It’s interesting how your work environment changes the way you view your
My recent history (2004-2008):
- A few years back, I was using a 17″ PowerBook with an external monitor as my primary machine.
- Then as I transitioned to doing most of my work from my home office and the desktops were much faster at the time than the laptops, I switched to a desktop.
- Since I was no longer using the laptop as my primary machine, I changed from valuing screen real estate to valuing portability. I got a MacBook.
- Then I started working outside the house again, first at the Hive and now in our own office. I needed something that could drive a big monitor, so I swapped the portability of the MacBook for the graphics power of the MacBook Pro.
Now that I’m in the office full time, I’m considering getting a desktop machine there and going back to a laptop as just a portable/travel machine. Assuming I don’t go hog wild on specs and/or go with a used desktop box, I think I could upgrade to both (after selling my previous laptops) for just over $1k.
The MacBook Air is very tempting to me as a portable machine – something to use while traveling. While it can’t drive a big display and isn’t particularly fast (it’s not a suitable replacement for my MacBook Pro), it’s very nice at what it does. I need to go play with one some more.
I’m going to keep all of this in mind next time someone asks me “what kind of computer should I get?” – I’m now of the opinion that the correct answer can vary widely depending on how you plan to use it.
I went through a very similar transformation w/ my setup. My longest stint was with my MacBook Pro while working at the Hive. Now that I have a permanent office, I’ve gone back to a desktop, this time an octo MacPro with a MacBook Air for travel and time away from the desk (makes a great computer for lounging on the couch or in bed).
I find it amusing that you refer to the macbook and macbook air as not being able to drive a “big” monitor. Big is certainly relative. I’m in the same boat in that I have a 30″ monitor too and the macbook/macbook air won’t drive that. But 24″ and lower work just fine w/ them. Just wanted to clarify that for anybody curious. For lots of people that’s all they need.
I only have a Macbook. It drives a 20″ monitor. It’s plenty for what I do, though with more media and photography in my future, I’m tempted to bump to a 24″ iMac or a Mac Pro for faster processing, and trading in the Macbook for the Air for client visits, travel, etc.
You are correct, Alex, it really is hard to make a quick recommendation to someone. You really need to figure out their needs based on how they will be using it.
Since you’ve effectively switched your “home base” from, well, home to the office, why not simply move your desktop to reflect that change and continue as is?
Oh, right, no excuse to buy new toys… 😛
I think of the air as just an expensive novelty… seriously, what laptop now a days is not completely portable already.