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132 of 147 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate travel laptop
If you're looking to buy a macbook to use as a desktop replacement, or to use as your primary computer, then the Macbook Pro may be a better choice due to it's faster CPU, slightly stronger GPU, and retina display.

If you are looking for a laptop that you will be using primarily for traveling, or on the go (library, coffee shop, flights), then look no further...
Published 2 months ago by theLorax

versus
233 of 270 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Enough RAM
(I've been editing and editing this piece to address comments below.)

In a nutshell: the MacBook Air is a great laptop with a fantastic operating system, but Mavericks clearly prefers OVER 4GBs of RAM... which is the limit of this specific model.

The good thing about this new MacBook is Apple marked it down $100 from the previous model. The bad...
Published 2 months ago by NotTheOnlyFan


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132 of 147 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate travel laptop, May 13, 2014
This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MD711LL/B 11.6-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION) (Personal Computers)
If you're looking to buy a macbook to use as a desktop replacement, or to use as your primary computer, then the Macbook Pro may be a better choice due to it's faster CPU, slightly stronger GPU, and retina display.

If you are looking for a laptop that you will be using primarily for traveling, or on the go (library, coffee shop, flights), then look no further than the Macbook Air.

It's what you'd expect in this model. It's very sleek, light, and portable. It runs very quiet. The price is significantly lower than the Pro, and the battery life is excellent. Considering the tasks that most people will be running on the Air, it's performance will be more than plenty for most people. The Core i5 and the HD5000 GPU can handle gaming surprisingly well. And normal tasks like web browsing, iLife applications, and movies, music, and web, will run very quickly and smooth.

The 11" is a nice choice as it gives you better mobility, and fits better into small spaces, like the food tray on a coach seat. However, battery life is shorter. But unless you intend to use it non stop on a 12 hour flight, the 9 hour battery will last you for most any situation. The 11" model also puts the laptop in a price range that gives it a great value that macs are typically not associated with.

Startup and shutdown time is very snappy as you'd expect with the mac. The keyboard is very brisk, and I find that my typing is the most fast and accurate than on PC laptop keyboards. The trackpad is very large, has a glass surface, and it has lots of gestures (all useful and practical), and it is a joy to use, unlike the small, plastic, unresponsive trackpads that other laptops have.

Apples standard 1 year warranty is the best in the industry. Especially when its augmented with your local Apple store and genius bar, and especially if you decide to purchase AppleCare. Unlike other brands where you only have a 15 day store warranty, and any issues for the next 11.5 months require an RMA claim, and shipping your system to the manufacturer which can take a month. Or for less serious issues, long calls to indian call centers where you are transferred a dozen times, put on hold for long periods of time, and are put through lengthy warranty validation processes.

For this latest iteration, the hardware has been bumped up, and the price has been reduced $100 which makes it a great value. This helps to offset the non retina display.

However, not all is perfect. I have to deduct one star because of one major caveat. The macbook's RAM is soldered to the motherboard. This means that you cannot upgrade the RAM in the future. RAM upgrades are simple, easy to do, and play a major part in extending the lifespan of your computer. RAM requirements go up faster than CPU and Disk Space needs, because richer content requires more RAM. I have an iMac from 2008 that I still use today thanks to the fact that I was able to double the RAM. If it was not possible, I would have had to sell it on eBay several years ago.My advice is to spring for the extra RAM now if you plan to own this laptop for more than 4 years.

What I enjoy about the macbook is they are good to go as soon as you take it out of its box. You don't have to spend hours uninstalling two dozen junkware programs that came installed on your system that are taking up valuable space. You don't have to run registry utilities to clean up after that. Nor do you have to install anti virus scanners and malware and adware removers. You don't need to download and install 96 critical updates in order to patch all the security holes in the operating system, just to keep it safe and afloat.

There's no bios to worry about, no blue screens of death, no driver conflicts, and freezing and crashing is extremely rare, instead of a common occurrence it is with PC's. Macs tend to retain their optimal performance, and you won't find the need to defrag your drive every 6 months, and format and reinstall the OS every year to combat performance degradation as I always had to do with my PC desktops and laptops.

OSX is Unix based, which is very solid and stable. It's the same platform that mission critical enterprise servers use in corporate data centers. Windows is based on DOS, which is less stable and robust, and more prone to security issues. I have also become frustrated by the design choices in Windows 10, like the removal of the start menu, and the way it is designed to be used with a touch screen as if it's an operating system for a tablet. Even with high end touch screen laptops, I did not use these touch screen features.

Another perk is that the whole iLife suit is included for free. And much like iOS, the OSX App Store has great new software that is either free or low cost, coming out every week, giving more incentive to use this platform.

So basically, if you want a macbook that is the best for traveling, and has the best value, this should be your first choice.
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233 of 270 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Enough RAM, May 4, 2014
By 
NotTheOnlyFan (Lost Without Complete O&A) - See all my reviews
(I've been editing and editing this piece to address comments below.)

In a nutshell: the MacBook Air is a great laptop with a fantastic operating system, but Mavericks clearly prefers OVER 4GBs of RAM... which is the limit of this specific model.

The good thing about this new MacBook is Apple marked it down $100 from the previous model. The bad thing is that you have to spend that $100 on Apple's site to raise this model above 4GBs of RAM (to 8GBs, both your only option and more than enough RAM).

Since you can't add RAM after purchase or buy an 8GB model on Amazon, this Amazon Air ships as essentially obsolete. If past is precedent, new annual-ish release of OS X will require more RAM as the years pass, slowing this model down even more.

Here's what a reviewer from The Register has to say on this exact subject, "As always, there are numerous build-to-order options, including an i7 processor running at 1.7GHz for an extra £130, although you'd probably want to spend any extra cash on doubling the memory to 8GB of RAM if you intend to keep it for a while."

Apple Apologists in the comments below insist there is enough ram for the average user. The average user, if you'll forgive me, has no idea the numerical amount they need. They just presume for this kind of money Apple included enough RAM, and in this Amazon model instance: they haven't. (Since you can't upgrade the RAM before ordering at Amazon.)

What casual users do know is that they intend to have a web browser always open with a few taxing sites like Facebook open, an open mail app, perhaps the calender, perhaps iTunes open (but not running) and the messaging app.

With the current OS X Mavericks and these aforementioned apps open, you're on the brink of maxing out the four gigs. Push play on iTunes, open up iWorks, play with a big iPhoto library -- or any combination thereof -- and you've exceeded free RAM.

Apple Apologists will inform you that the new compressed memory 'tech' in Mavericks fixes this 4GB problem. Yes and no. In my brand new Maverick iMac, I can open all sorts of stuff in crazy combos and the machine runs surprisingly well. (Stunningly, actually.) But new iMacs come with 8GBS of RAM, twice what this Amazon Air comes with.

But is there something better than software engineering tricks to get the best out of limited RAM? Absolutely. Having the right amount of RAM in the first place.

From a 2013 MacWorld article, "Adding extra RAM is the most inexpensive way to improve the performance of your machine and - now that all new Macs are 64 bit - 8GB should be the minimum amount of memory you put."

From Apple's site regarding compressed memory, "The more memory your Mac has at its disposal, the faster it works. But when you have multiple apps running, your Mac uses more memory. With OS X Mavericks, Compressed Memory allows your Mac to free up memory space when you need it most. As your Mac approaches maximum memory capacity, OS X automatically compresses data from inactive apps, making more memory available."

This doesn't mean unlimited memory. If it did, all Macs would come with 4GBs, right? Why would they ship iMacs and MacBook Pros with 8GBs if compressed memory made it irrelevant? MacBook Pros with 8GBs of RAM do now allow you to downgrade to 4 at purchase. Only upgrade, since, as Apple just old you, "The more memory your Mac has at its disposal, the faster it works."

Exactly. 4GBs isn't quite enough.

Some folks who have read this review have already posted comments inviting you to disregard it. One asks where I get my information from. I own two app (Free Memory/Memory Clean) which accurately report how much system RAM is available. Mavericks eats up just under/over 4GBS of RAM with a minimal amount of taxing apps open, whether it be on my two year old MacBook Air or my brand new iMac. Same exact number.

Read the reviews of the new iMacs anywhere. I personally guarantee that not one reviewer is complaining that 8GBs of RAM is too much and adding unnecessary cost to the unit.

UPDATE: Some comments below suggest this review isn't relevant because I don't own this specific model. And so I went to a Mac store, found THIS model, turned every app off, and rebooted. When the system started fresh with NOTHING BUT OS X MAVERICKS OPEN, 2.75 gigs were already gone. That leaves 1.25 gigs for apps. Virtual memory was already active at 4 gigs. Take 2.75 gigs, add 4 gigs, and what do you get? 6.75 gigs with nothing else open yet.

If that doesn't make the need for 8 gigs clear, what exactly does?
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64 of 80 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I love the MacBook Air, but You'll Need More RAM, May 10, 2014
By 
This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MD711LL/B 11.6-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION) (Personal Computers)
The cheaper price point (listed at $899 on Apple's store but cheaper on Amazon; thanks again Amazon!) make the MacBook Air more appealing to the masses. As a basic computer, to be used for everyday tasks like email, web browsing, document creation, and even basic media it works well. However, even for these basic functions unless you are careful to only be using a few programs at a time, you will find that the basic model (only 4 GB of RAM) isn't sufficient. And if you need to run a more memory intense program (even iTunes) you will find that 4 GB just isn't enough.

So my recommendation is that if you are going to get the basic version with 4 GB you get it straight from Apple, where you an return it no questions asked within 14 days so you can make sure that it will work for your needs. And if you have any question about whether or not you will need more memory (i.e. if you are running anything more than basic email, web, and document creation), you should get the model with 8GB.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, functional, light... I'm sold!, June 19, 2014
I used to be a staunch defender for Microsoft and Windows. I always thought that MacBooks were overpriced and didn't offer the same performance for the money as their Windows laptop. But I was never satisfied with Windows laptops - they all had problems and glitches that prevented me from recommending them to others.

But when it was on sale for $900 - plus a $150 student discount - at Best Buy, I just had to get it. And simply put, the MacBook Air surpassed my expectations. The hardware design is flawless. There are simply no other notebooks that can match the aesthetic value of the MacBook. Performance-wise, it's great. The 4GB RAM is definitely not for heavy, demanding tasks, but plenty enough for surfing the web, GarageBand, word processing... pretty much everything a regular college student and average user would need.

Please do yourself a favor and save yourself from dealing with subpar laptops. MacBook is the way to go for portability, aesthetics, and functionality.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I purchased the 8gb directly from Apple and I love it! It is beautiful, fast, light, and wow the battery life is amazing!, June 2, 2014
By 
I have been using my Macbook Air 13 inch laptop (with 8gb RAM) for about a week now and I am so happy with it. I already own an old iMac and I have an iPhone 5 as well as the new iPad air but all of my laptops were windows - one Sony and two Toshiba. When it came time to buy a new one, I decided to stick with windows and purchased a Samsung touchscreen. It was horrible. Windows 8 looks like they were trying to copy Apple but failed horribly. I could not get used to using it so I ended up returning it. Then I started looking into buying a Mac. I didn't think I could afford it but when I compared the price with the specs and read a lot of information about it, I came to realize that it was actually a great value for the money. It was a little bit more than I thought I would spent (the Samsung cost me $700 so I had to add quite a bit) but there is absolutely no comparison between the two. There is really no point even mentioning it. This Macbook Air is everything that it promises to be and more!

Speed - it is superfast. I have been using it as my main computer for school and work and it is incredible. It turns off and on in an instant. And I love that everything is ready to go as soon as you take it out of the box. I remember how many updates and different downloads I had to do when I got the Windows laptops - every other day there was a new update. I did not understand why a brand new laptop had so many updates; shouldn't it have come already updated since it is new? Anyway, with this Mac I was able to jump right into my schoolwork without any delays. I have never been happier!

Let's talk about the look. It is so beautiful, I almost wept in joy when I first took it out of the box. I purchased a clear Moshi case along with a screen protector, keyboard protector and palmgaurd - all of which are basically invisible and do not take away from the beauty of the Macbook at all. The design is super sleek and it is so incredibly light. It is a dream come true. I have yet to travel with it but I can sit with it anywhere I want for hours at a time and be perfectly content. It sits on my lap for hours without getting warm. And let's not forget the battery life. I tested it and even with hours of heavy use from morning to night, by the end of the day, it still had like 30% left. I have been leaving it to charge at night and taking it out during the day to use and it has been excellent. I also love how it connects as a magnet because when my daughter tripped over the wire the other day, my laptop did not come crashing to the ground. Instead the magnet detached and came out. It was no big deal because it had already charged fully and when I went to use it, I saw that it was not plugged in but the battery was almost full. If this had happened with any of my other laptops, it would have been a tragedy for sure. One of my biggest worries with this Macbook was the fact that it is so light and appears to be very fragile. I share a room with a five year old who is just as clumsy as her mother. About two years ago, I purchased a new Sony laptop and not even a month after buying it, my daughter managed to drop it off the table and then step on it, breaking the screen so that it had to be replaced. I couldn't really find anything that would protect it from being dropped but the reviews for the Moshi iGlaze Ultra were very good so I went with that and I love it.

I noticed some people were talking about Amazon only having the 4gb RAM and I was very conflicted about which one to get. I usually order everything from Amazon because I have Prime and because they usually have the best deals. However, Apple has a special discount for students and I was able to get that. I spoke with 4 different people and 3 out of 4 told me that I should go with the 8gb rather than the 4. I thought about it and decided that if I was already spending so much money, I might as well put in a little bit more and not regret it later. I don't know if it really makes a difference and maybe I would have been just as happy with the 4gb but I'm happy with my decision. I know that I won't regret it later and I won't be in constant doubt about whether I made the right choice.

I cannot think of one thing that I do not absolutely love about this Macbook Air. I was debating between the 11 inch and 13 inch screen and I went with the bigger screen because I do not do that much traveling. I do travel occasionally out of the country and I like knowing that the battery will get me through a 12 hour flight to Israel. I always get frustrated when I have to pay for wifi on the plane and then the battery runs out and I can't charge. I do not get why they would not have charging stations on a flight that is over 12 hours but they can charge you for wifi (then I discovered the bathrooms have a charger but who wants to spend the whole flight in the bathroom?). Anyway, back to the point.

This Macbook cannot be beat. It is by far the most beautiful, most lightweight, easiest to use, fastest, and overall most wonderful computer that I have ever owned (and I've owned many!). I expected to be very happy with this Mac but it has surpassed my expectations. I am ecstatic. I guess the only test left for it is the test of time and from what I know about Macs, they are meant to last so I am not at all worried about that. As long as I don't drop it and my daughter doesn't step on it then I think this Mac and I will be together for a long time.

Basically, I highly recommend this Macbook Air for students or people who work on computers all day. Even as a main computer. It is excellent. I cannot talk about gaming and things like that because I do not play any games but I am sure there are other reviewers who can provide that info. For my needs, it is fantastic. And I would suggest checking out Apples education prices if you are a student to make sure you are getting the best deal. :)
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I spent a lot of time debating between the 11" vs. the 13" and I'm glad I chose the 11", June 24, 2014
By 
This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MD711LL/B 11.6-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I actually have never owned a mac prior to my purchase of the Macbook Air but I couldn't find a similar Windows machine that was simple to use and was stable. Therefore I decided on a Mac laptop but then came the choice of the 11" vs. the 13". You can basically build the specs to be similar so it just came down to the size issue. After testing both the 11" and the 13", I thought the 11" screen size would be too small but it wasn't too small for what I was using the laptop for which was using at the coffee shop or just on the go. I use the laptop to check emails, surf the web and I also do productive apps like Microsoft Office even though the screen size is smaller. The big advantage for 11" is the footprint, wow that thing is small compared to the 13". If you use it the 11" at one of those small coffee shop tables, you never have a problem. But if you use the 13", you suddenly realize how much bigger it is! Anyways, this is why I chose the 11" Macbook Air!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love It For Its Portability, July 6, 2014
This was purchased as my travel laptop. I also bought the MacBook Pro for at home use to replace an old desktop.
Based on my ongoing love for all things Apple this seemed like an obvious choice. I use this for business, internet browsing, research, and entertainment (music and movies mostly and minimal gaming).
Since I have become familiar and comfortable with Apple since my first iPhone, setup was a snap. What influenced me to buy this notebook was its longer battery life which would get me up to 9 hours battery life (assuming I use it for work alone). This model has a fast processor that leaves most other notebooks in the dust. It is light, small, and extremely portable. I usually travel by plane and this unit's compact size works well on a tray. The sound quality is very good and the image produced is very clear and crisp. The reality is that there is nothing I don't like about the MacBook Air. The only thing I bought to enhance this unit was an external DVD/CD drive and upgraded the storage.
I am overall pleased with this purchase. It is well made, easy to operate, and I have not had any negative issues.
When I have run into problems with mail, etc. on other Apple devices I usually can identify the source of the problem and fix it myself. However, if a user is new to Apple there is-always Apple Support or a multitude of online chat rooms that help.
My only suggestion is that if you are looking for a work horse PC and are in a profession that requires the use of a laptop almost constantly along with whistle and bell applications, you will probably want to look at an Apple in the $2000+ range and this may not be for you. This is a fairly basic machine that accommodates my needs.
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Travel Companion, May 17, 2014
I got my hands on one of these a couple of days ago and absolutely love it.

Pros:
- It's very thin and light, yet sturdy.
- The CPU runs fast and performance isn't an issue with the applications I need it for, which is mostly web development.
- One can definitely feel the difference with the Solid State Drive.

Cons
- Hard drive could use some more space, so I'd recommend the 256GB model: http://amzn.to/1iXoVRv

It's hard to find cons because it's such a great device.
I'd also recommend buying a cover to prevent any scratches, Amazon has an awesome $13 laptop cover here[...]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate ultrabook?, July 7, 2014
This has to be one of the best laptops I've ever used. I see that many people have complained about ram, etc. I have no problem with this as I was able to get a maxed out refurb: i7, 8GB ram, 512GB SSD for slightly more than a new base model. This was well worth the cost as I have yet to have any issues with it. I have not really tested the limits of this machine, but my coworkers have newer MBA's also and love them. A few of the things that make this laptop great is that is is so light, and the battery life is ridiculously good. On top of that it never gets warm unless your doing some serious processing tasks. I do much of my work out and about, interfacing with and setting up equipment, VNC stuff, collecting data, doing research, going to meetings, etc. and this laptop makes it easy to focus on the task at hand. I charge it overnight, just like my phone, and use it all day with no worry about battery. That coupled with its awesome portability and ability to run windows has made me much more productive. Yes it is an expensive laptop, but in my case I believe it is a good value and seems very sturdy as well. I would say that this laptop coupled with the iPhone could be part of the ultimate portable office, for me at least. If you do get one, splurge for the extra ram and SSD at least, you won't regret it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't be disappointed, June 22, 2014
By 
My previous laptop was a Macbook (non-pro) from 2006 and this Macbook Air (128GB SSD, 4GB RAM, 13.3") is a major upgrade in almost every way.

==Screen==
The 1440 x 900 screen falls short of 1080p resolution, but the display looks great anyway and seems pretty sharp to me. It gets plenty bright if you want to max out the brightness and the viewing angle is good so it is easy for two or even three people to watch a video on the laptop together.

==Interface==
The keyboard is a pleasure to type on compared to every other laptop I have used. The keys have a nice spring to them and you can clearly feel the keystroke register. The keyboard doesn't feel cramped and the row of function buttons up on top are clearly marked and extremely helpful for controlling video or changing settings like brightness and volume quickly. The arrow keys are a little uncomfortable to use, but I don't play games or anything that would require using them much.

The touchpad is even further ahead of the competition. I cannot stand most of the touchpads on other laptops. They all seem to have problems with accuracy and responsiveness, especially when clicking, and they feel awful. The Macbook Air touchpad works nearly perfectly.

==Build==
The chassis is unibody aluminum and it is one of the thinnest and lightest 13.3" laptops available. The magnetic power port is easy to use and prevents problems with snagging your leg on the cord and damaging the laptop. The lid opens and closes easily, stays in place bends to about 135 degrees and has magnets to keep the lid closed. Best of all, it is durable. I dropped the laptop hard enough to make a sizable dent in my coffee table, but the laptop was undamaged.

==Speed and Stamina==
The laptop uses an i5 with HD 5000 integrated GPU and a solid state drive. It is more than capable of anything I throw at it, though I hardly play any games and I don't use other demanding software. I don't think I would notice any difference with faster or larger capacity components.

The battery life has been wonderful. I mostly use the laptop to web browse and occasionally watch video. A full charge lasts well over 10 hours on average and sometimes closer to 13 or 14 hours. If you put the brightness up to the max and mostly watch videos and play games, your battery will go much more quickly.

==Overall==
The Macbook Air is an amazing laptop that really delivers what Apple promises its customers - a product that works how you want it to. This laptop provides a seamless experience that does not frustrate or disappoint the customer - how many laptops can you say that about? If you don't need to use Windows, I strongly recommend you get a Macbook Air.
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