MBA - worth a purchase?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by BMox, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. BMox macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2014
    United Kingdom

    Decided against getting the 6 Plus - my 5S runs fine and I’ve only had it a couple of months.

    So with that - decided to get a new laptop to replace my 7 year old Vista laptop. Been a faithful servant but it’s well overdue an upgrade.

    I definitely want a MacBook - have everything else under the Apple umbrella so this would complete the set.

    My budget is £700 and can’t go any higher. The MBA's are very well priced over on the Rainforest.

    But all I keep hearing about are how lousy the screens are. I have used a rMBP recently just to get used to the OS, so have I been spoilt with how good that screen looks if I was to get the Air or is just people overreacting because Apple didn’t/haven’t released a Retina version yet….
  2. 556fmjoe macrumors 68000


    Apr 19, 2014
    The screens are fine. People saying that they're terrible are falling into hyperbole trying to justify their Retina purchase. For your budget, it would be a good choice.
  3. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 603

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    I think retina screens are a waste of money, but I still do think the MBA screen is bad. I am patiently waiting for the next MBA generation, just to get a better quality screen.
  4. BMox thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2014
    United Kingdom
    What exactly is bad with it?
  5. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 603

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Contrast and intensity of colors, and resolution of course. Go compare it to an iMac or rMBP in a store.
  6. BMox thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2014
    United Kingdom
    obviously I know it's not going to be in that league, I said that initially, but I wanted to know whether it's bad enough to warrant not getting one at all....
  7. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 603

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    It clearly works for millions of people, so it is really a personal matter, and there's only really one solution to that: Go see it in person.
  8. applepuree macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2014
    The MBA display is fine.

    Best is to goto your apple store and check one out, and remember in the EU at least you can return any product you purchase in an apple store within 14 days, so you can try it out at your leisure at home and see if *YOU* like it.
  9. MacVibe macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2009
    I have a 2011 MBP (it is pre-retina) and a 2014 MB air. The screen on the air is horrible compared with the MBP. It looks like the screen of a cheap $300 windows laptop. The colors are just washed out and I have been through screen calibration multiple times and it is just the display that is bad, not the calibration. I have read that Apple sources screens from two vendors, one good and one bad (if I recall correctly Samsung is good and LG is bad). It is impossible to tell from the box whether you will get a screen from the good company or bad.

    My advice is that if you care about screen quality, don't get the air. The air is really appealing on many other qualities, so if you don't care about screen quality, then definitely consider the air.
  10. flowrider macrumors 603


    Nov 23, 2012
    +3. I think it's just fine.

  11. sracer macrumors G3


    Apr 9, 2010
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    Good advice.

    I too think that the display on the MBA (I have the 2014 11" model) is fine. Even though I think that claims that the MBA screen are "horrible" and "terrible" are nothing more than emotional hyperbole I acknowledge that everybody's priorities and preferences are different.

    So check it out for yourself in person.
  12. Carlos840 macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2013
    I have a 2014 11" MBA and a late 2013 27" imac.

    Honestly, the screen on the Air is fine!

    Yes it is not retina, but it actually has better DPI than the regular 27" imac (135 vs 109) the colors might not be as intense and it might not be as bright, but this is an 11.6" screen, you are not going to use it to watch movies and do a lot of visual work! To browse the net, write emails, etc this screen is just right.

    I actually have both on my deks right now, and i would not change a thing to the air compared to my iMac.
  13. Scepticalscribe, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014

    Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Another vote for the MBA, (including the screen).

    The screen on the Air is fine. I have had Airs since 2010, (my current MBAs are maxed out CTOs from 2013), and they are an excellent computer, powerful, blazing fast, reliable, exceedingly portable, stable - and the 2013 models come with superb battery life. In 2010, the MBA had a screen regarded as among the best in the computer world.

    Yes, tech moves on, and so does screen technology. However, remember what the MBA was designed to do. For speed, power, stability and portability no computer touches the MBA; it is an outstandingly good (and utterly reliable) computer. The SSD drive is spell binding and blazing fast, while the weight (or lack thereof) is wonderfully welcome especially if you travel a lot, or commute.

    Does Apple make better screens? Undoubtedly, especially if you take a look at their desktops. Are the screens on the retina computers better than those on the MBA? Naturally, but, of course - having an outstanding screen is the whole point of the retina computer range.

    However, asking yourself whether the screen on the MBA is 'bad' misses the point. It is only poor[er] when compared with the retina models; if screen estate is of vital importance to you - i.e. if you work in video, or need a screen for something along those lines, get the retina machines. Otherwise, bang for buck, for a fast, reliable, stable, uber-portable, fantastic computer, you cannot beat the MBA. And the screen is more than perfectly adequate for most needs; I am not in the first flush of youth, and I wear glasses - I have absolutely no problem with the MBA's screen.
  14. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005
    The screens are fine. I just purchased one yesterday. Have had probably 3 in the past. They are great machines.
  15. mangomind macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2012

    The Macbook air's screen is trash. Everywhere I go, I see people throwing their Macbook airs in the garbage because the screen is just so terrible.

  16. Republius macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2014
    I want and need a MacBook Air now and am similarly on a tight budget. But I have concluded that waiting and potentially stretching the budget is prudent based on a myriad of reports that a MacBook Air Retina is coming:

    If a MBA Retina is truly going to ''redefine laptop computing" then I want to see if I can afford to be part of it. And even if a new MacBook Air Retina breaks the budget, at the point it is released there will be maximum downward price pressure on previous generation MacBook Airs.

    If someone has to have a device now it seems that waiting until the Friday after Thanksgiving would be prudent as the day when Apple and other retail outlets allow for their best prices of the year.

    As to the current MacBook Air screen, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Obviously you have to judge for yourself if it meets your needs. For me, it is mediocre - and I note that while the device otherwise gets rave reviews (and Joanna Stern of The Wall Street Journal says it is the best laptop value in history to-date), the screen has been criticized from the get-go. I am with those who will demand retina quality now that it is available at affordable prices.
  17. John marts, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014

    John marts macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2014
    I just got my base model 11' MBA a few days ago and cannot be happier with it.

    I'm coming from a 2012 mac mini with a much faster processor, double the ram, and much more storage space. On a specs sheet, anyone would consider the MBA to be a downgrade. (except the graphics chip which is better on the MBA) Well...... its all. HUGE upgrade. The difference between a unbearably slow 5400 rpm HD and flash storage is really unbelievable. This thing is FAST. It boots up in about 30 seconds while reopening the 4-5 applications I had running before I shut it off. When I did this with my mini, it would not only take longer, but I would get the spinning beach ball like crazy. Simple everyday casual usage is super fast and responsive, much better than the mini. Also, being able to just open up the laptop and everything is exactly how I left it, with no hiccups is so refreshing. My mini would have trouble with that quite a bit after waking.

    But 2 things that amaze me the most are the battery life and actual computing power this sucker has. One, you can easily squeeze 10 hrs of battery life with it if you have the brightness low and don't stream much video. On average its 8-9 hours, but closer to 8. Still great battery life. The other thing that impressed me was how fast it is with more graphic intensive things. I was using iMovie for over 2 hrs non stop the other day and not ONE time did I get a spinning beach ball. The only hiccups the computer had were making smooth transiitions from slides, and ken burns affects were always a tad jittery. Other than that, iMovie ran flawlessly. All on a 1.4 ghz processor and only 4 gigs of ram. ( I did close all other apps to run iMovie though) I would've never been able to do that with my mini. I would've never thought I could use this for actual intensive apps.

    cons: display isn't an IPS display. Not a fan of having to adjust the viewing angles often. But its not that big of a deal.

    128 gigs really isn't a lot. 4 days later and for some reason I only have 75 gigs left. I hardly have any music since I use spotify, and only photos and videos take up 8 gigs. I dint understand where all the HD space went.

    Sometimes after waking it up, the screen is black with only the mouse pointer being shown and I have to hit a key or two to get the rest of the display to turn on. not a big deal.

    Battery life takes a big hit when you use things such as iMovie or a big game, but thats a given and I'm really stretching the cons.

    So to answer your question. YES. Absolutely worth it. This thing is like seeing a skinny kid at the gym and then watching him bench 250 lbs. How is that possible?
  18. capathy21 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    It is definitely NOT bad enough to NOT get one. I recently switched from the 13 inch retina MBP to the 13 inch Air and the display is fine. You already understand that it is no retina but that being said, it isn't "bad" or "terrible."

    It took me about a week to adjust from retina to non and if you aren't used to using a retina daily, there will be no problem. I use my retina iPhone and iPad along side my MBA and the display is fine. I think it is a great machine even including the display.
  19. Windowsrefugee macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2011
    Microsoft Land
    It really depends on what you are using it for (photo or video editing vs. surfing and MS Office work), whether you will have an external display and your own personal preferences. For me, using my laptop for Office, other documents and surfing for professional information, portability and battery life are of paramount importance. The 13" screen is absolutely fine for my purposes and has been for almost 4 years-- I am on my 3rd MBA. I have not tried the 11". As others have suggested, go to the store and maybe buy one and use it for a wek or two. Then you can be the judge rather than being bombarded by lots of different opinions from people who may not use their computer in the same way.
  20. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Remember that just 4 years ago, when the MBA first came out, nobody complained about the screen. Actually I just looked up the original Engadget review and they listed "beautiful screen" under the "pluses" column.

    So the same people claiming that the screen is now horrible and unusable would have almost certainly been perfectly happy with it just 4 years ago. That should give you some perspective. (On these people, not the screen. The screen is still fine.)
  21. chris566 macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2010
    Yes. Screen is good. Best? No. But I love my 11" 2012 MBA. It's my little portable desktop PC/media server/downloader.
  22. sallenthornton macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2014
    I agree that the MacBook Air screen doesn't look as vibrant as the retina or my 2012 MacBook Pro, but after updating to Yosemite, the screen on my MacBook Air looks much better.
  23. mlody macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2012
    Windy City
    I played with retina displays on MBPs and I find them overrated. Yes, they are nicer, perhaps look a bit better, but it is a not a deal breaker, at least not for me.

    I got MBA and I find the display to be just fine. You can always use the Display Calibrator Assistant and tweak the way it looks.

    Like others have already said - go buy it and play with it and if you do not like it, you can return it within 14 days. You are not loosing anything that way!.
  24. BMox thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2014
    United Kingdom
    Cheers for the comments peeps.

    Think I'm going to get the 128gb 13.3" model and put an order in tomorrow morning.
  25. Meister, Oct 23, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014

    Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Enjoy :)

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