The Macbook Air - the gold standard for all laptops


placidity44

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2015
367
166
I've had a 15" rMBP and I absolutely love it but there's just something about the MBA. I've used retina displays for the last year and a half but I still don't find the 1440x900 panel bad in the MBA. It's completely usable. The Air is thin and light...just not as thin and light as the rMB and it just goes and goes and goes. 12 hours is still an absolutely remarkable feat.
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,218
1,584
If they added a retina display to the 11" and made it 12" I'd snap their hands off. I miss my 12" PowerBook
 

Steve121178

macrumors 601
Apr 13, 2010
4,943
3,990
Bedfordshire, UK
With a little extra barely unnoticeable weight, the 13" rMBP for me is a vastly superior machine. It even has a smaller footprint.

MBA is still a great machine but the screen is not something that is acceptable on a premium priced notebook in 2015.
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,298
2,305
East of Eden
The video is a gross over-simplification, but what do you expect in just over two minutes? :rolleyes: I'll go a little out on a limb and say that none of Apple's current laptops are a bad pick for most people. We love to get all worked up here about the differences between the various models, but in real life, almost any of them would work find for almost everyone... ;)
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Mar 11, 2013
6,729
2,926
Here
I was going to make a thread on this actually. It struck me kind of funny that here the MacBook Air is being heralded as one of the best laptops you can buy and a picture of a modern laptop, yet is the most ignored laptop by Apple.

The MacBook Air is still an nice machine that interest me, but the screen quality is unacceptable for a $1,000 computer. Not that it isn't retina, but the quality of the TN panel itself is sub par.
-----

One thing I don't understand though, unless money is a huge factor or you just want an 11.6" screen, why would you get the 13" MBA over the 13" MacBook Pro? It's only a 0.5 pound heavier with a smaller footprint and a better screen plus a faster processor. I suppose batter life could be one factor.
 

jdechko

macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2004
4,065
202
I was going to make a thread on this actually. It struck me kind of funny that here the MacBook Air is being heralded as one of the best laptops you can buy and a picture of a modern laptop, yet is the most ignored laptop by Apple.
I wouldn't say it's being ignored. Certainly not in the way other products have been ignored (ie the Mac Mini, Mac Pro, and every iPod).

I think that both the Air and retina Pro laptop lines are mature products. They're both in the middle of their design cycles (the Air a little more so). They continue to receive yearly spec updates as CPU & GPU updates allow. They are very well established in the minds of the customers, so Apple doesn't have to spend a lot of time talking about them. And in fact, I think the 13" Air is widely considered the default Apple laptop. Don't know what to get? 13" Air.

Not only that, it's still a beautiful object to look at.

The MacBook, in contrast, is the new hotness. It's on the front cover of all the magazines. It also has the farthest to go with respect to revisions, upgrades, and getting a foothold in the minds of customers. It is, at this point, a machine full of compromises. The only debatable compromise on the Air is the screen.
 

organic bond

macrumors regular
May 5, 2007
167
122
I was going to make a thread on this actually. It struck me kind of funny that here the MacBook Air is being heralded as one of the best laptops you can buy and a picture of a modern laptop, yet is the most ignored laptop by Apple.

The MacBook Air is still an nice machine that interest me, but the screen quality is unacceptable for a $1,000 computer. Not that it isn't retina, but the quality of the TN panel itself is sub par.
-----

One thing I don't understand though, unless money is a huge factor or you just want an 11.6" screen, why would you get the 13" MBA over the 13" MacBook Pro? It's only a 0.5 pound heavier with a smaller footprint and a better screen plus a faster processor. I suppose batter life could be one factor.
Because:

1) 0.5 pound does matter. Similarly, the new MB feels much lighter than an MBA, which in fact is quite amazing in that regard.

2) It's thicker and that front edge bothers me. I love the MBA design.

3) The actual real estate of an MBPr is smaller. I need vertical resolution.

4) As you said, battery life. I care about that.

5) I hardly need more power. I also have an iMac.

6) A retina screen, although indeed nice, does cause some some issue with Windows, or its software to be precise. I use Parallels and I verified that.

That said, I know other people would disagree. But I'm not alone. This is just to answer to your question. I've just bought my second MBA, the first one was in 2010. I started using computers in 1981, the MBA is by far the best one I've ever owned. And I'm not at all bothered by its screen, although I agree it could and probably should be better. I thought a lot about which one to buy. I ended up trying the new MB, but its battery life was way too short. Nice screen, but I don't really need it. It's a jewel, but it's not there yet. Until now, MBA hands down.
 

DavidLynch

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2015
753
232
I think it's a near-perfect computer in its price range. The retina screen would be nice, but not at compromising either battery life or price. Apple has laptops for people that care more about the display than cost or battery life. I think if anything, if they inched the price down another $50-100 with next year's model (which I think they will) it really could be the gold standard student laptop.
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,408
6,974
Painting a turd ;)
:D

I agree there's no doubt the MacBook Air design is a classic and even lives on in the rMB somewhat. If only it had been given a Retina display and rMBP-sized footprint with smaller bezels. Oh well, at least I didn't lose as much by going with a late 2008 model instead.

However, I don't see a place for the Air in Apple's future lineup. The rMB will be there for those who don't mind sacrificing ports and power for something really thin/light, and a slightly slimmed-down 13" rMBP will be there for those who need those things.

This is of course only speculation, but it makes a lot of sense.
 
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Cheffy Dave

macrumors 68030
:D

I agree there's no doubt the MacBook Air design is a classic and even lives on in the rMB somewhat. If only it had been given a Retina display and rMBP-sized footprint with smaller bezels. Oh well, at least I didn't lose as much by going with a late 2008 model instead.

However, I don't see a place for the Air in Apple's future lineup. The rMB will be there for those who don't mind sacrificing ports and power for something really thin/light, and a slightly slimmed-down 13" rMBP will be there for those who need those things.

This is of course only speculation, but it makes a lot of sense.

I think, you'll find the 11 & 13 " with Skylake AND Retina screens, along with even faster RAM, to make HOARDS of cash for the Larder, while the "NEW" MB grows up, then retire it, after one FANTASTICAL run
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,298
2,305
East of Eden
I think, you'll find the 11 & 13 " with Skylake AND Retina screens, along with even faster RAM, to make HOARDS of cash for the Larder, while the "NEW" MB grows up, then retire it, after one FANTASTICAL run
The MBA goes retina and the rMB gets discontinued? Uh, yeah, we'll be seeing that in 2016, along with a big speech by Tim Cook at an Apple event about how the years and huge R&D that went into the rMB was a mistake that he hopes Apple shareholders will forgive him and Apple for writing off as a loss. :rolleyes:
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,575
30,779
The Far Horizon
I was going to make a thread on this actually. It struck me kind of funny that here the MacBook Air is being heralded as one of the best laptops you can buy and a picture of a modern laptop, yet is the most ignored laptop by Apple.

The MacBook Air is still an nice machine that interest me, but the screen quality is unacceptable for a $1,000 computer. Not that it isn't retina, but the quality of the TN panel itself is sub par.
-----

One thing I don't understand though, unless money is a huge factor or you just want an 11.6" screen, why would you get the 13" MBA over the 13" MacBook Pro? It's only a 0.5 pound heavier with a smaller footprint and a better screen plus a faster processor. I suppose batter life could be one factor.
I was about to respond but organic bond below, beat me to it.

In essence, for some of us, that half a pound of weight does matter - I am a short, gym allergic, middle aged female who travels an awful lot, and the weight factor initially was the main reason I bought my first MBA.

Actually, I used to have a 15" MBP and frankly, it was an uncomfortable pain to travel with.

Besides, I value portability, power, speed, reliability, large memory, and battery life, (plus ports), all of which the MBA has in spades. While gorgeous, yes, the retina screen is not worth sacrificing other elements or features that I value more, and not only is it not a deal-breaker, it is not even a necessity.

When the MBA comes with a retina screen, - but retaining the features that currently make it such an outstanding computer - then I'll buy a MBA with a retina screen.


Because:

1) 0.5 pound does matter. Similarly, the new MB feels much lighter than an MBA, which in fact is quite amazing in that regard.

2) It's thicker and that front edge bothers me. I love the MBA design.

3) The actual real estate of an MBPr is smaller. I need vertical resolution.

4) As you said, battery life. I care about that.

5) I hardly need more power. I also have an iMac.

6) A retina screen, although indeed nice, does cause some some issue with Windows, or its software to be precise. I use Parallels and I verified that.

That said, I know other people would disagree. But I'm not alone. This is just to answer to your question. I've just bought my second MBA, the first one was in 2010. I started using computers in 1981, the MBA is by far the best one I've ever owned. And I'm not at all bothered by its screen, although I agree it could and probably should be better. I thought a lot about which one to buy. I ended up trying the new MB, but its battery life was way too short. Nice screen, but I don't really need it. It's a jewel, but it's not there yet. Until now, MBA hands down.
Excellent post, which sums up my position very well.

The retina screen would be nice to have, but it is not a priority, and I would certainly not consider buying a computer with a retina screen at the expense of the other features that are essential to me (portability, reliability, speed, power, memory, excellent battery, external ports…..)


I think it's a near-perfect computer in its price range. The retina screen would be nice, but not at compromising either battery life or price. Apple has laptops for people that care more about the display than cost or battery life. I think if anything, if they inched the price down another $50-100 with next year's model (which I think they will) it really could be the gold standard student laptop.
Agreed. To my mind, it is easily the best computer Apple have ever designed.

My current MBA has 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD and a Core i7 and it is an outstanding machine.


With the choices obvious, I just ordered a new MBA rather than the new MB. They're still promising better battery life on the Air. Retina? I wear bifocals and I'm old...I don't see it. I'm leaving a 13" MBP for the 13" MBA, btw. I want that form factor back.
Ah, very well said. As it happens, I wear glasses too, (varifocals) and - in common with yourself, - the retina screen is far from being a priority for me. For now, I can see perfectly well with what the 13" MBA gives me.

Indeed, until the advent of the retina, the screen of the MBA was regarded as one of the best that could be found on a laptop.
 

Shanghaichica

macrumors G4
Apr 8, 2013
11,114
7,509
UK
I bought my MBA just before the new MacBook was announced. However the MacBook was not something that I would have been interested in.

I have very limited computing needs and could probably have gotten by with my iPad but I'm not quite confidant enough to fully embrace that post PC era. Although on paper the new MacBook might suit someone like me I don't see the point of spending as much as the MacBook costs on laptop that will only get occasional use. In addition to this, it just doesn't make logical sense to buy the MacBook. If I was looking to spend that much I'd rather by a MacBook Pro which is much more powerful.

The MBA is my first Mac. I've had enough of windows laptops. They require too much maintenance and always start to play up after a few years. My dell laptop had so many problems in the end (frequently failed to start up, keyboard and mouse only worked occasionally) that I decided to retire it.

So I was interested in trying a Mac. As I own a few iPads and an iPhone I thought it would be a good idea to get a Mac. What steered me toward the MacBook Air mainly was that I owned a Samsung chromebook. Apart from the operating system it was basically a MacBook Air clone. I liked it so much. It had the perfect form factor. It was fast and I liked the track pad and keyboard which are modelled on the MacBook Air. So I thought why not just get the real thing. So that's why I ended up with the MBA and it's been perfect for me. Reasonably priced, has enough ports and I don't find the resolution a problem. I was mostly using my chromebook which has a TNT panel. My dell laptop only had 720 p display so I don't feel that I'm missing out.
 
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Skoal

macrumors 68000
Nov 4, 2009
1,614
402
The day they come out with a MacBook Pro in the new design that can compete with my 2013 MacBook pro I'm buying
 

BenTrovato

macrumors 68030
Jun 29, 2012
2,849
1,871
Canada
I enjoyed my 2012 MBA for a while. I preferred typing on it just a bit more than on the MBP. When the Air gets retina it can be the best laptop but until it does, the screen just doesn't compare.
 

jdechko

macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2004
4,065
202
So far there is nothing out there that beats the Air.
If you're talking only about battery life, that would be true.
I think the Air is the best all-around laptop you can buy in 2015. That takes into account performance, features, ports, weight, battery life, screen and price.

There are other laptops that easily beat the Air in every single one of these categories, but taken as an entire package, the case can be made that the Air is the best all-around computer. If someone had 800-1000 to spend and need a general purpose computer, the Air is a great machine.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,575
30,779
The Far Horizon
If you're talking only about battery life, that would be true.
Not only battery life.

For screen, yes, we have agreed, that the rMBP is better.

Maybe even the rMB, too, as there is no argument about the quality of its screen. However, that machine is so underpowered and lacking in specifications, (and ports) that I see it - rather like the 2008 first generation MBA - as something with potential that still needs several further generations of work before it will be a machine worth considering purchasing.

For power, the MBP - and I have had a MBP in the past, great machines, especially when used as an alternative desktop, but a nuisance - for me - to carry.

However, the thing about the MBA is that it hits a sweet spot where power, portability, speed, battery (and indeed, price) all combine.

Different machines are exceeding the MBA in certain, specific criteria; but - overall, - when adjudicating and comparing across the entire range of specifications of what make a great computer none touches the combination of qualities which - when, taken together - make the MBA - to my mind, easily one of the best computers Apple have ever made.

I am so impressed by them, that, as long as they are being made, I will have one for travel purposes.
 
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