Switched from MBP13 2010 to MBA13 six months ago.

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Kajje, May 7, 2014.

  1. Kajje macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2012
    There are many questions on the forum about whether the MBA is the right choice for them. I share my personal experience - hopefully it's useful for somebody.

    Old config:
    MBP 13, i5 late 2011 with 16GB/320GB. As this was my first Mac, I had VMWare with XP active most of the time.

    New config since 6 months:
    MBA 13, 2013 model, base model, 4GB/128GB. Forced myself not to use XP anymore.

    My location didn't allow me to have a 8GB (nor the 256GB) model.

    My profile:
    Mobile worker, full time web development, casual usage of Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash. Used the XP environment because I was used to it: Notepad ++ and WAMP.

    I maxed out the memory to 16GB just because it seemed too cheap not to do it.

    My concerns:
    1) Is 4GB enough?
    2) Is 128GB enough?

    My verdict:
    I switched my development environment to Sublime Text 2 and MAMP Pro. It was quite a shock, but after a couple of weeks I wouldn't go back. I'm using Alfred to switch quickly between Sublime and Firefox.

    For larger files and timemachine I have a couple of external WD Passport USB 3.0. Fast!

    The switch from HD to SSD is incredible. Fast!

    The 128GB makes me more secure in what I have on my internal disk. Most of the time I have less than 20GB free disk space but it never was a huge issue.

    The switch from 16GB to 4GB didn't seem to have slowed down my system. I don't use my VMWare anymore - this is obviously a huge thing.

    VMWare obviously also affects the battery life. I went from 2 hours to 8-10 hours. Many times I leave my charger at home (or I leave it in my car just for emergencies)

    Overall system speed feels a huge lot faster.

    I've been working on a retina machine for a couple days. It's more beautiful but for web development it is not necessary. Honestly, if Apple releases a rMBA, I would still go for a normal MBA when I renew my machine. Battery life is more important for me.

    I type a lot. A huge lot. In the beginning I felt that the MBA keyboard was of less quality compared with the MBP. After a couple of weeks this problem faded away though.

    Sometimes I ask myself the question: would I switch to a 8GB or a 256GB machine? Yes of course, in my life I always wanted to have the best and newest equipment. But then again, no, this base model really does everything I can wish for.
  2. girlvsplanet macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2014
    I am right there with you. I switched from a 2010 MBP with 500gb to a 2013 4gb/128gb MBA a few weeks ago, and I am loving it. I decided that I could force myself to make due with the base model, since the SSD provided a big speed boost of my old hard drive, and honestly, most of what would take up space on my machine was movies and photos. I use Spotify so I don't store much music anymore. All my movies/TV shows are on a 1TB drive attached to my Airport Extreme at home. And all of my photos are on an external 1TB portable hard drive. Most of the time, I have no reason to have those files on my laptop, so most of my space is used up by applications. I have Photoshop and Lightroom and I'm still only using about 50gb of the 128gb. And if I need any videos to come with me, I just copy them over, or sync them to my 32gb iPad Mini and either watch them on the iPad or Airplay them to the laptop. Works great for me, and I love the portability and lasting battery power.


    Oh, also... I use cloud storage for a lot of things to save space too. I do have a Box account with 50gb that I got for free as a student (switched to from Dropbox since I had more space with Box). I only use about 5gb of it, so I keep it synced with my MBA. I also have a MediaFire account ($25 for 1TB for a year) that I used to store stuff as well. This one I don't keep synced to the MBA, but with their apps, it's nice to be able to access anything in it via MBA, iPad, or iPhone.
  3. Meister, May 7, 2014
    Last edited: May 8, 2014

    Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Thx for sharing the real world experience. I can confirm everything.

    A lot of people just look at the specs and do not have a grasp of the excellent performance of those new macbooks.
    I bought a mba 4/256 and rmbp 8/256 and I am startled about how well they perform.
  4. LiAh Sheep macrumors newbie

    LiAh Sheep

    Nov 3, 2013
    Hong Kong
    I made the transition five months ago. I remembered when I came here to evaluate if I should buy the then-new 2013 MBA. I feel I should contribute back to the forum after making the right decision.

    Here are my configs:
    Old: MBP 2010, Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz, 8G/256G SSD
    New: MBA 2013, Haswell i5 1.3GHz, 8G/256G “Flash”

    General Usage: Web/mobile app development, constantly running local web server, occasionally loading iOS & Android emulators

    Actually, I don’t feel much difference in speed during daily usage. I’m not sure... may be because I’ve upgraded my old MBP with an SSD? I believe the speed of the hard drive is the major bottleneck of a computer nowadays...

    Battery Life
    The improvement in battery life in 2013 MBA is significant. Yes, 12 hours of battery life is real, and it’s more than enough for a full day of working outside.
    I didn’t believe it at first and brought with me a charger for the first few days. Now I just come back home every day with 25%/3h+ of battery in my MBA... Unbelievable!

    Weight (or mass)
    The difference in heaviness is greatly appreciated too. Part of my daily routine involves fixing bugs on a train, standing. (The trains in Hong Kong is always crowded...) I often felt fatigued after holding the 2.13 kg MBP on one arm, typing on the other hand for just 10 minutes. Now with the 1.35 kg MBA, I can utilise every minute of my commute and fix bugs on the go.
    What’s more! The increased battery life also lets me bring one less charger, which further reduces my total burden.

    If you’re a mobile person like me, the upgrade is worth it. You get 2.5x battery life and 35% less heaviness. However, if you’re mainly using the computer at home, I guess you should try to upgrade your hard drive to an SSD. You’ll be astonished how fast your computer can be with a 4-year old machine!
  5. MacVibe macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2009
    I am currently transitioning for portability/battery life reasons. I have a 2011 MBP with 8 GB ram and 512 GB SSD. My new air is 13.3 in and 4GB ram and 128 GB SSD. I just got this last week when Best Buy put them on sale.

    1) The MBP screen is much richer. I have done the color/advanced calibration on the new Air and it helps, but is still very lacking. I like the upgrade in screen resolution, but the colors (and black bezel perhaps) on the MBP look so much better when side by side.

    2) I don't have enough hard drive space for my windows and linux vms. I don't know if this will be an issue yet. I did install Wine Bottler to run one specific pc app and, to my delight, it works! I only did this because hard drive space is tight- installing a vm for windows would have been 30 GB (complete OS and updates, applications, and a little room to grow) and this Wine Bottle install is less than 1 GB.

    3) I got a StorEDGE SD card for extra storage and it barely sticks out of the slot, very well designed. I have placed my itunes library on there and it works great, although I haven't used it much.

    4) I got a $30 satechi dongle that has three USB 3 ports and an ethernet port (important for work) and it is slick.

    So, I am optimistic that the downsizing of ram and hard disk will work out okay. I just wish I hadn't been using a MBP screen so I wouldn't be critical.
  6. Bah-Bah macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2013
    I bought a refurb 11" 2013 base model a couple of weeks ago since I thought they were a great deal.

    I have a 2011 MBP which I use for heavier lifting, 3D work mostly. I wanted an Air so that I could always carry a laptop around with me for coding, writing, surfing etc and I'm really impressed with it. Memory management has exceeded my expectations completely. At a push, I can render a scene on this machine which requires 14GB of RAM on my more powerful Macs. It's not super quick but the use of the SSD as virtual RAM seems to get it through, I guess because of being PCIE.

    I have no regrets about buying this machine at all, it's great. 4GB of RAM seems to be plenty when used in conjunction with the SSD.

Share This Page