Friday, November 12, 2010

Living With the MacBook Air

    I want to talk about using the MacBook Air 11.6" as a daily machine, especially for writers.

    After 2 days of setup (syncing my iPhone, moving files, installing applications), I'm ready to go. I decided to do new installations of software instead of using Apple's Migration application because my old MacBook had three years of crud from multiple installs and some issues. I wanted a fresh start.

    Size-wise, the keyboard is exactly the same width as my MacBook and just 1/8" shorter from the bottom of the keys to the top of the number keys (the Function keys are smaller by about a third, but they work fine. I wrote for a couple hours yesterday and it didn't seem much different than my older MacBook.

    The key touch is great--typical Apple. The wrist pad area is about 3/8" shorter, but very usable. Not sure why Apple keeps making the front edge so sharp. Might have to file that down a bit. I used a cleaning rag on my old MacBook (it had a sharp plastic edge) for my right wrist since it tends to hang off the edge a bit more than my left--due to using the trackpad, I guess. Or maybe I'm built weird. MB Air Trackpad is glass like the MacBook Pros, and large. Very nice and not overly sensitive.

    The first thing I noticed is how BRIGHT this LED backlit screen is. Wow, what a difference! After using it for a day, it would be very hard to go back. Haven't tried it outside in sunlight, but might work. Screen is reflective, but not as bad as some.

    Straight across screen Width is 10 1/8" on the Air compared to 11 1/4" on the 13.3" MacBook. Height is 5 3/4" vs 7". But the resolution is better, so the amount of vertical info in windows is about the same.

    Real Experience: I was using Office for Mac 2004 on the old machine, but upgraded to Office for Mac 2011 Home & Student edition. I use Word for writing and keep the formatting tabs (or whatever you call those things labeled Home, Layout, Document Elements, etc) rolled up. I set the Preferences to launch with them closed. This provides more vertical space for the writing window. 

    I tested Word at the Apple Store, opening two docs side-by-side, and found it very usable.

    Let me just say, this computer is FAST. Fifteen or so seconds from cold boot to everything working; 1 1/2 seconds for full Shutdown. With the Solid State Drive (SSD) of memory instead of a standard hard disk, it's lightning fast read & write times. Word launches in 2 seconds. And wake from Sleep is instant, like an iPad.

    If you've seen the advertisement, you know the 11.6" MBA is small and light--and it is. At 2.3 lbs, it's a breeze to carry with you everywhere. Library, Starbucks, conferences. And BONUS, the airport TSA doesn't require you to remove it from your carryon like other laptops.

More in a couple of days.

1 comment:

Coach Sheryl said...

I would say the airport benefit alone is enough reason to buy it if you fly frequently. That's always a hassle.