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The Ultimate DJ Laptop - or not
The Ultimate DJ Laptop - or not
Posted by Gizmo on January 15, 2008 :

macbook air apple laptop

At this year's MacWorld Expo, Real Steve Jobs not only pushed the envelope but opened it at the same and presented the teeniest weeniest full sized laptop known to mankind in the shape of the MacBook Air. Lacking a CD drive and pretty much any other extra usually taken for granted in a laptop, the MacBook Air is the size zero of computer technology. But I wonder if this is the ultimate in DJ laptops or do you guys prefer something a bit meatier?

Even haters would have to agree that the MBA is undoubtedly an object of desire, and in the luggability stakes, it doesn't get any better than this. But is it a step too far for DJs? Some will struggle (for some unknown reason) with the allegedly measly 80Gb drive. Perhaps the screen size will be an issue as well. But for others, this exercise in minimalism will be perfect. The USB port gives access to all the extras you'll need including external drives for the 250,000 near essential tunes you need to carry to your 3 hour set.

Check out the MacBook Air right here and let's see if DJs need supercoolness or ultratoughness.

NOTE: No further comments are being accepted.
18 comments to this story

On January 15, 2008, k_one said this:
I'm getting one... love.gif

On January 15, 2008, Gizmo said this:
Hmmm... you might want to read this Ken -

I think I'll stick with a new MacBook Pro this year.

On January 15, 2008, Lee said this:
I was so bummed when I saw the MacBook Pros were not updated! The MBA is a sweet looking machine, but there's a few reasons I'd pass on it for a DJ laptop.

1. CPU isn't powerful enough. Yeah, I know, the domain of audio isn't nearly as resource intensive as 3D animation or video, but when you're rewiring multiple applications along with a stack of VSTs and have a massive sample bank loaded, its easy to start hitting the limit. The ultimate DJ laptop needs to be good not just running your DVS during performances, but also for heavy-duty production work as well.

2. Non-removable battery is unacceptable for a workstation machine. This thing needs to be a workhorse, and while most DJs aren't going to be running off of battery but you want to be ready for all circumstances and you want as much easily user-replacable parts as possible in case of emergencies.

3. Screen size and resolution is too small. Maximizing screen real estate is essential when you want to be able to monitor and control as much as possible.

4. Totally inadequate selection of connectors. It has a micro-DVI out, 1 USB2 slot, and an 1/8" audio jack. That's it. No firewire AT ALL. Considering most of the best audio interfaces are firewire, this is a real big drawback.

So you sacrifice all this to pay $200 less then a MBP and bragging rights that you can fit your laptop into a manila envelope. Of course, once you include all the necessary accessories in order to put on a live show you have pretty much just as big of a footprint as you would before. There is no mistaking it: this is a consumer laptop, not a workstation.

On January 15, 2008, DaCaveDwella said this:
I was disappointed with apple today!!! I wanted something more like a touchscreen tablet laptop with a juiced up video card & faster cpu speeds & a price drop on current apple computers...I am no way getting one of those air deals...way to expensive, slower cpu chip, lacking ins & outs for audio freaks...I see this as a great student laptop for rich kids (I see no reason to use this thing with serato when you can get a macbook for cheaper & is faster)...other than that it's worthless!...I agree with Gizmode...I'm gonna get me a macbook pro or imac this year...damn I waited like 6-8 months hoping the touchscreen laptop that supposed to work with logic
studio would be out already by Dec.2007...guess that one will have to come in the future??? I guess a bad apple has to fall off the tree sometimes...


On January 15, 2008, AES said this:
If it had proper ports (i.e. just ONE firewire port to daisy-chain externals from would be fine), and a replaceable battery (really, hasn't apple learned yet?), I'd be all over one once the price on the SSD comes down to earth. This would be an excellent dedicated DVS terminal for those who have no need for video once the flash memory gets cheaper (small, big enough screen, vibration resistant)...

On January 15, 2008, Magpie0001 said this:
This looks great but it would never work as a DJ lappy coz its not powerful enough. I had a Sony X505 last year, same deal, super slim & sexy but just not up to doing much sept docs & emails & stuff, cost a bundle & got lotsa attention but couldnt handle the beefy progs, check it here:
Ill stick with my massive VGN thanks. suspicious.gif

On January 16, 2008, ROGAN said this:
You are actually better off spending 1300 dollars on a used macbook pro like the one i just sold with. 15" 2 gig ram 2.0 core duo than this computer. Sure its tiny as hell but in reality im not to bummed about the size of macbook pros to begin with. Actually their small size just makes them more expensive to repair. It is still an extremely elegant laptop. And the 3000 dollar one is just ridiculous.

On January 16, 2008, sav said this:
I was quite disappointed when I learned about the new MacBook Air. Only 1 USB port and no docking station?

If folks are looking for a good ultraportable I recommend the Lenovo ThinkPad X61. It's 3.1 lbs, has 3 USB ports, 1 FW port, a PCMCIA slot, and is dockable. And with a 2.2 core 2 duo it costs about $1,000--significantly less than the MBA.

On January 16, 2008, AgentZero said this:
A bit more about the battery. While I agree it kinda sucks. WOrd is that batteries will cost the same as MBP ones and installation will be free. You will still be forced to be without your baby for a little while though.

On January 16, 2008, Gyro said this:
What I think about the Macbook Air is that the total concept of the machine missed its own point: I can understand the no-ethernet port and no cd/dvd drive either (even if they used to be essential peripherals, for students on campuses right now they do are of no real utility), wich is kind of a look at the future, when they will become TOTALLY useless. But the lack of firewire port is a giant stepback for the Apple mentality; weren't they the first to introduce firewire to all their lines of computers? Also, isn't that environementally irresponsable? I know by the time you MBA will die in your hands they will probably have a recycling project in place but how much iPods are thrown in the garbage? Anywayz, it's kind of weird...

On January 16, 2008, k_one said this:
well Mark, In my opinion the spec are more than up to par for my intended use(which is Virtual Vinyl and or Serato). The screen size is the same as my current macbook(which I love) and that same macbook battery is still 100% after 1 1/2 years of use. If the AIR can do about the same in performance and reliability I'll be more than happy. 1-2 years of use is all care for in a notebook since technology at that point almost forces you to move on.
Come on, SSD harddrive?that's you even begin to understand how fast that is??

But on the other side, I wouldn't be very surpriced if we were to see some MacBook Air Pro machines surfacing at the next MacWorld...:P

On January 16, 2008, AgentZero said this:
I'm not sure if people are missing the point of this machine. It has no optical drive, ethernet, or firewire because it's supposed to be on a wireless network. So, you plug your firewire drive into your home comp, networked by airport and access cds/dvds from the other machine. Tadah. If you need more room on the go plugin a usb drive, they're cheap and big enough these days. Yes that is a little more environmentally unfreindly buying new gear, but so is buying a new laptop.

Re audio functionality, it will probably do just fine. Doubt it's perfect, but it will probably happily run most relevant software and with a smaller form factor. The new multitouch trackpad may also be a boon for software control and finding tracks (not sure yet, would have to have a play)

On January 16, 2008, DaCaveDwella said this:
I forgot to add...I would rather get this over the macbookair

Has the same specs as a macbook & wouldn't be bad for serato scratch...especially if you have a ttm57sl...


On January 16, 2008, aRKei said this:
We hold the record for the thinnest watch in the world (the company where I work). Did it help us in becoming number one in the market? No. But I gotta admit it looks nice. If anybody wants to buy me one, I'll accept rolleyes.gif

On January 16, 2008, wakka said this:
It's superlight and portable, but I still think it should've been priced the same or less as a Macbook

On January 16, 2008, MouseAT said this:
It's got some nice ideas, but too many potential issues, most of which have already been touched on.
  • Disk capacity is limited.
  • The battery needs to be replaceable. Even if they can't use a standard form factor, users should still be able to replace them at the end of life, even if that involves taking a screwdriver to the laptop.
  • Wireless is slow. It needs a gigabit ethernet port for those times when you're transferring large amounts of data.
  • It needs far more ports. 1 USB port just isn't going to cut it in this day and age.

Nice idea, but no dice. Show me a MK2 with these problems fixed and a USB DVD-RW drive included and then maybe I'll consider one.

On January 17, 2008, said this:
does everyone forget how easy it is to plug a 4 port usb hub into a laptop? i even have one with a 3 inch cable just for this purpose! it only cost $10 too...

stop whining about the ONE usb port!

On January 22, 2008, Klachick said this:
No FireWire is an instant turnoff for audio, also you can't relay on USB hub, since usbhard drives work slow via a hub and also many usb audio interfaces will have pops, clicks and drops if connected via hub

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