MacBook Air Review: Stupid Decision?

Calacanis loves his, but I’m not so sure the MacBook Air is everything it’s cracked up to be. Roshan Patel submitted a “Top Five Reasons I Wouldn’t Buy a MacBook Air” this morning, after watching my recent one-second review on YouTube:

  1. No Optical (CD/DVD) Drive. I know that during the unveil at MacWorld, it was announced that you are able to use another system’s drive in order to install data, and also download your wanted DVDs from the iTunes store, but I already own many many DVDs (as discs), and installing wirelessly would virtually guarantee slower speeds. An Optical Drive is available, but why do I have to pay more for a basic item?
  2. Fragile. Apple also detailed that the case is aluminum and is very strong but I simply don’t trust it. The LCD casing is very thin, and I think that even a slight knock could bend the back (where the Apple Logo is) inward and completely destroy the display.
  3. Only One USB Port. In a world where USB powers virtually everything, I can’t just use one port. Yes, I could buy a Hub, but that would simply eradicate the portability element of a Notebook.
  4. Speed. Being considerably small, and containing small components such as processors, this could potentially run at high intensity heat, and could effectively narrow the usage life of the system. I know I have no point of reference, but I tend to use a “What If” scenario before purchasing something new.
  5. Price. Now this is what I deem to be the most important element of why I would not buy a MacBook Air. The only reason that I would even seriously consider purchasing a MacBook Air would be for the Solid-State drive, but paying more money for this, for less memory, at 64GB (80GB HDD) is a waste of time, so to avoid this, why wouldn’t I just buy a standard MacBook?

I would agree with my fellow geek from the trenches…

24 thoughts on “MacBook Air Review: Stupid Decision?”

  1. Thats a great top 5. The Macbook Air is kinda a waist of money. Think of it …you can get pay less and buy a faster Macbook or pay a bit more and get a Much faster Macbook Pro

  2. i also heard that EVDO cards don’t fit the Air’s USB jack, and they need a special adapter. (not verified)

  3. I’m sorry be a party pooper, but unless you’ve actually used a MacBook Air, I don’t think you can provide a ‘review’ for it.

    At the end of the day, the MacBook Air isn’t designed for geeks/power users, it’s designed for business professionals on the move who need to do word processing, email and presentations when travelling, so therefore need it to be light as possible. Apple are trying to make a move into one market in which they are really struggling…the enterprise market (big corporations etc)

    When you’ve used a MacBook air for its intended purpose, I’ll be very interested in your review. I won’t be getting one, not because it’s a bad or ‘stupid’ product, but because it does not suit my needs. My dad however…travels a lot with his job, needs his emails on the go, does presentations…loves his MacBook Pro, but doesn’t like how heavy it is…enter MacBook Air. Not a stupid product IMHO.

  4. I have to say that you could have been more indepth with the video but if that is really what you think then you had a right to voice your opinion that way. I don’t necessarily agree with it 100% but I think that if that is how you feel then you should stand by what you said.

  5. >> 1. No Optical (CD/DVD) Drive…. why do I
    >> have to pay more for a basic item?

    The MacBook Air does not make economic sense right now. However, it is an amazing machine and having an external drive for an extra $99 is no big deal for the folks in the MacBook Air market (travel executives). IN fact, the MacBook Air cost the same as one business class ticket…. that’s the market.

    >> Fragile. Apple also detailed that the case
    >> is aluminum and is very strong but I
    >> simply don’t trust it. The LCD casing

    It’s sturdy…. total non-issue. Thing feels like a solid brick–just not as heavy.

    >> Speed. Being considerably small

    I just got the solid state one in… it’s really fast. Unless you are doing video editing or video games this machine is more than fine…. 80% of what I do these days is in-browser, IRC, etc.

    > Price. Now this is what I deem to be
    > the most important element of why
    > I would not buy a MacBook Air. The only reaso

    Agreed…. it’s a rip off if you compare to other products. However, the cost of computers compared to their value today (i.e. $2-3 a day in cost over 2-3 years) is NOTHING. Any person who travels for business can afford this machine, and that’s the market.

    For students? Yeah, a $500-1,000 dell is the way to go.

    Of course, this machine will be $1,499 this christmas and $1299 in two years. So, give it time.

    best jason

  6. I absolutely agree with you, I think it is a good idea, but the price is just ouch and the specifications are just not worth the money. However, with all Mac computers, you do have to pay a higher price than you do with a standard PC. I could never afford a Mac PC brand new. The video for this blog is one of the funniest I have ever seen also. If you have a spare 2 seconds, do watch it.

  7. Here’s my take on it, comparing it to your review:

    1. I personally don’t use Optical Discs with my laptop, I have a wireless network and firewire server that can handle transporting data from one computer to the other, and all my media like songs or movies I download over the internet. There is however 2 reasons for me to use a disc. To install software, or to play a game that needs the disc in the computer.

    So pretty much, I only use an optical drive on my desktop computer, so I really don’t care about no optical discs.

    2. I tried one of these Macbook Airs out and they do feel ever strong and sturdy. Of course that’s my personal opinion, I didn’t actually try to break it. Also to note, the screen cover is glass like the iPhone or new iMacs(from August). The HDD or SSD, is covered with foam and a bumper just like the iPods, keeping this component safe. Also the HDDs have Apple’s patented censor that can tell if the laptop is being dropped and will protect the HDD(by putting the needle away so not to scratch the data.

    3. I agree with you on that. I sometimes have 2 of my USB ports used on my laptop. I also wish the Macbook Air came with a firewire port.

    4. This is the first laptop I’ve ever used which doesn’t burn your knees. It actually stays quite cool. Intel not only made the chip smaller, but reduced power consumption which in turn reduces heat. Also it seems to have a very big heat sink from the inside images I saw. It still though, might have a short life if the processor itself does get to hot,

    5. Now reading your number 5 sounds like that’s a first impression. When going online for instance I found that the SSD Apple has is at a very considerable price. about the cheapest 64GB drive I could find start at $1200 and it kept going up to $3000. The 128GB ones were at $5000. Now for the other components like the 1.6 Core 2 Duo, it might seem over priced at $1799.. Until you see that the Fujitsu Lifebook cost $1800 and it only has a 1.2 Ghz core Solo, yes a Solo.

    In the end, the Laptop for the category it’s in is pretty well priced, but it is not for everyone.. maybe a very small select group that want or need an ultra portable like this.

    BTW, Vista runs great on this with Parallels.

  8. I see your points, and they contain facts that can’t be denied, but IMHO it’s just not a notebook for everyone. It is well suited as second device that you want to use for travelling and lightweight work situations (although it’s probably not second in terms of price…). It’s definitely not the right device to use as your main workhorse.

    The high price is something which could be the dropout criteria for many, but some people (like me) are just plain lucky as you can see in my report on how I received my free! MacBook Air

  9. We had a MacBook just for travel. Used it about 15 days a year to stay in touch with our customers during vacation.
    We just order an AirBook. Perfect for us.
    Don’t care about slower or lack of CD/DVD.
    Use Bluetooth mouse and don’t use USB.

  10. I agree to a certain extent. I know this laptop is driven to a certain user type: The Professional on the go. This computer is built for someone that needs a super portable machine for the SIMPLE things such as Office. This machine is built for Powerpoint presentations at the office, a clients business etc (hence the video out port). This machine is not built for video editing, its built for extreme ease of portability. When apple designed this machine they didn’t mean for it to be a desktop replacement or a primary computer for ANYONE.

    With all of this being said I can still understand your point.
    It’s overpriced
    could possibily be fragile for someone as clumbsy as me.
    Heat could be an issue.

    would I ever buy it? nope
    Can I see why some people would buy it? I sure do.

    Either way, this is a good debate. If I was always on the go with work needing to do presentations and the such at the office or at a meeting then I’d get it, sure. But as it stands nope I wont be buying a macbook Air anytime in the near future.

    Good post though.
    Thanks man

    see you guys in the chatroom

  11. Why do people keep issuing lists like this of why the MacBook Air, and the iPhone before it, are of no use to them, and insist that these are drop-dead reasons why no-one should even consider trying them out?

    Apple do a whole range of Laptops – this one is meant to fill a niche that non of the others do. You want an optical drive so you can use it as a glorified DVD player? Get any other model.

    You want cheap? Get a low-end MacBook.
    You want a desktop-replacement? Get a Pro.
    You want to slag off something you have never touched? Get a life.

  12. I watched a few of the highlights about the MacBook Air, and immediately thought, what a waste of money. If you are going to have something like that get a UMPC, I know it doesn’t run a Mac OS, but we know they work and they are fairly common.

    If you want a MacBook Air go and get one, but I would strongly recommend a MacBook or MacBook Pro, they are great notebooks…(minus the big Apple Logo)

    LockerGnome Logos needed for the Apple Logo I think….good top 5.

  13. I totally agree, Chris. I am not sure is apple has a solution for this, but say your Mac OS crashes and has to be reinstalled, will your “Remote Disk” feature work if you can’t get to the operating system? Apple had to think of this, but I don’t know. Also I can’t imagine paying $1799.00 for a machine that will only take 2gb of ram for the future. Lastly you can’t replace the battery! It is sort of like a disposable laptop if you think about it.

  14. I totally agree with all of these arguments, the MacBook Air in my opinion just does not appeal to a large audience due to it’s price/specs. It will likely be just a ‘gadget’ computer for the real Apple fan because I doesn’t seem likely that anyone else would buy it for anything else than it’s design. The design is probably one of the few things that make it stand out against other laptops, but as soon as you need a laptop that is capable of doing more than being pretty, the Air isn’t for you.

  15. I agree that the Mac Air is stupid for all of the reasons listed. Why pay $1800 for a computer that does not have the features to weight ratio of several other brands including Toshiba and the Panasonic Toughbook. These manufacturers have comparably priced options that weigh about the same but include larger hard drives, optical drives, and faster hard drive speeds (the Mac Air is only 4200rpm). If Apple’s intent was to go after the business traveler then this seems like an idiotic move. Business travelers do not want to sacrifice performance and features for lighter weight and these days they don’t have to. Why switch to Mac when they can get more for their money by staying PC. Apple had a great lightweight platform for several years and I think it could have really helped them get some business PC converts after the release of Leopard. Instead they discontinued it when they switched to Intel chips.

    I have used my 1.5Gh Powerbook 12″ for 3 years now and I love it. I could not for the life of me understand why they didn’t create a MacBook Pro version. In my opinion the Powerbook 12″ is the best business / traveler laptop ever developed- being light weight, fully featured, durable and reliable. I looked at all of them and switched to Mac because of its superior design and functionality. Why didn’t Apple just refine this model or at least use it as a basis for a newer design? With a few changes in design and updated technology they could have created a beautiful, portable workhorse that any business traveler would love to have. Ok, maybe it would have weighed 3.7 lbs instead of 3.1lbs but who cares. It would still be lighter than the 5lbs for the MacBook and have just as many features.

    Instead Apple showed once again that when they get it right they really knock it out of the park, but when they get it wrong it is truly astounding how wrong they can be. The MacAir is a stupid product from a company that should know better. Few PC oriented businessmen are going to switch over to Mac to purchase this computer. Sadly they will stay with XP and all of its limitations. If anything business travelers will see MacAir as a primary reason not to switch.

  16. i do think the MacBook Air is Pretty but it is very stupid for its Sealed Battery and Hard Drive and it is stupid for 1 USB Port, and it is Heavily Priced, Sigh 🙁

  17. All these MacBook Air reviewers that never had one in their hand but still feel they have to air (haha) their opinion on it are just macairphobes.
    Just like homophobes they’re hateing themselves for wanting one, but with time they’re gonna have to out themeselves.

  18. Point #2 is spot on. This is exactly what’s just happened to my 11″ Air after 3 months. The computer was in a laptop bag and the bag was squashed while on my back (I was on the London tube). You can see the outline of the Apple logo on the screen and the LCD is ruined (vertical and horizontal 1-pixel lines everywhere). Apple won’t repair it, claiming that it’s accidental damage, but you expect a computer to have a certain amount of durability. It’s a great computer, you just need to treat it like a newborn baby.

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