MacBooks forum

General discussion

macbook regular or air??

by tbstroud / May 13, 2010 11:53 PM PDT

My daughter is graduating from grad school and would like a MacBook Air 13-inch. The CNET review isn't all that positive. Please share advice before I place this rather expensive order. Thanks.

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by Jimmy Greystone / May 13, 2010 11:59 PM PDT

Well, it kind of depends on what she wants to do with it. The MacBook Air isn't a bad product necessarily, but it comes with many of the same issues and restrictions as any netbook. Issues like no optical drive, so reinstalling the OS can be a bit tricky if you don't know how.

What are some of the things she plans to do with the device? Also, what sorts of qualities does she value in a laptop?

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by tbstroud / May 18, 2010 11:50 PM PDT
In reply to: Well

Thanks for your reply!

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two different machines
by d_adams / May 18, 2010 12:42 PM PDT

the MacBook Air is a great laptop, but it's not as versatile as the MacBook. Mainly, it is designed to be an ultraportable Mac super-netbook, which is to say, it includes features, like a core 2 duo, larger screen, and larger keyboard that normal cheapo netbooks lack. It's drawbacks are the lack of an internal superdrive, fewer USBs (for those of us who use USBs), and it's slower Core 2 Duo (the standard MacBook quite a bit faster than the standard Air). Essentially, it is a 'carry everywhere' machine, and as such, has compromised on performance and versatility. I would advise using it as a portable machine, not my primary computer, but then, some people are happy with netbooks as their primary computers, so don't take my word as final!

The regular MacBook is ultimately a much better all-around machine. It has a DVD drive (of course) as well as a much faster CPU, and a decent feature set. It lacks some of the finishing touches, like the backlit keyboard and aluminum body, of the Macbook Air. It's a plain and simple computer with plenty of power and the basic features you'll need.

Personally, I would suggest neither of these laptops, but rather a MacBook Pro 13". It's got the nice touches included in the Air (aluminum finish, backlit keys), plus the features of the white MacBook (faster CPU, built in DVD), and even a few unique features of it's own, like the firewire port and larger memory. It looks more or less the same as the Air, only weighs 1.5LBS more, and actually costs less. So, it might be an acceptable compromise.

Here's a link to a comparison on Apple's website:

hope this helps!

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I would agree on that choice,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / May 18, 2010 9:55 PM PDT
In reply to: two different machines

You get the best of all worlds with that machine


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by tbstroud / May 18, 2010 11:55 PM PDT
In reply to: two different machines

Very helpful - thanks!

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My 2 cents
by dsferguson / May 20, 2010 7:30 PM PDT

I have had an Air for about 18 months. It is a terrific machine and it's always with me as a college professor and in my consulting practice. However, my iMac is my primary computer because the Air is too limited in it's functionality. Together, with iDisk and MobileMe, they are a great combination. But if I could only have 1 computer, I would have a Macbook Pro. Congratulations to your daughter!

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great advice
by tbstroud / May 20, 2010 11:20 PM PDT
In reply to: My 2 cents

Thank you!

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portability - size (or rather, weight) DOES matter
by mkleiva / May 22, 2010 3:28 AM PDT

I agree with the others that it depends on what she wants to DO - but do not minimize the weight issue. I love my MacBook Pro 15" (my primary computer - to which I have added a stand and full size keyboard) but I realized I don't like traveling with it. I travel a LOT and the weight of it in my bag is tough on my back and neck (I am healthy and in shape, but it causes strain.) I just got an iPad, which I will travel with instead. Again, not the same functionality as a laptop but you have to know what you plan to DO with it. Of course, traveling through airports is different than having a backpack and going to school... While a big surprise is nice, it might be best to get her in on the conversation.

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mac weight
by tbstroud / May 24, 2010 11:01 PM PDT

thank you

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by iancoruther / November 12, 2010 2:44 PM PST

What would be the function of the laptop for her, is it for gaming, schooling or so on? if she will just use it on school project such as documents light photo and video editing then the macbook air would be perfect for her. Besides it is light and thin the battery life last longer

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