MBA 13" as the only laptop?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by iZeeshan, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. iZeeshan macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2010
    So recently, my Windows PC crashed in a terrible way, and I've decided to move on to a Mac.

    I had pretty much settled on a 13" MBP until I went to the Apple Store and checked out the Air. That thing is incredible. It's so light and from the specs and the threads I have read, I really feel like it can take care of everything. My problem is that most people who's opinions I have read seem to have an Air and an iMac, and for me, the Air would be my only computer.

    I just prefer it over the MBP because of it's lightness and aesthetics. I don't really need an MBP because I don't edit videos too often, maybe once a semester for a class project, and hardly ever use Photoshop/Illustrator, maybe once a while just for fun.

    My main use would be for word processing, listening to music, watching Netflix/Megavideo, and occasional gaming like Civilization, though if it can't take care of that, it may not be a deal breaker.

    I am a 2nd year college undergrad student, so any ideas if I'll be okay with the Air (the new 13" that will be released soon I'm hoping, but in any case, will the current 13" do if I decide to spend a little less money)?

    Thanks for your responses, I know it's a long post.
  2. JR1993 macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2011
    There is a refresh due july according to rumours...

    Im in same position, considering mba 13 as only laptop, but I would get a keyboard, mouse and monitor for when im at home.
  3. satkin2 macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2010
    I've not got an Air, but am looking to upgrade from my 07 MacBook when the new ones come out. From what I've gathered from reading lots of comments and reviews, the Air should be ok.

    I'm similar in that I'll be making a movie only maybe once or twice a year. I've seen that it can struggle with exporting a movie for example, but if it takes a long time there's no reason I can't export overnight, it's not often a movie is a one day project.

    As for the gaming, from what I can gather it should be ok. I've seen plenty of comments that it's not a gaming machine, but I don't see Civ as high resource game, it's not reliant on being completely 3D, fast frame rates etc;

    My only concern is the SSD sizes as they are obviously much smaller than the HDD in the MBPs but if you can cope with this I'd say go for it.
  4. MacJones macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2010
    The only computer I own is a 13" MBA Ultimate. I absolutely LOVE this computer and it fits all of my needs.
  5. Grolubao macrumors 65816


    Dec 23, 2008
    London, UK
    Don't know for the current line of MBA, but the oldest ones couldn't handle videochat. They would start to heat too much and the video would be laggy as hell
  6. HellDiverUK macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Belfast, UK
    What's that got to do with anything? He's not buying the oldest ones, is he? :rolleyes:

    That's like saying you shouldn't buy a Ford Focus because those old Model-T would overheat going up a hill. :rolleyes:
  7. jcasix, Jun 23, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2011

    jcasix macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2011
    Yes indeed. I down sized from an 27 inch iMac and went with a 13 inch MBA. I have an ACD when I need more screen real estate but this computer does all I need easily.

    Run VM's, internet browsing, coding, watch movies, etc.
  8. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    In 2008, I "switched" to Mac and treated myself to a 15" MBP which was an excellent and fine computer. However, I had always wanted a MBA and last September I bought the MBA (Rev C SSD); since then, this has become my sole computer and more than satisfies all of my needs; indeed, I realised that I didn't need the MBP and have since sold it.

    While I'm not a gamer, I do watch news, interviews & other broadcasts online sometimes and the MBA more than handles that; in short, it is the best computer I have had and I expect that it will handle your needs more than adequately. The main advantages are the form factor, the screen resolution, the SSD and above all, the sheer portability.

  9. aristobrat, Jun 23, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2011

    aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    I have a 13" MBA Ultimate and editing videos in iMovie isn't a problem. If anything, the editing part seems more "smooth" than other Macs I've used (assuming your video clips are stored on your Air's internal SSD). Exporting takes a little longer, and you'll hear the fan temporarily run faster to dissipate the heat generated from this CPU-intensive process, but that's about it.

    I don't game at all on mine, but for the rest of the stuff you listed (plus email, Aperture, and VMWare), the MBA feels like the fastest Mac I've ever used.

    I have zero problems highly recommending the current version of the Air, but if you're going to wait for the next version, you probably want to wait at least a few weeks after launch to see if there are any weird issues.
  10. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    I'm in the same boat. I just sold my Black MacBook and was going to get the MBP. But the MBA look is just too nice to pass up. I don't game on it at all. I mainly surf the web, email and iTunes. I do use iPhoto once in a while and use Photoshop even less. This will be my only computer, thus why I'm hesitant to go with the MBA. I was also thinking of getting the MBP with a SSD. I do like the look of the black screen look on the MBP, but the MBA thinness is too nice to over come. It will primary stay at home, but like I said will be my only cpu. This is tough especially if the new refresh is very competitive against the MBP.
  11. iZeeshan thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2010
    Thanks guys for the really quick responses and it seems like you guys have convinced me to go with the Air. It just seems so sleek and nice, and I literally lug my laptop around everywhere on campus so I think that would be the best solution.

    Also, I forgot to ask, is it able to handle a double Mac/Windows use? Because most of the games are play are Windows only I believe (Civilization is a prime example) and there's no point in me getting a new laptop if it can't handle the latest version of Civilization. I guess it kind of is a make or break deal now lol
  12. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Civ V is cross-platform. Whether the new Air handles it or not is something entirely different.

    After doing some quick research on your question, the new 13" Pro with the HD3000 has serious issues under OS X, and is hit and miss under Windows. Civ V just doesn't support the HD3000. The new Air will probably be i7/HD3000, so I wouldn't count on it running very well.
  13. unclet macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2011
    Bloomington, IN
    Let me just add my voice to those who only own an MBA. I had a 15" MBP and a desktop PC. Back in December I sold both to buy a 13" Ultimate MBA because I wasn't using the desktop much and portability was my main concern. I haven't regretted it for a minute. The MBA handles everything I need it to really well, including RAW photo processing in Aperture, and it can't be beat for speed and portability. The only real limitation is the capacity of the SSD for my photo libraries, but external hard drives take care of that. I'd definitely consider going for the 13" if I were you.
  14. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Good response. Would you get a 13" MBP if it had a SSD? Or is the thinness of the MBA that much better?
  15. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    I'm in the same boat, same machine as you... however.. I have some set rules on what benchmarks it must achieve to become a replacement. I don't do movies often, but I do use a lot of photoshop, and batch editing. It really would have to perform better than I anticipate though I think.. unfortunately. I'd love to use that machine though
  16. Apple Expert macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Hopefully an ultimate 13" MBA doesn't run too expensive. If so then I guess I will have to stick with a MBP.
  17. atMac macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2011
    new is about $1,799
  18. unclet macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2011
    Bloomington, IN
    That's a good question. To order a 13" MBP with a 256 GB SSD preinstalled would make it $50 more than a 13" MBA Ultimate, but you would be getting a much better processor and an optical drive, so there is definitely an argument for it. I guess the main things that make the MBA more appealing to me are the thinness/weight factor, and the screen. As a student, I am carrying it around constantly, and I can definitely tell a difference when carrying it on my back all day. And I find that the higher resolution of the screen makes this much easier to work with both on my schoolwork and photo editing. But you're right, there is definitely an argument to be made for a 13" MBP with SSD. I guess it's just a matter of what you're looking for.
  19. ess5 macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2011
    <Kind of in the same boat, replacing my 14" Vostro with either a 13" MBA or 13" MBP>

    I'd suggest borrowing someone's current MBP and carrying it around for a bit, even if it's only for a few minutes. There's no doubt that the MBA will be lighter, but if the MBP ends up being significantly lighter than your old Windows machine, you might want to take a hard look at the other differences (processor, optical drive, ability to upgrade, etc.)

    Keep in mind, you don't have to go MBP + SSD right off the's possible to stagger the purchases, sticking with the stock HDD until you can deal with the cost of the SSD upgrade (and treat it as a little gift to yourself at the same time...maybe bump up RAM as well)

    That said, I'm most likely still going with the MBA. The machine will be shared with my GF...her main concerns are battery life, weight, and start-up time, which pretty much screams "MBA" ;)
  20. wisty macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2009
    I have a 13" MBA, for a similar workload. My SO has a 13" MBP. The only time I'm jealous is when I want to watch a DVD, and have to dig up a crappy old external drive.

    That said, you might want to wait for the next MBA to come out, in possibly 1 month. It will have better battery life.
  21. Chiuy macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2011
    NorCal, Bay Area
    I would consider the MacBook Pro as your only laptop.
    Might not be as thin as the MBA but it's still pretty light compare to other Windows laptop.
    MBP also has the power and more durable.
    Unless you only plan on using the MBA as surfing the web, it'll be fine.
    But Photoshop, video editing software, games, or any other types, I recommend MBP, plus it's cheaper.
  22. MacJones macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2010
    My MBA does all those things just fine. It's the Ultimate though so it's a lot more expensive than the MBP 13".
  23. roarinrabbit macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2011
    Civilization? Not V!

    Civ V in the app store lists min requirements as 2.4GHz/2GB/256MB VRAM, with recommended at 2.6GHz/4GB/512MB VRAM.

    The best you can do today is 2.13GHz/4GB/256MB for Air.

    Civ IV would work, though.
  24. Xgm541 macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    Perhaps because CIV5 is a CPU intensive game, my statement wont hold true, but most games over emphasize the need for a good CPU even if you dont need it.

    On topic, my main computer is an 11 inch MBA with 4gb ram. Love it.
  25. hpucker99 macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2009
    MBA vs MBP

    I am in the same boat. I'm holding off until I see what the MBA upgrade is like next month. Otherwise I'll go with a 13" MBP with the stock drive and add a SDD later along with additional RAM.

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