MacBook Air 2014

After starting life as a place where I write down Raspberry Pi settings or discoveries this blog seems to become a dump for my general computer thoughts, at least at the moment.

The new MacBook Air

A few days ago I ordered a new MacBook Air, the 2014 version. I bought the 2010 version, that was the first one with a SSD, when it was new – and I’ve been very happy with it. The battery info only showed a few charging cycles >100 (rated: 1000), so it seems as if there’s still a lot of life left in this laptop.

What’s better

…but with Apple’s tempting offer, a voucher on top of the education discount, I coulnd’t resist. Other reasons to get the latest version were the specs when compared to the  2010 model:

  • twice the hard disk space (I was always very careful with the space available, so didn’t run into too many problems yet)
  • ~3x as fast (the 2010 version felt a bit slow after the Mavericks update)

On top of that the new version also has

  • twice the RAM
  • ~3x the battery life

…but these last two factors didn’t seem that important to me.


What’s worse

There wasn’t really much time yet, but there are a few things I noticed – where the new version is worse than the old version – at least in my mind. Others might have different priorities and might not mind at all.

  • The keys feel much cheaper. My guess is that this is caused by the different, more plasticy noise they make, not as ‘low’ as the noise from the old keyboard. This might be caused by the fact that the keys are not backlit, which might mean that they’re more ‘hollow’.
  • The new MagSafe power connector is more bulky. The old one could just be used with some particularly chunky USB adapters plugged in next to it. This is not possible with the new connector. It doesn’t matter though for normal USB cables plugged in next to it.
  • The corner of the bottom half seems much less rounded off. This means it’s much less comfortable to rest your hands on the corners of the laptop – in fact it seems quite uncomfortable to me.
  • If you want to use the F5 button you’ve got to use the Fn key now to get to it.

On a positive note: the # key is marked on the keyboard now. Becasue I switch between different language versions and systems of keyboards I tend to forget where some of the special characters are, so I had to mark the key for # with a pen on my old laptop.

Apple Reinstall Drive

The new MacBook Air doesn’t come with a Reinstall Drive any more. It probably makes sense, as most users upgrade to the latest version of OS X anyway. I’m not sure whether the new MacBook Air has a reinstall partition. My old one didn’t, so I reinstalled it from the web, using “Command R”, and despite my fast internet connection (60Mb/s) it took quite a while. The Reinstall Drive looks so good, it’s a shame that as far as I know Apple didn’t sell USB sticks with this design.



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