Should You Buy a $500 MacBook?

– Hey, guys, this is Austin This is a MacBook Air

So you may have seen our video last year, where we took a look at why Apple is still selling this laptop in 2017 And of course, they're still selling it in Apple Stores today But my question is, does it actually make sense to pick up a used model? So this is the 2014 11 inch MacBook Air And fun fact, this is actually the exact laptop that I reviewed almost five years ago Thankfully video quality has improved a lot since then

The good thing is the design actually doesn't feel all that out of date So you're still getting the solid aluminum chassis which feels good even by today's standards And you have to remember, the MacBook Air was kind of the first Ultrabook So, even though it might not be quite as thin as something like the 12 inch MacBook, it's still going to be much thinner than the vast majority of laptops out there Again, it's like $500

00 on eBay right now So where you can really tell the MacBook Air's age is with the display The 11 inch Air is rocking a 1366 by 768 panel Definitely not retina quality And it's really not great, even on a small display like this

The bigger issue though, is that it's going to be a low quality TN panel Color's not going to be great There's very little contrast And the viewing angles leave a lot to be desired Honestly it kind of feels like a budget two, maybe three hundred dollar laptop that you would buy today

Now don't get me wrong, it's not exactly going to be a deal breaker, but when you're picking up a MacBook Air in 2018, the low quality screen is definitely something that you're going to notice Thankfully though, something that hasn't really aged too much, are the rest of the inputs The keyboard is still better than stuff like the 12 inch MacBook, in my opinion It's got good spacing, it's still going to be back lit And the trackpad is also better than most Windows laptops even today

So the only real difference between this and a newer MacBook trackpad is going to be that you actually can't click on the front, as opposed to the Force Touch that you get on the new MacBook Pros And maybe it's just going to be a little bit smaller Besides that, you're getting every little bit of the functionality, and every bit of the smoothness that you would expect from a MacBook Take a look at the specs and it's actually not going to be all that much out of date So this is going to be powered by a fourth generation Haswell processor

Most of the MacBooks had Core i5s, although I did opt to upgrade this one to the i7 Mostly because I actually used to do video editing on this But for the most part, the performance is really not going to be too far off a modern laptop in more normal, less super demanding tasks, like, ahem, don't try to game on your MacBook Air Or don't try to do 8K HDR RAW editing on it But besides that, for normal stuff, it doesn't really feel that much slower

One thing you should keep in mind is a lot of these MacBook Airs only had four gigs of RAM It's going to be usable, but if you're able to find a model with eight gigs out of the box, it's going to make things a lot better Something that I did not do to my MacBook Air, when I ordered it back in 2014, is upgrade the SSD This guy only has 128 gigs of storage Now to be fair, it is going to be a PCIe SSD

And it's actually going to be faster than a lot of SATA drives Pretty much any SATA drive that you find today, but with only 128 gigs of storage, you better have lots of external hard drives around, if you wanna do anything serious Now believe it or not, I actually used to edit pretty much all of my videos when I was on the go, on the MacBook Air But, things have definitely changed since then So instead of shooting on a DSLR at 1080p with a fairly low bitrate, instead now we shoot everything in 4K

We're shooting primarily in ProRes, and it's going to require a lot more data and a lot more processing power to work with However, I actually switched over to Final Cut since then, which is fairly well optimized, and because we shoot in ProRes, I think the MacBook Air might actually stand a decent chance of being able to edit Although it might also horribly crash and burn (laughing) So to give you an idea of what we're working with here, this is pretty much all going to be 4K ProRes So some of it was shot on a RED, and some of it was shot on Sony FS7

But for the most part, it's going to be fairly straightforward And the good thing is, Final Cut actually does work with ProRes pretty well Now if we actually open up the project, what we're gonna see here is the performance really is not going to be bad And mind you, this has been rendered, but if I turn up the volume here, – For the best selling game console of all time The next closest is the Nintendo DS, so especially in the ear– It's simple and straightforward

– That's not bad at all Now this is an already edited timeline But if we wanted to go in and do some color correction, to simulate what it would be like if we actually didn't have everything rendered and have it all ready, start playing back here, go to full screen, It's dropping a couple of frames at full quality, but I would say for the most part, this is going to be usable Where it's really gonna slow down, though, is when it comes to actually exporting So no, you probably shouldn't go out and buy yourself a MacBook Air just to go do some video editing

But, especially when you're working with stuff like Final Cut, as well as ProRes, which are very well optimized to work on this kind of hardware It actually is going to be usable Although I probably won't bring this guy back out of mothballs to edit all of our videos again One of the nice things about going with a 2014 model of the MacBook Air, versus an earlier one, is that it does have the Intel Haswell processors Now this was the last time that there was a huge leap in battery life

So when this thing was brand new, it was able to get between six to seven hours on a charge Now today, obviously with a slightly older battery, it's a little bit closer to say, four, four and a half But considering this is an older laptop with not in it a particularly user replaceable battery, having that kind of life in an older laptop is going to be super helpful And of course because this was a premium laptop at the time, it does have 80211ac Wi-Fi

No Ethernet jack, because it's a Apple MacBook, from after 2011, 2012, whenever they dropped it, But you're still gonna have fast Wi-Fi Which again, is going to be pretty much the same as a current MacBook today There are two ways of looking at this So on one hand it's kind of crazy that a nearly five year old laptop has held almost half it's resale value But on the other hand, it kinda makes sense

When you compare this to something like a brand new 13 inch MacBook Pro, which is way over double the price, you've got a lot of the same features, besides the garbage town display But if you're using it for lighter stuff, you're really not gonna notice a huge difference However, one of the things you are gonna be losing, are those newer processors, the better battery life But I think for most people, especially considering the price, it's actually not going to be a bad pick up So I'm curious, would you guys ever wanna pick up a used MacBook like the Air? Now of course for around the same money, you could get a new budget laptop, but there are gonna be pros and cons on both sides

So let me know whatcha guys think, and if you wanna see a comparison with this, and some of our other budget laptops Anyway guys, thank you so much for watching And I will catch you on the next one

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