The 2017 MBA still ain't bad

tommyparadise

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 18, 2017
26
23
New Zealand
Excellent keyboard, insane battery life, good enough for average non media work tasks. Magsafe. Physical function keys. Just picked up a new one cheap as they try to get rid of stock.

Came from a 2018 MBP 13, which never felt right - crashed, completely faulty keyboard, and a touchbar I never personally clicked with.

Anyone else jumped in a time machine back 3 years and gone with the last of the magsafe MBAs?
 
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jgorman

macrumors regular
Jul 16, 2019
185
101
I have not jumped back, but I recognize it as a top design. It spawned a whole generation of MacBook Air killers into the market, like the HP Elitebook, the Thinkpad X1 Carbon and the Dell XPS 13.

I still think magsafe is the best charging design overall, even though it can be more expensive to replace a magsafe charger than a USB-C charger.
 
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sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,671
9,388
Prescott Valley, AZ
Excellent keyboard, insane battery life, good enough for average non media work tasks. Magsafe. Physical function keys. Just picked up a new one cheap as they try to get rid of stock.

Came from a 2018 MBP 13, which never felt right - crashed, completely faulty keyboard, and a touchbar I never personally clicked with.

Anyone else jumped in a time machine back 3 years and gone with the last of the magsafe MBAs?
I never jumped forward to be in a position to jump back. I jumped from a 2014 11" MBA to a 2017 13" MBA (new in 2019). My current MBA is the last Apple notebook I'll own. Apple isn't offering anything now (or for the foreseeable future) that interests me. But I am happy for those who are enjoying Apple's latest and greatest.
 

Tekguy0

macrumors 6502
Jan 19, 2020
260
295
It isn't bad in the way that the 2015 wasn't bad. It just wasn't great by 2017 standards. Huge bezels and a slightly faster 5th gen CPU in the base model, same i7 in the top model, everything else unchanged. But Magsafe to USB-C is really a step backwards.
 
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macintoshmac

macrumors 68040
May 13, 2010
3,861
3,424
I’m currently on 2017 MBA. The new notebooks coming with scissor-mechanism keyboard plus the recent doubling of base storage is tempting.
 

Macyourdayy

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2011
317
141
I’m currently on 2017 MBA. The new notebooks coming with scissor-mechanism keyboard plus the recent doubling of base storage is tempting.
Except - TouchBar, Catalina, no MagSafe, only 5 ports, not 8. Too little, too late. Not forgetting that the price greatly increased because more expensive and unreliable equipment must be purchased/adapted/troubleshot, the devices have greatly increased in price, critical apps that moved to 64 bit are now subscription and you have to pay now for future storage, or suffer shuffling or hanging bits off it all the time.
 

CheesePuff

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2008
875
578
Southwest Florida, USA
Except - TouchBar, Catalina, no MagSafe, only 5 ports, not 8. Too little, too late. Not forgetting that the price greatly increased because more expensive and unreliable equipment must be purchased/adapted/troubleshot, the devices have greatly increased in price, critical apps that moved to 64 bit are now subscription and you have to pay now for future storage, or suffer shuffling or hanging bits off it all the time.
There is no Touch Bar on the MBA, and they have 2 ports not 5 or 8 (not even the MBP has 5)? The price of the 13" MBA has always been $999 or more. Not sure why you're spewing off all of this incorrect information. What 'critical apps' have moved to subscription besides Adobe, which was years ago?
 

macintoshmac

macrumors 68040
May 13, 2010
3,861
3,424
Except - TouchBar, Catalina, no MagSafe, only 5 ports, not 8. Too little, too late. Not forgetting that the price greatly increased because more expensive and unreliable equipment must be purchased/adapted/troubleshot, the devices have greatly increased in price, critical apps that moved to 64 bit are now subscription and you have to pay now for future storage, or suffer shuffling or hanging bits off it all the time.
You are way too salty about this. They are a corporation. They will give the bare minimum they think people will live with, at the maximum price they can extract from people. It is on us to see if or not they fit our bill, can't be salty about it.

I bought an MBP 2011 15" when it came out. In 2016, got a 13" MBP with Touch Bar. In 2018, sold that off and here I am on a display-piece (and showroom-repaired) MBA 2017, happier than I was with 2016 MBP. It is on us to see which machine we can live with and at what price. Because this machine has signs of use and had its MLB replaced, I got it dirt cheap, at $550. Very happy with it for my requirements.

MBA never had the Touch Bar. 8 ports? I do not know which generation of MBA you are talking about that ever had 8 ports, let alone 5. MBA 2017 has 3 ports - 1 Thunderbolt, 2 USB. There is an SD card slot and a headphone jack slot, and a MagSafe charging adapter.

About apps that moved to 64 bit are now subscription - how is this connected to MacBook Air 2017/ 2018/ 2020 discussion?
 

cedwhatev

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2011
312
35
Canada
I was of the same opinion with my 2015 11" MacBook Air. I had it maxed out at 8GB/512GB, and was absolutely convinced it would be the last MacBook I would own until they brought out something that I liked.

My wife was due for an upgrade, so the 2019 MBA refurbs were going for dastardly low prices, so I grabbed her an 8/256. She isn't an avid laptop user, she uses her phone more, so I was able to get some time in to play around with it and WOW... changed my mind completely. I mean, I've gone to BestBuy or Staples and tried out the new Macs, but it's way different when you actually have it on your lap and actually use it. Anyways, long story short, I sold my 11" and bought a 2019 refurb.

I've used nothing but the 11" MBA since 2011, it was my go-to laptop, but making the leap to a 13" with a much more noticeably better screen, it makes a world of difference. The 3rd generation butterfly keyboard is excellent to type on (the keyboard issue isn't a make or break for me) and I've heard the fan come on once in two weeks... only because I ran flash.. ew.

But to the OP's point, I still totally agree.. the 2017 MBA is still a solid laptop, and will be for years to come.. I'm just letting you know that taking the plunge to a new one isn't so bad. ;)
 
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macintoshmac

macrumors 68040
May 13, 2010
3,861
3,424
I was of the same opinion with my 2015 11" MacBook Air. I had it maxed out at 8GB/512GB, and was absolutely convinced it would be the last MacBook I would own until they brought out something that I liked.

My wife was due for an upgrade, so the 2019 MBA refurbs were going for dastardly low prices, so I grabbed her an 8/256. She isn't an avid laptop user, she uses her phone more, so I was able to get some time in to play around with it and WOW... changed my mind completely. I mean, I've gone to BestBuy or Staples and tried out the new Macs, but it's way different when you actually have it on your lap and actually use it. Anyways, long story short, I sold my 11" and bought a 2019 refurb.

I've used nothing but the 11" MBA since 2011, it was my go-to laptop, but making the leap to a 13" with a much more noticeably better screen, it makes a world of difference. The 3rd generation butterfly keyboard is excellent to type on (the keyboard issue isn't a make or break for me) and I've heard the fan come on once in two weeks... only because I ran flash.. ew.

But to the OP's point, I still totally agree.. the 2017 MBA is still a solid laptop, and will be for years to come.. I'm just letting you know that taking the plunge to a new one isn't so bad. ;)
The 2020 MBA quad-core is seriously tempting.
 

tommyparadise

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 18, 2017
26
23
New Zealand
If not for the the reported thermals i would have jumped at the 2020s - especially with the 2 terabyte option. I'm hoping they update it with apples own chip and cooling next year then I might go again since i invested so little into the 2017.

Another reflection after a few weeks in- the MBA form factor I prefer so much more than the 13 mbp for long typing sessions with its wedge shape that your palms don't get dug into. At this stage for a laptop it's either MBA or a larger 16 inch MBP.

15+ inch air would be the ultimate.
 

CheesePuff

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2008
875
578
Southwest Florida, USA
If not for the the reported thermals i would have jumped at the 2020s - especially with the 2 terabyte option. I'm hoping they update it with apples own chip and cooling next year then I might go again since i invested so little into the 2017.

Another reflection after a few weeks in- the MBA form factor I prefer so much more than the 13 mbp for long typing sessions with its wedge shape that your palms don't get dug into. At this stage for a laptop it's either MBA or a larger 16 inch MBP.

15+ inch air would be the ultimate.
Check out the macOS 10.15.5 update thread, many reports that the fan controls are much improved and do not come on nearly as much.
 

2ilent8cho

macrumors 6502
Mar 9, 2016
359
1,014
I have 5 Macbooks i switch between almost daily, 2012 Air, 2015 Air, 2013 15" Pro, 2017 Macbook and 2019 Macbook Pro 13" so i am always time travelling between Apple's designs.

2019 13" Pro with touchbar is my favourite to use, but my older style Air's are absolute work horses , very well designed and i have nothing bad to say about them. They do look a little dated now and i wish the newer Macbooks had MagSafe, and a glowing Apple like the older Airs. Being able to swap the SSD or Battery on them with ease is a nice bonus, though i have never actually done it on my own Airs.

We have about 200 of the 2013,2014, 2015 and 2017 model Airs deployed at work and i can see them lasting a long time to come and nobody complains about them despite some having them for almost 8 years.

Wish Apple had kept the older style Air around at an even lower price point, maybe £600/$600 to try and tempt more people to Mac.
 
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Seanm87

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2014
985
1,284
How does it feel going back to a non retina screen?

I remember when I first got an iPhone 4 and the retina screen was night and day better. I couldn't even imagine going back. I've never had a non retina MacBook though so curious what its like.
 

macintoshmac

macrumors 68040
May 13, 2010
3,861
3,424
How does it feel going back to a non retina screen?

I remember when I first got an iPhone 4 and the retina screen was night and day better. I couldn't even imagine going back. I've never had a non retina MacBook though so curious what its like.
I went from a 1440x900 MBP 15 2011 to a 2560x1600 MBP 13 2016 and I didn’t quite like it. I then went to a 1440x900 MBA 2017 that I have currently.

It isn’t as bad as people claim to be, but then again, this is a subjective experience. You feel what you feel. For me, I adjusted pretty quickly and actually felt the 1440 MBA easier on my eyes than the retina MBP.

EDIT (July 2, 2020)

With macOS 11 Big Sur beta 1, readability has improved on non-retina screens, at least that is what my subjective opinion is. Happy with text rendering on macOS 11 on MBA 2017.
 
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CheesePuff

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2008
875
578
Southwest Florida, USA
I went from a 1440x900 MBP 15 2011 to a 2560x1800 MBP 13 2016 and I didn’t quite like it. I then went to a 1440x900 MBA 2017 that I have currently.

It isn’t as bad as people claim to be, but then again, this is a subjective experience. You feel what you feel. For me, I adjusted pretty quickly and actually felt the 1440 MBA easier on my eyes than the retina MBP.

I feel that the Retina display looks best on 15”.
Starting in 2016 Apple made the default resolution on the MacBook Air/Pro displays not be 2:1 scaling, so it was not as sharp as previous models. You can change that though, which I do, and it makes a big difference. Of course you lose a bit of screen real estate, but I'm fine with that for better performance and sharpness.
 
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macintoshmac

macrumors 68040
May 13, 2010
3,861
3,424
Starting in 2016 Apple made the default resolution on the MacBook Air/Pro displays not be 2:1 scaling, so it was not as sharp as previous models. You can change that though, which I do, and it makes a big difference. Of course you lose a bit of screen real estate, but I'm fine with that for better performance and sharpness.
True, I did that, it helped, but I never wanted a $2500 laptop to do 1280x800.

I bought a 1440x900 MBA (like my 1440x900 MBP) for $550 instead.
 

Thoradin

macrumors regular
May 18, 2020
110
146
Yorkshire, England
Picked up a cheap 2017 air a few weeks ago for my other half and it’s a lovely little thing.
She’s only using it for online classes and writing essays. But after playing around with it I’m seriously tempted to sell off my current MSI laptop for a MacBook, although it would need to be a pro I suppose for my photo/video editing and multiple virtual machines.
 
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Micky Do

macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2012
1,972
2,447
a South Pacific island
Excellent keyboard, insane battery life, good enough for average non media work tasks. Magsafe. Physical function keys. Just picked up a new one cheap as they try to get rid of stock.

Came from a 2018 MBP 13, which never felt right - crashed, completely faulty keyboard, and a touchbar I never personally clicked with.

Anyone else jumped in a time machine back 3 years and gone with the last of the magsafe MBAs?
Was in a shop today, where they said that the 2017 MacBook Air had been their best seller in the Mac line-up, but that they had just sold the last one they had, the one that was on display. It had a sheet of paper taped over the screen.

Basic, rugged, reliable..... it is all many folks want of a laptop. I have one that I got shortly before the 2018 arrived on the scene, and have been well pleased with it..... Initially supplementing a Mac Mini desktop, but now (with storage increased to 500 GB) my mainstay for the itinerant time being, until I get to be able to settle down somewhere and set up the Mini again...... hopefully sooner rather than later.
 
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