New MacBook Air: To upgrade or not to upgrade

Posted on by Mike Evans

Last October I bought the best computer I’ve ever owned. It was the new 11.6in MacBook Air which I maxed out with the 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB of memory and a 128GB SSD. Bliss. It is fast. It boots and wakes quicker than the 3.4GHz i7 iMac I added to the stable three months ago. I put this speedy response down to the solid-state drive. So it is no slouch and I’m still happy with it. In fact, if it wasn’t for the newcomer I would remain ecstatic.

But is this a good time to upgrade? The new Airs have had rave reviews and half a million of them flew off the shelves within hours. Bench tests show that the base 11.6 Air is twice as fast as its predecessor and that the specced 13in can offer competition for a 2010 MacBook Pro 15in. Out of interest, I filled my Apple cart with a max-spec 11.6 (1.8GHz i7, 256GB SSD, non-optional 4GB RAM) and it comes to £1,399 including 20 percent tax. My current model, slower, smaller SSD, cost £1,160 ten months ago.

The big question is whether to go ahead and buy a new one or to delay for another six months or so to see what might be in the pipeline. There’s a ready market for used Airs on eBay and other sites, so I have no doubt that I could recoup at least half of my original outlay. It’s a question many early adopters must be pondering and there is no easy answer.

Today I resisted pressing the button on the cart, despite the optimistic 3-day despatch. Tomorrow’s another day. As usual, need is battling with want.

Useful reading: Shawn Blanc, 9to5 Mac comparison charts, PocketLint detailed comparison, TechCrunch, MG Siegler’s review of the new Airs.


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