Will a $1300 MBA make up for the lack of features and lower performance?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by HiFiGuy528, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. HiFiGuy528 macrumors 68000

    Jul 24, 2008
    Many who bought the MBA when it came out are disappointed in its performance and lack of features because they paid between $1800-$2500. But would you think otherwise if the Air cost $1300 (new) shipped?

    I am asking because I am considering it over the new MB.
  2. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    This question could have been part of my "steep eBay discounts" thread just below yours.

    The more I think about it, due to the heat and perfomance issues many people have had with it, the MBA 1.0 does not warrant a purchase at any price above 50% of it's retail price, as long as better perfomers are available, which they now are.

    Let's say you're hungry. Your favorite restaurant is 1 mile away on foot. You start walking. At the half mile mark you are starving. At the 3/4 mile mark, you spot a new cafe that has gotten some bad reviews. Do you stop and eat there, having come this far, or continue on to the better restaurant?

    If you're like me, you keep walking. If the cafe was at the half mile mark, I might have eaten there.
  3. grimreaper1377 macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2007
  4. Mikebuzzsaw macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm just sad I bought it for $3k when its a lot better now. Shoulda waited a year!
  5. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2004
    Missouri, USA
    I think it should cost no more than 1400.

    I know it's new, and is very awesome, but still. It's got a hefty price tag.
  6. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2008
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    No offense (seriously :)) but do you own a rev1 MBA?

    I'm in the same dilemma as op and your opinion matters to me (if you own/owned one).
  7. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5F136 Safari/525.20)

    what requires me to own one to allow the opinion I wrote above? I do not own one, but I have done considerable homework on the MBA, including reading tons of reports of issues with heat, core shutdowns, system lag with video playback, etc. If the issues were not widespread, Apple would have been so quick to change the graphics card.
  8. cube macrumors Pentium

    May 10, 2004
    It would still be an expensive netbook. Just a toy.
  9. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007

    Seconded. It's meant to be netbook-ish but its price is just not making it attractive enough.
  10. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Not for someone like me who wants a full-sized keyboard and screen and the ability to run real software like photoshop, fireworks, iWork etc. And OS X!

    But if you're happy to have a tiny, crippled computer that doesn't run MacOS X, be my guest.
  11. HiFiGuy528 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jul 24, 2008
    Went and checked out the new MB. Nothing so special that would make me feel bad about owning my current MB (2.1ghz, 4GB RAM, 320GB HD). It's as heavy as mine and it's nearly the same size. My current config out performs the new stock models.

    Check out the Air too. I was able to crash the 1.6ghz by running the following.

    - iTunes playing music
    - QuickTime playing Apple's Keynote in HD
    - GB playing six tracks
    - iMovie playing movie
    - two Safari windows, one playing YouTube movie
    - iPhoto changing photo size with track pad.

    The processor was at max and things weren't playing smoothly. But I would never run that many apps at the same time.
    I really like how light and tine the Air is. I may just buy the $1300 Air on Ebay.

    Your thoughts?
  12. cube macrumors Pentium

    May 10, 2004
    I want a real computer with FireWire, gigabit ethernet, optical drive, removable battery and that could even be lighter if I really cared.
  13. aleksandra. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 13, 2008
    Warsaw, Poland
    Yes, you want. It doesn't mean everyone else does. Really.
  14. t4cgirl macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2008
    Well, as someone who owns a first revision MBA (but not one of the ones sold in the first weeks) I can at least vouch for the issues not being universal. Happy as a clam with my MBA; the only time the cores have ever shut down was playing a game when the vents were blocked, just as they should have. And haven't there been FW updates to address some of the issues some people experienced?...

    Sorry, was forced to reply when some random guy starts overstating his case!
  15. jflamm macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2008
    Some advice for those considering buying the older MBA model. I owned one of these for about 2-3 months and sold it after deciding I didn't want to be holding the machine when the new models came out.

    Although some users may report there are no problems with theirs - the issue, especially in the software updates, is that Apple is clocking down the CPUs to deal with the overheating and/or fan speed. The cores may no longer shut down, but that is at the expense of your CPUs running at 800MHz or 1.2GHz instead of full speed. It's the same as if you bought a 1.2GHz core machine. Granted to some this may not matter - and to those, perhaps the price cut is worth it - if you just need a casual use machine and fan noise etc. is not an issue for you. My cores didn't shut down but I didn't appreciate that I had paid 2.5K+ for a machine which didn't perform to specs and that I felt was noisy.

    My hope is that the new MBAs addresses the heat problem through whatever Apple has learned from the 1G machines. It will be nice if 1.6GHz is 1.6GHz, etc., without excessive fans. The nice thing about the new MBA is that if it performs to spec, it is very close in speed to the MB and is a full 1.5lbs less in weight. IF this is the case - it would even be a reasonable machine for photo and video editing - especially with the better graphics.

    My advice would be to carefully consider this before jumping for machine with known problems.
  16. rittchard macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2007
    I love my MBA and I didn't experience many/most of the issues I read about here. Of course I was reading the forums religiously and did things like install Coolbook the same day I read about it, whether I needed to or not.

    All that said, I would be hard pressed to recommend purchasing the old unit for $1400. If you're already going that far, a few more hundred seems to get you a great deal more bang for the buck. Graphics power and hard drive space alone are worth more than that (to me).

    In all honesty, I probably wouldn't recommend paying more than $1000. In fact I'd love to see these at a price point that competes stronger against the recent tide of $400-500 netbooks like the Aspire and EEE, so something like $800-1000 would be much more reasonable. Just my 2 cents.
  17. erlen macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2008
    Not worth it..

    For the price, I think the Air is way too slow. If the specs were as good as on the MacBook, I can see the Air higher priced because of its size. But how can they defend USD 1800 for a machine that (except the L2 cache) has worse specs -- significantly lesser processor speed, less hdd space and fewer connection options, no CD/DVD drive -- when the better MB costs USD 1300. Especially considering the MB now has a better trackpad, the new glass screen with black edges etc.

    Now, if the specs were about the same, the size matter would make up for the USD 500 price difference. But now, it's just not worth it.

    I don't see the screen changing, but I'm HOPING for a processor upgrade -- and perhaps a new trackpad (doesn't seem like too much hazzle to replace) -- in january. Would make the choice a lot easier.

    That said, I was very surprised when they didn't upgrade the processor speed this time. Why? Can't they fit it in? Does it get too warm? I don't get it... I really can't see why people would buy the high priced Air when the MB is SUCH a better deal for the money...

    Enlighten me, folks.

    My problem is I really, really want the SSD Air, not the MB. But it needs to get better or cheaper...
  18. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    I bought a 1.8 SSD MBA that cost over £2,000 including taxes and it is the best 2 grand I've ever spent. It is, for me, the best laptop I've ever owned (and I include my 12" PB and 15" MBP in that list of not as good as the MBA).

    I have no problems at all with the performance (I regularly do Windows development on a Windows 2003 virtual machine), the screen is awesome, and the light weight is a real benefit when traveling around the country.

    One slight caveat is that my MBA is very definitely a "work" machine - I never play any games on it, and can count the number of times I play any videos on it in a month on the fingers of one hand, so YMMV.

    What I do use if for is the aforementioned Windows development, a bit of photoshop, e-mail, web browsing, and office applications.
  19. rittchard macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2007
    I was surprised and a bit disappointed as well, I can only imagine it had to do with overall tradeoffs with the heat and battery lifetime, with the assumption the 9400m chipset is a heavier overall drain.

    Why MBA over MB for $500? This is definitely a personal call, and I struggled with it a bit. Personally I am just addicted to the MBA's form factor and size/weight. I just don't think I would be happy with anything larger or thicker (though I might go for something smaller) or that weighed more. 1.5 pounds seems pretty trivial but as I've said before, that's still 33% more weight. In the context of, as again I often bring up, balancing the unit on my fingertips or on one leg, it's a different feel.

    Is the MBA overpriced? Hell yeah. But then again if you are only comparing raw specs, all the MBs are overpriced (compared to a comparable PC), so again it just comes down to personal feeling.
  20. erlen macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2008
    Speed bump soon?

    «I just got an update from a source that gave us new information about the updated MacBook Air. Apparently, a new MacBook Air will be announced and shown at the event but it won't be available until January 2009. The MacBook and MacBook Pro will be available almost immediately.»

    This is from http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=626 and gave me a slight hope for something new at MacWorld in january. (Though as it turns out the new MBA isn't available until november, the rumour could have just missed on the date...)

    But I find it strange that the MBA has the same processor speed as it did when it came out a year ago. Yes, it now has the Penryn, but shouldn't technology have moved a bit more forward? Grrr.
  21. BeachChair macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2008
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    All this negativity is making me seriously reconsider getting a 1g MBA.

    I'm getting doubts that its able to do these tasks in a satisfying way:

    -play youtube videos
    -play full episodes of Colbert Report from colbertnation.com
    -play the so called "HD" (480p) videos from gametrailers.com.
    -play the occasional 720p movie trailer

    Any 1g users comment on this?
    I think I'll hit an apple store tomorrow and put one through some heavy browsing and the above tasks.
  22. aussie.damo macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2006
    You're right, you don't need to own one to have an opinion, but I think it's very relevant that you haven't. What reports have you read? Stuff on here? Engadget reports (which they've picked up from here?) Apple forums (which probably have the same user base as these ones?) How objective are these reports.

    I own a Rev 1 MBA and have had no problems with it whatsoever. I'm sure there'll be people on the boards who insist that they are all faulty, that the graphics are rubbish, that YouTube is unwatchable, that the heat is unbearable. Sad for them, but not the case for the majority. Sure, perhaps most people on here who own one have had this experience (doubt it though), but forum posters are not very representative of the general community. People come to forums like this looking for solutions to problems they are having. Average Joe isn't logging on to tell everyone how much he likes his new computer, just for the sake of it.

    Even at full price, I thought the MBA was a good deal. If you can get one for $1,300, all the better. Don't be fooled by people on here who will try and convince you that they are all rubbish, because it's simply not true.
  23. Tummy macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
    My 1.6ghz Air was not able to play back my 720p video from my camcorder (Samsung HD1010). I really think in that case it was a slow HD since it plays off an external drive or USB thumb drive just fine.

    If you really want an Air, I would just step up to the new version. The problem with a lot of the video is solved now that the graphics cards have hardware h.264 decoding.

    I had a production week one Air though, so they might have improved over the last 8 months of production.
  24. 1Life macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I recently bought a white Macbook a couple of months ago after flip flopping between the 3 models (e.g. MB, MBP, and MBA). I first tried the MBP and returned it because of the yellow screen issue and the weight/size. I eventually chose the MB after deciding $700+ was too much of a premium to pay for the MBA.

    After using the MB for a couple of months I can honestly say that it is the best laptop I've ever owned. However, if I had to make to make a decision now between a MB (new or old) and a MBA (1st gen) I would choose the latter. I would take that $1299 deal from Best Buy without hesitation. Heck, I would sell my MB right now if it weren't for the fact that I spilled water on it. The weight/size difference + better screen + back-lit keyboard of the MBA outweigh the decrease in performance in my opinion.

    Personally, I am grateful to all of the first gen MBA purchasers who helped make the product a great success. Perhaps the pricing for the MBA will eventually drop to the $1299-$1599 level if more people purchase them and production costs go down.

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