My First Two Days With The Macbook Air

Last modified on August 27th, 2013

I’ve been a pretty loyal user of Apple’s Macbook Pro line for the last few years. I purchased my first one after Northern Voice in 2007, mostly because the laptop that I recently had Vista installed on failed to work for me during a presentation. Since then I’ve probably been through three or four of them, often upgrading every year or so to keep up with technology. The first few were the 15″ model, and the last Macbook Pro I purchased was a 13″ model.

Macbook Air

While the Macbook Pro is a great computer, the Macbook Air has always intrigued me. Most of my uber techie friends have one, and I’ve always thought it was cool how small and light it was.

But other than its startling good looks, the Macbook Air line has always been underpowered compared to the Macbook Pro line. And while I don’t really do anything computationally intensive like playing 3D games, I still appreciate a fast machine, more-so since my income is dependent on one.

I’ve been considering upgrading to a Macbook Air for almost a year now, but decided to hold myself over with the last Macbook Pro I purchased. But when Apple announced the new Macbook Airs with the i7 processors (the 13″ Macbook Pro still uses the Core2Duo processors, which are two generations old now), I decided to finally take the plunge.

Considering that my laptop generates my only real source of income, I generally don’t cheap out when I make a hardware upgrade. That’s why I ordered the $100 upgrade from the 1.7 GHz i5 processor to the 1.8 GHz i7 version and opted for the 256 GB SSD drive instead of the 128 GB SSD drive. It’s the highest end 13″ model Apple is currently offering.


Considering you can’t get the 1.8 GHz version of the Macbook Air in the Apple Store, I didn’t have any other choice but to order online. I really wanted to have the new machine in my hand before the long weekend (mostly so I could tinker with it and get it ready to go), so I ended up getting the expedited shipping which ultimately shaved a few days off of the delivery time. Even so, it still took about three business days before Apple shipped the laptop, and another three days before it arrived at my door.


I held my Macbook Pro in my right arm and the Macbook Air in my left to do a weight comparison when I received my new machine. Compared to the Macbook Air, the Macbook Pro felt like a brick in my other hand. It’s really amazing how light the 13″ Macbook Air is. I’m sure it weighs more than my first generation iPad, but it honestly doesn’t feel much heavier than it.

I carried my Macbook Pro around in Argentina in my backpack, so I’m definitely looking forward to having a lighter load on my next round of travel to Thailand.


A lot of people don’t know this, but the 13″ Macbook Air has the same screen resolution as the 15″ Macbook Pro. So the resolution I lost by dropping from the 15″ Macbook Pro down to the 13″ Macbook Pro has now been regained on the 13″ Macbook Pro.

And the difference is quite remarkable.

Not only is the screen vibrant, but the extra pixels really make fonts seems more clear compared to my Macbook Pro. Granted, it could have been all the gunk on my old LCD, but the new display seems gorgeous by comparison.


The day my new laptop arrived a series of benchmarks were released comparing the new Macbook Airs with the previous generation of Macbook Pros. The results showed that the new Macbook Airs were faster than every single 2010 Macbook Air released.

That’s a big deal.

While the Macbook Air has always been a novelty item due to its size, the new processors really do take the machine into the realm of performance computing. Not only is the laptop lightening fast, but the removal of a normal hard drive has rendered the machine virtually silent. It’s actually quite eerie to be using it and not have the machine make any sound.

I’d say that this is the fastest machine I’ve ever owned, but every laptop I purchase typically is at the time. But this definitely feels like one of the most noticeable performance upgrades I’ve ever had.

Does It Blend?

Without a doubt this is the nicest machine I’ve ever used. One of my main concerns with the Macbook Air prior to owning one was that I thought it might feel fragile. But in fact the opposite is true: it feels amazingly sturdy and well made.

A friend of mine said once I “upgraded” to the Macbook Air line that I’d never go back, and that’s absolutely the case. The form factor is amazing, and the SSD and processor combination delivers a huge punch in terms of speed and usability. In all honestly, I’ve hardly put the machine down simply because it’s such a joy to use.

So if you’re thinking about getting one, I definitely recommend the Macbook Air – it’s fast, it’s light, it looks cool, and it works flawlessly.

6 responses to “My First Two Days With The Macbook Air”

  1. TylerIngram says:

    I have been wanting to go back to Macs since the days of my LCIII (68k baby!) but their prices are just too high for what they offer. Except for perhaps the new MB Air.

    As you know, I’ve been looking at the Asus U36SD (soon to be released) versus the Apple Macbook Air.
    – Both are 13.3″
    – Both are ultra-thin
    – Both have the i5 SandyBridge (2nd gen) CPU
    – Both can support up to 8GB DDR3 1333 Memory
    – I can put a SSD into the Asus (comes with HDD)
    – The Asus has a dedicated nVidia 530M GT video card and can use their Optimus Tech to switch between that and the Intel HD 3000 (the intel is a GPU on the same die as the CPU, which is what the Macbook uses)
    – The Asus has a USB 3.0 port and HDMI (whereas the Apple has only 2.0 USB and their Thunderbolt port – can output to video right?)
    – Both have similar battery performance
    – One does run the MacOS 😉

    Pricing is what hurts though. The U36SD will retail for $950-$999 whereas the MB Air (at similar specs) is $1250 (with edu discount).
    I pop a SSD into the Asus and i have essentially the same notebook and almost the same price!

    So close to having a Mac! But…. the USB 3.0 and the nVidia GPU make it hard to decide! Wish I have more of an income and then I would easily go for the Macbook Air

    You’ll have to report back about taking your Air to Thailand and if it was a hindrance at all, as I’ll be wanting to bring mine on our 3 month trip.

  2. John says:

    Tyler: I googled your Asus and found an Engadget post about it. Sounds like (judging from the comments) there are some issues with the screen quality & keyboard ‘flex’ on the Asus. Nothing about the MBA flexes or feels cheap…but that’s likely due to the aluminum chassis/shell vs the plastic shelled Asus. There is nothing I hate more than ‘flex’ in a high end piece of technology…instantly makes it feel cheap. My HP Touchpad suffers badly from this…my iPad 2 does not.

    Price is still relative in this case…you’re getting a higher quality build from Apple, arguably higher quality components and a more solid OS (IMO) that can also properly run Win/Linux if you wish either virtually or dual boot without issue. Those points alone trump the $ difference.

    The entire Apple line has a displayport adapter for connecting to external monitors…as well as HDMI but does require a separate connector purchase (~$30 I think).

  3. Duane Storey says:

    I agree with John. I used to think Apple’s line of laptops was overpriced compared to their PC counterparts. But I’ve since read a lot of articles comparing the two, and in most cases it’s pretty much a wash if you compare oranges to oranges. And plus, having the ability to walk into the Apple store whenever you have a problem and receive good service, even without Apple Care, is an added bonus.

  4. Gusf says:

    Yeah I think my next laptop will be the MacBook Air. I used to think my 15″ was great for traveling and now I find it just so big and weights a ton. I wasn’t willing to buy a MacBook Air just as I found Aperture to run fairly slowly, but now with the new added features and the ability to hook it up to my TV or other monitor is an added bonus.

  5. Sean Cull says:

    Hi Duane! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your new Air. I, too, am interested in getting one soon. (Mostly for web development.) Could you provide an update on how you’ve fared with it over the past few months?

  6. Mike says:

    The Mac line of computers is not overpriced. It’s just that when people compare, they neglect to mention the factors that set Macs apart–Unibody, the simply superior trackpad, MagSafe, the OS, etc.

    When I hear people say, “I can put an SSD in the ___ and get basically the same laptop” I laugh because they’re still running Windows and that means it’s still worlds apart.

    I’m a computer repair tech and I deal with the internals of computers r every day. Even the insides of a Mac are superior to the PC counterparts out at any given point in time. For example, my MacBook Pro has an internal anti-spill sheet under the keyboard that is almost never found in Windows laptops from Toshiba, Lenovo or whoever else. Also, instead of soldering the power plug straight to the logic board directly as PC laptop makers do, Apple did us a big favour and kept the component separate for easier repair. Talk about thoughtfulness. People don’t get it, but the difference between a Mac and a PC laptop is huge!

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