Mac-erati are busy debating about the virtues of the supermodel skinny. John Gruber, who was a bit lukewarm earlier, compares MacBook Air to a convertible coupe and writes, “it’s a secondary car, but for anyone without kids and with no need for significant storage space, it works just fine as their only car.”
David Heinemeier Hansson, the brains behind Ruby on Rails is impressed as well. “Dismissing it as merely a 3rd computer vanity accessory, as I’ve seen many do, is misguided and not based on actually using one for a longer period of time,” he writes.
Of course, there is the other view. Being less of a web-app zealot as others, I am still on the fence on this one, and even after using the Macbook Air for close to two weeks, I still can’t make up my mind – whether to keep using it as my only machine or pair it with the MacBook.
61 thoughts on “Is MacBook Air good enough to be your only computer?”
Lenovo X300…what’s the connection to the Air?
new thin computer from Lenovo for people who prefer Windows OS
It’s my sole system and I haven’t had an issue with it since it arrived. Then again, my needs are limited – web and Office, occasionally light photo editing and iTunes. I still have 30 gb free on my SSD drive even with Office 08, IWork and a few other apps installed.
Actually, Engadget started with the “Air Attack”…i have a very reliable source that can confirm that Ryan Block is insanely unhappy with apple treating him like he is…Air;)
I like it as well, though video and music happen to be my biggest space and power consumption issues. I still prefer a nice disk drive with tons of storage space. That said, can’t beat the weight and elegance of the machine.
I am a window user and i still think that the Air is a totally different animal. the X300 is slower, heavier, thicker, having less RAM, being made of cheap plastic, more expensive (base models), uglier, but oh, it has an optical drive.
If you don’t mind having a batter life of less than 2 hours. Thinkpad batteries last 7 hours.
I am more than happy with my mbp but if I laid out the cash to buy one of these it had better damn well be good enough to use as my only computer.
However I must confess I use 2 computers most of the time, my development rig and my personal rig/portable work rig.
Lenovo laptops are the best period. Solid, light, great design, modifiable, and don’t have a chiclet keyboard.
I think the might buisness community might gobble these things up. Especially if you have to travel alot.
i am slowly moving away from my imac to just this air. that may be b/c its tax season and i dont want to go into my office. we’ll see. still use the imac as home machine for itunes and archival stuff though.
The primary thing that is holding me back from getting the Air is battery life. What’s been your read on the battery issue? Does it really matter to you? As a frequent flyer, this is probably the big one for me.
I’ve been enjoying it as my primary laptop, 80/60gb should be fine for any portable as long as you can manage your data and just keep what you need on it. Just wish it didn’t take so long to recharge! My air typically takes 4 hours to top up from empty each time.
The Lenovo is to the Air as the Toyota Camry is to a BMW 7-Series. They are both cars and have similar form factor, but nothing else about them is really alike.
Although, my hunch is the Camry isn’t crippled by a terrible OS like the Lenovo is, so it’ll probably run a lot more reliably. 😉
@Om I have the same wish. I keep my iTunes library (sans podcasts) on a 500 gb Iomega drive.
@Nitin, I get about 5 hours using wifi and w/backlighting around 75%.
But can it run Second Life?
I think the issue with the MBA is that people were expecting a machine with good specs (something that’d be more like MBP)… Thing is, most people don’t play games and don’t do video or photo editing (professionally). As more and more apps become available in a Web format, the need to have a strong machine is not necessary(talking for me obviously). To come back to the specs thing, Leopard is much lighter than Vista. The only comparison that can be made is btw apple notebooks themselves though they are not intended for the same market: MBP => Gamers and Video/Photo editors MBA => Everyday user that likes portability and simplicity MB => girls lol
Since I only do web stuff and programming… I think the MBA is going to be the perfect fit. + it’s going to look nice in meetings… lol
I’d think that some big time back up is needed for this to go down.
Oh please. The day I get MacBook Air is the day Oprah Winfrey becomes President.
Anyone who disagrees is highly recommended to read this very healthy article: http://www.jemjabella.co.uk/post/20080117_macbook_air_sucks_too
I hope it knocks some sense into the Apple minions.
Don’t think it’d work for me. I am A) a graduate student, and B) an online marketing specialist-my life and livelihood are currently stored within the confines of my main computer. But I’m thinking it might make a nice summer home! How is it for digital imaging software? I do a lot of image work with photos, and I’ve always found that a mac computer performs better at these functions.
I had a macbook air for about 5 hours, then decided to drop it because it was slower than my MBP 2.16 Intel Core Duo with 2GB of ram. I really wanted to keep the MBA, but it just wasn’t fast enough …it’s on eBay, so if it doesn’t sell, maybe I’ll give it a second chance — I’m just worried about them releasing a new macbook pro and giving me all sorts of buyer’s remorse:
@Steve- Wow, that’s well above the early reports, and is certainly enough for my requirements. Thanks!
I still believe it would be great addition of tools for people who is constantly on the move and have a wireless connection everywhere.
Just one thing that is bugging my mind, Apple would release this product tho the countries that doesn’t have an iTunes store available yet. Does this meant that the people in that particular country had to buy the external super drive just to say, enjoys movie?
i’m a developer. no.. i use a dell m6300 on ubuntu. it’s heavy but i don’t use a desktop system anymore.. except for programs like ableton live and photoshop the system is a good replacement.
I think the Air can be a primary system for those who don’t really need much performance ability. I practically live off of my computer and the Air could only be a secondary system for me- which I think is going to be the case for a lot of people. I’m not going to pay that price for a secondary system. I’d rather just have an Asus Eee with a good SD card as a secondary and focus the money on the primary system.
Absolutely a waste for anyone needing to get anything worthwhile out of their computer, in my opinion. Check out my post about the MacBook Air to see what I think about it.
I prefer the new alienware notebook than this one. Almost the same in price but is much powerful and lots of storage space.
The Macbook Air is fine for those who use it for light computing. That’s like 75% or more of us. The Lenovo is $1000 more, so what’s the comparison? People want more, but you pay more if you want extra. Leave the MBA alone, it’s a nice notebook for what it’s worth. These are the same people complaining about missing their floppy when it disappeared. Get over it.
If after 2 weeks, you’re still not sure if you like it, then there’s your answer – it doesn’t make the grade. I’ll bet you’re trying to find reasons to like it more – a telltale sign that it’s a dog that should be returned. I love reading all of the “It’s awesome, but it’s not for me” comments and reviews. All show, no substance, a trend that will lead to Jobs’ demise, despite his brainwashed minions buying anything to keep the kool-aid factory churning away with their next fix. I predict it will ultimately be thrown onto the scrap heap next to the Mac Mini – incredibly beautiful, but worthless…
@ Bobby J.:
I doubt you can call the mac mini a failure by any means. Worked well for what it was – a non-intrusive secondary machine for Mac users, a great first time Mac for people on the fence, and a perfect budget Mac for those with basic needs (think pre-teens, seniors).
Though I do agree with you on one thing – it is beautiful.
I am so torn between the Sony Vaio ultra-portable that I have and getting my hands on a Macbook Air, that I actually made a parody video which you can see on YouTube here:
My biggest challenges are the lack of Ethernet, DVD and the battery life – when compared to the Vaio I have now.
Just last week I was stuck in a hotel that did not have wi-fi. The thought of having a Macbook Air and not being able to go online while travelling is a showstopper for me at this point.
it plays music and runs web apps well… that’s what i’m hearing… i don’t know what the specs of the lenovo are, but the mac book air’s pricing point didn’t have me looking at a purchase even though it is a nice design. apple designs cool stuff. this one is good for web surfing.
Me? Apple? You must have been smoking something else than tobacco… As for Lenovo, if that X300 is better in quality than IBM Thinkpads T4x series, I will buy. And please leave HDD clean and bill bottom line thinner: no MS tax, I prefer Ubuntu.
Money being no matter, then the MBA would be a nice traveling computer. I would not expect it to be able to perform as my desktop.
It is really obvious who the brainwashed M$ are, for they like to use the term minions which might be an apt description of THEM! Do they really make themselves feel more important by all of their trash-talk?
is a minion like another type of pseudo geek?
It could be a primary computer with a good remote storage service.
Shouldn’t this poll have a fourth option: “Yes”? Even for those who make use of applications other then web, the Mac Book Air can be their only computer.
I like my iMac at home but wouldn’t get an Air. I need something light and durable to travel with and this fails both tests in comparison to other subnotes.
I’ll take the MacBook Air (or any Mac) over a clunky Windows PC any day.
Has anyone tried running any flavor of Linux on the Air yet? (And hush on the OS X raving, I need to run Linux for both my classes and my job.)
If it runs Linux without a hitch, sprouts a built-in Ethernet port and drops $700 off the price before the Next Big Thing comes out, I’d consider it as my next laptop.
That list of demands looks improbable, but after the iPhone’s price drop and iPod touch’s growing feature-set, I wouldn’t put it past Apple to mightily screw the Air’s early adopters as well.
i don’t know what the os has to do with the hardware… some of these posts are consfusing to me… let’s not confuse how the default os performs with how the laptop performs, ok?
I m better off with a power book, there are simply so many compromises!
Pro’s of Mac Book Air:
1) Light Weight
2) Small & Light
Con’s of Mac Book Air:
1) Costly! for the price of Air with SSD, I could get 2 Power book’s instead!
2) ONE USB Port
3) NO Optical Drive
Size Wise, here is how they compare
12-inch MacBook Air
* Height: 0.16-0.76 inch (0.4-1.94 cm)
* Width: 12.8 inches (32.5 cm)
* Depth: 8.94 inches (22.7 cm)
* Weight: 3.0 pounds (1.36 kg) – (No optical drive, 1 USB port, 80 GB)
15-inch MacBook Pro
* Height: 1.0 inch (2.59 cm)
* Width: 14.1 inches (35.7 cm)
* Depth: 9.6 inches (24.3 cm)
* Weight: 5.4 pounds (2.45 kg) with battery and optical drive installed – (Optical Drive, Two FireWire Ports, Two 480-Mbps USB 2.0 ports, 250GB 5400-rpm HDD… Fully Loaded!)
More Air Specs: http://www.apple.com/macbookair/specs.html
More Pro Specs: http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/specs.html
To me Mac Book Pro is just a better choice. I can live with 2.4 extra pounds and .24 of an inch!… but cannot have compromises on performance.
Having Carry ‘extra’ add-on’s with Air to get what is needed means more wires, more weight and in-efficient way to carry a computer.
With MacBook Pro the only thing I carry is power adapter! battery life is not bad at all…. 6 hours solid with fully loaded machine….
With MacBook Air I will need extra hard disk, extra optical disk and a few more things such as USB hub etc….total weight might be even more than the Pro and not to forget lots of WIRES!…
The lack of a card slot means no EVDO without a big ugly dongle. For true mobile warriors this is a non-starter. Besides making something thinner doesn’t necessarily mean it is more portable.
The memory is not expandable. When the machine starts to be a little too slow for my enormous collection of photographs, the “just upgrade the memory” call will fall on deaf ears.
The MacBook Air is better than the X300. Pick up a Macbook Air and then inspect the X300, its bigger, and with standard Thinkpad lines. Thinkpads are nice machines, but I before you decide a thing, just literally pick up a MacBook Air. I think MBA does have a chance of making inroads into the business market, because thin is a big, big deal for a biz traveler.
I ordered one the day they were announced and received it a couple of weeks ago.
(video review here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPIMrvggyok)
Personally I don’t see this ever being my only computer. Totally anecdotal example – today I wanted to install some software that I only have on CD, I literally didn’t even think about it until I tried to prod the CD into…nothing…the solid front end of the Macbook Air. I had totally forgot that this thing doesn’t have a CD drive. Not that it bothers me greatly – I know I can just go home and piggyback my iMac to use the CD drive, but still. Small things like that would add up and make this computer unusable as a sole machine, for me.
As a mobile partner to a bigger workstation though, it’s flipping brilliant. I can do 99% of what I want to do (I really don’t need to install software via CD that much) and I’m willing to give up that 1% of utility for less weight and a sleeker package. I’m a pretentious mac fanboy like that.
oh and guess what the software was on CD?
yeah, it was Windows XP.
a necessary evil for cross-browser testing.
This argument is kinda convoluted. People in the market for the Macbook Air wouldn’t be buying it to be their only computer – It’d be a fancy device to bring down to the local Starbucks and surf the web on. Apple makes plenty of other models that could be your only computer, the Air is just a steep model for those that prefer optimal portability over high-functionality.
Well, I have a MacBook Air, and I can say it’s enough for me. I am a girl and I am a college student, I don’t actually need more. There are many people who loved the Air: http://www.maconair.com
Looks like there are only two stupid remarks regarding the X300 / Air comparison.
ron <<< Wrong, wrong, wrong…see below.
“the X300 is slower, heavier, thicker, having less RAM, being made of cheap plastic, more expensive (base models), uglier, but oh, it has an optical drive.”
Jim Green – “inspect the X300, its bigger” <<< Very slightly. X300 is .92″ thick, Air is 0.76″. The footprint is almost identical. Air is 8.94 x 12.8 inches, X300 is 9.1 x 12.5 which is slightly smaller than the Air.
“and with standard Thinkpad lines” <<< Yes it does, thankfully.
The straight skinny on both products:
The difference in weight is extremely small, especially if you sacrifice the DVD like Apple did. At least with the Thinkpad you have a choice.
You can’t compare “base models” since there isn’t an X300 with an IDE drive.
Uglier? The Thinkpad is in the Smithsonian as an example of perfect industrial design. The matte black finish is ideal for a laptop.
X300 screen is 1440×900 backlit LCD; Air is only 1280×800 backlit LCD.
X300 holds 4GB of memory; Air only 2GB.
X300 has 3 USB ports & ethernet; Air only 1 USB.
X300 supports WiMAX, UWB, WWAN(+GPS), BT, 802.11N; Air only “N” wireless & BT.
X300 has a removeable battery; Air…forget it.
X300 is Energy Star Compliance 4.0; Air ???
X300 has optional modular battery for up to 10 hours unplugged; Air 5 hrs on it’s single battery.
X300 LCD cover is Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic, base is Magnesium making it very solid; Air…who knows.
X300 has Vista (not exactly a plus) but can run open source OS; Air has OSX.
So if you like shiny, buy an Air. If you like function, buy the X300. Simple choice for me.
Links to the info above:
Lenovo makes oustanding laptops, but they are NOT Macs. Apple hardware is excellent, but most of the time compromises function for form. Even the regular MacBook, which happens to be my primary computer, clearly sacrifices function as it lacks the ability to dock, a swappable drive bay and hardware switch for wifi. Of course the benefits of those omissions are a smooth case that doesn’t snag on anything, a slot loading drive that won’t break off and a very clean and simple appearance.
I’ve had ThinkPads for years and can honestly say that in terms of hardware, they are about the best designed laptops on the market. The problem is software. For all its dockable, swappable, long-running-battery goodness (I got 7 hours, compared to 5 on the MacBook), it is stuck running some version of Windows (unstable) or *nix (Ubergeek-complicated).
Until Microsoft gave us a REAL Exchange client for the Mac in Entourage 2008, I was stuck in Windows hell on a very nice ThinkPad T60p, but once I found out that Entourage 2008 would display shared Exchange calendars (2004 would not), my ThinkPad was immediately put on eBay and I bought a new MacBook.
If you think that the communication device you have is the best then you are yet to see this . Its great and amazing the features and functions are outstanding , it is better seen and than ANY . the New MacBook Air & New MacBook Pros is Apple’s newest 13.3″ ultra-thin notebook, World’s Thinnest Notebook, offering cutting edge design in a remarkably thin package. models now available with Intel’s newest generation of Core 2 Duo processors in Gold colour.
If you are serious and need to lay your hand on it then feel free to inform via email@example.com
the MacBook Air is very likely to be improved:
But for now it can’t be your only computer. Even if you are a blonde
Got my MacBook Air on 2/14/08 and haven’t let it go since. As a consultant on the go the combination of lightweight and ergonomics are just perfect. It pairs with my MacBook just fine and makes my consulting activities very effective. Sure would I like a bigger hard drive and ethernet? Sure, but so far I haven’t found a “need” for either. Also, who can ignore the “wow” factor when I show up at a client’s facility.
I think the Mac Air would last people at least 5 years.
I have used my hp laptop for almost 5 years now as my only computer and it perfectly fine. (Yes, I do work at home full time so it’s not just something I turn on once or twice a week).
A mac book air (assuming your applications run on it that you need), should be more than capable of doing what you need to do with it as an only computer.
I think ANY new computer on the market should be fine in my opinion.