Almost bought a refurbished 2017 MacBook Air

Avatar
36

Funny how things work out.

So I *did* order a refurbished 2017 MacBook Air … but fate entered the equation. The shipment was delayed, and when I realized how much better the 2018 MacBook Air seemed to be based on online videos and articles, I canceled the original order and ordered the new one.

Typing on it now. My first Apple laptop (I’ve owned Mac minis before and a circa 2003 iMac).

And what can I say? The thing is bloody amazing, in my humble opinion. I upgraded from an Asus Transformer Book 2-in-1 that I bought about three and a half years ago, which I finally decided was a bit too sluggish and a bit too small.

I ran the Octane benchmark, and it’s pleasing to me that the results were only slightly below my Core i5 4690K gaming rig. I’d say that’s good for a very thin and light laptop.

So nice to have some macOS in my life again, as this will be used for portable desktop computing. This is two home runs in a row for me, my most other recent one being a refurbished 2017 iPad.

But … my main tower at home running Windows 10 is still going to be my heavy lifter. Heavier gaming, content production, programming. Still, I want to port what I can to the Mac using my cross-platform tools and use things like GarageBand again, which I’ve missed. I’ve got MS Office on here, all my cloud storage accounts, my favorite browsers, e-mail set up, Todoist, LastPass, etc.

What a world we live in now, where you can sip from the cup of the best the different platforms offer and make it all work together.

Thank you for reading. Other happy MacBook owners please chime in. 🙂

Comments (36)

36 responses to “Almost bought a refurbished 2017 MacBook Air”

  1. Avatar

    2ilent8cho

    I did give in and bought a 2017 Refurb Macbook last week (the tiny one), i am surprised how fast and light this little thing is, and the fact its fanless too amazes me even more. I've wanted one since i first saw them but my 2012 Macbook Air, and 2013 Macbook Pro are still running excellent today 6 or 7 years on, still on original battery lasting hours and hours so i could never justify it but had an impulse moment.


    Now i wish i had not ONLY because after a few days i have really gotten use to the new type of Apple keyboard and i like it a lot, so now i'm thinking a new Pro and a new Air with the same keyboard...... I do miss the glowing Apple (i love lights), and i think removing MagSafe was a mistake, but i will take MacOS any day until Microsoft sort their mess out.

  2. Avatar

    Robert-Hostetler

    I used to have a 2011 era MacBook Air. It was amazing for that era of computing. Mac OS X / macOS looked very stylish, plus it was really smooth and stable, it felt like a workstation OS that could also be used by normal people too.


    The Microsoft Office Suite and OneDrive worked really well for me up until I gave up on Apple making Professional grade hardware in 2016. I'm assuming they are still great on the Mac today. I also agree with you trying to utilize some cross platform tools, but also use some platform exclusive ones. There is a decent scene of Indie developers that are Mac only. For example, if you like to edit raster images, Pixelmator is a good and cheap one that is a Mac exclusive.


    Assuming the keyboard feels and works OK with your tastes, you are also OK with the USB-C life, and Apple doesn't have any Generation 1 of a new design build quality gremlins, it should be a positive experience for you.


    From time to time, I'll go to a store after Microsoft and Apple have done their annual hardware updates, I still greatly prefer on hardware the Surface lineup over the Apple lineup. I think Windows 10 is OK, so for now Microsoft wins overall. I mostly use a custom built Windows 10 workstation desktop now and my wife has a Lenovo x270 that she really loves using, so I don't see us being switchers any time soon.


    That being said, I do think it is great that Paul bought one for long term Mac testing. Looking forward to hearing how it goes for various 2018 edition owners too. :)

    • Avatar

      ErichK

      In reply to Robert-Hostetler:

      Thanks. Yeah, so far so good, although there is one issue I'm having where Firefox is displaying red dots beneath the menu bar at the top, but it only happens in Firefox. I also ran the built-in diagnostics by holding down "d" when booting, and it didn't find anything wrong. I can only assume this is either a Firefox and/or driver issue that will get ironed out in the future.


      Otherwise I'm extremely happy. The keyboard took a day or two to get used to, but I like it. Performance is much better than my previous laptop, and the screen is great. I knew what I was getting into regarding the USB-C only ports, and I can live with that, although I already bought an AmazonBasics USB hub to connect my musical equipment. But flash drives and stuff? Meh. There's cloud storage for that. And I don't need a mouse with that excellent trackpad.


      I know that because it's so new there's always risk with something like that, but I figured they poured all their experience in making laptops into it, so I have hope.

      • Avatar

        Robert-Hostetler

        In reply to ErichK:

        I'm still kinda new to this site, but maybe you can create a new post about the red dots issue with Firefox here and see if Paul or other folks with macOS hardware can replicate it.


        Mozilla also has 3 different Dev/Beta versions of Firefox you can try to see if they at least have a fix that is being tested.


        I also briefly tried looking up "red dots macos" on the support site for Firefox and didn't see anything related, but only skimmed the first results page.


        If you can't find anyone online that has found something similar + a fix that works for you, maybe your hardware has a problem and you should request a replacement during your warranty window.


        I tried adding links to the mentioned sites, but the forum won't let me :(

      • Avatar

        wright_is

        In reply to ErichK:

        Firefox does seem to have its issues with Intel drivers. On my Skylake laptop it started display black bars instead of words on pages in early 2017. I switched to Chrome and then to Edge for a couple of months, until the problem got resolved, so it wouldn't surprise me if it was a driver issue, but as Robert says, a new thread with an image is probably a good move.

  3. Avatar

    Jeffsters

    Jealous. I can’t, or don’t want, to make the jump yet to USB-C. Too much stuff...but it’s gonna happen I know. Good luck!

    • Avatar

      ErichK

      In reply to Jeffsters:

      Thank you. If I had to be honest, this was probably a *tad* more than I should have spent on a new laptop, but you only live once.

      • Avatar

        jeffdbellin

        In reply to ErichK:I so don't want to sound like raining on your parade but, not knowing your configuration, my sense is Bob_Shutts' beauty ran him around or over $2,000. I have seen these in an Apple store and they are gems - natch, they're designed/made by Apple - but we're talking an awful lot of money for a Y-class cpu (yeah, I know, MacOs gets more from the same silicon than Windows), an excellent but not class-leading display, and a keyboard that is, at best, not as bad as the previous MB/MBP flutter-by keyboards, but by popular opinion more of a minor-ish con you can learn to live with.....To repeat, not meaning to dis your new masterpiece - it is just that! It's not you, but Apple, whose judgment I question. It's back to that same old attitude of arrogance: "we know what you want/need; you don't!" "you don't want/need: touch screens, headphone jacks, 'normal' keyboards, legacy ports (why should we care about your convenience - or wallet? Buy $150 wireless earbuds (from us, please) and $100 - $200 docks." It's not that it isn't great, it's that it should be so much better, and only arrogance, no meaningful philosophy, let alone customer research, that keeps it from being so. (Same with all the Surface products, btw!)

        It's so hard to say the things I feel compelled to say without sounding like an old cliche. Regardless, ErichK, enjoy your stunning new piece of kit; it's built like an (elegant) tank, it will work perfectly every day and last a lifetime and still be worth 60% of what you paid for it 5 years from now.


  4. Avatar

    ErichK

    I'll add this to this thread instead of starting a new one.


    I now understand the "leaf blower" references during podcasts like FRD, haha.


    The other day I installed MainStage and started jamming on my MIDI keyboard, and all of a sudden I hear this whooshing sound ... hot damn, the fans kicked in something fierce!


    I'm not used to that, because my Asus 2-in-1 that I had before had completely passive cooling.

  5. Avatar

    Bob Shutts

    Typing this on a 2018 MBA. 16 gigs of memory and 512 gig SSD. No issues at all, and as others have noticed, this iteration of the butterfly keyboard is a definite improvement. :D

  6. Avatar

    Bats

    Why didn't you buy one of the wildly successfuly Surface products?

    • Avatar

      Jeffsters

      In reply to Bats:

      Wildly successful? Lol. Sales are what? 25% of the beleaguered iPad’s sales?

    • Avatar

      ErichK

      In reply to Bats:

      Actually I'm no longer wild on the concept of hybrid computing as much as I once was. But that's just me personally. My Asus laptop was a 2-in-1, but I almost never used it that way. And I pretty much never reached out and touched the screen, like you're supposed to do with portables that have touchscreens.


      My Windows gaming desktop will always be my main hub, but I wanted access to macOS again. Between my iPad and this new MacBook, I'm starting to think Apple isn't wrong when they say certain things should be separate. And neither is Microsoft ... they're different approaches. And who knows, when and if Apple adopts touch everywhere, maybe they'll do it "right."

      • Avatar

        wright_is

        In reply to ErichK:

        I agree with you regarding the surface line, although I didn't go Mac. I had a Surface Pro 3, which my ex-employer bought off me, so that I could use it at work. When I left, I had to get a new device for home. I looked at how I used the Surface Pro 3 and it came down to 98% docked, 1,8% laptop, 0.1% tablet mode. Although I did use the touch sometimes when using it docked or as a laptop.

        In the end, I went with a Spectre X360. It is a great device and feels much better to use day-to-day, because it is lapable when I am on the move and I can still swing it round and use it as an easel or a tablet with the pen.

        If I needed a tablet, then I would go with a Surface over an iPad, but I just don't have a need for a tablet.

        A large (34") or dual (24") monitors are the most important part of the solution for me - I now have a Ryzen 7 desktop with 34" ultra-wide display at home and use the Spectre when I need to quickly access something around the house. At work I have a ThinkPad in a dock with dual 24" monitors at work.

  7. Avatar

    locust infested orchard inc

    Quote by ERIKHK, "Other happy MacBook owners please chime in."


    When vagabond Apple leave (yet again) their cosy well-built architectural home built by Intel for one in Cambridge, UK (home of ARM), you'll be wanting Apple to chime in as to why your 2018 MacBook is now obsolete in two to three years time.

    • Avatar

      ErichK

      In reply to locust infested orchard inc:

      You spelled my name wrong.


      And throughout the process of my purchase, I actually did give some thought to the issue you brought up. When Apple transitioned to Intel, they supported PowerPC applications with Rosetta for several years (and I think I remember using it for a handful of apps that I still needed at the time), but sure, they dropped support for that in Mountain Lion. I can't predict the future, so I don't know what they're going to do. My hope is that they would do something similar in this case. Sure, I'd like to live with this laptop for at least as long as I lived with the one it replaced, which was about three and a half years. Technology moves forward, and sometimes you have to gamble. I'm just going to deal with it.

    • Avatar

      wright_is

      In reply to locust infested orchard inc:

      That was the problem with my Intel iMac, I waited for the switch to Intel and Apple still retired it after a couple of years, because they cheapskated on the motherboard during the initial transition and then quickly abandoned it.

      • Avatar

        Jeffsters

        In reply to wright_is:

        Couple of years? The first Intel iMac was released Jan 2006. The last supported OS was Snow Leopard releases in 2009. But it in turn was the mainstream release of OSX until Lion replaced it in 2011! So your machine was fully supported for 5 years. Apple followed by supporting Snow Leopard until 2014 or 7 years after your purchase. BTW, the issue was the 32 bit Core Duo processor.

        • Avatar

          wright_is

          In reply to Jeffsters:

          And my 2006 Windows PC and 2003 Windows laptop are both still supported by Microsoft, your point being that Apple don't support their kit as long, but I should still be grateful?... (Both upgraded to Windows 7, although I retired the Q6600 based desktop PC last year, a friend uses the 2003 laptop with Windows 7 and LibreOffice for her coursework.)

          They might not be fast, but they still get security updates.

          And the iMac 24" had a 64-bit Core2Duo 2.16Ghz (Merom) processor, but a 32-bit UEFI.

          • Avatar

            Jeffsters

            In reply to wright_is:

            My comment was in reference to your claim of a “couple of years” support. What I wrote above still applies...7 years.

            • Avatar

              wright_is

              In reply to Jeffsters:

              So, 7 years support from Apple, as opposed to the 15 years currently, with another 18 months of updates to come from Microsoft before the last version of Windows it will run "gracefully" are stopped...

              • Avatar

                jeffdbellin

                In reply to wright_is:

                I'm sorry, I seem to be missing some knowledge: are Windows versions supported for 15+ years? Since the whole update mechanisms are so fluid - now we're looking at two updates/yr, I think - I don't have a sense of how long my W10 will be supported or upgraded to W11 (or W12.1.5.3, should W8 issues arise!). Thanks for insight.

                • Avatar

                  wright_is

                  In reply to jeffdbellin:

                  No, usually around 10 years, but Microsoft lets you upgrade to newer versions, even on older, weaker kit. The laptop went from XP to Windows 7. Windows 7 was released around the same time as Snow Leopard and is still in extended support, anything stuck on Snow Leopard has not had even security updates from Apple for half a decade or more, yet if it was running Windows 7 on a BootCamp partition, Microsoft would still provide it with security patches for another 18 months.

                  Apple went from a paid upgrade model to a free model. The only way to make that "pay" for itself was to obsolete hardware prematurely by not supporting it any more. That "free" upgrade for your iMac, yes it is free, but you'll need to pay a couple of grand for new hardware to run it on.

                  The same is true of Windows, eventually. The world moves on, but Apple hardware has very short lifecycles, compared to Windows or Linux.

                • Avatar

                  Jeffsters

                  In reply to wright_is:

                  Yet Apple hardware has far higher resale value...go figure...seems a MAC running older software is more attractive than an old PC running Windows 10?

              • Avatar

                Jeffsters

                In reply to wright_is:

                Funny it occurred to me 7 years is the same length of time US auto manufacturers support with repair parts. Anyway...this is the difference between an enterprise and embedded focused company that contractually has to extend support to get new sales and a consumer company that can EOL when it should and not be accused to releasing updates that slow down people’s hardware. Like that never happens! Regardless...your on Windows now so I wouldn’t worry...enjoy!

      • Avatar

        Robert-Hostetler

        In reply to wright_is:


        Same thing happened to me, a 2006 MacPro, 64 Bit CPU on a 32 Bit EFI motherboard. :(


        It did have a 64 Bit BIOS however, so I ran Windows on it for awhile until newer versions of Windows stopped working (BSOD'ing, usually on resume from sleep, I'm assuming bad driver support, but was never able to really figure it out)

        • Avatar

          Jeffsters

          In reply to Robert-Hostetler:

          2006 Mac Pro was last supported by Lion released in 2011 which was mainstream until 2012 or 6 years after purchase. A 2006 Mac Pro, with a graphics card upgrade, can run up to El Captain, released in 2015 or 11 years after your purchase. It in turn was mainstream until 2012 or a full 10 years from purchase. I see the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500, extending the life of your 2006, can be had for $19 on eBay.

Leave a Reply