My complaints of the MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by caonimadebi, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. caonimadebi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    #1
    Don't get me wrong, the MBA is by far my favorite of all the macs I've owned. I fully realize the trade-offs when I got this computer (i.e. no optical drive, no replaceable battery, no upgradable RAM etc)

    But here are some complaints that I have:
    1. The trackpad button: why does the button have to so hard to press?? In terms of ergonomic design disaster, this is on par with the oblong pro mouse that apple still ships today. Clicking on this button for extended period of time will no doubt lead to severe tendonitis sometime down the road. The integrated button on the MB and MBP's are much easier to click.
    2. The screen: I think the MBA screen is beautiful. I used to hate glossy screens, until I got to use the MBA. However, it's another ergonomic annoyance that the MBA screen cannot tilt more than 20 degrees past the vertical. This makes using MBA on the lap very difficult.
    3. The Ports: Having to plug in anything on the MBA means grabbing it from the other end, raise it slightly, and visually insert the cables. However, this is only a minor annoyance as MBA is incredibly light weight and can be lifted easily.
    4. The extra width: Why can't the MBA cut out the extra inch on each of the right and left sides edges on the computer? There's no edge-to-edge glass like the MB and MBP's, and the the extra space on the sides make it less portable than the compact design on the 12" powerbook.
    5. No Battery indicator: Not essential, but why is it absent from the MBA?

    Anyone share my sentiments?
     
  2. stoconnell macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Location:
    Rockville (Despite REM's plea.)
    #2
    It is a bit stiff and pretty far down on the machine (so to speak, almost sounds wrong :rolleyes: ). I have found that using tap to click along with enabling dragging and drag lock make that button all but disappear.

    It could have more travel in it; however, I wonder if they'd have to do a major hinge redesign, which might not be a bad thing.

    Agreed.

    That extra width is for the taper. It could have slab-sides like the PB and room for more ports, but it would lose a lot of aesthetic appeal.

    I think they could have added 4 or 5 little light up dots on the left front of the machine (similar to unibody macbook and macbook pros on the side) and it would have been really cool.
     
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #3
    You could enable your trackpad to be used as a button. You need width to make up for the thin build ( you think parts are made of air?) ports or the lack thereof is the point of the MBAir. My screen tilts back enough.

    The MBAir is not for you. That's okay
     
  4. 01jamcon macrumors 6502a

    01jamcon

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #4
    No, I don't agree that the point of the MBA is to have few ports, that's just silly. The point is meant to be a powerful full featured Mac in a very thin and light design. Surely almost all MBA owners would agree that sacrificing a few extra mm to fit some decent ports would be worth it?
     
  5. Veinticinco macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Location:
    Europe
    #5
    Hmmm.

    My own niggling but extremely minor pet hates are:

    *The ridiculously thick screen bezel and the wasted space it represents (compare how fat they've been getting since the TiBook).

    * The lack of magnetic tech on the ports - like the mag-safe power, it would help 'locate' the USB in particular. Maybe, after flipping the panel down, I'm just too lazy to turn the MBA through 45 degrees and tilt it slightly upwards, holding it uncomfortably in my left hand, but whatever it's a bit of an ergonomic pain in the posterior. Ends up being a frustrating, scratchy, pin the tail on the donkey type of operation, especially when the panel has an incredibly annoying habit of flipping closed at the slightest touch.

    * And yes I agree, the lack of the LED battery indicator - sometimes it's useful to know how much charge is on board before booting up. I refuse to believe it's not possible to incorporate on the bottom case.
     
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #6
    The point of the MBAir is to be truly mobile. You'd benefit from watching the keynote when the MBA was announced. Trust me, the point of the MBAir is to be truly mobile, the ports are just to appease people and give them a small option to "dock" their machine while at home.

    If you don't like it, buy a MacBook.
     
  7. kamchris macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    #7
    [lack of the LED battery indicator]
    System Preference/Energy Saver/Show battery status in the menu bar
    It's better than nothing, but I agree that little light up dots on the machine similar to unibody macbook and macbook pros are great.
     
  8. pesc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    #8
    I think the MBAir would be more mobile if the footprint went down to match the 12" Powerbook, even if it meant that it would be a few mm thicker.

    That laptop would lose its bragging rights of being "thinnest in the world" (is it still? I don't care), but it would be much more versatile since one or two ports could be added and maybe more memory slots?

    I think the MBAir is too thin.
     
  9. ibosie macrumors 6502

    ibosie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #9
    Love the Air too but totally agree on the ports, its just not very Apple to be twirling, tilting and fumbling around just to plug things in and out!
     
  10. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    #10
    ...


    Wow.

    Mobility and function are not exclusive.

    Take, for example, the ThinkPad X61s. It has the following ports: 3 USB, audio in, audio out, FireWire, VGA, Ethernet, modem, PCMCIA/Cardbus, a dock connector, and an SD slot.

    Surely it must be a brick, right? Err... no. It's lighter than the MBA.

    No, the point of the MBA was for Apple to make the thinnest-looking machine it could. The omission of ports was made for aesthetic reasons: it allowed Apple to taper the case so as to make the machine appear thinner (and thus lighter) than it is. The MBA is another example of Apple prioritizing form over function. That's all there is to it, plain and simple.

    And you know what? That's fine. Really. For some people, the way their laptop looks is more important than how well it works. No problem -- to each their own. There's nothing wrong with liking the MBA, but please spare us the laughable assertion that Apple removed ports to increase the machine's mobility -- it's pretty obvious that's not true, and repeating such a obviously-false claim just makes you seem like a fanboy rather than a rational consumer.
     
  11. remobot macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Location:
    austin, tx
    #11
    i agree that the battery light indicator is a neat feature, but on the air im not sure where it would be placed to make the most sense. if it were to be included on the current design it would feel more like an after thought than a design decision. in my opinion.
     
  12. caonimadebi thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    #12
    and there's another issue i forgot to add, and it's that the wifi reception on MBA really stinks (compared to a plastic macbook). To have both aluminum enclosure and strong wifi signal may be physically impossible, but if Apple expects us to rely fully on wireless, the wifi performance should be better than this.
    I live in an urban high-rise where the walls are made of solid concrete, I can't get a stable signal with a MIMO router more than 2 rooms away.
     
  13. GeekGirl* macrumors 65816

    GeekGirl*

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    Feb 26, 2009
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #13
    The wi fi on mine RevA is the same as my white macbook sometimes I even pick up more open networks on my air then my white macbook.
    Think you are being to picky.
     
  14. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

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    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #14
    This has been the case ever since Apple went to aluminum casing - the plastic laptops (iBooks, MacBooks) have always had better WiFi reception due to the Faraday Cage effect of the metal casings on the more expensive laptops. This is why the antennae are now located in the hinges (and were in little plastic panels on the screens for the PowerBooks).
     
  15. Doju macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #15
    Err, weight isn't the only thing that makes something mobile. Thinness, that Apple beats Lenovo in by losing ports, is another big deal. Thinness is more of a priority than weight for me, but the MBA has both.
     
  16. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #16
    1. The trackpad button is fairly easy to press. You can also tap to click, which can be toggled in System Preferences. If you insist on using the button, then it's your problem.

    2. Check your math, because you can clearly tilt the screen past 20 degrees.

    3. Umm, can't you just push the little flap/door down and insert the cable? it's flush with the surface the MBA is on, so you don't need to lift it up.

    4. I'm getting the feeling that you have poor math skills, or none at all. The "extra space" is necessary for a 13" widescreen display. If Apple cut it out, then you'd get a smaller screen, which you probably complain about as well. I don't see this as anything to moan about. It's like saying why does my house have an extra foot of driveway space or the little yard door on the side on the driveway. It's more space for the logic board and battery.

    5. Where would you put it? The unibody notebooks have a flat vertical side to put this on, but the MBA does not. It curves around. I guess they could put one in, but then it's less space for better components or battery. And then you'd probably moan about that too.
     
  17. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #17
    Concrete will absorb/block any kind of radio signal. MIMO doesn't have anything to do with it. Have you check your router? Maybe that's the problem. The screen bezel on the MBA is not metal, but plastic painted a metallic color I think. But the main reason you can't get a stable signal is because of the concrete, having nothing to do with the MBA.
     
  18. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    Jul 4, 2008
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    Silicon Valley
    #18
    I'm sorry but that's completely wrong. The main reason is because of the solid concrete walls. Concrete will absorb/block any kind of radio signal.
     
  19. caonimadebi thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 7, 2009
    #19
    The weak signal is precisely because of the aluminum. My plastic macbook gets full signal from the same location consistently. My 12" PB G4 and 13" uMB, which are also made of Al, also have weak signal.
    pure coincidence? perhaps bad math? ;)
     
  20. caonimadebi thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 7, 2009
    #20
    If you've ever owned a 12" Powerbook G4, you'd know that a full sized keyboard can span the entire width of the body, and not a millimeter more. This is a common design, and one found on other ultra-thin, ultraportables such as the thinkpad x200.
     
  21. pesc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    #21
    Just because you have a 13" screen you don't need to have a thicker bezel than for instance the 12" Powerbook.

    Also, if you are going to have a 13" screen, the screen real estate becomes smaller with wide screen compared to the old 4:3 aspect ratio. Check your math. (Not that I believe we will ever see a 4:3 screen again...)
     
  22. michael.lauden macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    #22
    1. you can adjust trackpad sensitivity if you feel like opening it, or like the rest of the world use tap to click.

    2.i agree with others on checking your math... the screen can go almost 180 degrees from closed, although it's more like 140

    3. never saw the problem.. used my buds on a table, on my lap, on the bed.. never had a problem with the magsafe.

    4. if you are looking for something more compact than the MBA, then get it - however if you want something razor thin with features+looks to die for, go for it. 12" powerbook is hardly a comparison, especially because the actual screen is completely different.

    5.i forgot i had those... honestly i'm not going to not open my MacBook because the LED's tell me there's only a lil' bit left
     
  23. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

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    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #23
    Concrete will indeed block wireless signal. However, the aluminium casings don't help either. In my house we have a mix of laptops (and have had others). The plastic MacBooks have always always had better signal than the metal PowerBooks and MacBook Pros, and this is with exactly the same network hardware in the same place.

    Case in point - why else would Apple HAVE to put the antenna in plastic "windows"? You can't tell me the PowerBook design was for aesthetic purposes.

    So please, go do some research.
     
  24. ppc750fx macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    #24
    I seriously can't imagine a scenario where the difference between 0.73" and 1" is a deal breaker. Still, I'm glad you find the tradeoff to be worthwhile. Many people don't, but to each their own.
     

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