To buy or not to buy?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by BeachChair, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2008
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Ive owned a 15,4" Packard Bell laptop for 3-4 years now and it's been a dissapointment pretty much its whole life span.
    Many times have I thought why didn't I spend 200$ more and gotten a Mac.

    Now I'm wondering if I should shell out big time to get the MBA.

    I'm a student and a internet surfing addicted. Im very aware of the lack of an optical drive and the lack of connectivity and my experience with my current laptop tells me it wont be a problem at all.
    The size and weight makes it seem to me like a product that would give me great utility for my life as a student.

    Note that I have no experience in owning a laptop outside of the Packard Bell, so my worry is that I've fallen in love with the MBA and somehow the relation wont be as great as I foresee because I'm only seing the positives and I'm unable to detect the gripes.

    So, should I do it?

    My main gripes with the Packard Bell:
    -Internal WLAN broken
    -Screenbrightness flickers
    -Batteri died very quickly
    -Only 512 mb ram makes Win XP unpleasant
    -Poor control of CPU makes fan go wild when it should be silent
    -Random slowdowns
  2. BongoBanger macrumors 68000


    Feb 5, 2008
    Packard Bell machines are horrible. I mean really, really horrible.

    That said, an Air is OK but not that great.
  3. clayj macrumors 604


    Jan 14, 2005
    visiting from downstream
    According to you.

    BeachChair, the MBA is a perfectly good machine if you plan to use it for e-mail, web surfing, light application work (video editing is probably not a good idea, but Office apps and iWork and photo editors would all be fine), and entertainment-type stuff like playing music and digital movies. The relative lack of hard drive space is not an issue if you take the time, as I and many others have, to set up remote file access so that your MBA can access files stored elsewhere as long as you are network-connected.

    But really, the #1 reason to get an MBA is for its portability. If you just need a machine to sit on your desktop, a MacBook or MacBook Pro would also make a good choice and would probably save you some money. But if you are planning to carry your computer around with you all of the time, then you will certainly appreciate the portability of the MBA.
  4. Malcster macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2005
    Bristol, UK
    Well, i love mine, its not much slower than my previous MBP (sold.. because i stopped wanting to use it when i got the Air) silent virtually all the time, incredibly good screen and very easy to lug around. (i travel a lot)

    Only time i hear the fans is encoding with Handbrake which of course max's the CPU.

    You may want to check the one usb doesn't hold you back, i have no problems but only really use a bt mouse.

    HP's are horrible, i have the misfortune in having to use one for work.
  5. cheekybobcat macrumors 6502a


    Dec 26, 2007
    U-S of A
    Save some money and get a MacBook or spend $200 extra and get a MBP. The MBA is only worth getting if you travel weekly or so.
    You would be spending a lot of money for a computer with less capabilities then something a few hundred dollars less.
  6. DangerKitty macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2008
    Why do people claim the Air is only worth getting if you travel a lot, etc...

    Do these people own one? It is amazing to me the way everyone speaks as an expert based on their own conjecture.

    I have a MBA, and a MB, and an iMac, and my wife has a MBP. I have some experience, but will not claim to be THE expert. I can only share my experience.

    I use my MBA almost exclusively now. The weight and size make it a joy to carry around. No, I don't travel every week, but I do carry the machine back and forth to work everyday, and the size makes a difference. As far as comparing it to a MB, sure the MB is quicker, but the screen on the MBA is so crisp and luminous that I enjoy working on it much more. Lets face it, the display is one of the things you use the most on a machine. I would be more than willing to pony up the couple hundred $$ to have the form factor and screen of the MBA. This may not be true for everyone, but I think it is ridiculous all the people here who give advice based on their needs instead of thinking objectively. Which machine is best depends on you and your likes and your needs. They are all pretty awesome.

    I use Entourage, Excel, Word, Parallels, iWork, Evernote, Safari, and terminal server client all day long and the machine keeps up perfectly. I do not find myself wishing I was on a MBP. If I was doing photo editing, video editing, etc I may feel different.

    I have several UMPCs (Sony UX380, Fujitsu u810, EEE) and the Air is the one I find easy to carry with me everywhere as there are fewer compromises (I throw my usb 3g card in the sleeve with it).

    Hope this helps.
  7. hotdamn macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2007
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    BeachChair, my advice to you:

    1) the macbook air is great, it's my favorite mac so far
    2) go to an apple store and play around with all 3 laptops, decide which one you like best
  8. aussieinrome macrumors regular


    Apr 5, 2008
    Rome, Italy.
    I've also got the Vaio UX, but since I got the Air my UX gathers dust on my desk.

    The MBA is so portable, just amazing. It's light, fast and oh so cool looking.
  9. BongoBanger macrumors 68000


    Feb 5, 2008
  10. clayj macrumors 604


    Jan 14, 2005
    visiting from downstream
  11. BongoBanger macrumors 68000


    Feb 5, 2008
    Actually they do. It scores 71 so it isn't good enough to appear in the top 5. The phrase "Our top pick? Let's just say there's no Air apparent." should have been obvious to you.,143727/article.html

    Macs are PCs. PC World is a general hardware and software review magazine which reviews all platforms without bias. You may - or you may not - recall they were also the ones that reported that an Macbook Pro was the fastest laptop running Windows when it was released.
  12. hotdamn macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2007
    Ottawa, ON, Canada

    their verdict:
    Ultimately, though, the air is a victory of industrial design and single-minded purpose. It has decent performance for an ultraportable, but few standout features to speak of beyond the superficial. And yet, I still can't help wanting to stop and touch it.

    Translation: If you know what you want and what you are getting yourself into, it's totally worth it.
  13. conchshell macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2008
    It's important not to overvalue these type of reviews. They come from a different standpoint that often is totally disconnected from a mac user. For example I remember they complained re: the iphone, you can't put Microsoft Word on there. lol
  14. kylelong100 macrumors newbie

    Feb 29, 2008
    i would say mba is great for a student, except for high graphics needed majors

    i have not regretted one minute of getting the mba. in fact, i have not touched any desktop computer anymore.

    it is not a travel computer only. I use it through out the house. sitting, sleeping or even in bathroom. absolutely easy to use.

    remember, the macbook does not have the two and three finger swipes and the lightness of mba. I believe mba should not be called the thinness laptop, but the world's most effective laptop. effective meaning the lightest and most functional and getting the most done laptop.
    I have used the laptop with neooffice (free exel and other office program) to store stock information and calculate stock prices to buy. it has made it more effective for me to have the mba.

    One suggestion for a student: use the free neooffice and take notes using cornell note taking system. the spreadsheet in neooffice is really easy to take notes with. (google the cornell note taking system if you dont know it.)

    hope this helps
  15. Scott6666 macrumors 65816


    Feb 2, 2008
    Does your MBA stay quiet while running all that? What are your typical fan speeds?
  16. DangerKitty macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2008
    It stays reasonably quiet. I usually have Entourage, parallels (in coherence mode), terminal server, and safari going. With that combination the fan stays around 2500 RPM. In the afternoon when the sun stars beating on it (I have a nice exposure in my office) it will ramp up to 3500. If I launch excel or word or numbers or pages it will pop up to 4800 or so before coming back down. I have seen it go up to 6200 and stay there for a while when I do lots and lots but it usually drops back down again. Launching Access in parallels usually pushes it up to 6200 for a while.

    I am sitting in my home office right now with Safari, Entourage, MyDay, SugarSync, and Evernote going and I am at 2502 RPM and it is silent.

    I did apply all the recent Apple patches and install coolbook. Before that I did experience a core shutdown once (when installing the iPhone SDK).
  17. ceehjayem macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2006
    I just got my MBA the other day and absolutely love it. I wouldn't pick any other notebook over this at the moment.
  18. BongoBanger macrumors 68000


    Feb 5, 2008
    Which would be true if they didn't have Mac users reviewing Apple products.

    Try again.
  19. dubhe macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Norwich, UK
    I am sure the MBA is a fantastic computer, but I must say that after having my new Black MB for three weeks I am probably just as happy as if I had bought a MBA. It is still a good looking laptop, it definitely turns heads! But my main feeling is though that after being around for several years apple have been able to iron out any problems. With the new MBA I think it could maybe have a few, it being in the first revision. The MB, especially the Black MB, wins hands down for specs, it is cheaper, and I think will prove more reliable. It is very portable, compared to your current laptop, and if you don't like it, will command a good resale value, and then you can buy the second or third revision MBA which will be much better :)
  20. steve31 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2007
    Edmonton Canada
    I love my MBA! For most day to day uses its as fast as my MBP 2.5!! I aslo love the blk MB but the screen is so much better on the MBA!!!
  21. 1appleAday macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2008
    I picked up the base model last week and am please about it. I've read all the posts about heat, fan noise and wireless connectivity but decided to go for it anyway. I dont' have wireless connectivity issue. As for heat and fan noise, the machine does heat up and the fans will run fast when i watched youtube, using Evernote etc, but the machine is still responsive, so it's not a deal-breaker for me. Overall, I'm quite pleased with my pruchase. Of course, if you can wait til the next revision, i'm sure it'll be better (as with everything else). For me, I want one now, so I go for it.

    DangerKitty: I also use Evernote 3 beta and it seems to get my machine warm after a while. I'm wonder if coolbook helps. From your experience does it help? mind to post your coolbook settings? (if not appropriate in this thread, maybe in the coolbook thread? don't mean to hijack the thread :p). Thanks!
  22. DangerKitty macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2008
    I never noticed Evernote pushing the temps up. I swear the screen saver is the biggest culprit. Right now I am running Evernote, Safari, Parallels, Entourage, Sugarsync, Pages, and My Day and I am at 56 degrees. Before coolbook I probably would have been around 65.
  23. pughchrism macrumors member

    Mar 9, 2007
    love mine

    i love the mba. i will first start by saying that i'm typing on my 3rd mba. the first had a defective right arrow key and would stutter on some difficult video and heat-up pretty high. the second was wonderful but had dark areas coming up on the bottom of the display that were quite noticeable on white or light backgrounds. coolbook is an awesome program and made my mba's run cooler and not stutter with challenging video. the unit i'm typing on now runs hotter than my second unit, though coolbook makes it manageable, and has the dark areas at the bottom of the display. will once again be returning this one for an exchange. it's about a 50 mile roundtrip to the apple store and so i'm burning about $12 and 3 hours each time i exchange.

    now, even will all of that -- i love the mba.

    all of them have had excellent fit and finish and are very high-quality
    the screen is absolutely beautiful
    it really is the first portable i've ever owned
    yep, it's not as powerful as the mbp - but i want portability. (i made the mistake in the past of buying the most powerful dell inspiron laptops that were available, and they weigh over 9 lbs. it used to really make my back ache carrying them around in the airport. they were great machines, very fast, and reliable.)
    i lay in bed and surf for hours - i hold it in the air, i rest it on my chest (have to move it around b/c the edge is sort of sharp), i use it on the throne, etc., etc., etc.
    my mba's run lost in hd w/o any problems (after installing coolbook - a great program)
    oh do i love these mba's

    if you want desktop power, buy a desktop. however, don't misunderstand, these mba's are not whimps. to keep it in perspective, remember that a 1.6 c2d was a real powerhouse not too long ago.

    if you can't afford to buy a mba and a desktop AND YOU MUST HAVE THE POWER OF THE LATEST DESKTOPS IN A ~PORTABLE then a mbp may be the answer for you.

    last word - these mba's are incredible machines. cudos to apple for designing such an awesome, high quality, truely PORTABLE computer.
  24. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    This weekend a friend was visiting me and she had her four-month-old MacBook with her so that I was able to make a few general comparisons between my MBA and her MB. One thing was easily to resolve -- my MBA was much peppier, and after a discussion we took her MB over to the Apple store and got more RAM for her machine, which definitely makes a difference. I noticed the differences in the two machines' screens -- the MBA is definitely much brighter and clearer. Another thing I noticed was the touchpad functionality -- the more I use my MBA the more I'm loving that touchpad and multi-gestures! On my friend's machine I kept trying to do the same things on her touchpad and of course it doesn't offer all the features. I'm someone who in the past shunned a touchpad and always HAD to have a mouse with me. Now with my MBA, sometimes the mouse is sitting right nearby and I'm happily tapping and gesturing away on the touchpad....

    When I bought my MBA I was thinking that I'd be using it primarily for travel, for taking around the local area and for sitting outside on my deck in nice weather. Within a week of buying it I realized that it is much more capable and flexible than I'd anticipated and that I'm using it now instead of one of my other machines. My G5 iMac is now being gently eased into retirement, as I'm using the MBA instead of it in the evening in my bedroom; when my friend was here, instead of using one of my other tethered or desktop machines, I joined her at the dining table with my MBA while she was using her MB....

    All that said, in making the decision about what to buy, it IS important to assess what one thinks the machine will be used for. If the user intends to do a lot of stuff involving graphics-intensive work or will have the need to plug in several peripherals, one of Apple's other notebooks may be a better choice. For me the MBA is an excellent additional machine, but I would not want to use it as my sole, primary computer.

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