Why I bought a MacBook Air

Why I bought a MacBook Air

Summary: My old MacBook is on its last legs and I need to replace it. I bought a MacBook Air for one particular reason.

TOPICS: Mobility, Apple, Laptops
Image credit: Apple

The MacBook has served me well for five years but it's on its last legs. It's starting to develop some little irregularities that together tell me it is not much longer for this world. After careful consideration I pulled the trigger on a new 13-inch MacBook Air.

It's important to understand that I have no shortage of mobile computing gear and frankly I didn't have to be in a hurry to replace the MacBook. Regular readers of this column know I have a Chromebook that I am happy with, and that I regularly use my iPad with a keyboard for mobile work sessions.

So why did I get the MacBook Air? I can answer that in one word: video. I used to do a lot of video reviews but admit that I stopped doing them because the old MacBook was just too darn slow at processing them. A 10 minute HD video review could take hours of editing and encoding on the old MacBook.

The desire to do lots of video work ruled out my using the Chromebook as a primary computer. It handles everything else I need just fine, but video work would be too much for its slower processor.

A MacBook Air (13-inch, 256GB) is on its way. It will be my primary computer at the desk, yet be able to go mobile if I want. I will migrate all my stuff from the old MacBook to the new Air as soon as it arrives in a few days and be up and running as before. 

I have always found the Mac to be great with video work and that's pushed me toward the MacBook Air over other alternatives. One of those new MacBook Pros with Retina Display would have been ideal but I couldn't get over the sticker shock to buy one. As my colleague Adrian Kingsley-Hughes (@the_pc_doc) remarked about the MacBook Pro with Retina Display he just bought, the price "makes your eyes water".

I realize that other laptops would do what I want but I've never had a lick of trouble with my old MacBook and I expect the same with the new Air. I'll be happy with the MacBook Air and look forward to its arrival in a few days.

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Topics: Mobility, Apple, Laptops

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  • Mac Air 11" here

    I've always been computer ambidextrous, having had, at one time or another, Windows, Linux or Mac. But my fallback position was always to Windows as the majority of stuff I wanted / needed to do was best (and less expensively) achieved on it. And, over the years, my home office / mobile solution had shrunk down to an 11" netbook. When I decided this past summer to upgrade I looked again at PC, but the whole Win8 'experience' that I saw was a complete non-starter for me and so the great leap over to Mac.

    It wasn't near as onerous an experience as it used to be (aside from initial sticker shock) as there's a lot more software out here then there used to be, and at prices that no longer make you swoon. So I was up and running on this 11", 128 GB SSD, 4GB RAM in no time.
    Its been pretty good so far (and yeah, I do some video viewing / conversion on it, too) and I have tried to keep it as lean as possible. That said, I've been disconcerted by how often the spinning beachball of death pops up while doing basic stuff on a 4GB device - I guess gone are the days when Apple could brag their OS meant almost no drag on resources.
    • Windows 8

      There are reasons to choose a Mac or Linux over Windows but if you liked Windows 7, Windows 8 is that and so much better. If you don't like Metro and want the start button, in 5 min you can download, install, and configure Classic Shell. Heck, I like it even better then the W7 start menu but really it looks the same. It even has options to bypass Metro on start up and to turn off the charms. Just uninstall all the Metro apps and you should never pop back into Metro Start.

      Windows 8 is faster (has less resource requirements then even W7), more secure, and integrates with SkyDrive so well that you can sync all your settings between two computers and they will both look and act exactly the same. I moved the task bar to the right on one of mine and a min later it was moved on the other system as well. And the restore point tech baked into W7/W8 is fantastic. You can manually create them if you like or set them up to create on a schedule and you can move your system between those snap shots quickly with a computer with an SSD.

      As far as touch screen goes, take it or leave it. I find that I like it for some options and use the keyboard and mouse with others. But why choose an OS that does not even give you the option to use touch.

      Again, there are reasons to move to OSX but the OS is really starting to show its age and there is not much in the way of innovation in the past few iterations.
      Rann Xeroxx
  • HD Video Encoder for Mac


    Elgato makes video encoder (Turbo. 264HD) that would be good to reduce the time it takes to encode HD Video. This could extend your Macbook Pro or help with your Macbook Air. Here is the link http://www.elgato.com/elgato/na/mainmenu/products/Turbo264HD/product1.en.html
    • On the way too

      I've had that recommended by several folks so I ordered one the same time as the MBA. Thanks.
  • Should we have expected something different?

    With as much investment in the Apple ecosystem as you have, why is it noteworthy that you decided to upgrade within the same ecosystem?
    Certainly there are Windows-based laptops with the horsepower and feature set to match the MacBook you've selected, but no one should expect you to jump ship merely because there are equivalent alternatives.
    If you've had good experience with your MacBooks, fine. Rock on!
    I've had just as good an experience with my Windows-based computers, which is why I continue to upgrade within THAT ecosystem. That's hardly news. Nor is your story.
    • Funny thing that this story even gets to separate headlines linking to it

      as usual with everything a., its being promoted beyond imaginable
  • Apple Tax Is Real

    Paying more for the same or less features is just not smart. The "ecosystem" argument is getting old because Microsoft has always had a tremendous ecosystem capable of supporting billions of users and business around the world.
    Sean Foley
    • Fixed

      Apple Tax Is Real
      Paying more for the same or less features is just not smart. The "ecosystem" argument is getting old because Microsoft has always had a tremendous ecosystem capable of infecting billions of users and business(es) (sic) around the world.
      • Odd you should bring that up

        I've had windows computers ever since windows 98. In all that time, I have had two viruses and both have been on the macbook pro I bought last summer.
    • And apparently...

      ...he decided it was worth paying. It's very possible that he's decided he likes OSX better than he likes Windows (but I like Linux better than either). His money; his choice.
      John L. Ries
    • Plastic Machines

      Paying three quarters the price of a Macbook for silicone chips in a plastic housing is insane to me. Would you buy a car made of cardboard? This is why the resale value of a 2 year old Macbook is still fetching top dollar like the resale value of a good car brand. Little things like magsafe, CNC machined aluminum housing, even the freaking airflow FAN have been designed well.

      The resale value of a 2 year old windows machine is $0. Go on eBay and look up 2011 Macbook Pro and see what they are selling for. Then go look up 2011 plastic HP, DELL, whatever... and see what those go for.
  • Wasted money

    For half the money One could buy a Win 8 Ultrabook, that will put the 'air' to shame...
    • Yes, but

      while I too prefer Windows - I find the Mac OS to be ugly - there is always the matter of personal choice.
    • Wasted post

      Your ignorance and narrow minded intolerance is on display as always. Pity your wife and children if you have any.

      You remind me of an old, annoying wind-up doll.
      • Stop being an idiot please

        No need to bring family into this. Its technology, he has a right to state his opinion with you responding with abuse.
        • He has the right to state his opinion...

          ...and the rest of us have the state ours. But it's better to not speculate about the personalities behind the posts and simply discuss the article.
          John L. Ries
      • Disagree Without Being Disagreeable

        This comment is obnoxious and should be banned. I disagree with many of James' opinions, but they are well reasoned and after all that is why they are called "P"ersonal "C"omputers, because it is a personal decision. Bringing his family into this is demeaning and below even your usual low standards DTL.
    • Or do what Matthew Miller did

      He is using his Surface Pro as a video editing platform.

      His bad has a single 2 pound laptop in it.

      Meanwhile, James has to lug around 6-7 lbs of gear over 4 devices. How thick you figure that is? A few inches at least. Wow. What a mobile fail.
      • post editing

        "His bad has a single 2 pound laptop in it."

        should read

        "His bag has a single 2 pound laptop in it."