers instead of using your own computer. So, I stick with PowerPoint... and Word... and Excel. In fact, these days when I update my Keynote files with new information for an updated presentation, I usually convert them to PowerPoint.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 1, 2018 ---
    They survived in large part by getting MS to sign on with MS office and Internet Explorer.
     
  22. Mainsail macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 19, 2010
    #22
    I understand that MS Office is the standard, but it is frustrating when people just assume you have it on your computer. I was working on some slides for a school finance committee and administrative staff sent me a PowerPoint to edit. I just replied and said I don't have PowerPoint please convert to PDF and send it to me for markup. Which she easily did, and I had no problem responding with markups. So, I am trying to retrain people one at a time to not just assume MS Office........I know.....good luck with that! Anyway, I prefer to use iWork and native Mac Apps, and I just don't want to be forced into buying software I don't really need.

    Also, I really like the Apple ecosystem, so I agree with the OP that you get a lot more with your Mac than just a set of specs and hardware. It is great to see some positive real world use with the 2018 MBA. I think it it the right computer for my use; Mail, Messages, Safari, Preview, iWork, Notes, Photos, iMovie, Calendar/Reminders, plus some Netflix and Youtube. I suspect these are the types of things most everyday laptop consumers do with their computers. Many of the negative review comments relate to usage that just does not apply to me.

    At the risk of repeating myself from other threads, when the 2010 MBA was released youtube Reviewers and MR threads were full of negative comments that it was just an overpriced netbook: not enough storage, limited ports, no dvd player, no backlit keyboard, underpowered, et.. Of course, they were dead wrong. The MBA redefined a whole class of laptops and became the most popular model in Apple's line-up!

    The 2018 MBA is not a game changer. It is just a refinement to a very successful laptop for a huge percentage of users. The naysayers didn't get it then, and they don't get it now.
     
  23. DVD9 macrumors 6502a

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    #23

    You're a heck of a salesman. Too bad about Apple's stock price going south. When did you buy in?
     
  24. Jimmy James macrumors 601

    Jimmy James

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    Oct 26, 2008
    #24
    It became what it is as a result of product excellence. In spite of higher pricing not because of it. There was always a premium but that has gone up, perhaps too far. And now their laptops are becoming perceived as failure prone. Which loops back to product excellence. Wrong divergent trend.
     
  25. mac_in_tosh macrumors 6502

    mac_in_tosh

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    #25
    For many people, price/performance ratio is very relevant to the evaluation of a product.
     

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