Apple’s added a new MacBook to its range, lighter and smaller than a MacBook Air. Will a long time MacBook Air fan make the switch?
I travel a lot for work and pleasure, my chosen computer is a MacBook Air. I don’t think it’s going too far to say that it’s lightness and size has had a real impact on my life. Not so long ago my mobile office included a laptop the weight of a breeze block and a hideous rucksack required to drag the thing around the world. Now I just chuck my Air into my Tote and I’m good to go.
I had a brief flirtation with a MacBook Pro when they went Retina but it’s just too big and heavy. The biggest improvement made to the MacBook Air range for me was 2013 when Apple improved the battery life – a Mac I can use all day without having to charge it – a very big deal for a travel blogger! So when I saw the new MacBook, I was hit with a mixture of interest and fear. Give up my MacBook Air, yikes, but a new Mac that’s lighter and even smaller… What’s the catch?
Let us start with the price – a fully spec’ed MacBook Air will cost you £1,449, (2.2GHz Intel i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD), for the top of the range 2015 MacBook your looking at £1,419, (1.3GHz Intel Core M, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD). Not a difference to lose sleep over. The problem is a fully spec’ed MacBook Air is a serious piece of kit, running a speedy processor with a capable graphics card, there’s not a lot you could throw at it that it couldn’t handle. Size constraints mean speed wise the 2015 MacBook is probably equivalent to somewhere in-between a top end 2011 and the bottom end 2012 MacBook Air. Husbands roots are in software development, he raises his eyebrows at the thought of suffering the shame of a Laptop in the house running an Intel Mobile processor.
For me, the worst drawback is the connectivity offered by the new MacBook, just one USB-C port. Just what the world needs, a new type of computer connection that renders all my accessories obsolete. I can’t even use my new Apple monitor with the 2015 MacBook – come on Apple! Want to charge your laptop and phone at the same time? Without an adaptor forget it.
So it’s all bad then. No. The lightness of the new MacBook is unfathomable, the new retina screen bright and crystal clear, stretching nearly edge to edge of the computer’s housing. But performance is an issue – whenever I have 2 or 3 apps open there’s a noticeable decrease in ‘snappiness’ when compared to my 2015 i7 MacBook Air, not tear your hair out frustration but enough to annoy.
So when I’m packing for my next trip will I take my Air or new MacBook? It’ll be the MacBook Air. I love my 2015 MacBook but its single USB-C port and the implied connectivity issues create just too many problems. If Apple’s new hardware got anywhere near matching the performance of my Air the lightness and size would probably prompt me to make the switch but until then…
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