MacBook Air Review

Some time ago, I decided that I was going to replace my laptop once I had enough money saved up from my new job. For various reasons, I decided to get a MacBook Air (Mid-2012 Model). Overall, I have been more than happy with the purchase.


I have never really bought a laptop before this one. All of my previous laptops have been bought used or else been rescued from being thrown out by my father's employer and refurbished. The only exception to that is a netbook that I bought at the beginning of my sophomore year of college. My first laptop was an IBM Thinkpad R32. I got it when it was several years old. It was trashed because it was overheating. As it turns out, running the processor at 100% all the time because of the malware on your box might cause that to happen. Once the OS was reinstalled, the computer worked fine. I used this for some presentations at school and mobile web browsing. It was heavy and had horrible battery life. Once I got into college, I got a netbook, which actually did not work out too poorly. I wrote my senior project on it, but I ultimately found that the small screen size was too much. It did have good battery life and was quite light, however.


I already own a desktop and I have a separate computer for work provided by my employer, so what use do I have for a 3rd computer? Basically, I wanted to have my desktop be for entertainment (gaming, watching movies, etc.) and have my laptop for working on personal projects with occasional lightweight gaming. For that reason, I knew I was going to be using OS X or Linux Mint on it since those make programming in the languages I like much easier for the most part. I settled on the MacBook Air because it fit all of my criteria and I had budgeted a little extra for higher build quality.



The computer I got had the following specs:

ModelMacBook Air Mid-2012
Screen13" 1440x900 pixels
Drive128 GB SSD
Processor1.8Ghz Dual-core Intel Core i5 (Ivy Bridge)
GraphicsIntel HD 4000


The Good

The hardware in the laptop is actually quite good, although it is a little higher price than I might get from Dell or Lenovo, but I am willing to pay a premium for software that I enjoy using (in this case, OS X and a number of OS X specific applications). I am also willing to pay some extra money to not have to worry about troubleshooting as much (as I might have to do with a Linux install). Additionally, the integrated graphics is capable of playing low end 3D games at decent frame rates. For example, I can play [League of Legends][lol] at 40-60 frames per second on medium graphics settings. The drive space is more than sufficient for what I use it for and is quite fast. Booting takes mere seconds. Opening initial programs happens faster than I can think about what I wanted to work on. I have not done any formal benchmarks, but it is by far the best performance I have had in a computer.

The Bad

As you can tell from the above table, the screen resolution is a little lower than what you might expect from a laptop at this price point. It makes it irritating to do some layout work, although it is more than enough for two 80-character wide columns of text plus chrome for code editing.

The other downside that I have found is that I have to buy adapters for all the different display types. On the other hand, I have DVI, VGA, and HDMI outputs, which is more than most laptops have. Only a couple of times has it been inconvenient to be without an ethernet port (I have not bought that adapter yet). Since most places only have wireless, that is not usually an issue, but there have been a couple buildings that I have been in that have been very security conscious about their network and thus only provided wired network access. The other instance where I wanted it was when I was troubleshooting a wireless router and needed to turn off the wireless. I ended up using another laptop for that.