Apple MacBook Air Review @ DH

Discussion in 'Reviews & Articles Discussion' started by HardwareHeaven, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. Customgamer1

    Customgamer1 Fell off the tech wagon

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    OK I apologize for my wording last night.

    It is a cool laptop because they were able to make it so small and still have the features of a normal laptop. I knew this, but am more thrown off by the price.

    Around $1,700 is a lot just for a travel computer on top of the desktop and or laptop you have to buy as your daily user.

    Intel and Apple did a great job coming up with this laptop, but it seems the only people willing to buy this are business travilers that have more than enough money already.

    The average user looking at this laptop is just not something 85% of the world needs, and have to think it is not selling all that great, but that's a guess. Most people don't want or need 2 computers and in a sense buying this laptop kind of makes you own 2. This has travel in mind and if you travel a lot then this might be for you.

    I should have made it clear that I do like the Air, but it is nothing that I would use or buy. Can't say others wont buy it, but not something I am interested in.

    P.S. I did not read the entire review. I am sorry for missing a few points about the mouse.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  2. brutusmaximus

    brutusmaximus New Member

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    Really? I think you would be surprised, especially with the audience on DriverHeaven which is pretty hardcore enthusiast. That is quite an assumption to make. I know a ton of people with a gaming desktop system who I am quite sure won't carry that around with a 24 inch screen for surfing or email on the move.

    Also what is with the "engineer" earlier in this thread saying that the Macbook Air is mundane or not exciting? how the hell can a core 2 duo, 2 gigs of ram on a 800mhz FSB in a pure aluminium chassis 4mm-8mm thick featuring an LED screen and a battery life of 4-5 hours not be a marvel of modern day engineering?!

    I thought until today that quite a few of the regulars here were intelligent, but apparenty the dislike for Apple makes common sense go out the window! (unless of course my assumption is right and a lot of it is down to jealously of not being to afford one!!)
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  3. dj_stick

    dj_stick Apple Fanboy?

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    i want one, can't afford it, but i want one

    though if i get a notebook in the next 12 months it'll be a macbook or a macbook pro, for various reasons, mostly to do with my audio work
     
  4. IvanV

    IvanV HH Assassin Guild Member

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    pretty hardcore enthusiast != most people

    Also, I did say that there are things about Air that I find exciting and that that was exactly my first impression about it, but in the end it seems more like an engineering exercise that resulted in a flashy gadget then anything else. As you said, there are lots of people who don't want to lug around their gamer laptops so that they could surf and read email on the go, and this is the thing for them, but what was the point of putting a fully clocked C2D, 2GB of memory and all the those creative engineers who worked on it in charge of that task?! To me, it's simply not worth it, and it's not worth the price. (Just like I said, "to me".) In the end I think that Apple did it so that they could brag about it, just like many people buy it because it looks really cool.

    Now, about envy... It's a beautiful device, I said so before. If someone gave it to me I'd be thrilled. But if someone gave me an $1800 check that I had to spend it on a laptop, it wouldn't be Air, even if my choice were limited to Apple products. And yeah, I do dislike Apple a bit. Their products are usually quite good on the hardware side, the design is second to none, but there always seems to be some catch. Maybe I'd change my mind if I used Macs more, but those are a costly toys, especially here, with the cheapest iMac which sells for $1099 in the US costing $2011 around here, so I'm staying with the "not worth the money" attitude for now.

    P.S. it's not 4mm-8mm, it's 4mm-19mm. And yes, I know, that's still quite impressive. :)
     
  5. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    I know you don't think its worth the money however I would like to make it perfectly clear that it is definitely not just "a flashy gadget", a flashy gadget is something that does very little of worth for anyone.

    I have taken the Macbook Air yesterday to a company for a presentation. On the way to the presentation I watched a movie, still had 3 hours battery life, did some work in Adobe photoshop, checked email and surfed news sites. When I got to the company, I presented the slides over a DVI projector and then returned home. By the time I got home I still had 1hr 3 mins left on the battery and carrying the unit was a pleasure, it was so light. If you carry it under your arm, it is just like carrying a notepad (which is what exactly a laptop should be IMO).

    So while I appreciate some of our pc based audience would like to maybe classify this as an exercise in engineering or something ultimately worthless, I stand by the review in the fact that this is simply one of the most beautiful pieces of hardware I have had the pleasure to review in the last 2 years. So much so I ended up buying one, and trust me with the amount of hardware I see it needs to be pretty damn special to interest me. Is it worth the money? I think its worth every penny, there is nothing quite like it on the market - it is the only ultraportable that I have used which doesnt compromise in the areas I need.

    It is great we are having this discussion however because I know im getting more than a few people to rethink their persception of this unit, I have had quite a few emails asking me about several aspects of the review and even a few people who have bought one since i published ! one guy is extremely happy with the purchase. That is why we are here !
     
  6. IvanV

    IvanV HH Assassin Guild Member

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    Sorry, I must sound like a broken record. :oops: I really wish I could give it a spin for a week or two, your experience makes me think there's a good chance I'd change my mind.
     
  7. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    No it is perfectly fine. I understand the image that Apple have, of generally producing overpriced hardware, but in this case, really I was stunned at how diverse and capable the machine is. I know it is a lot of money however it really is a workhorse for specific tasks. I travel quite often in this job and I absolutely loathe carrying laptops in bags. If you are catching flights, jotting notes and on time scales you want something dependable, light and powerful enough with decent battery life to get the job done.

    I appreciate for a lot of people this unit is not the number one choice (this is why it got an editors choice award and not our top gold award) but I really have issues with someone saying its just a gadget. I actually designed, wrote and uploaded this review on the Airbook as a test. Obviously it wasn't as fast as my 8 core Intel V8 system for the job (!), but it is possible to actually do business and everyday tasks with relative ease (the LED screen is marvellous).

    Before I received this unit for review I was already in the mindset that it would be rubbish, overheat, have terrible battery life and be an overpriced gimmick, but after spending considerable time with it, it will be my partner for Driverheaven work outside our offices. That really is the highest compliment I can give it.
     
  8. humonous

    humonous New Member

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    I never realised how beautiful this was until I read this review. Would make a great change instead of XP or Vista too. I always liked OSX - its a very functional and reliable OS. This laptop costs a lot of money but it not made of some squeaky plastic material !
     
  9. Falstaff

    Falstaff Old Codger

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    I watched our Mac rep here demo the air again and there was a great deal of interest in the Mac book Pro instead, and of course they moved a few more IMACs. Folks fell in love with the desktop versions and wont budge on the IMAC, which to me is odd since the use Toshiba or Dell laptops, preferring sub optimal or middle of the road portables but prefer to keep the large 22 inche desktop Mac at home.
    My point is this, the "sexy" little Mac is a tough sell from my point of view and I am afraid the little demo version will remain on display for some time to come until tastes change here locally. I played with it for a bit, but honestly found the two hour battery life a bit of a let down, but then how many other PC portables can boast longer life, even playing DVDs etc.
    I am just Joe Cosumer and not really a techie but I do know what I want and I have the bling to back it up. Like I said, give me a black model vs this silver one and I might give it a spin.
     
  10. Sandok

    Sandok New Member

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    The MBA is very pretty and very nicely built but it's utterly crap in my opinion (have used it and I don't understand who could buy this).

    If weight is that much of an issue in the 12-13" laptop department, well what can I say... I don't understand it :lol:

    Forget about OSX because that's nothing specific to the MBA. In between the Air and a normal MacBook, the only real difference is about 1kg of weight, which I can understand, can be a lot for some people. However you get the added bonus of battery life and for those rare instances, a DVD burner / drive. Oh and of course, money ;)

    Many people have it and while it is a great work of design, its just a niche too much for me. I totally agree with Zardon that zillion USB ports aren't needed on a day to day basis but personally, I get my DVD drive used a lot but I can still imagine that being a rare occasion. However battery life is more important than slipping my laptop in a manilla folder and in that sense, the MBA just isn't good enough for me.

    Doesn't mean I don't want one though ;) It's one of those rare laptops you buy with your heart and not your head :lol:
     
  11. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    There are a lot of things I don't understand myself, but to make such an ignorant statement after all the information posted here (and I would hope by now that the regulars would at least listen to what I say) today just proves that some people have totally blinkered views on many things. Its a common trait on forums such as these anyway as is to be expected.

    Pretty simple to understand, when people travel or move around a lot they want maximum portability. There are various ways to get this portability, the macbook air goes for extreme thinness which means its really easy to carry between your arm and torso.

    Not sure the point you are making or in relation to what exactly..... to a specific audience the OS isnt important (as it can be modded back and forward) however in the real world, most people don't want to buy a machine and start modding it to run another OS. Obviously the crowd on DriverHeaven will do that (OSx to vista/xp and vice versa) but to dismiss an operating system and installation as "nothing specific" is really a broad statement which isn't actually realistic.

    Again the expensive thing I find rather misleading. You can buy a Macbook air here for £1199 and if you buy the USB2 self powered superdrive its another £65. This is several hundreds less than many other ultraportables. I know people argue the fact that the drive isn't "in" the unit is a downside, but I personally find it an "upside", I dont need the drive when im moving, but like the option when im at home or in a building to use it if needed. Very rarely I would use it however so I can discard it totally for maximum portability if I so need. Seems a nice option to me.

    5 hours isn't enough? seems pretty good to me. Most other ultra portables Ive tested last 2.5-3 max. If you use applications like coolbook you can actually undervolt the laptop and I managed to wrangle 6 hours out of it......

    Really? Obviously you haven't read my posts in this thread or the review correctly, because I have used this unit for presentations, internet work and even designing, uploading and maintaining aspects of this site on the move.
     
  12. Sandok

    Sandok New Member

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    ... If I'd never used a MBA, your remark might be valid but unfortunately, it isn't. I read the thread, read the review, I'm totally in disagreement and apart from a few sites, most websites agree that the MBA is more form over function. :bleh:

    A quarter of an inch is that important? I mean, I can fit my laptop quite easily in between my arms and torso too... Personally, what's more important is the fact that a laptop must be relatively small in overall surface and I can't think of many 12-13" laptops that fail that... :hmm:


    You didn't read my post very well? I said, given that Mac offers another laptop in the 13" segment with various specs, the OS is not the sole determing factor for a MBA is it? If you wanted a thing light laptop, the typical MB falls into that catagory as well? Thus, my comment.

    I have loved my laptops without their DVD drives (saves on tons of weight) but to say the MBA is not expensive is just blind in my opinion.

    Let's compare some small laptops shall we (Swiss prices)?

    MacBook 1449 CHF to 1999 CHF depending on components
    MacBook Air 2499 CHF to 3496 CHF depending on components
    Dell XPS M1310 1349 CHF to 1649 CHF depending on components

    And etc (Dell Vostro, Acer laptops, Alienware if you want, etc... Plenty of choice)

    Now a GRAND of difference in CHF is a lot when a MacBook doesn't offer much less (on the technical side) than the MacBook Air don't you think? That IS expensive.

    My typical day at college is longer than 5 hours so no, not really. My dad's business laptop (a Dell Latitude 430 without any DVD drive and such) lasts almost 9 hours with all the bells and whistles like WiFi on so I take it some people need more.

    I did read, I read that part, I never said the MBA can't do computing for crying out loud. If you would read my post, you'd realize that my major gripe about the MBA is not a Dell, not a Acer, not any of those other laptops but Apple's MacBook which, for a thousand francs less, offers identical performance and slightly more battery life for about half an inch of thickness and half a kilo extra. :rolleyes:
     
  13. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    I can't believe I am going to write this.

    If I needed something powerful and was going to be on the move all the time, I fail to see how any other notebook is as good as the Air.
    Regarding DVD/CDROM drive, I hardly ever use it in my desktop PC! Install the rare case of a game that is not downloaded (steam, stardock, matrixgames, gamersgate etc), and install Windows...and that's about it. For temp files I use a USB stick of 8GB and if I needed more, I could buy a larger one.
    The half or one kilo less of the Air is a very important issue as is the half an inch or whatever of smaller dimensions. At least to me.
    Case in point, I needed to buy a notebook for my trip/move to the UK this September (17th :) ) and I will need it a lot, carry it perhaps every day with me during my last year at the university and elsewhere. I was very lucky that my mother decided to buy it for me (shocked more like!) so while I couldn't afford something like the Air unless I put some money too, I could buy a powerful enough system, perhaps even more powerful than the Air. I didn't. I ordered a netbook (which has yet to arrive...) solely for the reduced size and weight, even if it is much less powerful, because when you are in the move all the time, every 100gr matter! The half a kilo or a kilo or more of weight saved can either make it that much easier for you at the end of the day when you are excausted, or easier to carry other things.
    The netbook does not have a cdrom drive either. I even bought an external USB powered drive for that. Reason is I rarely use it and when I do I am at "home" anyway. Plus it is less than 400gr (the dvdrw usb powered drive) in the rare case I need to get it with me.

    If I could easily afford the Air, I would buy it, though I would probably just install Vista (if it is possible).

    The only big thing about the Air that I don't like is the battery that is not user replaceable and I don't exactly trust Apple for cheap spare parts.

    So, if mobility and smaller weight is important to you and you want power, I can't see why to NOT buy the Air.

    Plus, I have to admit, I love the keyboard.
     
  14. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    I have absolutely no interest in "other" websites or other reviewers. I review a product based on my own findings, experience and knowledge.

    If I believed half of the reviewers or critics on the net, I would still be using windows 98. Windows vista is apparently Satan in code form .... which always makes me chuckle.

    A quarter of an inch in superportable terms is MASSIVE. By definition this is the whole point of the sector. Your personal view is just that, your personal view. For you to come into this thread and basically say something is "crap" just sums up your level of argument.

    The standard Macbook is considerably larger than the Air. I have three mac portables in the house right now and I know which one I always reach for when im on the move. That says it all.

    Why Swiss prices? its hardly a basis for the world economy, it might be relevant to you, however in the UK something like the Sony Vaio TZ is more expensive than the Macbook air, and the cpu is slower. There are many more in this sector. As for Dell or Alienware, they dont make anything in the same category as the Macbook air (and alienware are massively expensive re our reviews).

    Of course some people need more, thats probably why Dell have made a laptop with 19 hour battery life (since when is bells and whistles "Wifi"? I always take battery readings with Wifi active). your points however are not for the superportable sector which this machine is firmly rooted in. This is a failing many reviewers and people like yourself are making, they are comparing this machine to basically anything, in any given field.


    You miss the point totally and there is not need to get excited (a half an inch and a half a kilo! thats huge for this marketplace!!). I read your post and your points are inaccurate and incorrect. I have addressed them in this thread several times and have highlighted why the macbook air is such a brilliant all round machine for the category it is in.

    You have derailed the thread a little with your ranting, so I would kindly ask you to move on elsewhere now.
     
  15. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes that is a good point, its a flaw with the machine and I hope when apple release the followup that this is addressed.

    And in relation to another question you asked, yes you can install Vista. Apple even include "bootcamp" which lets you do just this. Dual OS is possible. I would like to have covered this in the review but I didn't have the time.

    We are publishing a rather good article shortly on Mac OSx and Vista which should prove interesting :)
     
  16. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    Very nice :D
     
  17. Falstaff

    Falstaff Old Codger

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    I guess if your not solidly behind the Mac air any opinion is subordinate LOL
    whatever....
    they have sold out of the 22 inch desktops and the little Air remains forlorn on the pedestal.
    Perhaps people think its just a toy,
    perhaps more clever marketing will renew interest
    perhaps..
    ah never mind.
    :)
     
  18. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    No.

    like everything we review there is a specific market for that particular product. It is a little like comparing a 280 GTX with a 4850. Its a different marketplace.

    If people don't like the macbook air, thats perfectly fine, but I would rather a sensible view was aired rather than something is "crap" or that its just a quarter of an inch thinner than something else.
     
  19. dj_stick

    dj_stick Apple Fanboy?

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    if the macbook air supports booting for a USB drive like a mac pro/imac does, you'll be able to install Vista onto a flash drive/external drive and boot from, in addition to partitioning the system drive (the normal bootcamp option), just in case you need the extra storage space
     
  20. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    I could easily take this as a sneaky blow against me. I will not reply as I would like so that we don't go off topic. Simple reply, you are mistaken.

    I am not a fan of Apple products, never have been even from the 80s when I was an Atari ST and later Amiga, guy. Regarding the Air, it's quite simple as far as I am concerned. If you are looking for a powerful and as light as possible notebook, there is nothing better right now than the Apple and if you belong to the group of people that require this, it is not even expensive considering what it offers.
     

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