Going up in the Air!

For the past few years I have been using a MacBook Pro 13” laptop as my main travelling, event, conference, working from home computer. The reason for the 13” was that it was small and light and had a reasonably good battery life, but also was powerful enough for audio and video editing as well as my usual travel staples of e-mail, browsing and social media.

Over the last year or so I have found that I am more and more leaving the MacBook Pro at home and taking the iPad when travelling or at events and conferences. Despite the limitations of no physical keyboard (sometimes I do carry my Bluetooth keyboard) limited power and capability to do heavy duty video and audio editing; from the perspective of doing e-mail, blogging, web browsing and social media, it is very good at what it does.

When I was given the opportunity to upgrade my MacBook Pro I did think about leaving it as is, or handing it back to be redeployed. In the end after some thought I decided to go with the MacBook Air 11” model. The 13” MacBook Pro will now go back into the staff pool to be redeployed as it is still powerful enough for how others might use it.

I went with the reasonably basic model, but did opt for 4GB of RAM as I have found in the past that OS X does perform much better with lots of RAM. I only got the 64GB SSD and am concious that this may prove problematic if and when I come to do some serious video editing on the machine. Without Firewire it’s not as though I can use an external Firewire drive either (as I have done with the old 13” MacBook Pro model).

Due to end of financial year issues this is not the new 11” model, as Apple announced it after we had placed and received our order. We couldn’t wait due to finance procedures and Apple wouldn’t exchange (as they don’t do that for institutional educational customers). As a result it doesn’t have the backlit keyboard and neither does it have a Thunderbolt port which may have then been an option. I think as a result I will be doing short videos and will have to move content off from the Mac on a regular basis to other storage.

So what of the MacBook Air then?

Well I have been very impressed with the speed of it, the original (original) MacBook Air was very underpowered, whereas this one just zips along. I did my usual test where I select all the applications in the applications folder and press Command O to open them all…. at which point the dock becomes full of bouncing icons. It handled that test really well.

The battery life is good, but is no iPad. As a result unlike with the iPad, if and when I do take the MacBook Air to a conference or event, I know I will be searching for power points. The 13” MacBook Air with its larger size has a much better battery life. I am getting three to four hours which to be honest is really good, but not like the iPad which for me lasts all day.

I do like the screen which though has quite a small resolution compared to some other Macs at 1366×768 looks bright and sharp. Yes it is a glossy screen and I know for some that means they won’t like it. I am less

It’s lovely and light and I am a bit scared it might get bent in my bag when I take it to my first conference, so need to look out for a way of ensuring that doesn’t happen.

I am curious to see if the MacBook Air will supplant my iPad in terms of travel and event usage. Only time will tell.

2 Replies to “Going up in the Air!”

  1. Hi I have had a mac book air 11 inch since feb and love it!! great machine so light and fast – dont feel I need anything else

  2. Hi James,

    Thanks for this interesting post. I have been contemplating the same and was tempted to go for the air. Do I need the storage? Yes I have a large iTunes library and apps take a big space on my HD. (and photos) I like to have everything just there and not have to connect EX HD’s. But will this change with iCloud? I think our reliance of HD storage will get less and this is why the air has less capacity.
    Will the thunderbolt port become a must have?

    As for the bag issue and bending, love an excuse to get a new bag anytime.

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