Traveling this summer- buy MBA now or wait for revision?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by samroberto, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. samroberto macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Hi all,

    *looking for some advice and answers to questions from some MBA owners!*

    20 yr/o college student here, been a Mac convert ever since my faithful Powerbook G4 12in :D I moved from the G4 12in though to the first Intel-Duo Macbook Pros around semester's start. Here's what drove me crazy, and why I hesitate now ... Not even 2 weeks after I got it, the Core 2 Duos came out (which now to my discovery were a sizable upgrade from Core Duo), now I'm terrified something better will happen with the Air right after I get it, or that it would really be worth it to wait for some groundbreaking "Core 3 Duo" type of revision...
    -I'm coming FROM a 2.16 Ghz generation 1 macbook Pro, 2gb ram, etc. And it was nice, but I sold it a few days ago.

    I used to be obsessed with computer stats. Obsessed. Whether to go with 7200rpms or 5400rpms, will my performance suffer with 1.99999 Ghz versus 2.00001111 GHz !!!!! $%^&*I(O

    *used to be* ... I went into the Apple store and tried out an Air, the 1.6 Ghz Air felt VERY quick and nimble, and I left, perplexed. "what? this can't be?! The stats!! they're so low! Isn't this an iPod hardrive?? AHH"
    ... Anyways, ...

    So I got accepted to a 6 week summer study programme at Oxford and need a laptop- but otherwise could go without one until US fall semester starts.. And all of this meanwhile no one has any CLUE about WHEN the MBA will receive a revision ... I KNOW this is Apple... but I'd like to avoid buying a nice laptop TODAY when a *keyword* *worthwhile* revision is around the corner..

    My main uses for this would be: Email, Internet, Typing all sorts of reports, presentations, notes, iTunes, MOVIES (watching), and while I would like the capability to play sweet games, edit movies, run my Logic Studio on,
    let's face it. I don't do any of these things on a regular enough basis to where they CAN'T be done on a macbook air ... except the occasional windows video game which then again I COULD but am considering what to use precious hard drive space for other things.. (being a musician and loving Logic Suite, what I'm trying to do is sell Logic Studio and get Logic Express, and use THAT on the Air).

    SO! sorry for the dissertation.

    1) Your thoughts on all of this! Wait for revision ? I've been reading other forums and it looks like there might be a slight cache bump to 6mb, maybe FSB speed slightly, hard drive size... but that'll probably be it.

    2) 1.6GHz/80GB Battery Life testimonies ... full brightness+usage vs. maximum conserving of the battery.. what numbers have you been able to get ?? >> Has anyone been able hit 5 hours with the 1.6/80 ?? << I don't want a smaller SEXIER laptop that can still only hit... 3 hours ... I'm looking for an EASY 4-hour cycle, maybe more (obviously usage specific in most cases, but with my purposes, easy 4-5 hours) ...

    3) Has anyone tried/been able to use Logic Express with their MBA >??

    * A huge THANKS ! in advance, to fellow Mac-ers who sat through all of that and will kindly help me out. :D

    p.s. I have the latest Logic Suite 8, FOR SALE! If anyone is interested- I'm trying to downsize to Logic Express.

    peace out
    Sam R
  2. AlexanderTgreat macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2008
    Winnipeg canada
    a stupid buy for a college student
  3. HotAir macrumors member

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hollywood CA USA
    I don't think it's a "stupid buy" for a college student! Sam has good points. I think the MBA would suit him well, except the battery life which I get about 3.5 hours per charge. I may have missed it but don't recall anyone getting 4+ hours?

    We can help Sam decide by our own experiences rather than calling the MBA a "stupid buy"...
  4. BaronvdB macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    I'm going to be traveling a lot in the next couple of months and just went ahead and bought the air...If a new one comes out oh well...i'll still be able to get a decent price for the current gen i think.
  5. chewbaccacabra macrumors regular


    Mar 20, 2008
    Yeah buy it. Just expect 3 -4 hours out of a charge. Don't know about the software question you have.

    I just bought one for an extended China trip this summer. I'm not worried about needing to put any software on it there. :p
  6. AlexanderTgreat macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2008
    Winnipeg canada

    What your traveling would in some way been made impossible by owning a slightly heavier macbook? Especially considering the footprint is the same size as the macbook your only advantage is a slightly lower weight.
  7. HotAir macrumors member

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hollywood CA USA
    I think it's the slim design that makes the MBA attractive. When you compare it to what's out there, its shortcomings seem to get overlooked because of this unique look. I've got an exotic-looking wife who attracts lots of attention, but she can't cook well and I clean the house. I've got a MacBook Air that can't do everything. Beauty has it easy. ;)
  8. juro macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2007
    A lot of people seem to think that weight is not an advantage - as if, somehow, the need for more ports and more speed outweigh (no pun intended) the lightness of a machine.

    Well, let's put it in perspective:

    An extra port is something you need once in a while - for some, like me I don't even miss it. More GHZ is also something you need once in a while like when running CPU intensive apps - the occasional photoshop and such.

    But, if you travel a lot with your computer then weight is something that you experience everyday and every moment - everytime you pack up your Air for a flight, or lug it around an airport. Weight is something that you experience in every step and every move you make with your computer.

    So to me, weight is a feature just like all the ports and GHZ in the world.

    Except that, unlkike the ports and CPU speed - that you might only need on occasion - weight (or the lack of it) is something that I benefit from everytime I have the Air with me.

    So maybe I suffer an inconvenience once every two months when I need to work on Photoshop and have to deal with a teeny bit of slowness. Or once every three months when I find that I need to use a mouse with an external drive and have to shuffle them between one port.

    But the thing is: having this less weight is a convenience that benefits me all the time.
  9. HotAir macrumors member

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hollywood CA USA
    Now there's a comment that carries a lot of----weight! :D

    Good insight.
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I say wait. I don't know what sort of upgrade to expect, but I can't imagine it being anything beyond 1.8 GHz and 2 GHz Core 2 Duo processors, a larger HDD, and possibly an option for more RAM. Who knows.

    If the upgrade happens later in the summer (ie: August), it may use a new processor line, and may have far larger harddrives options.

    I personally think that the MBA is a potentially wonderful computer. I think it'd be great, but I really think it won't satisfy me entirely until v3.0 is released. It's not the speed, it's not the single USB port, lack of an ethernet port, etc. I just think that if I'm going to have a more portable computer, it should get 4.5-5 hours of battery life on a regular basis. It should also come with 3 GB of RAM if I'm going to lack upgradeability. Beyond those things, it's a nice laptop. It's already a nice laptop now, and it'll be even more suitable for me 3-4 years from now. However, I think if I were to get a new laptop, I'd get an MBP (keyboard and screen res are nice).
  11. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    The Macbook Air is not getting updated anytime soon since there are no other 1.8" Hard drives that are bigger than the current, nor is there any processor yet that fits.

    Now, having said that I don't think the Macbook Air is a great standalone machine. It works great as a compangion to my iMac, but I could never have just the Air. Performance wise for what you want it will work fine though.

    Since it will be your only machine, I would recommend the high end MacBook. Remember you also would need to buy the Superdrive unless you had other means or access to another computer when you need to install things.

    The design is incredible, and if you could live with just the 80 gigs, go for it. As I said before though, for your only machine you get more with the Macbook though.
  12. aussieinrome macrumors regular


    Apr 5, 2008
    Rome, Italy.
    There will not be any noticeable upgrades until next year.
  13. pb12y macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2008
    Depends on how you travel

    I too am thinking about an Air, as an upgrade from a PB12inch. But my summer travels are going to be a lot of backpacking, staying in hostels, loading into busses, cheap hotels, etc, in addition to professional conferences. I don't want to be hindered by a heavy computer, but I also don't want to be hindered by worrying about a shiny, expensive new one either, since I travel fast and poor. And I'd much rather have an old computer broken or stolen than a new one.

    Depending on how you travel--as a college student-- there might be good reason to take what you have and buy a rev B when you get home. If you've got tons of cash, of course, this probably isn't an issue for you.
  14. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    I, too, was a big fan of the 12" Powebook for obviously its small size and light weight. I was so disappointed when Apple decided to drop that model out of the Macbook Pro line Intel upgrade. I held out as long as I could with the Powerbook, until last November when I absolutely had to upgrade to another machine that can do bootcamp.

    I ended up with a white santa rosa macbook. With similar spec to the macbook pro, it was very good in value. I maxed it out to 4GB of ram, and it was extremely powerful and smooth running Windows VMs. However, the weight was the only thing that I really didn't like. I evenly got used to the extra 2 pounds, and then Apple announced the MBA. I was pissed.

    Eventually, I convinced myself to trade-in my MB for a MBA - If I eventually want the MBA, it's best to buy it now, when the trade-in value of my MB is still high. Did I make the right decision? You bet. I was so happy with my new MBA. It was like back to the good old days with my PB, except it's even lighter and much more powerful. Of course it was slower compared to my MB. But only at < 5% of the time I feel that way, and 100% of the time I'm enjoying the lighter weight. No regrets what so ever, money well spent!
  15. dahcheet macrumors regular


    Feb 7, 2008
    Harrisburg, PA
    I'd say 3-4 hours is a good estimate of battery life. That's about the norm for me with brightness at full, wireless, and intensive internet usage (going through my google reader and chatting on Adium) after 50+ cycles. Turn down the brightness and the wireless off and you could pull off 4+.

    I will admit that some of the earlier cycles were a little lower but I consider that part of the conditioning phase. I usually run mine from 100% to 10% (when the warning message comes up) and then charge, hardly ever shutdown/restart, just sleep all the time.

    Had mine since the beginning of Feb and haven't looked back. It's my main computer right now as my desktop PC is in pieces. I haven't really missed it too much other than all the MP3's I have stored on it. I've found that most of my computer usage is mostly internet and word processing so my need for the desktop is lowering. The only thing I might use it for now is gaming, which I hardly do, or for a backup drive for Time Machine (can't afford a Time Capsule). And maybe network storage for those MP3's but even then I don't listen to music on my MBA. That's what I have an iPod for.

    Hope this rant helps.
  16. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I would just get a 15" mbp as I think is perfect for a college student to throw almost anything at it + your young 15" isnt that big.
  17. Catonow macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2007
    I say, wait until a week or two before you leave for England, see what the lay of the land is then, and make your decision at that time.

    It looks to my relatively untutored eye that the most likely date for a revision is June 10, when the Apple Developer's Conference will be underway. If your departure date is after that, then why not wait to see what happens?

    But I tend to agree with the rest: any revision at that point is likely to be relatively minor. So if you can't bear the wait, don't feel overly guilty buying it now.

    For whatever it's worth, I also heartily agree with those who point out that the difference in weight is nothing to be sneered at. When you're traveling, a couple of extra pounds dragging on one shoulder can be a real... drag.
  18. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    Totally buy it. Is there any point to buying the MBA after you travel?
  19. BongoBanger macrumors 68000


    Feb 5, 2008
    If I was travelling I would take an Eee 900 but if you want a full scale portable then the Air isn't a bad choice and the only one if you want OSX.
  20. dannn macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2008
    don't see any big updates happening until at least the fall, so id get it now, unless you want to wait for that student promotion apple seems to be doing now during the summer
  21. Mhaddy macrumors 6502


    Oct 26, 2005
    Indeed, very good points. I'll be taking my MBA all around Japan this summer for 5 weeks, and on business trips thereafter. Weight is a huge consideration for me, and you pretty much hit the nail on the head.
  22. JoshLV macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2008
    Las Vegas
    I say go with it. Whether something comes out or not, you still have an amazing machine on your hands.
    If you don't mind, what are you going to Oxford for?
  23. eggersj macrumors 6502


    Apr 23, 2008
    I say buy it. IT has been great for me. The battery just lasted on a flight from Dulles to Long Beach (about 4 hours) watching movies.

    It has been a great computer so far... Not sure when the updated version will come out, but for the mean time it is great for my work/school. It is my only computer, First mac and and I love it!
  24. samroberto thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Thanks everyone for your 2 cents and insights !!!
    It's been very helpful hearing different opinions and afterthoughts.

    I think I'll pick one up in the next week or two, maybe wait 'till just before England. (depart May 27)

    I'm headed to Oxford to take "The English Novel" and "Psychology of Human development and Lifespan + Anatomy and Immunology" ... ha ha hopefully I will come back ALIVE. If not you can all cast lots for my newly orphaned Macbook Air..
    Also, to tour the Mini Cooper plant, and smoke a pipe somewhere, and make some friends so that I can more easily find reasons to trade my remaining arms to journey over there more..

    Anyone ever been ? Any recommended places to see ?


    (p.s.) Someone said something about smaller chip not yet around for the MBA i think... I'm just curious though, isn't it really a 65nm Merom slapped into a 45nm spot ? Couldn't they just put a Penryn in there maybe? hmm..
  25. brooker macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2007
    macs hold value

    Install things?? Ha! It has been years since i installed something from a cd/dvd on my personal computer. Anything you do install probably needs to be updated form the internet anyway, so you might as well start there.

    I'll second that.

    Yes, and you get less with the Air! Thank goodness! It turns out this is one of those cases where it is totally worth more to get less.

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