493 of 527 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2014
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.
192 of 211 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2014
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. :)
728 of 829 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2014
(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?
119 of 137 people found the following review helpful
on 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.
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2015
I bought my MacBook Air directly from Apple awhile back. I opted for the extra RAM and initially it worked great. Recently however I upgraded to Yosemite and it has gone downhill quite a bit. It has become incredibly laggy, and even struggles to play videos. I tried a full factory reset with the same results. Then last night my wife was watching a video on it and the screen just displayed digital lines everywhere (see attachment). I took it into the Apple Store today figuring that it must be a bad video card and that of course since it is under warranty it wouldn't be an issue. They told me that somehow the screen has become cracked and that I need to pay $500 to replace it. Apparently Apple Care doesn't cover accidental damage even though I'm not entirely sure how watching a video cracked the screen, but the rep at the store assured me that it may have been cracked for several weeks but that it didn't break the screen until last night.
Anyway, I called Apple because surely they wouldn't just leave it at that (I have probably purchased nearly $10K in Apple products over the past few years for my business and whenever something has broken they've been great about repairing it if it was under warranty). Their response was that they couldn't do anything and if I wanted my screen fixed I'd have to shell out the $500. I told him how frustrating this was since Microsoft offers a "we don't care how you broke it" warranty on their surface pro 3's. He was nice, but he said his hands were tied, and then gave me the names of some local companies that would fix it at a reduced rate. Anyway, lesson learned, Apple products and services aren't what they used to be, so be cautious, and don't expect a lot from Apple Care because if they think you broke it, they won't fix it.
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2014
I recently purchased the Macbook Air 13 inch (June 2014 version) with 4GB RAM. I was primarily trying to find a machine that could replace my iPad. This is my first Mac and I have been using Windows for about 15 years. After 10 days of use, I have been thoroughly impressed with the Air. I, like many of the reviewers on here have focused on the fact that the base model has only 4GB of RAM. But, based on my experience so far this will not be a problem for most users. Mavericks makes good use of available RAM. I have tried almost everything I can think of to bog the Air down by opening multiple apps and streaming Netflix, MLBTV, and iTunes radio all at the same time. Certainly, if you are a power user and want to do video editing or the like, then you should probably consider the iMac or the Pro, but for most users this computer will do anything you need it to. Here are a few of the things I like about the air and so far I haven't found any major issues.
Keyboard and Trackpad-Excellent
This is by far the best trackpad I have ever used on a laptop. The gestures make it feel like you have a touchscreen. The motions gestures on the trackpad mimic those of the iOS devices and can be used to go back in your browser, or to easily flip through your open programs. The top of the trackpad is advertised as being glass coated and it feels smooth. You won't have any problems moving your cursor around the screen. The entire trackpad clicks which is great and acts as a left click on a standard mouse. If you want to "right click" then you put two fingers on the pad and click. At first I didn't like it, but after a few days it felt really natural.
The keyboard is a winner to. The adjustable backlight is easy on the eyes and looks stunning against the black keys and aluminum chassis. The keyboard itself is very good, although I did find my Alienware M11X keyboard to have a slightly better feel, otherwise this is the best laptop keyboard I have ever used. The 13 inch Air has a surprising amount of space to allow the user to rest their wrists on the machine. I have typed for hours on the Air with no issues. It would be nice to have the number pad, but it would take up way too much space and would not be feasible on the Air. Their is a USB number pad that can be purchased separately if I really need one.
No, the Air doesn't have a 1080 display, but I often feel like companies pad the stats and put out low quality garbage. The Air's display is in a word, awesome, despite its sub-1080 resolution. I actually prefer reading on the Air's display, compared to my iPad and other HD screens as it is so much easier on the eyes. At the same time, HD movies and sports look amazing. The display far exceeded my expectations and the stats don't tell the whole story.
Graphics and Processing Performance-Excellent
I knew buying the Air could possibly mean compromising graphics and/or gaming performance. The Air isn't going to play the latest and greatest games at max settings, but its performance is respectable. I played Borderlands 2 on the Macbook Air using my son's Steam account
and it was smooth with low to medium settings and still looked nice. Everyday tasks are not an issue, multi-tasking, etc... are no problem. Again, if you are power user and want to do some serious video/photo editing or are an avid gamer then the Air isn't for you, but for most the Air will do more than you will ever need it to.
This is my first Mac and I thought coming from Windows would require a huge learning curve. There really isn't anything new to learn however, as basic functions are just like Windows. Multiple desktops, touch screen like trackpad gestures, and shortcuts put Mac OS miles ahead of Windows. While Windows Aero is a useful function of Windows the multiple desktops and dual display management are superior on Mac. This is after only two weeks of use, the learning curve is not that steep. The keyboard shortcuts will take some time though, but as I am learning them I am finding the Mac OS experience is getting better and better.
The inclusion of Apple's iWork suite (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) adds to the value of Mac OS over Windows. iCloud integration into Mac OS and iOS makes productivity a breeze. Absolutely seamless integration in a true cloud computing environment. Pick up your iOS device and start writing in Pages and you can just pick up where you left off on your Mac or other iOS device. No uploading or anything, real time cloud backup. iWork programs allow you to save or covert your work into Office formats such as .doc, .xls., or .ppt.
There is no hiding the quality build of this computer. I have owned a lot of laptops and there is no doubt that the Macbook Air is well built. While some may not like the anodized aluminum look, to most the thin and sleek look will impress. The 13 inch weighs less than 3 pounds and I find the Air to be just as portable as my iPad and I no longer have to tote around the extra keyboard. In fact I sold my iPad and the Air has proven to be a legitimate upgrade from the tablet. With no fan ducts on the bottom and a chassis that is entirely made of aluminum you can set the air on your lap with no fear of choking your computers cooling system. It does get a little warm on the bottom, but only at the back near the battery.
While I have not found any issues thus far, I will update this review if I have any issues going forward. There are some really nice Windows Ultrabooks out there and I am sure they perform fine. But if you are an iPhone or iPad user or just want a change, the Macbook Air is a great choice. The OS has exceeded my expectations as has the Air's performance. Many have touch screens as well, but Apple's gestures make the experience almost superior to a touchscreen experience. Of course that is just my opinion, but the OS feels refined and very intuitive. iCloud integration makes cloud computing seamless. If you have any question's about the Air please comment below and I will try to answer them within a day or two.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2015
I've been committed to Windows for the past 20 years, and finally broke down and got this 13" MacBook Air. Once I finally made up my mind to go with a Mac, a new dilemma surfaced; Air or Pro? My decision was based mainly on the longer battery life of the Air, and I found it at an excellent price as well. Having never even spent much time messing around with a Mac, I had to overcome what I consider to be a pretty steep learning curve. I've been using this for about a month now, reading online tips, watching You Tube tutorials, etc., and have a pretty good hang of it now. These are my subjective thoughts, as I have no technical background and did not compare this computer head to head with any other laptop.
First, it is a beautiful machine, solidly built, and well, just nice. It's not a cheap computer, and it doesn't act like one either. The battery life is excellent, though maybe not quite as good as the 12 hours advertised. My last laptop was a Chromebook that was good for about three hours, so this is a huge upgrade. It connects well with my home network, and I have had no issues there, even using it two floors away from the router. The computer is faster than I would have expected also, and the video quality is really good. Some of the reviews I read complained about the resolution, the screen angles, and who knows what else. I don't get it. The screen is beautiful, period. The OSX Yosemite operating system seems good to me and pretty bullet proof. One thing I found really cool is that even though there is no optical drive here, I was able to install Mac software (Photoshop Elements) by sticking the CD in my PC and setting up the sharing function. Wow.
I was surprised by the lack of apps available for a MacBook. I have an IPhone and a Kindle Fire, and kinda assumed that there would be a comparable selection available from the App Store. There isn't. Again, maybe it's just that when the Windows are closed, I am a bit in a foreign country. No Flipboard, really? Another negative is keeping things in sync with my IPhone and ICloud settings. You can make phone calls from the MacBook (very nice), but only for awhile. Inevitably, without messing with any of the settings on either device, it stops working. You have to go back and tweak things on the phone, even though both devices are logged in to the same account. Same thing with getting my calendars to sync. It works, but you have to give it of some thought and mess around a lot.
These little things bug me, but not enough to rate the MacBook Air at anything less than five stars. It's just too cool to really complain. Apple will probably work some of the bugs out of these issues eventually. I did have to call their customer support on like day two, and someone patiently worked on a couple of issues for at least an hour. I appreciated that. I definitely recommend this laptop, and as you can see, it looks really nice too.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2014
The MacBook Air is amazing. Until now, I have had Windows computers, most recently a Windows 8 laptop. The Macbook is a breath of fresh air when compared to that crappy computer. The first reason is design. The Air is thin, light, and beautifully crafted. Those words definitely didn't describe my Windows laptop. The Mac operating system is way better than Windows (in my humble opinion). Windows 8 on a laptop was slow, glitchy, and had to update nearly every time I turned the darn thing on, which made boot up times take an extra 15-20 minutes. Mac OS X is responsive, apps open almost instantly, and glitches are kept to a minimum. Also, battery life is incredible. There aren't many computers out there that can boast 12 hour battery life (for the 13 inch), but the MacBook Air certainly can.
If you want a laptop that is thin, light, and responsive, I highly recommend the MacBook Air.
95 of 117 people found the following review helpful
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.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2015
Everyone has their + and - on all things Mac, but while I've always had a PC, I've also had a Mac right along side of it for whatever reason. I have waited to get this particular computer for a while. I was saving up gift cards I earned online, and after about 7 months, I had enough to get one. Always take a look under the Used section, as many vendors will have a BNIB (Brand New In Box) items listed as Used, but they are still new and sealed, as mine was today. The Air is a great, less expensive, option for those wanting a new Mac. While there is no optical drive, who uses a CD drive much anymore? I opted for the 13.3" because it had an SD card slot, which leaves my options open in my vlogging efforts, etc. The computer is sleek, sexy, and doesn't run hot obviously because of the solid state drive. It comes with 10.9.4 installed, and there's a free upgrade to 10.10 Yosemite in the App Store. I was a bit disappointed that iMovie didn't come with the OS anymore, and it's $14.99 in the App store. Overall, it's a great computer, and even the 11" at $999 price range is an excellent deal. GET ONE!