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I'm planning to buy a MacBook Air 2017 8 GB RAM with 256 GB SSD. The reason I'm going with a MacBook Air is primarily for portability and Battery life, since I see that it gives at least 10 hours.

Is it good for performing the below activities? Please suggest. I have looked into MacBook Pro line as well, since, it is heavy, it would be difficult to carry around where ever i go.

My Primary Work:

I would like to do only programming on this laptop, by installing IntelliJ IDEA IDE, PyCharm and WebStorm etc. I primarily work on programming languages such as Java, Python and Node.js for web development (even though am very new to web development)... I would like to run couple of containers on this device.

I forgot to mention earlier that, in INDIA, we are having a amazon sale of Air 2017, which might end soon, hence, i was interested in going only for Macbook Air and nothing else, for now.

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  • There are for now 3 answers going roughly in the same direction. I can add that a friend of mine has a MBA for the very same usage than you and is very happy with it. – Xvolks Aug 27 '17 at 9:46
  • Yes that's fine but do note that Jetbrains products love RAM--- highly recommend going to 16GB RAM for IntelliJ + one or more JVM instances – y3sh Aug 29 '17 at 4:12
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To answer your question about the Air: Yes.

You may want to consider broader options as well. For MacBooks in general, the biggest advantage to doing development on a them is that you get XCode and the best possible experience when developing iPhone/iPad apps and Mac apps.

However in your case, it seems you're not doing mobile development, and price and/or weight are a concern since you're considering a MacBook Air.

if you're open to windows, take a look at something like the HP x360 which is well reviewed and has advantages over the MacBook air:

  • MBA is limited to 8 GB of RAM, while the HP allows 16 GB. This can be significant for software development.
  • MBA only supports old style USB 3. The HP supports USB type C 3 .1 that can charge the laptop or drive an external monitor.
  • HP has a watch band hinge that allows folding the screen back to be like the tablet. Not a big use case but actually helpful sometimes.
  • MBA resolution is 1440x900, while the HP resolution is full HD 1080p.

Price and battery life are very similar between the two in a 256GB/8GB configuration.

Of course, Apple consistently has the best support and ability to use their stores.

If you have a hard requirement to stay on the Apple platform, I would suggest reconsidering the MacBook Pro 13. In general it's better suited to be a development machine, and it's really not that heavy to carry around.

  • Thank you for the response. I forgot to mention earlier that, in INDIA, we are having an amazon sale of Air 2017, which might end soon, hence, i was interested in going only for Macbook Air and nothing else, for now. – forkdbloke Aug 27 '17 at 8:19
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As the MacBook Air is a great computer, I can say yes for your usage.

The other alternative is the MacBook Pro 13’’ without touch bar. More power, a way better screen (important when you spend hours on line codes).

  • Thank you for the response. I forgot to mention earlier that, in INDIA, we are having a amazon sale of Air 2017, which might end soon, hence, i was interested in going only for Macbook Air and nothing else, for now. – forkdbloke Aug 27 '17 at 8:18
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I would get a MacBook over a MacBook Air if you can afford it.

  • better screen
  • better storage
  • better CPU

The MacBook has NVMe storage which is superior to older technology in terms of iops and energy savings - for containers and dev work and compiling open source code - I’m very happy with the 2015 MacBook and the newer ones are even better. Any CPU in them is great so don’t feel you need to pay for the m7/i7 if you’d rather spend money on storage or accessories or a better display. In terms of productivity, you could program on a raspberry pi or three if you feel you need more “containers” to run. Unless I’m virtualizing something heavy like Windows - I don’t miss MacBook Pro CPU and hardware with my MacBook. That being said - the Air is also over qualified for what you describe.

  • Thank you for the response. I forgot to mention earlier that, in INDIA, we are having an amazon sale of Air 2017, which might end soon, hence, i was interested in going only for Macbook Air and nothing else, for now. – forkdbloke Aug 27 '17 at 8:19
  • Anything is better than nothing so ignore the parts that are qualified by “if you can afford it”. The air is a solid machine for your needs, @forkdbloke. We don’t always “afford” the MacBook here for some of our professional workers. – bmike Aug 27 '17 at 11:47

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