The new MacBook Air is awesome. Really, really awesome. It almost makes me happy that my (also very nice) MacBook Pro died last week (a premature death, since it was only a couple years old). Having been a happy MacBook Pro user for the past three years, I grappled with whether to get one of the brand new Retina display models or to go with the sleek, light MacBook Air.
As a writer, I bring my computer with me everywhere; it is the nerve center of my professional life. It’s also powered-on many, many (too many) hours a day with numerous applications open on my desktop. And my Mac was dead, so I couldn’t really wait the week or two for the Retina models to make their way into my hands.
So, I went for the MacBook Air, 13-inch version, i7 Core. I packed it with 8 gigabytes of RAM and a 512 gigabyte solid state drive (SSD), knowing that my usage patterns stressed even the 8 Gig CPU of my 2011 MacBook Pro. I was curious about how the brand new Air would perform compared to my Pro, similarly outfitted.
All I can say is “Wow!” The thing barely breaks a sweat going full throttle with many apps open, including Chrome (with five open tabs), iChat, Word (with four documents open), iCal, and a few other third-party applications to boot. With all that open, the system is only using about a third of the available resources, and nearly a week later (without a restart), I’ve yet to hear the cooling fan trigger. It’s quiet, cool and damned efficient.
Although it’s a bit smaller than the 15.4” MacBook Pro to which I’d become accustomed, I have to say that the display is more than adequate for writing, browsing, watching Netflix movies or anything else I’ve wanted to do. The Pro had a matte high-definition screen, and I was concerned about eyestrain with the Air's glossy display. I needn't have worried; there is virtually no glare on the screen, to my mild (and pleasant) surprise.