So, for those of you who’ve been reading my blog semi-regularly (Hi Kathy!), you’ve probably figured out that I’ll be graduating soon and am a bit wary about entering the worderful world of journalism, especially with how difficult is becoming to find a job and whatnot. As a graduation present, my parents said that they would buy me a laptop, which will undoubtedly help me in all of my journalistic endeavors to come. I’ve been thinking about this a lot and what kind of machine I want and I’ve decided upon a Macbook because I’ve heard they cater better towards the more creative endeavors such as design (which is what I really want to do). With this in mind, I’m trying to decide whether or not I want the new Macbook Air or to just stick with the regular Macbook Pro.
About the Macbook Air Engadget says,
“The Air is a tough call. On the one hand it proposes to be a no-compromises ultraportable, but on the other hand it compromises many (but not all) the things road warriors want. We’re all about removing unnecessary frills and drives (we rejoiced the day the original iMac bucked the floppy), but laptops are increasingly becoming many users’ primary — often only — machines, which is why the Air’s price doesn’t do it any favors, either. It’s hard to justify almost two grand for a second laptop (or a third machine) just for travel needs — and even then, that’s only easily done if all your data lives in the cloud. Given those sacrifices and that higher-end sticker, it’s more than likely not going to replace most peoples’ current workhorse laptop.
This all might look a bit different if the Air was a little closer to MacBook price range, though. We’re thinking $1500 could be a sweet spot, especially if bundled with the wired Ethernet dongle and SuperDrive. But we’re not going to kid ourselves, either; the Air isn’t supposed to be everything for everyone. For those in need of a machine that masters basics in a super thin, light form-factor, and who have the coin to pay for that ultraportability, the Air absolutely nails it like few others.
Given its stripped down, one-piece design, some are calling the Air the iPod of laptops. The point is debatable as to whether this machine could have the same appeal to computer users, but if there is one clear upshot to the Air, it’s that Apple’s learned to take the next step in miniaturizing their portable computers. While not all Mac users are going to stand in line to get this latest machine, Apple is doubtless welcomed back into the ultraportable laptop market by the technology world. Perhaps the largest side-effect of the Air won’t be ditching optical drives, though; for the rest of Apple’s consumer base it’s now just a matter of time before other Mac laptop lines benefit from the technical and engineering advances that made this thing so thin and light. Give us the lovechild of the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro, and it’s all over.”
Cnet Reviews says,
“The real key to finding out whether the MacBook Air is right for you lies in its stripped-down set of ports and connections. Those who regularly use more than one USB device, or need FireWire, an SD card slot, or an Express card slot will find the single USB jack too limiting. Likewise, we often say the telephone modem jacks and S-Video outputs on most laptops are a waste of space, but the MacBook Air goes even further, removing the Ethernet jack (a USB-to-Ethernet adaptor will run you $29) and offloading video output to a pair of included dongles (one VGA, one DVI).
If you live on Wi-Fi hot spots, use Bluetooth for your external mouse, and only need a USB port to occasionally sync and charge your iPod or iPhone, these limitations may not be a deal-breaker for you. While most hardware vendors offer a choice of mobile broadband options, Apple continues to offer none, which is disappointing for a system so clearly meant for life away from home and office. Without an Express card slot, your only option would be a USB mobile broadband modem, but with the sole USB jack under a tiny flap on the right side of the system with limited clearance, you may need a small USB extension cable to get a bulky USB mobile broadband modem connected (similar to the problems people had with the iPhone’s recessed headphone jack).
While the 80GB hard drive included in the base $1,799 model may be smaller than you’re used to, the only other option is a 64GB solid state hard drive. With no moving parts, and advantages in heat, power consumption, and reliability, SSD hard drives are certainly the way of the future. The future may have to wait a few years for prices to come down; however, swapping the 80GB platter drive for the 64GB SSD drive is a whopping $999 upgrade. The only other internal hardware option is a CPU uptick, from 1.6GHz to 1.8GHz for $300. With the upgraded CPU and SSD drive, the $1,799 MacBook Air suddenly becomes a $3,098 laptop.”
So, is the Macbook Air what I want to bring along with me as I step into the real world? I don’t know yet, we’ll see.