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For those considering the new MBA, a short review.

7369 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Dec 8, 2008 11:17 AM by Robert Nicholson1 RSS
Ryujin Calculating status...
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Nov 8, 2008 10:50 PM
I've had my new MBA (1.86GHz, 128 GB SSD) for two days, and I'm delighted with it. I thought, therefore, that it might be useful to post my experience with the machine for anyone considering buying one.

The first thing I noticed was how incredibly fast the MBA is. I've got a first gen Intel MBP and a Santa Rosa MB, but the MBA simply destroys them in boot time/app loading time/web page load time, you name it. I'm sure the CPU accounts for some of this, but most of the credit has to go to the solid state disk. It's definitely worth the extra money for such a noticeable speed boost. Nothing lags and nothing drags; the whole system is impressively responsive.

It's also eerily silent. There's no disk whirring, of course, but also very little sound from the fan. I know overheating and all manner of CPU-throttling, video-stuttering nastiness affected the old MBA, but none of that has manifested itself on my machine. I spent a couple of hours testing it out with flash movies, YouTube videos, a DVD (via SuperDrive), and a bit of gaming (Spore runs fine, by the way), but nothing got hotter than 60 degrees C. I'd say Apple have definitely fixed the heating problems.

The result is a fast, quiet, stylish machine that gives many full-sized laptops a run for their money. The first generation MBA was labeled a "secondary laptop" by some reviewers, a machine intended for those who already had an MBP or Mac Pro at home, but who wanted something a bit more portable. Version 2 is, on the other hand, an excellent primary lapop for those users who don't have the need for high-end, discrete graphics.

Of course, everything has its downside, and the MBA is no exception. It could use another USB port (to save me having to carry a port replicator), the mini-DisplayPort video output required the purchase of yet another set of converter dongles (grumble grumble), and the trackpad button seems to require a bit too much force to operate (other threads have highlighted this issue so it may be a fault in some machines). When I first booted the MBA, the iSight camera didn't work, but a quick SMU reset fixed that. The glossy screen is fine for me, although I understand the point of view of those on the other side of the debate, so I can see how it could be a negative.

And that's pretty much it. I bought the MBA to be a "travel companion," very much secondary to my other Macs. After a couple of days, however, I have relegated my MacBook to secondary status, and made the MBA my main Mac. It's a delight to own and use. I highly recommend it.
MBA v2 SSD/MB 2.2GHz, 4GB RAM/MBP 2.0 GHz 15", 2GB RAM, 256MB ATi/iPhone 3G 16GB, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • iSMH Level 5 Level 5 (4,310 points)
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    Nov 9, 2008 8:56 AM (in response to Ryujin)
    Glad to hear you're enjoying it!
    2.4Ghz 20inch Aluminum iMac, Macbook Air, Pismo G3, Mac OS X (10.5.5), iPhone 3G, iPod Classic, 4G Nano. I have a dogcow tatoo on my ankle. Really.
  • Stefan Ro. Calculating status...
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    Nov 10, 2008 5:07 AM (in response to Ryujin)
    any problems with this issue? looks like that many have it...

    "Thin Horizontal Lines on Rev 2 MBA?"

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=594520
    Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • RonAnnArbor Level 4 Level 4 (2,695 points)
    I think this is a pretty good review -- I've had the same experience -- and two of the identical observations on speed and usability: it is faster than my old MBP 2.33 ghz was, and at 128 GB it can serve as your primary (or only) computer, instead of being just a "secondary one" that the 1st gen with it's pathetically small drive capacity was.

    I have had no problems with any lines on mine.
    Mac OS X (10.4.10), Macbook Pro -- iPhone 3G
  • orch5 Calculating status...
    Hi,

    I have a problem with lines on mine. They are in the form of faint horizontal lines running across the whole screen. They are very noticeable on a white background, i.e. when typing on a word processor. I have a MacBook and two iMacs in the house, and these don't exhibit the same problems.

    I find that my eyes get fairly tired after an hour or so use with the Air. The text is not as clear as my MacBook. It was quite disappointing as I expected the display to be better than the MacBook.

    It does seem that quite a few people are having the same problem. There are a lot of postings on forums even at this early stage, for example:

    +“I have the new MacBook Air 1.86/128GB SSD, and I too see very faint lines on my display. They are not completely horizontal - rather, they are pitched at about a -5 degree angle from left to right, and appear to be about 1 pixel in width, and 1 pixel apart.”+

    However, I have a case ID with Apple and will try and reset the Air’s System Management Controller when I get home tonight. If that doesn’t work I’m going to send the Air back for replacement. Considering the cost of the Air I do want to get one that is clear of any defects. Apple support has been very good thus far. I’m also wondering is a driver fix for the Nvidia chip set might solve the problem?

    This issue aside it is a fabulous computer. I think Apple have got the spec spot on with the rev2 Air. It’s responsive, runs cool and is a total joy to use.

    Graham.
    iMac x 2/MacBook/MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.5.1)
  • orch5 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 13, 2008 2:49 AM (in response to orch5)
    I've returned my Air back to Apple today. The lines are very distracting during any period of use and my Intel MacBook screen, though dimmer, has a crisper display. The Air's display reminds me of a slightly out of sync CRT monitor, as if the text is just a little off focus, very subtle but you know it’s not right. It's odd to describe but I have to say I noticed it instantly when it was out of the box.

    I also cannot get the four finger swipe to work, tried everything but it will not happen.

    I'm getting a replacement Air as I love the machine. I really hope the issues with the screen are sorted out. It is a fantastic product otherwise.

    G.
    iMac x 2/MacBook/MacMini, Mac OS X (10.5.1), 2gb / 2.16 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Terry Reed Calculating status...
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    Nov 15, 2008 7:44 AM (in response to Ryujin)
    I too have just received my new 128ssd air, replacing my original 80gb air, and it is much snappier, and has arrived problem free. I highly recommend this machine,
    Dual 2.0 G5 30 inch display, Mac OS X (10.5.5), macbook air 128ssd
  • Robert Nicholson1 Calculating status...
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    Dec 8, 2008 11:17 AM (in response to Ryujin)
    I asked the Applestore to hook up the MBA to their 24inch display and the sales person cranked up the iMovie, vmware etc etc and we got the tempature as high as 170 F without much difficult. That said it's noticably quicker than the previous version the fan was definately above 6k RPM at this time.
    MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo 2.33 ghz, Mac OS X (10.4)

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