Why did you purchase the air over the macbook OR why do you like it over the macbook?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by NYU02, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. NYU02 macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2007
    As you can tell from my ongoing previous posts, I am just about ready to buy a macbook air. It's an expensive and big decision for me so I want to make sure I'm happy.

    With the weight of the macbook being so close to the air, why do you prefer the air? Of course the wow factor is a big part (for me as well) but what other aspects of the computer do you prefer?

  2. MacLover4491 macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2009
    I would not recommend buying the macbook air. i think the macbook aluminum is much better. a little bit more weight but you get glass touchpad, glass screen, optical drive, bigger hard drive, and a much faster machine. The trade off is worth it and its also much cheaper. The macbook air will get very slow when it gets hot.
  3. andreab35 macrumors 6502a


    May 29, 2008
    I bought the MacBook Air without money being a HUGE issue.
    I'm extremely happy with the choice I made. Although it is one of Apple's lowest spec computers on the current product line, it is a speedy little thing!
    I love the laptop's thinness, I portray it as a piece of art almost. The backlit keyboard is beautiful. In my opinion the screen has a better quality. Additionally, I like the MacBook Air's looks rather than the new MacBooks.

    But I am totally satisfied with my purchase. I have no regrets.
  4. simplenation macrumors member

    May 29, 2008
    Ok, So I actually purchased a rev b macbook air about a week ago.. I absolutely love it.. but am finding that it may not work as my primary machine. Its lack of an optical drive, limited memory and limited disk space wasn't an issue for me at all but i'm finding the 4200rpm drive to be pretty slugish. I'm currently on the fence about returning it and picking up a macbook. it's a real shame.. the macbook air is a great machine, works perfect for the internet, word processing, etc.. I'm going to have to either go with a solid state air or look for another primary computer. I'd suggest spending sometime with it at your local store before buying.
  5. LKJR macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2008
    I spent months researching and debating: macbook-alum or air. Ended up with the air (rev B - 120 HD) a few months ago for these primary reasons: a) the air has a much better screen (viewing angle) and b) the air is lighter (I travel a lot making power point presentations to large audiences [>600 sometimes] and to small audiences [e.g. 3 people in a diner]). I have missed not having a DVD/CD drive only once in 4 years of traveling with a panasonic R3 (one of the first "netbooks" before people knew what a netbook was..2 lb, no drive, 10.2" screen) so I new I wouldn't miss the drive on an air.

    I use the air for powerpoint (slide transitions in Keynote are unreal!), web access, word, and excel in that order. Handles all these things with no complaints. Very importantly, the air is not my main computer although I find I use my pc desktop at home less and less these days.

    I intend to try some HDR photo processing but haven't had time to try this yet. Not sure if the Air can handle this but its OK if it can't because it wasn't why I got it.

    I've used a screen calibration found on this forum....beautiful. X-slimmer has speeded up opening applications. Rev B stays cool even watching Hulu- HD.

    I'm happy with my purchase because I knew what I was getting and why I was getting it. I hope this helps.
  6. gcmexico macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2007
    New York City
    I bought it for portability...I take mine everywhere and love it...I have never seconded guessed my purchase...I knew exactly what I was getting and it has delivered 100%
  7. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2007
    das Fort
    I had a white MacBook and like it, but didn't LOVE it. I ended up giving it to my wife and buying a refurb RevA MBA. Love the portability. Perfect for me as a second computer (I have an iMac at home for freelance design work and a Mac Pro at work).
  8. jeffg819 macrumors regular

    Dec 25, 2006
    Back and forth myself

    Had the Rev A MBA w/the 80 gig drive. Gave that to my fiance and purchased the 2.4 MB. After about four months, found myself really missing the size and weight of the MBA. Sold the MB, purchased a SSD 128 MBA Rev B.

    I have a Mac Pro in the office and the MB seemed overkill for a laptop, although I spend the majority of my time on the MBA.

    My usage is probably on the light side. I run Entourage, OmniFocus, Safari and several other utility programs almost 100% of the time. The machine actually feels quicker on many tasks vs. the MB.

    I like the MBA screen much better as well.

    What do I miss about the MB? The glass trackpad is pretty comfortable to work with and the fact I had installed 4 gigs of ram made me less worried about memory usage.

    If the world only had MBs, I'd could live with that. It's a nice machine that feels very solid. However, the MBA just seems more comfortable and portable to work with day in / out.

    Jeff G
  9. simplenation macrumors member

    May 29, 2008
    Have any of you rev b guys had any flash video play back issues? I'm noticing choppy video on my non ssd rev b air. That's one of my main gripes.
  10. mhnajjar macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2008
    1) Extremely better screen :D
    2) Better looking :)
    3) Lighter weight ;)
    4) Distinguishable :apple:
    5) Does most of what you would do with a MB :p
  11. mhnajjar macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2008
    I haven't had any issues with my current machine, examples (links) would be helpful to help :)
  12. navanod macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2007
    One word... display. The MacBook contrast is horrible. Blacks aren't black! I do some light design work and color is important for me.:D
  13. happyslayer macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    For me, it is all about size and weight. I carry my MBA everywhere I go, all day every day. This includes the power adapter, USB nic and an ethernet cable. The Air with its tiny power supply weighs less than 3.5 lbs. I have had a White MacBook, and several Sony, and Dell's but none of them were as light as the Air with this sized keyboard and a decent sized screen. The VAIO was light, but slow with a tiny screen. The Dell X300 and D410 & D420 were slow, with big power bricks. The MBA, both my past RevA and my current RevB are thin light and relatively powerful.

    (And lets be honest, it looks fantastic!)
  14. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I originally had a BlackBook. Then I purchased a MacBook Pro v 2,2. Then I purchased a MacBook Air rev A to use secondary with MBP.

    Then I sold them all and bought a unibody MB.

    Then I bought a MacBook Air rev B with 1.86 CPU and SSD.

    And I added back a MBP v 2,2 primarily for my kids use.

    I essentially went from Unibody MacBook to Rev B MacBook Air.

    When I first received my unibody MacBook, I was very happy with it. I really wanted it to be a rev B MacBook Air, but I didn't believe Apple had really fixed everything wrong with the original MBA. Remember the Unibody MB was released the day after announced on October 14, 2008. I bought the Unibody MacBook the day after announced. Although the rev B MacBook Air was announced the same day, it didn't start shipping until November 2008.

    I was extremely impressed with the build quality and the unibody design of the MacBook. Going from the 2.33 GHz MBP, I saw more speed from the 2.4 GHz MB. I did upgrade the MB to 7200rpm HDD and 4GB RAM. The MB was very snappy, definitely quicker than my MBP. I used the MacBook as my work computer and personal computer. In fact, I got rid of five computers and used only the unibody MB for a little over two months.

    I am a management consultant and do some lecturing. On the side, I do some Internet stuff. I used the MB from everything like Word, Pages, iLife, Excel, to more intensive Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and etc. It did everything really well and quick. I could not have been more impressed by the speed and capabilities of the unibody MB.

    However, the display is not very nice at all. And I spend upwards of eight hours per day in front of my computer. In addition, I watch movies on my computer and do some personal video editing and review personal photos. The display is very washed out on the MB. Viewing it from any angle other than dead on results in extremely washed out or faded look. Also, dark colors are more of a purple hue or darkish gray with purple hue. There is no black on a unibody MB display. I looked at several of them.

    November came and I started reading some excellent reviews about the new rev B MacBook Air. I work with some college professors on various consulting projects, and five of them got the rev B MBA the first week it started shipping. All of them had previously had original MBAs and were not very happy with the performance... and that is stating it mildly. All that received the rev B MBA were completely happy... no really excited and amazed! After reading some excellent posts about the rev B MBA, and hearing all of the new owners bragging about them, I decided to ask a few if I could test theirs.

    I spent some time and was instantly amazed. I could not believe the performance differences, and neither could any of the owners! I could not believe the heat differences and video playback and it just went on and on with great news. Then I started reading about the lines, and I was pretty happy with the unibody MB I had. But I started looking at the rev B MBAs my friends and colleagues had and there were no lines. Then I asked some more, and no lines. Then in January 2009, I bought my rev B MacBook Air.

    I loved my rev B MacBook Air. It was absolutely amazing for me. I could NOT believe how much the SATA drive controllers made the SSD super incredibly fast. More than making up for the slower clock speed. And I noticed heat was like non existent. The fans were incredibly quiet. The Penryn 17W CPU changed all of the problems on the original MBA which had a 20W overheated Merom CPU. In addition, I believe the 6 MB L2 Cache on the new MBA's CPU also helped with speed (an improvement over the original MBA's Merom with 4 MB L2 cache). The graphics seemed really amazing too. Photoshop flew through large files. Booting the rev B MBA with SSD is like a 25 second process. Opening large files or apps is instant. It was incredible that as bad as my original MBA performed, my rev B MBA was incredibly great at every level.

    Here is the best part, while looking at the display for eight hours per day, the rev B MBA has an incredibly beautiful display. Blacks that were like a black hole... deep black. And viewing it from the side wasn't terrible like the unibody MB display.

    A month after buying the rev B MBA I bought the 24" LED Backlit Apple Cinema Display. The picture was absolutely stunning. The usability with the rev B MBA was awesome. It is like the perfect docking station. It has power from the MBA, and built in USB hub, and speakers and webcam all in one. The new ACD is an absolute must for rev B MBA owners as well as unibody MB or MBP owners. Also, the rev B MBA's Nvidia GPU is so powerful it can drive a 30" Apple Cinema Display if you want to!

    I cannot speak more highly of any Mac than of the rev B MacBook Air with 1.86 GHz CPU and more importantly SSD. I definitely recommend you buy the ACD whenever you can.

    If you primarily want to work at a desk, with the 24" LED Backlit ACD, you could get away with the unibody MB. But, you would not want to just look at the display on the unibody MB daily. It is just too inferior and so poor quality. It would be ok for on the go to check something here or there, but don't expect to like it for everyday use.

    So, MacBook Air gets you an incredibly portable computer yet with SSD very quick too. At the same time, the display is beautiful and the overall feel is wonderful. The HDD is not nearly as fast for normal things one waits on like boot up and app opening and etc, but if it's running all the time, the difference isn't as great. The MacBook gets you essentially the same computer, except slightly inferior CPU (due to L2 Cache), and terribly inferior display. At the same time, it has optical drive, and it is beautifully built as the unibody frame is very solid and feels amazing.

    I would say if you cannot afford the extra for a rev B with SSD, and you plan to work with a 24" ACD most of the time, go with the unibody MB. Otherwise, find a way to buy the rev B MBA.

    Either the rev B MacBook Air or the unibody MacBook are really nice computers. It is ashamed the MB doesn't have a nicer display, as then we could all make a great case for the unibody MB.

    The problem, there is a lot of speculation of a soon to be released rev C MBA. Most are speculating the new Intel SL9600 2.13 GHz CPU, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, possibly new battery tech as used in 17" UMBP, and lastly the glass trackpad. These are all pretty good upgrades IF, and that is a big if, it is released sooner and not later. Other news is the unibody MB and MBP will receive speed bump upgrades before WWDC. May also get the new battery tech. The new Mac notebooks are over five months old. We normally see updates at six months (over last three years has averaged speed bump every six months). Not to throw a wrench into your plans! I am having a tough time myself after losing my Macs to theft as to what to replace now and what I should wait on.

    Good luck whichever route you go.
  15. dubhe macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Norwich, UK
    Much better screen
    Fast enough for everyday tasks
    So thin and light fits in my backpack and can take it everywhere
    Form factor means keyboard is a nice height for wrists when typing at a desk
    It looks sexy as hell

    However, lines on the screen and wobbly hinge are my only gripes...
  16. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    The number one reason I like the MBA over the unibody MB is the screen. The MBA screen is the most gorgeous screen I've seen on any 13 inch notebook. It rivals the screen quality of the Macbook Pro and is even brighter at full brightness than the Macbook Pro. Not only that but it's a matte compared to a glossy screen so you don't have to worry about glare or reflections.

    The number two reason is the weight. The MB is like carrying around 1 1/2 MBA machines. It's not a deal breaker, but if you carry it around every day you will appreciate the weight difference. The MBA is easily held with one hand so you'll almost always grab it with one hand while having the other free to hold a phone, a bag, a book, or whatever else. The MB is much more awkward due to the extra weight so you'll find yourself lifting it off your desk by two hands. Both can be easily carried by one hand underneath your arm though.

    I didn't miss the lack of a DVD drive at all. I don't miss the ethernet port either. The one USB port I use for an external mouse or very rarely to hook up to an external device.

    The only thing that the MB really has an advantage on is it can use more than the fixed 2 gigs of RAM on the MBA. It can also be equipped with a larger HD but if you put all your big files on an external network drive the 128 gigs on the MBA is plenty.

    If the MBA didn't have the dreaded line issue it would have been a nearly perfect portable machine.
  17. mrrippey macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2009
    Suped up Macbook for me

    I was considering the Air but decided to get a MacBook for a couple of reasons. Like many have said here, it is really how you are going to use your computer which will lean to Air vs. Unibody

    1. I need to run WindowsXP virtually since I am going to use it for work and personal. Given that, I figured I needed more than 2GB RAM.
    2. Although Air may be faster than Unibody out the box, for the same $2000 for a Rev. b, you can get a Unibody 2.4 and a 128 SSD and external case for the internal drive you have and more memory.

    So for $2000 you have a MacBook with 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD which is super fast. You also now have an external drive (which was the internal drive I replaced) for Time Machine backups or data). I am sure that a MacBook 2.4 w/ 4GB RAM and 128SSD is going to be faster than 1.8 Rev B with 128SSD. Of course the Unibody is 1.5 pounds heavier but that is not a big deal to me.

    As for the screen , I saw them both and I am no video person, they looked okay to me so the "better" Rev B. screen and the 1.5 lbs savings was not enough for the sure power I was getting from the unibody. The unibody I am sure will last me 2-3 years.

    Either way, you cannot go wrong, they are both great machines. The Air is much sexier though :)
  18. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    I have several Mac's including a MB and MBA, and all of them are high quality machines, but find myself on the MBA the vast majority of the time.

    The MBA excels at portability with all day long usability. I work on a computer 10-12 hours most days. I move around a lot (different rooms in the house, different locations at work and meetings, and fly a couple times most weeks). I've owned a number of "ultra-portable" or "thin and light" laptops and the MBA is the best of the best. Its well built, its size and weight make for effortless portability, and its excellent screen, keyboard and trackpad make it a pleasure to use all day long.

    But its hard to justify on paper. Some would say Macs in general are that way ;-)

    You compare a MBA to a MB and you see:
    - Both sleek and well designed, aluminum cases
    - Same size screen and keyboard
    - MBA is a little thinner and lighter
    - MB has a good selection of ports compared to the MBA's meager few
    - MB has a built in optical drive and the external one for the MBA, costs extra, and negates most of the weight and portability advantage it has.
    - MB is FAST and fully expandable where the MB is slower and is not expandable at all capped at 2gb ram and 80-128gb of storage space.
    - MB is a lot cheaper!

    Seems like a no brainer on paper. For most people the MB is the better decision. But:
    - The MB screen is mediocre at best. Shameful on a machine of its cost but quite useable. The MBA has the best screen I've ever seen on a notebook.
    - The MB is only about a half inch thicker than the MBA but that makes it twice as thick.
    - The MB is only 1.5 pounds heavier than the MBA but that makes it 50% heavier.

    After I balance the portability advantage of the MBA over the cost/performance/capacity advantage of the MB I just have to say the MBA feels special when I use it.

    The MB was designed for broad appeal to do a lot of things well for a lot of people. It succeeds and feels and looks good but it doesn't excel at anything or really suck at anything. People like it.

    The MB is a niche machine that excels at mobility and usability but suffers in most other areas as a result. People tend to love it or hate it rather than like it.
  19. Bobjob186 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2005
    Laguna Beach
    I had 2 macbook air rev A's loved both of them but sold them to make money. Had a 2.4ghz macbook unibody, it was a great machine, reliable, fast, and sleek but the screen sucked. I missed the feel and the whole idea of the macbook air. Got ride of the 2.4ghz macbook and picked up the rev B air. Love it even more than the first ones i had. If you need a primary machine to hook up to a 24" monitor and run your life off of, get the macbook. If you want the ultimate portable get the air.
  20. Veinticinco macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2009
    Annoys me posts like this. Who are you to "recommend"? Particularly given your rationale which is, not exactly, particularly valid.

    "Much better"? Nothing like a meaningless broad-spectrum comment to get you started...

    "Little bit more weight"? Actually it's 50% more, not exactly "little".

    "Glass touchpad"? A gimmick and prone to variable tension issue not to mention fricking annoying sometimes, not to mention that wake-the-dead "CLICK"

    "Glass screen"? Assume you mean glass-covered screen as all LCDs have glass inherent in their build. But you mean the covering right? Yes it's black, glassy and glossy, all the better to see how ugly/good-looking you are as you stare at your reflection, or just how inferior the quality of the display is compared to the MBA and MBP. Washed-out grey is NOT the new black, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

    "Optical drive"? For the rare times you need one, the MBA has a Superdrive.

    "Hard drive size"? Ok I suppose for now, but in a couple of months, my new MBA will have a low profile 256GB SSD. I'll take that over your top-spec 320GB HDD any day.

    "Much faster machine"? Depends on the specs of what you're comparing but (given the 6MB CPU cache on the MBA and SSD), I can confirm my old (2.4GHz 4GB HDD) MB was left gasping in the wake of my (1.86Hz 2MB SSD) MBA.

    p.s. you forgot to add in the usual "only one USB port" whine - but I guess in the absence of FW from the MB, it doesn't seem as important to gloat.
  21. r6girl Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Sep 6, 2003
    I went from a black MacBook to my current Rev. B MBA for portability. I was starting to carry my computer with me everywhere and the weight was becoming a major factor considering everything else I also carry. Plus, I was not a fan of the polycarbonate look at all - I thought the black version would be a bit nicer than the white, but I hated the squeaky flexing feel to it after only a short time with it. Performance-wise, my MBA does not get nearly as hot as my MacBook did and it does everything I need as well or better (mostly better) than my MacBook did. And I love the aluminum body.

    If something happened to my MBA today, I'd go out and buy another one immediately and wouldn't give the new aluminum MacBooks a second glance - I'm totally sold on the MBA's portability and it's perfect for what I need, even as my primary computer.
  22. Barbie macrumors regular


    Jan 28, 2009
    I purchased my Air (a new SSD version) because it was more affordable than the refurbished MacBook (SSD version). Furthermore, the Air is gorgeous - Barbie needs the wow element !!!

  23. That70sGAdawg macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2008
    The Air because of:

    1. The light weight
    2. Less weight
    3. Lower weight

    Oh, and the perfect screen that I seemed to be the only one to receive, if you read this forum too much...;)
  24. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    I needed something small when going to class or at work. I take notes, view lecture notes and type papers. At work, all I do, this is for server people, Apple Remote Desktop, Remote Desktop Connect and Mac Manager. So the air was great for all my regular use.

    Yes we are idiots for spending money on design. The big thing to me back then was that my keyboard had LED lights. I DJ with my Air and damn does it make it easy to see the keys.
  25. stoconnell macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2009
    Rockville (Despite REM's plea.)
    Portability all the way

    Having lugged either a 15" Al PowerBook G4 or a first gen MacBook Pro around for the better part of the last 3 and a half years for work, I was sick of carrying around a 5+ pound brick day in and day out :)

    My personal laptop was on its last legs (old Thinkpad T30 -- also a 5 pound brick), and I wanted to make the jump to a Mac, but I wanted something more akin to my ancient Sony PCG-505TR or Dell L400 in weight and portability. The MBAir fit the bill and, as a bonus, is a pretty sweet looking design. Also, I only used the DVD in the work machines to import my CD collection into iTunes. I rarely use more than one USB port if even that (I have to use a wired connection at work due to an evil interaction with the office wireless + our aventail (now, sonicwall) SSL VPN that will lock any Mac -- works fine from home), so I am a little annoyed at having to shell our $29 for a USB to ethernet adapter, but it was not a deal breaker for me. I really love that it just disappears into my backpack.

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