Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

Summary: The upcoming MacBook Air -- Apple's netbook -- could be the most cost effective, efficient laptop for the busy academic lifestyle.

SHARE:
79

Looking at the expected specification of the upcoming revised MacBook Air, one can only deduce that, this multi-platform capable device could well be the perfect companion for students.

Though the specifications for the new MacBook Air have not been confirmed, it looks likely that it will include:

  • Ultra-low voltage Intel Sandy Bridge Processor
  • High-speed Thunderbolt ports
  • Mac OS X Lion pre-installed
  • Backlit keyboard
  • 128GB/256GB solid-state hard-drive drive
  • 4GB RAM

That alone is enough to make even the most die-hard Windows fan drool, surely?

I can tell you now, as soon as they are released -- looking likely to be next week -- I will be taking one for myself. As I look towards postgraduate study, I cannot think of anything better on the market to complement my studies than a dual-booting MacBook Air.

(Image via Flickr)

Netbooks are, despite my past assertions, perfect for the travelling, cross-campus venturing, busy and productive students.

For students, who are often on the go for many hours of the day, and find as a basic requirement for any portable device, the ability to run all day without the need to recharge, a netbook is perfect.

While iPads could fill this void, the need for a productive QWERTY-keyboard is necessary for those writing essays on the go. Though I have no doubts that the iPhone is ideal for short messages, even with a wider and larger keyboard, the iPad is still lacking luster in the student market.

I will make a bold statement and say: if the specifications are correct (and multiple sources are confirming this to be the case), then the new MacBook Air -- even the 11" smaller model -- is the most powerful laptop for its size and weight on the market, now and ever.

The thing with laptops is that it takes only one hardware difference to change a product's model number. It makes it confusing, frankly.

The new MacBook Air will be -- as with the previous range of MacBook devices -- in date and powering above other devices on the market.

Though it sounds somewhat academic -- excuse the pun -- to have a similar device with the same, or slightly better specifications, one knows that Apple will produce a certain level of guaranteed quality. It will neither hum nor hiss, and the fan will not whirr aimlessly nor shall the device become so hot on one's lap that it decreases sperm count over time.

It just "does" what it does -- with one major difference.

The dual-booting Boot Camp enabled Windows slash Mac OS X will fit both kinds of student: the Windows productive student, and the Mac OS X creative student.

The price, however, is one of a contentious issue.

With academic discount, at around $800 for an Apple-branded netbook, which will without doubt last you the academic year if not longer -- may not be cheap, but is surely an investment for months down the line.

Whether or not you are an Apple fan, the MacBook Air could well be the most cost effective, efficient and sturdy solution for the busy academic lifestyle.

But hey -- just my two cents at the end of the day.

Related content:

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

79 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

    Slick specs. I dislike Apple, but I'm impressed. Personally I don't think it will be anywhere near affordable enough for the students of today. What I want to know is, will this laptop be overpriced when compared to a Windows or Linux installed laptop with comparable components? Does an opposing laptop with comparable components exist???
    Imrhien
    • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

      @Imrhien The price is an interesting one. Students are often very spendthrifty and find 'disposable hardware' to be the norm. Buy a cheap laptop, it'll last a year -- or less -- when a pint gets spilled over it or a takeaway covers it.

      Overall, if you can consolidate three years of cheap laptops into one powerful device that will last a student, then it could be seen as an investment. Plus, academic discount cuts the price down, and financing makes it a monthly cost of roughly $60. Not bad, overall.
      zwhittaker
      • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

        @zwhittaker Well said. So if a student can afford the investment, it's not a bad choice. The thing about this system is that it doesn't suit gamers (despite the specs) because it's a Mac. On the other hand, it's kind of overpowered for Average Joe (internet, email, word processing). Only Mister Photoshop will really be getting his money's worth, I feel. Other opinions welcome.
        Imrhien
      • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

        @zwhittaker Academic discount is $50! that is not a game changer when you can get an AMD E-350 based machine for a whole lot less money and still get great performance out of it.
        slickjim
      • Last a year,,,

        @zwhittaker
        Which machine are you talking about?
        FADS_z
      • Why would you need to buy three cheap laptops?

        @zwhittaker: [i]Overall, if you can consolidate three years of cheap laptops into one powerful device that will last a student, then it could be seen as an investment.[/i]

        I've purchased many cheap laptops and desktops and all are running strong to this day. I've had a hard drive fail in one of them but that's it. They're not the best specs. They're not the smallest or lightest. But they've done very well reliability wise.

        With that said I'm looking forward to the new MBA. I'm thinking of buying one to replace my 13" MBP.
        ye
      • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

        @zwhittaker
        If they are anything like my kids, buy cheap.
        Accidents will happen especially in a college environment.
        Rather do a few cheap Dell/Hp/... than a couple of more expensive MBA's....
        :|
        rhonin
      • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

        @zwhittaker
        Problem is apple products aren't very sturdy and do not last. i do repairs and refurbishments and apple products are very very fragile and do not last they are more of a throw away high dollar limited toy.. It makes much more sense to buy an outstanding $499 laptop that will do everything, easy to upgrade, and much more well built then to buy a flimsy limited usage airbook for $3000. Even if you bought a brand new laptop each year thats still less then 1 airmac pro notebook.The MAC os is a take away and the thunderbolt connections well thats about as usefull as firewire was lol its a dead tech before it hits the shelves it would need usb 3.0 to be a bragging point.
        Fletchguy
      • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

        Don't know on what planet Fletchguy lives, but in 28 years of owning Mac's (something like 30 different computers) I have had three repairs and only one of them out of warranty. Have replaced batteries, upgraded to more memory, larger HDDs, etc. but Apples HW has been rock solid... sure can't say that for some of the other brands here on earth.
        nrkmann@...
      • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

        @zwhittaker Why call a Macbook Air a netbook? The whole premiss here is just assuming its a ne<a href="http://www.tran33m.com/vb/">t</a>book class machine and expensive... while it might be as s<a href="http://vb.maas1.com/">m</a>all, as a crappy little netbook, it has better specs than some bigger notebooks still being sold right now.
        alasiri
    • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

      @Imrhien - I think the new Samsung Series 9 is an equivalent Win7 machine to this, and it comes in around 1150 or so. Almost equal specs. That said, the new MBA will probably be my first Apple product. Just time to try something different, although I've never had a problem with any of my Win machines. No blue screens, no viruses, no malware. I guess you'd have to skip Win 3.1 and ME for that to be accurate, but since then...and yes, that includes Vista.
      andyjackoradam
    • Price is the problem

      I agree how man students can or should buy that much notebook to carry around school? I have known student who went through 3 notebooks or better. Two got stolen, one got something spilled on it.
      jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
    • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

      low hd, low mem. low video.
      whats makes this a great machine ? That is is a unix machine with apples desktop ? not
      rparker009
  • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

    Of course, an expensive, theft bait laptop running an old OS that the vast majority of the world doesn't use. Even worse for software development, since you've only got Apple's development environment.

    The only thing that would save it is installing Windows (as most Mac users do).

    I mean seriously Zach what are you smoking and is it free?
    tonymcs@...
    • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

      @tonymcs@...

      Why you troll?
      LP212
      • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

        @LP212

        Actually, it sounds like he has practical experience with using laptops as a student.
        mdg1019
      • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

        @LP212
        It is part of his/her membership in the Nothing But Microsoft (NBM) club. As one of the requirements they must post 10 negative comments about products that compete with Microsoft products.
        Rick_K
      • RE: Is the next MacBook Air the perfect student laptop?

        @Rick_K... I'd heard of such a club, and have seen it's members here and there! Thank you for turning the myth into reality! lol!
        unclefixer@...
      • unclefixer, I was totally surprised to find out that

        @LP212
        the Nothing But Microsoft (NBM) club rent their meeting space in the same office complex as the Nothing But Apple (NBA) club, to which Rick_K is a member, and chapter leader (from what I understand).

        Talk about a coincidence!

        Or maybe just MS fans copying Apple fans, once again. ;)
        William Pharaoh
    • It all just makes me wonder

      @tonymcs@...

      Are you from the wrong side of the universe? Because you're whining like it. That or you have a perpetual attitude of any or all of, someone is/is going to/has stolen your beer.

      Besides, theft bait? Or does that mean you want someone to steal whatever you use and are jealous that no one does? Windows? Linux? Amiga?
      ego.sum.stig