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Thoughts on the 13″ MacBook Air

I’ve had my 13″ MacBook Air (mid-2011 model) for a few weeks now and thought it’d be a good idea to share my impressions. I originally moved to Apple on a black MacBook, then switched to a top end 17″ MacBook Pro, and now I’m on an Air.

What’s Good?

Weight

It’s fantastically light. My MacBook Pro feels like a brick after using the MBA for a while.

Size

Not only is it light, it’s thin. Like, really thin. It’s not really that much thicker than my iPad and that’s impressive when you consider it’s a full featured computer.

Battery Life

I haven’t used it for photo/video editing nor have I used it for games, so my usage is pretty moderate, but still, the battery life is excellent. My MacBook Pro has a good battery life for its size, but the Air has been really impressive. I haven’t timed the battery life, but I can say that I frequently use it for extended periods of time without even thinking about the power cable. That hasn’t been my experience with other laptops (Apple or otherwise).

Solid State Drive

It’s amazing how much of a difference a solid state drive makes. Startup is extremely fast, launching apps is even faster, and even development in a virtual machine is faster.

What’s Bad?

Screen Size

It’s totally usable for most of my everyday tasks, but for things like development, it’s a bit small. The good news is that it powers an external monitor just fine. If you’re on the go and need to do certain kinds of tasks, it’ll feel a bit cramped. I can’t imagine the MacBook Airs line won’t merge with the MacBook Pro line to provide the larger screen sizes in the future.

Other Thoughts

That’s actually the only negative thing I’ve noticed. I happen to have the 4GB RAM/256GB SSD model, so it’s maxed out on the basic specs. It’d be nice if the RAM went up to 8GB, but honestly, 4GB has been plenty (even with large-ish databases loaded) due to the SSD. The storage space may end up being a problem for me down the road if I started storing my main photo library, but I’m undecided how I want to handle that. Overall, the MacBook Air is the best laptop I’ve used for my everyday tasks. I’m sure I’ll find a few things where I miss the power of my PC workstation or my MacBook Pro, but so far, I’ve really impressed.

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