Journal Reviews

MacBook Air: Two Weeks On…

It’s been a couple of weeks since I got my MacBook Air and started using it as my primary computer (and as something to take pictures of).

How did it fare? Surprisingly well, actually. The screen, although physically smaller than my 13.3″, has a higher resolution so it’s actually got more screen real estate to use and straight away, I found myself skying away from my old computer (except when I need old files, etc.).

The fact that this little beast uses solid state memory makes it very snappy with general use and opening large applications such as Photoshop and Illustrator (even at the same time) is über quick.

Of course, the device is very sexy, very sleek and very light. It’s also exceptionally solid which is notable the first time you take it out of the box. I often finding myself holding it up with one hand while in bed just editing videos or checking out websites. It’s very versatile.

Speaking about video editing, the performance is very good. When I ordered it, I expected the 1.8GHz i7 processor to be it’s downfall, but I’ve edited and exported a few 2-3 minute  (720p) HD videos. The editing itself is fast and in Premiere Pro 5.5, with unrendered video plays it very well, rendering is quick and exporting the final is a lot faster than expected.

Opening up 30-40 RAW files in photoshop is quick, as would be expected with this type of memory. Exporting the edited ones to JPG could be faster, this is the only time I’ve found myself impatient, but it’s by no means slow and you can use the computer as normal while this is happening with little to no lag with other operations.

Games… this is where my old computer fell down. It used to start and run the game well, but after a few minutes it started to lag. With the MacBook Air, I’ve been playing games, online and offline with no interruption by lag and the settings have always been on the highest settings. The main games I’ve played are UberStrike HD and Modern Combat: Domination so nothing too overwhelming, but I’m planning on getting my old Steam account running again on this machine so we’ll see how that turns out.

Before I bought this, I was expecting to use it with my other, larger monitor, but as it turns out, I’ve rarely plugged it in. When I do, they work amazingly together, but it’s easy to move about, sitting at a desk to do stuff seems a bit redundant.

Overall, if you’re rocking a new, top spec MacBook Pro, then this would be perfect as a secondary computer, or for doing your usual work while travelling. If you’re upgrading from a MacBook that’s a couple of years old, I highly doubt you’ll regret the decision for this to be your primary computer. Saying that, I love this device, but Lion OSX still has a few bugs to sort out (but the majority of it’s features are great), and getting used to the new gestures, even two weeks on, is still something I’m trying to grasp.

A word of caution if you are making the jump. I am using a max spec, latest generation MacBook Air – The lower end i5 model has had a few reviews that mention it’s just not fast enough, processor wise. I would also recommend the 11″ over the 13.3″ MacBook Air, purely from what I’ve heard and value for money vs. speed (the top end 13.3″ MBA is 12.5% faster than it’s base model, but the top end 11″ is 25% faster than it’s base.). Plus it’s a dream to carry about. If you’re going to get a 13.3″, then it might be worth looking into the MacBook Pro range.

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