Still a great option in 2017

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by CE3, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. CE3, Aug 5, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017

    CE3 macrumors 65816

    Nov 26, 2014
    I’m probably the most tech savvy person in my intermediate family, so over the past month I’ve been helping my niece look into laptop options for for college this fall.

    We looked at everything from Windows to MacBook Pro, and even iPad Pro before finally noticing the latest Air models. I recommend the i7 512 configuration and suggested she go to an Apple Store to compare with the MacBook 12" & Pro models. She decided to go with the Air and chose the i5 256 configuration.

    Yesterday we all got together to celebrate her 18th birthday, so I had the chance to check out the Air for myself and help her get set up with a few things.

    As a rMBP owner, I was fully expecting to hate the display, but I actually found it to be quite decent! I do a lot of visually demanding work on my rMBP, so while it wouldn't be ideal for me, it’s still plenty sharp and bright enough for basic everyday needs, and you get amazing battery life as a bonus. Performance felt quite snappy too, and those standard ports & features like magsafe should come in handy at the university.

    I was worried I might have steered her in the wrong direction, but now I think this machine is going to be a great fit for her. The MacBook Air still offers an excellent balance of quality, price and performance in 2017.
  2. dwfaust, Aug 5, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017

    dwfaust macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    The MBA gets a lot of crap for the non-retina screen... but for the right user, it's a great little machine. It's more powerful that the new MacBook... more ports, more CPU power, cheaper price, better battery life, and a better keyboard in the opinion of most... and it still has the MagSafe connector...

    Yeah, it's a non-retina screen... but it has a lot of pluses over the MB, and, frankly, it's lighter and more portable than the MBP.

    You (and your niece) done good. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
  3. Pugly macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2016
    I think the MBA reached the ideal form of a conventional laptop in the last couple of iterations, and is kind of a victim of it's own success. Apple needed to keep the screen low end to make the MBP a better buy. But for those that don't need the screen, can't notice the screen quality it's really not a big deal.

    I switch from using iPhones/iPads retina screens to the MBA, and I really never hate using the screen. I do notice the high res when I switch, but I never feel like I'm limited by not having it. It's a nice to have feature. If I had to pick magsafe vs retina screen, I think magsafe wins out.

    I have a 2015 model, and I have nothing I do right now that would need more than this computer. I use mine for audio production on Logic Pro X and it's been great for everything I want. I'm kind of curious about what limits I have. Maybe encoding 4k video/gaming is the only computer task that really needs lots of power anymore... because I don't think audio needs a highend (maybe for the super high end stuff you do).

    For those that need/love macOS, and also want the ports/magsafe/battery life/value... it's still a great computer. It could be better, but Apple has chosen not to improve it beyond what it is.

    With a quality IPS screen in this, even a lowres one, there's very little reason to get a 13" rMBP.
  4. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Agreed: I have a MBA (a CTO that I ordered in 2014 - 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, and a core i7) and it is a fantastic computer, fast, reliable, powerful, portable and with a superb battery life.

    I would not trade that for a retina screen and less power and battery life.
  5. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I have a 2013 i7/8gb/512 MBA and it works well with Logic and Final Cut Pro. However rendering is twice as fast on my 2102 quad core i7 Mini Server, and the fans kick into high more easily on the MBA when you run these high end programs.

    Not much of a limitation, and well worth it for the portability, variety of ports, keyboard and battery life. But there is definitely a difference, even working with standard definition video, especially if you are rendering something CPU intensive, such as de-interlacing.

    I was quite happy with my MBA(s) from 2011 through 2016 for occasional video projects. But when I started working on some larger projects last year, a more powerful Mac (with even more ports for peripherals) is nice. :)
  6. speedyraf macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2007
    Well, I just bought a 2015 base model MBA at a great price for many of the same reasons people have named here. The MacBook Pro and MacBook don't fit my needs at this point.
  7. SoIsays macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2011
    I went to the applestore this weekend and started typing on all the macbook pros. The MBA keyboard was the only one that felt sure and solid. All the other retina MBPs felt hollow and cheap, especially the 13" rMBP. The 15" rMBP felt more solid but still hollow. You'll know it when you type on it back to back with the MBA.
  8. Pugly macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2016
    I never have any problem editing in real time in Logic, I guess if I was exporting audio all the time I would want a faster system. I had the 2011 quad server mini, and I thought the air would be close enough in performance... geekbench scores were 8000 to 6800.

    I've been ripping and encoding DVDs and I could use more speed here too. The CPU goes to 100% and hovers around 2.6ghz.

    But all these tasks are still possible, it's just a matter of time and hearing the fans.
  9. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    That's not bad. But my 2012 quad mini has a geekbench score around 12000, so that makes a difference. But the i7 MacBook Airs are still surprisingly powerful, considering their size. :)
  10. Rocko99991 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 25, 2017
    I don't mind the screen except when browsing with a lot of text based sites. It's pretty easy to see the pixelated fonts. That being said that is really the only downside to the air. I love the shape and design.

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