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6 thoughts on “Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION)

  1. G. Argov says:
    146 of 148 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Very Worthy Investment, December 2, 2010
    By 
    G. Argov
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)

    I have owned many Apple laptops and computers over the years, and without a doubt think that the 2010 13″ Macbook Air is one of the strongest offerings the company has ever had. I am a ‘power user’ and use my laptop for heavy photo and video editing. I frequently have Photoshop running simultaneously with many other memory-intensive programs, including Windows 7 (through Parallels), and use my laptop for hours every day.

    I purchased the 13″ Macbook Air (which I’ll refer to as ‘MBA’ for simplicity) directly from Apple, and added 2GB of RAM to make the set-up 4GB total. I do not know if Amazon allows you to customize it this way, so if it doesn’t consider buying it directly from Apple or another store which does allow this upgrade. From what I understood, due to the MBA’s construction – the RAM is soldered onto the motherboard – you won’t be able to add RAM yourself later. If you’re a light user, you should probably be fine with just 2 GB of RAM, but if you plan to intensively multi-task, consider upgrading the RAM.

    This laptop is expensive, but is worth every penny if you can afford it. While it lacks an optical drive and certain ports – which can at times be inconvenient – it makes up for that by offering great performance and a stunning design.

    DESIGN
    I thought my 2010 13″ Macbook Pro (which I’ll refer to as ‘MBP’) was sleek and stylish, but this is just amazing. The MBP looks sleeker in some ways since its keyboard is backlit and its display has a nicer black trim to it, but in overall design, the MBA just can’t be beat. You won’t truly appreciate the Macbook Air’s portability and stylish design until you physically play with it in person. The Macbook Air is very thin, but because it employs a tapered unique design it’s not uniformly thin throughout the device.

    The 13″ model features 2 USB ports and an SD card reader (the 11″ model doesn’t have the SD card reader). The USB ports are cleverly located on opposite sides of the laptop so that you can have even bulky peripherals plugged in simultaneously. The built-in SD card reader is incredibly convenient (more on that below). What’s more important to read here is not what connections it does have, but what it doesn’t. The most important things missing on the Macbook Airs, in my opinion, are the optical disc drive and an Ethernet port. While I don’t necessarily use – and therefore, miss – either of those too much, there are times when Wi-Fi is problematic or when you need to use a disc for something. Still, the Macbook Air has a great portable design that should offer more than enough for most people’s daily use.

    PERFORMANCE
    Even with my heavy use, this has been very reliable for my daily multitasking. While some of that speed might result from my expanded RAM (mentioned above), the bulk of it comes from the Air’s use of a Solid State Drive (SSD). While SSD technology is relatively expensivewhen compared to traditional hard drives on a per-Gigabyte basis, it is worth the money! You can find many comparison videos on YouTube showing how much faster Solid State Drives are when compared to traditional hard drives. The SSD really shines when cutting down the time when launching a program, or when turning the system on or off.

    DISPLAY
    The high-resolution display of the Macbook Air is great. The 13″ Air features a 1440×900 resolution (like that of the 15″ Macbook Pro), which is better than the 1,280×800 resolution of my 13″ 2010 Macbook Pro. It is very sharp and crisp!

    LIFE WITHOUT AN OPTICAL DRIVE
    Some people have argued that the lack of an optical drive makes the Macbook Air impractical for daily use. Honestly, I have for the past several years used my optical drive very rarely, and knew I wouldn’t miss it too much on the Air. That being said, you usually don’t appreciate something until you no longer have it, and I have since noticed that there are times when having a built-in optical drive is convenient.

    Since thumb drives and external hard drives are becoming very affordable, digital distribution of software and games is rapidly growing, and many videos are now available through streaming services as opposed to hard copy DVD forms, a lot of the inconveniences associated with lacking an optical drive can be worked around. That being said, there are times when an optical drive is necessary, especially when it comes to installing software (i.e. Windows).

    While the MBA doesn’t have one built in, you can ‘Share’ the optical drive of another computer wirelessly. That is understandably less convenient than having an optical drive physically connected to the same computer, so you can instead plug in an external CD/DVD drive through the USB port. The major inconvenience of doing this is that you have to buy an external drive. That being said, you do not need the Apple brand ‘Superdrive’, and can instead get a 3rd party external…

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  2. Steve H "books911" says:
    88 of 93 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    “Air” Benefits with Fewer Drawbacks!, October 23, 2010
    By 
    Steve H “books911” (U.S.) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)

    I chose the 256 GB storage option model, but the other specifications on this machine are the same.
    I do have fairly recent Mac desktops, but my own personal Mac notebook had become aged. It was a Powerbook.

    With the release of iPad last Spring, I had considered not going back to owning a new notebook, with a desktop and iPad at my disposal.

    However, I decided I simply need a keyboard for some on the go work, and my machine was simply too old now.

    This October 2010 MacBook Air redesign is the answer for me. I will try to post some images of the device soon.

    Physically, the footprint is not much different than a 13-inch MacBook or MacBook Pro that other members of my household own. However, it’s the thinness and lightweight design that brings out the “wow,” for those who see it. If you want to use it on your lap in a large chair or sofa, it is simply comfortable. If you need to stop while walking, and stand against a wall and check something very quickly, while it can still be slightly awkward, the light weight makes this possible. Still, I’d try not to do this, in fear of dropping the precious unit. You do see some Apple marketing images of people using the device standing up. This would likely be even more comfortable with the 11-inch model.

    The reason one would choose this updated 13-inch MacBook Air is simple! This particular model gives you the thinness and light “wow,” factors that defined the MacBook Air since its introduction nearly four years ago. However, this model gives you something that was not offered at this price point previously. A nearly fully functional and performing notebook computer. The included 1.86 GHZ Core 2 Duo processor is not a slouch. 2GB of memory is not bad in efficient OS X, and the decent storage. I chose the 256GB model, but for a second Mac, a light user, or someone with an external USB hard drive when back at there desk, even this 128 GB is not too far behind an entry hard drive notebook. PLUS, there is a huge benefit of this solid state storage. It is INCREDIBLY fast. The slight hit in processor and memory compared to a MacBook Pro is at least partly made up for by the speed of solid state memory. Just check out the boot up time on this device. It boots up fast. Plus, when it sleeps, open it back up, for instant on. It’s a new way of experiencing a computer. If you need it to look something up, edit an image, or type a report, it’s ready for you.

    The battery life is impressive too. Apple is quoting 7-hours on this 13-inch model, and I will get close to that it appears. Apple is using a new battery testing standard than they have used to quote hours on previous systems. Therefore, this 7 hours quoted might be closer to the optimistic 10 hour advertised on the MacBook Pro than the numbers themselves would have us believe.

    This 13-inch model has a higher resolution display than the 13-inch MacBook Pro, so you will fit more of your windows, pictures, etc. on the display. Indeed, it matches the resolution of the stock 15-inch models.

    What don’t you get on this model and do I miss it? Obviously, once again, Superdrive is missing. I do not miss this. I have Superdrive on my desktop computer, and you can always buy the USB Superdrive for less than one hundred dollars, if you want that capability when at your desk. This Air loses the backlit keyboard, one suspects due to the even slimmer and lighter design. However, I type efficiently, so I only lose the cool factor of illuminated keys, not function.

    Truly, with the add on of the USB superdrive for pinch situations, this particular model is a Mac that could actually be one’s main computer. Decent processing speed, decent memory, and most of all plenty of solid state storage and the speed benefits of that storage. The graphics processor in this release is much improved over the previous generation too enabling watching of high definition videos. Two USB ports allow for connecting your iPod, external USB hard drive, USB Superdrive, printer, or whatever other USB device you might have. SD Card slot is included on this 13-inch Air model for the first time too.

    Note – The brand new iLife ’11 is loaded on this machine too. It’s fun to try out the new features of iLife on a brand new computer! iPhoto 11 enhanced full screen mode is fun to use with this high resolution display!

    Sure, a graphic designer, developer, or engineer might need more horse power or a larger display. However, a 2.9 pound Mac that is fully capable of being a great second Mac, or primary Mac, for many users is an incredible achievement. Do not let the significance of this creation not take us back a bit. It is an impressive feat. Recommend unit.

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  3. Paul C. Huang "Paul Huang" says:
    52 of 53 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The anti-reflective coating is finally good enough for me to consider glossy, November 18, 2010
    By 
    Paul C. Huang “Paul Huang” (Arcadia, CA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)

    This review addresses specifically the screen quality.

    Those who demand desktop performance from a portable should consider the iMac. That being said, I have noticed that this low-voltage Core 2 duo 2.13GHz can easily keep up with its big cousins (MacBook Pro 13.3″). The performance is good enough, so I am unconcerned about benchmarks.

    Let’s look at the screen. Even if you have a tonal range of medium grey to complete darkness, the reflection on the screen is not as bothersome as the MacBook Pro’s highly-reflective glass and the previous version MacBook Air’s glossy screen (it, too, had a coating, but not as good as this version).

    I am in my mid-40s, so I initially thought the 1440 x 900 pixels being squeezed down to 13.3″ area may be too small for me to read. Not so. The increased pixel density and the increased contrast makes the text much more readable. Those who are skeptical should forget about the specifications and just see it in person.

    I wouldn’t consider the 11.6″ because the screen’s height has been chopped off 10% (16:9). This screen is 16:10. Those who think that 2.3lbs versus 2.8lbs is a big difference should think again. The smaller one has about 25% battery run time, which means you may want to carry the power adapter. It does not have an SD-card reader, which means another piece of cable (for camera) or card reader to lose. The lack of vertical space causes the user to scroll more. All these reasons combined, the 11.6″ holds no advantage over the 13.3″–not to mention the fact that the processor and level-2 cache are not as robust as the 13.3″ at the same RAM/SSD configuration.

    * * * * * speed * * * * *
    I thought I might as well mention a few things.
    The unit I just installed is a 13.3″, 2.13GHz, 256GB SSD, 4GB RAM

    * cold boot to desktop: 13 seconds
    * all MS Office 2011 applications take 1-1.5 seconds to launch
    * iLife 11 apps all take about a second to launch, except Garage Band takes a bit longer to initialize.

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  4. Ron Cronovich "Ron" says:
    147 of 154 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Not perfect, costs more than others, but I still like it pretty well, March 29, 2011
    By 
    Ron Cronovich “Ron” (Kenosha, WI) –
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      

    This review is from: Apple Macbook Air Superdrive – ZML – MC684ZM/A (Electronics)

    At the time I write this, there are two other reviews of the Superdrive and both are negative. I agree with many of their observations, but I respectfully disagree with their overall assessment of the Superdrive.

    Let’s start with build quality. The Superdrive is encased in the same sturdy aluminum that encases your Macbook Air. (This also makes the Superdrive a perfect match, asthetically, for the Air.) The bottom of the Superdrive is black plastic with a thin ring of rubber to prevent the drive from sliding around your desktop. This plastic doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy to me; I can’t imagine it ever being damaged unless the Superdrive is subjected to unusual trauma, like dropping on a hard floor from 5′ up.

    In contrast, most other external DVD burners I’ve used or researched are completely encased in plastic and feel a bit flimsy. The pop-out disc trays that others have are plastic and a bit wobbly.

    The negative reviews correctly point out that the Superdrive’s cord is short, not detachable, and not user-replaceable. So, you must take a bit of extra care as not to damage the cord. I don’t mind the short length, though. My Air sits on a Rain mStand, roughly 6″ off the top of my desk. The cord is long enough to reach the Air’s USB port when the Superdrive is sitting on my desk.

    The negative reviews correctly point out that the Superdrive doesn’t have a dedicated eject button or a light that indicates drive activity. Most other brands have these features.

    However, I do not miss these features. I don’t often need an external optical drive. Since buying my Air about 6 months ago, I’ve only needed the drive a few times – to install MS Office and other software, and to write a DVD of a movie I filmed on my iPhone for a party. Because I don’t need an optical drive very much, I can easily live without these features. Plus, I like the simplicity of the Superdrive. Plug it in and it just works. Easy and simple.

    The negative reviews correctly point out that the Superdrive ONLY works with the Macbook Air, while other external optical drives work with most or all Macbooks and most or all Windows laptops. But how much of a problem is this, really? I would only need to use the Superdrive with another computer if its own built-in optical drive failed. If that happened and I wanted to read a DVD, I’d regret that the Superdrive doesn’t work with that computer. But if I wanted to write a DVD, I could just transfer the files from that computer to the Air using a thumb drive or the cloud, and then use the Air and the Superdrive to write the files to a DVD.

    The negative reviews correctly point out that the Superdrive is more expensive than other drives. But if you can afford a Macbook Air, you can probably afford to spend an extra $20 or $30 for the optical drive you really want. But it’s definitely true that you can find less expensive drives that will work well for you, and Amazon sells some good ones that are affordable.

    Overall, I like the Superdrive pretty well, despite its relatively high price and the couple of features it lacks. It does everything I need, it’s simple and just works, and it looks very good with my Air.

    I do not claim that my opinion is more valid than the negative opinions of other reviewers, and before you spend your hard-earned money I encourage you to consider their reviews carefully. My goal is merely to offer shoppers a different perspective, and to show that not everyone dislikes this drive.

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  5. Anthony Warburton "Customize it, as stock is ... says:
    20 of 26 people found the following review helpful:
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    The good, bad, and ugly., July 15, 2011
    This review is from: Apple Macbook Air Superdrive – ZML – MC684ZM/A (Electronics)

    The Good:
    great drive
    works good
    very compatible

    The Bad:
    without modding it will not work on anything other than macbooks
    non windows compliant

    The Ugly:
    scratches easily
    usb cable doesnt come off

    Over all a good drive if all you have are macbook’s. But if you want a more compatible drive go find a generic usb one.

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  6. Scott T. Neslage "Scotty" says:
    53 of 73 people found the following review helpful:
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Great idea very poorly executed., November 16, 2010
    By 
    Scott T. Neslage “Scotty” (Charleston, SC USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Apple Macbook Air Superdrive – ZML – MC684ZM/A (Electronics)

    From the moment I opened my new superdrive, I could tell that Apple didn’t put their mind to this product. It has a cheap, plastic feel. The USB cable is short and fixed, not removable or retractable, making it tough to store for travel without damaging it. It’s operation is noisy and vibrates my entire desk. I would expect the device to work with other computers (at least Apple ones) other than the air and mini but it doesn’t. I would also expect the device to be updated with new technologies like Bluray but it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my MBAir!! And I do like that this drive is USB powered. I would simply ask that Apple finish the job by pairing it with something equally as impressive in the superdrive. This product is just not up to Apple’s par!

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