Review of 11.6in Macbook Air
I've posted elsewhere about the bags, but I finally got my hands on the 11.6inch MacBook Air. After a lot of debate I went with the fully spec'd version (4GB RAM, 128 GB hard drive). I hope to keep this for a long time and wanted to be sure it would be able to run any current and future software I may have. Gotta say, I love this computer! For me, it's the netbook I put off buying for two years, and the iPad I resisted because it didn't quite suit my needs. This little guy is amazing - so thin and light it hardly seems possible.
I don't know if I'd have settled on this if it was my only computer. The small screen and hard drive are certainly limiting. But as a take-everywhere and bring-on-vacation device, which I use alongside my slightly larger and more spacious Macbook Pro, it's wonderful. My eyes are not that great, but I don't mind the screen. It's miles ahead of any netbook I've ever seen. On the other hand, if I was going to do my regular work on this, (Excel spreadsheets, databases...), I'd go crazy, with all the scrolling that would be necessary. It is strictly a computer to use for leisure activities, like in-the-field photography downloads, and family history research. And of course email and web browsing.
I wondered how I'd get by without an optical drive, but found that I can actually install software by placing the CD in my other computer, turning on sharing, and installing over my wireless network. Pretty neat!
Thought I'd post this for anyone else who travels a lot and was considering it. I'm going on a trip soon and looking forward to NOT carrying a heavy computer through one airport after another. My shoulders are already thanking me.
I've been using the 'old' MBA for two and a half years. This has all the restrictions of the 'new versions, and then some! But, actually, for what it is, these aren't really issues. For example, how often do you need to load new software from a disk these days? OK when its new you need to load whatever you use, but after that? I bought the external superdrive and have used it once in a blue moon. As regards the hard drive, as a carry everywhere lap top, how much data do you want to lose if your lap top gets stolen? I keep no client data, other than that needed for the client that I'm seeing that day, on my lap top. I then have either a dongle or an external drive in a pocket about my person if I'm say, going on holiday, and need more data with me. Everything else lives on a Network Attached Storage device at my office in my home. This runs two hard drives in a RAID format (RAID1?) that creates a mirror copy of everything automatically. This is the backed up 'off-site'. So an 80GB hard drive has never been more than 50% full.
Having said all of that, I recently 'upgraded' my MBA to a MacBook Pro 13" because I find that I can do most of the things I need a lap-top for on my iPad, and almost never need to carry a lap top any more. If I do, then the MacBook Pro 13" is hardly any bigger. When I need to renew the iPad, I will give the new small MBA a good look, but I've come to rather like using the iPad for things like taking notes with it sitting on my knee or showing things to a client one to one. Or web browsing and dealing with email. Especially, I like the virtual key pad on the iPad. I suffer from a high degree of paralysis and the virtual key pad is the best key board I've used since my injury.
Here's an informative discussion by folks that
travel for a living as photo journalist on this
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