MacBook Air Follow-up

A reader sent me this question:

I read your post about acquiring the MacBook Air just prior to purchasing one myself. I share a lot of the same observations, but I am wondering about how you feel now about gestures. When I read your comments I was sure I would have the same experience, but several weeks I have decided that I really like gestures and find them incredibly useful. I’ve also found the speakers surprisingly good for such a compact machine.

Thanks for the follow up. I’ll use this is an answer as an addendum to my MacBook Air review.

My feelings about the gestures have changed since I wrote the review, but not significantly. I still hate all the pinching and spreading gestures. They feel unnatural and awkward to me. Even the simple two finger zoom pinching is difficult for me to do comfortably. It just takes me out of my flow when I have to stop, pick up my hand, and perform a gesture.

I do use the scrolling and swiping between desktop gestures all the time. It’s totally unconscious for me at this point. Unless I’m writing or coding – in which case I still use CTRL+Left or Right – I’m always swiping between desktops at rapid speed using the trackpad.

You’re right about the speakers. They are damn good for being like half-an-inch thick and way less tinny than you’d expect. When I’m listening to music, though, I still prefer my Sennheiser HD-280 Pros. (For 80 bucks, they’re the best value headphones… like ever. I’ve had mine for over three years.)

One significant thing I’d like to add, is that my comment about the arrow keys feeling chintzy is absolutely the case. They suck. They are unbelievably bad. They are absolutely the worst arrow keys on any keyboard I’ve ever used. No hyperbole. Apple needs to fix these in future models. I’ve already had them replaced once. You know everything great I said about the rest of the machine? That tight, refined, well-crafted feeling. Solid construction and build. The arrow keys are the opposite of that. And it’s a shame.

Maybe it’s just my model, and I got unlucky. But even when I visit the Apple store the keys feel chintzy. I don’t know if other have experienced them breaking like mine though. How do yours feel?

It doesn’t make me regret my purchase, at all, the Air is a fantastic machine. But if there is anything unequivocally negative about it, it’s these piece of shit arrow keys.

Anyway, thanks a lot for your response. I’m glad I helped you make your decision!

Published on November 22, 2011