Thinking of buying a MacBook Air

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Sothos, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. Sothos macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    I am having a bit of trouble deciding what to buy.

    I am a university student, so I switch frequently between classes. Portability is one of my priorities, so I am leaning toward the Air with the ff. specs:

    2.13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
    Nvidia 9400M Graphics Processor
    128GB Solid State Drive
    2GB RAM

    I have the following concerns:

    1. I will be creating the occasional video every now and then (sometimes it's needed for school), so will the system be able to handle that? It's just light editing and I don't mind if it's slow, but can just finish it. I also want to do some gaming, but I'm not too much into that.

    2. Is 2GB RAM enough for current processing needs and for the next two years? I don't like doing too much multitasking (makes you less productive.)

    3. I do not mind not having an optical drive as I have an external one. Will an LG optical drive work with the Air or do I need to purchase the SuperDrive?

    4. Is the screen really better than the one on the MBP 13"?

    5. I do not mind the lack of ports.

    6. I really prioritize portability, and price is not much of an issue.

    7. I might use it on a bed or couch, does it heat up that much?

    These considerations in place, should I buy a macbook air?

    Also, can someone provide a Microsoft OneNote substitute?
  2. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005
    macbook air IMO is the worst investment you can ever make on a computer. aside from aesthetics, its honestly has nothing else going for it. If I were you, I would just buy a Dell Mini and just install Mac OSX on it. Its 10% of the price, better battery life, smaller, a little bit thicker and if you can get the right model so that everything will run properly, it will work exactly like the MBA in terms of multitouch and what not.
  3. pol0001 macrumors 6502


    Apr 15, 2008
    I can't say much about the MacBook Air s I don't own one. But as for OneNote, I suggest installing Parallels or Fusion with Windows XP (XP for a smaller footprint) so you can continue to use OneNote. That's what I am doing.
  4. Sothos thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    Aesthetics are very important to me, in fact, it's one of the main reasons I am considering a macbook air. Plus, I want a legal copy of Mac OS X.
  5. brendu macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2009
    i have never heard that the dell mini can use the same multitouch gestures as the air. im pretty sure it cant. can anyone show support cause that would rock.
  6. jb1280 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2009
    How in the world do you honestly compare a Dell Mini to a Macbook Air?

    The Air might not be the best value per dollar in a system, but it is more than adequate to be a full-time system, and if it's between using the keyboard on a Dell Mini for more than 2 hours at a time and that of an Air, the extra $1000 over the life of the machines is well worth it.
  7. itou macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2008
    if portability is your main priority, then you should buy a macbook air.
    it's beautiful, it's light, it's strong, it's competent, but it's not cheap. if your budget allows for it, i'd say go for it.
  8. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005

    ack! sorry! poor choice of words by me! i shouldnt have said multitouch, but two finger scrolling works. Im not sure about multitouch...

    but you can find A LOT of information HERE
  9. brendu macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2009
    yeah... i got a bit excited for a moment, but knew it was too much for software patches to allow... oh well... i wouldnt actually replace my mbp with a mini anyways.
  10. Wotan31 macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    13" MBP is light weight and powerful and travels well. I would not buy an air. Air is good for casual web browsing, email, and documents, but that's about it. Don't even think of doing video / audio / or photo editing with an Air, you will be disappointed; that's not what the Air is for.
  11. PK! macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2009
    I would go with a MBP 13". It can handle tasks more efficiently than the Air, it's cheaper, and it still looks good! It is also extremely portable! I'm a university student and I always have my MBP in my bag to whip-out to take notes in class!
  12. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Its only a "legal" copy for that one mac only.

    If you plan on using the OSX disc that comes with a new MBA, you are going to be sad when you find out it wont work on any older Mac...
  13. thunderboltspro macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2009
    mb or mbp + 1

    The air doesn't sound very proficient for your needs.
  14. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    That's about the worst advice I've read in a while ...

    The MBA is the best at what is was designed to do. It's the favorite of all the Mac's I own, great screen, excellent keyboard, fast with the ssd, thin, light, VERY easy to take anywhere anytime ...

    Some people just don't 'get' the MBA ... these are the people who need to use one for a week ... then try and take it away... LOL.

    Based on the needs you mentioned you'll do fine with the MBA, your priorities describe what the MBA is.

    OneNote replacement is Evernote. After some getting used to I like it for more than OneNote which I used for years.
  15. MaxxTraxx macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2008
    I personally would suggest a mid range '15 MBP. This thing is very light and you will lose the screen size. Not to mention, you'll have something under the hood.
  16. scottness macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2009
    Room 101
    The first time I really fell in love with my MBA was when I flew with it. It's a great machine for what it is. I consider it a supplemental computer and don't think of it as a main computer. I do my real work at home on my iMac, but when I've got to take it with me, the MBA travels very well.

    Now that I'm traveling less, I'm considering a MacBook Pro for my next portable. If I were to continue to travel as much as I did, it'd be the MBA again.
  17. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    With 2 Gb of RAM, you could run into trouble, depending on your video. And if you (very likely) decide to burn that video to a disc, a USB drive is necessarily going to be slower than an internal one.

    I completely disagree with your statement about multitasking, but to address your question, 2 Gb is cutting it close, IMO. You might not have any trouble, but the video editing thing might give you fits.

    Everyone's opinion is different, but I've hauled a lot of different laptops around over the years - the only ones I've thought were even the least bit burdensome are the 17-inchers and the Dells that I've had for work. Apple's laptops are really quite small and light compared to most - I don't see that the MB and MBP lines are that bulky compared to the Air.
  18. acurafan macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2008
    imo, there is one advantage to the MBA: it's light weight

    there are many disadvantages to it: one usb port, no gig-ether port, 2gb ram/128 hdd (not upgradable [w/o surgery for the hdd]), no real glad trackpad, cannot run VM's without latency, it's too expensive for what you get (OR don't get).

    i would never recommend the MBA, unless some woman uses it for Citrix thin client exclusively, or side ornament for connecting to projector for powerpoint displays. ;)
  19. Sothos thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009

    Thanks everyone for sharing. Any more?
  20. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    Fantastic laptops (with the SSD), and surprisingly capable at that. Mine goes with me here, there, and everywhere. :)

    You're clearly aware of the limitations and compromises, it sounds to me like the Air will be perfect for you. It's quite a niche product, there's always going to be quite a lot of resistance pushing you towards the mainstream.
  21. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005

    I dont see how any of my advice is terrible advice... the system is just as fast, keyboards on some of the netbooks are just as good if not better (matter of opinion really since I really dont like the new keyboard designs while others may) and most of the notebooks actually weigh less than that of the MBA. So Im at a total loss of what you are missing when you go from a MBA to a hackintosh netbook
  22. Sothos thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 4, 2009
    I guess it's because most netbooks don't have full-blown (non-ULV) Core 2 Duos running above 2 GHz and NVIDIA Graphics. It also has a 13" screen and a large keyboard without being too heavy. I'm just guessing as this is what prevented me from a netbook in the first place.
  23. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005

    wow... that would do it...

    i did not know they stuffed a C2D in it... i thought they were still running the other chips
  24. okatidubi macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2008
    Well, since you are using it for school, I'm sure you are keeping this computer for at least 3 years; thus, I think it is better if you get a MBP 13".

    Both the ram and hard drive is upgradable. You can always upgraded these components in the future. If you need to have more ram to allocate to certain software (your video editing software in this case), you can upgrade it. If you need more hard drive space to store your documents and videos, you can upgrade it. The MBP 13" is also a very portable product.

    For the video editing, I can't comment on how well it will be on the Air, but I have a white MacBook that had 2GB (DDR2) previously and I tried to do some light video editing. It got a little warm, the fans were around 4000rpm and I got a lot of the spinning beach-balls. After upgrading to 4GB last week, there's certainly less of the spinning beach-balls and work can be done. If you ask me, 4GB is the new 2GB.

    But being said that, the MBA is actually a very capable machine. The Air was designed for people on the go, to do some writing, replying email, surfing the web etc. In other words, it is for people who do simple tasks, thus the 2GB as 2GB is enough for all these tasks.

    After giving my suggestion, remember that the final decision is still up to you. We are here to give you our opinions, but if your heart says otherwise (the portability factor, for example), then buy the product you want with no regrets!
  25. Eric S. macrumors 68040

    Eric S.

    Feb 1, 2008
    Santa Cruz Mountains, California
    I would never buy a Macbook Air. Underpowered, underfeatured, overpriced. Get the Macbook Pro.

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