MBA '11 questions from an Apple noob

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by st0p., Feb 23, 2011.

  1. st0p. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    #1
    First off, haven't owned an Apple product (other than ipod classic) since '96.

    I will be using this is a secondary computer to travel/blog/write, as well as in classes to take notes.

    I am being swayed by the portability of the 11 inch Air, but wanted to ask some questions of people who currently own/use it just to get a better feel for it.

    1. Is heat an issue? If so, to what extent?
    2. What about fan noise?
    3. Can you type on it for long periods of time without strain to your eyes/hands?
    4. Is five hours a legitimate estimate of battery life if I limit myself to word processing and extremely light internet use (reading blogs/wikipedia)?
    5. Is it extremely fragile? I don't plan on dropping it but I don't want to have to be afraid for it wherever I go


    Finally, just some general opinion questions: is it worth it for me to wait for a sandy bridge upgrade, assuming that means less gpu power (dont plan on needing that) and longer battery life?

    I am debating between the base air or the 128gb SD....is anyone making do with 64gb?

    I am really looking forward to my first osx experience in a LONG time

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. AlvinNguyen macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #2
    64GB is a big no-no for me - after installing Office and CS5 you'll end up at 40gB. I moved up to the Ultimate 11.6" for this reason.

    I compared it with the 13.3" for a long time but feels like the 13.3" would be great as a primary computer but not a secondary. The screen size is not an issue and the space it saves is amazing. If I were you I would try buying an Ultimate Air used for about $1200 and call it a day :) That's what I did and my base Air is going back to Apple tomorrow. 64Gb and 2GB of ram is great for browsing the web and word processing - but anything more it's just much more easy to use the 128GB and 4Gb of RAM.
     
  3. grawk macrumors 6502

    grawk

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2004
    Location:
    Southern York County, PA
    #3
    1. no
    2. no
    3. yes
    4. yes
    5. no

    I wouldn't worry about waiting for the sandy bridge upgrade, personally, but I'd get 4gb of ram. If you need to save money, the 64gb ssd is a good place to do it, because you can replace that later. You can't change the memory later.
     
  4. firewood macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #4
    1. No. My MBA 11 has never been more than gently warm to the touch. But I don't look at flash websites.
    2. No. I've never heard the fan, even in a quiet library. But I don't look at flash websites.
    3. Yes. But, as with any low monitor, be careful of the ergonomics of your neck and posture.
    4. Yes. For just text entry with the backlight down and wifi mostly off, likely more than 6 hours.
    5. No. I haven't dropped mine, but reports are that dropping one from the back of a moving truck only smashed the display. Don't do that.
    6. I couldn't fit my normal set of apps and dev tools in 64G. But if you don't use any apps other than what's built into iOS, plus maybe one or two, and store almost all your data "in the cloud", you might be able to get by.
     
  5. Doc750 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
  6. st0p. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    #6
    Thanks guys - appreciate the replies.

    I'm set on buying it but $200 for a mere 64gb extra storage is tough to justify...and yet, 128gb is really the absolute minimum I would need if I wanted to use the air as anything more than a glorified typewriter. Decisions decisions...

    Also, since the air uses flash storage, would I be able to attach a windows-formatted external hard drive to it? (I only ask because all of my music is on an external hd at the moment, and it would be a pain in the ass to transfer it if the Air can't read it)
     
  7. grawk macrumors 6502

    grawk

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2004
    Location:
    Southern York County, PA
    #7
    yes, it can. You may need to install macfuse if it's NTFS formatted to be able to write to it. You can also upgrade the ssd, you just can't upgrade the memory, so if you have to skimp anywhere, skimp on the ssd, and then get a 256 when they get cheap.
     
  8. BlackMax macrumors 6502a

    BlackMax

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #8
    1. Heat has not been an issue with my 11.6" 1.6/128/4. It runs really cool most of the time and has only heated up to around 70C when running NetFlix or Hulu+. That is compared to my Black MacBook which would hit 65-70C without hardly doing anything.

    2. Fan noise is practically non-existent on the 11.6"

    3. Typing is not an issue for me, but I am sensitive to overly bright LCDs and although the LCD on the 11.6" is a high quality TN panel, it is bright and does wear my eyes out after 30-45 minutes of continual use.

    4. Five hours battery is very realistic if you are just word processing and light web browsing.

    5. My 11.6" feels very solid. Compact and solid. It doesn't feel fragile in the least.

    I would say if you need it now, buy it now as the new MBAs were just released in October. I know there is talk of a MBA update in June, but that just seems too soon to me. I'm guessing you'll see another update around 4Q11.

    If you can afford it go for the 1.6/128/4 just to future proof your purchase as much as possible. I myself bought a refurb 1.6/128/4 to offset the cost a bit to get the top of the line 11.6" MBA.
     
  9. st0p. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    #9
    Thank you. I appreciate your reply. How has your experience with a refurb been? I'm tempted due to the lower prices but afraid of getting a lemon
     
  10. grawk macrumors 6502

    grawk

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2004
    Location:
    Southern York County, PA
    #10
    I think you're more likely to get a lemon buying retail than refurb. But because it's apple, if it's a lemon you get, they'll replace it. Basically, apple refurbs rock.
     
  11. BlackMax macrumors 6502a

    BlackMax

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #11
    My experience has been very good. My MBA looked pristine and was perfect in every way when I received it. I've had absolutely no issues with it. If you do run into issues (it can happen with any Apple purchase) you have the same return policy and warranty as a retail purchased MBA.
     
  12. GekkePrutser macrumors 6502a

    GekkePrutser

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #12
    Oh that's not good. I get exactly the same thing on my iPad. Always burning eyes if I used it too long at night because I can't lower the brightness far enough. Is the lowest brightness setting on the 11" even too bright for night use?

    That would really not be nice, I just sold my MBP to get a 11", the MBP was able to go very low. I hope the 11" will be OK.

    By the way, you can always use a program like Shades, I use this too on my 22" BenQ screen which is also too bright at the lowest setting. But it reduces the color range of course so it's not ideal.
     
  13. Bakari45 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    #13
    First off, haven't owned an Apple product (other than ipod classic) since '96.

    I will be using this is a secondary computer to travel/blog/write, as well as in classes to take notes.

    I am being swayed by the portability of the 11 inch Air, but wanted to ask some questions of people who currently own/use it just to get a better feel for it.

    1. Is heat an issue? If so, to what extent?
    Mine has gotten some heat, especially when I sit and used it on my bed for a while.

    2. What about fan noise?
    The fan revs up when I watch several YouTube videos, and it can get a little loud. But because my Air is not my main computer, I tolerate it pretty well.

    3. Can you type on it for long periods of time without strain to your eyes/hands?
    Yes, typing on it is not a big problem. My typing accuracy is not as good as I would like, but using apps like SpellCatcher and Typinator help with the typing.

    4. Is five hours a legitimate estimate of battery life if I limit myself to word processing and extremely light internet use (reading blogs/wikipedia)?
    Mine seems to get five hours okay, but you know if you use it on a daily basis, you should have it hooked up.

    5. Is it extremely fragile? I don't plan on dropping it but I don't want to have to be afraid for it wherever I go

    Get a slip case for it if you’re worried about it being fragile.


    Finally, just some general opinion questions: is it worth it for me to wait for a sandy bridge upgrade, assuming that means less gpu power (dont plan on needing that) and longer battery life?

    It depends if you’re looking for maximum speed. I’m not concerned much about speed with my Air because it’s not my main computer, my Mac Pro is. But the Air has been fast enough for what I do on it which is mainly write, browse the internet, and watch some movies. I don't do much photo editing on it.


    I am debating between the base air or the 128gb SD....is anyone making do with 64gb?
    I have the 64 because I make use of cloud computing. I still have about 32gigs of space left on there. I put movies on a jump drive mainly for when I travel. I sync rotate favorite iTunes songs and photos, but there’s no need to fill it up with lots of files I don't access on a regular basis. Dropbox is so much better for storing my files, simply because it enables me to access files from all my computers and mobile devices.


    I am really looking forward to my first osx experience in a LONG time

    I’ve always been pleased with OS X, though there could always be improvements.

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  14. Boe11 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    #14
    Buy it. Right now.

    I think it'll work perfectly for what you want. I purchased the 11" refurb and it's been perfect. I haven't had any problems with the 64gb of space, as it's really just my mobile machine to grab on the go, so I only have the basics, and a few games on it. Honestly, if it's not your primary machine, and you have your music on an external, I think you'll be fine with the 64. But it really comes down to what all you plan to have on it.

    Either way, I think you'll really enjoy it.
     
  15. omniatlas macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2004
    #15
    you can extend your battery to about 6-7 hours with the program coolbook.
     
  16. Buck987 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    #16
    Agree...i picked up a refurb with 4gb/64gb for 929; didn't think it was worth 260 for a slightly better processor and 64gbs more of storage.

    Arrived in 36 hours, added office 2011 for mac and I'm good to go.

    cloud computing; thumb drives, externals, plenty of options for storage
     
  17. st0p. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    #17
    Thanks a lot guys. I appreciate the answers. I caved today and placed an order for a base '11 with the 128gb hard drive (so I can have my music/photo collections on the go).

    I'm slightly nervous about only having 2gb of RAM, but I reassure myself by keeping in mind what I want it for: writing, blogging and light internet browsing.
    Am I still going to regret not going with the 4gb upgrade?

    I'm intrigued to see how the combo of using a pc as my workhorse (games, photoshop,movies etc) and the mac as my ultraportable works out for me.

    Thanks again for all the input; you guys helped me out a ton
     
  18. Buck987 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    #18
    for your needs 2 gb is fine...all the best
     
  19. Mars478 macrumors 6502a

    Mars478

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    NYC, NY
    #19
    Had my 11.6 Air since December, I have the lowest spec model, as a segway until Apple redesigns the MacBook Pros (dislike current design) or make a 15" Air.

    1. No the computer rarely EVER gets hot. Maybe if you are watching a 1 hour 720P *flash* video it would get a little hot.
    2. Completely silent.
    3. Yes the keyboard is really great. Just like a MacBook Pro.
    4. Yes and I sometimes get more than that.
    5. No the computer feels solid and probably could take a few drops. It feels like one solid mass and not like many parts put together (like the MBP does).
    If you can wait till June, wait, but if not these are perfectly capable to run any and all things you would most likely throw at it.

    Get the 128GB SSD, you will appreciate it in the long run. I bought the cheapest Air because I did not intend to use this one for long and now I have 9GB of space left and counting.
     
  20. impulse462 Suspended

    impulse462

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    #20
    I know pretty much everyone has given the same exact views, but since I'm also an 11" air user I guess ill show my results ;)

    1. No-I've rarely felt my computer hot to the touch. It gets warm if you have a lot of things running (i.e. a lot of browser tabs, 720p video running, skype) but short of playing a demanding-graphically intensive game, or some video editing the computer rarely gets hot

    2. No-Again fan noise all depends on the temperature of the CPU/GPU, which rarely goes over the top unless you're doing some hardcore work

    3. Yes-typing on this is a breeze, it is very easy on the hands/wrists. As for eye strain, that also depends on the health/age of yours eyes, but the screen can go pretty dim if you set it that way.

    4. Yes-I typically get 5.5-6.5 hours. If you're just going to be typing you'll easily break that estimate with half-brightness.

    5. No- All the unibody macbooks are very sturdy, and the 11" Air is no exception. I'm pretty paranoid of dropping it though so I see where you are coming from.

    As for the 2gb of RAM, it's kind of relative. If you have a lot of applications running (i.e. multiple browser tabs, itunes, skype, word/pages), its sort of hard to say if you'll experience a slow down. The slow down wouldn't be that much, but it *might* be noticeable. Not trying to scare you, just trying to tell you the truth.

    Other than that, the 11" Air is my favorite/best laptop I've owned, so congrats on your purchase.
     
  21. simeezee macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    #21
    That's indeed the perfect choice for you. 2GB of ram is enough for just browsing and word processing. In my opinion, with this setup the MBA should last 2-3 years without having to upgrade. Unless you have different needs of course. Enjoy your machine :)
     
  22. kyussmondo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2010
    #22
    64GB for me is more than enough for me as it is my secondary machine. I have a few applications installed, the usuals like Adium, Dropbox, Tweetdeck... the only big application I have is Microsoft Office 2008.

    I don't need to chuck much music or anything on this thing. If I did put a movie or 2 it would only be 3-5 movies max and then when I am done with them I will delete them and all the main copies stay on the iMac. I do the same with my 16GB iPad, I put a couple of movies on there and when I am done I remove them. I have a decent selection of music on my iPhone so I don't need music on my MacBook Air and iPad as well. When I am at home I can play music off my iMac on the Air over the network.

    A while back I always used to buy the biggest capacity iPod and put my whole music collection on my iPod. Ever since I got the iPhone I thought I would try disciplining myself and really think about what music I really wanted on my 8GB iPhone. Now I have a 32GB iPhone 4 it is barely half full even though I have over 100GB on the iMac. So don't get lazy. You don't need everything everywhere you go. Use your home computer as your main hub with everything, keep you portable devices free of clutter.
     

Share This Page