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Thread: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

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    MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    my 13" MBA had a run in with a large glass of Sauvignon Blanc... need i say more?

    i'd like to know what everybody who got one of the new MBAs is thinking, now that they are not so shiny and new any more -- both the 11" and 13" (as i may not be able to afford the big boy again).

    does anybody have regrets on what they bought? finding the 11" just too small and not enough power? or maybe the 13" too big to carry everywhere?

    and what photo software are you running on it? are you running an external monitor through it at home? could you see yourself using it as your primary machine, for a few months at least?

    i'd really love to know everybody's experience to help me decide which way to go.

    thank you in advance,
    cam

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Send it to Apple for cleaning.

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Brittenson View Post
    Send it to Apple for cleaning.
    it's been done...

    the quote, thus far, is more than i paid for it in the first place (Black Friday sale in the U.S. -- i am now in Belgium): logic board, top case, and battery all need to be replaced. all, that is, with no guarantee something else won't go pear-shaped in a few month's time.

    ETA: after replacing the first two mentioned, it was on the advice of an experienced authorised technician that i am looking to buy new.

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    I would not want to give up my MBA. First laptop I haven't minded traveling with through airports. I have 13"/128 gb/1.8ghz/4GB RAM.

    I've used it with C1 and LR3 without issue on big medium format files.

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    I would not want to give up my MBA. First laptop I haven't minded traveling with through airports. I have 13"/128 gb/1.8ghz/4GB RAM.

    I've used it with C1 and LR3 without issue on big medium format files.
    so you don't regret not getting the 11" (i know you travel a lot!)? or are you mostly traveling with just your iPad?

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Cam - I seriously considered the 11" for size but the sweet spot of the price/specs seemed to be on the 13". By the time you take the 11" and go to 128gb, and the faster processor (1.6), they are the same price. But even with that bump in specs on the 11" it is still lower specified tech than the 13" counterpart:


    Attachment 40029


    I'm glad I got the 13" because it has exceeded my expectations on speed and can use it for photo edits on the road. For photo edits the extra screen size is important to me.

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    thank you, Terry. i appreciate your experience and insights!

    i just took a try on my other's 11" (he loaded C1 and CS3 for me)... only used an M8 image (next will be an M9 )... everything seemed speedy enough (keep in mind i've been using an ancient 17" maxed out with 2GB RAM as my primary) but i could have taken a long bathroom break waiting for the image to save...

    i will play with it more, but i don't think i could ever do anything serious with the 11" unless i had an external monitor...

    unfortunately, the price differential here, especially considering the conversion rates is killing me ($1799 plus tax vs. Ç1779 which includes tax) on the fully loaded 13".

    after my idiocy, i am inclined to just go with a bulkier MBP but know they'll be revamping those soon so now is not the time... sigh.

    i may just buy the Eizo 22" ColorEdge for now and muddle along with my antique... wait for new offerings and/or buy again in the states when i'm there...

    (if we had a dunce cap emoticon, i would be wearing one now!)

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    I think at that price difference you could fly to NYC and pick a new one up and have a fine weekend.

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    I think at that price difference you could fly to NYC and pick a new one up and have a fine weekend.
    no sh*t!

    he more i think about it, the sicker i feel... (and it was a crap wine to boot!)

    maybe i should have asked if anyone is planning on taking a european vacation soon

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    okay... so i tested the 11" on an M9 image (particularly noisy at that).

    i have to admit that i was quite impressed with how the little computer handled it all once again, except for the save (multiple layers).

    after i was sure i didn't bomb K's computer, i was quite impressed!

    would i be happy with the 11", though? not sure i would...

    i'd still be interested in other people's opinions and experiences because i still need to stew about this awhile longer.

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    I had planned to buy a MacBook Air 13" as my ancient PowerBook 15" simply isn't up to what I need anymore. However, once the money was in hand and I did my research, to obtain what I wanted in the MBA compared to a MBP 13" was simply not worth the differentials in cost and size/weight, for me.

    I went with an MBP 13" 2.4Ghz refurb, upgraded it to 500G 7200 rpm drive and 8G RAM. My total cost was $1160 (before buying AppleCare). It was the better choice for my needs (nice to have the ethernet, firewire, and optical drives built in for my uses, and I like the illuminated keyboard). It runs all the same software I run on my desktop system. I don't think the additional 1.5 lbs is going to kill me.

    I'd still like an MBA 13" though. ;-) "Ya make your choices and pay the prices." I'm done.

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    i like the 11" (128GB model with 4GB) because of the form factor - it even fits in my Domke J-803 bag. So this means that I don't have to think too hard whether to bring it along or not. It's powerful enough to process my m4/3 and M8 files with LR3. The screen is a bit small, but you can't have everything and for something like an MBA I favor the portability aspects.

    -Thomas

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    A slightly different perspective from me.

    I have a 15"MBP, matt screen, with a large SSD, max. Ram, and the i7 chip and driving a calibrated 30" screen—tested, it ran ~25% faster than my quad-core MP, optioned to the max.

    Now, I travel with an 11" MBA; unlike Terry I find it large enough for emails, writing articles, all web work including updating my site, and so on. Smaller is better on board.

    So, if I am travelling for a shoot, I disconnect the 15" and take that. If not, the 11 MBA. One happy camper here.

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post

    Now, I travel with an 11" MBA; unlike Terry I find it large enough for emails, writing articles, all web work including updating my site, and so on.
    Sorry if I wasn't clear. 11" is perfectly good for everything (web, emai, etc) but photos for me. I bought the 13" for time when I wanted a full computer with C1 or LR3 and I'm flying. If I am on my normal routine and traveling to LA, Seattle etc for a day or two of work, I only take an iPad with me.

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    thank you all for sharing your experiences and advice and why you made the decision you did -- keep them coming, please!

    (and, oh, if anyone hears any solid rumours about the new MBPs, pass those on too.)

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Cam - the only thing I've read is that a lot of things could be delayed as Intel has a problem with their new chipset. This is from earlier this week:

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...book_pros.html

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    thank you, Terry.

    i really didn't expect to see them before April anyway, but still

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    The Intel problem aside, any idea about how these MBPs will be improved?

    As a "power user", I skipped the previous generation of MBPs, because they did not have Firewire ports. Crazy thing: all pro audio and video equipment uses FW! I think Apple lost a lot of customers like myself who always get the new machines, no questions asked, when that iteration of MacBooks appeared.

    And many of us hated the shiny glass screens, too. The optional matt ones are extra-high resolution, and can be used anywhere: no reflections, and calibrate perfectly (I use an older Eye-One device; new software available from their site).

    As an aside, the 15" MBP that I am using now is fitted with a Mercury Pro Extreme SSD (for reasons why not to use Apple's SSDs, see our colleague Lloyd Chamber's sister site, here. Installing one of these drives will not void the warranty, according to my Apple Tech guy who installed mine, and (compared to a 2.5" normal mechanical HDD) is by far the best performance enhancement you can make to a MBP. Photoshop opens in [b]three–four seconds[/].

    They are available from Other World Computing, which is where I sourced my Ram, too, at a fraction of Apple prices—for 100% tested and approved chips.

    Spend the extra money (talking current generation MBPs here) for the i7chip, too.

    Back on topic: the present MBPs, optioned the way I suggest, are the most powerful tools available to photographers currently, IMHO. 100% happy with mine.

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    ...
    As a "power user", I skipped the previous generation of MBPs, because they did not have Firewire ports. Crazy thing: all pro audio and video equipment uses FW! ...
    All MacBook Pro models have had FireWire ports, to the best of my knowledge. I haven't found any evidence to the contrary on the Apple support website. ?

    My brand new MBP 13" includes FW. It's got a FireWire 800 port ... you need an adapter to plug in FW400, but it works a treat.

    I'd love to put an SSD in it, but a 7200rpm Hitachi 500G drive is $67 and a 400G Mercury Pro RE SSD from OWC is $1700. That's a tad bit more than I'm willing to spend. ;-)

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Godfrey, very unusually, you are in error. A search of the blogs from 2-3 years ago will turn up hundreds of references.

    All current MBPs have FW, which was my point: I and many others who use video and audio peripherals skipped that unibody model.

    And I use only a 128GB SSD on both my machines, and do not store files on them at all: they are used only as system disks. The 128 SSDs are very reasonably priced (tho' not $67; about $325 from memory!). I use FW LaCie Ruggeds on location for images or video files, and a bunch of other FW HDDs in the studio.

    cheers, L:

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    Godfrey, very unusually, you are in error. A search of the blogs from 2-3 years ago will turn up hundreds of references.

    All current MBPs have FW, which was my point: I and many others who use video and audio peripherals skipped that unibody model.

    And I use only a 128GB SSD on both my machines, and do not store files on them at all: they are used only as system disks. The 128 SSDs are very reasonably priced (tho' not $67; about $325 from memory!). I use FW LaCie Ruggeds on location for images or video files, and a bunch of other FW HDDs in the studio.
    Hmm. I dunno ... I have looked through all the MBP specs from Apple and all of them from 2006 onwards seem to include FireWire ports with the single exception of the late-2008 MBP 13" model, the first time they offered the MBP in 13". Far as I can tell, all the 15 and 17 inch models have had FireWire. The first gen of 13" didn't ... it's was pretty obvious the design was derivative of the standard MacBook which don't have FW.

    I like having enough space on the startup drive to run my daily use without another drive tethered to the system all the time, and 50% free space. I plug in an external drive when I'm doing image or video processing, which isn't a much smaller % of the time. My music and video library alone is 200G ... !

    Different needs, different preferences. :-)

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    It was that 13" MBP I was talking about; sorry about not being sufficiently specific.

    At the time, I was looking to downsize my 15" MBP, the earlier gen., which had FW. The MBP 13" was the first of the small form factor laptops that looked as though they might be powerful enough to do double duty as both a take-anywhere laptop AND be a real computer when in the studio, powering a big monitor. When I saw that Apple had removed the FW port (as you say, the design derivation is clear), I stuck with the one I had, until the new models were released (your generation one). But, at around the same time, the new MBAs were released, and then the 15" MBP with the matte screen—the rest you know.

    Re. SSDs vs. standard HDDs: if you keep 50% free, the standard drives are quite fast and the bigger the capacity, the faster they are, as you are using the fastest parts! But decent SSDs are faster, and the Mercury Extremes are over-provisioned, space-wise, which is where the utilities that keep this model working at lightning speed reside. The Apple SSD's performance degrades over time.

    I agree, horses for courses. Cheers, KL

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    I love my 15" MBP i7 - it's great laptop. But it's not so great when traveling and all I need is something to take to a cafe to check my email over breakfast, do some trivial work, or to make backups of my flash cards each evening. It's pretty heavy to carry around. For something like that an 11" MBA is a better tool IMO.

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    It was that 13" MBP I was talking about; sorry about not being sufficiently specific.
    ...
    I agree, horses for courses. Cheers, KL
    To be honest, I hadn't even noticed that the MBP 13" existed before the current series. The first generation model seemed to come and go pretty quickly. :-)

    Been working on mine for the past two days and I'm lovin' it. Great little machine. Tighter, lighter, MUCH faster than my ancient PowerBook 15". :-)

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    And what we're talking about might be the reason why (well, one of them, at least)!

    I think the new ones really have got most things right. If yours has a shiny screen, though, there is a Japanese matte skin that really works (I had one on my 13" MBP). The difference before and after is substantial. Cheers, KL

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    ... I think the new ones really have got most things right. If yours has a shiny screen, though, there is a Japanese matte skin that really works (I had one on my 13" MBP). The difference before and after is substantial. Cheers, KL
    Apple doesn't offer the MBP13 with a matte screen. I thought I wouldn't like the glossy screen, but after working at the office with a new iMac 27 glossy screen for a month, and once having calibrated the MPB13 glossy screen to my parameters, I find it simply isn't a problem. Once in a bit I get some reflection ... I just reposition the computer and my seat, the reflection goes away.

    Personally, I don't like skins and protectors and such. They inevitably cut the display's sharpness and brilliance.

    Was over at Micro Center today looking for a simple sleeve case* and played with the MBA 11 and 13s while I was there. Like them both, quite handy little machines. But now that I have the MBP13, I'm happy and I'm waiting for the next iPad model to come out before buying.

    * I have a nice couple of bags that I drop the MBP13 into when I'm taking it somewhere, but I like to have a fitted, minimal sleeve for computer and power supply to protect them when I put away ... I often use the bags for carrying other stuff and leaving the computer sitting on a table, etc, runs the risk of something being dropped on it inadvertently. It's kinda like why I have a couple of bags in the closet that I stuff the second camera and lens in ... I rarely take it out in them, just a cover to keep them protected when not in use. Call me fussy about the finish ... :-)

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Godfrey, that's really interesting. Because I spend so much time in airport lounges, I have found that those environments are hard ones to find an angle that's essentially reflection free.

    If the 11" had had the option of a matte screen, I would have paid extra for that.

    When I travel for a photo shoot (and take the 15 for processing/culling on location, rather than the 11), I notice that aspect immediately on using it in a lounge. Having said that, I still reach for the 11 most of the time at home and, if I am travelling for teaching and there's a shoot as well in the same trip, I check the 15 and take the 11 in hand carry, because it's so light and fits the seat-back tray so perfectly.

    I agree that the screen skins do cut the sharpness and brilliance of the display, but the new 15 with the matte option calibrates to spec effortlessly. On location, I usually only cull and wait until I get back to the studio to use the big screen for anything more.

    re. bags: I use one called a "tree frog" that's slightly larger than the 11"; its side pockets allow a book, dictaphone, etc., and it fits inside my carry-on bag. I have "Invishield" on the 11; the 15 is 'naked'!

    Slightly OT: for me, the iPad (which my brother, a scientist, absolutely loves) has the fatal flaw (for me!) of no built-in keyboard. This was the big reason I jumped on the 11" MBA when I saw it in Vancouver last year: not much bigger than an iPad, but with a real keyboard, AND you can adjust the screen in the usual way. The iPad spends much more time in people's hands when I see them being used.

    Good discussion; cheers. KL

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    Slightly OT: for me, the iPad (which my brother, a scientist, absolutely loves) has the fatal flaw of no built-in keyboard. This was the big reason I jumped on the 11" MBA when I saw it in Vancouver last year: not much bigger, but with a real keyboard, AND you can adjust the screen in the usual way. The iPad spends much more time in people's hands when I see them being used.

    Good discussion; cheers. KL
    LOL - the fatal flaw of the MBA for me is the lack of built in 3G with a data plan like the iPad. It is so nice to get to a hotel and not even have to worry about connecting to their wifi network or if they charge from $12-15 a day for service.

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Ha ha: yes, agree totally. However, they sync perfectly with my 3G iPhone...



    edit: not sure if you have that facility there; here, we sync with iPhone on same plan via Bluetooth; assume it's the same there?

    Hotel wi-fi charges are usurious (not a word you get to use every day!), I agree completely.

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    ... if I am travelling for teaching and there's a shoot as well in the same trip, I check the 15 and take the 11 in hand carry, because it's so light and fits the seat-back tray so perfectly.
    ...
    re. bags: I use one called a "tree frog" that's slightly larger than the 11"; its side pockets allow a book, dictaphone, etc., and it fits inside my carry-on bag.
    ...
    Slightly OT: for me, the iPad (which my brother, a scientist, absolutely loves) has the fatal flaw (for me!) of no built-in keyboard. This was the big reason I jumped on the 11" MBA when I saw it in Vancouver last year: not much bigger than an iPad, but with a real keyboard, AND you can adjust the screen in the usual way. The iPad spends much more time in people's hands when I see them being used.
    I have some work I want to do on the iPad, but mostly I will use it for reading books, movies, music, lecture podcasts, casual internet and mail, etc. To me, it's a very different device from a laptop ... I don't see myself managing or editing photographs with one. Or doing much typing. An iPad is for hand-holding. :-)

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Ha ha; got that completely. When I watch my brother, it seems that there is a deeper relationship than I have with the MBA, for sure!

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Just saw this thread. I have a 13" MBA and for me it is perfect. Light and fast and a big enough screen for editing photos when necessary. CS5 runs just fine on it. But I do agree that a 3G chip in it would be A+
    Alan

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    My brother bought an MBA 13" last week. I think he sleeps with it... !

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    >he fatal flaw of the MBA for me is the lack of built in 3G with a data plan like the iPad. It is so nice to get to a hotel and not even have to worry about connecting to their wifi network or if they charge from $12-15 a day for service.

    You can now use the IP4 as a hotspot.
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    http://www.outbackphoto.com

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    Quote Originally Posted by ustein View Post

    You can now use the IP4 as a hotspot.
    This alone has made the 11in MBA much more appealing to me as the replacement for my iPad when out & about. I had to give up my unlimited Enterprise data plan to add the hotspot feature (AT&T really hate having that option out there!!!) and so now 4GB/mth is the limit although I seldom even get close to that normally even with my now ex-data card that I used to have.

    In fact the iPhone 4 hotspot option also makes a WiFi only iPad a practical consideration if I ever decide to jump to an iPad v3 or higher.
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 17th March 2011 at 21:44. Reason: Fix up the damn iPad spell checking & "fixing"!!!!
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: MacBook Air -- how are you liking them now?

    >In fact the iPhone 4 hotspot option also makes a WiFi only iPad a practical consideration

    For that reason I got the WiFi only iPad. If you don't watch movies 4GB is a lot.
    Uwe Steinmueller
    -------------------

    Editor&Owner of Digital Outback Photo
    http://www.outbackphoto.com

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