New Macbook Air 13 Owner: Surprisingly Disappointed

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by urkel, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    User Profile:
    After holding the wife back from updating her 13" Macbook because a CPU update is overdue to make that Macbook Pro actually deserve that "PRO" moniker. But that didn't happen so I got her a Macbook Air because I fell into the "I guess it's all she needs" trap but now that the blinders are off we're not sure if this is the right computer for her.

    Initial Impression:
    I'm a MBP15 user and I never cared about the original Air. It was overpriced and underspec'd so I admittedly went into this with only photos and commercials as a reference. From a consumer standpoint then the Air is a magically thin device that can get lost in a bookbag. I do believe all that advertising applies well to the 11" but since we're coming off a 13" Macbook then the wife and I were both surprisingly unimpressed with the MBA13.

    Overall performance is GOOD. SSD and 320M do a lot to hide how outdated the 2GB/Core2Duo is in 2011. Aperture runs sluggishly but it does run. The problem here is the non-upgradeable memory means that there is little future-proofing with this machine and that's a big problem.

    The most interesting thing I found in real world usage is that there is a bigger difference between the MBA11 vs MBA13 than there is between the MBP13 vs MBA13.

    The MBA13 looks exactly like a MBP13 from every angle except it's profile so in terms of footprint then it takes the exact amount of space. So (regarding the 13") this whole "thin" thing feels more gimmicky than useful in the real world because plane/lap/desk usage will all fee the same with either 13" Macbook.

    In typical Apple style, hardware is top notch in some places but handicapped in others. I'm obviously not a fan of C2D in 2011, but the lack of backlit keyboard and the .3mp camera are ridiculous for a "Premium" product. The biggest deal here is SSD which I'm now considering for my MBP.

    A lower price is nice but let's be realistic. These pricepoints are more about cannibalizing sales than being fair. And based on this article then the Macbook Air is now their most profitable system.

    Most adults can carry a 3, 4 or 6lb notebook one-handed with ease. So it really comes all down to how heavy a computer "feels". Many cheapo netbooks and the 11" Macbook Air "feel" lighter than 2.4lb because the footprint is so small and the weight distribution is minimal. But because the MBA13 and MB13 share the same footprint then carrying an open Macbook Air around surprisingly felt as heavy as our old notebook.

    5/7hrs on the 11/13" MBA is contradictory towards what these machines are aimed to do. These are ultraportables using outdated processors with no spinning drives yet the MBP13 has a far superior 10hr battery life. So for travel then it's tough to say that the Air is Apple's best travel machine.

    Final Verdict (PERSONAL OPINION):
    We still might keep it because it's so darn cool, but in comparison to a C2D Macbook Pro 13 then the ONLY thing that the Macbook Air 13 does better is fit under a bathroom door.

    My recommendation is that the Macbook Air 11 is a fantastic machine that is unique in Apple's lineup and worth the premium price. BUT, if anyone looking for a Macbook Air 13 should HEAVILY consider the Macbook Pro 13 instead.
  2. tigres macrumors 601


    Aug 31, 2007
    Land of the Free-Waiting for Term Limits

    I don't get your post at all. First and foremost, did you buy one? Which one?
  3. Rafterman macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2010
    I also admit that I didn't get the appeal of the 13 inch. The 13 Macbook Pro is almost the same size, yet far superior in spec to the MBA. But the 11 inch is, as you say, unique. Its not *that* much smaller than the 13, but it is smaller enough.
  4. TheAllStar macrumors member


    Oct 21, 2010
    It sounds like you expected it to go head to head with the MBP. It is a niche market, for sure. Not the ideal main computer or even main laptop for many users.

    Not exactly fair to compare battery life with a much larger battery, either... it sounds like your needs might be better filled with the Pro.
  5. SR2 macrumors regular

    Oct 3, 2010
    Send it back and get your wife a laptop she will be happy with for a long time (MBP).
  6. stockscalper macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2003
    Area 51
    Why is everybody making such a big deal about the lack of a backlit keyboard? What are you doing, typing in the dark? I don't and have no interest in doing so. If you know how to type and know the QWERTY keyboard then it doesn't matter. How many years did we get by just fine without lit up keys before Apple added the feature?
  7. nylon macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2004
    Thanks for the write up. However, I don't think your viewpoint necessarily jives with how everyone perceives usage vs weight vs power. Different people have different usage scenarios and varied power requirements.

    I personally am selling my 13" MBP and replacing with 13" MBA. The reason is that the machine accomplishes everything I need to do with my laptop while being more than powerful enough for those tasks. Additionally, I spend most of my time in an airport/aircraft environment (100k + miles a year). Weight is a huge concern for me and the 13" MBP gets tediously heavy when one travels a lot. Yes, I'm not going to kill myself by carrying the extra 1.5 lbs of the MBP but over time it makes a big difference.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that perception of usage and power is widely varied amongst the consumer. To each his/her own. :)
  8. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    There's a huge difference between a 3lb notebook and a 6lb notebook. I've used an Air since it came out, and every time I use my mother's 15" Pro, it feels very heavy.
  9. Fanboyofnothing macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2010
    Many of us use our computers in bed next to our spouse who is sleeping. Typing in the dark isn't rare.
  10. Moodikar macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2010
    Toronto, Canada
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    I know many have posted wanting and upgrade from thei Rev a,b, or c MBA. They didn't want the drive and also liked the concept of ssd and lightness.

    To them, the 13 inch is more of a chance to better what they have. The resolution and
    Sd card is a bonus.

    Yes you can say they could have bought a Mbp but they chose not to even the last 3 rounds for the above reason.

    That said, that's the audience this caters to.

    Me, I ordered the 11inch. I want smaller footprint versus performance. Plus the price is cheaper.
  11. FuNGi macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
    -problem #1 -> deciding what your wife wants-

    -problem #2 -> you did not research past reviews of the Air and were awed by the commercials only

    -Hide it from who? If your user experience is good what is hidden? Also, 4GB of RAM would have been a great addition that you probably would have determined your wife wanted to replace the MBP had you done research.:rolleyes:-

    -Was it the 2 inches of screen?-

    -but without the heat on the lap or the fragility of moving a spinning drive around-


    -that's actually really funny and I'm sorry the Air wasn't good enough to replace your wifer's 13"MBP for running Aperture. Those extra 2GB should help in that were you to exchange-
  12. TheAllStar macrumors member


    Oct 21, 2010
  13. itommyboy macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2009
    Titletown USA
    I'm not so sure if I had a most recent rev of a 13" MBP I would see reason to go with a MBA either. That being said I am able to chime in with my personal situation which should subjectively allow at least one good reason many will find the 13 inchers hit just the right spot. People such as myself who have been hanging on to older machines (specifically my 4,1 MBP read: early 2008 pre-unibody 15" MBP 2.4 Ghz C2D with the GeForce 8600 and 4GB of DDR2 RAM) most likely will find the 13" a very appealing option. From what I've seen and read and felt first hand I'll get:

    *Much smaller in both footprint and size - especially weight
    *Better higher screen resolution than compared to current 13" MBP
    *Better LED tech in said screen
    *Much much much better battery life (my MBP is on it's third battery - thanks to Applecare they keep sending them - and I'm lucky if I get 3 1/2 hours surfing on wifi)
    *Essentially as fast if not faster than the 15" MBP I'm comparing a max'd out 13" MBA to (4GB of RAM and the 2.13 Ghz cpu)
    *Newer faster more efficient RAM
    *Newer much faster flash drive storage
    *More drive space believe it or not vs my MBP's 200GB HDD
    * Don't really need to mention the cool factor but I think we all agree it does indeed exist and to many it does indeed matter

    When you are sitting where I'm sitting, the 13 inchers max'd out look like a really nice all around "upgrade" - trimming much of the older tech fat and bringing in just enough new lean tech to make me jump. In my as thorough as you can do in store comparisons yesterday, the 13" MBP just felt big and heavy, nor did the screen look nearly as good.

    These are the reasons I'm going for it all with a max'd 13 incher and the reasons I'm confident I won't look back for a second with disappointment.

    I think it really comes to down to the new gadget goggles and people needing to be honest with themselves. Are you buying in just to buy in and have the latest, or are you buying in because it's going to be a more useful positive experience than you are currently getting from the tech in question of upgrade?
  14. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    You can't type in the dark?
  15. cleric macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    Why would you have a computer without an ssd?
  16. Fanboyofnothing macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2010
    I type perfectly fine in any light. I was answering the question of "who types in the dark?" As if it were some rare event.
  17. cleric macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    You just got owned by the front page btw.
  18. TxMacAddict macrumors 6502

    Feb 4, 2008
    The current problem with the 13" MBP is the now outdated screen. The new 13" MBA is a sneak peak at the new 13" MBP screen resolution which will be 1440x900. The current 1280x800 on the MBP looks very pixelated imo... and was a big hangup for me in my MBP purchasing decision.
  19. AAPLaday Guest


    Aug 6, 2008
    Manchester UK
    I cant no. It wouldn't stop me from getting an Air though. I would like to have it but meh, maybe next revision we shall see it.

    Agreed. I alway felt with my Unibody MacBook that the screen res was too low for a screen of that size. In terms of laptop size it was great however and i much preferred it over the 15"
  20. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Show me a 500GB laptop SSD for less than $100.
  21. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    Did I miss something? I thought it was still 2010...

    Anyways on the profile, I tend to agree, it would be nice if they could shrink the bezel on the screen and give it a smaller footprint than the MBP.

    As far as battery goes I am going to wait on some tests by Engadget or Ars Technica. My dad has a MBP 13" 2010 and he typically gets around 7 hours in real world usage (it can be pushed to 10 with lowest brightness plus very light usage), and since the 7 hours of the MBA was on a stricter test I think it should fair about the same.
  22. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    I just got my first air 13 inch today and LOVE it. No way would I upgrade to a 13 inch MBP. Too heavy and thick for travel.
  23. urkel thread starter macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    Ha. Ive been married enough to know when to back off. In this case we went to the store and tried everything to see what fits her best. One thing about big box stores is that computers "feel" very different in-store than on-couch though.

    This is our research stage. As Premium Best Buy Rewards members then we get restock fees waived, so i can return this with no hassle. We're giving the MBA13 a shot and these are my opinions on it.

    As for judging by commercials, you cant blame consumers on that one. When a demo is made of someone lifting a lid of a notebook with one finger then it's not wrong to assume you CAN do that without the base coming up along with it. That's obviously not a selling point to me but its just an example of what the real world sees vs what tech savvy people like this board "knows".

    Anyway, I just thought I would share a user opinion on a new apple product. I apologize to all those who got offended by a less than complimentary perspective and IF we replace it with a different Macbook then I'll be more diligent on keeping things positive. :)
  24. AAPLaday Guest


    Aug 6, 2008
    Manchester UK
    Still keeping the iPad though i hope ;)
  25. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Absolutely! They each have their own purpose. When I'm not in school (my school is online) and I travel, the iPad goes with me. The iPad is also my lay in bed/ take it around the house internet device.

    The macbook air on the other hand I will take with me when I travel during class, and I can also take it around the house to work on my schoolwork instead of being tied to my desk. My school work requires things that are not doable on the iPad (Maya, ZBrush, XCode, Unreal Engine, etc).

    I can also take my laptop to my friends studio and hang out with her all day and do school work ;)

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